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
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Comic-Con 2014: Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones' George RR Martin set to attend
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
George R. R. Martin responds to 13-year-old fan's 'heartfelt' letter asking for a grisly death in Game of Thrones
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia