Arts and Entertainment Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity

Clooney and Bullock's real bodies were not shown in space, Corbould reveals

Sound films

Sound films

Once upon a time in South Central LA...

The American cinema - like Molire's bourgeois gentilhomme - has been speaking prose for most of its adult life: it moves within a narrow naturalist mode that's hard-pressed to accommodate high flights of lyric fancy. Unlike the art of the painter, the novelist or the musician, a poet's fragile miniaturism doesn't lend itself to the broad strokes of the big screen; it might work, just, in an arthouse film - Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet, say, or Tom and Viv, but in the multiplex it risks sounding pompous and hollow.

Half Roman orgy, half sacred rite

Is this the shape of cinema to come? Howard Feinstein (below) reports from New York on the first ever attempt to make an Imax feature film, while Sheila Johnston (left) visits Cits-Cins 2 in Paris, an exhibition that celebrates the `future perfect' of cinema

Brothers in £12m deal for Shepperton film studios bought by Scott bros

British directors Ridley and Tony Scott invest Hollywood expertise in m ajor boost for UK industry. Marianne Macdonald reports

True Gripes: Aliens nightmare: Action event should be X-rated

I don't particularly like horror films. I miss half of them as I cower pathetically behind a cushion. But this is, in effect, what the British Board of Film Classification does. It acts as a cushion to hide unsuitable films from the eyes of children.

True Gripes: Blade runner: Get the knives out for the tinkers

The man at the door was very personable, very friendly and very helpful. He was Tony of Tony and Paul's Grinding Service and was calling to see if I would like anything sharpened.

FILM / Director's Cut: Alien: Chris Jones recalls being seduced at the age of 13 by the imagery of Ridley Scott's Alien, a film that haunts him still

You have to understand the way I first saw Alien. When it was released in 1979, I was 12 or 13 and it had an 'X' certificate, as it was then. My brother saw it and came home and told me the story, which I thought was terrific, and then I got the photo-book and fell in love with the imagery. This was before video-recorders were widely accessible, so I was a serious fan of Alien for probably three or four years before I even saw it.

MUSIC / Alien sounds: David Fanning on Ligeti at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

After Gorecki - nationalist devout - this year's Huddersfield Festival focused on Ligeti - cosmopolitan blasphemer. Now 70, Ligeti has long moved on from the otherworldly 'micropolyphony' that Stanley Kubrick commandeered for the soundtrack to 2001. Yet his music still seems to behave like some cultural attache from outer space, looking at humanity with wonder and bemusement, from undreamt-of angles and through weird lenses.

VIDEOS / Coming soon to a store near you

HOWARDS END (Curzon PG 136mins)

Media Types: Occasionally prone to work: The creative

CREATIVE n. (in advertising agencies) generic term for copywriters, who write the words (occasionally with joined-up letters), art directors, who draw the pictures, and creative directors, who oversee the lot, writes Rhys Williams.

VIDEO / 1492: Conquest of Paradise (15; Guild)

Lumpen quincentennial epic, only partially redeemed by stunning photography and design. A box-office failure for Ridley Scott and a huge disappointment after Thelma & Louise.

Snow follies: how to have a white Christmas in the middle of August

The white stuff is one of the most difficult substances to simulate: Will Kinder of the sfx company Any Effects details some of the alternatives, stressing that most films require a combination of several techniques:

FILM / Tying up the loose ends: Fatal Attraction is back - and this time it all goes horribly wrong. John Lyttle on the revenge of the original ending

Hollywood worships the happy ending. No matter the darkness that has gone before, the happy ending works its old white magic, invoking the promise of a better tomorrow. The symbol of the Feel Good ethos that fuels mainstream film, the happy ending is: Romance Rewarded, The Family Reunited, Virtue Triumphant, Villainy Defeated. The happy ending is proof positive of the American Dream. You do not question the American Dream.

Letter: An alien cubed

Sir: Gilbert Adair need not fear for the talent of those who name films in Hollywood, for Alien 3 is in fact much more clever than the 'Son of' and 'Return of' sequels he mentions (Arts; 'The last detail', 28 August).

FILM / Sigourney's mate worse than death

AT THE end of Alien (1979), Lieutenant Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) was left drifting through the universal dark, sleeping the hypersleep of the just. With her on board the space capsule was a cat, Jones. At the end of Aliens (1986), she was back where she started, looking more weary than before. With her this time were: a small girl, a wounded space marine, half an android and no alien. Or so she thought. Back on Earth, Hollywood thought otherwise, and dreamt up Alien3 . That's it: the trilogy is now complete - uneven, incoherent, often unpalatable, but still one of the great achievements in popular cinema. The last part is the worst, no question, but it isn't your average sequel; for these films contained many sequels within themselves, the same old story flicking round time and again, refusing to give up for dead. As each movie came and went, the heart of darkness kept pumping away: The horror] The horror] The horror]
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform