Alan Dee’s guide to the new movies: Ill Manors, Red Tails

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PROMISING white rapper with something to say and an iconic film about how tough life is for teens today? Sounds like Eminem’s Eight Mile, right?

Wrong, we’re on our turf now – and the street smart chronicler of youth who has his hands all over Ill Manors is the man known to friends and family as Ben Drew.

The music business recognises him as Plan B, and he’s certainly got more to offer than clunky rhymes and attitude because he’s come up with a powerful London-set crime thriller which is a world away from the jokey blokey city beloved by Guy Ritchie.

There are junkies, drug dealers, ex-cons trying to steer clear of trouble, gangsters bent on revenge and all sorts of other unsavoury characters mixed up in this, but the real star of the show is a soundtrack that’s so cutting edge you could do yourself an injury just listening to it.

The hip hop protest song that shares the title is already released, a full album follows next month, and the combination of film and music is being hailed as a ground-breaker.

The story is based on events that young Ben saw growing up on the streets of London’s less than lovely Forest Gate, and although the whole exercise – whether in sound or pictures – is unlikely to pick up much business from beyond the sort of audience which wears its jeans halfway down its hips, it seems destined for cult status. It’s really real, man.

> Much more mainstream is Red Tails, which movie fans with a fondness for the hidden corners of the Second World War will recognise as a big-budget reworking of 1995’s Tuskegee Airmen, which starred Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr in the inspiring tale of how a segregated squad of black US airmen overcame all sorts of obstacles to do their bit and win respect from comrades.

Back in 1995 young Cuba was a rookie pilot determined to succeed, and in the 2012 version of the story – produced by George Lucas – he’s made good career progress because now he’s in charge.

Although the stirring story tells itself, Mr Star Wars brings all his special effects know-how to offer up some of the most dazzling aerial combat scenes yet captured on film.

Even if you’ve seen the earlier film, this will give you a lump in the throat.

> Simon Pegg wouldn’t have been everyone’s idea of the man most likely to leap from sitcom stalwart to Hollywood star, but his Everyman schtick makes him a popular choice with casting directors.

In new British comedy A Fantastic Fear Of Everything he’s a children’s author crippled by phobias galore – and obsessed with murder.

When a big-shot Hollywood agent takes an interest in his latest script, he has to get a grip and to face up to his many demons.

In another example of the crossover between music and film, this is the directorial debut of former Kula Shaker front man Crispian Mills – but perhaps it’s not so surprising as he does spring from a movie dynasty that includes mum Hayley and grandpa John. He’s got pedigree, which Madonna might like to ponder if she is ever tempted to pick up another project in the wake of the woeful W.E. and other clunkers.