Category Archives: Watch? Most Definitely!

Deepest of Dreams

Deepest of Dreams

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Deepest of Dreams
Story, Screenplay, Director – Tchidi Chikere
Producer – Azuka Odunukwe

Starring:
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde – Catherine
Tonto Dikeh – Debbie
Majid Michel – Omar
Geraldine Ekeocha – Mama
Prince Eke – Doctor Orkah
Zubby Micheals – Theo
Azuka Ijomoh – Isziah
Mirabella Micheals – Edna
Yoma Bini – Anu
Frank Greene – Bini
Jennifer Afuanya – Receptionist

Themes Explored:
Concepts of beauty
Superficiality
Jealousy
Physical disfigurement

My Rating – 81%

Catherine and Debbie are sisters. Debbie is known as the beautiful sister and Catherine the ugly one because of a car accident that left her face scarred and lame in one foot. Catherine is derided by her sister and even perfect strangers based solely on her looks whereas Debbie’s looks are almost celebrated. Things start looking up for Catherine when Omar comes into her life. He stops one day to buy a recharge card from her and actually appears to looks past her physical appearance. They become close and when everything is going great Catherine discovers something that is to shatter her world.

*************SPOILERS*************

At first this movie reminded me of The Sadist with Clarion Chukwurah (excellent movie by the way. If you haven’t seen it then you should!) but the differences become apparent quite quickly as in the Sadist Clarions character’s disfigurement make her bitter and full of anger and hatred, whereas Catherine always remains sweet natured and caring.
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Omotola does a great job portraying Catherine. In one scene Catherine comes across a man that doesn’t flinch when he looks at her and treats her like anybody else and it is beautiful to watch. He even calls her “my dear” which sends her into a jubilant frenzy. She is amazed that for once she is actually being treated as a human being and excited over a situation that so many of us would take for granted. We see her elation in the way that afterwards she takes the notes that he used to pay for the recharge cards and rubs them all over her face, as though trying to remain linked with him in his absence.

When she lies in her bed smiling at night and playing the scene over and over again Debbie cannot understand why she is so happy. Catherine has to explains to her,

“You are used to people calling you my dear. I am not so this means a lot to me.”

Omotola does shy and bashful really well, as well Tonto does arrogant and bratty. As for Majid, what can I say he was true to form, seductive and cool. Omotola gives a powerful performance, especially in the scene where she confronts Omar about her confusion over his intentions. The torture is written all over her when she asks him, “What do you want from me? Why do you make me feel beautiful when I am ugly?” It is a very emotional and touching scene.

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Jealousy

When Debbie sees that Omar likes Catherine instead of her she goes to tell concoct a story to her about how he is probably using her for Juju. She knows that it is likely that Catherine will believe her because of her low self esteem. She cannot simply be happy for her sister and the little bit of joy she is receiving from the attention. It is really selfish of her as that is the minimum sort of attention she is sued to on a daily basis and still she plots to kill her joy.
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Family relationships

You could tell that Mama loved and cared for Catherine but a lot of the time I think that she was not fully aware of the damage that her words could cause. She would tell Catherine that she is beautiful but then at the same time put her down. On one occasion Debbie reports to Mama that Catherine was smiling whilst working on the recharge card stand. When Catherine arrives home she confronts her,

“Are you a mad girl? One who smiles at nothing?

I was thinking to myself, why shouldn’t she smile? People recoil at the sight of her every day. People would rather wait in a queue and get served by her sister rather than be served straight away by her, relatives actually come and more or less ignore her and celebrate her sister. Why shouldn’t she smile? What a nonsense question? Mama did not ask it like a simple query but rather took what should have been something beautiful and made it ugly by insulting Catherine.

There is also another scene where Mama goes to tell Catherine that Omar is looking for her, when Catherine asks why she retorts,

“I don’t know. Maybe he is looking for a house girl.”

Catherine has to tell her mother, “What if he just likes me or is fond of me. I am a good person?”

Catherine did well to remain sane, I mean, and what hope would you have if your own family are so focused on looks?

It is inconceivable to both Debbie and Mama that a man would want to talk to Catherine unless it is to berate her or turn her into a maid. It is a learning curve and eventually Mama does seem to realise that her daughter can still be a beautiful person be wanted by a man. Debbie on the other hand will not accept that fact and for her everything is superficial and based in physical appearance.
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People can be so ignorant, as if they can “catch” a lame foot or facial disfigurement. What harm would it do to simply treat the girl as if she is a human being; after all she is a human being.

I didn’t like the fact that Omar only went for Cathy because she was the opposite of beautiful and the whole rebound storyline. When he betrayed her my heart sunk. In his loving her it was proved that it is what is inside that counts and in him rejecting her that theory was disproved.

With regards to the reconstructive surgery I found it a bit fake that her face was so flawless afterwards. If you have just had those big growths cut off you face there will at least be some scarring. There was not even the slightest hint that she had had extensive reconstructive work carried out on her face, which I found too fairytale like. A bit more realism was needed in that department!
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It was nice that Catherine found love in the end with the doctor, so in a way it showed that you can find someone to love you for who you are. However I couldn’t help but feel that by having her have the reconstructive surgery it was sending out the message that perhaps looks are more important than character, personality and virtue. Why can’t there ever be a movie where someone can be loved blind, or lame, or burnt and there not be a miracle cure and they still be loved anyway, after all that is what happens in real life.
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I liked this movie a lot it will make you question the way you treat others as well as the concept of beauty. Is beauty skin deep? Does the surface matter? What the importance of physical attraction in finding a life partner? Omotola, Majid and Tonto did an excellent job in portraying their characters. Despite my disappointment in the turn the story took it is thought provoking and well worth watching. Thumbs up! Nollywood Production, Nigerian Movie, African Movie, Ghanaian Actor, Nigerian Cinema, Nigerian Actresses

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White Waters

White Waters

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

White Waters ~2008
Story/ Screenplay – Felix Odion
Director – Izu Ojukwu

Starring:
Rita Dominic – Norlah
OC Ukeje – Melvin
Joke Silva – Grandma
Hoom Suk – Banji
Tony Ofili Akpon – Coach Samson
Olajumoke Olatubosun – Dr Maria
Adamu Labaran – Coach Menor
Blessing Emmanuel – Bridget
B.S Abok – Ahmed
Fidelis Abdulrahman – Little Melvin
Jonah Gwamna – Musa

Themes:
Nurturing
Abandonment
Self Belief
Patience
Unconditional Love
Lonliness

My Rating – 95%

Academically Melvin is behind at school. He is 11 years old and his brother who is 4 years his junior is surpassing him. His stepfather Emeka does not wasn’t to deal with him and so implores his mother to send him away. To save her marriage to Emeka and rid her of the unpleasant memories of Melvin’s father Desmond she sends Melvin to go and live with his grandmother.

Melvin and his grandmother grow to be very close. Theu live alone and take together and care of each other. Grandma showers Melvin with care, attention and unconditional love and vice versa. It is a relationship different to the one he experienced with is mother where the love appeared to be conditional upon him excelling in school and in turn being accepted by her husband.

Melvin’s grandma suffers with chronic asthma and her frequent attacks mean that he is forever racing up and down to collect her medicines. It is during this time that his formidable running speed is spotted and he is asked to join the state track team. For the first time in his life Melvin is valued and he gains the attention of Norlah a beauty on the track team.

************SPOILERS*************

Unconditional Love
Melvin’s mother’s love for him appears to be conditional. She tells grandma, “Should I give up my marriage because of him?” Hell YEH you should. He is your child. YOU bore him. Grandma makes a good point when she tells her daughter that parents have children that are,

“Deaf, blind dumb and autistic and they do not abandon them. They show them love.”

Round of applause for grandma. She spoke well.

Patience
In this movie we see the importance of patience, nurturing and supporting a child. As the saying goes, “not all fingers are created equal.” Melvin was an indiviaual, because he was not as gifted academically as his brother, does that make him a less worthy candidate to love? We see that he is talented but in a different way, athletically. He is so talented as a sprinter that is is he that is sought out to represent the state. When his grandma was patient with him he became more comfortable within himself and was able to excel.

Loneliness
The goldfish dying was symbolic of the evaporation of the presence of loneliness in Melvin’s life. The death happens around the time of Melvin’s deepening friendship with Norlah and on the same day that they share their first kiss against the backdrop of the beautiful and formidable waterfalls. I didn’t like the fact that when Norlah shares her first kiss with Banji as the sun sets the backdrop was just as magical. I felt that it dhould have been less so so as to cheapen their relationship.

We see how Melvin’s relationship with Norlah gives him motivation and a greater selnse of self esteem and confidence. As their relationship grows he is visibly happier and stops making all the mistakes he previously made. From this we can see that patience, love and understanding can make all the difference in a person’s character. His mother didn’t take the time out to put in these things to nurture him into the man that he does become.
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OC Ukeje
I thought OC Ukeje played the role of Melvin excellently. He completely immersed himself in the character. I loved his show of vulnerability. It felt so real. As a viewer I was totally feeling for Melvin. It was heartbreaking to see him not only rejected by his mother and step father, but then to be bullied by the boys on the track team. I badly wanted him to get with Norlah to ease his loneliness and make up for all that he had been through. So you can imagine my horror when they got closer and then are wrenched apart through Banji’s doing.

OC Ukeje nailed his role and Melvin the rejected loner with a big heart. Why have I not seen this guy in anything since? Casting directors should be killing themselves to cast him in their movies. Unbeliveable!
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Rita Dominic
We all know she is a great actress but I thought she was miscast for this role. She did not look one bit like a professional athlete to me. There was not enough muscle tone on her. They should have either trained her up or got someone else to play the role.

Another thing I noticed was the heavy make up all the time, granted it was very natural but it took away from the realism. How are you going to have been attacked the night before and then turn up to training the next day with mascara, foundation, lipstick and eyeshadow. Who goes to an intense training session where you know you will be sweating heavily, with a face full of make up? They tried to show that she has been attacked with the tiny plaster at the corner of her mouth. Na. It wasn’t enough.

The tension was electrifying when Rita notices the picture she took of Melvin on the night she was attacked on her dresser. Melvin is unaware that anything is wrong and Rita remainds silent, the shock and bewilderment all over her face. The music is very effective in this scene at heightening the drama of the situation withough being overbearing or taking away from Norlah’s silent stance.

Rita loves saying BLOODY I’ve noticed. I wonder if they wrote those lines in for her or she just adds the bloody’s herself!

I wondered why Norlah chose not to say anything about the picture of the dresser and continued to be just as friendly to Melvin without reservation. Was it because she simply dismisses from her mind that it could be him? Or could it be that she suspects that he could be involved in the attack but chooses to overlook it because she realises that he has issues and desperately wants to help him. Perhaps his withdrawn and slightly weird behaviour intrigues her as she wants to get close to him all the time even when he is seemingly paying her no mind.
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Cinematography
The cinematography was beautiful. You could see that every scene was carefully crafted. The way this movie is shot, even a decrepit village has an attractive quality to it. The waterfalls, sunsets, and sunrises were captured and serve to add to the magical quality of the movie. The movie was shot in the mountains surrounding the waterfall Farin Ruwa, in Nassarawa State of Nigeria. Some of the shots were absolutely breath taking. This movie will make you marvel at why you haven’t taken a trip there already, or like me never even heard of the place before.

Music
I thought the soundtrack was beautiful and simple. The music played at the appropriate times and was consistent throughout… perfect.
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My Favourite Scene
The scene where Melvin leaves his mother to go and live with his Grandma is very poignant. The camera pans in on Melvin’s face and his eyes are wide and tear filled, we hear the strumming of a guitar while Melvin and his grandmother walk in the rain under an umbrella that shields them both. I thought the rain was representative of his family and the suffering he endured and the umbrella representative of his grandmother who had come to act as protector. It is an emotional scene. Sad because a boy has being rejected by his mother but joyous because we know that he will be happier with his grandmother.
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QUESTIONS?

How did Melvin get that picture on his dresser?

Why would the team let him back on when it seemed that he was the attacker? That would not have been fair to Norlah, not to mention traumatic.

At the end Norlah had broken her leg but why is she managing to jump up and down like a Kangaroo when Melvin wins at the sports festival?
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I would 100 percent recommend this movie. It was a sports story which in itself is not the typical Nollywood story. We learn something battling adversity and coming out on top. We learn how important love is in a person’s life. The backdrop was breathtaking, it was magical, and it was beautiful. The acting was great, the story executed well. THUMBS UP

Silent Scandals

Silent Scandals

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Silent Scandals ~ 2009
Story/ Screenplay – Vivian Ejike
Director – Okey Benson
Producer – Vivian Ejike

Starring:
Genevieve Nnaji – Jessie
Uche Jombo – Mukky
Majid Michel – Naeto
Ebele Okaro – Helen Ubaka
Chelsea Eze – Ella
Tessy Oragwa – Tina
Peachman Akputa – Etim
Pope Stan U. Ndu – Jay Jay
Paul Frank – Richie
Isaac David – Alhaji Danladi
Oladimeji Alimi – Alhaji Aide
Ime Bishop Umoh – Akpan
Dami Solomon – Tonia

Themes:
Single Motherhood
Career
Love
Parenting

My Rating – 76%

Jessie despairs over her wayward daughter Ella. She steals, drinks, smokes and stays out all night with her boyfriend Naeto without any regard for her mother. She is uncontrollable. Her mother is at her wits end and devastated when one day she has to pick up her young daughter from a police holding cell after being caught shoplifting. This action is the deciding factor in her being sent by her mother to live in the UK to live with her father.

After Ella’s departure Naeto falls on hard times and desperate to provide for his family he takes a job as a driver on his neighbour’s recommendation. His new boss is a highly strung career orientated woman who has little time for fun. Slowly he begins to break through her steely exterior and the two become close. Little does he know that this woman who is his boss is also Ella’s mother.

*************SPOILERS*************

The Good
All in all a great group of actors and actresses were selected to play the characters. No drive by performers, except for Naeto’s best friend Richie played by Paul Frank. He was teetering the line between drive by and acceptable.

I loved Majid Michel playing the Naija boy role complete with the Pidgin English. His intensity is concentrated in his eyes and he uses it well so it is understandable that he always gets roles in which love and women and the seduction of them play a large role. It is a role that he plays to perfection.

Genevieve Nnaji kills it in the scene where Naeto declares his love to her. She is stripped bare and her vulnerability exposed. She tells Naeto,

“Has it ever occurred to you that I am human…that I feel too… I may hurt sometimes”

It was an excellent performance from Genny, from the expressiveness conveyed in her eyes, to the breaking of her voice mid speech. It is the first time her character Jessie shows raw emotion. This is coming from a woman who is usually a complete killjoy. Can you imagine a woman that reprimands staff for singing Happy Birthday to her?

I liked the build up of chemistry between Majid and Genny. Just like in Emerald the chemistry was intense and electrifying. It is not immediately apparent which makes it all the more beautiful as it comes across deep and intense as we watch their bond strengthen over time. We see a real connection between the two as Naeto melts away Jessie’s steely exterior.

Naeto and Ella also had great chemistry. We see the laughter and playfulness between the two. In fact their characters actually appear to get along better than Majid and Genny’s which is often fraught with tension and hesitance. Although they both long for each other neither one knows where they stand with the other.

I thought Chelsea Eze was cast well as Ella. She was also a good actress. She looked like a teenager/young adult, and at the same time tall, slim and pretty with great bone structure so it was very believable that she was a model.

This is the first Naija movie I have seen where a chick was wearing a bikini and not a bikini over a swimming costume and some cycling shorts! Kudos on that front because it looks so fake to see someone in a swimming pool with a million layers of swimwear on, a la Juliet Ibrahim in Naked Weapon
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The build up of tension to the inevitable fall out when the love triangle is exposed is carefully engineered. By the time it got to the surprise party for Jessie that was actually being held at Naeto’s heart my heart was pounding fast, anxious and eager to see what the reactions all round would be.
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The Bad
The story was flawed for me because in order for it to work certain situations had to be engineered that did not really make sense. For instance the situation where Ella was sent to stay with her father in the UK but instead went to stay with her grandmother in Abuja was a little far fetched for me. The father would have been expecting her, so when she did not arrive would he not have been worried and contacted her mother. There is no indication that he is in on the plan so this was a glaring omission in my eyes. Wouldn’t Ella have called from the UK to say she had arrived? Wouldn’t a UK number come up on her mother’s phone?

Another of these situations was when Ella wants to stay with her grandma, “til I figure out what to do.” Yet she claimed to miss her mother so much and hadn’t seen her in a while. Wouldn’t she have wanted to rejoin her mother if this was the case? It would have made more sense to me if she said that she wanted to stay in Abuja until she finished school or because that was where the modelling jobs were. I mean what on earth was she supposed to be figuring out?

Ella when she comes back into Jessie’s life is supposed to be 20 and Jessie supposedly was pregnant when she was barely that age which would make her around 38-40 years old. I wasn’t buying it. I thought they would have fared better if Genevieve was supposed to have had Ella when she was 15/16.

I didn’t think Jessie driving to the slums where Naeto lived and ordering him to drive was very realistic. If the guy was at the point where he had had enough of her snotty attitude then her turning up and giving more of the same and his accepting it did not seem feasible to me. Or did the fact that she came to look for him give him hope that perhaps she felt something for him so he simply obeyed her command clinging onto that hope? D’ya think? Maybe?
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Sound was sometimes poor which made it difficult to comprehend what was going on all the time because the voices were too low at times. Even worse was when the voices were low and then music blasted over the top, because even if you put the volume up, the music on top only got louder too. This music over dialogue happened at a very crucial moment when Naeto was dumping Ella so it was highly disappointing not being able to clearly hear what was being said.
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Notable Scenes
I thought the scene where Ella was caught shoplifting was ridiculous. The woman in the store attempts to convince Ella that the size 10 will fit her, after Ella has emerged from the dressing room and has already stated that the dress is too big for her. The woman tells her, “Its ok, just try it on.” Huh? You saw her just come from the dressing room and she told you it is too big. Why are you saying Its OK? Noo! it is not OK.

A hilarious scene was at Jessie’s surprise birthday party when Naeto’s friends schmooze up to Jenny assuming that she is Ella’s friend. One of them throws her seductive looks while he kisses her hand. When she reveals that she is Ella’s mother her hand is dropped like a hot rock!
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The Confusion
I was confused about the relevance of the first fashion show clip we see. It was inserted randomly between scenes. It does not fit in and seems rather like overkill in the shameless plugging for Zizi Cardow. It would have made sense to save the fashion scenes to fit in for after Ella becomes a model and tie it into that storyline. This was done too but it should have been left solely for that.

During the scene where Muky tried to organise an abortion Jessie is reluctant saying,

A D and C, at my age? It’s too risky.”

What has age got to do with an abortion? Is it riskier for a 39 year old to have an abortion as opposed to a 18 year old? I don’t think so. In fact according to research teens are up to twice as likely to experience dangerous cervical lacerations during abortion compared to older women, probably because they have smaller cervixes which are more difficult to dilate or grasp with instruments. Teens are also at higher risk for post-abortion infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and endometritis because their bodies are more susceptible to infection and they are less likely than older women to follow instructions for medical care. So that statement was not based in any fact at all.

At the end of the movie we get up on the screen 30 MONTHS LATER. I had to laugh. What was that in aid of? Why not say 2 years or 2 ½ years later? Who want to be watching a movie and then doing mental arithmetic at the same time? Additionally who understand the end of this movie because I did not get it. I understood that he chose to be with neither woman but at the same time what was all the business in the car about the bomb?
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I would recommend the movie. It had a quality that felt far superior to the regular Idumota stuff you get and it was enjoyable, despite the flaws highlighted. The magic you get on screen with a Genevieve and Majid pairing is alone enough reason to watch. THUMBS UP.

Through The Fire

Through The Fire

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Through The Fire ~ 2009
(Continuation called Entanglement)
Story – Uduak Isong Oguamanam
Screenplay – Uduak Isong Oguamanam, Emem ISong, Omoni Oboli
Director – Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen

Starring:
Uche Jombo – Tega
Mercy Johnson – Chidera
Yemi Blaq – Patrick
Omoni Oboli – Gertrude
Kalu Ikeagwu – Pastor
Francis Duru – Deacon Gabriel
Desmond Elliot – Aniete
Ngozi Ezeonu – Gertrude’s mum
Rukky Sanda – Bimbola
Whoba Ogo – Esosa
Lyon Tita – Cathy
Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen – Pastor Osagie

Themes :
Marriage
Spousal Rape
Societal Pressure
Family Pressure
Religion

My Rating – 73%

We see the relationships between three friends as well as their additional romantic relationships. Tega is in a marriage where being beaten and raped by her husband is a regular occurrence. He actually seems to derive pleasure from his horrific acts of violence and verbal abuse. Gertrude is about to wed a man that appears to be the perfect match on paper but that she is not actually in love with. Chidera is desperate to get married but chronically single, and has been so for 3 years. She seems only to be able to attract married men, which her friend Gertrude thinks is inevitable considering her skimpy dress.

**************SPOILERS*************

Family Pressure
Family play a big role in the pressure a woman feels to get married. We see Gertrude’s mum lay the pressure on thick for her to marry Patrick, even though she can sense that her daughter has doubts about the relationship. She tells her,

“Do you remember Mrs Fela’s daughter? She is 37 and not married. Will career produce the cry of a baby?”

Children and family is a big part of African culture hence it being the central theme in many Nollywood movies. I’d love to see a movie where a woman actually stood up and said she didn’t want to have children, and even better where she was married to a man that had no desire to be a father either. Now that would be interesting. No doubt they would have had to have lived abroad for the African audience to be able to relate.

Gertrude tells her mother that she and Patrick “are not ready” to marry and her mother is adamant that that, it is not in a man’s place to be ready, it’s a woman’s place.”
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Religion
Gertrude does not even want to kiss her fiancé Patrick. He says he just wants to hold her and the woman is screaming “blood of Jesus” It seemed to be she was using the whole not wanting to have sex before marriage thing as a crutch to not be close to him at all. Isn’t it funny how she hugged Aniete with ease when she went to go and look at his new place? Religion is used in the movie as well as a justification for staying in a bad marriage. Tega does not want to divorce because of her commitment to following the tenets of Christianity.

Tega is torn and she tells Chidera,

“I know the bible says we can divorce on grounds on sexual immorality. That is why I am confused.”

She is taking the bible to literally to the extent that she is not considering her own welfare and happiness because she cannot find something relating directly to domestic violence and marriage in the bible.

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Rape
Rape is rape Marriage or no marriage. No is no. A woman should always have the right to say no to sex, regardless of whether she has previously had consensual sex with the man or not. Forced intercourse within marriage or a relationship is still rape. In Entanglement the continuation of Through the Fire we see Gertrude going through feelings of immense guilt over her rape. We also see Tega stay with her husband because he is her husband and thereforew she does not see his actions as rape.
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Societal Pressure
Societal pressure is massive especially for a woman of a certain age to get married we see this especially when Chidera confronts Gabriel about promising to marry her. She seems upset that she has been used as a plaything. Honey what did you expect? HE is your friend’s husband? How did you think he would respect you let alone wish to marry you? It is also inconceivable to me that Chidera would even want Gabriel to marry her considering the fact that she KNOWS how he has battered her friend. Is this what pressure can do to a woman? Make her so desperate that she will go to any length so becomes a MRS even if it means betraying loyalties and living a life full of abuse?

We know that she knows the full extent of the abuse because she tells Tega at one point,

“Divorce the bagga! Divorce him before he kills you.”

She is advocating divorce yet quick to jump into bed with the same man.
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Love and Friendship
Was Gertrude wrong for spending so much time with Aniete? Can men and women be platonic friends? Would her behaviour have been appropriate for a married woman? It is clear that Patrick is the wrong guy for her regardless of his credentials. We can see how uncomfortable she is around him in comparison to her comfortableness around Aniete. It is clear to the viewer that Aniete and Gertrude would be the perfect match. In fact it is frustrating watching the two of them get along so well but not come to the realisation that they are made for each other! You can imagine my joy in Entanglement when Aniete declares his love for her. It was beautiful. It was breathtaking. I wanted to cheer… well until Gertrude turns him down. That then turned into wanting to slap her. Nevertheless the right result came about in the end.
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I would recommend this movie. Mercy was fire. She was razz she was flirtatious, she really shone. I thought the cast were well picked and the story flowed. Important issues were raised and explored. However in the continuation Entanglement I was disappointed that we didn’t see Tega, her husband and the pastor again. I also didn’t like the whole HIV storyline and the whole if you believe you can be delivered from HIV aspect. I found this to be quite irresponsible and disturbing. Yes faith can help you thorough moments of darkness, but leaving it to God to cure HIV and not taking any medicines or accepting that you have it? Naaa, not buying it! Despite its flaws it was enjoyable to watch. THUMBS UP!

Father’s Blood

Father’s Blood

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Father’s Blood ~ 2009
Story, Screenplay and Direction – Tchidi Chikere

Starring:
Mike Ezuruonye – Matthew
Mercy Johnson – Olivia
Patience Ozokwor – Salome
Ifeanyi Ikechukwu – Sarge
John Mgbere – Chief Orthega
Vivian Ezejiaku – Nurse
Ugo Uwagbama – Ishmael
Sunday Irogboli – Akpan
Jefrey Iloba – Briggs
Sochima Jonathan – Grace
Jonathan Ganagana – Thomas
Sule Rahmat – Mimi
Chukwuoma Ejikeme – Abigail
Nneji Uju – Ugo

Themes:
Forced Retirement
Family
Love
Alcoholism

My Rating 77%

Sarge’s bosses have told him that they want to retire him at the end of the month. He is not in support of this at all as he is still fit and desperate to work because he has a family to support including a 23 year old son in school. His pleas to keep his job fall on deaf ears and his bosses will not recant their decision. In a fit of desperation Sarge resorts to extreme measures to ensure that his family are provided for, and he is willing to lose his life in the process.

*************SPOILERS************

Sarge played by Ifeanyi Ikechukwu is a G. As he robs the Bureau de Change where he works as a security guard he points the gun at his boss, who is laying face down on the floor and roars at him,

“Chief, you want to retire me? Come and retire me now! You want to retire me again? I will retire you now!”

Ifeanyi is cast well as the man who is driven to an out of character act by desperation. The torment is written all over his face through his expression. He interpreted the role very well. Forced retirement is a real issue that people of retirement age have to deal with every day the world lover. They are made to feel useless and hopeless even if they are able bodied and fit to work as we can see in this movie. Having no job with a family to support knocks Sarge’s pride as a man.

On the other hand the role of the Chief was minor but majorly butchered. Chief Chief! What can I say – this guy’s acting is more that horrible. Maybe if I say it in French it will lessen the pain I felt when watching him. Il est très horrible!!! His name is John Mgbere and I surely hope not to see him again unless he is not talking. If he is somebody’s friend or relative… A beg was it necessary for him to have a speaking role?
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After Sarge commits the robbery he speeds off in the getaway car to some remote woodland area where he buries the suitcase. He then calls his wife and tells her where he has buried the money and what he intends for her to do with it,

“It is for Matthew… Tell him it is his father’s blood. He must use that money and become someone in life.”

He then directs her to present the money to him in 2 years time when he is 25. In this we see a father’s love for his son and desire to see him son succeed where he did not. He is even willing to give up his life to ensure that his son enjoys a better quality of life. He knows that his boss will come for his family if he simply runs away so he makes sure that he alerts them to where he is by shooting his rifle, so that they will kill him and in turn leave his family alone.
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Why are we shown Salome, Sarge’s wife taking money out of the gold case and hiding it under the bed? I thought she was doing that to then get rid of the suitcase but then fast-forward to two years later when she is presenting Matthew with the money and we see all the money neatly stacked back in the gold case. Why show her taking it out of the case? Why not have her hide the whole case underneath the bed? That made no sense to me.

Matthew is told to use the money wisely but what does the stupid boy go and do? He goes to buy a car to impress a girl that he was hawking goods on the roadside with, all because she says she will sleep with him if he has a car! He comes by where she sells her new goods with his new car and on top of that he is decked out in sunglasses and some brand spanking new attire. I thought this was a bit too much of a transformation in the one day. So because he buys a car he must go on a shopping trip too?

Matthew’s change in character I felt was too sudden. You have bought a car and some new clothes and all of a sudden you are talking with a posh-ish accent, it felt a little unbelievable to me. On the contrary when he decks out Olivia in her new clothes she looks different but still retains the local razzness that she had about her.
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Matthew squanders his money on fast living and after his car is wrecked he really has nothing at all to show for it. His mother finds out and is distraught that her husband has died for nothing. Olivia almost gets herself killed by Matthew after he sees her talking to a man in the hotel where she is staying, and finds himself in prison because of this. We see how his father’s ill gotten gains have only brought his misery, but should the sins of the father be revisited upon the son?

We see how the pressure of trying to live up to his parent’s expectations and the guilt on his head about not making the most of his father’s sacrifice leads Matthew to using alcohol and sometimes weed as a coping mechanism.

There is a scene in part 2 which is hilarious. Olivia is now born again and trying to get Matthew to straighten out his life and marry her but despite the more modest dress you can still see the thug in her. She rolls up to his house determined to change his life by force. When he tries to escape her she grabs him and wraps her legs around him to the point where her asks her, “Is it by force to marry?” to which she exclaims, “yes!”Another hilarious scene involving Mercy Johnson is when she sees him on the street with one of his girls. She beats her up in the middle of the street and then runs back to Matthews house ready to descend on him should he come back. She then sees him with his alcohol and chases him until she wrestles the containers from him!
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Alocholism and addiction is an important topics touched on in the movie. We see how the effects go beyond the person who is addicted. People close to an alcoholic are affected in that they have to deal with the erratic behaviour, the aggression, the stealing, and the shame involved. Matthew thinks only of alcohol. One one occasion he runs out of money and screams at his mother,

“Give me money ooo and let me go and drink beer before the cold ones go hot.”

It is comic but so tragic at the same time. The ending was unpredicatable. I thought it was going to be a fairy tale ending where Matthew becomes born again and he and Olivia live happily ever after. It was not an idealistic ending in that sense but it was very real. Very often where addiction is involved there actually is no happy ending and lives are wrecked or lost in the process. It is a sad situation where a mother sees the only way for her son to be free is in taking his life, and Salome expresses that out loud,

“It is good for you to be dead… I have watched you drowning in your own vomit… I have set you free.”
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I liked this movie. I would recommend it. The main characters played their roles well and complimented each other. The use of the slow motion and sound effects to go along with it at the end of the movie were very nicely done and added to the dramatics of the whole scene. My only criticisms would be the sudden change in Mike’s accent. Sound also needed some improvement. Many times when the scene would change there would be a block in sound which was very noticeable and it happened more than one. THUMBS UP!

NB: At the end of Part 1 there is an epilogue despite the part 2 Tchidi why? I want to know. Is this in case people only buy part 1 or what? Someone please tell me! I believe this movie is 2009 but then in one scene they have Mike singing Sisquo’s unleash the dragon so who really knows if this is repackaged or not?

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Sincerity

Sincerity

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Sincerity ~ 2009
Story – Stanley Ebonine
Screenplay – Ruth Kadiri
Director – Ifeanyi Ogbonna

Starring:
Oge Okoye – Joanne
Yemi Blaq – Chris
Amaechi Muonagor – Chief Ezekwe
Ruth Kadiri – Adanna
Chioma Toplis – Juliet
Angela Okorie – Becky
Collin Richards – David
Nneka Okonkwo – Precious
Nwosu Diligence – Nnachi
Chigozie Atuanya – Rowland

Themes:
Family Relationships
Dehumanisation of house help
Abortion
“Saving Face”

My Rating – 76%

Adanna is the cherished only daughter of Chief Ezekwe. Being the only girl in the midst of three boys that are studying in the US she is the apple of her father’s eye and he will do anything for her. This all changes when she falls pregnant two months before she is supposed to go to the US herself to study at the prestigious Harvard university.

Adanna goes to have an abortion at a hospital that her father built and is refused. The news gets back to her parents and all hell breaks loose in her house. They order her to take them to the house of the one who is responsible for the pregnancy and she takes them to a guy called Chris’ house.

Chris immediately denies even knowing Adanna in front of her parents as he has just recently proposed to his girlfriend Joanne and this will obviously complicate matters. Her father is very angry and leaves her there in Chris’ compound after disowning her. She has no choice but to stay there and endure the hell that she is about to be put through by Chris and his girlfriend too when she is let in on his indiscretion.

*************SPOILERS*************

I don’t know how Adanna didn’t figure out that her father would know she was pregnant when she was refused the abortion. She must have suspected something was up but we never see any evidence of this. When her father comes into the house angry and screaming her name she is bounding towards him joyfully like she can’t see the man is full of rage. She is portrayed as naïve but this is beyond naivety and into the realm of stupidity.

There is a huge focus in the movie on how the pregnancy affects the parents and their good name as opposed to how the pregnancy will affect Adanna, after all she is the one that has to deal with the pregnancy and the resulting baby. This is very common in Nollywood and perhaps reflective on Nigerian society in general whereas one family member’s action reflects on the whole family. On finding out Adanna is pregnant her mother exclaims, “You have killed me!” Her father wails, “You have brought me shame!”

In the scene where Adanna sees her mother on the roadside you would think she would take that time to confide in her, after all her mother tells her that she has long forgiven her. Instead she makes it out like she and Chris are a couple and that she is only looking rough because he lost his job. Was she trying to save face to show her family she can a amount to being more than a “slut” as her father called her or was she trying to protect her mother from her father’s wrath?
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After Chris confesses his infidelity to Joanne they agree they agree that he will take her in as a house girl. Joaanne tells Adanna that she is welcome to stay as long as she likes providing that she undergoes a D& C. Why would Adanna agree to performing such when Joanne behaves in such a vile way towards her? However despite the abuse she does stay because she has nowhere else to go having been disowned.

Joanne plots on how to teach Adanna a lesson, rather than focusing on the guy that cheated on HER, This is common in Nollywood and among all women in general. It is preposterous to think that a person who did not know that you even existed and has no loyalty to you deserves punishment over a man that made promises to be faithful to you and broke that commitment. Nevertheless Joanne is soft on her man and hard on Adanna. Talking about Adanna to her friends she says,

“She cannot come to reap where she did not sow. I will show her.”

In another scene Chris goes beserk when he catches Adanna hugging a young man at his front gate. What kind of rubbish is that? It seemed like he and Joanne wanted to get rid of her so you would have thought that that would have been their perfect opportunity but instead they flog her. What is their business? I would have expected Joanne to get upset with his minding so much about another chick getting caught with a guy, but she seemed oblivious to the implications and joined in on the flogging. She should have delighted in such an incident taking place and encouraged Ada since she seemed so scared of Chris being snatched from her.
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We see how one act namely the act of Chris and Adanna having sexual intercourse can change one’s life forever. Chris exclaims, “I planned my whole life now it has been blown apart.” There is a serious message on display here which to have safe sex with casual partners as well as the warning that one must think about the consequences of ones actions before undertaking the action.

The result of that singular action is that Ada has been disowned. She is pregnant with no support from her family and being abused by the man that got her pregnant and his girlfriend. Chris has to support two women and is at risk of jeopardising the relationship with his fiancée, and also his son in the future if he continues to maltreat Adanna. Joanne has to deal with another woman and child in what would have been her marital home. The effects are devastating and wide reaching.
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I am loving Ruth Kadiri. The only other time I saw her was in Wild and Dirty which incidentally she also did the screenplay for as well as starring in. She played the inoocent, naive girl very well which was greatly helped because she does have an innocent look about her.

Amaechi Muonagor was on point. He was excellent as the strict father. My favourite scene of his was when he dumps Adanna in Chris’ compound. The dialogue, his expressions… The whole scene was very realistic.

The character development in the case of Chris was done very well. His character was complex in that is he is not an all bad person but a person that does bad things due to circumstance, and trying to keep Joanne happy. We see him gradually begin to ponder upon his actions and revaluate his behaviour.
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One major boo boo for me was a scene in part 2 when Chris is mulling over and regretting his actions towards Adanna and they have someone else doing the voice over…. Ohhh noooooo! BOOO BOO! The voice is not even similar. The accent is thick and the guy stumbles over half his words. Why couldn’t they just get Yemi to do the voiceover? Chimoooo!

Another weird thing that happened was when Oge is arguing with Chris and calls out BASTARD. The word was bleeped out Jerry Springer style. I’ve never seen that happen before and I’ve heard the word bastard in other movies. Are the censors getting strict or what?

