Painkiller is more of a mouthpiece than a movie. The filmmakers are so excited by the film’s premise, that they would rather table action sequences and tense showdowns to have discussions about Big Pharma and the opioid epidemic it seems to be encouraging. I admire their enthusiasm, but this attitude has distracted them from making a good movie.
Director Asif Akbar (Smoke Filled Lungs) misses the mark with Astro, a sci-fi thriller that gets bogged down by its exposition-heavy script and convoluted plot.
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.