Monthly Archives: June, 2015

7 Minutes – new heist thriller out in the US

My review of new heist thriller 7 Minutes is over at FM and appears below…

Ok, get in the bank, take the money and be out of there in 7 minutes. No one gets hurt and only the bank loses the money. Simple?

Well, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if it were that easy. And in this new heist drama it certainly isn’t.

Following three high school friends as they attempt to cover the losses of a mistakenly flushed drug supply, the film takes an intriguingly circuitous route around the narrative, dropping back through the last 3 years examining just how the band became so desperate.

Sam (Luke Mitchell) appears to have it all made at the start of the story, with a football scholarship and a cheerleader girlfriend (Leven Rambin). However, a career ending injury soon puts paid to that, and before we know it he’s lost his factory job and is making drug deals to make ends meet. This desperation is echoed in the stories of his unfaithful married brother Mike (Jason Ritter) and their recently jail-released friend Owen (Zane Holtz).

And that, rather than the heist itself, is one of the most interesting things about the flick. It takes a broad look at the sort of depressed community where if you’re a guy you have a choice between sports or crime and if you’re a girl you go and work in the diner.  Everyone knows each other, and has some kind of stake in characters’ affairs and actions.

The sharply conceived visual style is another positive feature of the piece. Characters are introduced with bold hard-hitting freeze frame lettering reminiscent of 90’s UK thrillers Snatch and Trainspotting. Comparisons could also be drawn with older westerns such as High Noon and Sergio Leone’s work in producing the balanced on a knife-edge paranoid fear brought about by ever-ticking clocks of impending bloodshed.

The jumping back and forth from the past to the present of the bank job becomes more and more nerve-shredding as details emerge about each of the central players and their relationships with each other. When a truly insane criminal named Tuckey (Kevin Gage) learns of the group’s plans and attempts to get a piece of the action, the proverbial truly hits the fan.

The inclusion of downbeat local cop Brandon Hardesty to the party adds another layer of potential disaster. All the while Owen’s career crim dad’s (Kris Kristofferson) simple yet important advice; “don’t get caught”, can be heard ringing in the wannabe robbers ears.

A strong début feature from writer/director Martin, 7 Minutes goes beyond the conventional bank heist drama to provide a provocative and memorable visual experience.

The First Film… in Leeds?

My review of the documentary The First Film is over at Flickering Myth…

Also below –



Where was the first film made? Paris, New York, London? Nope, Leeds.

Filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson sets out to prove this surprising conclusion in this captivating new documentary.

In the late 19th century, there was a world technology race to develop the first movie camera capable of producing moving images. While Thomas Edison was buying up patents in New York and the Lumiéres were planning the future of cinema in Paris, the Leeds based French inventor and filmmaker Louis Le Prince was slightly ahead of the game.

Indeed, in October 1888, Le Prince produced the world’s first films, on cameras patented in both Paris and New York.

Wilkinson attempts to prove once and for all that his home city is the genuine birthplace of film and has until now, been criminally overlooked. And the element of crime is one of the theories put forward as to why Le Prince’s claim for being the first filmmaker is not better known.

Once he had perfected his camera and projector machine, Le Prince was due to appear in New York to display his newly completed work. However, just weeks before he was due to set sail, he boarded the Dijon to Paris train and was never seen again. No body was ever found and the mystery deepened with several theories appearing as to what could have happened.

Was he a victim of an industrial rival? Or was it a sudden illness or heart attack?

Wilkinson is resigned to never knowing for sure, but his work in establishing a compassionate introduction to Le Prince is beautifully arranged and produced.

Drawing on his 45 years of experience in the film world, Leeds born Wilkinson crafts an intriguing story of film history. The compelling case for the French inventor and artist Louis Le Prince being the world’s first producer of moving image during his time in Leeds is presented in an engaging and insightful way, with the expert comment and opinion provided by a host of cinematic luminaries.

