Independent Plus

See below to watch the trailers for this week's DVD and Blu-Ray releases

Column One: Haggis, tatties and tartan are big in Japan

THE JAPANESE and the Scots would seem to make unlikely kindred spirits. Yet these two nations, both with island mentalities, their deeply romantic, melancholic emotions hidden behind gruff exteriors, seem to have embarked on a remarkable love affair.

Will the real Scots character please stand up?

DOES BEING Scottish make you naturally friendly, generous, good- looking and intelligent? Or is Scottishness more about having a wee pinched face, an aggressive nature and a drink problem?

Mel Gibson's bottom and the subtle art of paradox

Why New Labour didn't go on to call it New Improved Biological Labour, I'll never know

Film: Small country, big ideas

Between the brash nihilism of `Trainspotting' and the epic sweep of `Braveheart', there's a quietly confident revolution going on in Scotland's film industry, as directors seek to find a new place for themselves outside of the Hollywood/London axis. By Liese Spencer

Best-sellers: UK Films

THIS LAST WEEKS GROSS

Most race attack victims `are white': The English Exiles

The Braveheart phenomenon, a Hollywood-inspired rise in Scottish nationalism, has been linked to a rise in anti-English prejudice.

The young men and the sea

Killer waves are about to hit a secret bay near San Francisco. The surfing elite can't wait. By Richard Kelly Heft

Mel Gibson to star as editor of the Oxford Dictionary

HE WAS a natural as Mad Max - dressed in black leather, with the desert sand blowing through his tousled hair. But how convincing will Mel Gibson be in 19th-century professorial garb, stooped over a 15,487- page academic manuscript?

The Critics: Who said that xenophobia never pays?

Pepe le Moko U Men with Guns 15 Lethal Weapon 4 15 The Doom Generation 18 Kissing a Fool 15

The other Clive

INTERVIEW: CLIVE JAMES

Film: Fan facts - Cindy Crawford and Mel Gibson, health role models

A survey by 'Top Sante' health magazine revealed that women choose Cindy Crawford and Mel Gibson as role models. But why?.

Obituary: Denver Pyle

Denver Pyle, actor, director and writer: born Bethune, Colorado 11 May 1920; married (two sons); died Burbank, California 25 December 1997.

Why the Scots need the English

Scotland defines itself against its neighbour: this week's vote could destroy its identity, says David Walker

Stirling stuff: welcome to 'Braveheart' country

Sir William Wallace once beat the English here. Now, with Thursday's referendum looming, history could repeat itself.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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