Blu-ray Review: Dated ‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ is Beautifully Filmed

Chicago – The Criterion Collection has added “Riot in Cell Block 11” (1954) to their stellar Blu-ray family, and the transfer is absolutely gorgeous, especially if you’re an admirer of the stark cinematography of the late black & white film era. Although dated, it still packs a gritty wallop.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Directed by Don Siegel – best known for “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) and “Dirty Harry” (1971) – this prison riot film is framed as a cautionary tale regarding the conditions of prisons in the mid-1950s. Packed with noir beauty, the tick-tick-tick of the tensions in the film underscore the use of shadow and light. Shot in Folsom Prison in California, Siegel makes great use of the weird perspectives of long hallways and old timey prison walls. Some of the corny dialogue and hey-you-mugs interplay is silly in the modern era, but I’m sure the adventurous folks who saw this at the time were transfixed.
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Criterion Collection: Riot on Cell Block 11 | DVD Review

The inspiration behind the making of Riot in Cell Block 11 is as equally fascinating as the end product. Producer Walter Wanger (who famously produced Hitchcock’s 1941 film, Foreign Correspondent, among others) was sentenced to a brief stint in prison after shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his then wife, actress Joan Bennett. The dramatic scandal would force Wanger into an experience that apparently changed his life, as leaving prison immediately saw his intense interest in getting this project off the ground, basing it on an actual event that happened in Michigan. Undeniably a semi-documentary message film, it’s an arresting prison drama that features believable performances and striking cinematography. Serving as director Don Siegel’s first major hit at the box office despite lack of female stars and subject matter, it’s his first definitive example of the themes that would mark him as Clint Eastwood
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Reviews: Criterion's "Riot In Cell Block 11" (1954) And "The 400 Blows" (1959)

  • CinemaRetro
Blu-ray/DVD Review

Riot In Cell Block 11” (Don Siegel)

The 400 Blows” (Francois Truffaut)

(The Criterion Collection)

Two Gems From The 50s

By Raymond Benson

Two new releases from The Criterion Collection spotlight low-budget filmmaking in the 1950s—American and European—and couldn’t be more stylistically and thematically diverse. And yet, there is a personal stamp on the pictures that is very similar. Both films also tackle social problems with brutal frankness and feature anti-heroes as protagonists.

Riot in Cell Block 11 was produced by longtime Hollywood independent producer Walter Wanger (he was also responsible for two earlier Criterion releases, Stagecoach and Foreign Correspondent) as a hard-hitting, gritty, realistic picture depicting the inequities and maltreatment prisoners receive in American prisons. Wanger had a personal reason to make a film like that. He had barely missed spending some time in one. He’d caught his wife with another man,
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Blu-ray, DVD Release: Riot in Cell Block 11

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 22, 2014

Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Prison justice is dispensed in Riot in Cell Block 11.

Early in his career, Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Private Hell 36) made his mark with 1954’s Riot in Cell Block 11, a sensational and high-octane low-budget film noir crime drama set in a maximum-security penitentiary.

The brainchild of producer extraordinaire Walter Wanger (Foreign Correspondent), the hard-hitting film is a ripped-from-the-headlines social-problem picture about prisoners’ rights that was inspired by a recent spate of uprisings in American prisons.

In Siegel’s hands, the movie is at once brash and humane, showcasing the hard-boiled visual flair and bold storytelling for which the director would become known and shot on location at Folsom State Prison, with real inmates and guards as extras.

Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo edition of the film contains the following features:

• New high-definition digital restoration,
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Casting: Macy, Eversman, Boston, Whannell

Stealing Cars

William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, John Leguizamo, Emory Cohen, Mike Epps and Paul Sparks have joined Bradley Kaplan's ensemble drama "Stealing Cars" which is currently shooting in New York.

The story follows a rebellious teenager who is sent to juvenile prison and learns to forgive himself in the wake of a tragic car accident. Rachel Winter will produce. [Source: Screen]

Get On Up

Nick Eversman ("Tomorrow People," "Cinema Verite") has been cast as Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger in the James Brown biopic "Get on Up" at Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer, Erica Huggins and Victoria Pearman are producing.

Chadwick Boseman stars as the Godfather of Soul and traces Brown's rise from humble beginning to stardom to through his eventual drug-fueled downfall. The film features a scene in which Jagger and Brown appear together at a concert. [Source: THR]

Ring By Spring

Rachel Boston ("Witches of East End") will
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'Witches of East End' Actress to Star in Romantic Comedy 'Ring by Spring' (Exclusive)

'Witches of East End' Actress to Star in Romantic Comedy 'Ring by Spring' (Exclusive)
Rachel Boston, one of the stars of Lifetime’s Witches of East End, will star in the independent romantic comedy A Ring by Spring. The actress also will serve as an associate producer. Kristoffer Tabori is directing the movie, which begins production December 1 in Vancouver. Boston will play an independent career woman who sets out on a romantic exploration through her past when a psychic tells her that she will be engaged by spring. Photos: Season of the Witch: Memorable Spell-Casters From 17 Movies and TV Shows Tim Johnson, Jean Abounader and Oliver Decaigny are producing. Boston has appeared in

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Doe Avedon Dies: Inspired Audrey Hepburn Character in Funny Face, Married to Don Siegel (Dirty Harry)

Model and actress Doe Avedon Siegel, best known for her marriages to photographer Richard Avedon and to Dirty Harry movie director Don Siegel, died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 86. Born Dorcas Nowell (on April 7, 1928) in Westbury, New York, she was discovered by Avedon, who married her in 1944. (Avedon herself told journalists she began her acting career while working as a waitress.) A highly romanticized version of their courtship was turned into a would-be play by Leonard Gershe, Funny Face, which finally was produced as a Paramount musical in 1957, starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn under the direction of Stanley Donen. By then, the Avedons had been divorced for six years. Doe Avedon's stage debut took place in 1948, in the Broadway production of N. Richard Nash's The Young and Fair, which also featured Julie Harris, Rita Gam, and future Oscar winner Mercedes McCambridge. For her efforts, Avedon was
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Marsters Bugs Out In "High Plains Invaders"

  • SneakPeek
"High Plains Invaders", the 2009 science fiction television film, starring James Marsters, that aired on Syfy, is now available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada :

" 1892, a train robber about to be handed for his crimes, his former sweetheart, a lady bounty hunter and an eccentric mine owner, try to escape a swarm of murderous 'alien bugs' that have landed to feed on the uranium deposits found under their Old West town..."

Filmed in Romania, "High Plains Invaders" is directed by K.T. Donaldson and produced by Ric Nish from a screenplay by Richard Beattie.

Cast also includes Cindy Sampson, Sebastian Knapp and Sammy Van Heteren.

Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "High Plains Invaders"...
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Fireball and Pyrotechnic Fun: A Movie Review

Fireball Alt' PosterDirector: Kristoffer Tabori.

Writer: Kraig Wenman.

Director Kristoffer Tabori is a California born filmmaker and a prolific actor who has appeared in over 50 features, or television shows. Tabori also has a long directing career with participation in over thirty features and is the creator of at least two SyFy original features entitled High Plains Invaders and Fireball. Fireball made an appearance on the SyFy channel early in 2009 and an anonymous review at Disc Dish says of the film "sadly, there’s nothing Marvel-ous about Fireball." But, in fact, Fireball is not so melancholy and one of Mti Home Video's more entertaining releases for 2010.

The film's plot requires some imagination as character Draven, played by Aleks Paunovic ("BattleStar Gallactica), becomes a human match after ingesting a heavy dose of steroids and coming in contact with a raging fire. Draven's DNA from here on in replicates itself into a
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Mti Home Video Releases Sci-Fi Thriller Fireball on DVD Today!

Fireball Alt' PosterFireball was a fantasy themed film that premiered on the Syfy network early in 2009. Now, a year later the film is available today on DVD through Mti Home Video. The film stars Ian Somerhalder ("The Vampire Diaries") as an investigator curious about a prison fire which leaves several inmates seared. Fireball also stars Aleks Paunovic ("Battlestar Galactica") as a "former footbal star" and convict who, through mutation, is able to wield fire on a whim (Mti). Have a watch as Tyler "The Fuse" Draven goes on a vengeful murder spree against those who have wronged him in this clip below (Mti). Then, purchase the DVD at the link provided.

The synopsis for Fireball here:

"In this red hot action-adventure... former football star turned convict, Tyler "The Fuse" Draven (Paunovic), discovers in jail that he has the ability to create fire by mere thought alone! Now he's going to
See full article at 28 Days Later Analysis »

Kristoffer Tabori’s Fireball Blazes a Trail to DVD

In case you were wondering, I tend to like movies with a lot of explosions. And when I say a lot of explosions, I mean a lot of explosions. It’s a problem I’ve had since I was a kid, and the only cure for this peculiar disease is, ironically, more explosions. Kristoffer Tabori’s “Fireball” — which had its world premiere on the SyFy channel sometime last summer — seems like a good prescription for my cinematic woes, even if it does feature Ian Somerhalder as the wannabe badass who’s forced to track down an escaped convict with the ability to start fires with his mind. Fortunately for easy-to-please geeks like myself, “Fireball” will have its way with your psyche when it finally hits DVD on June 22nd. And who said the summer movie schedule was lacking this year? Shame on you, internet naysayers. Shame.
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DVD Review: 'High Plains Invaders'

DVD Review: 'High Plains Invaders'
Not long ago I caught a very cool Western / Horror mash-up called The Burrowers, and it reminded me that there simply aren't enough horror films that take place in the Old West. Oh sure, there are those Tremors and Ginger Snaps prequels and those two weird Oblivion movies (which are more sci-fi than horror), and Antonia Bird's Ravenous is a special little treat. If you're including neo-westerns then Near Dark makes the list, and probably so would Vampires and From Dusk Till Dawn ... but really, this is a sadly underutilized sub-genre! But hey, if you're desperately in the mood for a goofy concoction of western and horror, you could probably do worse than Kristoffer Tabori's High Plains Invaders, a...
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Time to Rope Up some High Plains Invaders in this Clip

The Syfy channel has over a hundred and fifty original movies to its credit and High Plains Invaders is one of their sillier titled numbers, but worth a look, nonetheless. The Syfy channel bills High Plains Invaders as "the Old West will not know what hit it, when cowboys and aliens square of in the ultimate showdown" (Syfy). The film is a genre bender and action packed, which the promo' shows. The movie clip below also displays an homage to the classic War of the Worlds, minus the pistoleros. A play on words of High Plains Drifter, High Plains Invaders will release on DVD April 6th. Several other Syfy original films are at the film's website, also below.

The synopsis for High Plains Invaders:

"After a good-hearted outlaw turns himself in for a fatal accident, the guilt-ridden Sam Phoenix is ready to be hanged when an unexpected pardon arrives
See full article at 28 Days Later Analysis »

Noisy tripods invade the western genre in SyFy's High Plains Invaders

We've known about Kristoffer Tabori's upcoming schlock-fest, High Plains Invaders, for a while now, but were waiting for just the right time to unleash it on you guys. Now seems fitting, considering this is exactly the kind of film that goes down easy when you're nursing a post 4th of July Sunday evening hangover. That's right. This one's going out to my boys in the Us of A.


The hanging of honorable Indian-fighter Sam Phoenix in a small western town is cut short by the unexpected invasion of uranium-based insectoid creatures, forcing Sam and a small band of survivors to take refuge in a church. They’ll need more than a prayer and a pistol to survive, as a Wild West landscape is inundated by a killer force of alien pioneers.

Starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer's James Marsters, High Plains Invaders is currently available "on demand" over at rhitv.
See full article at QuietEarth »

Infestation and lots more Sci Fi/Syfy movie airdates

  • Fangoria
Fango has learned that Infestation, the killer-bug movie from writer/director Kyle Rankin (of Project Greenlight and the highly regarded Hellholes quartet of Atomfilms on-line shorts) will have its premiere this summer on the Sci Fi Channel (to be redubbed Syfy as of next month). In fact, a whole slew of debut dates for assorted Sci Fi/Syfy flicks have come to our attention, guaranteeing a fun summer for creature-feature fans.

Infestation, in which a young man (Chris Marquette) wakes up in his office to find the world overrun by oversized insects and joins a small group of survivors to defeat the invaders, airs Saturday, August 8 at 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. For more on the movie, check out its official website here. More creepy-crawlers emerge in Sand Serpents, directed by Paranoia 1.0’s Jeff Renfroe, in which U.S. soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan come up against an even
See full article at Fangoria »

James Marsters Battles High Plains Invaders

Having just portrayed an alien invader is the deplorable Dragonball: Evolution, perhaps James Marsters starring in a Syfy movie about alien bugs attacking a Wild West town might actually be a step up. Dust off your cowboy hats, folks, 'cause here come the High Plains Invaders.

High Plains Invaders casts the former Spike of "Buffy" and "Angel" as Sam Danville, a guilt-ridden outlaw who arrives in a small Old West town to be executed for his various crimes. Just before he's to be hanged, voracious giant bugs from outer space fall to earth to gorge themselves on the uranium deposits found in the town's ground. Danville finds himself the reluctant leader of a small group of townsfolk against the extraterrestrial insect onslaught.

Included in that group is a nurse who also happens to the woman Danville regretfully abandoned years earlier, a scientist who discovered the uranium mine attracting the space bugs,
See full article at Dread Central »

PorchLight reveals two projects

New York -- PorchLight Entertainment is unveiling two new projects just in time for Mipcom: Front Street Pictures' action-adventure film "Fireball" and the animated holiday telefilm "A Martian Christmas," co-produced by PorchLight and Mexico's Anima Estudios.

Kristoffer Tabori's "Fireball" will follow inspector Ava Williams as she investigates a prison fire to its source, a prisoner seeking revenge against those who put him behind bars. The feature from Front Street ("We Don't Live Here Anymore") will be released theatrically and on television in various territories.

"Christmas," which PorchLight will rep with European distribution partner BetaFilm, centers on a Martian boy caught up in an intergalactic race to save both Christmas and the planet Earth.

Other projects PorchLight president of worldwide distribution Ken DuBow is bringing to Mipcom include Sean and Allison Cody's educational TV series "Global Kids Show," the mummy feature "Tutenstein: Clash of the Titans" and the fairy tale
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Tom Lisanti Interviews Actress Marilyn Mason

  • CinemaRetro

Back In The Spotlight: Marilyn Mason Returns To The Screen With Model Rules

Interview by Tom Lisanti

Actress Marlyn Mason, best remembered as Elvis’ leading lady in The Trouble with Girls (1969) and James Franciscus’ trusty assistant/companion on TV’s Longstreet (1971-72), has come out of a self-imposed 10-year retirement to star in Model Rules (2008) a short film directed by Ray Robison that she also produced and wrote on location in Medford, Oregon where she has been residing these past few years. In it she plays an aging artist's model who envisages being with one of the men sketching her.

The movie came from an idea Marlyn had after researching what it took to become a real life artist’s model back in 2004. She shelved the proposal but when a friend suggested she enter a Fiction Writing contest, a former writing partner, comedian Vince Valenzuela, reminded her about becoming
See full article at CinemaRetro »

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