News Allan Umscheid, owner of Yards By Al in Lawrence, Kan, feels the bitter wind and catches drifting snow on his face as he runs a snow blower early morning

With Arctic winds plummeting temperatures to  -50C, much of North America has shut down as authorities warn of the life-threatening freeze

Leslie Nielsen, the comic actor who never cracked a smile

Geoffrey Macnab mourns the deadpan star of Airplane and Police Squad!

Unstoppable: Disaster movies that are a runaway success

As Unstoppable goes on release, Geoffrey Macnab explores the thrill an out-of-control train brings to the screen

US turns to king of the disaster movie for its happy ending

The American government may be turning to Hollywood in its desperate search for an end to the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, but even if the director involved is James Cameron no one is assuming a happy ending.

2012 (12A)

Roland Emmerich, 158 mins

Spoofs? Don't make us laugh

The latest crop of parody films has marred the genre

Album: Patterson Hood, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs), Ruth St Records/ATO

The Drive-By Truckers' creative mainspring springs no surprises on his debut solo album, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) carrying on where the DBTs' magisterial 2008 album Brighter Than Creation's Dark left off.

Disaster Movie (12A)

Disaster Movie isn't so much a film as an insult to cinema-goers everywhere. I know I should really ignore a product which is nothing more than a splinter scraped from the bottom of the Hollywood barrel, but it's the second film its writer-directors have had out this year. The guilty parties are Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the same dud duo who excreted Date Movie, Epic Movie and March's Meet the Spartans, and for sheer crappiness they've excelled themselves: their latest soul-sapping "spoof" is rightly ranked on imdb.com as the worst film ever.

Theatrical turn from the heroic lead

If Hurricane Gustav is turning into a real-life version of a Hollywood disaster movie then Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans, has cast himself firmly in the role of heroic lead male.

Flood, ITV<br/>Midnight Man, ITV<br/>Shrink Rap, More 4<br/>Clarissa and the King's Cookbook, BBC4

The Thames rose and we watched, helpless, as writers' careers sank: ITV had a week of disasters, and James Nesbitt as a reporter fighting dark forces did little to turn it round

10,000 BC (12A)

Roland Emmerich's junk epic promises an odyssey "into a mythical age of prophecies and gods, when spirits rule the land and mighty mammoths shake the earth" – which sounds like a Spinal Tap concept album but plays more like a junior and less gory version of Apocalypto.

Cloverfield, 15

Monster takes Manhattan, as posted on YouTube: It has shaky footage, jerky cuts, no stars, and you barely see the creature causing all the terror. But believe the hype: this is a truly scary movie

Joel Hirschhorn

Oscar-winning songwriter with Al Kasha

Good Scene / Bad Scene

Chosen by Michael Bay, director of 'Bad Boys 2'
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Bread from heaven

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Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

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It's time for my close-up

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Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

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