The Best Prison-Set Movies You’ve Never Seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go behind bars for a look at great films that take place in jails, prisons, and other places of involuntary incarceration.)

Most of us will never spend time behind bars, incarcerated for a crime we did or didn’t commit, and that lack of first-hand experience might be part of what makes movies about prison life so popular. They come in all forms and genres from Stephen King-penned (The Shawshank Redemption, 1994) to horror (Prison, 1987) to comedy (The Longest Yard, 1974) to exploitation (The Big Bird Cage, 1972) to action (Boyka: Undisputed, 2016) to the effortlessly engaging and entertaining (Cool Hand Luke, 1967), but not all of them get the attention they deserve.

So consider this a down and dirty primer on some less popular prison movies that are all well worth your time despite their absence from the general conversation.

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This week, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat about the virtues of the Elite Squad films, praise Puss in Boots as a film better than its marketing would suggest, and try not to lose all hope in John Carter and the live action Akira remake. Special guest Eric D. Snider joins us from Film.com and Movie BS. Also, correction: Cell 211 is available on Netflix in what appears to be a region 1 DVD!

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Sunday (12/11) at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST, where we’ll be reviewing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Check out this Tor.com essay on Akira.

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Paul Haggis‘ latest film The Next Three Days is going to be released soon, but the writer/director still doesn’t have a follow-up booked. At least as a director. He’s set to write the big screen version of The Equalizer, and has been talked about as a possible director for that film.

Now Paul Haggis is working on a deal with CBS Films to write and possibly direct a remake of the award-winning 2009 Spanish film Celda 211. Deadline pitches the remake well, pushing the idea that it is like Die Hard in a prison. Read More »

IFC Launches New Genre Label, IFC Midnight

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For the past year IFC has bought up a lot of left-field, genre and oddball movies to distribute in the States. It started with Antichrist — not such a weird buy, given the prestige status of Lars von Trier — and then went to Valhalla Rising, Human Centipede (First Sequence) and Enter the Void, among many others.

Now IFC has spun off a genre label called IFC Midnight, which is a name that has been used by the company for a slate of on demand films in the past. It sounds similar to Magnolia’s offshoot Magnet, and will send all these films to video on demand, DVD and some theatrical releases. Read More »

My Most Anticipated Films of IFFBoston 2010

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I had an awesome time at last year’s Independent Film Festival of Boston, and this year, the festival promises to be even more exciting, with tons of indie directors and actors showing up to chill in the Bay State. The festival will quickly upon us (it begins this Wednesday), so if you’re in Boston or even New England, I’d urge you to check it out. After the jump, some of the movies I’m most looking forward to this year. [Note that I already saw a bunch of the movies that will be playing here when I was at Sundance this year; they won’t show up on this list, but you can read our coverage of Sundance here].
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