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Nash Edgerton’s “Gringo” – Millennial Movie Man
Along with Joel, Gringo delivers a top-billed list of performers, including David Oyelowo playing the lovable yet naïve lead, Charlize Theron in a Cruella Deville style supporting role, Amanda Seyfried doing her good girl next door routine, and Sharlto Copley being the badass we knew him to be. A film named for the obvious purpose of addressing an American out of his comfort zone in Mexico, Gringo could very well have been called anything for all the absolute craziness that it covers. TABLE SETTING/FIRST-ACTOyelowo plays Harold Soyinka: a middle-management, play-by-the-rules Nigerian Immigrant living in Chicago determined to pay his dues and to secure his own slice of the American dream – at least until he is held hostage on a business trip in Mexico. The corporate vampires and deplorable individuals that are Richard and Elaine have commenced in closing talks on a company merger looking to clean house, with the more than gullible Harold first to go on the chopping block. After finally starting to see the writing on the wall in respect to his fading job security,, good-guy Harold attempts to take his future by the balls and decides to formulates an amateurish, half-cocked extortion scheme to secure money from his crooked bosses while in Mexico.
Before you know it, a slew of wacky characters become thrown into the mix and right into Harold’s self-destructive path while in Mexico – including sweet girl Sunny, Richard’s mercenary tracking brother Mitch, and a couple of money-grubbing knuckleheads who manage a local Mexican motel. The real fun and gun style stuff is all happening with Harold south of the border, with semi-hilarity coupling with brutally explosive violence unfolds; Gringo manages to find some stable footing and a good-natured stride in its Mexican setting for a while, making the first two-thirds of the film admissibly enjoyable. To couple with the chubby plot and scattered cast, Gringo begins shedding its narrative and character weight once certain plot point requirements are met for forward momentum. Some of what were supposed to be defining aspects of Gringo just falls to the wayside to make room for the bloated and messy storytelling. Gringo’s strengths happen to reside in the cast and their brilliant chemistry with one another, particularly with the duos of Edgerton/Theron and Oyelowo/Copley.
Gringo is at its best when its characters are riffing and vibing; however, it evidently erupts these moments with a hurried narrative that never seems to allow the film a chance to breathe, nor its characters the ability to ever really develop within their restricted frameworks. This film has some memorable moments, but due to its inefficiencies, poorly-devised promotional strategy, and its vaguely obscure film title, Gringo may not be one to remember years down the road. Gringo is available everywhere, including Redbox.
California Could Extend ‘Sanctuary State’ Status to Marijuana
The effort borrows the sanctuary idea from a controversial California law passed last year limiting local law enforcement’s efforts to work with federal authorities to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat who represents part of Los Angeles, is determined to protect the burgeoning billion-dollar marijuana industry in the state from federal prosecution by reviving a bill that stalled in the Senate in June after passing in the Assembly. While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month moved to rescind the Obama-era hands-off policy on states with marijuana-friendly state laws just as California’s law legalizing recreational use went into effect. The California Police Chiefs Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association also came out against the marijuana sanctuary state bill last year, deriding it as another effort to tie their hands.
Fifty-seven percent of Californians voted in favor of making recreational marijuana use legal in a 2016 state ballot initiative. Like the sanctuary state law, which restricted law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal authorities to locate, arrest and deport illegal immigrants, Joes-Sawyer’s bill would prevent state and local agencies from working with federal drug enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute legal marijuana growers and sellers without a federal court order. Jones-Sawyer has said he has no problem with Sessions trying to target illegal marijuana businesses trying to operate in California. Last week, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland, Calif., also took action to try to undercut any federal prosecutions against the state’s marijuana growers, sellers and users. If the federal government begins a new wave of enforcement against the marijuana industry in the state it could have a chilling effect on an industry that is expected to hit $6.5 billion in sales by 2020, according to New Frontier Data, a research firm that analyzes the industry.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is engaged in a court fight with Trump over legal protections for immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has said he is considering filing suit against Sessions on the marijuana issue as well. He also has requested information from U.S. attorneys located in California who represent the federal government on how they plan to implement Sessions’s marijuana policy-whether they plan to aggressively go after marijuana growers and sellers or only in cases that involve other serious criminal allegations.