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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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