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The striker refused to play for Stoke after texting manager Mark Hughes

Film: Mind games - The Game David Fincher (15)

Is there a more wonderful sight in the movies than Michael Douglas being tormented? I don't think there's another Hollywood actor who does such a fine job of suffering. In David Fincher's wily new thriller, The Game, Douglas is in his element as Nicholas Van Orten, a frosty millionaire ensconced in an affluent world from which he is required to make only the most fleeting contact with fellow human beings. His reprobate brother (Sean Penn) punctures this cocoon with an unusual birthday present - an offer to play "The Game", an executive adventure which turns out to be something like the weirdest Twilight Zone episode never made.

Not quite the Bard - but daggers, lust and gore galore

There's nothing timid about the Globe's policy of mixing Shakespeare with his contemporaries. So rare is Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy (circa 1610), performed three times this century, that the man next to me, clutching a battered copy, said his father had borrowed it from the school library in 1927 and had never returned it (that's quite a fine). Cheaper perhaps to buy one of the 700 copies rushed out by the education department at pounds 5.

We used to love Formica, remember

Fancy a new look for your kitchen? Then think about tomorrow as well as today, warns Felicity Cannell

Sharon tries to tone down, but like a screaming queen trying to pass for straight, she can't

I hold aloft the scrap of the true knickers (not the ones she removed and handed to Billy Baldwin in Sliver, but the ones she didn't wear in Basic Instinct) and the coven chants the chant: "Sharon Stone is our role model. Sharon Stone is our destiny." Shaven heads are bowed, 13 frenzied male voices take the vow: "We will dedicate our worthless existences to being the best Sharon Stones we can ... barring summer breaks, and the occasional lie-in on Sunday mornings." "Say it loud! Say it proud!" I shout, narrowing my eyes and pursing glossy scarlet lips the way Sharon does at the very thought of having to perform the horizontal mambo with Michael Douglas. Hear our song: "I Am Sharon Stone. I Am Sharon Stone. I Am Sharon Stone." Respectful silence falls. "Insert the tape of ... Diabolique!" I command. We fall to our knees - practice makes perfect! - brush flick- ends into our blonde wigs and prostrate ourselves before this remade, but terribly, terribly, helpful primer on how to off the sexist pig in your life - Sharon's career theme. We laugh. We cry. We almost call our therapists. Almost.

THE EYE WIDE ANGLE

John Travolta is to play Bill Clinton in the forthcoming Primary Colors, a screen adaptation of the White House satirical novel which should perhaps have been dubbed Waiting to Inhale. If the movie goes ahead, Travolta will be the latest in a long line of acting presidents who range from the classic all-American hero to low-down dirty scoundrels.

Medea: the fatal attraction

One of the most powerful roles for women comes to life again tonight. Robert Hanks examines the modern appeal of a classical avenger

This is the script that Joe wrote, again and again and again

Joe Eszterhas is the world's highest-paid screenwriter and, on the strength of Showgirls, one of the worst. You, too, could be this bad and this rich. By Kevin Jackson

FILM The critics: Yes, yes, yes, Mr President

"LIBERTY is moving," are the first words of Rob Reiner's The American President (15). Never mind that this "Liberty" is, in fact, just the secret service code-name for the President (Michael Douglas), who is embarking on his morning schedule. It is a line that rings resonantly in the Land of the Free right now, at a time when government has been standing still. The American President presents a bustling new world, where the chief executive moves as swiftly and purposefully as his secret service men. The movie flies on wings of fantasy as strong and sturdy as those of the proud American eagle, which features in the opening montage of presidential portraits and revered national icons.

ARTS: THE MICHAEL DOUGLAS THING

Michael Douglas for President! America's least typical movie star has another hit on his hands. Here, David Thomson studies an unusual career; while, right, Quentin Curtis examines Hollywood's relationship with the White House ALL THE PRESIDENT'S FILMS

When a hug can really hurt

Definitions of harassment are still foggy in British workplaces,

A Tripp too far

THE WONDER BOYS Michael Chabon Fourth Estate £15.99

BOOKS FICTION Secrets and the Newt effect

THE PRIMITIVE by Stephen Amidon, Gollancz £15.99

'Wimbledon may be a fatal attraction'

REGULAR rail passengers resigned themselves last night to either a day of rest or retribution today, writes James Cusick.

The mother of all mothers: When she arrived, in 'Body Heat', there was talk of Bacall. A decade later, she had sunk to the depths of 'Undercover Blues'. Now Kathleen Turner is pulling her weight again

AT HER best, Kathleen Turner is unstoppably larger than life. But in these politically correct, liposucked days that's a perilous claim on screen glory. For size is sometimes nothing but too much flesh. So pretzel-gaunt director Herb Ross prevailed upon Turner to lose weight before committing Undercover Blues to celluloid. Whatever the first flatus of wrath and humiliation, she consented (her career had not been an unmitigated success lately) and dropped as much as 30 lb. That's a lot of puddings and fried chicken, and a lot of pain and grief in the losing (sweaty dreams of revenge in the gym), especially if one's forte is to be 'larger than life'. But it is mortification when the object of the exercise turns out to be . . . Undercover Blues] You can hear Turner's unique lioness growl, 'I lose 30 pounds for this crock]'
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

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