» Hammerlock (2001, USA)

Hammerlock - Audrey Sarn as Megan Blake and Reggie Currelley as Reggie Hammer

“Comic icons Pat Morita (The Karate Kid) and Demond Wilson (Sanford and Son) star in this hilarious tale of bumbling prison guards, who on their first day let two dim-witted bank robbers escape during a jail transfer.” So says the blurb on the back of my DVD - so staggeringly wrong that you have to marvel at its audacity. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 8:35 pm. Updated on February 9th, 2016 at 8:35 pm.

» Black August (2007, USA)

Black August - Gary Dourdan as George Jackson

I remember reading Soledad Brother in the 1970s. Or bits of it. Black August paints a different sort of picture of its author, imprisoned African-American activist George Jackson, to the one I vaguely remember from all those years ago. He’s more poet, less revolutionary; more the artist, less the polemicist… even as he is advocating violence as the only means by which his goals might be achieved. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on February 2nd, 2016 at 8:04 pm. Updated on February 2nd, 2016 at 8:08 pm.

» Road to the Big House (1947, USA)

Road to the Big House - Guinn Williams as Butch McQuinn and John Shelton as Eddie Clark

There were several disappointments in this for me. The first (bearing no reflection on the film), was that the disc I watched skipped and stumbled and distorted and froze for much of the second half, so I think I may have missed a few key moments. Thankfully, there were too few prison scenes to make that a major disaster. That there were too few prison scenes to make that a major disaster was a disappointment. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 25th, 2016 at 8:54 pm. Updated on January 25th, 2016 at 8:54 pm.

» Pardon (2005, Turkey)

Pardon - Ferhan Sensoy as İbrahim, Ali Çatalbas as Aydin and Rasim Öztekin as Muzaffer (Muzo)

It’s been said before that the idea of being thrown into a Turkish prison is so much more evocative than being banged up any other country’s prisons. But just as a foreigner, perhaps, and maybe ignoring a lot of other serious and exotic contenders. Pardon, a farce said to be based on a true story, shows a different sort of terrible experience in a Turkish prison for three locals. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 18th, 2016 at 8:42 pm. Updated on January 18th, 2016 at 8:48 pm.

» Prison on Fire: Life Sentence (2001, Hong Kong)

Ben Wong Chi-Yin as Ho Shun Tung

This is a tricky movie. You might be forgiven for thinking it’s a solid prison movie by its title, but more than three-quarters of it comprises flashbacks about the path to prison of one man. It is marketed as a triad movie. Now, I’m not an authority on triads, but the bad guys seem more garden-variety street hoodlum than triad. And to make things really tricky, scenes run non-sequentially, so when the man whom we understand to be a novice prisoner observes that he’ll be OK because he’s been in prison before, it doesn’t make much sense. These are not good trickinesses.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 9th, 2016 at 9:30 pm. Updated on January 9th, 2016 at 9:39 pm.

» L’Addition / The Caged Heart (1984, France)

L'Addition - Richard Berry as Bruno Vinclert, in a confrontation with Officer Lorca (Richard Bohringer) in the yard

Bruno Vinclert (Richard Berry) is not so much an innocent man in prison; he is more of an accidental prisoner. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 at 8:49 pm. Updated on January 25th, 2016 at 9:47 pm.

» Get Hard (2015, USA)

Get Hard #2 - Will Ferrell as James King

Not since Big Stan (2007), thankfully, has there been such a comedic preoccupation with anal rape in prison. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 31st, 2015 at 9:47 pm. Updated on December 31st, 2015 at 9:47 pm.

» In the Custody of Strangers (1982, USA)

In the Custody of Strangers - Emilio Estevez as Danny Caldwell

There are many movies about juvenile prisons; far fewer about juveniles in adult prisons. This made-for-TV film claims that an estimated 479,000 juveniles were placed in adult jails across the US each year; other sources suggest that the figure on any one day was then around 5,000. If the purpose of the film was to draw attention to this issue and bring about a reduction in the numbers of youth in adult jails, it does not appear to have succeeded. With violent crime committed by youth on the increase, almost every US State subsequently passed laws making it easier to lock up young people in adult facilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 25th, 2015 at 4:17 pm. Updated on December 25th, 2015 at 4:30 pm.

» Turkey Shoot (1982, Australia)

Turkey Shoot - Steve Railsback as Paul Anders and Olivia Hussey as Chris Walters

It’s a few years into the future. The Government is rounding up all its deviates in the community (people who don’t submit with abject obedience to its rules and standards), and putting them in prison camps for re-education and behaviour modification. A little reminiscent of the early 1940s, you’d think. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 19th, 2015 at 7:50 pm. Updated on December 19th, 2015 at 7:50 pm.

» Middle of Nowhere (2012, USA)

Middle of Nowhere - Emayatzy Corinealdi as Ruby Murray

Five years is a long time to wait, for almost everybody. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 12th, 2015 at 7:55 pm. Updated on December 12th, 2015 at 8:04 pm.