The Joke Thief is the latest released feature in Frank D’Angelo’s rapid filmography. This time, the writer/director/actor takes a break from cops-and-robbers and, instead, delivers a subdued story about a flamed-out stand-up comic, Simon (played by D’Angelo), looking for purpose as he reflects on his past during a car ride through the streets of Toronto…erm…New York City.
At the moment, there isn’t a more indulgent director than Frank D’Angelo. The Canadian entrapreneur/musician has made a film career out of mob movies featuring (and recycling) loaded casts, essentially, playing cops n’ robbers. The material is more than criminals and anti-heroes pointing guns and using twelve-letter words to berate each other, but some have argued otherwise. The Neighborhood, unfortunately, gives the haters ammunition.
In Frank D’Angelo’s The Red Maple Leaf, special agent Alfonso Palermo (D’Angelo) asks potential suspects to “indulge him” during interrogations. I’ve heard some describe D’Angelo’s filmmaking as indulgent, which is why I smirked whenever Palermo asked this. Whether this was a cheeky wink toward critics is a mystery, and will probably remain unanswered.
Just like staring at an inkblot, “random” and “strange” are the first words that spring to mind if I had to describe Frank D’Angelo’s Sicilian Vampire to movie goers. However, the oddities give D’Angelo’s film a fever dream allure – it’s entertaining one way or another.