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Gardeners have a habit of going on about their planting disasters, instead of celebrating their successes, says our green-fingered correspondent...

Quentin Tarantino: What's it like being on set with Hollywood's most flamboyant director?

Inglourious Basterds ticks all the boxes for a film by Quentin Tarantino. Visceral violence, an inspired soundtrack, genre bent all out of shape, reams of crackling dialogue and a veritable love letter to Sergio Leone, The Dirty Dozen and the films of pre-war Germany? Check. But an award-winning performance? Now that's unusual. Samuel L Jackson as the Bible-spouting hitman in Pulp Fiction, and Robert Forster as the ageing bail bondsman in Jackie Brown, both received Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Oscars. But in general, Tarantino films don't receive their plaudits for their performances.

Credo: Samuel L Jackson

'Acting is something I need to do. It's a need to be somebody else, which is freeing, and allows me to be comfortable with who I am'

Lakeview Terrace, Neil LaBute, 110 mins, 15<br>Trouble the Water, Tia Lessin, Carl Deal, 90 mins, 15

America may have elected its first black president, but here are two sharp reminders that the scars won't heal overnight

Lakeview Terrace (15)

Here's some early rain on the parade of America's bright new dawn.

'Jurassic Park' author Crichton dead

US best-selling author Michael Crichton, who wrote such novels as "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," and created the popular TV drama "ER," has died at 66, his family said today.

Isaac Hayes: Seventies soul superstar who won an Oscar for 'Theme from Shaft'

When the singer and musician Isaac Hayes met MGM executives in 1970, the conversation turned to the Ernest Tidyman novel Shaft, to which the studio had just acquired the film rights. Hayes thought he might be up for the lead role as the black private detective John Shaft, as the studio seemed keen to cash in on the emerging blaxploitation genre.

Random, Royal Court, London<br/>Testing the Echo, Touring<br/>The Deep Blue Sea, Touring

A lone actress and no set &ndash; this minimalist tragedy is a triumph

Black Snake Moan (15)

Bible-bashing won't do you any good

The Whole Hog, by Lyall Watson

Homage to a charming and versatile beast

The man from Threshers, off-licensed to thrill

Cannes Festival: British action film company chooses for its first production a script by an unknown writer who worked in his local wine shop

The Critics' Awards 1998: Film - The good, the bad, and the really, really bad

When habitual, recidivist, and even paid filmgoers come to look back on a year just past, there is a temptation to be solemn, whether or not the millennium is now like the iceberg waiting for Titanic. It's easy to pronounce that things are not as they were - above all, I fear, in the sparse range and quality of foreign-language films. It's possible to surmise that 10 or so years into the next century, there may be far more ice than navigable ships on the water. Nevertheless, I had a good time in 1998 - even if that paints me as blithely shacked up in a first- class stateroom as the ice loomed.

film: eve's bayou

Going out

From stand-in to superstar

Telling himself that he is an actor not a movie star is becoming increasingly difficult for Samuel L Jackson.

Film: Ryan Gilbey's top 5

1 JACKIE BROWN
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent