Jacinta Hunt is a drug addict and this is her story, as directed by Jessica Earnshaw. Born into several generations of substance abuse and criminal behavior, Jacinta follows her mother Rosemary to the Maine Correctional Center. That’s where this impressive documentary begins. Once Jacinta’s out, she quickly returns to shooting up heroin and fentanyl. This leads to another arrest when she steals heroin and crack from a dealer and is caught with the stash, and four more years in MCC. Jacinta’s daughter Caylynn practically steals the film. Wiser than both her mom and grandmother, she knows to keep Jacinta at a distance, despite their intense bond. Will Jacinta stay clean? It might take a Part 2 to find out.
Alanis Morissette has disassociated herself from Alison Klayman’s documentary, which mostly focuses on her hugely successful 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill. The Canadian singer hints at problems at the hands of men once she turned 15. The album – with hits like “You Oughta Know” and “Hand in My Pocket – challenged male dominance in society. It sold 33 million copies, won five Grammy Awards, has been adapted into a Broadway play and now there’s this effort to detail Morissette’s historic, empowering musical achievement. Jagged is part of HBO’s Music Box series that also includes Don’t Try to Under to Understand: A Year in the Life of Earl “DMX” Simmons, Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss and Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love and Rage.
Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss
Talk about cautionary tales. Juice WRLD died of a drug overdose in 2019 when he was just 21. Tommy Oliver pieces together the Chicago rapper’s short but spectacular life as part of HBO’s Music Box series. It’s kind of like walking in the middle of a movie. By 2018, Juice WRLD was already playing for huge crowds only a year into his professional career. But something’s not right. He’s drinking lean (soda mixed with cough syrup), popping Percocets (as many as 20 a day) and smoking a lot of blunts on camera. This is not going to end well and it didn’t. On Dec. 8, 2019, Juice WRLD suffered a fatal seizure on a private jet, which was heading to Chicago from L.A. with 70 pounds of pot stashed aboard. Police met the plane at O'Haire, but it was too late for Jarad Higgins, who got an early start with Adderal and never looked back. Oliver doesn’t dig very deep; there’s almost no archival footage and few interviews of note. It’s mostly the rappers’ friends pontificating.
Like Marlo Furloni and Kate McLean’s drama Freeland, Chris J. Russo’s doc zeroes in on California’s legalization program, post passage in 2016. All of the film’s female subjects struggle to survive in the regulated market. Russo selected seven women – Felica Carbajal, Joyce Centofanti, Cheryl Mumser Goldman, Pearl Moon, Chiah Rodrigues and Karyn Wagner – to frame the story around. Despite deep roots on the legacy side, some cultivating for more than 30 years in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, the harsh new realities make it difficult for small farmers to compete in the state’s Green Rush. Both movies show setbacks and challenges. Lady Buds at least provides hope for strong-willed woman with years in the cannabis community. The harvest footage is fabulous and Brittany Howard’s “Stay High” plays during a credits.
Things have been relatively quiet for Jeremy Piven since the Entourage movie in 2015. He’s the star of Paolo Pilladi’s Irish comedy set in Pennsylvania. Mick (Piven), who lives in Philadelphia, comes home to Darby Heights for his mother’s funeral. Upwardly mobile and ambitious, unlike his brothers and old friends, Mick’s treated as an outsider. He has to work to prove himself to them. A developer, Mick works for a company that plans to build a casino in the depressed town, which he refers to as a “shithole.” Mick and Ali (Taryn Manning) are drawn each other, even though she opposes the project. The family bar Callahan’s is home to many drunken nights and the gang party with joints and booze at a get-away. Despite a happy resolution, the film fails to resonate as Piven struggles in the role (he’s not even Irish). Bruce Dern plays Coach in the movie.
MUSIC DOC/'70S CLASSIC ROCK
In 1970, Joe Cocker toured with an all-star band led by Leon Russell; they called themselves Mad Dogs & Englishman. It was druggy tour featuring a number of popular studio musicians like saxophonist Bobby Keyes. Footage from Pierre Adidge’s 1971 Mad Dogs movie is contrasted with a 2015 reunion orchestrated by Tedeschi Trucks Band and filmed by Matt Lauter.
It’s hard to tell what this movie is – a comedy as advertised, a music industry farce along the lines of This Is Spinal Tap (it is British) or a serious drama. Girl group Glass Heart come off tour and go right into a rustic studio to record their second album. Singer-songwriter Kelly (Alia Shawkat - she's also in Being the Ricardos) has writer’s block and keeps delaying recording that leads to a shake up in the band with Alice (Tara Lee) leaving and peppy Pat (Eiza González) joining. This fires up Kelly and music begins to flow. The other main character, band manager Marc (Nick Helm), provides a bit of the comedy but sadly gets the short end of the deal. No drugs are consumed in Jamie Adams’ droll film.