The Five Best Films

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The Independent Culture
The Thin Red Line (15)

Terrence Malick returns to the screen after a 20-year absence with a strange, overlong yet hugely ambitious film about the battle of Guadalcanal. A war movie of a sort, though what that sort might be is uncertain.

Affliction (15)

Paul Schrader's magnificently bleak study in fatherhood and fatalism, adapted from Russell Banks's novel, stars Nick Nolte as a man struggling to escape the influence of his violent dad (James Coburn).

Shakespeare in Love (15)

This enjoyable historical romp suggests how romance fired the young Will Shakespeare with the creative inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow head an impressive cast.

A Bug's Life (U)

Less sophisticated and more child-friendly than Antz, this spins another enjoyable yarn about an ant colony and its battle to survive. Kevin Spacey provides the voice of the menacing chief grasshopper.

The Opposite of Sex (18)

Christina Ricci plays 16-year-old bitch-on-wheels Dedee, shooting from the lip and causing all kinds of havoc when she moves in with her mild-mannered half-brother (Martin Donovan). Director Don Roos's script bristles with smart one-liners.



Diva (Cine Lumiere)

A bewitching combination of thriller, romance and comedy, Jean- Jacques Beineix's debut is a refreshing dose of Parisian stylishness that its maker has not yet managed to surpass. Tomorrow 3pm


Lucky Jim (NFT)

This week the NFT launches a season to celebrate Terry-Thomas; here he plays a classic Kingsley Amis snob opposite Ian Carmichael's eponymous Jim in a social comedy of manners. Wed 8.30pm


Jezebel (NFT)

Bette Davis dons a scarlet dress as a hot-eyed belle in William Wyler's 19th-century Southern-fried melodrama. Henry Fonda plays the suitor who can't cope with her sexual allure. Thur 7.30pm


The 39 Steps (Barbican)

Hitchcock's ripping 1935 thriller stars Robert Donat as an innocent man who, pursued by a foreign spy ring, arms himself with a pair of handcuffs and the shapely figure of Madeleine Carroll. Terrific fun. Fri 6.30pm


Carry on Cleo (NFT)

Perhaps the greatest of all Carry On films, this brought together Kenneth Williams as Julie (Julius Caesar), Sid James as Tony (Mark Antony) and Amanda Barrie as a suburban housewife, Cleo (Cleopatra). Today 2.30pm