Arts and Entertainment Family values: 'It's a Wonderful Life'

The Independent's film critic selects the ten best festive flicks

Film: How to make a film take off: just add wings

Hollywood's celestial craze is a reaction against materialism (and it really pulls in the punters).

Top 10 video rentals

1 Men in Black - Tommy Lee Jones & Will Smith (PG)

Profile: Mike Figgis: Leaving Las Newcastle

Paul Mungo meets the British film director who has taken on the Hollywood system - and beaten it

LONDON TOP TEN

1 / LA CONFIDENTIAL

Box-office london

1 LA Confidential

Box-office UK

1 The Full Monty

Fan Facts: Nicolas Cage (star of `Face/Off')

Prize-winning: Cage picked up a Best Actor Oscar for his moving performance of a drunk trying to kill himself through the bottle in Leaving Las Vegas.

Wooed from the heart

It is hardly surprising to discover that the high-octane violence of John Woo has been censored. But Ryan Gilbey finds the director is a man who treasures emotion in his films and yearns for the human touch.

Film Reviews: The changing face of sci-fi with a heart

About a decade ago, there was a rash of silly, airy fantasies, all of them descended from Disney's Freaky Friday, in which people swapped identities the way children trade bubblegum cards. The new thriller Face/Off is a more imaginative work than any of those films, but is it a more sophisticated one?

Media: Good Ad Bad Ad-GGT Wrigley's

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week Dave Buonoguidi, joint creative director, St Luke's, on television commercials high and low

THE EYE ON PRIZES: THE GREAT VIDEO GIVEAWAY

One of last summer's blockbusters, The Rock (cert 15) starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, is a cocktail of action, adventure and comedy which boasts a well- crafted script. After its success at the box office, The Rock is now available to buy on video (pounds 14.99).

Just sit back and enjoy...

You probably thought that the Coen Brothers' movies were intricately woven, philosophically abstruse meditations on life, death and madness. You couldn't be more wrong. They're all about showing you a good time. By Ryan Gilbey

Film: Box-office charts

Top 10 UK (23-27 July) Total gross to 27 July

GENERAL RELEASE

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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
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