Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Ten Prison Movies

The top ten films about everything from jailbirds to great escapes and battles with the wardens or guards often command our attention. Movies set in prisons are often among the most riveting or touching stories around.

Whether they deal with the consequences of a life gone wrong or the brutality of life in prison, movies about prison life are somehow deeply moving. Maybe it is because we can often relate to the protagonist as in the Shawshank Redemption or because we want to see him or her beat the odds as in The Green Mile. Whatever the reason, these ten prison flicks will entertain, engross and engulf your heart and mind for a couple of hours at a time.

Shawshank Redemption (1994) Based on the short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, the story centers on Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and his time at Shawshank. Convicted of killing his wife and her lover and sentenced to life in prison, Dufresne, a white-collar worker must adjust to life inside one of the most horrific prisons in the country. Here he makes friends with several inmates but none he trusts more than Red (Morgan Freeman).

The Last Castle (2001) Robert Redford stars as General Irwin, recently court-martialed and sent to a military prison under the control of Colonel Winter (James Gandolfini). The two men don’t hit it off and friction mounts to full scale war. Irwin retaliates against Winter’s treatment of the inmates by mounting an assault and taking control of the prison.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) The visual retelling of the classic Alexandre Dumas tale with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pierce in the lead roles of Dantes and Mondego, childhood friends who are forever shattered by one’s betrayal of the other. Dantes, set up by Mondego, is sent to prison where he serves insufferable years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. He meets a priest in prison who reveals on his deathbed, the location of a vast treasure that allows Dantes to become the Count of Monte Cristo and exact his revenge on all those involved in destroying his life.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Revenge Movies

Revenge movies are based on a character’s need to extract his pound of flesh from someone over a perceived wrong. The films are always action-based and driven by intense performances. At least they ought to be. Vengeance is a strong emotion and to capture it successfully on film, takes a masterful performance, something all of these films have.

Every once in a while, we all have the urge to exact a pound of flesh. Luckily most of us don’t act on those urges. We can live vicariously through those that do or be reminded of just how much could be at stake and why we are better off leaving things alone.

Law Abiding Citizen (2009) Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx square off as victim and prosecutor in this tale of a man seeking justice for his murdered family. When the D.A. makes a deal that puts the killer back on
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