The Independent Recommends
A Simple Plan (15)
Cult horror director Sam Raimi makes a dramatic entry into the mainstream with this chilling, snowbound thriller about a $4m windfall that brings nothing but ill. Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton star.
Set in New Jersey, Todd Solondz's second film is a dark comedy of loneliness and sexual deviancy that reaffirms this young writer-director's talent.
Best Laid Plans (15)
Brit director Mike Barker's first American movie neatly rolls a warped love story and a blackmail thriller into one, and features strong performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon.
Peter Mullan's darkly comic tale of four siblings and a funeral movingly captures the emotional stresses of bereavement over the course of a storm- tossed Glaswegian night.
I Am Cuba (PG)
This amazing epic poem to the Cuban revolution of the late 1950s is a beautiful and stirring slice of agitprop cinema (right), imaginatively filmed and framed by the Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov. Barbican, London
The Five Best Plays
The Winter's Tale (Lyric Hammersmith, London)
Declan Donnellan directs the Maly Theatre Company of St Petersburg in the first production by a non-Russian ever to win a Golden Mask award at the Moscow Theatre Festival. To 29 May
Copenhagen (Duchess Theatre, London)
Michael Frayn's haunting piece about science, morality and the mysteries of human motivation. To 7 Aug
The Cosmonaut's Last Message... (Lyric Studio, London)
David Greig's dryly comic and beautifully structured meditation on the difficulties of communicating in a world of instant communication. To 29 May
Small Change (Haymarket, Basingstoke)
Beautifully acted revival of Peter Gill's splendid 1976 play (right), set in post-war Cardiff. Brave programming. To 29 May
Oroonoko (The Other Place, Stratford)
There's political indignation but a refreshing lack of political correctness in Biyi Bandele's powerful and witty dramatisation of 17th-century writer Aphra Behn's humane look at the slave trade. To 6 Oct
The Five Best Shows
Jackson Pollock (Tate Gallery, London)
Big, revelatory retrospective for the wild hero of Abstract Expressionism (going on Old Master), legendary for his great drip paintings. To 6 Jun
Thinking Aloud (Camden Arts Centre, London)
Sculptor Richard Wentworth curates this curious and cheering exploration of creativity: an assortment of rough drafts, doodles, try-outs and models (right). To 30 May
ESP (IKON Gallery, Birmingham)
Contemporary artists investigate the paranormal in this weird group show, including Susan Hiller's frightening and wonderful video installation about the psychic powers of children. To 13 Jun
The Pleasures of Peace (Brighton Art Gallery)
"Mid-Century Craft and Art in Britain": an alternative cultural-history show. Pots, furniture, textiles and jewellery, from wartime olde Arcadian revivalism to Sixties psychedelia. To 20 Jun
Shape of the Century (Salisbury Festival)
One hundred years of British sculpture - and they're all here: Epstein, Gill, Moore, Hepworth, Caro, Frink, Long, Kapoor, Gormley, Whiteread. To 19 Aug
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Best horror films of all time
Benedict Cumberbatch describes the 'explosive' Sherlock sex scene that will never happen
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Halloween 2014: The horror films and scary TV to watch on Netflix
Game of Thrones season 7: Leading cast members sign contracts for further series
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything