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September 23, 2010 | By Robert Abele
Informally sketched but deeply felt, Bradley Beesley's documentary "Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo" mingles with the spirited cowgirl inmates who compete in Oklahoma's annual state penitentiary rodeo, a 70-year tradition of Wild West-style showbiz that began to allow females to participate only in 2006. Although there's a queasy tinge of gladiatorial bloodlust in seeing society's punished put themselves in hooves' and horns' way for spectator sport, the tears in one woman's eyes as she describes leaving the correctional facility for an afternoon of outdoor training speak wonders.
December 3, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
With her stringy gray wig, elastic-waisted jeans, frumpy sweater and thick glasses, Melissa Leo is barely recognizable as the middle-aged loner Holly Jones in the recent kidnapping drama "Prisoners. " She disappears so fully into the role that it's almost hard to imagine she nearly passed on the film. Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series , Leo discussed why she hesitated to take on the role, what finally convinced her and how she approached her character. Leo said her first reaction to the "Prisoners" screenplay was: "Well, it's a fascinating and well-written script, but no thank you. " Pressed further, she watched director Denis Villeneuve's film "Incendies," was impressed, and then agreed to meet with him. Villeneuve, Leo said, "understood that I was fearful.
July 12, 2013
Re "Mass protest sweeps state prisons," July 10, and "The strike against solitary," July 10 The fact that many prisoners in California are treated inhumanely by the state shocks the conscience and haunts the soul. It's not "tough on crime" to keep inmates in solitary confinement or to fail to provide prisoners basic humane services; to the contrary, it contributes to the high recidivism that affects us all. The answer is to get smart on crime and be humane to those incarcerated.
November 12, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano
MINERSVILLE, Pa. - He hobbled down the dark tiled hallway, leaning heavily on his black wooden cane. His feet shuffled, his hands shook, and finally 85-year-old Benjamin Share nearly collapsed into a chair in the prison visitation room. Convicted in 2006 for illegally pocketing a quarter of a million in taxpayer money, he struggles with diabetes, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, hypertension and arthritis, which has ravaged his hips and spine. He has undergone kidney dialysis and treatment for cancer on his scalp and scar tissue on his lungs.
April 6, 1999
I see by The Times (April 1) that there is a bill in the California Legislature to prohibit prisoners from watching television. If the object is to punish them, they should be made to watch it. Let them pay for their crimes to the fullest extent. IRV ELMAN Pacific Palisades
October 20, 2001
The persons being detained for terrorist investigation (Oct. 17) are essentially prisoners of war, whether they are captured in the U.S. or in another country. After all, we are at war and they very well might have information that we can use to protect ourselves. It is unfortunate that some of them are here illegally or some from repressive regimes, but if they ask for rights that we guarantee to our citizens they have to at least adhere to our laws. Herb Yellin Northridge
September 20, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
With the big-budget spectacles of summer behind us and the dramas of awards season on the horizon, French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, a foreign-language Oscar nominee for 2010's "Incendies," returns with another dark, weighty film: "Prisoners. " Starring Hugh Jackman as a tormented father whose daughter has been kidnapped and Jake Gyllenhaal as a frustrated detective, the film -- based on a long-admired original script by Aaron Guzikowski -- is earning praise for its fine craftsmanship and strong performances -- although many reviewers add that the experience can be grueling.
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