Machete, Venice Film Festival

Machete has its origins in a "fake" trailer Robert Rodriguez dreamed up when he was working with Quentin Tarantino on their B-movie tribute, Grindhouse. It's a full-length film that plays like dozens of trailers loosely cut together. Blood-spurting set-piece follows blood-spurting set-piece with little in the way of characterisation or narrative to get in the way. Rodriguez and his cast – which includes (among others) Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin and Robert De Niro – clearly had a blast making the film. In patches, it is entertaining and ingenious. However, the director seems fatally uncertain whether he is making a full-blown action movie or a spoof.

Deauville may be 150 but it's still a star

New flights from London have provided a quick new route to this chi-chi Normandy resort. Kate Simon reports

Ridley Scott and YouTube prepare for "Life in a Day"

Filmmakers Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald are joining forces with YouTube to create what is being dubbed "the first user-generated feature-length documentary."

Third Star, Edinburgh Film Festival Closing Gala

A rocky ride to the end of the road

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Edinburgh is the star in this gentle animated homage to Tati

Edinburgh International Film Festival - A very Scottish kind of Sundance

The Edinburgh Film Festival is now billed as an opportunity for discovery. Geoffrey Macnab takes the temperature

First Night: Toy Story 3, Edinburgh International Film Festival

A triumphant return to the playroom that left audience in tears

My Secret Life: Matthew Horne, Actor & comedian, 31

My parents were ... kind, caring, and not too nosy. My mother, Glenis, was a nursery nurse, and ended up working as a special-needs' class assistant. My father, Brian, was the manager of a lace factory in Nottingham.

Observations: Indy indie hits the screen

In November, The Independent and Sky Movies gave one independent film-maker the chance to make their own short movie, with a budget of £7,000 to shoot and edit it. Now, the winning director Nicky Lianos's dark comedy Dead Happy will premiere simultaneously on Sky Movies Indie HD, and at a screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Eiff), on Sunday.

Pelican Blood, Edinburgh Film Festival

Rebel with a pair of binoculars

The Illusionist, Edinburgh Film Festival

Magic show from the Jacques pack

Rian Johnson: How I went from Brick to Brothers Bloom

Californian writer and film director Rian Johnson achieved critical acclaim in 2005 for a low budget neo-noir murder mystery movie inspired by Dashiell Hammett detective novels called ‘Brick.’ His second film, ‘Brothers Bloom,’ which hits cinemas in the UK tomorrow, is an intense departure from the edginess and careful stylisation of Johnson’s debut. It is instead a light-hearted conman movie, filled with slapstick capers and cons within cons, which might miss the mark for early converts to Johnson’s initial Wes Anderson-alike style, but which possesses a kooky, if self-aware, charm.

First Night: Tamara Drewe, Cannes Film Festival

A pretty tale of countryside alliances – but hardly Hardy

Has Cannes lost the plot?

Its glamour remains – but the world’s top film festival has fallen out of step with modern cinema, says Geoffrey Macnab

How We Met: Gurinder Chadha & John Landis

'As with actors, a lot of directors are weird, so you don't become friends with many'
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick