Film: The dark knight returns

Always uncompromising in his choice of film role, Michael Keaton injects new life into the psycho-killer genre.

Moments that made the year: Fine romance proves that big isn't necessarily beautiful

The best films can take you back to the first time you were ever held in the spell of the cinema screen, with the smell of popcorn hanging in your nostrils, and the sound of the projector whispering in the distance. There were a handful of pictures this year that made me remember how intoxicating cinema can be. My favourite film of 1997 was Baz Lurhmann's Romeo & Juliet, which proved to be less a case of the film-maker adapting the text than lunging at it with a broad sword. Rather than simply updating the play, Luhrmann dragged the setting into modern times while audaciously keeping the language firmly plugged into the late 16th century. The results were sensual, witty and bold, with moments that made Fellini look like a master of understatement.

Top 10 movies

TOP 10 GROSSERS

Sorry? Can you spell that, please?

If it hadn't been for my son, I would never last week have come across a word that it is impossible to spell.

Hey, Martians! Chew on this Forget Dostoyevsky.

Hollywood now finds it easier to adapt bubblegum cards.

Even if I was Batman, I wouldn't be cool all the time, says the writer of `Father Ted'

I was travelling back to central London from Heathrow, my suitcases in the back of the taxi (I hadn't been flying, I just sometimes like to go to the airport with lots of suitcases), when I looked to my left and saw something that actually made me do a real double-take. Just like in a movie - I performed the full "Whu-whu-what-the" triple double-take. Driving alongside us, effortlessly drawing level with the taxi, was a silver BMW driven by two ... what looked to me like ... well, two 12-year- old children. And it was two 12-year-old children. Two boys. All right, maybe in their teens but only just. Their little necks straining so they could see over the dash. One pair of hands white-knuckled on the wheel.

Edward Scissorhands 28 December, 9.30pm C4

Edward Scissorhands

COMPETITION: WIN TIM BURTON VIDEOS

WITH festive frivolity fast approaching, what better antidote than Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, described as a "deliciously warped vision of the holiday season" by one cinema critic last year. Bored with the endless ghoulish trickery of Halloween Town, its Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, accidentally stumbles across Christmastown, kidnaps "Sandy Claws" and attempts to recreate Christmas himself. The results are both humorous and macabre, but the real delight, for adults and children alike, lies in Burton's inimitable imaginative vision. Available in the shops from 13 Nov, we have 20 copies to give away, courtesy of Touchstone Home Video. To enter, simply answer the following question:

They've got no strings... Clare Bayley on the theatrical power of the new puppetry

On an 80ft barge, an 18in galleon is rocked by Prospero's unnatural waves. The eye instantly adjusts to the scale, a boundless ocean is easily encapsulated in a 6ft stage, and when Prospero enters, stiffly walking, staff in hand, you'd never think he was less than 1ft high. When he calls for Ariel, a radiant, light-filled creature appears: this Ariel is made of solid, blown glass.

CINEMA : Wholly boring, Batman!

I'M AFRAID that Batman Forever (PG) looks to be the measure of it. Invincible, indestructible, ineluctable, the caped crusader cruises, on inky wings, towards the millennium, a blot that can't be erased from the silver screen. Superman is exhausted, The Human Torch guttered out, while The Flash turned out to be just a flash in a pan. But Batman, like a diamond, is forever. A multi-faceted diamond, since Batman's complexity is the source of his robust longevity. Unlike Superman, Batman is one of us: human, confused and vulnerable, at times almost to the point of masochism. It is not hard to read a religious symbolism into this suffering saviour. No doubt Warner Brothers executives, after the movie took $53m on its first US weekend, offered up a prayer of thanks to the man in black.

I was a teenage Dredd head

'Judge Dredd' has reached Hollywood at last. Nicholas Barber, a former contributor, wonders what's been lost in translation

THE FILM / BATMAN FOREVER

The PG-rated sequel to the sequel to the film of the TV series of the comic character who secretly dresses in rubber and cruises around Gotham City with his friend Robin fighting crime. It broke the Jurassic Park record, grossing $52.8m in its opening weekend, but, unlike the Spielberg movie, it has since been slowing down, which tells us something about the power of word-of-mouth.

The big picture: Holy neurosis, Batman

So he's a poor little rich boy whose parents died young. But do we really need to explore the Caped Crusader's twisted pathology? By Adam Mars-Jones; BATMAN FOREVER Joel Schumacher PG

The Caped Crusader: his story in Batfacts

Batman's debut: May 1939, issue 27 of Detective Comics. (A mint condition copy sold in New York last year for pounds 71,000. Other ephemera can be valuable: 1960s Batman lunchboxes fetch up to pounds 700.)
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution