Critics' choice: Recommended


Pieter de Hooch. Full account of the 17th- century minor master. Dulwich Picture Gallery, SE21 (0181 693 8000), to 15 Nov. Sat & Sun 11-5, Tues-Fri 10-5.

Disasters of War. Prints by Callot, Dix and Goya. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (01273 290 900), to 4 Oct. Sun 2-5, Mon, Tues, Thurs-Sat 10-5.

Willie Doherty. Impressive, threatening videos by the Northern Irish artist. Liverpool Tate (0151 709 3223), to 4 Oct. Tues-Sun 10-6.

Balla and Futurist Italy. Twenty-three significant paintings from the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Modern, Rome. Estorick Collection, N1 (0171 704 9522), to 13 Dec. Sun 12-5, Wed-Sat 11-6.

Four American Painters. Post-painterly abstraction by Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Nolan, Jules Oliski and Larry Poons. Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum (01223 332900) to 8 Nov. Sun 2.15-5, Tues-Sat 10-5. TIM HILTON


Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw (Allen Lane, pounds 20). Provocative first volume of the first scholarly biog of Hitler for 20 years. See review page 11 MICHAEL BURLEIGH

Maurice or The Fisher's Cot by Mary Shelley (Viking, pounds 9.99). The literary discovery of the year: an unpublished children's story by the author of Frankenstein. SUZI FEAY

Arms For Spain by Gerald Howson (John Murray, pounds 25). The untold, horrifying story behind the Spanish Civil War. JOHN CROSSLAND

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (Cape, pounds 14.99). This clinical examination of rotten souls is ghoulishly compelling. ALAIN DE BOTTON

Leading the Cheers by Justin Cartwright (Sceptre, pounds 16.99). Compelling novel of ideas tackles identity, memory and the roots of New Age solipsism. JOHN MORRISH


The Daytrippers (15). Greg Mottola's cranky family comedy is a fast- talking, well-observed ensemble piece which proves that the families who aren't dysfunctional are the weird ones. Liev Schreiber (as a pompous unpublished novelist) and Parker Posey (his sourpuss girlfriend) steal the show. ABC Swiss Centre (0171 439 4470) 1.10 3.10 5.10 7.10 9.10.

Gadjo Dilo (18). Tony Gatlif's story of a young Parisian searching for his gypsy roots in Romania is full of sweet surprises. See it for its accomplished ethnographic film-making and try to ignore the absurdly melodramatic conclusion. ABC Swiss Centre (0171 439 4470) 1.10 3.40 6.10 8.40; Renoir (0171 837 8402) 2.10 4.20 6.30 9.00.

The Last Days of Disco (15). Don't let the poster fool you - Whit Stillman's dancefloor movie is no Saturday Night Fever. Instead, it's a cool, cool comedy populated by a gang of self-regarding preppies. Chloe Sevigny's clodhopping ingenue and Kate Beckinsale's phoney best friend are a delight. ABCs Baker St (0870 9020418) 1.15 3.40 6.05 8.30, Panton St (0870 902 0404) 1.10 3.35 6.00 8.35; Odeons Camden (0181 315 4229) 12.45 3.25 6.00 8.50, Kensington (0181 315 4214) 1.20 4.05 6.50 9.35; Ritzy (0171 737 2121) 6.30 9.00; Virgins Chelsea (0870 907 0710) 2.45 5.30 8.30, Haymarket (0870 907 0712) 1.00 3.30 6.00 8.30; Warner (0171 437 4343) 11.25 1.50 4.10 6.30 9.20; Whiteleys (0990 888990) 1.20 4.00 6.40 9.35.

Men With Guns (15). See review, page 4. Metro (0171 734 1506) 1.00 3.30 6.00 8.30; Virgin Fulham Rd (0870 907 0711) 12.40 3.20 6.00 9.20.

