"Images of Mist, Rain, Moon and Snow", a bicentenary retrospective of the woodcuts and prints of the Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige, who specialised in stylised, abstracted landscapes collected by, and a great influence upon, Van Gogh and any number of Impressionists.
Tom Lubbock admired the pictures which "each come with their distinct and piquant illumination ... and yet no general light falls in any particular direction ... that's Hiroshige's trick". "His daring sometimes makes him seem nearer to our era than his own, even though this exemplary show dis- closes the full extent of his roots in an immemorial Asian past," relished The Times. "Approaching the landscape in a spirit of tenderness and humility, he is the poet of ephemeral things," sang the Telegraph. "A designer of genius. It is his lack of sincerity that is sometimes confusing ... they were always intended for popular consumption. The aura of hushed preciousness that now surrounds them at the Royal Academy is bogus," opined The Sunday Times.
At the Royal Academy, London W1 (0171-439 7438) until 28 Sept.
An artist of atmospheres, occasionally unclear to the Western eye, but illuminating in every sense.
Follow-up to dino-drama Jurassic Park and the only Spielberg sequel to have been directed by the man himself. Goldblum and Attenborough are back plus billions of bucks worth of special-effect dinosaurs, Julianne Moore and Pete Postlethwaite. Photographed by Kaminski who shot Schindler's List.
Adam Mars-Jones was unimpressed by "a sequel with more than its fair share of deja-vu". "Spielberg's lost it, and so have the movie-goers who paid $90m to see it on the first four days," spat The Spectator. "Its direction amounts to unremitting crisis management," scoffed the Standard. "Logic is out to lunch ... There is inanity, but moments of genius too," conceded the FT. "Been there, done that. One almost yawns," sniffed The Times. "Profoundly slick," grimaced The Guardian. "The corny, muddled eco-message is pap," rumbled Time Out. "An extended fright-ride," admitted the Telegraph. "Among the grossest, not to mention goriest and most sadistic films ever to have been awarded a PG certificate," fulminated the New Statesman.
Cert PG, 129 mins, at a cinema near you, if you must.
Spielberg has slipped from inspiring awe to "aw, shucks". The Lady and the Tramp has fewer animals but is more fun.
Gemma Bodinetz directs Simon Block's new comedy with Nicholas Woodeson and Fraser James as shark-ish salesmen who move in for the kill on Darren Tighe and Ashley Jensen, an illustrator and a graphic designer who have just moved into a new home and have a baby on the way.
David Benedict thoroughly enjoyed a "marvellously played ... very funny play" with its "thrillingly unbearable" tension. "The climactic scene, waves of dark comedy cascading, has all the excitement of a violent sporting event," cheered the Standard. "Fast, darkly funny and blessed with terrific dialogue [but] a weary feeling of deja-vu," equivocated the Telegraph. "Block is destined for great things ... put me in a such a state of anxiety it took real effort not to leap on stage," gasped The Times. "A deceptive piece about more than its surface themes ... tightens like a vice in a superbly performed production," exclaimed the Ham & High. "Trundles on, with mildly amusing diversions, mostly provided by Mr Woodeson," mused the Mail.
At Hampstead Theatre, London NW3 (0171-722 9301) until 16 Aug.
Less of a situation-comedy, more a ruthlessly funny situation-nightmare.
A hit? A dead cert. It's as safe as houses.
The Lost World