The New Fish

» A Violent Prosecutor (2016, South Korea)

A Violent Prosecutor - Jeong-min Hwang as prosecutor Byun Jae-wook

How many TV shows and movies have featured unorthodox police investigators being told to drop a case, yet the detective obstinately stays involved in spite of their superior’s instructions? That’s what happens here… but the investigator finishes up getting framed for the suspect’s murder. Which is perhaps not quite so orthodox. (more…)

Posted on January 1st, 2017 at 9:52 am. Updated on January 1st, 2017 at 9:52 am.

» Vast / Inside (2011, Netherlands)

Vast - Sigrid ten Napel as Isabel

This is a short (49-minute) but poignant portrait of a 16-year-old girl in a juvenile detention centre. Perhaps the first thing to note is that ‘vast’ in Dutch does not mean expansive, but rather ‘fixed’ or ’set’; the film deals with her inability to break away from the things that have formed her - to deal with them and attempt to move on. (more…)

Posted on December 16th, 2016 at 8:12 pm. Updated on December 16th, 2016 at 8:12 pm.

» Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars (1995, USA)

Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars - Gail Harris as May and Annie Wood as April Conner

May Conner (Gail Harris) is 19* and in prison. She’s a Miss Goody Two-Shoes… a little naive when it comes to crime and punishment, and is unused to prison lingo. “They found a second set of finger things.” “Prints,” says her street-wise older sister, April (Annie Wood). “Prints, right.” (more…)

Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 9:59 pm. Updated on July 9th, 2016 at 6:13 pm.

» Riot (2015, USA)

riot-0

It surely can’t be coincidental that in 2015 we had the release of two prison movies in which a cop whose wife has been killed by a big-time criminal commits a major offence to get into prison to avenge his wife’s murder; the other being Vendetta. Perhaps the same story was pitched to several film-makers, and these two just happened to pick it up… unaware that the other had, too. Anyway, I’m not sure which I like better.. but this certainly wins in the novelty stakes.

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Posted on April 19th, 2016 at 9:49 pm. Updated on April 19th, 2016 at 9:52 pm.

» Vendetta (1986, USA)

Vendetta - Karen Chase as Laurie Collins, with a wrist lock on Kay Butler (Sandy Martin)

Vendetta has all the standard ’80s trademarks you’d expect - prisoners with big hair and wearing workout gear like they’d just stepped out of a Flashdance or Let’s Get Physical video - but no-one (at least in prison) seems to be held accountable for much. Wasn’t glasnost an ’80s thing? (more…)

Posted on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm. Updated on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm.

» Cell 213 (2011, Canada)

Cell 213 - Eric Balfour as Michael Gray and Michael Rooker as Ray Clement

It’s a bit hard to pin a label on this film. Completed in 2008, it took another three years to release it, marketed ultimately as a horror movie. But it’s more a supernatural movie; horror film buffs will inevitably be disappointed by it, and those who aren’t (such as myself) might be pleasantly surprised. (more…)

Posted on November 30th, 2015 at 9:20 pm. Updated on November 30th, 2015 at 9:20 pm.

» Jailbird Rock (1988, USA / Argentina)

Jailbird Rock - Robin Antin as Jessie White and Robin x as Echo

I think it was when Warden Harold Bauman (Ron Lacey), in dismissing any idea of his prisoners putting on an artistic performance, said, “They’re not here to have fun. They’re here to be miserable,” that my wife asked, “Don’t you get sick of the same, same things all the time?”. Or it could have been earlier, such as at the arrival of the prisoner who doesn’t deserve to be in prison, or the tough prisoner running the show, or the ineffectual warden and his corrupt second-in-charge, or the earnest counsellor pushing for reform… It could have been at any point in the film, really. (more…)

Posted on November 22nd, 2015 at 5:10 pm. Updated on November 22nd, 2015 at 5:12 pm.

» Prison War 2 (2014, Nigeria / Ghana)

Prison War 2 - Salamatu Kargbo as Isha Kamara

I haven’t previously had much luck with Nollywood or Ghallywood offerings; their prison-themed films seem to me to be shot almost entirely in people’s living rooms. But this is a bona fide prison movie, set in Sierra Leone, accessible on YouTube, and is one that ensures you get your money’s worth: it is a traditional new fish in prison movie which morphs into a Fight Club movie and ends up as an escape movie. And even pauses at one point for a sweet song which includes the lyric, “When I kill is bad but I found pleasure doing it” before urging the listener to stay out of trouble. (more…)

Posted on October 31st, 2015 at 8:11 pm. Updated on November 1st, 2015 at 9:36 am.

» Kalima Sharaf / Word of Honour (1972, Egypt)

Word of Honor - Ahmed Mazhar as the Warden and Farid Shawki as Salem Abu El-Naga

It’s refreshing, I guess, to have a prison movie about relationships that doesn’t involve a prisoner coupled with a guard or a doctor or psychologist. Instead, this features two solid, admirable relationships built on trust. Or maybe one that is solid, and one that appeared solid. And two that are not. (more…)

Posted on October 24th, 2015 at 4:59 pm. Updated on October 24th, 2015 at 4:59 pm.

» Prison Break: The Final Break (2009, USA)

Prison Break: The Final Break - Aisha Hands as Guard Cowler and Sarah Wayne Callies as Dr Sara Tancredi

Not the TV series, exactly, but what was (until they announced a new season to run in 2016) the final feature-length Prison Break episode, which is supposed to stand on its own and be like a condensed fifth season. It’s a little tricky for me; I watched the first series, enjoyed it, but immediately lost interest once it went into a second, third and fourth season. There are consequently a few gaps in my understanding of what happened in-between, which Mr Google has since been kind enough to attempt to fill. (more…)

Posted on October 18th, 2015 at 3:41 pm. Updated on October 18th, 2015 at 3:48 pm.