the week in review



This year's second volcanic disaster movie lays waste to LA. The fact that there isn't a volcano anywhere nearby hasn't deterred the scriptwriters: lava gushes from between the city's shifting tectonic plates. Tommy Lee Jones plays the crisis manager who has to deal with this geological novelty. Expat Brit Mick "The Bodyguard" Jackson directs.

On general release.

Not a complete disaster, thought Adam Mars-Jones, even if it is haphazardly constructed. "The humour works best when it isn't spelled out," he concluded, "the building of the American Lung Foundation, for instance, wreathed in smoke". The Telegraph admired Jones's blend of heroism without narcissism. "If an actor can walk through a film without stretching himself and still be magnificent, he does so." "Many film-makers have used LA's geological instability as a metaphor for moral uncertainty," mused The Guardian. Not here. Volcano "settles for a one-dimensional view of the most significant city of our time".

Nothing to get in a lava about, although it's always good to watch Tommy Lee Jones hamming it up. THE PLAY

The Invention of Love

Richard Eyre bows out from the National by directing Tom Stoppard's new play. The Invention of Love deals with the poet AE Housman's unrequited desire for his Oxford contemporary Moses Jackson. Old Housman meets his younger self, Oscar Wilde flits by, and Stoppard's familiar preoccupations with language and memory abound.

In rep at the National Theatre, 0171-928 2252. Paul Taylor was bowled over: "I have probably made this work seem less witty and diabolically clever than it is," he concluded. "But it was the emotion that got me." Like most of the critics, he praised John Wood's performance as old Housman. The meeting between old and young Housman was "almost unbearably moving". The Financial Times agreed: "Some of the finest, most passionate, and most disarmingly brilliant dramatic writing that Stoppard has given us," it raved. But The Guardian was less sure: "Stoppard at his best and worst. The Latin learning is laid on with a trowel. At the same time the jokes are very funny."

We expect Stoppard to appeal to the head, but here he conquers the heart as well. A triumph. THE CONCERT

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's British appearances were cancelled earlier this year after he collapsed with a heart complaint. But you can't keep a rock legend down. He began the week by playing in front of the Pope, before kicking off his UK tour in Bournemouth. After enduring years of shambolic, rambling, mutter-filled gigs, his fans were hoping for a renaissance.

Playing Wembley tomorrow (0181-900 1234).

"He disappointed in giving us what he thought we wanted," complained Nick Hasted. "Singing some of his finest work, he seemed uninterested in its meaning". Not so, argued The Guardian: "Dylan seems to have rediscovered the notion of melody, and was making sincere efforts to sing and not croak... we had better make the most of this new, super-charged Dylan, because it may not last." "I never realised that a Bob Dylan concert could be such fun," enthused The Telegraph, even if the singer did sound at times "like a camel with a frog in its throat". Lively stuff, agreed The Times. "Drawing the pension is clearly the last thing on his mind".

Nice to find him putting a bit of effort in for once, even if it is strange to see rock's great miserabilist looking so cheery.