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Kunle Afolayan’s ‘The CEO’ Promises A Lot But Turns Out A Letdown image

Kunle Afolayan’s ‘The CEO’ Promises A Lot But Turns Out A Letdown

Over the past years Mr Afolayan has proven himself to be one of the most renowned filmmakers from Nigeria and Africa as a whole, churning out unforgettable master-class movies like Irapada, Phone Swap, October1 and most recently The CEO.


The CEO is mostly shot in a resort in Lagos, Nigeria and showcases the series of events that ensue when a multinational company (Transwire Limited) decide to pick a new CEO to run the firm by hosting top executives for the position at a beach resort in order to pick the next boss, what starts out as cordial leads to the top executives trying to outdo themselves to be named The CEO. 

The movie opens with a scene where Kola (Wale Ojo) is running for dear life and is apprehended by the Police, that scene was supposed to welcome us into this promising journey but then weak direction is offered, when the Production Designer (Pat Nebo) who is not an actor grips Kola and the other officers stand by, a little scuffle is expected, a little more than what Afolayan offered, more direction and takes were required to give the audience the desired effect of believability. The movie boasts of a very rich Pan-African cast which was the desired effect as an African cinema harmonising movie aside the cast, the movie had varied shots from Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast, France and the overall production was done in Nigeria.

The CEO had great performances, each country not only representing their countries as characters to become THE CEO but providing heavy weight acting representing their countries in the real as well. Angelique Kidjo proved that her prowess exceeds music as the austere consultant, Dr. Zimmerman, Wale Ojo and the Ivorian actress Eloise (Aurelia Eliam) triumphed in this production but overall the casting choices by Kunle Afolayan was hundred percent apt, aside for the Superintendent (Hilda Dokubo) who seemed  a little bit heavy on the eye with over-acting.  Riikard (Nico Panagio) the South African executive is an honourable mention and of course Lisa (Kemi  Lala Akindoju) who should not have been casted for the role because of the nature but managed to pull through.

The screenplay was written by Nigeria’s finest and supposedly highest paid screenwriter Tunde Babalola, the lines in the dialogue were crisp and rich and without seeing his name attached  to this production, it is well easy to tell that the script was penned by a professional in the field but the story in itself was faulty with the whodunit style we have seen in his previous work (October 1) with Mr Afolayan which felt more believable with the pieces in place but past the climax when the executives begin to die and a clearer picture is set, a lot of questions are raised like how did the Kenyan executive Jomo (Peter King)  die? What happened is clear cut but the end does not seem to add up to what we are supposed to believe and why the killer was eliminating the executives also left a loose end even with all the scenes at the end trying to offer answers but still the question did not feel answered, this did not create an ‘inception like ambiguity’ which was supposed to be the effect but it arose corniness, trying to make the audience sell their belief as though it was a comedy, this did not arise the ‘I need to see this movie a second time to grasp the picture’ it felt more like a letdown. Then the aspect of predictability to Kunle’s Whodunit style, when the silhouette of the killer was revealed, it was not difficult to guess ‘who’ like we saw also in October 1.

The scores for this picture was done by a Hungarian orchestra, so only a Hollywood standard was expected and delivered, although the score that ended this movie again was a letdown, this is supposed to be a world class African cinema uniting production not an Asaba flick, and that closing scene deserved a better score of class standard but was offered a Frank Edwards kind of track, not all music is fit for scoring movies, the director should know better. The stunt direction was a major woe in this production, the scene where the culprit scuffles with Kola was to be very honest, poor.

The sermon the killer attempted to preach about the Nigerian market in such heated up scene did not add taste whatsoever, however the beach scuffle appeared better executed but the cringe-worthiness of the first scuffle overrode it. The CEO has a big budget and had great potential but lost a bit as a result of Mr. Kunle following the script subjectively hook, line and sinker.

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Cinematic review of Mo Abudu's Fifty image

Cinematic review of Mo Abudu's Fifty

Being one of the most anticipated movies of 2015, Fifty was one movie I had to see to complete my list of Nigerian movies to see this year. After seeing the trailer which i considered undeniably enticing, i journeyed to the theatre with a very open mind for the best.

Fifty captures a few pivotal days in the lives of four Nigerian women at the pinnacle of their careers. Tola, Elizabeth, Maria and Kate, four friends forced at midlife to take inventory of their personal lives while juggling careers and family against the sprawling backdrops of the upper middle-class neighbourhoods of Ikoyi and Victoria Island of Lagos. They live and work in the resurgent, ever-bustling, 24-hour megacity of Lagos. The movie had a brilliant cast which consisted of heavy weights such as Ireti Doyle, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Dakore Akande, Omoni Oboli , Wale Ojo, Emmanuel Ikubese among others, the acting performances were top notch and didn’t fail to impress in any way, out of the leads Nse Ikpe and Dakore Akande stood out for me especially Nse who I thought was exceptional and very believable with her role. The movie was adeptly directed by Biyi Bandele (half of a yellow sun). The screenplay was tight and was written by Bola Agbaje, Kemi Adesoye and Biyi Bandele who are all professionals in the script department. The sound, cinematography and picture quality were wonderful, the production value of this movie was beautiful, it had the most eye catching and memorable aerial shots of Lagos, apparently that was one of the main purposes for this movie to show you ‘the Lagos Hollywood will never show you’ the movie also had musical guest appearances from King Sunny Ade, Tiwa Savage, Waje, Nneka and Femi Kuti, this brought a lot of entertainment to this movie, one I haven’t seen in anything from Nollywood. As always the movie wasn’t without flaws, one very notable fault in the movie was the ages of the casting choices among the leads aside Ireti Doyle, ages that apparently didn’t reflect the title of the movie which was the main reason the story was produced by Mo Abudu, this error sparked a lot of questions that left me confused and amused at the same time, an error that has been very common in the industry and again some of the scenes had unnatural dialogues seeming like a pre read.

Overall this movie was apparently a big budget movie which didn’t fail to impress the audience but like I always say, a little more attention to small details like the age of casting choices or simply changing the title to ‘forty’ or anything else but fifty would have made this movie a knockout, all the same, this movie is one that you should see if you still haven’t.

82
rating
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Cinematic review of Moses Inwang's Last 3 digits image

Cinematic review of Moses Inwang's Last 3 digits

Let us start from here, I saw road to yesterday not with high hopes of something way above the ordinary or anything of that sort because I had read some reviews already and one silly girl had spoiled it a bit for me on the movie’s instagram page, but just like majority of Nigerian cinema goers who appreciate the revolutionized Nollywood, I was happy for a Genevieve come back since it has been quite a while we saw her on the big screen. Well, let me not bore you with too much story and get down to business but FYI, this is a ‘user review’ not a ‘critic review’, fans of IMDb will know what I mean.

Road to yesterday is a road trip movie that tells a story mostly in flash backs about a couple who agreed to travel for a funeral and in the process started coming to terms with the many issues that have bedevilled their relationship and marriage. I wouldn’t want to go too hard, but for a comeback and a first production from ‘the entertainment network’ which happens to be Genny’s production company this movie was too flat and bland. I wouldn’t judge the script writers (Emil Garba and Ishaya Bako) for this one, since the story was from the executive producer herself (Genevieve Nnaji) who had the writers apparently dancing to her own tune but just for the records, every storyteller and writer know that the beginning of every piece MUST never be joked with, this movie was an exception. The acting had people talking in my screen room, the lead actor lacked this naturalness and flexibility, most scenes with him felt like a pre-read, though aunty Genny brought it on well here and there but you know what happens when palm oil stains one finger, Chioma Omeruah aka ‘Chigurl’ did her best with comic relief and Majid Michel was good, Ebele Okaro Onyiuke and Deyemi Okanlawon were what I tagged ‘expensive extras’. The able Director (Ishaya Bako) couldn’t have done more to salvage this movie, he did his best. The cinematography, picture and sound quality were quite commendable. One of my best scenes was the cemetery scene mostly because the aerial view was beautiful. Overall this movie had people in my theatre leaving before it even climaxed, hisses and na wa! was rife in the theatre and ensuing scenes were also well predicted as we went along, I kept on encouraging the girl by me to ‘be strong’ a twist was coming, this never happened.

The only advice I’ll give as one who believes in the ‘New Nollywood’ is that for next time, the story and characters be more complex, twisted and complicated so it leaves an imprint in the mind of the audience and the story should not have the very talented Genevieve snoozing in her comfort zone. If you missed Genevieve as much as I did you can go see this one, continuously seeing her face should palliate all that disappointment you should be feeling!

42
rating
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Rebecca: A Two Man Love Tale That Just Manages To Captivate image

Rebecca: A Two Man Love Tale That Just Manages To Captivate

Now Award seasons are over in Nigeria and Ghana, it was worth the wait to see how some highly anticipated movies faired in the awards before actually seeing them and Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s REBECCA is one of the few.


REBECCA tells the story of a egotistic city man Clifford (Joseph Benjamin) who keeps to this mother’s death wishes and travels home to marry a timid looking village girl Rebecca (Yvonne Okoro) to whom he is betrothed, on their way home they get lost in the middle of nowhere and he gets to realise that this girl he has married just a few hours earlier is anything but ordinary. The synopsis could be deceiving and make you believe this one is a usual cliché but the well put together trailer will pique your interest and make you want to see it.

Shirley Frimpong who co-produced and Directed this movie with Ken Attoh and also wrote the screenplay can only be described as an unconventional risk taker, who just hears voices in her head and begins to pen over a hundred pages of screenplay based on fresh dialogue between two casts and one scene with different cuts, for a film market like ours in this part of the world it is a heavy risk that only she and maybe Leila Djansi can pull.

Seeing the trailer of this movie, you could be drawn to believe that the screenplay and the performances of both casts should be award winning but when you see this picture you will get to understand why not. The dialogue was fresh and worth listening to from Clifford’s perspective but for a supposed village girl who we get to learn was trained to read and write by a ‘village teacher’ her use of words were rather too heavy and probably will give Joke Sylvia’s choice of words a run for its money, how about use simpler terms like ‘happy’ in lieu of ‘excited’ and ‘tall grasses’ instead of ‘shrubs’, this would have brought a proper imbalance in the dialogue of the cast which was what was expected but this was not offered even in the scene where Clifford asks ‘ how did you learn to speak so well?’ this simply did not cover up for this major shortcoming, reason why the script which had great potential did not get any nods at the major awards this year.

For the performances, at some point you can notice that the Director was trying ceaselessly to extract the characters from the cast rather than the cast doing it for themselves, you could feel Rebecca look sometimes as though her attention was divided, it felt like she did not do  a proper research on the character in order not to simply explore Rebecca’s complexities but to also show that proper ‘village side’ that would have given her an easy award nod, Yvonne Okoro probably felt she could do it and just went ahead being that the character seemed easy to interpret. Joseph Benjamin did impress at some points but overall it was the usual Benjamin Joseph the one we have seen over and again.

As stated earlier, the efforts of the Director were visible in this picture, no wonder the AMVCA nomination, the sound and video editing was very properly done and would have been a tough one been that this was a one long scene movie that has great potential to be tedious but it managed not to be so much of a bore with the dialogue. The choice of music scores was also very brilliant and added taste to every scene a score was required. However, the scene where a supposed wild animal was chasing them was in all candour a joke, an unapologetic joke that could have been better thought out and executed. Highlights were the ‘sex in the rain scene’ and the scene where we could hear Shirley through Rebecca when Clifford asks ‘ are you a virgin?’ and she retorts ‘are you?’ It felt painstaking to watch before  the climax but the end, the very end of this movie saved the day, the happenings and the very last dialogue between Rebecca and Clifford was enough to pardon any of the flaws one could have put together viewing this the movie.

 

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Niyi Akinmolayan Shows Off Craft And Progression With ‘The Arbitration’ image

Niyi Akinmolayan Shows Off Craft And Progression With ‘The Arbitration’

The Arbitration tells the story of Gbenga (O.C Ukeje) and his former employee Dara (Adesua Etomi) who had an affair, after the affair ended and Dara leaves the company, she sues Gbenga and accuses him of rape and then an arbitration panel is constituted to find out the truth. The movie boasts of a great cast consisting of O.C Ukeje , Adesua Etomi, Somkele Inyamah, Ireti Doyle, Sola Fosudo and Lota Chukwu E and Gregory Ojefua.

The movie opens with a series of montages and a ‘there are three sides to every story’ caption which will be better understood before the closing credits of the movie. The Arbitration is a legal drama of about 100 minutes that has so many artistic and aesthetic values and aside the story or the plot, the movie in all ramification proved that a group of wonderful actors and very good editing could enchant the audience to sit that long viewing long sessions of serious dialogue, plenty expressions and a little action.

The movie tries to address ‘what rape actually constitutes’ and also educate Nigerians on what an arbitration in contrast to a law court entails. Ireti Doyle (Funlayo Johnson) stole the show in this production with her expressions, diction and grace, Adesua Etomi (Dara) and O.C Ukeje (Gbenga) had a great chemistry as though it was made in heaven; very natural and believable all along. Somkhele Inyamah (Omawunmi Horsefall) who played the inexperienced lawyer also came out in flying colours been that this will count as her first major film to the larger audience, the acting in general was very well put together and believable.

Niyi Akinmolayan (Make a Move, Out of Luck) has actually shown how much of a great director he is with the progression in his movies’ craft potential over time, more like a director that attempts to learn new things and get better with every movie he works on. The soundtracks required an album of its own because it was actually one of the elements that made the movie tick, each well suited and giving life to every scene. The audience can easily tell that a lot of attention was given to the soundtracks and sound editing and anthill studios will surely get all that credit.

VISUALLY, THE ARBITRATION WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THE SOUNDTRACKS, EVEN BETTER

The story was fresh: not quite like anything explored before in Nollywood. ‘The arbitration’ format of judging cases is something many Nigerians are unaware of and ‘the arbitration’ did a good job on the story telling. The pace was fast enough and kicked off from the start. The fact that the screenplay deals a lot with the information technology industry especially and law makes it a tad bit difficult for the everyday viewer to digest but the flow of the story makes it totally impossible to fall asleep or take a bow from the theatre though greater attention was given to the IT aspects of the script compared to the legal side of things: many lawyers will agree.

The highest credit will definitely go to Victoria Akujobi, AMVCA winner for ‘Reflections’ who also did the video editing, this will get nods from Awards next year definitely because at the end of the day, the transitioning and the flow of the montages in the flash backs aside the good performances brought to the table was what did make the audience enjoy the entire movie.    

 

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Steve Gukas’ “93 DAYS” Pays An Unforgettable Tribute To The Heroes Of The Ebola Virus In Nigeria  image

Steve Gukas’ “93 DAYS” Pays An Unforgettable Tribute To The Heroes Of The Ebola Virus In Nigeria

Every Nigerian can remember vividly the tension that arose in the country when the Ebola Disease found its way to our doorsteps with the caution it added upon many, the source of amusement it caused to a fair number, and the pain and loss it caused a few−the intense pain which most Nigerians did not know. Some even went as far as debating the fact that the disease actually made it to our borders: arguing that it was only a political gambit to help promote the campaign for second term of the then government.

The Director Steve Gukas (A Place in the Stars, Keeping Faith) was among the many who understood this pain and the urgency which birthed the idea to tell the story he told. Then he engaged Paul .S. Rowlston to carry out a proper research into the lives of both the living and fallen heroes of the virus and write a sophisticated screenplay to resonate the events that happened. The opening scene shows an aerial shot of Lagos; the complexities and congestion of this city. The artistic voice over of Somkhele Idlahama (Dr Ada Igonoh) playing like music in the background as she is taken to the Quarantine center. ‘Moments that can change your life forever’ closing the scene and ushering the audience into this emotionally gripping tale.

When Patrick Sawyer (Keppy Ekpeyong) a Liberian-American collapses at Muritala Muhammed International Airport, he is quickly rushed to the First Consultant Medical Centre Obalende. He is down with fever-like symptoms and in denial of contact with any Ebola Victim in his home country. Keppy reignited the distaste we had for Mr. Sawyer with good expressions and niceties−but inconsistency in a flawed accent bludgeoned the actor’s skill. Against his denial of contact with any living or dead Ebola victim, the team at First Consultants ably led by the impeccable Bimbo Akintola (Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh) who’s every gesture, expression and demeanor embodied this woman many Nigerians never knew−aside a picture or two from the internet. The story delves not only into her devoted life at work but the caring and mild-spoken mother and wife that she was at home. The vigilance of the First Consultants team, leads to an early detection that Mr. Sawyer indeed had the Ebola Virus Disease. Now it is a race against time to contain the disease from breaking out into a megacity with a population of over 21 million persons.

The movie starts off with a swift pace; drawing the audience in from the scene a troubled Mr. Sawyer is rushed into a car for the hospital. The minor introductions into the lives of the main cast did not distract the audience as it helped us start to sympathize with the characters; knowing   the story and how the true events turned out, it was still impossible to lose focus from the big screen. The movie took a parabolic path from Act I, taking the audience through the journey with so many characters and overwhelming performances, from the second Act we are drawn into the full crisis. Seeing the entire human story behind this story we thought we truly knew. From Zara Udofia (Nurse Justina’s) fear and worry for her unborn child; to Francis Onwuchei (Dr. Abaniwo) steadfastly praying with his wife and reading his bible in another scene; to Gideon Okeke (Dr. Morris) going from the excited doctor relaxing with his brother to the troubled man begging his little nephew not to come close, though his performance was affected by the lack of consistency in his Igbo accent, the character still resonated. These scenes put the audience in a lachrymose mood just like the characters; no tears yet, just heavy eyes.

Then the projectile finally completed the parabolic course by Act III. The surprisingly humorous scene were a profusely bleeding Nurse Justina is brought to the hospital and the Driver (Kayode Olaiya) makes us forget the sorrows of the characters with the way he reacts to the fact that his passenger had the disease.  After this scene, the third act fully delves the audience into the characters’ depression and dismay.

Danny Glover’s (Dr. Benjamin Ohiaeri) emblematic presence gave the movie its touch but his utterances usually felt labored and inaudible. Franca Brown (Dr. Igonoh’s mother) graced us with her presence in 3 scenes after such a long time been off screen with  a performance devoid of  words but only expressions, that will give the similarly short Oscar winning screen times of Judy Dench and Beatrice Straight a run for their money. In that Bimbo Akintola reminded us of her artistry, Somkhele Idhalama shined so bright with her performance that she deserves every best Supporting Actress nod and award for 2017. The third act was where the tears were allowed to roll−were all the tension and sorrow was allowed to flow. When eventually Dr Igonoh wailed in her death bed, the audience followed suit. The tension well developed and carried by the screenplay till the projectile completed its parabolic path. With the victory of the first survivor igniting the audience once more and the eulogy of the fallen heroes at the closing scene; taking the audience back and forth the joys and pains caused by this deadly virus leading seamlessly to a riveting and very conclusive finish.

A TRULY FANTASTIC MOVIE WHICH SHOWS NIGERIA'S STRUGGLE WITH THE DEADLY VIRUS AND THE FEAR IT BROUGHT ALONG

‘93 days’ explores a true story in the true Nigerianness of the story; depicting Nigerians as a people that can stand strong in times of crisis. Contrary to certain quarters, 93 days is not the ‘moralistic simplistic’ saga of Nigerians trying to portray themselves as saints and Liberia as the devil instead, it tells a factual tale that for once depicts the sentimental religiosity of Nigerians in a positive light; from Dr. Abaniwo and his wife praying like no tomorrow, to Dr. Igonoh placing her phone as it plays a gospel song to the dying nurse in her ward: all a breath of fresh air from what is lavishly obtainable these days from modern Nigerian literature.

This masterpiece has with no doubt created a spot for Steve Gukas’ name in the classical history books of Nigerian filmmaking−when eventually we have one.

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BOVI’s Feature Length Debut Film ‘It’s Her Day’: Arguably The Best Romantic Comedy Of 2016 So Far  image

BOVI’s Feature Length Debut Film ‘It’s Her Day’: Arguably The Best Romantic Comedy Of 2016 So Far

It’s her day is one of those movies that one may not take too seriously or place in a movie itinerary even though the trailer gave signs of an original concept and a few laughs. It’s the type of movie you get compelled to see after a number of good reviews or when you get to the cinema without checking movie show times and you are left with no choice; give this comedian a fair chance with your money and then you enter the theatre reluctantly and get blown away by what you least expect: a fresh ROMCOM idea and a brilliant screenplay written by Bovi himself which boasts of a surprisingly good cast and one thing good cinema must have ─ unexpected plot twists and suspense.

The story revolves around Victor (Bovi Ugboma) and the entire wealthy Hernandez family including the family’s butler (Femi Durojaiye), Omonigho (Gregory Ojefua) Bovi’s best man to be and a surprisingly impressive Aunty Fowe (Najite Dede). ─ The house’ viewers will understand what ‘surprising’ stands for; the over-priced  wedding fixer (Adunni Ade) coming each day with a fresh bill and list for the wedding; an unforgiving Ex (Omoni Oboli) and a host of other particularly good extras.

Bovi’s love interest out of the four daughters of the Hernandez is Nichole (Ini Dima-Okojie) a pompous returnee who agrees to marry Bovi (they both studied at the same school in the U.K).  She wants a fairy tale wedding, He promises the family and his friend that he can ‘chest’ the bills like a man and then the bills start rolling. The movie is the first to capture all the behind the scene tricks of weddings on social media pages and blogs these days. The acting is very commendable specially the lead actor Bovi who studied theatre arts but has never really shown his acting skills this much aside from stand up comedy. The overegged acting from a couple of the rookies didn’t in any way mar the savour of this comedy. With Mildred Okwo behind the casting direction there was little wonder why the movie was so adroitly cast.

One hour forty minutes did not seem enough for the little premise that was the story -- the pace never draggy. It was hard to believe Bovi wrote this screenplay, because the lines came with so much artistry resembling a Tunde Babalola piece of work. The story threw jabs when needed for example in the scene where a Nigerian designer who is described as making menswear that are more expensive than Armani is called out; the audience echo the name MAI ATAFO without hesitation and when Bovi’s character says he hates Bovi as a comedian that was Bovi playing the humble card. The scenes with Omoni and Bovi seemed to have been reserved for the best lines; for example when Bovi reminds her that he is ‘child-like not childish’ and the date scene when she sermonises him for what he has become and tells him ‘I ordered those words for you’ instead of food?

The Director Aniedi Anwah has vision and an eye for what he wanted from his characters, which they usually delivered. Nothing about the humour in ‘It’s her day’ felt lowbrow or cliché. The way the action sequences played out will definitely keep you guessing till the very end: when the movie plays a prank on our imagination twice before the closing credits roll.  Since Omoni’s Okafar’s Law; Kemi Adetiba’s The wedding party and Ay’s A trip to Jamaica are yet to be released, it is fair to infer that ‘it’s her day’ is the best comedy of the year yet.

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Ay Makun Sets Another Standard For Nollywood With ‘A Trip To Jamaica’ image

Ay Makun Sets Another Standard For Nollywood With ‘A Trip To Jamaica’

The first review of a movie can usually give box office rakings a good or bad effect – this does not seem to be the case of AY’s latest comedy flick. The first review released for the movie was nothing to write home about. It was a scathing review that could easily make anyone strike off the movie from their itinerary. The trailer was nothing close to exciting or stimulating and the movie’s first instalment ‘30 Days in Atlanta’ was not in any way mind-blowing. A ‘trial will convince you’ is simply what will attract many naysayers to see this one; fortunately so many Nigerians seem to fall under this category.

‘A trip to Jamaica’ chronicles more adventures of Akpors. The movie tells the story of Akpors customarily played by (AY Makun) and his fiancée Bola (Funke Akindele) who travel across the Atlantic to visit a cousin Abigail (Nse Ekpe Etim) and her extremely wealthy husband (Dan Davies); what ensues after is far from what the comedic duo bargained for. The movie did not try to do too much. Akpors was his usual self, maybe funnier than the Akpors in the first instalment. Funke Akindele did give the movie major spice as most Jenifa’s Diary fans will troop in to see this movie because of her but may be letdown being that she isn’t  the ‘Jenifa’ from the series rather a little toned down version, who speaks better English. AY and Akindele make a fine pair for good humour.  The fact that the ‘Jenifa’ character was not reprised was a breath of fresh air: as it would have played down what the character has become and make the movie a bit too lowbrow. However, it is likely that some of the series fans would have rather seen a ‘Jenifa’ than a ‘Bola’. Nse carried her character well enough; from the scene at the airport, it was easy to tell something was wrong─ a nuanced portrayal that was engaging enough to send a message.

Sound was a major problem as most of the scenes played out with discordant soundtracks. The Director Robert Peters clearly put some effort into his craft as most of the scenes were glitzy and beautifully shot. ‘A trip to Jamaica’ has a totally different plot from its predecessor, it happened to have more intriguing and less clichéd subplots. It is not the kind of movie that will leave anyone in stitches from start to finish, as the really funny scenes were countable: five or so. This seems to be a major issue for most of the viewers but what movies guarantee hundred percent laughs? Even stand up comedy shows don’t. Aside the comedy, there was a human side to the story of fear, betrayal and romance that was well played out and the end was not evidently predictable, that is good kudos for comedy if you ask me.

Whether we like it or not, AY’s latest movie will be a box office hit as reports have claimed the movie has already raked in over 80 million naira in its first ten days of release, making it the highest grossing Nigerian movie yet for this year. The mere fact that the movie hasn’t been released in Ghana and Jamaica already proves it will break a bigger record than its first instalment as the movie features Ghanaian and Jamaican heartthrobs Chris Attoh and Paul Campbell.

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Seyi Babatope’s ‘When Love Happens Again’ Entertains But Suffers From The ‘Idiot Plot’ Syndrome image

Seyi Babatope’s ‘When Love Happens Again’ Entertains But Suffers From The ‘Idiot Plot’ Syndrome

Not every day we see sequels since Nollywood gained shape and started churning out better movies. Babatope’s new movie is a sequel to 2014 ROMCOM ‘When love Happens’ and follows the supposed ‘happily ever after’ relationship of Mo (Weruchia Opia) and her boyfriend Tobe (Udoka Onyeka). Mo starts her own event planning management and gets a meaty contract from a ‘Billionaire Playboy’ client Lade Adenuga (Folajimi Akinsola) that requires she travels over to Washington D.C to give an African touch to their big merger event. Surprisingly or rather expectedly, Tseju (Oreka Godis) tags along and follows her friend for this trip leaving Tobe behind in Lagos.

Babatope clearly had good intentions with his story and was rather driven with the success and persuasions from fans of the first instalment to do a second instalment (usually it is better to give fans an entirely different flick than doing a sequel). As usual, the script was written by a trio of writers Babatope Inclusive and had very well written dialogue and witty lines but that was that in the movie ─ witty lines. If the movie was shot in the early 2000’s or 90’s it may not have fallen into the category of ‘idiot plot’ movies but this is 2016 and in as much as a sequel was not an entirely bad idea; how about giving it more thought and develop the characters better?

‘Idiot plots’ are common in horror movies where one or all the characters are deliberately created to be stupid in order not to avoid the conflict or evil that they meet so they are stuck in the situation till the end, then the survivor gets an epiphany and then becomes the hero.

SOLID 2/5 IF I'M GOING TO BE HONEST

‘When love happens again’ as a romantic comedy suffers this syndrome a lot; while it was not supposed to be slapstick. On Mo’s trip to D.C they are suspicions everywhere (from blogs mostly) that she and Lade are having a relationship, Tobe’s best friend Eyinna (Eyinna Nwigwe) incites this and keeps reminding his friend that ‘his babe has followed another man and he is here looking’ and this to him and oddly or of course? A series of ‘she is not answering my calls’, and other quite awkward scenarios make him take a three-day leave from work to travel over to D.C to refute the cheating rumours or surprise her? (We can’t point). Then Eyinna who is jobless also tags along and follows his friend; getting a free ticket from his cousin and they travel (Tobe empties his account to make this 3-day trip for love). The absurdities did not end there ─ it is unfortunately impossible to give a deep sigh in writing.

The acting was particularly impressive: Opia with her usual gusto reprised the role remarkably; Oreka and Marie Humbert’s characters were also impressively played. However, Udoka as the new Tobe was rather wooden. Time and again, Udoka proves he is better behind the camera than at the front: he’s short films can prove that. He easily comes out as tense in his performances as we’ve seen in ‘Wives on Strike’ and this one, He and Gideon Okeke are equally not great actors but for this character ─ Gideon owned it. The story would have done fine without Emeka’s character (Funny Bone Chibuna): he’s scenes were obviously to add humour which Eyinna had already done so naturally that an Emeka character being maybe an unfunny person would have been fine. No background story was given on what he was into and why he was doing the whole ‘Alhaji’ thing or why ‘phones and laptops, in parts were around in his house’ (Yahoo boy? definitely not). Emeka’s scene with online comedian (Chief Obi) was more of a distraction than humour.

The subplot where Jennifer’s (Dianna Yekini) character formerly played by Beverly Naya is reintroduced leaving Yekini to play three scenes was unnecessary as it did not move or add to the plot. The choice of locations was apt and daring (especially on the sidewalks of D.C) with lots of people and noise: this though affected the sound mix a couple of times.

Babatope is a seasoned filmmaker who audiences love but a sequel to a very good movie was not one of his best choices: filmmaking is all about making mistakes and fixing them so this movie should not be a major cause of worry because the first instalment and ‘Lunch Time Heroes’ have already cemented his name properly so audiences will definitely jump on his next project forgiving and forgetting he ever fell for the ‘sequel trap.’

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Curtis Graham’s ‘Oloibiri’ Tolerably Captures The Plight Of Niger-Deltans  image

Curtis Graham’s ‘Oloibiri’ Tolerably Captures The Plight Of Niger-Deltans

After ‘Black November’ a good number of the Nigerian audience should have inferred that we have seen the last of movies trying to push or send a message for the Niger Delta about the bad effects of crude oil discovery in their lands but writer, Samantha Iwowo had something coming.

‘Oloibiri’ tells the story of Boma (Richard M. Damijo), a first-class Geology graduate who feels angered and agonized for the damage that the foreign oil exploration companies are causing in their lands with impunity (He quits his big shot oil company job). Following a new exploration company (Fore Shore) coming to mine more oil from the land and the government paying no attention to their cries and sufferings, Boma decides to start a movement by becoming a militant. ‘Oloibiri’ is based on true events and captures the abandonment of the historical town of Oloibiri (the first town where oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956). It captures what the lives of the people were (mostly happy and rustic) before and after the discovery of the ‘black gold’ in their land.

A DECENT MOVIE THAT ASKED A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT FAILED TO PROVIDE ANY ANSWERS

The beauty of ‘Oloibiri’ emanates from the tour de force performances by the lead Nigerian cast. Olu Jacobs leads the pack as Elder Timipre, RMD and Ivie Okujaye following suit.

The acting from the European cast aside Mr. Powell (William R. Moses) was well below average. Iwowo’s screenplay was well researched and contained witty dialogue, but the story in itself felt like a rehash: one that could have been less hurriedly written (not sure if the editing led to this). ‘Oloibiri’ aimed to ask questions like; whose fault exactly is the problem the Niger-delta region is facing; is it the likes of Elder Timipre (Olu Jacobs) who fled the land abroad to avoid certain circumstances or out of grief? Or the village Elders who connive with these companies to reap where they do not sow? Or the companies who explore without considering the harmful effects on the lives of the people? These questions were asked but the answers were left to our imaginations. Characters were not properly developed mostly. The first thirty minutes dragged and the end was abrupt though conclusive.

The makeup was another cause for concern as the obviously painstakingly choreographed gunshot scenes were not given proper make up attention: not that it was poor but just not good enough. The escape at the closing scene was the most unconvincing part of the movie.

‘Oloibiri’ attempts to send a message we know, but in movies that have historic backgrounds like this one, great consideration is also given to the story and how it plays out, especially when the story is known too well. The evidently big budget and spot on locations and set was not enough to save this movie from Nollywood’s current plagues.


Photos: Oloibiri

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Izu Ojukwu’s ‘76’ Is One Of The Must-See Movies Of The Year image

Izu Ojukwu’s ‘76’ Is One Of The Must-See Movies Of The Year

Six years after the Nigerian Civil war, ‘76’ follows the story of Captain Dewa (Ramsey Nouah) a soldier whose honour is tested when his co-officers plan to execute a coup and in the process, try to involve him against his will. The movie tries to shed light on the heroism of Soldiers’ wives and how the decisions their husbands make directly or indirectly have great impacts on their lives in general. Suzy (Rita Dominic) is Dewa’s heavily pregnant wife faced with a dilemma of fighting to save her husband or leaving him to face the repercussion of his actions.

‘76’ is a project well done after spending about six years in making and been shot on the 16mm in order to reflect perfectly the period the story took place. The Direction by Ojukwu was nothing short of superb as it oozed out from every scene and sequence. The movie was shot in Mokola barracks, Ibadan and a great attention to detail was ensured so we didn’t have to see recent billboards or anything to insinuate the actual year it was shot as is common in way too many Nollywood period pieces.

The Cinematography by Yinka Edward was exceptional and the Afrocentric scores were well fit for every scene though some scenes had dialogue blurred out because the background score was higher. The acting performances were remarkable from Ramsey to Dominic to the faces we have never seen on screen before especially Eunice (Memry Savanhu); the dirty dancing neighbour of the Dewa’s and Aunty Mary (Ada Ofoegu) who made us believe their every action and nuance without a think through.

While Emmanuel Okomanyi’s screenplay had the originality of an adaptation; the first act of the movie seemed to be a particular cause for concern as it crawled and nothing seemed to happen. This could be attributed to Emeka Ojukwu’s editing that felt like several unsynchronizing montages playing out. This flaw was however corrected in the later parts of the first act and the movie in general. The scene where Dewa escapes from his co-officers during a festival was a tad too confusing and didn’t quite add up; but aside that ‘76’ had way too many glorious moments for the minor flaws to hold sway. If this prediction is anything to go by then ‘76’ will definitely be a major contender at every award it will be submitted for in 2017 – covering all notable categories I daresay. The movie has already garnered critical acclaim from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), British Film Festival (BFI) and the just concluded Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).    

 

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