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The Five Best Films

Gods and Monsters (15)

A droll speculation on the last days of 1930s horror auteur James Whale (Ian McKellen), who is hypnotised by the alluring form of his Beverly Hills gardener (Brendan Fraser). Director Bill Condon won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Happiness (18)

Set in New Jersey, Todd Solondz's second film is a comedy of loneliness and sexual deviancy that reaffirms this young writer-director's talent.

High Art (18)

A portrait of the artist as lesbian screw-up, Lisa Cholodenko's bitterly witty take on New York living (and dying) boasts one of the performances of the year from Ally Sheedy (right).

The Faculty (15)

Kevin Williamson does it again with this sci-fi tale of alien invaders. Beautiful people, a sharp script, subversive morals, Piper Laurie... Why can't all teen films be like this?

Shakespeare in Love (15)

This enjoyable, Oscar-laden historical romp suggests how romance fired Shakespeare with the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow (Best Actress) head an impressive cast.

The Five Best Plays

Good (Donmar Warehouse, London)

Starring Charles Dance, CP Taylor's play about accommodations with conscience is revived in a sensitive production by Michael Grandage. To 22 May

Uncle Vanya (Mercury Theatre, Colchester)

David Hunt's quietly considered and beautifully paced production of Chekhov's tragicomedy is a triumph of understated emotion. Do not miss. Ends Sat

Forbidden Broadway

(Jermyn Street Theatre, London)

Deliciously spiteful and tremendously funny selection of musical theatre spoofs from Sondheim to The Lion King via Elaine Paige. To 16 May

Volpone (Swan Theatre, Stratford)

Comedies don't come any funnier or more astringent than Ben Jonson's brilliant dissection of avaricious, over-reaching egotism. To 9 Oct

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford)

In Michael Boyd's beguiling staging, Josette Simon's Amazonian Titania (right) is sex-on-very-long-legs and could devour Tina Turner for breakfast. To 9 Oct

The Five Best Shows

Jackson Pollock (Tate Gallery)

Big, revelatory retrospective for the wild hero of Abstract Expressionism (going on Old Master), legendary for his great drip paintings, but virtually unknown here for 40 years. To 6 Jun

Portraits by Ingres (National Gallery)

Some of the smartest, most intense portraiture ever. Men as icons of power; women as exquisite melanges of flesh and fabric. Ends Sun

Thinking Aloud (Camden Arts Centre)

Sculptor Richard Wentworth curates this curious and cheering exploration of creativity in art, design and life: an assortment of rough drafts, doodles, try-outs and models. To 30 May

Andreas Gursky (Dean Gallery, Edinburgh)

Photographs 1994-98: huge, high-finish, micro-detailed, digitally manipulated images of our world - stock-exchange floor, cityscape, hotel foyer. Vistas of more than the eye can see. To 16 May

Antony Gormley's `Field' (firstsite at Roman House, Colchester)

One of the great hits of the decade: a sea of 40,000 pint-sized clay men (right) - obedient, expectant, menacing, and stopping in a line at your feet. To 23 May

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