Arts and Entertainment Parker Posey and Joaquin Phoenix in Irrational Man

The nineties favourite thought her leading lady days were over - then a certain director called...

ivory towers tell us another one, Schopenhauer

Cedric Brown might be described as the Harvey Creosote of privatised fat-cats; Neil Kinnock may have been called the Icarus of political high- fliers; and Jeffrey Archer's novels have been called the McDonald's hamburgers of literature. But are any of these funny? Thanks to recent research into humour, we are now in a position to find out.

Can Emma win an Oscar?

Here is a quiz question. In which work of fiction does the character of Madame Bovary raise the subject of OJ Simpson?

Woody Allen and his women

There was Diane Keaton. Mia Farrow. Even his forgotten first wife figured in his early work. Now they're gone, where does that leave Woody Allen? By Sheila Johnston

FILM: It's the way they tell them

Steve Martin was seriously funny, but now he's sappily serious. So who do we blame? Rollins and Joffe, that's who.

To Forrest Gump: an evil twin To Woody Allen: a clone

Crumb Terry Zwigoff (18) Arizona Dream Emir Kusturica (15) Miami Rhapsody David Frankel (15) Innocent Lies Patrick Dewolf (18) Friday Gary Gray (15) Who's the Man? Ted Demme (15)

Seen anything good recently?

By Chris Smith, MP

Past a joke if you're Jewish

Are the British irredeemably anti-Semitic? Suzanne Glass finds prejudice flourishing in unexpected places

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED: Don't do it, darling, don't go all beige on me

I'm at a wedding. I sit beside someone whose name I've solemnly sworn not to mention - Brenda Harvey - and we're cooing at the bride and ignoring the bridegroom, who's pond scum, when the bridegroom's old flame wiggles right past us, and the tacky cow is wearing a smirk and dazzling white. Trog bitch from hell! Only one person is allowed to flaunt white at a wedding and that's my bosom buddy, the bride.

Allen comes out shooting blanks

Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway is his first film conceived and completed since his bruising battles with Mia Farrow. Adam Mars-Jones sees signs of strain

From `Manhattan' to `42nd Street'


Set coordinates for the big screen, Mr Chekhov

It's a well-known maxim that plays rarely transfer well to film, but, s ays Adam Mars-Jones, Louis Malle's new version of Uncle Vanya could be an excep tion

BOOK REVIEW / Play it again and again, Sam: Woody Allen on Woody Allen - ed Stig Bjorkman: Faber, pounds 14.99

FOR inspiration, Woody walks. He walks up, down, all around. He walks inside, outside, no doubt in those strange little sunhats of his. It sounds so painful: he says he squeezes out ideas, and if he walks enough eventually they come, enough for plots and scenes and then one-liners. He gets so annoyed when critics and audiences assume his work is mostly autobiographical - he sweats this stuff, he does so much walking.

New blow to Woody Allen

Woody Allen, the film-maker, lost another round in his child custody battle with his ex-lover Mia Farrow when an appeals court upheld a ruling that he was not a fit parent, and refused him custody of his six-year-old son Satchel, Reuter reports from New York.

FILM / Time to put away childish things: With 'Cape Fear' and 'Husbands and Wives' Juliette Lewis cornered the market in sulky nymphets. David Thomson wonders if her dangerous allure can survive growing up

HOW GOOD is Juliette Lewis? How good is Hollywood going to let her be when she is so palpably available for girls who - at the very least - are so busy thinking of being bad that their chewing-gum sticks to their braces? Is she an extraordinary actress, or just a wild young woman? Can she survive, being both? And is there any way she or we are going to get to find out? After all, in the next year she's going to be 21, which is old for the wide-eyed, jail-bait nymphs she's had the market on for a few years now. Could Juliette Lewis play anyone older than college age without coming off certifiable? Would she lose it, whatever it is, if she started acting . . . well, grown-up? And what's a film critic doing speculating like this when he has daughters older than Juliette Lewis? Admit it, she's a dangerous turn-on.

UNDERRATED / Springing eternal

The comedian without a sense of humour,' is how my generation, born after he had made his good films, viewed Bob Hope. We were not amused by his hawkish attitude towards the Vietnam war, his sneers at dirty, long-haired protestors, and his cosying up to rich Republicans. But, in 1978, I went to a New York tribute to Hope, produced by Woody Allen and entitled 'My Favourite Comedian'. Narrating on tape a sequence of film clips - pleading fear of big events, he didn't appear in person - Allen described Hope as 'a woman's man, a coward's coward and always brilliant'. Then the honoured guest came out, and we saw why Allen would have feared this event in particular. Taking his time, flashing his ingratiating-barracuda smile, the 75-year-old comic strolled out to face 3,000 people, many of whom would have jumped up to pelt him with tomatoes 10 years before. This time we stood, when he finished, to clap till our hands hurt. He had made Woody Allen look like a child. He slaughtered us. This was a man who knew what he was doing.
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