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BEST PRISON ESCAPE MOVIES EVER MADE (10+1LIST)

Best prison escape movies ever made.

written by Sriram Sundar

Prison films are generally classified into two categories: the first type is the escape-drama where the jailbirds desperately attempts to break away from high security prisons, and the second category is more focused on the life inside the prison walls.

Now these Jailbreak movies are spiked with high dozes of suspense and tension; and most often you start sympathising with the convict and his desperate attempts for freedom – but then can he succeed in his attempt to break free or remain trapped in the system?

Well, let’s check out the fate of the prisoner in some of these Best prison escape movies ever made.

10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hB3S9bIaco

Covering a period from 1946 to 1967, Shawshank focuses on the plight of a Maine banker, Andy Dufresne who sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and lover.

Directed by Frank Darabont, this film was also nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman as Ellis Redding, the veteran inmate of Shawshank State Prison who takes Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) under his wing. The greatest movie ever made..! Period.

9. Papillon (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_IWHw3z-U

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, this  movie is based on a book by the same name authored by Henri Charriere, a former convict and fugitive from Devil’s Island and though the work is fiction, the background is entirely based on real events.

Papillon  (Steve McQueen) is charged with a crime he hasn’t committed, and Luis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a fraud banker is convicted on counterfeit charges. Bound by mutual necessity, they soon become friends during their journey to Devil’s Island.

8. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSS0fH9zzFY

Directed by Don Siegel, this film is a little slow and doesn’t move in a breakneck pace but still, it is listed as a “classic” on most movie review sites,

Clint Eastwood strolled through this movie naturally as Frank Morris, a soft spoken, solitary prisoner who was destined to escape Alcatraz. Been rated PG (“parental guidance suggested”) as it includes some explicit violence, bloodshed and obscene language.

7. Anything for Her (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBZVsLoSsDU

Police burst into the house of happily married schoolteacher Julien (Vincent Lindon) and arrest his wife, Lisa (Diane Kruger) on suspicion of murdering her female boss. She’s given a 20-year sentence and he’s left to raise their small son.  As time passes, diabetic Lisa stops taking her insulin in an attempted suicide and Lucien feels that time is running out to keep his family together. He goes about meticulously planning her escape – but how does one go about breaking someone out of prison?

Directed by Fred Cavayé, it is a fast-paced and engrossing thriller that gained a nomination for Best First Work at the César Awards in 2009.

6. The Great Escape (1963)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkwmIDx9RwQ

This movie tells the story of a group of prisoners of war who try to escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II, with the help of a meticulous and ingenious plan. Steve McQueen epitomizes the attitude with his frequent shenanigans.

Directed by John Sturges, “The Great Escape” is regarded as one of the greatest WWII films ever. The movie starts  with the signature theme tune that is heard around many football grounds even today.

5. The Hole (1960)

Le trou (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK7fZrSC6VA

Five prisoners housed in a French prison during the late 1940s awaiting sentence break through their cell floor, enter the insides of the prison, and get to the sewer system from where they can break into the regular sewage setup and finally freedom. But the best-laid plans are foiled by a newcomer who turns them in.

Sadly, this was Director Jacques Becker‘s last film – he died just a few weeks after filming on Le Trou had been completed.

4. Stalag 17 (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T86RDFgzC5U

Directed by Billy WilderStalag 17 begins with two prisoners from the barrack who, after careful planning with the rest of inmates try to escape the camp but are discovered & shot down. It is  a light-hearted thriller drama that makes you laugh all along.

All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.

3. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctrYzVYmfM

Director Jean Renoir tells us the story of a group of French soldiers who are held captive in prisoner of war camps during the First World War, the war that was to end all wars.

Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin) is a pilot and blue collar guy while Captain de Boldieu is an aristocrat. They are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, a German aristocrat, while flying a reconnaissance mission. This movie received an Oscar nomination for best motion picture of the year.

2. Midnight Express (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buDEEC7tKv4

‘Midnight Express’ takes you into a world where the only thing that can keep you alive in this horrible real world is bravery.  This film also won two Oscars; ‘Best Music, Original Score’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Directed by Alan Parker, it is the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American tourist who gets caught trying to smuggle several kilos of hashish out of the country.

1. A Man Escaped (1956)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6nHFpKK6Lc

“When one is in prison, the most important thing is the door.”
– Robert Bresson

Based on the memoirs of André Devigny, who escaped from Fort Montlucin Lyonin 1943, during World War II, ‘A Man Escaped’ tells the story of Fontaine (François Leterrier), a member of the French Resistance who is imprisoned by the Nazis in Montluc prison after an unsuccessful escape attempt.

Director Robert Bressons masterpiece is still a pinnacle in French cinema.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch.

+1. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QvF2FZZftY

For director Mervyn LeRoy, with a career that spanned more than three decades, ‘I am a Fugitive from a Chain’ Gang represented one of his first major successes.

James Allen (Paul Muni) is wrongfully convicted of a crime and is sent to work in a chain gang where he first encounters this living hell. He spends years of being treated like an animal by the inhumane prison system. But he waits, biding his time for the perfect moment to make a break for freedom.

Wazir (2016)

Wazir review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A superb concept made into an average film.

My Ratings: 3.3/5.

The basic script of Wazir was written as early as in 1994 and later around 2004, the film was supposed to be producer/director Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s first Hollywood venture, with Dustin Hoffman in the lead!

But then it had to wait for another 12 years to be finally made by director Bejoy Nambiar and released as a Bollywood thriller last Friday. 

The film Wazir has no doubt an innovative concept.

If you have played chess you must be knowing that Wazir (meaning Wazir-poster1the ‘minister’) is the most powerful piece on a chess board and using this as a metaphor the film title has been conceptualized. Actually there are several references of chess being repeatedly associated with the film’s story line.

And then, watching two of the most talented actors of our industry sharing screen space, Amitabh Bachchan (as the old crippled vengeful Pandit Omkarnath Dhar) and Farhan Akhtar (as the traumatized officer of law Daanish Ali) brilliantly complementing each other with their effortless performances is indeed a treat for the audience.

Graceful Aditi Rao Hydari doing the needful while Manav Kaul as always giving his best, and then not to forget the not so demanding cameos by John Abraham and Neil Nitin Mukesh – though overall everyone did hold on to their ends pretty well. 

But unfortunately a cool concept and great star cast doesn’t seem Wazir-poster3to be enough to create a cinema of superlative order.

The story has too many illogicalities that are difficult to ignore, too many convenient routes taken by the script writers (in total nine writing credits including the dialogue writers!), and on top of that the ending becomes predictable after a certain point of time.

May be a bit of more pace/thrill and a tinge of less emotional drama and background songs could have worked better.

Overall a decent first half that drags into a wobbly second half and then an unsurprising ending!

In spite of creditable camera work by Sanu Varghese and appropriate editing by Vidhu Vinod Chopra himself, the film simply doesn’t satisfy you to the fullest.

Hope 2016 brings many more quality films that will eventually quench our thirst for better cinema.

Poster courtesy: www.bollywoodmdb.com

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made (10+1list)

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made – Conspiracy theories have always been a part of our lives whether you intend to believe them Conspiracy-Thrillersor not. And even if you believe one, the real question is can you prove it?

But as we all know, most of these theories are nothing but fabricated and far-fetched rumors but then, what if someone collects enough evidence and try to convince you that some of them may actually be true!

Well, fiction or not that’s you to decide – here is some of the Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made from all across the world.

Remember, if you believe it, then it’s true!

10. Kill the Messenger (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW4XO-52ubE

Conspiracy-ThrillersCIA accused of numerous illegal activities – one of them being that in the 1980’s they did drug trafficking to arm the Contra rebels in Nicaragua so that they can continue the war!

Gary Webb a reporter (played by Jeremy Renner) who found out this CIA secret was threatened and found his life up-side down.  Directed by Michael Cuesta, this one is based on a true story! 

9. Michael Clayton (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kJRYBhG43Q

Conspiracy-ThrillersA multi-billion dollar action suit goes wrong as the lawyer couldn’t fight with his conscience any more but then the law firm needs to fix the situation asap. 

Directed by debutant Tony Gilroy, starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson; one of the most chilling conspiracy thrillers with brilliant performances and terrific visuals. The ugly game of money and power played at it’s best.

8. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJztRnDxdM8

Conspiracy-ThrillersA Vietnam war veteran (Tim Robbins) is disturbed by regular visions and nightmares – but what if his dreams were not entirely hallucinations?

Director Adrian Lyne‘s disturbing psychological horror film is based on MKUltra conspiracy where it is said that in the 1950’s, CIA conducted secret research on how the use of drugs (such as LSD) could enhance a soldier’s physical and  mental capacity!

 7. The Constant Gardener (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4iTjavIkbk

Conspiracy-ThrillersDetermined to find out the reason for his wife’s murder shot in Northern Kenya, a man unknowingly gets entangled into a conspiracy – ugly and dangerous beyond his imagination!

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz the film deals with the exploitation of poor African people as medical tests are done on them by the rich and powerful medical companies of the world.

6. All the President’s Men (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLt6djxhNe8

Conspiracy-Thrillers

Clues that lead to dead ends and names that connects to nobody!

Watergate scandal that ultimately lead to American President Nixon’s resignation – two brave young reporters (Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) unravel the conspiracy that costed their jobs and almost their lives.  

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, probably the most popular Conspiracy Thriller in this list.

5. The Insider (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkvxi5hdbA

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe CEOs of Big Tobacco have lied under the oath and they are getting away with it.

Until one man risks everything when he decides to step up and tell the truth to a reporter – but will such damaging news of conspiracy and corruption be shared with the public?

Directed by Michael Mann, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino a thriller at its best.

4. The Conversation (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LJ5ICMbP4

Conspiracy-ThrillersDirected by Francis Ford Coppola, the film is an extremely tensed and voyeuristic take on the violation of people’s privacy.   

surveillance expert (brilliantly played by Gene Hackman) spying on a couple suspects that they are going to be murdered – a conspiracy too complicated and heavy for his conscience. A slow yet dangerous thriller that will keep you hooked till the very end.

3. Z (1969)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHB28qfsV2w

Conspiracy-ThrillersA film made by my favorite director Costa-Gavras – a terrific thriller based on a political conspiracy.

When an investigator tires to uncover the mystery behind the murder of a prominent leftist, he finds himself up against the ruthless government officials who will go to any means to stop him.

The first foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars!

A must watch Conspiracy Thriller by the same director is Missing (1982).

2. The Lives of Others (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FppW5ml4vdw

Conspiracy-ThrillersA conspiracy film set on 1984 East Berlin – the secret police at work conducting strict observation on whoever they suspect.

A professional surveillance-man (Ulrich Mühe) spying on a writer and his lover finds himself too attached to their lives which becomes a morel conflict for him.

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, this thriller will simply take your breath away.

  1. JFK (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w16bYZ-4nmE

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe sudden arrest made in relation to the assassination of Kennedy doesn’t seem too concrete and logical. And thus the New Orleans DA investigates into what seemed to be America’s most controversial conspiracy of all time. 

Directed by Oliver Stone, and starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon this particualar film is an exceptional example of how cinema can be used to tell the truth.

and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMba3fckhuQ

Conspiracy-ThrillersBased on the brilliant novel by Dan Brown, the film though not that epic but still a very effective conspiracy thriller to consider.

Directed by Ron Howard, a story that revolves around a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years.

The paintings of Da Vinci used as clues, starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno – a mystery worth your time!

Another cool film by the same director based on the same writer’s novel is Angels & Demons (2009).

A few other conspiracy films that can be taken into consideration are Three Days of the Condor (1975), Network (1976), Chinatown (1974), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Marathon Man (1976)Enemy of the State (1998), The Parallax View (1974), The China Syndrome (1979), Wag the Dog (1997), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Ghost Writer (2010), Silkwood (1983) and Conspiracy Theory (1997), Syriana (2005).

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Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Kill the Messenger (2014)

My Rating: 4/5

Kill the Messenger is based on a true story; it’s about a courageous man who blew the whistle on CIA and paid the price for it.

Journalists have always played a big part in political thrillers and Kill the Messenger is no exception, in fact it is a biographical film based on a reporter’s life.

In the mid 1990s Gary Webb was a happily married man, a loving father and a reporter with great instincts, and as a professional he wholeheartedly believed in finding the truth and sharing it.

But some stories are so dangerously true that sharing them has their own consequences.

The film Kill the Messenger focuses on Gary Webb’s life that took a summersault when he, in spite of being warned by the authorities, openly published his articles by the name of “Dark Alliance” that reveals CIA’s involvement in drug trafficking.

Now many blame CIA for everything that’s going wrong in today’s world but fortunately Kill the Messenger only concerns with the event of CIA importing huge amounts of drugs (cocaine) to be sold in the ghettos all across US to raise money for arming the Contra rebels of Nicaragua.

Remember it’s a true story!

Director Michael Cuesta has done a good job maintaining the thrill and suspense elements intact throughout the film. He has concentrated more on Gary Webb’s life than the actual CIA scandal.

The look and feel of the film, the in-between montages of real footages cleverly blended, even the color tones – all add up to make the film more realistic. Sean Bobbitt as the cinematographer needs to be mentioned.

Jeremy Renner playing the central character does a great job; it’s through his performance that the audience can actually connect to the story in an emotional level. Relations with his wife and his eldest son are very well weaved into the main storyline.

The film is worth watching for those who enjoy political dramas or even biographical films and Cameos by Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta.

P.S. – Let me know if this film reminds you of Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford starrer All the President’s Men (1976).

 

Chef (2014)

My ratings: 3/5

One thing is guaranteed, after watching the film Chef you are bound to feel hungry!

Director Jon Favreau (of Iron man fame) teases your taste buds and keeps tempting you with exotic variety of dishes throughout the film. Almost one third of the film consists of close-up shots of cooking – food being sliced, diced, chopped, minced, steamed, fried, roasted and garnished.

Well, that’s exactly what a Chef does … isn’t it?

Carl Casper, the Chef (Jon Favreau himself gets into the lead act) is artistically suffocated while working in a restaurant owned by hot-tempered, business-minded Riva (a brief encounter with Dustin Hoffman).

What follows is Carl’s comic twitter battle with famous food critic Ramsay Michel (Oliver Platt) who writes shit about his food; which eventually leads to Carl getting famous but also fired from his job.

According to Molly’s suggestion Carl (since unemployed) decides to spend more time with his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony). By the way Molly is the super hot waitress/receptionist played by none other than sexy Scarlett Johansson. Another brief appearance.

Now Carl’s curvy ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) arranges an old food truck for him so that Carl can start his independent business, free to cook whatever he wants. With his trusted assistant Martin (John Leguizamo) by his side and Percy (his kid) as a helping hand Carl starts selling Cuban sandwiches. The tasty ones.

Some more tweets after, Carl is successful, happy and content, and also turns out to be a great family man. Wow!

A predictable storyline – the film has absolutely no surprises other than Sofia Vergara being restricted from being sexy and bitchy.

Overall a lighthearted, fun film which gives you just enough laughs and a great appetite.

Oh! and Robert Downey Jr. also makes his cool special appearance as Sofia Vergara’s ex-husband who humiliates Carl but also gets him the food truck.

Any other cameos to mention?

Ya – Russell Peters as a Maimi cop!

List of Legendary Actors who also directed films

Did you know that so many of our favorite actors are directors as well? May be all are not as glorious and successful as Charlie Chaplin or Clint Eastwood but some of these Hollywood actors who also directed films deserves a pat on their shoulders.

Let’s see how many of these movies have you seen which are directed by these legendary actors.

Actor turned Director                Popular films directed

(Note: many of the actors have directed more films than mentioned here but i have listed only the popular ones)

Kirk Douglas                                  Scalawag (1973), Posse (1975)

Richard Burton                            Doctor Faustus (1967)

Diane Keaton                                Unstrung heroes (1995)

Billy Bob Thornton                    Sling Blade (1996)

Danny DeVito                              Throw Momma from the train (1987)

John Wayne                         The Alamo (1960), The Green Berets (1968)

Liv Ullmann                                     Sofie (1992), Faithless (2000)

Barbra Streisand                         Yentl (1983), The prince of tides (1991) 

Paul Newman                                 The glass Menagerie (1987)

Bill Murray                                       Quick Change (1990)

Alec Baldwin                                      Shortcut to Happiness (2003)

Ed Harris                         Pollock (2000), Appaloosa (2008)

Denzel Washington                      The great Debaters (2007)

Ethan Hawke               Chelsea Walls (2001), The Hottest state (2006)

Forest Whitaker         Waiting to Exhale (1995), Hope Floats (1998)

Sylvester Stallone                     Rambo (2008),The expendables (2010)

Jodie Foster                              Little man Tate (1991),The beaver (2011)

Ben Stiller                                   The Cable guy (1996), Zoolander (2001)

Ralph Fiennes               Coriolanus (2011), The invisible woman (2013)

Jack Nicholson                        Goin’ South (1978), The Two Jakes (1990)

Morgan Freeman                       Bopha! (1993)

Drew Barrymore                       Whip It (2009)

Antonio Banderas        Crazy in Alabama (1999), Summer Rain (2006)

Nicolas Cage                                  Sonny (2002)

Angelina Jolie                               In the land of blood and honey (2011)

Anthony Hopkins                      Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (1990)

Dustin Hoffman                          Quartet (2012)

Keanu Reeves                              Man of tai Chi (2013)

Tom Hanks                                     That thing you do! (1996)

Johnny Depp                                 The Brave (1997)

Robert De Nero      A Bronx Tale (1993), The Good Shepherd (2006)

Al Pacino                                             Chinese coffee (2000), Salomé (2013)

Kevin Costner          Dances with wolves (1990), The postman (1997)

Mel Gibson                                        Braveheart (1995), Apocalypto (2006)

Sean Penn                                          The pledge (2001), Into the wild (2007)

George Clooney                            The ides of March (2011) 

Ben Affleck                                        Argo (2012), Gone baby gone (2007)