» Chicken Mexicaine (2007, Switzerland)

Chicken Mexicaine - Bruno Cathomas as Roby Schmucker and Juana von Jascheroff as Dr Helen Berger

Roby Schmucker (Bruno Cathomas) has found himself back in jail, again. He is awaiting trial on a ‘heavy’ robbery, and on Day 1 in the mess room is confronted by the prison’s top dog, African-Swiss Charles ‘Chief’ Müller (Kyle Popooda). Schmucker doesn’t appreciate Müller’s welcome and makes some unkind comments about his ethnicity. It’s not received well. One of Müller’s men spits in Schmucker’s food, onto which Müller then empties an entire salt cellar. Schmucker sticks it out for another mouthful or two but then launches into a face-saving rant: “Chicken Mexicaine! This muck’s called Chicken Mexicaine!” before reminding everyone that he’s an old hand. It’s a quirky, off-beat title for one of the wackier, more off-beat prison movies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 8:38 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2015 at 8:50 pm.

» Mercenaries (2014, USA)

Mercenaries - Nicole Bilderback as Mei-Lin Fong, Kristanna Loken as Kat Morgan, Zoë Bell as Cassandra Clay, and Vivica A Fox as Raven

Oh dear. I fear that I’m becoming a little repetitive regarding these action prison movies… but this is truly lamentable. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 17th, 2015 at 7:31 pm. Updated on January 17th, 2015 at 7:31 pm.

» F Tipi Film (2012, Turkey)

F Tipi Film - Hüsnü Yildiz as Veli

At times the F Tipi Film resembles the many films about IRA prisoners in The Maze; the hunger strikes, the solidarity of the prisoners, their determination to communicate with each other, and the sadness of the families supporting them outside. But these prisoners are not bound by a common political ideology; they are bound by a common opposition to Turkey’s ‘F-Type’ prisons, of which solitary confinement is a feature. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 11th, 2015 at 9:23 am. Updated on January 11th, 2015 at 9:41 am.

» Z mrtvého domu / From the House of the Dead (2007, France)

From the House of the Dead -

You might think that I’m struggling to find new prison movies when I have to resort to watching filmed performances of operas about prison life. And you’d be right. But at least this has more prison in it than Carmen (2003). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 3rd, 2015 at 8:40 pm. Updated on January 3rd, 2015 at 8:40 pm.

» Meres tou ‘36 / Days of ‘36 (1972, Greece)

Days of '36 - A record player is brought out to meet one of Sofianos's demands. The officials gather on a balcony next to Sofianos's cell.

You know that I’m not a huge fan of the action genre. Well, there’s no danger of having to endure any of that tiresome action stuff here; this is as unhurried a film as it is possible to make about a prison hostage situation. There’s not even much dialogue in the film’s 105 minutes, all of which are heavily laden with absurdist political satire. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on January 1st, 2015 at 5:58 pm. Updated on January 1st, 2015 at 5:58 pm.

» Timelock (1996, USA)

Timelock - Arye Gross as Jack Riley and Maryam d'Abo as Jessie Teegs

Surely the chief joy in watching futuristic movies of any sort is examining the bits of contemporary culture that have survived in the filmmaker’s vision of what the future might look like. “Besides, the ship won’t fly without this,” says the spaceship pilot, Wilson, smugly holding aloft a 3½” floppy disk. It is supposed to be the year 2251. Wonderful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 26th, 2014 at 10:15 pm. Updated on December 26th, 2014 at 10:15 pm.

» Behind Prison Walls (1943, USA)

Behind Prison Walls – Tully Marshall as James J MacGlennon

This isn’t so much about what happens behind prison walls, as how much influence one can still wield from behind prison walls. If that’s not the same thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 26th, 2014 at 7:17 pm. Updated on December 26th, 2014 at 7:17 pm.

» Coldwater (2013, USA)

Coldwater - PJ Boudousqué as Brad Lunders

I don’t quite understand these extra-judicial prisons, juvenile or otherwise. They seem to be somewhere in between a strict boarding school for which parents pay exorbitant fees, and out-of-control prisons where the brutality comes for free. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on December 7th, 2014 at 11:45 am. Updated on December 7th, 2014 at 11:45 am.

» Jing: King of Bandits - Seventh Heaven (2004, Japan)

Jing: King of Bandits - Seventh Heaven - Jing escaping from red-eyed giant mice. Kir precedes him, while Benedictine looks on.

I’m still trying to work out myself whether this qualifies as a movie. It’s a three-part original video animation (OVA), apparently, following on from the TV series based on Yuichi Kumakuru’s manga. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on November 30th, 2014 at 1:34 pm. Updated on November 30th, 2014 at 1:34 pm.

» Alive (2002, Japan)

Alive - Hideo Sukaki as Tenshu Yashiro

What you do, apparently, if you have a woman who has inherited a particularly nasty isomer from her father that is eating away at her humanity, is find two condemned men and pit them against each other in the hope that the isomer will attach itself to the one who most wants to kill the other. That’s the gist of things here.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on November 23rd, 2014 at 5:34 pm. Updated on November 23rd, 2014 at 5:38 pm.