Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Review: Deepest of Dreams

Title: Deepest of Dreams

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Majid Michel, Tonto Dike Geredine Ekeocha, Prince Eke

Producer: Azuka Odgngkwe

Director: Tchidi Chikere

Story/screenplay: Tchidi Chikere

Year of production: 2009

Genre: Drama

Language: English

Country: Nigeria.

Preamble: Tchidi is a very inconsistent writer and director. Sometimes he slams it out of the park and sometimes, he screws things up. Let me by saying that in my opinion, this was a slam dunk, a grand slam, a home run! What I wonder though, is why he had to give such a good movie such a ridiculous name. Who names these things? I almost did not watch it. And yet, what a good movie it turned out to be!

Story: Catherine (Omotola Jalade Ekehinde) is a young girl who lives with her mother (Geredine Ekeocha) and her sister Debbie (Tonto Dike). Problem is, Catherine has been badly disfigured in a car accident that killed her father and left her with facial scars and a bad limp. Now she considers herself ugly and suffers from very low self esteem. Her situation is not helped by her beautiful sister Debbie who misses no opportunity to put her down. Into this dysfunctional setting walks the very handsome and rich Omar (Majid Michel) who for some inexplicable reason seems to be very attracted to the ugly duckling Catherine, much to Debbie’s chagrin. How does it work out for the three of them?

Trailer (although this trailer is pretty bad - a cut and join job if you ask me. Makes no sense!!)

Positives: Omotola is one of Africa’s top actresses for a reason – she can act. SHE CAN ACT! Dang!! I loved her in this movie – loved her. Her vulnerability, her self loathing - there were times she almost moved me to tears. She was clearly the star of this flick. I cannot lie – she pulled it off big time. I have never been a big fan of Tonto Dike’s but with performances like this, she is starting to win me over. She was excellent as the beautiful spoilt brat of a sister with clear feelings of entitlement. And Majid – sauve, handsome, compassionate and yet, conflicted – veeeery nice! I loved the casting of this movie. Honestly, I have no complaints about any single cast member. Even the doctor (Prince Okah), I think did really well. Most delightful!
I loved the story. While it was kinda cheesy, it was also very sweet, and yet not totally predictable. I did not really expect some of the events that took place, so I really liked that. I loved the fact that Tchidi was able to take a very simple story, requiring such few cast members, and yet make something so engaging out of it. Good job.

Negatives: First, Omotola’s make up. Yeah it made her look funny, but why was the supposed burn green? Abi was it just my eyes? It was green!! They needed to do a better job with the burn victim story and associated make up. Haba!! Secondly, Tchidi needs a better camera. Yes, the pink spot is gone, but his camera is definitely not the same standard as the one Vivian Ejike used in Silent Scandals. That was a pretty film visually. In this one, the picture quality not as crisp. Tchidi, you need a new camera!!
Thirdly, while I have heard frequent complaints about Tchidi singing in all his movies, I have not really seen his stuff of recent. Well, in this one, we were subjected to the dude singing some really corny tune, while basically telling the story of the movie. Too cheap to pay someone to write and sing a decent sound track? Na wah o.
And then, as I earlier mentioned, there is the stupid name of this movie. Eventually, I figured out why they gave it that name, but its still stupid – honestly. If you take the time to make such a good movie, then take the time to name it properly!

There were also some scenes that were too long - of Catherine walking all over the place for instance - normal Naija movie problems.

In general though – darned good movie. Very nice. I highly recommend it.

Themes and Worldview: This is what I loved most about this movie – its realistic depiction of the role of physical attractiveness in getting people through even the more mundane activities in life. There is a powerful scene where Omotola’s character weeps as she wonders why nobody sees past her ugliness and sees the person inside, why noone believes that any good thing can happen to her. “I am a good person; I am still here” she wept. It was touching, and it hit me on a visceral level, because we are all guilty of this: judging people by what we see – beauty and race being the most obvious characteristics. The film so artfully captured the pain suffered by people who are rejected for attributes they have no control over. Very touching. And even beyond art, the themes in this movie have some powerful real world applications: For instance, study after study have shown that better looking people get better jobs, and are likely to be treated better in general

As one character in the movie said “Yes, beauty is only skin deep, but no one told me how deep that skin is.” In other words, we are all potentially very shallow people, ignoring the person inside because of the outer packaging. Even in the bible, GOD had to teach the same lesson to one of his prophets saying “man looks at the outward appearance, but GOD looks at the heart”.

Great story, powerful lesson, much food for thought.

Rating: 8/10.

More reviews available here and here.

Availability: Big three.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Hype: IJE

So everybody has been talking about this movie for a while now, but I decided to wait on the trailer before hyping it. The buzz is really positive. I am so excited about all the good things that are suddenly happening in Nigerian cinema. This appears to be another movie that is once again going to take the industry to the next level. It is the filmmaking debut of Chineze Anyaene who directed and co-produced it with Paula Moreno. The movie has already been screened for some Hollywood high-flyers late last year, and there have been a few private screenings as well. The few available reviews have been effusive - Omotola and Genevieve were said to have knocked it out of the park!! I just cannot wait to see this one.

IJE tells a tale of Chioma, a child growing up in the Nigerian countryside, who warned her restless sister, Anya, about the trappings of the American Dream. Now ten years later, Anya is accused of killing three men in a Hollywood Hills mansion—one of them her record producer-husband. Chioma travels from Nigeria to Los Angeles, and with the help of a young, unproven attorney, discovers that the dark secret her sister wants to keep hidden might be the only thing that can win her freedom." It stars Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. It will be released in March 2010...


Just even look at the production quality of that trailer!! And check out the music - she used Asa!! Honestly, I am so excited!!

You can learn more about the movie here and also keep up with new developments on this thread. There is also a website, but it is still undeveloped. Will update this post if any action turns up on that site.

Alright folks, the movie is supposed to hit theatres sometime in March. And then I guess DVD later in the year? Looking forward to it. As usual, we will review when we see it.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Movie Review: Silent Scandals.

Title: Silent Scandal

Starring: Genevieve Nnaji, Majid Michel, Uche Jumbo, Ebele Okaro, Chelsea Eze

Producer(s): Vivian Ejike

Screen play: Vivian Ejike

Director: TK Falope

Year of production: 2009

Country: Nigeria.

Genre: Drama/Romance

Language: English

Preamble: I watched this movie fully expecting to hate it. See I had seen Vivian Ejike’s “When the heart lies” her first movie I think, and I was totally, completely shocked by how bad it was. So I was not expecting anything good from her. In fact, although I had been aware of it for months before it come out, I refused to hype it because I was very skeptical of anything good coming out from her stable.
I have to very happily eat humble pie. She has exceeded my expectations quite honestly. I am happily surprised! This movie has its faults, but it is a million times better than when the Heart lies. A marked improvement on her first effort I must say. Very good job.

Trailer: (I must note that the trailer strongly undersells the movie!)

Summary: Genevieve Nnaji is Jessica, an uptight, though very successful single mother. Her daughter Ella (played by Chelsea Eze) is driving her crazy. The girl is totally out of control and Jessica does not know what to do. Eventually, when Ella is arrested for theft, Jessica surmises that she cannot cope with her daughter, and she banishes her to live with her father and his wife in England. Around the time that Ella leaves, Jessica’s driver also quits, and so Ella is forced to hire the very handsome Naeto (Majid Michel) who used to date Ella (unknown to her) and desperately needs a job because he is facing tough financial times at home. When Jessica has political ambitions, she makes Naeto an offer he cannot refuse, and it leads to serious consequences for them all.

Review :
Positives: I was actually very, very, very surprised by how much I liked this. Although, I have to start by saying that this was a convoluted rip off of Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s little girls”. The night club scene, the drunken bedroom scene , the mouthy chauffeur, those scenes were copied almost verbatim from that movie. We have to acknowledge the abuse of intellectual property inherent in some scenes in this movie. However, after that, the movie moves on to the love triangle plot, which was interesting and I hope original, so it was not a total copy.

The acting from the main acts was very impressive. Genevieve! Genny! I love that girl, honestly. She can play the cold chick in her sleep meeen. The first time Naeto walks into her office, she gave him a look – it was perfect. And Majid, dude is just sexy jo, abi what can we say? Ebele Okaro played the overly permissive grandmother so beautifully. And Chelsea (who played Ella) was a revelation. She was not perfect, but she was good. She was really good as the spoilt brat, turned good supermodel. And Ms. Uche Jombo – the crazy over enthusiastic best friend, larger than life, yet ever loyal! I salute!! She was just perfect for the role. I also enjoyed the way the story flowed – particularly in part 1 – gripped my attention almost from the beginning. And the modeling and party scenes were so tastefully done. Ms. Ejike went above and beyond in putting together the crowd scenes. I was impressed. Bravo – good job!!

Negatives:Much as I applaud Ms. Ejike for all the hard work she put into this movie, it was obvious that she went cheap for some of the extras and waka pass actors. For instance, the dude who played Jessica’s cheating boyfriend was just bad. No other way to describe it – baaaad. When they said I love you to each other, I rolled my eyes. No chemistry what so ever. None, nada, zip. And Genny was magnificent in every scene, while the dude was just – cold toast!! Not as bad, but still underwhelming was Naeto’s best friend – played by Paul Frank. He has improved since Guilty pleasures actually, but he still has some ways to go. I wasn’t impressed with him either.

There were also some important scenes where you could not hear what was being said because the background music was too loud. Why we are having those kinds of problems in 2009 is beyond me.

I had two major substantive issues with this movies : unresolved plots and that totally unsatisfactory ending. First the plots – why bring up Alhaji if you won’t tell us what happened to him? How did Majid’s character resolve his relationship with his parents? What happened to his father in the midst of the illness? There were quite a few unresolved subplots and cheap plot creations to get to a desired end – having the driver quit so that she could hire Majid for instance. And how come Jessica, as a proud mother, did not have a single picture of Ella in the house? NOT ONE?

But nothing they did during the movie was as outrageous as the ending of that movie. Nothing. Made absolutely no sense. Unless they are planning a part 3. I was like – worraheck was that?

Bottomline: Despite all the faults and the copying, I still liked it. A pretty good movie by Naija standards

Worldview: Life is complicated; things are not always black and white, plenty of shades of gray. And love can find you in the most unexpected of times and places. Always be ready to recognize it. You need somebody in your life who believes in you and will stand by you no matter what you have done. And never settle when it comes to love. When eventually you find what you really want, things can get messy!

Rating: 8/10

More reviews: here and here

Availability: Its available here and here

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Movie Review: Love My Way

Title: Love my way

Starring: Jim Iyke, Genevieve Nnaji, Tonto Dike, Kalu Ikeagwu.

Producer(s): Anthony Nwatu

Director: Ikechukwu Onyeka

Year of production: 2008

Country: Nigeria.

Genre: Drama/Romance

Language: English

Summary: Genevieve Nnaji is Keyla, Tekena (Jim Iyke)’s fiancĂ©. She has just lost her her mother, and her grief appears to have pushed her off the deep end as she buries herself in smoking, drinking and partying. She is also not in the least bit domesticated. She refuses to cook and clean house, and refuses all entreaties by Tekena to get her to face her grief and get help. Tekena loves her, but really struggles with who she is, and they both wonder separately if they should marry each other or not. Tekena’s best friends are Doctor Richard (Kalu Ikeagwu) and coworker Oge (Tonto Dike), who coincidentally has a huge crush on him(Tekena). Keyla decides to travel to Abuja and take some time off to go clear her head and make some decisions (against Tekena’s wishes). Tekena, as he suffers with missing her and worrying about her, flirts with the idea of an affair with his best friend Oge. They are interrupted with the news that Keyla has been in an accident. Keyla has no memory of her life before the accident, and in particular, no memory of Tekena. She also appears to be a totally changed women – domesticated, sweet, caring, in total contrast to the old Keyla. Tekena finds himself falling in love with this sweeter version of his woman. What is really going on with Keyla? Will this love last? And how does Oge deal with Tekena’s newfound devotion to Keyla?


Positives: It’s a sweet love story, if rather predictable. Once Nollywood discovered the technology to put a person on the same scene twice, aka the twin genre – they have felt the need to beat it to death. You couple that with the way they have overused the amnesia story, and this story is not new, at all! However, some of them are better than others, and this I think, is one of the better ones. You always think of Jim Iyke as this rough neck bad boy, with his brash, rude, loud and obnoxious ways, both on and off screen. To my surprise though, he was really sweet in this one. He is tender and sensitive - every woman’s dream- and he pulled it off really competently. Genevieve played two roles in this movie – the bad girl, and the sweet girl, and she was believable in both roles, which have become her bread and butter in Nollywood. Kalu played the doctor and the best friend, and fourth member of the complicated love quadrangle. As usual, he was very eloquent, and somewhat nerdy and yet so sexy. You gotta love him!! And Tonto, she was really beautiful in this one. Played the role of friend and rejected lover very nicely. Like I said, sweet love story.

Negatives: Keyla has no physical injuries, yet she is in a coma, and she conveniently wakes up with Amnesia? And then, she passes out and conveniently remembers everything? Grrrrr!! Nollywood has yet to figure out this illness and hospital thing without bungling it. Obviously no research was done as usual.
As for Tonto Dike – “innit”? “Deja voir”? Worraheck is all that? If you cannot speak a different language, don’t try. Some of the supporting actors were also not up to the level of the main actors. For instance, Oge’s friend and confidant, you could see her struggling to hide her laughter. And the Doyin guy – obviously they just picked some waka pass guy. Lowered the quality of the production in my opinion.

And the whole idea that Nigerian men just jump on a woman and wham, bam, wham bam!! That was Jim Iyke with Oge – 5 seconds flat and he is on top of her, unbuckling his belt. And the same with Keyla – 2 minutes flat and he is on top of her! Ever hear the word foreplay? And yet they had Oge crying to her friend, mourning about how fantastic and unforgettable the experience was! I was like, na wah o!!

And the names : Keyla and Keyline? When will Nigerian movies start really rocking Nigerian names ehn?
The explanation for the whole mixup at the end was kinda trite, not really imaginative. The dreams and sleep talking – another cheap plot cop out. And the way everything just happened to get resolved at Richard’s hospital – cheap, cheesy, easy!!

The problem is the need to wrap everything up in a bright red bow, with a nice, complete emotionally satisfying ending. The ending was cute, generous, sweet, but cheap. But it’s just a movie I suppose, a guilty pleasure, not meant to capture any of life’s ambiguities. Although when you really think about the way it ended, it kinda makes you go ewwww!!

Lessons/worldview/philosophy: Everything happens for a reason and could perhaps work out of good – even horrible things like accidents. And for the hopeless romantics out there, true love will always find you. The lesson we learn from Oge’s relationship? If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with!!

Rating: 7/10

More reviews : here and here

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