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You know what I find strange. A lot of people love shark movies. Even people who hate horror films tend to go crazy for shark films. I’ve never understood that; particularly because most of them kind of suck. We have the amazing Jaws and the good B-Movie thrill rides Deep Blue Sea and The Shallows, but other than that what do we have. There all pretty bad outside of that. Sure, we get interesting or entertaining bad – like Open Water or Bait 3D – but most overs are just terrible – like Shark Attack, Shark Night 3D and Jaws the Revenge.

The reason I bring this up is because I have still yet to understand the hype behind the new finned-fiend thriller, 47 Meters Down.

To be fair, we do have an interesting premise here. Two sisters on holiday in Mexico go cage diving with the great white sharks. But when the chain snaps, the two find themselves trapped at the bottom of the ocean – you know, I’ve forgotten the depth. A shame it’s not sign posted for us. The two are low on oxygen, the cage is a death-trap and any attempt to leave puts them in chewing range of the sharks. They must use their wits and ability to work as a team to reach the surface and avoid a toothy demise. It’s not bad at all really. There’s just one problem. This is meant to go on for 90 minutes.

This film was directed by Johannes Roberts. No, I had not heard of him before either. But I had to mention the fact, because the title to this film is not simply 47 Meters Down – no, it’s Johannes Roberts’ 47 Meters Down.

Clearly this man is proud of this film. And after doing some research I think I know why. It’s because every other film he has made before this got lower than the 5.0 mark or IMDb. That alone should give you an indication of what you are in for with this film.

The directing is extremely lacking, even if what was attempted is commendable. These actresses had to spend most of the film actually underwater. Just imagine the stress and strain that must have had on everyone involved. Also, coupled with the creative premise are some fairly effective moments. I did like the use of the ocean murk, hiding the sharks from view until you are in striking range. But what doesn’t help is the films awful cinematography and even worse editing. This isn’t like Taken 3, where you get twenty cuts when Neeson is jumping a fence. But no shot feels like it’s the correct length. It’s always either too long – some were so never ending that I almost felt like screaming “cut” at the screen – and others are too short that it’s impossible to tell what you were supposed to be looking at. 

The opening sets the tone for this; there’s a shot that feels like it lasts and age where a woman is sitting on an inflatable chair in a pool, a glass of red wine in her hand. We know what’s going to happen, something’s going to make her drop it and the blue water shall run red. But when it finally happens, the shot changes to a less effective shot of the wine in the pool. We have the sisters argue for a minute, one leaves as her sister comments on how nice her ass is – and then we randomly cut back to the red water as the title comes up. It’s such a bizarre scene that perfectly demonstrates what the rest of the film is like. I guess in that regard it was effective then, so I could almost applaud that.

Our characters are played by Mandy Moore, the princess from Tangled, and Claire Holt, the barging-value Emma Roberts. Once the two of them reach the depth stated in the title they are serviceable. Nothing great but nothing terrible. Before then, and it is possible that blame belongs to the script or Johannes Roberts, but they were both awful. I remember thinking to myself, as I waited twenty minutes for the chain to snap, that if we didn’t see the sharks soon then I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t shout at the screen to get a move on. Which does bring me onto a major problem with this film.

The concept is good, but Roberts seemingly cannot find a way to drag this story out to a feature length. Instead he just attempts to pad the film out with filler. It’s twenty minutes before the story really gets going (or feels it at any rate), but when we get there we’re just sat waiting for the sharks to attack while the film gets padded out with melodrama. We get the typical sibling rivalry plot line and how one sister is exciting and the other is boring and must learn to come out of her shell more. Normally this can drag out, but here we have only these two to follow, so between the shark moments the film really drags on. Especially when they are in the cage, as we are explicitly told that the sharks cannot get them in the cage. We therefore know the drill, and can therefore only feel any tension when they are outside of the cage. Although, to be fair they come out of that cage a stupid amount of times.

Even then though, the tension is just made because the only scares in this film are jump scares. I hate jump scares. I don’t find them scary. Startling, yes, but it doesn’t take a lot to startle me. I get startled when I’m reading in the garden and a cricket jumps on me – of course I’m going to jump when a really fake looking shark jumps out of nowhere and the musician suddenly leans on his keyboard. But the thing is, as soon as I have jumped then there is no tension left in the scene. It has blown its load and has nothing left to offer. Speaking of peaking early, depending on your mind-set the ending will completely lose you. Without wishing to spoil, not that I’d be spoiling much, the ending feels like a watered-down rip of the ending to The Descent.

But where The Decent leaves you with a foreboding feeling of dread and depression, fitting in perfectly with the tone of the film, 47 Meters Down feels like Roberts missed the point. It’s out of nowhere and is actually very predictable, thanks to how the dialogue before it hammers the point in.

47 Meters Down isn’t without its moments. It’s just mishandled. If this was done by someone like Jaume Collet-Serra (director of The Shallows) or Neil Marshall (The Decent), then maybe we would have something scary and entertaining. As is it’s not an awful film. I don’t feel angered by it, and I don’t feel like it’d make for an engaging rant. It’s mostly just dull. The occasional creepy image, or even the odd hilarious shot or dialogue aren’t enough to save this one from sinking. It’s definitely better than the likes of Sharknado and Shark Night 3D, but only see it if you are a huge fan of these films. Even then, wait for it on Netflix or Prime, don’t waste your money.

At first, Idris Elba says that he wants to conduct this interview standing up. He finally settles on the windowsill of the hotel suite, but studiously avoids the spacious couch. One thing is certain: the 44-year-old British actor is bristling with energy as we discuss fear, fighting, perfect sleep, lunar travel and the power of the DJ…

Idris Elba speaks to The Red Bulletinwhich will be published on the 11th August.

The Red Bulletin: You act, drive fast cars, work as a DJ, practice Muay Thai, and now you’re directing your first feature film. Why are you constantly changing yourself?

Idris Elba: There’s a theory that just because we get tired, or because there are a certain number of hours in the day, you can’t fully experience what life has to offer. I’m not satisfied with that attitude: it’s narrow-minded. I can’t imagine the pioneers of human society thinking, “Hmm, we’ll do really, really well if we spend our whole lives in this village.” No. You have to go out there and try things; do things.

Still, there are only 24 hours in the day, even for you…

Time management really is everything. Because once you commit to doing things, your time has to be divided up really well. Which is why I’m able to do this interview for The Dark Tower [the new fantasy Western movie based on the book series by Stephen King], even though shooting for my own film starts next Monday.

You’re an in-demand DJ, too. How do you get people amped through music?

A good DJ is a vibe-builder; an energy-shifter. I play house music and use the beats to energy-bend. When people go to a club, they’re primed and ready for that environment, but to get a whole crowd tuned into the right frequencies so that everyone’s going “Wow” takes a certain type of skill.

You can’t always go wild. How do you handle downtime?

It’s really hard for me to sit still. Tomorrow I might have nothing to do, but I’ll go, “Now is a good day to write a song.” We view it as wrong if human beings can’t turn their brain off, but when you’ve got a brain like mine – one thing that’s always building and grasping – to ask it to turn off is odd. For me it feels weird. Even on holiday, I would probably get my computer out and write.

And what happens in your brain when you set a new benchmark, such as you did in 2015 when you broke the ‘Flying Mile’ land speed record on Pendine Sands in Wales, or when you master kickboxing?

It’s kind of like when you get a new update for your old phone. You go, “Oh, I couldn’t do that before, but I can do it now.” It’s the same casing, same phone, but suddenly it has new capabilities. I love that feeling.

Your pro kickboxing adventure was impressive. You had no real experience, a limited amount of time to learn and yet you knocked out a younger and more seasoned opponent…

I had a year to train and mentally face up to all sorts of problems that were in the way – injury and whatnot. He perhaps didn’t train as hard as the odds were in his favour from the outset. Perhaps he thought I’d be an easier fighter. But I knew that this was one fight where I could get hurt, and I was dedicated to not letting that happen.

Are you ever daunted by certain challenges?

For sure. For example, the kickboxing. People asked me, “Was it a sort of midlife crisis thing?” To some degree, probably. I’ve got a body and a brain that think that I’m younger than I am; age is just a number. So I felt it would be interesting to challenge my body again. When I really put my mind to it, no one was going to put me down.

In The Dark Tower, you play Roland Deschain, a gunslinger being chased by his nemesis, the Man in Black. Are there any opponents you dread in real life?

Only the inevitable: that we’re all going to die. My dad died three or four years ago. I remember looking at him and being really, really baffled. That’s it: the biggest influence in my life ends up in this box. He was only 72, and there was so much he wanted to do. So I said to myself, “When it’s over, it’s over.” There’s no second chance. When the man calls you to go, its time to go. But f—k that. Up until that point, I’ll do whatever I want. I’ll have a good time while I’m here.

Would you ever be interested in living forever, if that were humanly possible?

You can live forever if you plant enough seeds in the soil. The most successful trees are the ones that spread the most seeds.

And your seeds would be?

My art, my fllms, my music, my literature – they’re my soul. To some extent, my children are another legacy. I love watching my son. He’s only three years old, but you can see things that you’ve planted in him. He’s so inventive. Perhaps he’ll pick up something that I’ve said in an interview, and he might go, “That’s why my dad was always working. Great. I’m going to do that and I can do that. In fact, I can do it smarter than my dad.”

How would you like to be remembered?

People should say, “This guy reminds me of so many things that I want to be doing and I’ve not done yet, because he never sat still.”

The Dark Tower is in cinemas from August 18.

The Red Bulletin will be published on the 11th August.

Forced to defuse a beach full of mines in post war Denmark, Land of Mine introduces us to a group of young German POWs facing terror, violence and constant peril as they and their Danish commander come to terms with the situation, and each other.

Land of Mind is shocking, violent and thought provoking, and is undoubtedly one of the best war films I’ve seen in years. Introducing us to a part of war (post-war to be precise) rarely seen, Land of Mine covers hatred, prejudice, emotional and physical loss as well as friendship and comradery in a unique and real world setting. Land of Mine brings intense pain in a sedated and realistic way with no embellishment or added drama. It’s very real and very impactful. Roland Moller who plays the Danish Commander portrays a man who views are conflicted with beauty and grace. He hates the Germans for what they’ve done, but as his young POWs face peril with stoicism and heroism he begins to see them as what they are, boys, learning to separate them from the things their commanders and they themselves may have done in the name of war.

This young cast give commanding performances as director Martin Zandvliet pulls no punches. They are convincingly increasingly ill and weak throughout the film, the colour stolen from their faces as director and crew try to hide none of the shameful treatment of these prisoners with none of the usual Hollywood restrictions.  Joel Basman and Emil Belton stand out in particular despite being more minor characters, and I hope to see them in more mainstream films in the future, and I’ll be following their work as they grow.

Land of Mine could easily challenge Hurt Locker if they were to fight for best picture. Land of Mine won’t get the plaudits it deserves because it’s both a foreign language film and covering as aspect of war less interesting and less marketable. Land of Mine is gritty and at times hard to watch, but ultimately, brilliant. I will be talking about Land of Mine for the rest of the year and I thoroughly recommend you watch it.

“Established in 1936, Beitar Jerusalem FC is the most controversial team in the Israeli football league”

To say that people are passionate about football would be a massive understatement, but this documentary on Beitar Jerusalem FC displays passion in the extreme.

The title, Forever Pure, is the first warning given by producer/director Maya Zinshtein. It addresses the issue of a Jewish football club proclaiming superiority through purity.  Anyone with even sparse knowledge of 20th century history would start feeling queasy at this point. To clarify, the team itself, including the chairman, the coach and other members, including many fans, do not express this view. It is the hardcore fanbase, known as La Familia, who are present at all practice sessions and matches, vocalising these views incessantly.

Forever Pure is essentially an opera, played out in 6 acts. Filmed during the 2012-2013 season as the team are fighting their way up the table, after plummeting to the bottom of the league. The narrative is expertly woven using the abundance of football chants provided by La Familia. These songs are created and recreated at a moment’s notice, relating all current affairs in often bewildering specificity. The heroes of these songs can become villains in a heartbeat.

Here’s an example of a classic chant:

I love you (I love you)

I swear (I swear)

I think about you always and forever

The police won’t stop me

My heart will always be yellow and black

Beitar I’m with you ’til the day I die

I hate Hapoel and hate Maccabi

Yellow and black is in my heart

Go, Beitar, we want to see you fight!

In another chant, they speak of the club’s owner: Russian businessman, Arcadi Gaydamak. They feel utterly betrayed by him, dubbing him a war criminal and assailing him with taunts of impending jail time in France.

Gaydamak speaks candidly about his desire to use ownership of the club for political gain. He recognises that the huge fanbase amounts to a “very interesting propaganda tool.” He holds little interest in the game itself, and is solely motivated by the acquisition of power. This is a dangerous pursuit, courting the affections of a group known for their radical nationalist views. A fraternity which takes pride in being the most racist community in the country. Already vilified by La Familia, Arcadi Gaydamak decides to take action. In an unprecedented move, he signs two new players to the team throwing the club into chaos. It is a question of interpretation whether this is a form of revenge, or a desire to draw attention to extremism, but his actions are manifestly provocative.

Forever Pure is a fast paced documentary, illustrating this brutal scene: Unflinching in its portrayal of violence, corruption, politics and racism. Zinshtein’s documentary offers unfettered access to all participants in this storm of controversy. With the resurgence of right-wing nationalism across the globe, Forever Pure is essential viewing in our present circumstances.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a film based off of a comic, that is supposedly among the most influential sci-fi serials of all time.

I say supposedly because I’ve never read it myself. Truth be told, I didn’t even know of its existence until the trailers for this film popped out. But what drew me to this film was its director – Luc Besson. He’s had an interesting career, directing film’s like Leon, Nikita and probably most famously, The Fifth Element (which apparently owes a lot to the Valerian comics). Besson has constantly made, throughout his years of directing, films that are fun, energetic, completely stupid, yet of surprisingly good quality – except for Lucy. So, with the man who made what many consider to be one of the best sci-fi films ever returning to the genre, what has he got to offer us with his latest labour of love?

Valerian and his lovely partner Laureline are governmental agents for Alpha, the city that houses innumerable species from a thousand planets.

All within Alpha live in what comes close to harmony, with a very basic peace between all species. But when one race of aliens is almost entirely whipped out, and the survivors find themselves battling a faceless foe, it’s up to our dynamic duo to save the now endangered aliens; and bring an evil villain to justice. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (a mouthful is there ever was one) has the strange feeling of familiarity and unfamiliarity. Everything you see does feel new and like its own thing. Yet you know the beats to the plot and the characters, and even the scenarios have all been seen before. This is most likely due to the influence the comic has had on sci-fi in film and pop-culture. It does make you want to read the comic to see the origins of many ideas for yourself; which can only be a good thing. One of the only good things you will take from this film.

I may have just given away the quality of the film itself; but wait, for there is a twist in our tale! Valerian is bad. It’s a really bad, bordering awful movie. And I loved every second of it! This is my favourite kind of bad; it lacks quality but is so energetic and full of passion that it ultimately becomes pure entertainment. I have not laughed at a film so much this year. In fact, I actually had more fun with this film than a number of films I actually liked this year.

There are a lot of parallels that you can make between Valerian and The Fifth Element. Both of them are very effects heavy, extremely silly and camp and they are both made in fairly similar ways – from shots and editing, to similar scenes and basic direction. But, The Fifth Element is a much better film. It’s Shakespeare compared to Valerian. It’s better paced and the story is tighter focused. There was also more reliance on practical effects in Element. But, the big difference was its characters. The Fifth Element had a cast of very loveable characters – from the everyday man hero, to the bumbling comic-relief, to the overly melodramatic and overdressed villain. Valerian has a cast of characters who I love for a very different reason.

Take Valerian and Laureline for example. They are awful characters! We learn nothing about them. Their dialogue is awkward. Their romance is beyond forced. They don’t even come off as badasses really. But they are so bad that they actually come off as hilarious, especially when they aren’t meant to be. A lot of this does come down to the acting. Dane Dehaan and Cara Delevingne, who still come out of this film with more dignity than when they played super-villains, are our leads. Both are proven actors and can deliver good and charismatic performances. These were not those performances. Delevingne I sometimes bought, but overs she was either wooden in her delivery, or overplaying here expressions. Dehaan, however, was bordering embarrassingly bad; trying and failing to play the part like 1990’s Keanu Reeves. It was with him that most of my unintended entertainment took form. To be fair to both of them, when esteemed actors like John Goodman, Clive Owen and Ethan Hawke appear to be giving up on the script and their dignity then the blame isn’t totally on them. Still, I never got tired of any of them.

Meanwhile, the story is an almost complete bust. The film is made of great ideas, but mediocre scenes, and is over all unfocused and disjointed. There’s a lot of side-tracking here. I guarantee that the sentence to leave your mouth most throughout Valerian will be, “what does that have to do with anything?” It’s very much like a videogame. Where you need something, but you have to talk to that person, who will only help you if you do this for him. That happens a few too many times to go unnoticed in this film. It also has the issue of being a mystery, yet it’s obvious who the villain is from the get-go. And while you’re at it you’d be able to work out his plans as well.

Where Valerian shines, in an intentional way, is in its action, effects and designs and pure imagination.

I wouldn’t dare call Valerian a shallow product. Real effort and passion has been put into this. We may have seen it all before, but it feels fresh. The actual story of the City of a Thousand Planets is original and extremely inventive. Not to mention beautifully told. The action scenes are almost always spectacular. The choreography is good, but it’s the imagination that goes into them that makes them. Like the bit in the trailer, where he’s running through all these different environments, using a shield gun to make a path over an abyss. Effects-wise Valerian is a little too reliant on CGI, even in moments where I feel make-up or set work would have done just fine. But overall, I was impressed by them.

Valerian and the City of a thousand Planets is benefitted by good imagination and by not taking itself the least bit seriously. That point alone improves it over the likes of Jupiter Ascending and Gods of Egypt. It was made as a labour of love by a good director – one who just wanted his audience to have fun. I cannot vouch for the films quality, and I will say that I can understand why some people will call this film awful. But I found it almost unparalleled in terms of entertainment. If you go in with the right mind-set that is. Valerian is one of the best bad films I’ve seen in years and I would gladly buy the DVD when it comes out. It’s a hard one to judge. My only advice is to see it – in the cinemas or on Netflix months down the line – and come to your own conclusions. All I can say is I’m glad I saw it.

By Anthony Reyes.

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”

Almost 25 years after its release, Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale remains one of the most poignant coming of age dramas in cinema history.

As movies have shown us, there are many ways to grow up in America. While films such as Stand By Me, Dazed and Confused, and The Breakfast Club have portrayed the experience of growing up in small town America wonderfully, coming of age dramas set in urban areas are almost its own genre. Being a young kid in the city would be a hard time for anyone, and A Bronx Tale puts its own spin on the concept by portraying the life of people living in the Bronx, New York in the 1960s. The film’s inclusion of themes such as racism, the gangster lifestyle, and what it means to be a man are ideas that are universal, and continue to touch audiences after all these years.

Based on Chazz Palminteri’s own experiences growing up in the Bronx, A Bronx Tale centers around young Calogero, an impressionable nine-year-old kid who lives on his stoop located only a few doors down from a hangout for the local mafia. He spends his days fooling around with his friends, riding the bus his blue-collar father Lorenzo, played by Robert De Niro, drives for a living, and idolizing Sonny, played by Chazz Palminteri, the mobster next door who is the epitome of everything Calogero looks up to. After witnessing a crime and standing by Sonny to the police, Calogero becomes close with Sonny. Years later, the relationship between Calogero and Sonny strengthens, with Calogero regularly coming to Sonny for advice on life and women to his father’s dismay. Only after experiencing the many highs and lows of life does Calogero make sense of what both men in his life have been telling him.

In one of the more emotional exchanges between father and son in A Bronx Tale, Lorenzo tries to explain to Calogero why Sonny is not a good person to look up to.

With tears in his eyes, all Calogero could say is “I don’t understand Dad.” Like any father, Lorenzo picks up his son, comforts him in his arms, and whispers, “You will when you’re older”. That is such an easy idea to breeze by, but it is integral to the entire arc of this film. It solidifies A Bronx Tale as a coming of age story, instead of the gangster film many paint it as. At the end of the film, Calogero tells the audience that he finally understands everything his father had been teaching him. The viewer sees a boy grow into a man, a man who knows what life expects of him. This film is filled with these kinds of lessons. People quote A Bronx Tale all the time because the magic of the film is in the way these two men talk to Calogero. One man is a hard-working family man, devoted to his wife and kid. The other is a gangster making his way up the crime ladder. But when they talk to Calogero one on one, they talk intimately. They forget all that is wrong with their lives when they look at this boy’s face and try to tell him how the world works. A Bronx Tale blurs the line of who is wrong and who is right, but what is clear is that Calogero is lucky to have them both in his life.

The dichotomy of Sonny the gangster and Lorenzo the family man symbolizes the internal struggle that Calogero goes through throughout A Bronx Tale. He sees his father work day after day just to afford a small apartment and enough food to get by. And while he admires and looks up to his father, which can be seen in the way he sits on his father’s bus and talks to him, he cannot help but continue to look at Sonny. He sees how everybody in the neighborhood respects Sonny. How they listen to him and protect him. In Calogero’s young mind, he believes that the way Sonny is respected is on the same level as to how Lorenzo is respected. “Everybody loves him, just like everybody loves you on the bus. It’s the same thing.” says Calogero to his father. And if you are respected either way, why waste his life like Lorenzo does working for someone else? As he gets older, Calogero has no interest in being a working man like his father, in being a sucker. His source of inspiration is Sonny, a man who has everything, who takes what he wants. It is not until he sees that it is fear that keeps people loyal to Sonny that he understands what his father has been telling him all his life. It is not until he sees that Sonny cannot trust another living soul that Calogero understands that he does not want to be like Sonny. One of Lorenzo’s most important lessons to his son is “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” Sonny is the epitome of that lesson. Calogero is the person that knew him best. He saw Sonny as not only the mob boss that he was, but as a romantic who created the “door test”, an intellect who read Machiavelli in prison, and as a father figure who truly cared for Calogero. Sonny could have been a wonderful person to so many people, but he wasted his talent. And Calogero finally understood that as he was standing over his body at the funeral home. Sonny was a wasted talent, and Calogero knew that he did not want to end up like him.

Aside for the drama that comes with coming of age films, one of the most important aspects of A Bronx Tale is establishing the home of Calogero. The film opens on an aerial view of New York City. Just when the viewer thinks that the film will be just another New York film, the camera pans slowly. There is a crossfade that focuses on the Bronx as Calogero’s voice explains that what the viewer is looking at is the Fordham section of the Bronx, his home. He explains that although the Bronx is a borough of a much larger city, it encapsulates his whole world. Not only do we see the streets of the neighborhood of Belmont and hear Calogero talk about the home he loved dearly, but we hear a doo wop group singing “The Streets of the Bronx”, fully establishing the sense of nostalgia that Calogero feels. The Bronx. The corner of 187th St. and Belmont Avenue. Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. City Island. Webster Avenue. The whole film treats the Bronx as its own character, and as a person who was born and raised in the Bronx, it is emotional to see the tenderness that De Niro and Palminteri has for the borough. The Bronx is a part of Calogero. He would not be the same person if he lived anywhere else. From the opening voiceover narration, the romance he feels in his heart for the Bronx is what brings the viewer in and allows them to fully appreciate the world of the film.

The lessons of A Bronx Tale do not stop at Calogero learning how to become a man and to use his talents for good.

Throughout the film, Calogero learns about the world around him, including the racist habits of his friends and family that poisons his mind. The neighborhood Calogero lives in is an historically Italian-American neighborhood, which can be seen throughout A Bronx Tale. But what can also be seen is the tension between the Italian-Americans of Belmont Avenue and the African-Americans of Webster Avenue. Severe racism towards blacks practiced by Italian Americans is not a new concept in America, nor is it in American cinema. Many films that center around Italian Americans have made it a point to share the racist tendencies of their subjects such as in The Godfather when they agree to only sell drugs to blacks because “they’re animals already. Let them destroy themselves.” Robert De Niro uses that reality to further the tension between Calogero and the two father figures in his life. When Calogero falls for a black girl he meets on his father’s bus, he hesitates from following his heart. Because he knows the crap he would get from his friends, whom the viewer has already seen throw sticks at black kids on buses and run after black kids riding bikes down their neighborhood. Even Calogero’s father, while he does not approve of people being disrespectful to each other, expresses his desire for his son to be with an Italian girl instead of a black girl. It is actually Sonny who tells Calogero to forget about stupid things like race. The only thing that matters is how two people feel about each other. It is the gangster that tells Calogero to forget about a hatred shared by his whole neighborhood when it comes to love. By the end of the film, Calogero sees the result of such hatred and is a changed person because of it. He embraces this girl and allows himself to be a better person for her.

Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale is an important film for so many reasons. It is a coming of age drama about a kid trying to decide between two paths put in front of him. That is what the whole circles around, the choices that Calogero makes. He is the dynamic character that we follow and observe. It is his decisions that decide where the film is going to go. And behind every decision he makes, we understand why he makes them. It is a wonderful thing to witness a boy become a man and discover how he must live his life. To ignore the temptations of the criminal life that wasted Sonny’s life and choose a life where you do not have to keep looking over your shoulder seems like an easy decision, but A Bronx Tale proves the cost of learning that lesson. This film is a gem of American cinema, because it has America written all over it. Lorenzo talks about his family immigrating from Italy to New York. Calogero and his father obsess over jazz, doo wop, and baseball. Sonny represents the mafia presence of the era, especially in the Bronx. Not only is this story a Bronx tale, but it is an American tale. A tale that shows how tough it is for kids to grow up and make right choices. Because the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

The third instalment of Oatmeal Studios’ Volume One series takes us into deep space as Zygote introduces us into a dystopia where disposable labour is used instead of its synthetic counter-part in a corporate cover up. Not only that, but there’s a monster that absorbs your body parts!

Despite introducing us to his least gruesome creation of the series Neil Blomkamp continues to mix genres and social dialogue with the same success that brought us District 9 and we’re even treated to the return of Dakota Fanning in a role you wouldn’t have seen her take on five years ago. Fanning gives the usual crisp and simple performance she’s known for, and her co-star Jose Pablo Cantillo delivers an excellent anti-hero as he tries to guide her to safety as he slowly divulges the secrets of her past.

The effects still don’t stand up to its big budget Hollywood counterparts, but based on the smaller budget Oatmeal studios undoubtedly has (albeit relatively massive compared to many short films) the effects stand up, and I was particularly impressed with the creative sets and wardrobe.

Well-paced and exciting Zygote is my favourite of the three releases so far, and I am very excited to see the conclusion of Volume One. Everyone who loves District 9 should check out these shorts. If you’re looking for a quick bit of brilliant sci-fi, this is a great taste.

Do you remember True Blood – Sookie, Lafayette, Bill, Eric? Well, you need to forget them. Welcome to Midnight where everyone is stranger still.

Midnight, Texas is the latest television series to be adapted from the books by Charlaine Harris writer of the True Blood. Ah yes, dearly departed True Blood. There’s no Sookie and it’s not all about vampires, sugar! No ma’am, all the supernatural beings are here; werewolf, vampire, witch, angel and they will get a look in if the pilot is anything to go by. Right from the opening scene, we are thrown right into the mix when the central character, Manfred Bernardo, does a reading for Rachel in his hotel room and her dead husband Harold makes an appearance none too happy hearing that she’s now dating his business partner, albeit they are taking it slowly. No sooner, does Manfred tell Harold he’s not welcome and cannot cross over that he has to high tail it out of there because he is being hunted down by the mysterious Hightower. It later transpires that his dearly departed Grandma, Zelda may have been running scams.  She appears to him and tells him to go to Midnight, he’ll be safe there. Well Midnight is the archetypal one horse town and everyone is suspicious of a stranger just turning up. Midnight is very different in daylight so tells the resident vampire, Lemuel, who sucks energy as well as blood. To get things moving a dead person – Aubrey is found in the river. Who could have done such a thing and at the annual picnic no less. It appears that Midnight is a haven for the supernatural, just what has Manfred got himself into.

Manfred is a psychic and in order to get the full experience: yours truly was lucky enough to be given a reading by celebrity psychic medium, Ryan Gooding. Ryan like the main character in Midnight Texas is not only psychic but he also a medium meaning he hears and sees people from the other side. Much like Manfred, he confirmed that whilst a psychic medium can turn down the volume you can never truly tune out from hearing messages from the other side. His gifts run in the family, his mother is a psychic and his father is a medium. So with a healthy dose of skepticism I had a reading and let me tell you it was scarily accurate.

Midnight, Texas suffers from a few things and one is not having Alan Ball writing it. I hate comparison but it has to be done this time.

With True Blood it set the tone right from the pilot – sexy, sardonic and strange all perfectly mixed up. True Blood’s opening title sequence is still one of my all time favourites of any television show. I want to be fair to Midnight, Texas it was light on laughs in the pilot although I am slightly intrigued by it, loved the talking cat, more of him please, and the special effects are decent enough.  The main issue is that everything was revealed in the pilot, all the supernatural creatures when in actual fact a slow reveal would have been better – less is more. Having said all that, this is definitely a television series that is perfect for a binge – save up those episodes and then give yourself over to midnight. Well that is what I intend to do!

Midnight, Texas is shown every Thursday at 9pm on Syfy UK.