Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Hype: A Sting in a Tale

This is the latest movie from the stable of my favorite Ghanaian producer Shirley Frimpong-Manso's sparrow productions, the lady who gave us such hits as life and living it and the perfect picture. She also made scorned, which was not as good as the other two in my opinion. A sting in a tale stars Lydia Forson, Majid Michel, Adjatey Anang, Doris Sackitey, Abeiku Acquah, Joselyn C. Dumas and others.

About the movie:
A Sting In A Tale is "a twisted tale of two unemployed graduates who embark on a journey to make it in a world where you need more than what you have to get what you want. Kuuku is overwhelmed with the urgency to succeed and frantically searches for a reward to his severa...l years of school. Frustrated and constantly reminded of his failure by the presence of his girlfriend, (Frema) ; Kuuku will do anything to make the odds work in his favor.

Nii Aryee, Kuuku’s abstemious looking friend is more positive about the future until the rejection letters begin to mount and his landlord comes to town. Driven by the fear of poverty, these two friends go in search of a destiny that takes them to the most obscure places. In a tale where the unexpected is always lurking in the shadows, from the natural to the supernatural, among all ploys, grief and struggles, nothing prepares you for the sting, in a rather bizarre ending."The Grand Premiere is on Friday, Nov 6 @ The Conference Center, Accra, Ghana


I hear its out in Ghana and from preliminary reports, is pretty good.

Hope it lives up to the promise.


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Hype: Laviva

I have been hearing rumors about this movie for a while now, but for some reason, it has never been released. Much as War movies are not my thing, this was supposed to be another ground breaking cinematic achievement by the fabulous Izu Ojukwu, which is why I am featuring it here.

The film features the late JT Tom West, who died last year, as the chief of the ECOMOG detachment; Francis Duru as a garrulous ECOMOG soldier; and Hank Anuku as a rebel. Joy Egbunu stars as Laviva. She loses her father to the war and openly demonstrates hostility towards the ECOMOG soldiers, in spite of admonition from her mother and other members of the community who feel it is dangerous to do so.

Laviva is also obsessed with the desire to bring peace to her country and along the line falls in love with the ECOMOG chief, JT Tom West. She is the rallying point for peace and stability among her peers and people at a time when many had lost their nerves to the weariness of war.

Produced by AMAA 2007 Best Director, Izu Ojukwu, the movie showcases the abundant talent in Nollywood, given the richness of its shooting, directing, costumes, editing and coordination. Shot three years ago, Laviva captures the tortuous experiences, intrigues and romance that played itself out when Nigerian troops led ECOMOG to salvage a country torn by civil war. It is a story of how Nigerian soldiers, in the midst of hate and fire, planted peace and hope.


Short excerpt/long trailer:

There are very few Nollywood movies out there that would appeal to the male demographic. This looks like something the dudes will enjoy LOL! I hope it lives up the the promise. Oga Izu, abeg, release am o!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Movie Review: ONLY LOVE

Starring: Ini Edo, Rita Dominic, Pat Attah, Olu Jacobs, Alex Usifo, Adaora Ukoh
Producer: Oj productions
Director: Andy Amenechi
Year: 2005
Country: Nigeria
Genre: Drama/Romance
Language: English

Synopsis: Ini Edo is Udoka, a young village orphan, being raised by her stepmother. In true Cinderella fashion, her stepmother hates her and only chooses to educate her own two daughters, while she uses Udoka as a glorifed, much abused househelp. Turns out that Udoka is a childhood friend of the village princess (played by Rita D), who has just returned from studies in America. Udoka was also a childhood love of Uzor, who studied medicine abroad and has just returned to start the village hospital.
Udoka’s stepmother is very jealous of her stepdaugher’s ambitious friendships, and punishes her for her camaraderie with the princess, as well as for her renewed relationship with the very eligible and good looking doctor (Uzor) played by Pat Attah. To further complicate matters, the princess also finds the doctor very attractive, creating a knotty love triangle. In addition, Uzor’s family believes that their American educated doctor son can do better than the poor, unattractive village belle, and would rather prefer to see their son with the princess than with Udoka. When the princess has her graduation party, she invites Udoka and Uzor, who come together, much to her chagrin (as well as that of Udoka’s stepmother). Udoka returns home, and is thrown out by stepmother. She eventually has to take refuge in the palace with her friend the princess, with some very dramatic consequences for her and her relationship with Uzor.
How does the princess resolve her jealousy of her friend’s relationship? How is the love triangle resolved? Who ends up with Uzor?


Positives:This movie was produced during the “big ban” year in Nollywood, so marketers had to utilize new talent outside of the big 3 (Genevieve, Omotola and SDA). It gave us the unexpected pleasure of witnessing an outstanding performance by Ini Edo. I am not a fan of her “Look at me, I am sexy” roles, but she can play a village girl, that is for sure. She was FIERCE!!

Rita Dominic looked very classy and did good acting as a princess. The stepmother was so mean, she was great. The limp was well pronounced, and made her seem even more wicked. The ladies who played Udoka’s stepsisters were also very convincing as the spoiled stepsister, as well as the more sympathetic but helpless one.

In general, it was a nice love story, competent, good acting, good casting, mostly good costuming, although Udoka’s outfit in the last scene was kinda busy. The party scenes were filled with appropriately dressed extras, unlike many Naija movies where it looks like they dragged people off the streets.

Negatives: It was not by any means perfect.
Pat Attah plays the lovelorn doctor, and does a competent job, although a little more emotion would have been nice. After he had not seen his childhood love for 7 years, he just walks in casually and says hi, with very little emotion. And while she was mad, it was like a small tiff, not anger for seven years worth of abandonment. And the love singing! Please! Save us from the singing. If you are curious as to what the Udo, Uzor sunset song means, someone actually translated it for anyone who is interested:

udoka I love you
me and you will leave
let the world say whatever ... I like you

Uzo .. I love you
me and you will leave
let the world say whatever.... your thing is sweeting me
your thing is sweeting me (2x) let the world keep talking .. it's you i like

(Please don't ask about the "thing" and its "sweeting" effect! LOLLLL!! Actually I suspect its a literal translation that may not come across that well in English).

In addition to the singing, there were some really, really, really, realllllly bad special effects. They had to have someone hit by lightening. O boy. It was bad. In addition, there are medical problems that had no scientific explanations, which could only by resolved by a juju man. I no longer have patience for movies that leave logic and resort to passive juju solutions for everything. I think the story could have been told just as well without all the chanting, feathers and eye paint. And it is sad that so many of our people in real life will see the juju man for an ailment before talking to a doctor. So I did not like that. As much as possible, I think our movies should elevate our thinking to a higher level. And then there were scenes that dragged on and one and on and… you get the idea! You learn to watch our movies with the ff button. So I used it where it was needed.

Worldview: This was choke full of strong moral lessons - Strong themes of betrayal, forgiveness and mercy, not looking down on people when they are down because you don’t know the future, giving people the benefit of the doubt. It’s a great movie you can watch with the whole family, and everyone will learn something. Just ignore the singing and the juju!!

You can find more reviews for this movie here

Rating: 7/10

Availability: Big three

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Hype: Nnenda

So I came upon this star studded movie by accident. I was researching "Through the glass" and digging through Stephanie Okereke's website, when I came upon the most intriguing poster. I did some digging and found nothing everywhere I looked, so I forgot all about it.

However, it looks like now a trailer and a theme song have been released. Not only that, also sounds like it was recently premiered in Lagos. What I cannot understand is why there isn't any more noise about this movie, considering the caliber of stars involved.

It stars Stephanie Okereke, the scrumptious Ramsey Nouah, Francis Duru and also Van Vicker . And it is directed by my fav. Nolly director - Izu Ojukwu!! I am hyping it for the first two stars and the director obviously. I am still yet to get on the Van V. love train!! LOL.

Anyways, here is the trailer:

And the theme song:

While I can't seem to find a summary anywhere, the movie seems to be about orphans and their plight in Naija.

The force behind this Event Prince Tonye Princewill, the Rivers State AC and FOOPP Leader will be in attendance at the Premiere aimed at creating awareness of the plight of orphans in Nigeria.

The movie, according to the Rivers State born Producer, Adonijah Owiriwa is inspired by the plight of orphans in Africa hence the Orphan Child Awareness Campaign spearheaded by the Prince of Niger Delta Politics, Prince Tonye Princewill.

By his involvement in this project Prince Tonye Princewill intends to use his veritable network of contacts to throw light on the unfortunate plight of orphans with the hope of assuaging their suffering.

Sounds like good stuff. While I am not particularly crazy about the theme song, the trailer looks really good. I hope that we can get to see it soon. Will review it when I get my hands on it.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Movie Review: The Darkest Link 1, 2 & 3.

Title: The Darkest link 1, 2 & 3.

Starring: Francis Duru, Mercy Johnson, Remmy Ohajianya, Mary Uranta, Barry Luke, Biola Ige

Screenplay: Chisom Juliet Okereke

Director: Ikechukwu Onyeka

Producer: Kingsley Okereke, Ikechukwu Onyeka, Emeka Igwemba

Year: 2009

Country: Nigeria

Genre: Drama/ Supernatural thriller

Language: English

Preview: I bought this in a state of boredom and then promptly suffered from buyer’s remorse. I was so sure that I was going to hate it. Let’s just say that it eventually started to grow on me.


Synopsis: Francis Duru plays Ray, a guy who has just gotten engaged to Lisa (Mercy Johnson). They are celebrating the engagement when he collapses with a heart attack, and is rushed to the hospital. After mouthing some medical mumbo jumbo (that did not sound that accurate to me actually), the doctor finally tells his fiancée Lisa that his heart is damaged and he needs a heart transplant if he is to survive. Lisa cries a lot and does all she can, but all hope seems lost. Out of the blue however, a heart is found, donated by anonymous sources, and Ray survives. When he gets home from the hospital however, Ray seems to be very different, and Lisa soon starts to worry. What exactly is going on with him?

Positives: I was pretty sure I was gonna hate this movie, so even though I have had it for several weeks, I only just popped it into dvd player last night because I needed some background noise for some work I was doing. And it seemed like the first 30 minutes proved me right – excruciatingly bad. However, 3 things save this movie from being a total waste of time, and make it worthy of being reviewed on this site:

a) An unusual and very intriguing storyline – I am going to start off by congratulating the writer of the screenplay (Chisom Juliet Okereke) for this story, if it is original. I apologize for having to add that caveat, but there is a lot of copying in Nollywood unfortunately. However, that is another story for another day. I really liked this story – creative, interesting, taking the road less traveled. Nice!
b) Mercy Johnson: First of all, when she was not over displaying her ample cleavage, Ms. Johnson looked really good in this movie. Not only was she looking lovely, she was fierce as an actress. FIERCE! I really enjoyed her performance.
c) Barry Luck Uche (It says Barry Luke on the dvd sleeve), so I am not sure which is right. He played the role of Sam, the heart donor. Of all the miscasting done in the this movie, this guy was a gem – perfect peg in a perfect hole. I found his performance extremely intriguing. He has the gift that the greatest actors have – the ability to do things with his face while not saying much. First time seeing him, and I am intrigued. His role was central to the movie and he played the heck out of it. Very impressive.

I will give Francis Duru an honorable mention here – he was adequate for the role, although to be honest, I would not have cast him. Something about Francis as loverboy just does not sit well with me, although as the role expanded, he seemed to get more comfortable with all he was asked to do and be.

Technically, it was fine – picture, sound quality, all okay. Things really seem to be improving in that regard with Naija film.

Negatives: Hmmm, where do I start? In the first 30 minutes, I nearly shut off the movie because it looked like rotten cheese. There were two major problems
a)Biola Ige – who played Lisa’s best friend, Emma and b) Remmy Ohajianya who played Lisa’s father. Daaaang! They were bad. In fact, the scenes where Lisa was crying and wailing about Ray and Emma had to either comfort her or talk sense into her , made up a large proportion of those first painful 30 minutes and were so baaad, I was sure that I was not going to survive the movie. If I had not been doing something else, I would have turned off the TV. Luckily I did not, because it gets so much better. Those two either need to invest in some heavy acting lessons, or they need to find another profession. Good heavens! Pure torture.

And why oh why, did they cast Francis Duru for this role? Like I said, he was adequate, but someone else could have been fantastic – I would have gone with Yemi Blaq, or Ramsey Nouah. There was very little chemistry between Francis and Mercy. When it comes to romantic scenes, when Mercy is feeling the dude acting opposite her, she does not hold back at all – but she was obviously not feeling Francis. It wasn’t horrible, but it could have been soooo much better (sigh).

In addition, like I earlier mentioned, some of the hospital terminology was not really working for me. And neither were the hospital scenes. The life support machinery looked kinda scanty. And some of the hospital protocol observed, like giving medical diagnoses in front of some unknown best friend – blah!

Towards the end, some of it started to get irrational, illogical. We need to learn how to wrap up movies properly. Once again, as is my constant complaint, the gradual movement towards the resolution was kinda cheap. Towards the end, I begun to roll my eyes – like really? REALLY? That is your reaction? How does that make any sense???

Underlying theme/lessons/worldview/philosophy: Deciding to solve a problem by taking a selfish short cut might seem good in the short run, but leads to all kinds of complications in the long run. As the bible puts it in Prov 16:25: There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. I liked that moral and message. However, it also crossed my mind that some superstitious people (a group we have in abundance in our society) may take the events in this movie waaay too seriously and build a case against organ transplants based on that – which I doubt was the point of the movie.

Bottomline: While it seems like I am hating on it, there were parts of it that I really enjoyed. Honestly. So give it a try. You just need to get through the horrible beginning. And don’t be traumatized by the three parts. Each part is roughly an hour, so its not that bad.

Rating: 6.5/10

Availability: Big three

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 moviemadam@gmail.com. We would be happy to feature all good african film, regardless of age, or origin. Thanks for stopping by