Arts and Entertainment Knives out: Martin Freeman in a scene from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson's sequel took $92m over Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Lasting impression: Will Ferrell's Dubya is back for one last swansong

Will Ferrell made his name impersonating Bush – and now he's pulling on his cowboy boots to reprise the role in a one-man show

Brian Viner: What's not to like? Plenty that I hear

We all seem to have words and phrases we can't stand

One Click Wonder : W

'W', Oliver Stone’s chronicle of the life and times of George ‘Dubya’ Bush has hit the big screens this weekend. Here we round up five of the most impressive impersonations, spoofs and parodies of the outgoing president

Hit American website targets Little British public

The launchpad for some of America's top comics is to showcase UK talent

My Week In Media: Graham Stuart

Blades of glory: The sports with true Olympic spirit

Forget the 100m sprint – the essence of the modern Olympiad is found in the dozens of lesser-watched sports on the Beijing programme, each offering the viewer its own idiosyncratic pleasures. Here, Independent writers put the case for their favourite events

My Week In Media: Jeff Leach

Cut! Actors' strike threatens to bring Hollywood to a standstill

To have one trade union paralyse Hollywood was strange; two doing it in quick succession feels like carelessness. A threatened walkout by actors, which could begin as early as next week, is throwing major film and television studios into chaos.

Dial 'D' for disaster: The fall of New Line Cinema

From 'Nightmare on Elm Street' to 'Lord of the Rings', New Line Cinema created some of Hollywood's most influential blockbusters. But now its 40-year history is in tatters following a string of big-budget box-office flops. Andrew Gumbel charts the unlikely rise and fall of a Tinseltown institution, while Tim Walker identifies the films that did the damage

Love in the Time of Cholera, 15<br />Lars and the Real Girl, 12A

A modern classic brought to screen is suffocated under snowy wigs

Semi-Pro (15)

They're still trying to bottle the spirit of Dodgeball, but the problem with this latest underdog sports comedy is that it, a) tries too hard (Will Ferrell's gurning) and, b) doesn't try hard enough (Scot Armstrong's feeble screenplay).

Why there's no cockiness with Will Ferrell

The deadpan funnyman now earns more than Tom Cruise. But it won't go to his head, he tells Gill Pringle

Wonderful tour... shame about the cricket: Flintoff's side in line of fire Down Under

The scenery is spectacular, the food and drink magnificent but for England cricketers the main experience of touring Australia is facing a barrage of hostility from the moment they step off the plane, writes Angus Fraser

Bewitched (PG)<br></br>Me and You and Everyone We Know (15)

Samantha loses her magic touch

Wedding Crashers (15)

Lukewarm reception
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee