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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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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine