Voices

Politics seems abstract, completely removed from everyday life

Lamb of God Russell Brand

Russell Brand is set to star in 'Lamb of God'.

Culture Club: Arthur

"What a waste of Helen Mirren. I hope they paid her loads to make it worthwhile."

Terence Blacker: We need more sex from our authors, not less

Social Studies: In our nervous, safety-first cultural climate, young writers have learnt to regard sex, like humour, as a risky area best avoided

Russell Brand: 'Americans don't like being told what to think by the English'

Since marrying and relocating to Los Angeles, I've changed the way I research my stand-up The way I worked used to govern all my time anyway. Then, add to that a domestic life, and it's really hard to do anything like watch a film or go to a gig or remain engaged. Also, I think life in Los Angeles is kind of insular, in that you don't really know too much about what's going on in the world. You don't have a print media in America anywhere, really. And with television media – I'm sure you can seek stuff out, but broadly speaking it's all celebrity- and entertainment-led, and quite right-wing.

Arthur, Jason Winer, 110 mins (12)<br/>TT3D: Closer To The Edge, Richard De Aragues, 103 mins (15)<br/>Pina, Wim Wenders, 103 mins (U)

Russell Brand plays the billionaire hedonist, so what could possibly go wrong?

Culture Club: Little White Lies (15)

Readers review this week's big film

Russell Brand: a new lease of life

Playing the sozzled lead in the remake of Arthur may seem a little close to home for Russell Brand. But this time the hedonism is just an act, he tells Gill Pringle

Rihanna thought Russell Brand was an 'idiot'

Rihanna thought Russell Brand was an "idiot" when she first met him.

Russell Brand keen for kids

Russell Brand wants children "soon".

Hop (U)

Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie

Radio 2: Notes on a broadcasting scandal

The replacement of &lsquo;The Radcliffe and Maconie Show&rsquo; by Jo Whiley is a blow to music-lovers, says SimonO&rsquo;Hagan

The Tempest (PG)

Like Alonso and Gonzalo under Ariel's soporific spell, you may experience "a strange drowsiness" during Julie Taymor's film interpretation of Shakespeare's late play. What kept me awake was Helen Mirren's imperial performance as Prospera (above), gender-flipped from Prospero in the film's boldest coup, and her touching relationship with her daughter Miranda, also beautifully played by Felicity Jones. The switch from masculine to feminine lends the story a deeper sense of reconciliation and forgiveness, though as a spectacle Taymor's film exhausts rather than exhilarates, failing to establish any sense of scale or control. It roars and rages, like a tempest, but aside from Mirren its thunder is mostly fake.

DVD: Despicable Me (U)

Universal's animation begins promisingly with a delicious visual gag – a plump redneck boy bouncing off an inflatable Egyptian pyramid; the real pyramid has been pilfered by a villainous pipsqueak, Vector (Jason Segel).

Russell Brand loves ordinary marriage to Katy Perry

Russell Brand's marriage to Katy Perry is "ordinary".

Prospective BBC Trust chairman to face grilling from MPs

The prospective chairman of the BBC Trust will face a grilling from MPs before taking the job.

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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick