News Tom Hanks in the 2000 film Castaway

In a story similar to the plot of the film Castaway starring Tom Hanks, Jose Ivan was found on the atoll having floated 8,000 miles from Mexico

The drill sergeant to the stars

If a Hollywood actor's depiction of the horrors of war is realistic, that is because Dale Dye has driven them through his tough boot camp. Guy Adams salutes him

The Top 10 Christmas book chart

Dan Brown's record-breaking mystery thriller The Lost Symbol has topped the book charts for Christmas.

Pack up your bargains in your old kitbag

A Slice of Britain: Shoppers queue from 2am as Angels sells off the uniforms that fought wars on stage and screen

Hollywood's top tearjerkers

Did you cry in Titanic? Have you blubbed during Up? Rob Sharp wonders why we can't resist sobbing in the dark – and nominates Hollywood's finest weepies

Simpson content to take supporting role in heat

Having witnessed the fate of Janeth Jepkosgei, the defending champion, in the opening first round heat of the women's 800m on day two of the World Championships yesterday, Jemma Simpson was taking no chances.

Nora Ephron: Woman's wit

Heroine to a generation of wronged wives, the writer and director's latest film has strengthened her claim to be the voice of liberal America

The Harrowing, By Robert Dinsdale

A dark fable of warring brothers

Last Night's Television: Life, ITV3<br />Nasa: Triumph and Tragedy, BBC2

Life has a slightly sour twist to its title these days, now that Damien Lewis's oddball cop show has been cancelled in the States and is living on borrowed time. It isn't really the moment to get too attached to it, unless you're thinking of mounting a last-minute write-in campaign for a reprieve, but then I doubt that last night's episode would have persuaded a first-time viewer to reach for the Basildon Bond. The quirks of character that Charlie Crews started out with – a zen fatalism induced by a long stretch in prison for a crime he didn't commit, the Asperger's independence of his thought processes – have now stagnated into something just a little too perky and self-satisfied. I have a feeling, too, that there's something about the set of Lewis's mouth that disqualifies him from uncomplicated screen stardom – a tightness that isn't quite compatible with the quirkiness this series strives for. He can do furious and repressed like a trooper, but light-hearted and quippy is a bit of a stretch for him. The script itself does have moments though, such as a scene in last night's show in which Charlie's financial adviser started teaching at a California business school and found that every word he addressed to his class was followed by a hailstorm of key-clattering on their massed laptops. He paused, startled by the effect, and the hailstorm eased off, only to resume just as vigorously a couple of beats after he's started talking again. I quite liked Charlie's boss Tidwall too, whose role is not to bellow at his underlings about their breaches of police procedure (the canonical role of a police superior in an American cop show), but to make them wrinkle their noses at his sleazy cynicism at least four times in every episode. "Hold him on the charge of freaking me out," he said lazily, when Charlie is struggling to find just cause for holding a mouth-breathing murder suspect. Perhaps if he'd been the star and Charlie had been the sidekick they'd be getting ready for series four right now.

Angels & Demons (12A)

There is a scene about halfway through this sequel to The Da Vinci Code when the scholar-hero, played by Tom Hanks, is locked inside a glass-walled library vault whose oxygen supply has just been treacherously cut off. We are meant to be horrified as he staggers along the precious book-lined corridors, surrounded on all sides by arcane knowledge, yet unable to draw breath into his lungs. There could be no more perfect metaphor for this movie, a see-through construct packed to the rafters with complex information but peopled by characters denied the simple oxygen of credibility. How can we possibly care about a man being starved of air when he has nothing of real life about him in the first place?

The Independent Film Forum: 14. Cheri

Our film forum is your chance to pass judgement on a recent release. Here's a selection of your views on Stephen Frears' new romantic drama

Faster-paced 'Da Vinci Code' sequel premieres in Rome

The movie sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" is being greeted as a faster-paced, more gripping film than the original and is respectful to Catholics, director Ron Howard said at its Rome premiere.

Audition By Ryu Murakami, trans Ralph McCarthy

A Japanese romance in horror style

First Impressions: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003)

The word for The Da Vinci Code is a rare invertible palindrome. Rotated 180 degrees on a horizontal axis so that it is upside down, it denotes the maternal essence that is sometimes linked to the sport of soccer. Read right side up, it concisely conveys the kind of extreme enthusiasm with which this riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy thriller can be recommended.

Depp's Inferno

The actor is going to hell and back to star in a dramatisation of the life of Dante

There was simply no one else like Paul Newman

Paul Newman was one of the last two greats of his generation. There is only Clint Eastwood left now, I think. He trained in the method style with Lee Strasberg and in the beginning he was criticised for being a mini Marlon Brando. He was a bit younger than Brando, and Brando was the big star. But he moved away from that, and established his own style. He wasn't a second anybody: he was very much Paul Newman.

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