» Instinct (1999, USA)

Instinct - Anthony Hopkins as Dr Ethan Powell and friends

It’s easy to see how this came to be conceived, with its echoes of The Silence of the Lambs (1991), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and Gorillas in the Mist (1988). And it’s easy to see why it never quite reaches the heights of those movies (or at least the first two). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 26th, 2014 at 11:55 pm. Updated on July 27th, 2014 at 12:02 am.

» The Daring Young Man (1935, USA)

The Daring Young Man - James Dunn as Don McLane and Warren Hymer as Pete Hogan

Scandal and the penitentiary on New York’s Welfare Island (known as Blackwell’s Island prior to 1921 and Roosevelt Island since 1971) went pretty much hand-in-hand in the 1930s. The prison was overcrowded and run by two rival gangs. Narcotics and corruption were rife. In 1932 the warden attempted to mediate a truce in his office, but it ended badly and the boss of one of the gangs was stabbed to death - leading to a riotous battle between the warring parties. The prison was described as a ‘country club for the chosen few gangsters’ and when Mayor LaGuardia’s corrections commissioner, Austin H MacCormick, raided the prison in January 1934, his officers found one mob leader, Joie Rao, occupying an entire floor in the hospital with his own staff, including a personal barber and chef, and his lieutenants able to remove their cell doors so that they were not locked in. All the prisoners were soon relocated to the new prison on Rikers Island. It’s this prison at which this comedy pokes a bit of gentle fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 11:33 pm. Updated on July 18th, 2014 at 11:33 pm.

» The King of Jail Breakers (2009, Japan)

The King of Jail Breakers - Itsuji Itao as Masayuki Suzuki

I can’t recall another prison movie in which the main character says not a word throughout the whole film. Well, not one made after 1929, anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 11th, 2014 at 8:59 pm. Updated on July 11th, 2014 at 8:59 pm.

» She Made Them Do It (2013, USA)

She Made Them Do It - Jenna Dewan Tatum as Sarah Jo Pender

It’s quite possible that nothing much is going right for Sarah Jo Pender; she might or might not be guilty of a double murder in 2000 for which she is serving 110 years in prison, and there’s a good chance she’s still in solitary confinement after escaping from Indiana’s Rockville Correctional Facility in August 2008. But at least she can sit back be well pleased that they chose Jenna Dewan Tatum to play her in this made-for-TV film; the choice flatters her immensely. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on July 6th, 2014 at 7:50 pm. Updated on July 6th, 2014 at 7:59 pm.

» Jamesy Boy (2014, USA)

Jamesy Boy - Spencer Lofranco as James Burns

“And I don’t think I let the people in my life down by making the wrong choices. I think I let them down by convincing myself I never had a choice to begin with.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 27th, 2014 at 10:16 pm. Updated on June 27th, 2014 at 10:23 pm.

» Je li jasno, prijatelju? / Is it Clear, My Friend? (2000, Croatia)

Is it Clear, My Friend? - Milan Pleština as Martin Pavlović

If you’re looking for some light entertainment, this is probably not the film for you. At one level it’s a story of an intelligent first-time prisoner battling to survive in a harsh prison. But it’s much more besides.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 23rd, 2014 at 9:59 pm. Updated on June 27th, 2014 at 10:22 pm.

» The Escapist (2002, UK)

The Escapist - Jonny Lee Miller as Denis Hopkins aka John Watt at Sullen Voe

This may not have been the first of the law abiding citizen movies - where decent guys engineer their transfer to prison in order to avenge horrible things done to their family members - but it came before Doing Hard Time (2004), Law Abiding Citizen (2009) and Offender (2012). And as far as escapist action flicks go, The Escapist goes OK. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 10:47 pm. Updated on June 14th, 2014 at 10:47 pm.

» Jailbait (2013, USA)

Jailbait - Sara Malakul Lane as Anna Nix

There is not much that can be said for this other than that it is a singularly distasteful, exploitative film. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 8th, 2014 at 9:41 pm. Updated on June 8th, 2014 at 9:43 pm.

» Some Mother’s Son (1996, Ireland / USA)

Some Mother's Son - Aidan Gillen as Gerard Quigley

It’s over twelve months since I finally caught up with the Irish film H3 and then declared that I was in no hurry to see another movie about Bobby Sands, the dirty protest or the Troubles. But here I am, back again; I’m clearly a sucker for a dirty protest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 1st, 2014 at 7:58 pm. Updated on June 1st, 2014 at 7:58 pm.

» Impact (1963, UK)

Impact - Conrad Phillips as Jack Moir and John Rees as Charlie Wright

“Crime reporter Jack Moir is framed by crooked nightclub owner, ‘The Duke’. In prison, Moir plans his revenge…” is what the internet synopses say. And that’s all true. Just don’t expect a lot of prison plotting; the prison scenes account for just 5½ of the film’s 59 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on May 31st, 2014 at 9:04 pm. Updated on May 31st, 2014 at 9:04 pm.