The Cell Mate

» Shadow: Dead Riot (2006, USA)

Shadow: Dead Riot -

Shadow: Dead Riot appears to be based on a premise that the same sort of people who watch salacious Women-in-Prison films with shower scenes and predatory lesbian guards will also like zombies and gore and exploding body parts. It’s probably solid thinking from a marketing perspective, but the two elements here have rather clumsily been patched together. (more…)

Posted on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm. Updated on June 28th, 2015 at 1:34 pm.

» Hold Your Man (1933, USA)

Hold Your Man - Barbara Barondess as Sadie Klein and Jean Harlow as Ruby Adams

There are plenty of films about innocent women in tough prisons. This could be about a tough, not-so-innocent woman in prison (though she is pretty much innocent of the charge that landed her in there), but it’s really about the unlikely survival of a romance between two suddenly-smitten lovers. (more…)

Posted on February 13th, 2015 at 9:37 pm. Updated on February 13th, 2015 at 9:37 pm.

» Prisoners in Petticoats (1950, USA)

Prisoners in Petticoats - Valentine Perkins as Joan Grey aka Beverly Brent (and the back of Robert Rockwell's head - as Mark Hampton)

This neat little gangster flick, full of crosses and double crosses, checks in at a lean 60 minutes. The copy I got hold of has around 12 minutes missing from it, and boasts a paltry 6 minutes and 18 seconds of prison scenes. Its title of ‘Prisoners in Petticoats’ might therefore give a slightly misleading impression of the film’s overall content. (more…)

Posted on February 4th, 2015 at 7:57 pm. Updated on February 4th, 2015 at 7:57 pm.

» 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. (more…)

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

» Way Back Home (2013, South Korea)

Way Back Home - Jeon Do-yeon as Song Jeong-yeon

The South Koreans certainly love a good prison tear-jerker – Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013), for instance, and Harmony (2010) – both of which also star young children, as does this weepy. But Way Back Home is also very reminiscent of Hell In Tangier (2006) and Left to Die (2012), both of which feature prisoners in third-world prisons overseas, hampered by inept, judgmental and disinterested embassy officials, and eventually released after persistent media campaigns. As this one does. The point of difference from the last two is that in this case the prisoner is guilty. Of stupidity, at the very least.


Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm. Updated on October 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm.

» Circuit 2 (2003, USA)

Circuit 2 - Olivier Gruner as Dirk Longstreet aka Jim Morrison

Also known as The Circuit 2: The Final Punch. Except it’s not the final final punch – the temptation to make Circuit III being just too great. (more…)

Posted on August 29th, 2014 at 10:00 pm. Updated on August 29th, 2014 at 10:00 pm.

» The Godless Girl (1929, USA)

The Godless Girl -

Cecil B De Mille directed this epic silent film – an unashamed advertisement for Godfulness. Not surprisingly, given its title, it features a godless girl, but it’s more about her conversion to the God-positive side, than focusing on all the nastiness and trouble that her godlessness brings. (more…)

Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 7:07 pm. Updated on August 16th, 2014 at 9:29 pm.

» Kala Pani (1996, India)

Sazaa-E Kaala Paani - Mohanlal as Govardhan Menon

Kala Pani* is described as an ‘epic’ film. It’s a long film, at 2 hours 40 minutes. Even if you edited out the songs (which are slightly at odds with the movie’s dark themes, anyway), the choreographed, vaguely comical fight scenes and the gratuitous model photo-shoot scenes of the main character’s beautiful fiancée… it would still be long. (more…)

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 11:02 pm. Updated on August 9th, 2014 at 11:02 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. (more…)

Posted on July 6th, 2014 at 7:50 pm. Updated on July 6th, 2014 at 7:59 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. (more…)

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