Saving Private Ryan (15). Steven Spielberg's First World War epic is a film of two halves. The first 30 minutes are an inferno of bullets and spilled guts, and quite unforgettable. The next two hours offer Tom Hanks and his payload of all-American sanctimony. ABC Tott Ct Rd (0870 902 0414) 1.05 4.40 8.20; Barbican (0171 638 8891) 2.00 5.00 8.15; Clap Pic Hse (0171 498 3323) 1.30 4.45 8.15; Empire (0990 888990) 12.00 4.00 8.00; Notting Hill Gate (0171 727 6705) 1.15 4.35 8.00; Odeons Camden (0181 315 4229) 12.30 4.10 7.45, Ken (0181 315 4214) 1.25 5.05 8.45, Marble Arch (0181 315 4216) 1.15 5.05 8.40, Swiss Cottage (0181 315 4220) 12.30 4.00 7.40; Plaza (0990 888990) 3.15 7.15; Ritzy (0171 733 2229) 1.45 5.10 8.30; Screens Baker St (0171 935 2772) 3.00 7.30, Green (0171 226 3520) 3.30 7.40; Virgins Chelsea (0870 907 0710) 12.00 4.00 8.00, Fulham Rd (0870 907 0711) 1.30 5.05 8.40, Troc (0870 9070716) 1.20 4.50 8.15; Whiteleys (0990 888990) 1.15 3.40 4.45 7.30 8.35. MATTHEW SWEET


Lee Evans. The man who's turned the cock-up into an art form. Thanks to appearances in such movies as The Fifth Element, Funny Bones and the upcoming There's Something About Mary, Evans now has the kind of comedy pulling power matched only by Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly. Apollo, W1 (0171 494 5586), to 21 Nov. JAMES RAMPTON


Hole: Celebrity Skin (Geffen). Sitting at the exact mid-point between seething, spitting grunge and Californian, girl-group soft rock, Hole's third album is surprisingly radio-friendly. And it's destined to sell millions.

The Divine Comedy: Fin de Siecle (Setanta). Sophisticated, tart orchestral Coward-ice with a new sincerity and social conscience.

Fun Lovin' Criminals: 100% Colombian (Chrysalis). Not the step forward we hoped for from the hipster kings of New York, but an undeniably cool breeze for a hot summer (or a dreary autumn). NICHOLAS BARBER

Walton: Belshazzar's Feast & Symphony No1 (EMI). A dynamic Symphony and, at times, a breathtaking Belshazzar. MICHAEL WHITE

Geri Allen: The Gathering (Verve). A wondeful debut from the esteemed pianist, showcasing her composing talents as well as her lyrical and spiky piano-playing. PHIL JOHNSON


Cool Heat Urban Beat. An invigorating collaboration between Rennie Harris's Hip Hop Troupe, Pure Movement, and the jazz-dance trio Urban Tap. Peacock, WC2 (0171 863 8222), to Sun 27 Sept. CLIFFORD BISHOP


Closer. Patrick Marber's searing follow-up to Dealer's Choice establishes him as the leading playwright of his generation. Lyric, WC2 (0171 494 5045), to 31 Oct. Mon-Sat 7.30. M: Wed & Sat 3.00.

Love Upon the Throne. The National Theatre of Brent's wickedly reverential version of the Charles and Di story. Bush, W12 (0181 743 3388), to 26 Sept. Mon-Sat 8.00. M: Sat 5.00.

Oklahoma! Trevor Nunn's answer to Guys and Dolls has terrific performances from the young leads, Hugh Jackman and Josefina Gabrielle. It's three and a quarter hours of sheer pleasure. Olivier, SE1 (0171 452 3000), to 3 Oct. Mon-Sat 7.15. M: Wed & Sat 2.00.

Phedre. Jonathan Kent directs 100 minutes of remorseless French tragedy, with Diana Rigg as the step-mother and Toby Stephens as the dashing son in Ted Hughes's excellent new version of Racine's tragedy. Albery, WC2 (0171 369 1730), to 28 Nov. Mon-Sat 7.30. M: Sat 3.00.

Via Dolorosa. David Hare performs his own play - more of a travel piece with good quotes - about his trip to the Middle East. The ebullient Hare brings a vehemence to these arguments that's funny and scary. Royal Court Downstairs, WC2 (0171 0171 565 5000), to 3 Oct. Mon-Sat 7.30. M: Sat 3.30. ROBERT BUTLER


The Boxer (18). Jim Sheridan and Terry George's film has fine performances from Daniel Day-Lewis as a Belfast boxer and former IRA member just released from jail, and Emily Watson as the sweetheart he left behind. One of the most visceral love stories in years. DENNIS LIM

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