The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

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My Name is Joe (15)

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.

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.

Slums of Beverly Hills (15)

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 dad.

Ronin (15)

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

It's a Wonderful Life (U, 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 been had he never been born, is magnificent in the lead role.