A pure love of cinema is always present in Wilkinson’s eyes when he’s discussing the topic.  This obsession of proving his thesis beyond all doubt is one of the reasons for the film’s success. The animated film lecturer and writer is at his best when discussing the complexities of film in a light-hearted and philosophical way, always passionate about the wonder it can produce.

Taking us on a journey through the dawn of film, The First Film  brings out a real love of storytelling and cinematic art. Highly recommended for film buffs, students and fans alike.



“Ok, Mr. M we’ve had a good look at your CV and examples and think you’d be perfect for the job…”

The fizzing transatlantic voice crackled in my ear like an ancient radio broadcast.

“We just want to know one more thing – when can you start?”

I stared at myself in the mirror, grasping tightly onto my outdated mobile. Was this really happening?

Well, yes it was, and it did.


The job itself seemed relatively simple to begin with. My task was to profile shoppers as they came and went through the halls of the vast local shopping mall, the so-called Destiny Center. The people ambled through the arcade, carefully examining each item they found intriguing before they made a purchase.

But this wasn’t what we wanted! We wanted clawing, snarling forced bargain sales produced though contempt and exclusive offers. This level of civilisation was not in the job description!

So I was forced to up the ante.

“Oi you,” I shouted at a middle aged male shopper delicately holding a reusable heavyweight holdall. “There’s a demon in your bag!”

He gave me a passing glance and then continued browsing through a selection of Bosch prints.

I tried again. “There really is! And he’s here to eat all of you up on a 2000 for 1 deal! He would like a ready meal of dissatisfaction, a convenience trip of liquid sea bass, a worrisome steak sandwich, a…”

I was forced to stop by a police dog’s paw on my shoulder.

“What are you shouting about, Mister?” barked the canine, robotically, “If you don’t calm down I’ll be forced to cancel your Destiny card.”

“But I’m working,” I replied. “I’ve been hired by the stopgap Anyjob firm to create a disturbance at this center to prove beyond all doubt that shopping makes people insouciant!”

“And what the hell’s wrong with that? A bit of casualness and disconnection hardly ever hurt anyone!”

And that’s when the buzzing started. A searing pulsating vibration going off in my head accompanied by the familiar metallic 50’s radio voice.

“Do it. Do it now!”

I took the contraption out of my own shopper and pressed the button. “This is your profile!” I screamed, the blood rushing past my eyeballs and covering the polished floor in puddles of red.

“This is the destiny you asked for!”

White electricity jumps through my skull and I know no more.


Until I wake up in the office.

“Good job, Mr. M,” the freakishly minute image of what must be the Line Manager said on screen.

“You managed to create quite a stir over there in the Destiny Center. But, next time, be sure to do it for real. You’re with us for life you know!”


Brand New-U World Premiere at EIFF

The sci-fi thriller Brand New-U receives its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival today.
Preview over at FM …

Accidental Love review over at Flickering Myth

The long left on the shelf (originally a David O Russell project) Accidental Love finally gets a release. Good idea?

The Spider (Edderkoppen) released on Arrow Films

2000’s Danish post-war drama The Spider gets a DVD release today from Arrow. My review is over at Flickering Myth.


Touch of Evil – re-released in selected cinemas next month

Here’s my review over at The Metropolist of Touch of Evil, the Orson Welles classic. It gets a re-release next month in selected cinemas across the UK in its 1998 restored version (closer to how the great film-maker envisioned it before the studio chopped and added their own stuff!)

Here be the trailer.

Radio play – The Sod – Vashti MacLachlan

Listened to this powerful radio play this week dealing with a subject I know pretty well… MS.
Have a listen…

Freedom exhibition gets underway at The Hive

Very proud to be a (small) part of this exciting venture! The Respace Projects team have done a fantastic job!


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Temporal Fix – now available for free downloads…


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News from the ether:

All of our tracks are now perfectly free to download… give us a listen, download and share, share, share away…

A journey through poe-try and experimental pop awaits…

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