News

Outlook Champagne bonuses, Christmas cracker competitions, "Grand in your Hand" contests: welcome to the wacky world of Lloyds bank's staff incentive plans.

To Have and to Hold, by Philipp Blom

Human beings (mainly male) are compulsive collectors. Geoff Nicholson snaps up a history of their hobbies

Full list of Oscar winners

THE 1990s IN REVIEW: Theatre - The voice-over was king

Diversity rules, and that's fine. But, with a few brave exceptions, where have the politics gone? By Robert Butler

Football: Doughty deliveries scupper Whyteleafe

Chester City 3 Whyteleafe 1

Only In LA: Exposed! Kevin Costner's favourite part

IN HIS new movie, For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner plays an ageing baseball pitcher facing the sunset of his career. Not much of a stretch, one would have thought, for the veteran of such feel-good baseball movies as Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. Then again, just about anything might be considered a stretch for a man regularly accoladed with the Golden Raspberry for worst performer in Hollywood, whose most accomplished credit - at least among industry wags - is his turn as the briefly glimpsed corpse in The Big Chill.

Only In LA: Glitzy party for $500: beware cheap imitations

WHO WOULD want to take a holiday in Los Angeles? Answer: almost nobody. Ah, but who would give their eye teeth to go to a celebrity awards show, including the party afterwards? Answer: zillions of people.

Satellite and Cable; Pick of the Day

LA CONFIDENTIAL (10pm Sky Premier), a marvellous film noir from Curtis Hanson, receives its satellite premiere tonight. In the labyrinthine plot, set in the LA of 1953, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce play ill-matched detectives - one a sledgehammer, the other a rapier - who team up to investigate corruption within their own ranks. It is such a classy film that stars such as Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey were prepared to take supporting roles. Kim Basinger deservedly won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the upmarket call-girl with whom both Crowe and Pearce become involved.

Cinema: The millennium bugs

First Antz. Now A Bug's Life. Since Hollywood's animators have apparently convinced themselves that they've exhausted the anthropomorphic potential of ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats and mice, what next? Amoebae? Microbes? Molecules? Quarks?

Film: Meaty, Beatty, big and flouncy

Annette Bening's career has been overshadowed by her husband. It's time for a change.

The Critics' Awards 1998: Stage actor - Go West End, young woman!

I sat on the panel for the Evening Standard Drama Awards, and each of the judge's choice for Best Actor was the same. The choices for Best Actress differed widely. No one's first choice (or second, or third, as far as I recall) was Nicole Kidman. She received a special award of her own for making theatre a hot topic of conversation.

FILM CHART

London Top 10 Weekend box office No of screens Weeks open

Clubs; Club of the week: The End'sthird birthday @ the end

Three years of The End has meant three years of top-level clubbing for the capital. Since its inception Mr C and Layo have guaranteed Londoners innovative promotions. It's no coincidence that both Sasha and Fatboy Slim made this club the headquarters for their musical invasion.

Film Charts

London Top 10 Weekend box office No of screens Weeks open

Theatre Curtain Calls

Awards committees do sometimes get it right. A cheer went up at Barclays Theatre Awards last week when Bryony Lavery's astonish- ingly powerful and deeply moving Frozen won Best Play. Similar pleasure was induced by the Best Actor, Kevin Spacey, whose witty acceptance speech for his towering performance in The Iceman Cometh was filmed (appropriately enough) in a bar.

Film

LA CONFIDENTIAL (left) and Goodfellas - an odd pairing, really. Goodfellas gets too snared up in its depiction of men who worship violence to be completely exonerated of that charge itself. Curtis Hanson's film of James Ellroy's novel, LA Confidential, is less complicated material, although not in plot terms - the movie is a spaghetti junction of characters with interlocking grudges, desires and pasts. Kevin Spacey's alluringly amoral persona is a perfect fit for the jaded but starstruck detective who can't even remember why he joined the force.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

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Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

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Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering