The Mess Hall

» Bad Girls Dormitory (1986, USA)

This trashy, tawdry, unimaginative film would be more accurately called ‘Several Bad Women, Amongst a Number of Others Who Aren’t, in a Dormitory with a Large, Rambling Basement Attached’ – if accuracy were ever a goal of the WIP genre.

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Posted on April 6th, 2022 at 9:26 pm. Updated on April 6th, 2022 at 9:26 pm.

» Lokillo en: Mi Otra Yo (2021, Colombia)

First things first: Lokillo is the name by which comedian Yédison Flórez is better known, and ‘Mi Otra Yo’ translates as ‘My Other Self’. The word ‘lokillo’ conveys a sense of a little bit mad; a little bit loco. And a little bit loco, in this case, is a man pretending to be a woman in a women’s prison, partly for witness protection purposes and partly as an undercover informant. Comedy gold. (more…)

Posted on December 11th, 2021 at 9:08 pm. Updated on December 11th, 2021 at 9:08 pm.

» 3000 Layla / 3000 Nights (2015, Palestine, Jordan, France and others)

Some have heralded this representative story of one Palestinian woman wrongly imprisoned in Israel, as (aside from the overt political message) a triumph of the human spirit. It could be that, or it could just be a quiet tribute to that woman’s goodness and resilience.

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Posted on October 24th, 2021 at 3:37 pm. Updated on October 24th, 2021 at 3:37 pm.

» The Bid (2021, USA)

Isn’t social media supposed to be this untamed thing that encourages edgy, boundaries-pushing comedy; providing a counterpoint to traditional ‘mainstream entertainment’? It’s disappointing, then, that this movie by Maurquis Boone and Richard ‘Filthy Rich’ Harris – who, it seems, have forged successful careers in social media and who wrote, directed and starred in this low-budget comedy – tends to mimic the more tired and tiresome of mainstream offerings. (more…)

Posted on July 4th, 2021 at 11:58 pm. Updated on July 4th, 2021 at 11:58 pm.

» Heart, Baby (2017, USA)

Someone did this film a great disservice in giving it the alternative title of The Hammer, presumably to make it appeal to a broader audience. It makes it sound very much like a testosterone-filled boxing movie, but boxing plays second fiddle to what really matters. Maybe even fourth or fifth fiddle.

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Posted on June 6th, 2021 at 10:37 pm. Updated on June 6th, 2021 at 10:37 pm.

» Fanged Up (2017, UK)

I think that this is the first romantic comedy I’ve seen where the couple spend a fair whack of the film drenched in the blood of exploding vampires. I may be wrong. (more…)

Posted on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm. Updated on January 27th, 2021 at 10:46 pm.

» Brothers (1977, USA)

This is a ‘thinly disguised’ account of the prison life of Soledad Brother George Jackson, part of which takes in his romance with activist Angela Davis. It’s an unheralded ’70s prison movie that deserves more heralding, even if it loses a bit of momentum once prisoner and professor meet and start cheesily narrating their letters to each other accompanied by a laid-back R&B soundtrack. (more…)

Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm. Updated on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm.

» They All Come Out (1939, USA)

I’m all for prison movies, and other media, spruiking the good things that prisons do, and not just wallowing in the damage they cause and the mayhem that is created within them. But this film should come with a warning about it being a paid advertisement for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. (more…)

Posted on November 3rd, 2020 at 9:43 am. Updated on November 3rd, 2020 at 9:43 am.

» Prigione di donne / Riot in a Women’s Prison (1974, Italy)

“I don’t want to get to be you and stagnate and finish here… I don’t want to grow old living in here,” says prison novice Martine Fresienne (Martine Brochard) to her cellmates. What her pronouncement lacks in diplomacy, it makes up for in wackiness. (more…)

Posted on August 30th, 2020 at 7:39 pm. Updated on August 30th, 2020 at 7:39 pm.

» Penguins Behinds Bars (2003, Canada)

At last! A prison movie that knows its plaice! (more…)

Posted on August 19th, 2020 at 10:20 pm. Updated on August 19th, 2020 at 10:20 pm.