REVIEWS: Compelling drama in ‘Painkiller’; ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3’ a passably pleasant rom com; Wonderfully weird sci-fi comedy with ‘Biosphere’; Plenty of fun in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’; Dud horror with ‘The Nun II’

He’s here to help: Matthew Broderick as drug company boss Richard Sackler in ‘Painkiller’.

PAINKILLER ***1/2 (six episodes; 289 minutes) MA
There’s no love for Big Pharma in Painkiller, a fast-paced, factually inspired six-part Netflix series that takes a deep dive into the opioid addiction crisis and how mega corp Purdue pushed OxyContin onto the American public.

The drama unfolds from several key vantage points perspectives, each anchored by excellent performances.

At the top, Matthew Broderick does a splendid job as Richard Sackler, the company patriarch who designs the drug, dances around its imperfections, then sets about winning the approval of the inconveniently dedicated official at the Food and Drug Administration so he can milk billions from an unsuspecting public.

Making it all happen is the army of sales reps, attractive young women in fast cars and short skirts who push OxyContin onto pharmacists who are susceptible to flattery and flirting.

West Duchovny (daughter of David Duchovny and Tea Leoni) is fabulous as one of the naive, enthusiastic recruits who is swept up in the corporate get-rich-quick culture. She falls in love with her lucrative, commission-based job before slowly realizing the price her success has on the victims of OxyContin.

At the bottom of the ladder we witness the decline of Glen Kryger, a blue-collar boss who suffers a workplace injury and becomes hooked on OxyContin.

In one of the most powerful portrayals of addiction you are likely to see, Taylor Kitsch is a tortured study of a man losing control of his life and his family to an over-prescribed pill.

In the middle of the scandal is Edie Flowers (Uzo Aduba), a rigourous investigator trying to make sense of the mess. The story is largely told through her testimony and though she is meant to be acting impartially, we see the personal toll painkillers have taken on her life, poignantly symbolized by her nightly immersion in playing Tomb Raider.

As director, big-screen veteran Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights; Deepwater Horizon; Patriots Day) does an excellent job maintaining focus on the many story threads without ever letting the pace sag.

Things do get a little tabloid with a few ill-judged satiric digressions. These prove awkward and unnecessary, given how strong the central drama is, with each episode introduced by people mourning loved ones lost to the drug.

The turtles are back in a sprightly animated origin story that serves up a big juicy slice of fun for kids and parents, many of whom probably grew up watching the cartoon show back in the 1980s (as well as the films, of course).

Tracing back to how the four turtles became mutant, the slicky directed jaunt delivers a fast action-comedy with plenty of goofball laughs and a pleasing message about sticking together and looking past differences.

Voice talents include martial arts legend Jackie Chan, whose action films apparently inspired the fight sequences.

Most pleasing to the eye is the film’s rather beautiful animation, boasting a deliberately rough, hand-drawn style that distinguishes it from the polished precision we are so accustomed to. Very distinctive stuff.

BIOSPHERE *** (107 minutes) M
A treat for those arthouse circuit denizens looking for out-of-the-box fare is this intriguing post-apocalyptic science-fiction comedy.

Following a vaguely defined calamity that has ended civilization, two gents (Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass, co-writer with director Mel Eslyn) find themselves stuck together in a dome that is protecting them from the ominous gloom outside.

The renewable energy in the apartment-like facility is drawn from a few plants and a fishpond, the docile inhabitants of which are crucial to their survival.

Filmed in the single location on an obviously microscopic budget, Biosphere presents a cleverly devised scenario that delivers a constant stream of surprises as we slowly piece together who these two guys actually are and how they ended up in this bizarre circumstance.

Most pointedly, the two have to figure out how they’re going to propagate the human race, an uphill task given they have no access to women. The proposed solution involves a drastic rethinking of their life-long friendship, which stretches from childhood to The White House.

Though it doesn’t come through with the payoff it promises, it’s an enjoyably far-fetched, very well-acted two-hander that’s decidedly weird and warped that should prove satisfying for those happy to buy into its oddball micro-verse.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3 **1/2 (92 minutes) PG
Not that we were pining for it, but Nia Vardalos now gifts the world with a threequel to her shock 2002 romantic comedy hit, a low-budget film that is one of the most profitable films ever. (Made for less than $10 million, it took more than $625m. Not bad.)

In this latest, feather-light lark, Toula (Vardalos, who also wrote and directed) leads her noisy extended family back to Greece for a family reunion.

Her quest is to locate friends of her late father (played by the late Michael Constantine in the first two films, who died in 2021) and give them the beloved scrapbook of his life.

Given this is the third bite at the cherry, it’s a disposable, super-light, sufficiently pleasant time killer that will clearly please fans with its riffs about digital technology, food, chickens and young romance. (The crowd at the Girls Night Out public preview certainly responded as one to all the gags.)

Filmed on location in Athens and the Greek islands of Corfu, Vardalos took full advantage of the sunny scenery, making the place look very alluring, something Greece probably needs after the terrible wave of wildfires.

THE NUN II *1/2 (109 minutes) M
While the easily spooked will no doubt find enough excuses to shudder at the thin offerings of The Nun II, it’s a low-end horror film without ingenuity or imagination that will likely leave more hearty genre fans bored. The film is well-produced but it’s just not scary.

Set in 1950s France, a pair of young nuns head off to a dimly lit Catholic teaching facility where they investigate the strange goings on involving the spirit of a fallen angel who is haunting the joint and assuming possession of the school’s handyman.

There’s lots of schoolgirl screaming and scenes lit only by torchlight, begging the question as to why nobody ever turn the lights on.

The credit crawl has the usual teaser pointing to yet another Nun movie. Hopefully it’ll have more spark and scares than this one.

Lord hear our prayer.