Voices

Britain is at a crossroads. It needs the radical and thought-through responses which expertise from humanities and social science can provide

Snooker: Hicks heaps misery on erring Davis

Steve Davis, the six-times world champion, was beaten in the first round of this season's tournament last night, losing 10-7 to Andy Hicks, who is making his debut at The Crucible, Sheffield.

Ebdon turns on style

SNOOKER

Laugh? I nearly took out a subscription to Mensa

It's easy to spot a genius: they have flyaway hair, messy clothes, a German accent, and they act a bit barmy. But genius comes in two brands. The cute ones twinkle merrily and dote on lesser mortals just like Santa does; stroppy ones smash up hotel rooms, shout a lot and pass out in pools of urine. For those who have difficulty keeping that principle straight, two of the week's new films offer instant succour. Fred Schepisi's I.Q. is about the cutest genius of all, Albert Einstein (who once asked: "Why is it that nobody understands me and everyone likes me?"), while Bernard Rose's Immortal Beloved is about gloomy old Ludwig van Beethoven.

FILM / Life is something to avoid': 'Beetlejuice', 'Batman', 'Edward Scissorhands': Tim Burton has never had a flop. His films have earned dollars 650m, yet he remains the odd man out in the Hollywood mainstream. Now he's into handmade animation and transvestite D-movie-makers

'I'm really sorry,' Tim Burton says as he falls into the room. 'I was really bad last night.' Bad how? Misbehaviour? 'Vomiting,' he says, looking for my hand to shake. 'All night. Being sick in Venice is really kinda sick.'

CINEMA / Talking about their uncertain generation

THE BITES in Reality Bites (12) cut two ways. The title puns on the film's subject matter, which is both a close- up critique of the MTV culture, where all experience is reduced to a series of soundbites, and a snapshot of the end of adolescence, that time when childhood illusions fade and the real world begins to gnaw at our fantasies. The film's heroine (Winona Ryder) is the valedictorian of her college year, and the film opens on her commencement day, with strains of 'Land of Hope and Glory' on the soundtrack. Ryder loses her place in her speech ('The answer is . . . I don't know . . .'), and the rest of the film is a light-hearted examination of the uncertainty of her whole generation, how blasted its hope is, how inglorious its future.

Snooker / World Championship: Hendry holds nerve to deny White again: Champion staggers rather than swaggers on to equal Davis's record of winning title for third successive year at The Crucible

JIMMY WHITE'S quest for the World Snooker Championship, a trial of patience worthy of a saint he would never claim to be, will be extended for another year after Stephen Hendry beat him 18-17 in the final last night.

Arena: Elegant stage for high drama: Stephen Brenkley samples the atmosphere of world snooker's symbolic amphitheatre

BEFORE the Crucible there were halls. Some were grimmer than others. In 1972, just as the swanky new establishment in Sheffield was opening, John Spencer lost the World Snooker Championship at the Selly Oak British Legion on a Birmingham ring road. It was a bleak, forbidding sort of place, but he thought nothing of it. That was where he expected to play.

FILM / Reviews: All soap and skin cream: Adam Mars-Jones on Bille August's The House of the Spirits - a film with its head in the clouds, but up to its ears in suds

Torrid, operatic, sensual, haunting: that's how The House of the Spirits (15) sees itself. Turgid, overlong, silly, hysterical (and that spells TOSH): that's how viewers are more likely to see it. Danish- born director Bille August, who directed the handsome, inert The Best Intentions, from Ingmar Bergman's screenplay about his parents, has moved downmarket as well as south to film Isabel Allende's magical-realist novel.

FILM / Age to age: It should come as no surprise that, when Martin Scorsese turned to the classics, Edith Wharton caught his eye.

The old film world maxim that good books make bad movies - or, more pungently, that you're better off adapting from James M Cain than from Dostoyevsky - has received a major body blow. Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence has not only confounded all the wiseguys who predicted that his foray into ballgown drama would turn out to be an extravagant folly (it has won rapturous notices and dollars 50m box-office to date), but proved that a good movie could be made from the kind of uncommonly good book that usually nestles in the cool tranquillity of library stacks. The novels of Edith Wharton (1862-1937) had long been regarded as classics; suddenly, they started to look like hot movie properties, too.

Show People: If the cap fits, she'll wear it: Caroline Thompson

DUSK IS falling just beyond a western outreach of the M25, the gloomy hum of which you can hear in the background. The accent of every voice places the speakers inside that ring road. The scene is puddle-spattered Pinewood, last refuge of the British film industry, and we are standing, believe it or not, on the very spot where Gotham City used to be.

Profile: Playwright of oaths and testosterone: David Mamet, on trial at the court of feminism

THERE have been controversial plays before. The Royal Court theatre in London was involved in numerous censorship rows in the Sixties and, in 1956, premiered John Osborne's Look Back In Anger, which redefined English theatre. But Oleanna - the play by the 46-year-old Chicago-born David Mamet, which opened at the Royal Court on Wednesday - is in a different category from any previous theatrical rows, because of the nature of the scenes and atmosphere at its performances. Kenneth Tynan famously wrote of Look Back In Anger: 'I doubt that I could love anyone who did not like this play.' Of Oleanna, people have been far more likely to observe that they could not love anyone who did like the play.

Snooker: White lines up repeat of 1992 final

IF A MAN shows himself clearest in adversity, then Jimmy White has nothing to worry about. 'Stephen (Hendry) plays the game the way it should be played,' he said. 'He is a great and worthy champion.' The tribute came 12 months ago, an hour after White had suffered the most disappointing defeat of his life at the hands of the man he was praising.

Snooker: Imperious Hendry on march: Holder warms to Crucible

A TOKEN to cling on to for the rest at the Embassy World Championships 12 months ago was Stephen Hendry short of his finest form. He still won, of course, but there was just a glimmer of hope in the early rounds. This time he is not offering even that hint of vulnerability.
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