Twelve Shorts for the Shortest Month #4: The Woman in the Room (1983)

US / 30 minutes / color / Gregory Melton Dir & Scr: Frank Darabont Pr: Gregory Melton, Frank Darabont Story: “The Woman in the Room” (1978 Night Shift) by Stephen King Cine: Juan Ruiz Anchia Cast: Michael Cornelison, Dee Croxton, Brian Libby, Bob Brunson, George Russell

John (Cornelison), a lawyer and loving son, is being torn apart by the plight of his mother (Croxton): in the final stages of terminal cancer, she’s been given a cordotomy to relieve the agony, but the pain still persists. John knows an overdose of her old painkillers would put her over the edge into merciful oblivion, but can he really contemplate killing his own mother?

Without revealing his motives, he picks the brains of a multiple murderer (Libby) he’s representing, but is hardly reassured: the prisoner tells him the only killing that ever hit him hard emotionally was the mercy killing of a buddy in Vietnam who’d had his legs blown off and was falling prey to gangrene.

Michael Cornelison as John

Once again John must wrestle with his conscience . . . Continue reading

Get Santa (2014)

UK, US, Sweden / 103 minutes / color / Scott Free, Ingenious, BFI, Altitude, Screen Yorkshire, Chimney, Lipsync, Film i Väst, Warner Bros. Dir & Scr: Christopher Smith Pr: Liza Marshall Cine: Christopher Ross Cast: Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kit Connor, Ewen Bremner, Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham, Joanna Scanlan, Jodie Whittaker, Nonso Anozie, Matt King, Perry Benson, Joshua McGuire, Bjarne Henriksen, Hera Hilmar, Michael Walter, Graham Hughes, Leigh Gill, Brian Bovell.

With the title’s allusion to that of Elmore Leonard’s 1990 novel Get Shorty (adapted for the big screen in a 1995 movie and for the small one in a series begun in 2017), and with occasional other noirish references throughout—most notably to The SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)—this manages to achieve as much noirish atmosphere as you might expect for the season: in other words, not a great deal. (Yes, I know there are plenty of exceptions, but . . .)

The two faces of Jim Broadbent as Santa: naughty and nice.

In terms of comedy, it’s fit to stand beside Simon Pegg outings like HOT FUZZ (2007), albeit with no cussing to speak of and with the rudest of the jokes being about pooping and farting rather than bonking. As a crime movie, it has its moments—well, almost—although again they’re played for laughs, as in a protracted car chase where Santa, in the fleeing car, wields a gun that fires (to devastating effect) pellets of Continue reading