Review: ‘Painkiller’ is the perfect Bill Oberst Jr. vehicle.

Painkiller

After a man loses his daughter to a drug overdose, he begins a vigilante campaign to bring down the white-collar criminals, including the doctors and pharmaceutical companies, behind the opioid epidemic.

PAINKILLER boasts gorgeous opening titles with 360-degree slow-motion character images surrounded by raining down multicolored pills. Combined with a truly magnificent score, it feels like the audience is being set up for a wild ride. Unfortunately, the overall experience is less thrilling. The premise is intriguing. It’s a revenge story that any parent could get behind. The film gets bogged down by amateur performances from the majority of the cast. I also scratched my head at the idea that a heart surgeon, whose wife is begging for his money in a divorce proceeding, didn’t reside in a more upscale home. This could have been easily addressed by filming those scenes in the same location used for our leading man. After seeing the clarity and effectiveness of the drone shots, this detail disappointed me.

The acting is either over-the-top or underwhelming, with three notable exceptions. Khalmimah Gaston as Detective Janet Simone is an awesome scene partner for Bill Oberst Jr. Their dialogues lays the emotional groundwork that drives the plot. I absolutely believe her as a cop. She’s even-keeled and always present with Bill. Tom Parnell, who also wrote and produced the film, is very strong as Dr. Thomas Mac. While I did think his character deserved better accommodations, his chemistry with his fellow cast members is solid. That final scene is some of the best written and performed in the film. Now onto our leading man Bill Oberst Jr. The tone of his voice is intoxicating. There’s a vulnerability to his portrayal of Bill that makes the audience root for him. His scenes, both as he interacts with callers on his radio show and as he seeks revenge on those who push opioids, are captivating. He is undeniably the number one reason to watch PAINKILLER.

*ON DEMAND/DIGITAL/DVD* MAY 4, 2021

Review: ‘BADLAND’ – a western gone south.

BADLAND

More than a decade after the Civil War, a nation tries to rebuild as an outlaw faction takes root across the West. Gunslinging detective Matthias Breecher (Kevin Makely) is hired by one of the first African American Senators (Tony Todd) to track down the worst of the Confederate war criminals (Trace Adkins, Bruce Dern and Jeff Fahey), with nothing more than his wits and his revolver. As he roams the Old West seeking justice, his resolve is tested when he meets a determined pioneer woman (Mira Sorvino) who is far more than she seems. As the lawless converge on this lawman, death is inevitable in a terrain that welcomes no stranger.

Badland is a post civil war western written and directed by Justin Lee. The cinematography is perfect for the genre. Typical western tropes of honorable, gun-slinging hero on horseback and trigger-happy villains are what kept me watching. I was admittedly a bit distracted by the formality of the dialogue. It didn’t feel gritty enough for the time period and at points, I thought I was watching a Hallmark movie. While the actors make the best of it, I found it more difficult to fully immerse myself in a genre I typically enjoy. Because of this, Badland played like a stage play. Over the top line readings and slow pacing between dialogue led to an unnatural feel in exchanges. Ironically, I would watch this on a stage! It looks gorgeous from the sets to the costumes. I must give credit to Jeff Fahey in his role as Huxley Wainright. He is most definitely the highlight of this film. He fills the screen with his presence and makes everything work, finally. The story is presented in 4 chapters. I did get my fist fights, shoot outs, and classic love story but ultimately felt like Lee’s script could have used a good editor and another pass.

from Cinedigm, BADLAND opens in theaters and on-demand on November 1st.

Badland stars Kevin Makely (Big Legend), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), Trace Adkins (Hickok, I Can Only Imagine), Bruce Dern (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood), Tony Todd (The Final Destination), Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans) and Jeff Fahey (“Lost”).

Written and directed by Justin Lee, BADLAND is set in the unincorporated areas of the West, where renegade factions have replaced law and order. Co-stars include Amanda Wyss (“Highlander”) and Ryan Kelley (“Teen Wolf”).

3 New Indie Movies To Stream Today – ‘Five Star’ ‘Little Loopers’ & ‘Seashore’

Five_Star_Poster4_LR

Five Star – on demand & in theaters
A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old – both in the film and in real life — Primo takes John, the son of his slain mentor, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set in East New York, FIVE STAR blends documentary and fictional storytelling as director Keith Miller carefully avoids worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man.

Little Loopers 2Little Loopers – on demand
After reacting violently during one of his matches, Hutch McGee has retired from the professional golf circuit and fallen into a cycle of drinking and depression. When the lovely and confident director of the local club team asks him to coach the “Little Loopers,” he isn’t exactly enthused. However, the team takes a liking to Hutch and they begin to learn and grow together, both as individuals and golf players as one gives to an other the best sunglasses for the game according to this golf sunglasses reviews. With a boost of confidence from the kids, Hutch not only guides them all the way to the championship tournament, he manages to pull himself back together, ultimately making it back onto the pro-tour and winning the heart of the lovely club director in the meantime…

seashoreSeashore – on demand
Friends since childhood, Brazilian teenagers Martin (Mateus Almada) and Tomaz (Mauricio Barcellos) have since grown apart. When Martin’s grandfather dies, Tomaz journeys with him on a special mission to the windswept coastal town where the estranged family of his grandfather still lives. There, in an abandoned seaside house, secrets are shared, old family wounds are re-opened, and the boys are challenged to sort out for themselves the meanings of friendship, independence, and love in a suddenly adult world.


Available now

Toe Tag Parole: To Live and Die on Yard A – HBO Monday Doc
TOE TAG PAROLE: TO LIVE AND DIE ON YARD A focuses on the 600 men living at The Progressive Programming Facility, who seek self-improvement and spiritual growth through education, art and music therapy, religious services and participation in peer-group sessions. The film features interviews with three of the inmates – sentenced to life at ages 14, 16 and 17 – who describe growing up within the prison walls.

Enter to Win a DVD Copy of ‘The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness’

THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS

The first-ever look at the inner workings of Studio Ghibli, the successful Japanese animation studio, comes to life when the riveting story, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, arrives on VOD January 27 from GKIDS, in conjunction with Cinedigm.

Reel News Daily is excited to offer the opportunity to win a copy of this amazing documentary! Enter below! Read More →