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

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

CINEMA : Crash: did we wait so long for this?

'Beyond depravity' was the verdict of one commentator. Westminster Council agreed. But the fuss was surely misplaced

THE EYE ON NEW FILMS

Crash

Cinema: Drunk and wasted in south London

Gary Oldman has gone back to his roots for his directorial debut, and it's a tough tale of drink, drugs and dysfunction. By Simon Tiffin

CINEMA: Return of the Lynch mob

Ever since `Twin Peaks', David Lynch's career has foundered. Dennis Lim asks if his new film marks a return to form

TAKING A LEAF OUT OF FIGGIS'S BOOK: Film

With his fuzzy head of curls and droopy Sixties tash, pioneering actor, jazz musician and film director, Mike Figgis, doesn't resemble your typical Renaissance man, or, for that matter, a power-broking player in the movie business. Yet this unorthodox Geordie has the kind of rocket- fuelled energy and charisma to succeed at three careers when most of us can only scratch a living from one.

New Films: Home for the Holidays

Director: Jodie Foster. Starring: Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning (15)

A little shaken, but not stirred

FILM

Film: Machine guns and oboes

THE ROCK Michael Bay (15); San Francisco threatened by deadly bath products? Sounds like a tough job for Connery and Cage. By Adam Mars-Jones

Film: Fading starshine

THE OSCARS: Ryan Gilbey takes a cool look at this year's victors

I'd just like to thank...

Not so fast. Very little is clear-cut about this year's Academy Awards, except that the British should be worried. At least, that's what they're saying in Hollywood. By Daniel Jeffreys

Sense, sensibility and Austen's seven nominations

Jane Austen was not represented in any category but her modern co-writer, Emma Thompson, made Hollywood history yesterday, earning Oscar nominations for both best actress and best screenplay. The Academy Awards will be presented on 25 March.

Self-loathing in Las Vegas

A brilliant film, a hymn to self-destructiveness: Mike Figgis is back and on form.

CAGED HEAT

After years of 'wacko Method masochism', Nicolas Cage is being tipped for an Oscar. David Thomson talked to him

The main events

QUENTIN CURTIS'S GUIDE TO THE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 1995

also showing; He's a cloud. She's a blade of grass

Ermo Zhou Xiaowen (no cert)
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
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Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

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A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
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A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

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Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

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A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
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