The Five Best Films

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The Independent Culture

Out of Sight (5)

Director Steven Soderbergh's tale of love on opposite sides of the law beats every previous Elmore Leonard adaptation. George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez are the swooniest romantic pairing of the cinema year.


Antz (PG)

Computer-animated comedy voiced by a stellar cast stars Woody Allen as a worker ant who becomes an unlikely opponent of the colony's totalitarian regime. Good fun, and Allen's best work in a while.


My Name is Joe (5)

All that one would expect from a Ken Loach film - humour, indignation and emotional sympathy - driven by Peter Mullan's scarily intense performance as a recovering alcoholic.


Ronin (5)

John Frankenheimer's action thriller is buttressed by a fine international cast (Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard), moody French locations and a clutch of supercharged car chases.


Slums of Beverly Hills (5)

Tamara Jenkins' feature debut is a modest but winning rites-of- passage movie about a family coping with poverty in LA's richest suburb. Alan Arkin gives an acting masterclass as the father.


The Fountainhead (Curzon Soho)

Gary Cooper plays a visionary architect who refuses to buckle under mob pressure in King Vidor's astonishing adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel. Patricia Neal smoulders opposite him.


The Philadelphia Story (Curzon Soho)

As civilised and graceful as any romantic comedy ever made, it features a once-only pairing of Cary Grant and James Stewart, who play opposite each other like two great jazzmen in a spirit of mutual regard.


It's a Wonderful Life (Curzon Soho)

Despite its reputation as a national treasure, Frank Capra's hymn to smalltown selflessness is fraught with all kinds of contradictions and blind spots. James Stewart, granted a vision of how life would have gone had he never been born, is magnificent in the lead role.


Black Narcissus (NFT)

This Powell and Pressburger adaptation of the Rumer Godden novel about nuns in a Himalayan convent is one of the great studies in desire and repression, vividly rendered by cinematographer Jack Cardiff.


La Regle du Jeu (Riverside)

Jean Renoir's unforgettable social comedy is set in a country house, and presents a microcosm of the French nation, beset by class rivalries and prejudices.