Arts and Entertainment

A riff on a cosmic joke turns this space comedy into something far greater

Will Smith stars in Columbia Pictures'

After Earth 'is worst movie of 2013': Is Will Smith's reign over the summer box office over?

With rotten reviews for father-son sci-fi adventure,  After Earth, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's decades-long run of good luck seems to be over

Fifties-set French romcom Populaire fails to convince you that its story is worth the telling

Film review: Populaire - You need more than 140 words per minute to write a decent script

The publicity for Populaire is selling it as "Mad Men meets The Artist", and you can see where it's coming from. Brylcreem, sharp suits and cigarettes by the truckload? Check. Feelgood French tribute to the cinema of a bygone era? Check. But it would be just as appropriate to compare Populaire to every film ever made about somebody competing in a contest, from The Karate Kid to Pitch Perfect.

Yoda's been around for the best part of a millennium

Organisers use the Force as Star Wars and Doctor Who fans clash at Norwich convention

Trouble flared at the fourth Norwich Sci-Fi and Film Convention at the University of East Anglia, which was organised by the Norwich Star Wars Club

Pastoral starring Anna Calder-Marshall as crazy old Moll

Theatre review: Pastoral, Soho Theatre, London

Thomas Eccleshare’s first play won the 2011 Verity Bargate award, so named in honour of the Soho’s founding co-director, and it arrives in London from a season at the High Tide Festival in Halesworth, Suffolk (where I saw it), full of bleak poetry and hilarious stage action.

The Ballad of Halo Jones, By Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

An ordinary superwoman who broke the mould

'What we've traditionally called 'the universe' – the aftermath of 'our' Big Bang - may be just one island, just one patch of space', says Sir Martin Rees

Sir Martin Rees: Six ways to infinity... and beyond

The Astronomer Royal believes humanity's future lies in the stars. But, as he tells Paul Bignell, we will first have to change our ways

Tom Cruise stars in next year's All You Need Is Kill

Ground control to Major Tom... When did Tom Cruise last play a ‘normal’?

Gillian Orr reports on the star’s odd choice of movie roles

The 10 Best free web games

No apps necessary ... here are the 10 finest games you can play online without spending a solitary penny.

DVD review: Argo

In Ben Affleck's true-life thriller, a CIA agent plans to whisk six American diplomats out of Iran in 1980 by claiming that they're a film crew scouting locations for a sci-fi movie.

Editorial: A small step for Ratty, a giant leap for neuroscience

Direct, brain-to-brain communication? Digitally enhanced nervous systems? “Organic” computing? If Professor Miguel Nicolelis has his way, such hi-tech enhancements are not as far off as you might think.

Reddit, and four other things that failed to impress William Shatner

Trekkies on Reddit face divided loyalties as William Shatner, former captain of the SS Enterprise, has cast judgement on the popular forum, claiming it fosters bigotry and racism.

Buffy the Vampire star Robin Sachs dies

English actor Robin Sachs best known for his appearance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has died aged 61.

Trekkies take on Wikis in a grammatical tizzy over Star Trek Into Darkness

A debate is currently rumbling between two deadly internet factions – Wikipedia editors and Star Trek fans.

Jesco von Puttkamer: Nasa engineer who worked with Wernher von Braun

Jesco von Puttkamer, who died on 27 December at the age of 79, was a member of Wernher von Braun's rocketry team in Alabama. Von Braun and his team's work led to the development of the Saturn V rocket, the rocket responsible for landing the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon in 1969.

Page 3 Profile: Miranda Hart, actress

The Queen of Christmas television?

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Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
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'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
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The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
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The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

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Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
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people'I hated him during those times'
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Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
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Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
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Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam