Arts and Entertainment

It's worth remembering that fairy tales were not originally thought of as children's stories.

DVD: Inkheart

Brendan Fraser stars in his umpteenth CGI heavy kids' film – here, as a man who can make fictional characters appear when he reads aloud. Considering it's based on a hit novel by Cornelia Funke, it's odd how many plot holes and loose ends Inkheart has. But as a family adventure, replete with monsters, magic and dotty grown-ups (Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren), it's a better post-Potter effort than both The Golden Compass and Prince Narnia.

His Dark Materials, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham

Call me earth-bound in my imagination but I'm not entirely sure why Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials has exerted quite such a hold over so many readers worldwide. The story revolves around Lyra and her adventures with her pal Will as they drop in and out of parallel universes against an intricate backdrop of storylines involving physics, philosophy and religion. Added to this is the dangerous search for the source of Dust. (That's panpsychic particles of self-awareness.)

Philip Pullman: Institutionalised paranoia is the enemy of a thriving society

I want to say something briefly about how virtue manifests itself in daily life, local life. I saw three things that gave me hope that the spirit of common public civic virtue is still alive. One of the examples I call "folk traffic calming". There were families living in a residential street that had become a rat-run for cars. They held a demonstration to show that the street is for everyone – not just people in large mobile heavy steel objects. They set up a living room in the road with a sofa and a coffee table and held a tea party. They put planters along the road containing bushes and small trees, not blocking it, just calming the traffic. The result was that cars could get through easily but had to slow down. Everyone shared the whole space.

Blue planet: Dakota Blue Richards on the trouble with being a teenage film star

Dakota Blue Richards is the seasoned film actress who stars in Warner Brothers' latest big-budget fantasy, 'The Secret of Moonacre'. Whether she's working the red carpet, on set with Nicole Kidman, or dealing with scandalous headlines, she knows just how to handle herself. But what kind of world is this for a 14-year-old girl from Sussex?

Modern miss: Hattie Morahan is ditching bonnets in favour of cutting-edge theatre work

When Hattie Morahan played the dowdy, sensible Elinor Dashwood in Andrew Davies' adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, the television critics lavished her with fulsome praise worthy of a love letter penned by Mr Ferrars himself. Her "winningly unshowy performance" was described as both "luminous" and "exceptional". "As good a piece of acting as you're going to see this year" declared one review – a particularly bold claim given that it had screened on 1 January. Even Davies, who had apparently objected to her casting, declared that he had "fallen in love with her performance".

Christian protests may leave Philip Pullman's trilogy as one of a kind

Perhaps it has disappeared through a window into another universe, like its characters.

Rowling joins revolt over age banding for children's books

A dispute between publishers and authors over controversial plans to introduce age bands for books remained unresolved last night.

Pullman supports first new children's comic in 25 years

<i>IoS</i> submits star author's cartoon-strip adventure to trial by 10 year old

Children's writers join the campaign to scrap Sats

Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson are helping to put pressure on ministers to make this year's national curriculum tests the last

The Golden Compass, Retail & Rental

The makers of 'The Golden Compass' have taken the 'Supermarket Sweep' approach to adapting Philip Pullman's fantasy novel, in that they charge through it, grabbing as many of the key scenes as they can, without pausing to consider whether those scenes fit together to make a coherent film.

Dial 'D' for disaster: The fall of New Line Cinema

From 'Nightmare on Elm Street' to 'Lord of the Rings', New Line Cinema created some of Hollywood's most influential blockbusters. But now its 40-year history is in tatters following a string of big-budget box-office flops. Andrew Gumbel charts the unlikely rise and fall of a Tinseltown institution, while Tim Walker identifies the films that did the damage

Once Upon a Time in the North, by Philip Pullman

Cowboy yarn makes an irresistible prequel to Pullman's trilogy

The end of the New Line

The 'mini-major' that gave us Freddy Krueger and <i>The Lord of the Rings</i> has been swallowed up. James Mottram reports

Margot at the Wedding, 15

The ultimate black comedy: a family
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