The Washington Post critics choose their favorite shows of the week. Film

"E.T."--a delightful science-fiction, comedy-fantasy-suspense thriller that traces the development of a profound emotional bond between an ugly/beautiful little creature from outer space, and a valiant, resourceful kid from the American suburbs. Directed by Steven Spielberg from an original screenplay by Melissa Mathison. With Dee Wallace and Henry Thomas. At area theaters. Theater

"Animal Crackers"--The Marx Brothers' 1928 musical, mad as a March hatter, but considerably more tuneful. Only the four brothers themselves could make more merriment. At Arena Stage.

"K2"--Patrick Meyers' drama about two mountain climbers stranded on a ledge of ice unfolds with astounding realism. At Arena's Kreeger Theater. Art

"20th-Century Masters: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection"--the first showing of one of the greatest collections of 20th-century art in the world. At the National Gallery of Art East Building. Dance

The Royal Danish Ballet makes its final appearance of its current visit to the Kennedy Center Opera House this afternoon in a performance of the company's unique version of the classic ballet comedy, "Coppelia."

Jan Van Dyke, a prime mover in Washington dance circles for more than a decade, and now living and active in New York, pays a visit to Dance Place tonight, where her troupe will present two new works and her earlier "Two Dances in One Space."

Maida Withers, one of Washington's most adventurous choreographers, presents the area premiere of "Families Are Forever" at the Marvin Theater Wednesday and Friday evenings. A short version of Withers' "Stall" will also be shown.

Marta Renzi and Dancers have stirred wide interest in Renzi's innovative post-modern choreography. The New York-based troupe will perform Thursday and Saturday evenings at the Marvin Theater in four of Renzi's recent works. Pop

For classic Memphis soul shouter Wilson Pickett, it's always the "Midnight Hour" in "The Land of a Thousand Dances." He'll bring 20 years of kinetic funkiness to Desperado's on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Bluesbreakers' Alumni Society includes some of the biggest names in rock--Eric Clapton, John McVie (Fleetwood Mac), Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) and Peter Green, among them. Sixteen years after the first great Bluesbreakers album, John Mayall's having a sort of reunion with McVie and Taylor. The road show stops in at the Wax Museum on Wednesday.

Jerry Butler, the Ice Man, and Dionne Warwick, the Nice Lady; he'll be smooth and she'll be satiny and between them, Constitution Hall should witness a fine night of pop-soul on Friday.

The jazz beat goes on, with the Wolf Trap Festival (highlights include Weather Report on Tuesday, minus Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine; the swinging violin of Stephane Grappelli and others on Wednesday; the always elegant Ella Fitzgerald and the underrated Oscar Peterson on Saturday); Soviet trumpeter Valeri Ponomarev (lately of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers) at the One Step Down on Friday and Saturday; and brilliant baritone saxophonist Hamiet Blueitt at d.c. space on Saturday.