Times are a-changing for 60-something Humboldt County legacy pot farmer Devi (Kristin Fairchild) ever since marijuana legalization came to California in Marlo Furloni and Kate McLean’s compelling film. Lagging behind neighbors who’ve filed for expensive cultivation permits, Devi’s content to sell her premium buds on the illicit market until she’s hit with a Notice to Abate for public nuisance. Following visits to a local high-tech greenhouse and an NCIA conference, Devi’s overwhelmed. After one last failed effort to move her latest strain, she loses it. It’s quite a performance by Fairchild, who emotes throughout and especially in the final act. Freeland refers to a defunct commune where Devi and her friend Ray (John Craven) once lived. Devi remains caught in the past as the present and future race by her.
Three boys, traumatized by their childhoods, become hoodlums in Nadil Elderkin’s gritty drama set in L.A. It’s all about the cycle of violence. The key character Calvin (Jacob Latimore) watched as a cop killed his father. A sensitive, bright kid, Calvin strikes back with violent rage. His two besties – Jessie (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Nicky (Charlie Plummer), who’s married to dancer Joyce (Amber Heard) – have similar histories. The terrible trio goes on a rampage of beat-downs and car thefts for no apparent reason; to them it’s just another video game, but in real life. Pills are mixed in during a sexy club scene. While Nicky gets pinched and Calvin’s targeted for revenge. Jessie quietly manages to live another day on the streets of Compton.
Teen star Bella Thorne has struggled in her adult acting career. She’s in two films this year, Time Is Up and Habit. The latter, directed by Janell Shirtcliff, features Thorne front and center as Texan-born Mads, who moves to L.A., deals drugs, dresses up as a nun and has sex with a preacher (in the confession booth, of course). A devout Christian, she seeks redemption, but finds recrimination instead. Rising up the drug food chain, Mads is ready for anything, even if it means slicing off the head of her rival Queenie (Josie Ho) with blood spurting everywhere. It’s not a great look for Thorne (she has her own line of cannabis products, Forbidden Fruit) but, clearly, she doesn’t care. Ione Skye makes a cameo as convent owner Sunny.
MUSIC DOC/FOLK ROCK
Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something
Pop-folk singer Harry Chapin died in a car accident in 1981; he was just 38. Chapin is best known for his ’70s hits - “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi” with its famous lyric, “I go flying so high when I’m stoned.” But he was also a supporter of many causes. In fact, Chapin was en route to a benefit concert when the crash happened.
How It Ends
With a comet heading straight for Earth, Liza (Zoe Lister-Smith) spends the last day on the planet soul searching and settling old scores as she walks – yes walks – around Los Angeles. This odd film, co-directed by Lister-Smith and Daryl Wein, asks a lot of the viewer. Liz is accompanied by her “younger self” or YS, a small version of Liza (Cailee Spaeny). Her journey include stops with her mother Lucinda (Helen Hunt), father Kenny (Bradley Whitford), psychic Alay (Olivia Wild), psychonauts Lonny (Charlie Day) and Krista (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and stoner Gary (Nick Kroll), who offers them a couple of rollies (prerolls). The end-of the-world party is delayed because Mandy (Whitney Cummings) is on an extended ketamine trip. The parade of cameos and L.A. scenery reminds of Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, minus the neuroticism. It just doesn’t add up to a compelling movie.
Hugo Winter (Nicolas Fagerberg), a really tall blonde white dude with a long scraggly beard, goes to Uganda in search of a psychedelic visionary drug, bulu, which comes from a wild blue flower. Hugo quickly gets hooked on it, causing all sorts of problems with the locals. Already impulsive and easily angered, Hugo overdoes it in his pursuit of a pay-day in London, if he ever makes it back. The two sisters who spar over Hugo – Kisakye (Estheri Tebandeke) and Angela (Rehema Nanfuka) – give British director Dan Moss’ film some needed depth. Still, the movie’s ultimately about a white smuggler hustling a natural resource out of a continent that was plundered by colonialists like Hugo.