Friday, October 30, 2009

Movie Review: Distance between

Title: Distance between

Rita Dominic, Mercy Johnson, Yemi Blaq, Kalu Ikeagwu

Producers: Remi Ibinola and Memry Savannu Ayotunde

Director: Izu Ojukwu

Year of production: 2008

Country: Nigeria

Genre: Drama/Romance

Language: English

Trailer: Could not find one. If anyone knows where I can find a trailer online, please let me know and I will update the post.

Rita Dominic is Preye, while Mercy Johnson plays her best friend (Mosun). Right from the onset, it is clear that Preye has many issues – she is extremely promiscuous, and we soon learn that she is acting out due to sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Akin (played by Yemi Blaq) is her long suffering boyfriend. While Mosun appears to be extremely responsible, hardworking, and faithful to her friend, she is wrestling with demons too. She was also abused as a child, and in contrast to her friend, is turned off men. Kalu Ikeagwu plays an advert executive (Ike). Preye runs into him while she is hawking a show she wants to put on the air and they promptly hook up. It all gets very complicated and very emotional very fast.

Positives: I love Izu Ojukwu. He is officially one of my favorite Nollywood directors. What a movie. WHAT A MOVIE!! This movie is sexy, complex, deep, accessible, nuanced. It is not simplistic, its not linear, but its very logical. Gets you right in the gut! The main cast outdid themselves on this one. I have always loved all the four of the main actors, but this is by far the best work for all of them. Fantastic acting. Tremendous! Rita, as Preye was just sterling. She was promiscuous and vulnerable all at the same time. And Mercy Johnsohn, what an actress. This role has finally begun to live up to her talent. She was tremendous as the frigid, yet loyal friend. Kalu was sexy as always, and Yemi Blaq – his character was so complicated, so conflicted, so human, so frail - just beautiful to watch!

The flashbacks were so beautiful, dripping with meaning, even if much was not said. The girls who played the young Preye and Mosun were very good actresses. And even if the dressing did not fit the period, it was shot in such a way that it looked and felt like the distant past. You were afraid with them as they faced their molesters. You felt their pain. Most of the supporting cast was excellent as well. I just loved it. And it was totally unpredictable. Totally. Some things happened and I was like - what? Really? Wow! What is gonna happen next?

One more thing though: There is a slowness and deliberateness about Izu's movies that may not play well with many Naija movie lovers. I think many people watch the movie for the drama, the confrontation, the theatrical nature of our productions. This is more restrained. It’s a whole different feel, but I was loving it all the way. It’s funny that I have just watched a mini soap by Izu Ojukwu, and I feel like I have watched something really deep and important. You can feel the intelligence in the crafting of this one.

Negatives: There were some problems with the sound editing, at least in my copy, but it did not ruin it. The weak link among the actors was Kalu's fiancé in the movie. She was trying too hard to be the high society girlfriend and it did not flow naturally.

The major flaw, I think, is that they wimped out at the end. The ending was too anticlimactic, too easy. I was actually disappointed by it. I wanted a little more meat and bones on that ending. You don't build that kind of suspense and then end it like that now! Ah!!

And then there were too many questions unanswered - and a few subplots that were not followed through. Of all of them though, the one that bothered me the most was that the core issue of sexual abuse was never really dealt with. I don't want to reveal the story, but there was no real confrontation or resolution there. That could have been fleshed out a little more. Or perhaps another movie? I cannot think of too many Nigerian movies that left me wanting more, but this one did. Also it’s not a movie for kids. There is a lot of bed hopping – premarital, extra marital, casual sex, one night stands. However, the whole idea is not to glorify any of those things – at least not deliberately. The movie shows that difficult situations ensue when human beings indulge in complicated sexual activities.

Lessons/worldview/philosophy: This movie brings some very complicated issues to light – the limits of friendship, marital fidelity, the role of family in crisis, etc. The most important issue raised though, is the complex nature of child abuse and its consequences. Anybody conversant with abuse will tell you that the effects go way beyond the immediate act itself. If care is not taken, a child abuser can take not just the child’s present, but their future as well. We don’t like to talk about these things in our society. We like to pretend that they don’t happen. We ignore the broken people in our midst and pretend that their pain does not exist. Well you know what happens with broken people? They tend to cut – and it hurts.

Rating: 9.5/10. Just outstanding stuff.

More reviews here and here

Availability: I bought my copy here.
You may want to call them and find a copy. But check all possible sources.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Hype: The Figurine (Araromire)

Kunle Afolayan, son of the late Yoruba movie legend Adeyemi Afolayan(aka Ade-love) is apparently living up to his legacy with his new movie The Figurine.

Kunle used to work in a bank before quitting in 2005 to attend NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY in London to study Digital Filmmaking (source) (I suspect that website of his is really old, so I will update it if something more current shows up).

Anyways, his latest movie is making waves, as it is said to be in a different league compared to our usual Nollywood movies. The movie is currently in theaters in Nigeria (yay, exciting), and word on the street is that its really good.

The synopsis

Two buddies and A girl………all down on their luck have their lives changed after one of them discovers “ARAROMIRE” a mysterious figurine in an abandoned shrine which according to ancient legend bestows seven years of good luck . But, no one told them about the next seven years…..

The movie stars Ramsey Nouah, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Omoni Oboli and Kunle Afolayan himself.

The trailer:

A teaser:

There is a lot of stuff out there about the movie already. I have not seen it, so I cannot review it yet, but I just can't wait! In the meantime though, you can check out the following:

The website of the movie, some cool behind the scene pics here and here, a review here and some gorgeous Lagos premiere pics here.

In addition, if you are outside Naija, there are a whole bunch of premieres still planned:

London Premiere:

Start Time: Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 9:00pm
End Time: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 12:30am
Location: ODEON Cinema, Greenwich
Street: Bugsby Way, SE10 0QJ
City/Town: London, United Kingdom

More info about London Premiere

US premiere:
NJ Premiere Event & After Party
Friday, November 13th
6pm- 10pm
The Spot
45 Commerce Street
Newark, NJ 07102
- Ticket $30 // $50 couples

NYC Showtime
Saturday Novemember 14th 2009
6pm-8pm : 8pm - 10pm
Abingdon Theater
312 W. 36th Street
New York, NY 10018-7570
-Tickets $10

NYC "meet the Cast" party (After Party)
11pm - 3am
Le Cirque
151 East 58th street
btw Lexington and 3rd Ave
New York, NY
- gate fee $20

Buy your US tickets

Pretty cool huh?

Some exciting stuff to look forward to on dvd. Hope it comes out soon.

The Hype: Through the glass

Stephanie Okereke, Nigerian actress extraordinaire has apparently decided to take it to the next level with her movie "Through the Glass". The movie, currently in Nigerian theaters, was directed and produced by Stephanie herself. Yes o, the cinema culture is coming back and people are now going to the theater to watch our own movies. And even better is the fact that homegirl is making a fistful of money.

Yayy for Steph. Congrats lady, you are an inspiration. I am so proud of you.

Here is a trailer to whet your appetite for those of us outside Naija who cannot watch it on the big screen yet.

The movie has been premiered both in the US and in Nigeria.

Read all about the California premiere here

The Nigerian premiere was more recent. Check it out here and here

And you can get the scoop on Stephanie talking about making the movie here and here.

Can't wait to see it on dvd.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Movie Review: For Real

Title: For real

Dakore Egbuson, Eucharia Anunobi, Desmond Elliot, Kalu ikeagwu, Justus Esiri, Remi Abiola, Ekwi Owuneme

Producer(s): Emem Isong

Director: Aquilla Njamah

Year of production: 2005

Country: Nigeria

Genre: Drama/Romance

Language: English

Preamble: First let me admit that I came upon this one by accident. I stumbled on it one day when I was slacking off. I was going to ignore it, but then I checked it out and it appeared to have garnered rave reviews, though I had never seen it, or even heard of it. So I watched it. Holy Moly!! FA BU LOUS. One of my very favorite Nigerian movies ever! EVER! It was engaging, interesting, intriguing, realistic, very well done. I dropped everything I was doing, and could not stop watching. It sucked me right in.


Summary: Eucharia Anunobi plays Divine, a widowed mother of one, and she is in Abuja on business. There she meets David Salako (played by Kalu), a much younger man who persistently pursues her. She gives in after some objections (and some alcohol), and they have a one night stand. He leaves her his number but she decides never to see him again. She has no interest in keeping it going. All she wanted to do was scratch her itch and live out some fantasies. After she returns to Lagos where she is based, her son (played by Desmond Elliot) comes home with his fiancée (Ekwi) from the UK, She has a party to celebrate his graduation and his intended nuptials, and meet his friends. She has the shock of her life when her son’s best friend turns out to be someone she has met before. Things become very, very interesting.

Positives: Please do not be put off by the really bad title. It does this great work no justice at all. I would have called this one the Couger, or Old Wine (better with age), or something like that. Looks like someone just pulled the title out of their nose “For Real”!! Having said that though, this was Kalu’s first movie (as he states here ), and that is darned impressive! Boy did he act the living daylights out of this role. What talent, what swagger, what charm! Two thumbs way up for this role. In fact, everyone impressed me. Eucharia was fantastic as the cougar struggling with the social ramifications of loving a young buck, Desmond was fierce as the overprotective son, Dakore was fabulous as David’s fiancé, and Ekwi was just so pretty as Angela, Divine’s daughter-in-law to be. The casting for this movie was almost perfect. I especially loved Mrs Remi Abiola (RIP) in the role of Mrs Salako, looking out for her son. When her big scene came up, I paid attention. She was regal, and angry, and she worked it. This movie – it was great!! I did not use the fast forward button once on this movie. Not once. No wasted scenes. Even the “I love you” toritese (head and leg) scenes were bearable.

Negatives: The weak link was the guy who was chasing after Dakore’s character. First of all, he was so not necessary to the development of the story. Second of all, the guy cannot act to save his life, his diction was bad, and I just could not figure out what he was doing in there! Also, they spent a lot of time talking about David buying a car, and then you finally see the car and you are like – really? That’s it? Blah!! Of course, as in many Nigerian movies, you had to do the volume thing – turn it up for conversations, turn it down when someone was shouting. And the picture quality could have been better.

Lessons/Worldview: I love this movie, I will not lie. It is so well done. I have watched it several times, and I just loved it more and more each time!! I would not claim that it teaches any deep life changing lessons – except to provide yet another argument against indiscriminate sex!! – But it does lead to interesting questions about Cougar relationships. So we expect that in relationships, the man be older than the woman, or they be close in age, at least in the African context. When the woman is much older, is it unbearable? When is an age difference too much? Or does it really depend on the individuals involved? Is love enough in non traditional relationships? This issue is discussed in more detail here

Other reviews of this movie can be found here

RATING: 8/10

AVAILABILITY: Unfortunately, I don’t know where you can get an original copy of this movie in the diaspora. I apologise. I hype it so much and it is unavailable. Your options are either you buy a copy in Nigeria (if you can), or you can call and ask any of the big three if they have it. Sorry.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hype: Grey Focus

In addition to reviewing movies, we will also be talking about exciting movies that are yet to be released. The first one that has been chosen for this category is Grey Focus.

Here is a trailer to whet your appetite:

Made by firstime? Filmmaker Imeh Esen, the movie was the Winner - Best Picture, Screenplay and Direction - 2008 ZUMA FILM FESTIVAL.

The past never dies. Akan (Curtis John Miller) finds out that one phone call is about to shatter his serene lifestyle in the United States. Suddenly the past meets the future as he has to relive the violent experiences of his Nigerian past. His membership in a brotherhood is exposed as well as the reason he joins them and the reason he might be running.

Inspired by true events, Grey Focus shocks the viewer with it’s blatant exposure of an ever increasing phenomenon in Nigerian University campuses.

The movie also includes the very yummy Yemi Blaq.

Although its been finished for over a while now, I think its still going through the film festival circuit, so I have no idea when it will be out. But I hope its soon though. I really want to see it. It sounds like a good movie.

You can check the rest of the cast and crew out on the movie's website.

Look out for it. I think its good stuff.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Movie Review: Guilty Pleasures

Title: Guilty Pleasures

Starring: Ramsey Nouah, Omoni Oboli, Majid Michel, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Mercy Johnson, Omoni Oboli, Desmond Elliot, Rob Loner.

Producer(s): Emem Isong, Desmond Elliot

Director(s): Desmond Elliot, Daniel Ademinokan

Year of production: 2009

Country: Nigeria/Ghana combo.

Genre: drama

Language: English

Story: Well, the movie begins with Nse (Omoni Oboli), obviously agitated, at the travel agent’s trying to leave the country in a hurry. On being told that getting a ticket may not be so easy at such short notice, she sits down to a phone conversation with her mother. We soon discover that she is having relationship troubles.

She is seated beside Elizabeth or Lizzy (Nse Ikpe-Etim) who overhears her conversation. Lizzy starts to question her with some empathy, and they start to trade relationship war stories – leading to the rest of the movie.
Nse is recently married to photographer Kelechi (Rob Loner) whom she apparently helped place on the road to success. They had a planned a honeymoon in Italy but Nse had to go on alone because Kelechi had to “work”, and then he joins her for just four days. Work turns out to be the very sexy Boma (Mercy Johnson), who he does not tell that he is married. How does he juggle the two women when his wife is back in town?

Elizabeth’s story is just as convoluted. She is married to the very successful businessman Teso (Ramsey). They have a love-hate relationship – very complex. Elizabeth is very free spirited, and the more uptight Teso responds by keeping tight reigns on her, and is very controlling of her, even down to her clothing choices. They manage to keep the marriage going despite the tension, until Teso’s brother Robert (Majid) comes home from the States and stays with them. How does Robert affect the dynamic of the relationship between Elizabeth and Teso?


Positives: The story is not particularly new, but the leading cast gave a very convincing performance, making this movie a pretty good one. Ramsey has never had problems playing the suave, rich dude, and he certainly had no trouble with this role. What makes him a top actor is what he does with his face. He is soooo expressive! DANG! When he was angry, you felt it and it sucked you right in. Very nice. I thought it was so apt and appropriate that Majid was cast as his brother in this movie because Majid reminds me very much of Ramsey, not just because of his complexion, but also because of his expressiveness. For part of the movie, Majid had to play the ashewo (skirtchasing) playboy. I will admit that sometimes, the way he leered at the ladies made me laugh. His performance in this movie was quite solid, and for the most part, very convincing.

With Nse, I am torn. She is magnificent when she is angry. I cannot think of too many people that get angry or worked up like Nse in Nollywood. She is quick witted, sharp, her delivery of sarcasm is right on time. She was fantastic in the movie “Reloaded”, and she is totally convincing as Elizabeth, Teso’s neglected and overcontrolled wife. However, in the more nuanced moments, she does not deliver as well. She is adequate, but she is not there yet, like Ramsey is. Ramsey has learned has to use his expressions in such a way that they convey his emotions powerfully, without him saying a word. One of the most powerful scenes of the movie, where she is expected to show profound shock, I found wanting. I did not really believe her.
Omoni was good as the naïve, wronged wife, while Mercy was magnificent as the femme fatale mistress. Mercy attacks every role with gusto – she does not disappoint. Rob Loner (Kelechi) was pretty good in the role of philanderer, although once again, he has not fully learned how to express himself without overacting. Once again, adequate, not fantastic.

Some positive details: Majid could actually swim! Hallelujah!! Usually, you have scenes in Nollywood where people get into the pool and just paddle like dogs. Dude could swim!! And they changed up the love scenes a little bit. Instead of icecream, chases at the beach and fried rice, we got pictures at the beach and volleyball. Fine, it was bad volleyball, and the scenes were too long, but at least, they changed it up a bit. Yay!!
And then there was a scene where Lizzy was happily texting someone with ths Song – "I will get by" playing. Just loved that scene. I tried to find who wrote/sang that song on the credits. I don't think it was listed, or did I just miss it?
Edit: Just found out the song is by Austin Erowele. Very nice job.
One more thing about Lizzy’s character – I loved most of her clothes. Very sexy!!

Negatives: It started off too slowly. They spent too much time in Part 1 just laying the background for the story. While the movie really held my attention in part 2, most of part 1 was spent going back and forth from Nse’s to Lizzy’s story and it just did not flow properly. It appeared too disjointed and just off!
More specific complaints:
The supporting cast: Rukky Sanda, not a particularly good actress, at least not in this role. The way her relationship with Robert was developed was kinda weird. And what happened to her at the end?!! The role of Lizzy’s friend, (Oriaifo), acted by Paul Frank was totally unnecessary, poorly developed and badly acted. First time I was seeing the guy, and I was not impressed.
Filler scenes: Shopping scene with the girls, what was the point? Fine, Lizzy was having fun with her friends, but it was too long, and took a while to figure out what the point of the scene was.
In addition,I dunno if I bought Lizzy as a model. I guess its watching too much of America’s next top model, but for a pro, some of her posing was too awkward, but I guess it was adequate for the purpose. If they had not tried to make her out to be a pro, I guess I would not have been nitpicking.

Negative Details: Mercy Johnson’s wig was kinda scraggly. Just saying!
In addition, Nigerian actors need to stop saying “How do you mean”. It drives me nuts! Rukky’s character says it in this movie!!
Some of the lighting and camera angles were not good, particularly in part 1 - sometimes you felt like the camera was right on top of the actors. I am no pro, but I could see that.
Music was also kind of distracting in some parts.

Themes and worldviews: This is a classic men are from Mars, women are from Venus situation – answering the question why to the different sexes cheat in a stereotypical manner.

So, according to this movie, men cheat because they can. Kelechi had no other reason. He supposedly loved his wife and she was devoted to him, but he strayed just because….
On the other hand, women cheat for emotional reasons. When they are neglected, they go look for love elsewhere. Elizabeth (or Lizzy) cheated because she wasn’t feeling the looooove from Teso. She felt forsaken and alone and when someone came along who “understood” her, she fell like a pack of cards!! You disagree? That is what the movie writer says – not me!!

Rating: 7.5/10 (they lost points because of that slow part 1).

You can find more reviews here and here
Availability: See post on availability.

Please support the industry by buying a genuine copy.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Movie Review: Rising Sun


Starring: Genevive Nnaji, Kenneth Okonkwo, Chinwe Owoh

Producer(s): Okey Ezugwu / Emmanuel Ugwu
Director: Tchidi Chikere
Year of production: 2003
Country: Nigeria.
Genre: Traditional/Romance
Language: English

Story: Nnaji plays a young wife and mother who loses her entire family in one day. The village elders accuse her of killing them , and use it as an excuse to drive her out of the village. This is something that they have been considering because they think she is a witch based on the unusual color of her eyes. Even though she realizes she is different, she sees her eyes as a mark of beauty from the gods. Racked with her pain at the loss of her husband and child, her grief almost renders her insane. She ends up in another village where she is labeled a mad woman and treated as such. After much taunting and insults, and a series of painful events, she meets a champion marksman played by Kenneth Okonkwo. He looks past her antics and instead sees a broken woman who needs his help.


Positives: This movie falls into the top three of my most favorite African movies. It’s an old movie but it’s still an enjoyable watch. This movie centered on Nnaji and she proved her mettle. She became this young woman who lost her beloved family in one fell swoop, and had to endure untold pain. For most of the movie, I forgot it was Nnaji I was watching. Okonkwo did an absolutely wonderful job, providing just the right touch of arrogance.

Though the story was tragic, it was wonderfully told. I was a little worried that they would overdo it on the tragedy (make it a tear-jerker) and draw it out but the movie didn’t dwell on that. Rather it focused, as it rightly should have, on Nnaji’s character and the marksman.
Unlike most Nigerian movies, there was character development in this movie, you grow with this character as she struggles through her grief and pain and the uncertainty of her life, and then…healing?

The two lead characters had chemistry and although Okonkwo’s beard was a little distracting, he still did a fantastic job. I’ve always believed that Nnaji is an actress who does a lot with her face and body, she makes you watch her in this movie, because if you take your eyes off her for a second, you miss what she isn’t saying vocally but visually.

I loved this movie because it was a sweet, touching, and moving story. It told of redemption, of love lost and re-gained, and hope. And you leave the movie with a good feeling, and I daresay with a smile, because there are good people in the world, and if you look long enough, you’ll find your Rising Sun.

Some scenes worthy of mention
1) The market scene, where she pushed away those cowries when the woman paid her extra, was extremely heart wrenching. EVEN I BELIEVED SHE WAS CRAZY AT THAT POINT. Here is a woman who is almost mad from the pain of loosing a husband and a beloved child on the same day!!! Who can bear that? Who can go through that and the stigma of being accused of a witch because of, to quote her "a mark of beauty from the gods", being chased away from your home and the one person who believed in you, and still remain sane?

2) I felt like going to her and wiping her tears whenever she cried "I killed him, I killed them”
3)The death of her family was movingly done. Her face when she realized her husband was gone? Brilliant. Brilliant I tell you

Negatives: There were several production mistakes, and the camera work was not very exciting. In addition, the location work showed many signs of modern life (a bad error), and the costuming left much to be desired. They also stuck some pasty white cotton wooly thing on Okonkwo’s face and called it a beard. I’m not sure why he had to have one, but it was a horrid sight.
Also, there were some scenes between the marksman and the widow that should have been improved upon. The marksman engages in some inappropriate behavior that leads to some vey crude scenes. I felt it wasn’t handled right and could have been done differently. Those scenes were insensitive and hampered the development of the movie somewhat.

Themes and worldviews:
This movie brings to the forefront, our penchant for labeling anything that we do not understand. We either fear it, or we destroy it. The villagers did not understand the strange colour of Nnaji’s character’s eyes and so they decided she was a witch to be destroyed.
The movie also touches on the treatment meted out to widows and women in some African societies. The mother-in-law’s pleas were disregarded, and even when the widow tried to defend herself, you would see that no matter what she said, judgment had already been passed. The woman just lost her family and isn’t even allowed time to grieve or mourn.


Availability: Please check with any of these three online merchants, although I don't know if they will have it. I have never seen it with any of them.

Happy viewing - if you do find it.

Movie Review: 30days

Title: 30 days

Starring: Genevieve Nnaji, Segun Arinze, Joke Silva, Gbenga Richards, Chet Basheri Anekwe (CBA), Kalu Ikeagwu, Iyabo Amoke, Najite Dede.

Producer(s): Ego Boyo

Director: Mildred Okwo

Year of production: 2006

Country: Nigeria.

Genre: Political Thriller/Romance

Language: English

Availability: This movie is ONLY available for purchase here


Preamble: There was a lot of anticipation surrounding this movie – it was finished and premiered in 2006, but was not released until 2008 for a number of reasons, none of which are really relevant to this review. Suffice to say – we were waiting for it anxiously. And because I am reviewing it here, suffice to say it was worth the wait – mostly! It is a thriller and a love story (well mostly lust), and it somewhat delivers on both fronts.

Story: Gbenga Richards is Mr President, Ms Joke Silva is Minister of state while Segun Arinze is the inspector General of police in a corrupt and degenerate establishment. However, they have a problem on their hands, as top government functionaries are being mysteriously assassinated. The culprits? A band of female revolutionaries who are tired of the massive corruption pervading the land and decide to take matters into their own hands. Into all this drama walks Kene Alumona (played by the ubersexy CBA). He is home on vacation after many years in the US, and he picks up the very pretty Chinora Onu (Genevieve Nnaji) after dancing with her at a club. But is Chinora just another hot chick, or is life a little more complex? And how are the lovebirds affected by the chaos infecting the larger polity?


Positives: How would I describe this movie? How about ambitious? And SEXY!! I think Desmond Elliot and Ramsey Noah, and all the rest of Idumota’s favorites just got schooled. Chet as love interest was absolutely outstanding and extremely sexy. I think just a little too sexy!! I think this is one of the sexiest Nigerian movies I have ever seen. I know, I am overusing the word sexy, but mamma mia!! My eyes were wide open agape. Genny and CBA really went for it in this one. I was, to say the least, surprised, and believe me, the love scenes are not for kids. At one point, we even get a glimpse of Chet’s well toned butt!! They certainly pushed the envelope on this one. While not as bad as the sex scenes in many American movies, this was still a bit raunchy. So therefore, watch with caution.

How was the acting? Mostly great. Joke Silva, CBA, Genny and her sidekicks, Segun Arinze, and Gbenga Richards all did their thing very, very competently. Genny living her double life – floated nicely between super bad woman, and conflicted good girl. And Ms Silva!! Oh, she was just magnificent as Minster. Finally a role that is ALMOST worthy of her talents! In terms of other aspects of the movie, sound and picture quality were very high (this is a Nigerian movie after all, and we must comment on these things until they cease to become an issue) and the musical scoring was mostly very competent. There were one or two songs that bothered me, but in general, it worked well.

Negatives: Kalu Ikeagwu was in this movie as a reporter, working along side a female reporter played by Iyabo Amoke investigating all the murders. I am a huge fan of Kalu’s – have been ever since I saw For Real, but he was just bad in this one. He was not the spontaneous, fabulous Kalu that we love. He was so scripted, his dialogue so slow and so stilted – I just could not figure it out. And while I understand what he and Iyabo Amoke were supposed to be doing, I was not overly impressed with how they did it. Needless to say, the journalistic angle to this story did not really work for me. In addition, it was obvious that there were certain aspects of the story that were better developed, and better thought out than others - I still don’t really get that Alhaji thing. And as for the ending, without giving it away, I must complain about it most vigorously. Waaaay too cheap. C’mon. I know the Nigerian Police Force has issues, but I cannot believe that they can be that clueless, careless and inept. I think the writer ran out of ideas at the very last minute and thus wrapped up the movie with an ending unworthy of the story. I was really disappointed by that!!

Themes and worldviews: The issue here is revenge or justice, depending on how you see the world. This is particularly relevant to us as Africans, as we deal with corrupt and inept leaderships in our respective countries. How do we handle people in power who bleed our countries dry? Kill them all? Many African countries have chosen that route and the resultant civil wars over the last few decades. Is there a better way? If we do not put into place, collectively as a people, a system of justice that is fair, equitable and blind, then we make revenge as a system of justice almost inevitable. This may be manifested in carefully targeted assassinations as we see in 30days, or, it may end up as nasty, protracted, expensive civil wars. Our choice.

Bottomline: Despite all the sex involved, the movie certainly deals with some difficult and timely issues, very relevant to our situations as Africans. While it had its problems, I still highly recommended it. It is certainly way better than the average Nigerian movie.

Rating: 9.5/10

You can find more reviews here and here


Movie Review guidelines

Hello writer,
If you are reading this, you are thinking about writing a review for AfrikCinePedia. Here are the elements that we hope your review will cover (at the minimum):


Title: In bold

Starring: State all major actors in the movie (or the whole cast if you are able to)

Producer(s): self explanatory

Director: self explanatory

Year of production: self explanatory

Country: Nigeria? Ghana? Nigeria/Ghana combo? Kenya? SA? Others?

Genre: Drama/Romance/thriller, etc, etc

self explanatory

Trailer: usually youtube

Provide as detailed a synopsis as possible without revealing the major plot

Positives: What did you like about it?

Negatives: What could they improve upon?

Lessons/worldview/philosophy: What worldview does this movie cover? For instance, are they trying to say that homosexuality is a result of frustration (as in emotional crack), or espousing a feminist viewpoint of marriage (as in reloaded)? Please explore the deeper issues a little bit in this section

Rating: See post on ratings

Availability: See post on availability. Please only recommend a source that sells genuine movies. In general, no pirated sources will be featured. If there is to be any exception to this rule for any reason, it will be clearly explained (usually lack of availability from legal sources).

We appreciate your willingness to write for us. Thank you so much, and please keep enjoying and supporting genuine African movies.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ratings Guidelines

Movies rated on this site will fall into three categories:

Level 1 (out of 10): Naija/Ghana standard movies
These are usually movies with interesting storylines and competent lead acting. However, because many movies out of Ghana and Nigeria are rush products, they are often plagued with many production errors. These include but are not limited to: some really bad wakapass actors (extras), lighting problems, drawn out scenes, sound issues, at least one mismanaged scene (usually hospital, court or police), etc, etc. For some of the better movies out there, while these problems do not render the movies unwatchable, they do diminish the quality. Therefore, movies at this level are judged based on the prevalence of these issues.

Level 2 (between 11 and 15): Better than Naija/Ghana standard, not quite international standard.

For movies in this category, attempts have been made to clean up some of the usual errors and adhere to a different standard of filmmaking. These movies are usually technically proficient, and display good picture quality, good sound quality, and inventive story lines.

Level 3 (out of 20): Ready to take on Hollywood e.g Tsoti (SA movie and Oscar winner).
Movies in this category are ready to take on the world. They are world class, and are not hard to recognize.

Please note that we do not recommend any movies on this site that earn a rating of anything less than a 6 out of 10. Otherwise, we would have to watch a lot of junk and we refuse to spend precious time and money doing that. If you want reviews that encompass ALL movies, no matter how bad, see here or here or here


Availability of African movies in the US

Please note that this post has been updated in November 2010 to capture current realities in the market.

There are three main sites that sell original English movies in the US. They are:

1. African movies Mall
This used to be Nollywoodtitles, and I bought from them very frequently, and had only good things to say about them. They usually delivered promptly and efficiently. And when there was some kind of hitch, they usually apologized and tried to make amends.  However, as they were trying to transition to a new name and I guess a new website, they stopped filling orders, stopped communicating with customers, it was strange. I was able to get a refund so I was not too unhappy. However, I have no idea how they will behave under a new name and I have no idea if they have new management. I have not bought anything from them since the makeover.

2. Francofilms
I have also ordered from them, though not as frequently. I have found them to be really slow on fulfilling internet orders, so I am not as excited to order from them. I get my movies after about two weeks, and I have had to contact them by phone (once) before I got my movies. In addition, on one occasion, they did not have one of the movies I wanted, and instead of contacting me to either refund my money or find out what replacement I wanted, they put in a movie I did not order – which turned out to be crappy! I complained, but they never got back to me!!
Update: May 2010
I decided to give Franco films another chance, and they did the exact same thing to me - sent me a movie I did not order with no apology. I complained again and they totally ignored me. I should have disputed the payment on paypal, but it was a busy time in my life so I had to let it go. I am now boycotting Franco films henceforth. You buy from them at your own peril They have no respect for customer service - that is my conclusion now!!

3. Executive Image movies

I have ordered from them as well. When it appeared that they did not have the movie I had ordered in stock, they were good enough to call me about what replacement I wanted. When I asked for a refund, they agreed, but were later able to send me the movie I had earlier ordered. Therefore, I currently have no complaints about them, although I have not ordered from them frequently enough to comment knowledgeably about their quality of service.

Note: I used to have a site here where you could buy Yoruba movies, but they have since shut down. I will let you know if I get a replacement. 

In addition to these three, you can also sometimes get original African movies from:
5. Your local African store.
Many of them stock pirated and genuine African movies. If you demand for the genuine movies, then perhaps you can decrease their desire to stock pirated movies.

Important things to know about the aforementioned online sites:

a) I only order from them via paypal, so that I can get a refund if any trade disputes arise.

b)These sites put up the movies they have in stock on a rolling basis, so even if they do not have a movie up you want on their website, they may have it later, so you can contact them and find out if they can get what you want for you.

c) I have been told by a reputable and reliable source, that even these legitimate sites also pirate movies that they have not bought the rights to. Please buy only original movies from them to remove their motive for doing so.

With regards to piracy, here are a few important facts:

Apart from these three sites that I have put up there, every other site, at least in the US, is engaged in piracy. This means that they are selling movies without the knowledge or the permission of the original producers. Don’t be deceived by whatever they put up on their sites, claiming to pay producers or what not. They don’t pay producers a single dime. So if you buy from them, be aware that you are paying somebody for the ability to buy a copy of a movie and reproduce it a hundred times. Here are a few tips for telling a pirated movie:
  • Check the packaging and make sure the movie is air-tight sealed.
  • Look for the movie title and movie company on the top-end seal.
  • If you're able to, check the bottom of the disc itself and make sure it's color is clear-white, and that you're able to see yourself in it's reflection (as if it's a mirror).
  • Non-manufactured discs tend to have a purplish or bluish hue (purple = DVDs, blue = CDs).
  • Look for the words "copyright," "illegal," "infringement," "unauthorized reproduction," "FBI," "anti-piracy," "federal prison," "5 years in federal prison," "$250,000 fine" or "$150,000 fine" on the bottom-back cover of the movie.
  • Look for a Production/Release date on the bottom-back cover of the movie like "2009...All Rights Reserved."

If you are aware of any other websites that sell genuine copies of african movies in the US, even if the movies are from East or South Africa, please let me know and I will update this list. Also, if you are based in Europe or Canada and you know any sellers of genuine African movies, please let me know so that I can do a list for those regions as well.


About Me

This website is devoted to fans of African movies who want to know which ones are worth watching. We only review above average movies on this site. The purpose is to give props to the actors, producers and directors who have squeezed water out of rocks and created decent entertainment against all odds. If you want to review a movie for us, please email We would be happy to feature all good african film, regardless of age, or origin. Thanks for stopping by