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

Capital Gains: Fatal attraction of sex and shopping

Gorgeous, pouting Mark has worked at the chi-chi Gianfranco Ferre shop in Knightsbridge for six months. His sensual looking bluejohn eyes bat at the very suggestion that flirting with the customers might quicken both sales and the working day. Heavens, as if he would. It isn't his fault that he's an Adonis among men, is it? Did he ask for a jaw this square, place an order for cheekbones this high? No. He modestly sees a liking for people, an enthusiasm for clothes and 'an enormous amount of patience as the best tools for the job. He doesn't need to flirt.

CSA chief 'asked official to lure women for him': Employee denies having 'fatal attraction' for sacked manager

A WOMAN accused of sexually harassing her boss at the Child Support Agency claimed yesterday that he used her to lure women for him at CSA functions.

Life sentence for woman in 'fatal attraction' case: Divorcee recruited her 16-year-old son to murder love rival

A DIVORCEE with a 'fatal attraction and obsession' for her married driving instructor was jailed for life yesterday after being convicted of murdering her rival in love.

SPEECH MARKS / The things they say about . . . Michael Winner

Hannibal Brooks, 1968: 'Some passable sequences.' Halliwell's Film Guide.

Profile: Do we love him when he's angry?: Michael Douglas, up there doing it for urban man

Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, the actor who runs the gauntlet of every modern trauma, is one of those films that provoked many column inches of priceless controversy in America. It is about to come to a cinema near you. Its protagonist, D-Fens (after the acronym on his customised licence plate), a redundant defence industry worker, roams the mean fast-food joints and ethnic neighbourhoods of a Los Angeles sunk in crime, drugs, traffic, pollution and economic recession. D-Fens is furious at what modern life confronts him with; a decent man unhinged by urban angst, white middle-class male under siege. Humiliated and frustrated at every turn, he picks up his baseball bat, automatic rifle and grenade launcher and goes on the rampage. He gives beggars a verbal savaging, goes nuclear with a Korean shopkeeper, is at dirty war with the wife.

CINEMA / Confused, meaningless, racist and dangerous

IN Falling Down (18), Michael Douglas's face starts out a smarting crimson - a medium rare that gets better done the worse he does. We open so tight on his nose the camera seems about to tumble down a pore, before widening out to take in the full, livid mug. The thin lips turned into a downward crescent; the steady, resentful gaze. Meet D-Fens, a character to whom you may already feel too close for comfort. On the soundtrack, even before the pictures come up, we hear a deep breath. It's about the only one he takes: his fuse is measured in millimetres.

FILM / We're not gonna take it any more: Falling Down, Joel Schumacher's journey into Taxi Driver and Network territory

Films that tell us everything stinks (if we were programming a retrospective we'd call it the Cinema of Grievance) are relatively rare - perhaps because feel-good Hollywood discriminates against the downbeat, perhaps because such films come from an unusual combination of impulses: a willingness to notice social misery plus a refusal of the politics that might begin to explain it. The world is a rotten place and nothing can be done - which is paradoxically a comforting thought. The result tends to be a visual rant, a hysterical presentation of evidence seeking to justify an inarticulate rage that already exists, and may actually have other causes.

FILM / Damaged goods in the shop window: He's upset America's Hispanics and Koreans, and he's not exactly the toast of Los Angeles. Is Joel Schumacher sorry? Is he hell. Sheila Johnston reports

Joel Schumacher must be the only former professional window dresser to be invited to Cannes to present his film in competition, although sharp-eyed observers might have detected an early vocation from the kind of window displays he created (this was back in the Sixties, remember, when conspicuous consumption was rampant enough for stores to be, like, subtle about selling).

Award that suit an Oscar: Meet the real star of Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and now Indecent Proposal . . . Nino Cerruti. Roger Tredre reports

THE NEW Adrian Lyne film, Indecent Proposal, released next week in which Demi Moore plays a married woman offered dollars 1m to sleep with well- bred billionaire Robert Redford, has been talked about for all the wrong reasons. Never mind that tricky moral dilemma, and the gravity-

FILM / To love, honour and dismay: She stands by her man. She keeps the family together. She is patronised by both screen husband and screenwriter. She does what she's told. John Lyttle on the roles of the Hollywood wife

Now is not a pleasant time to be a woman in mainstream movies. Consider the suspiciously similar plights of actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Uma Thurman and Demi Moore. In Honeymoon in Vegas, Parker is the card game prize James Caan 'borrows' from loser Nicolas Cage. Mad Dog and Glory sees Thurman out on loan from Bill Murray to Robert De Niro. As feminists have noted, two's company, three's a trend. Indecent Proposal, out next week, completes the menage a trois and has proved the most controversial of the trio. And for one almost insultingly simple reason. Unlike Parker and Thurman, Demi Moore plays the Good Wife.

FILM / Base instincts with a low body count: Body of Evidence (18) Uli Edel (US); Dust Devil (18) Richard Stanley (UK/US)

EVERYONE involved in Body of Evidence is at pains to underline the project's artistic integrity. 'I am a great admirer of the courtroom genre,' says the director, Uli Edel. And Willem Dafoe has declared himself attracted by the prospect of wearing a suit in the movie - 'that'll be fun' - and of having a kid - 'that'll be fun.' And the explicit sex scenes with Madonna? 'That'll be interesting,' Dafoe admitted, almost as an afterthought.

White men can't dance - but they can still get angry

'WHO LOVES YA, baby?' Kojak might have asked when he was the Queen's favourite television character. Well, if you are white and male, probably nobody very much.

Screen violence: the tide turns: The Hollywood dream factory is now a nightmare, say critics who accuse it of peddling horrific brutality. Cal McCrystal reports

Hollywood has always fed off itself. In recent years the feeding has been of a particularly graphic kind: Robert DeNiro biting off a woman's cheek in Cape Fear; Anthony Hopkins biting off his victims' faces in The Silence of the Lambs. Questions arise. Is Hollywood trying to turn us all into cannibals? Will 'Eat thy neighbour' become a tenet of our society?

FILM / The bare necessities of life: The flesh is weak, but its appeal at the box-office is stronger than ever. John Lyttle offers a scene by scene guide to movie seduction

Sex at the movies doesn't always happen in the back row. Since the Sixties Louis B Mayer's catch-all dictum 'Don't show the bodily functions]' has been discarded in favour of ever more graphic D-I-Y kits showing the public how to assemble the two-backed beast. More and more often 'it' is laid bare across the Silver Screen, in close-up, moans, groans, goosebumps, ice-picks, extras and all.
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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