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.)
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US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines