5   +   3   =  

Another London Film Festival is almost over, and as with previous years, British cinemas will see a flood of releases hotfooting it from their Leicester Square premieres. There’s a couple up this week alongside a certain Mexican director’s long-awaiting return to his own brand of horror, and a bit of disaster movie chaos on DVD.

Guillermo del Toro going full gothic horror is not something to be sniffed at, especially when he has rounded up the likes of Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain to help him. With dilapidated English mansions, young love and dark secrets, there’s plenty for del Toro to use in Crimson Peak. I expect sumptuous production design, closeted emotion bursting free and plenty of chills. He’s yet to quite transfer his Spanish-language brilliance into American cinema. Let’s hope this will be the one.

The premise in The Lobster, launching into cinemas after its LFF screening on Tuesday, takes some explaining and still won’t make any sense until you see the film. Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark, dystopian comedy is set in a world in which everyone has to be coupled up. Single people are shipped off to a country hotel and given 45 days to pair off with another resident. Fail to do so and they’re turned into the animal of their choice. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz both show excellent deadpan timing, and Lanthimos, in slightly lighter territory than Dogtooth, packs in plenty of off-beat jokes. It tails off in the second half but it’s absurdly brilliant.

As THE sportsperson of the millennium so far for the best and worst of reasons, Lance Armstrong continues to fascinate, as the packed crowd last Saturday for The Program’s LFF UK premiere attests. Fresh off the success of Philomena, Stephen Frears is the latest to try and nail him down. Ben Foster puts in a compelling performance as the disgraced cyclist, and there are good spells, but as with every other attempt to get under the skin of Armstrong, it fails.

I wasn’t massively impressed by big-budget offerings this summer, and yet I developed a soft spot for San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson’s latest move into leading man territory. It’s complete hokum and great fun in an utterly stupid way. Johnson plays a helicopter rescue pilot who has to dash around saving family members when an earthquake, predicted by Paul Giamatti in full-on scenery chewing mode, devastates the region. It’s the kind of film where heroes gaze over horizons with the American flag fluttering in the wind. And it’s the kind of film where innocent office workers lean on a railing and fall through the wall, plummeting to their deaths. Perfect for a lazy night in.

That’s all for another week. I shouldn’t have to tell you what’s coming next time. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock though, the name’s…

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