Arts and Entertainment
 

New Channel 4 drama Utopia combines conspiracy theories, edge-of-your-seat tension and dark humour with a talented cast. It could turn out to be one of the TV hits of the year

It's true: tobacco can seriously improve your life

THE MEETING was about to start and, at one end of the boardroom table, my friend Roddy was puffing on one of his aggressively large cigars. It was going to be a long, dreary morning, so I lit up a more modest half corona.

`Examiner' looks doomed

DESPITE A long and colourful history of newspaper publishing, San Francisco appears doomed to follow the path already trodden by most other big American cities and become a one-newspaper town.

Interview: Marian Salzman - The future is in her head

Marian Salzman is paid to know how we're going to live, and what we're going to buy, in the next century. Cole Moreton gazed into her crystal ball

The Three Best Films

Out of Sight (15)

Film: Out of the closet, into the fire

`Out' is no longer cool in Hollywood, if ever it was. Take Anne Heche: a bankable star turned film promoter's nightmare.

Slowly chewing it over

The Michael Nyman Band

Film: Fan facts: Sharon Stone, star of `Sphere'

Burger Queen: Before she made her film debut at 22 in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (she played a beautiful woman fleetingly glimpsed from a moving train), Stone had been a successful model in Ford adverts. Her resume also includes a less auspicious stint flipping burgers for McDonald's in the Seventies.

Film: Also showing: A mouse that roars

Mousehunt Gore Verbinski (PG)

Cries & Whispers: Stuck for words? I think I can help

MUCH AS we enjoy making governments tremble and share-prices tumble here at Cries & Whispers, we never lose sight of our primary purpose, ie, helping you out with your pub conversation. Bearing that in mind, here are six topics you might want to turn to when your chats about the Oscars start to flag.

Film: Sex and violence? It's only satire

The nudity in `Showgirls' was numbing, the derision deafening. `Starship Trooper' has had Paul Verhoeven labelled a Nazi. He says his movies satirise the States. Nick Hasted wonders if he, too, has been seduced by what he would mock

Choice: Film: The Game, MAC, Birmingham

The Game, MAC, Birmingham (0121-440 3838) 8.30pm

Books: SHELF LIFE

The Sharon Stone Story by Michael Munn (Robson Books, pounds 17.95). "She was posing from the day she arrived," says Dorothy, her mum. "I was never a kid," says Sharon (IQ, apparently, an eggheady 154). "I was, like, 40 at birth." At 15, she was skinny and homely. Then she saw a magazine article about makeovers. "I just looked at them and thought, `I can do that' ... It was like a math problem: How do you get it to equal what you want?" She was 34 years old when she first hit stardom, with the no-knickers- plus-icepick part in Basic Instinct (1992). "BI," she said, later, "was not a documentary. It was a stupid-two-box-of-popcorn movie, not as important as people want to make it out to be." Raunchier than Pfeiffer, brainier than Winona and warmer and more human than Demi Moore, Shazza seems like fun to spend time with. And she is of course very pretty too.

Teenagers from hell

Popular films, and a rise in families without a father, appear to be factors in an alarming trend towards young female violence. Glenda Cooper reports

Sharon tries to tone down, but like a screaming queen trying to pass for straight, she can't

I hold aloft the scrap of the true knickers (not the ones she removed and handed to Billy Baldwin in Sliver, but the ones she didn't wear in Basic Instinct) and the coven chants the chant: "Sharon Stone is our role model. Sharon Stone is our destiny." Shaven heads are bowed, 13 frenzied male voices take the vow: "We will dedicate our worthless existences to being the best Sharon Stones we can ... barring summer breaks, and the occasional lie-in on Sunday mornings." "Say it loud! Say it proud!" I shout, narrowing my eyes and pursing glossy scarlet lips the way Sharon does at the very thought of having to perform the horizontal mambo with Michael Douglas. Hear our song: "I Am Sharon Stone. I Am Sharon Stone. I Am Sharon Stone." Respectful silence falls. "Insert the tape of ... Diabolique!" I command. We fall to our knees - practice makes perfect! - brush flick- ends into our blonde wigs and prostrate ourselves before this remade, but terribly, terribly, helpful primer on how to off the sexist pig in your life - Sharon's career theme. We laugh. We cry. We almost call our therapists. Almost.
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?