There was a good use of music to set mood and build dramatic tension without being overbearing. We see this effective use of music to build tension in the scene where Chris finds the heavily pregnant Ada passed out after being poisoned by Joanne.
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I would recommend this movie. It was highly enjoyable and after all the trash I have been watching it was like a breath of fresh air. The picture and sound were good and even though the story wasn’t original it was executed well. I thought the cast did a great job and there were no weak links. By the end of part 2 the movie does not end and no sign of Chigozie Atuanya either so no doubt there will be a continuation. Not really a big fan of dragging out movies into so many parts, but I’ll definitely be looking out for it as this was one of the better movies of this year for me. THUMBS UP! Nollywood Production Watch Nigerian African Movies Movie Reviews Review Lagos Idumota

UPDATE

I finally got to watch parts 3 & 4. I really liked this movie and they really ended it off nicely, no open questions. Ruth Kadiri was excellent as Adanna she is definitely one to watch out for. One thing that did bug me though was when Adanna throws her boyfriend out of the house, where was that? It didn’t look like the same living room in Chris’ house and that was where she was living.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Guilty Pleasures ~ 2009
Prooduced by Emem Isong & Desmond Elliot
Story – Emem Isong
Screenplay – Uyai Ikpi Etim
Directors – Daniel Ademinokan, Desmond Elliot

Starring:
Ramsey Noah – Tessa
Mercy Johnson – Boma
Majid Michel – Bobby
Nse Ikpi Etim – Liz
Omoni Oboli – Nse
Desmond Elliot – Mr Okoro
Rukky Sanda – Chidinma
Rob Loner – Kenechi
Paul Frank – Oriafo
Beverly Naya – Bella
Esther Eyibio – Efe
Leena Mourgabel – Janet
Archie Sam – Lucas
Ibiwari Etuk – Tosan

Themes:
Relationship Issues
Love
Infidelity
Betrayal

My Rating – 80%

This is a story about relationships, infidelity, betrayal, love and deceit. The story is told through a conversation at the beginning of the movie between two women in a travel agency. Liz played by Nse-Ikpi Etim feels neglected by her husband. In all their years of marriage she has never spent more than 5 consecutive days with her husband as he is always working and as a result away on business trips. He is also possessive and controlling, not allowing her to take up employment as well as dictating her wardrobe and friends. She has had enough and is driven into the arms of someone who should have been off limits.

Nse played by Omoni Oboli has been married for a mere 3 weeks and already the cracks are showing. When she met her husband he was a struggling photographer and she was the one supporting him. In four years of dating there was never any sign of cheating and then one day not long before their wedding he meets Boma in a bar during a business trip and everything changes. This one affair has devastating consequences.

*************SPOILERS*************

After all the hype I was sooooo excited to see this movie, with the likes of Emem, the great cast and especially after watching the masterpiece that was Reloaded I could only imagine that this just had to be better. WRONG. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad or anything, as you can see from the rating, in the grand scheme of things it was a whole lot better than the average Nollywood fare. I guess having read the rave reviews and having watched Reloaded I was expecting this one to top that and for me it just didn’t.

I liked the way the story was told from the end backwards and the way the women’s stories were interwoven back to back, however the story with Nse, Boma and Kenechi was not properly explored or developed. It was as if it were a mere afterthought. It would have been better to either develop the story properly of scrap it totally. I also liked the use of the Facebook status to announce Bobby’s arrival in Nigeria. That was a nice touch.
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Majid was the stand out performance for me. He is on fire as Bobby, Tessa’s brother. There was great sexual chemistry between him and Nse. With a smile that lights up a room he was so positively smouldering that he could create fire with a brick wall. The passion between him and Nse was intense and convincing, definitely more so than with Nse and Ramsey.

One scene that was very powerful for me was the face to face gut wrenching scene at the end of the movie between Liz and Tessa. Nse and Ramsey played their roles in this scene to perfection. Although Ramsey’s character is a heavily flawed individual and to some extent took his wife for granted we can still feel his pain in this scene and equally we can feel Liz’s turmoil in hurting him and ruining the relationship between the two brothers.
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Two things that didn’t add up for me were the choice made for Liz’ friends. We had 3 young girls that were her friends that she would go shopping with. They also came to the house and were swooning over Bobby. These girls looked waaaaaaay younger than Nse. It was just not realistic to me. On one shopping trip it seemed like the clothing and baseball cap put on Nse was in an attempt to youth-ify her and it failed miserably. It only served to add age on her. These girls looked to be between 18 and 24 and Nse looked to be in her mid to late 30’s. It just didn’t add up. We see Nse shopping, no talking, just music for what seems like forever, just unnecessary.

The other thing that didn’t feel real at all to me what Nse as a fashion model. Yes she is pretty. Yes she has a nice figure, but fashion model. No. And the shots taken by Bobby did not look like they would be on the cover of any magazine either. Perhaps it would have been better if we didn’t actually see her modelling and pictures being taken of her, then we would only be able to use our imaginations. Actually seeing the modelling confirmed what we were thinking already – “Nah she doesn’t look like a model.”
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I would recommend this movie. We learn a lesson about consequences for ones actions. It was a slow starter but it got way more engrossing towards the end of the first part. The picture was glossy and seamless. The special effects that were used were integrated well and used to great effect. A great cast was used with the exception with Rukky Sanda (I don’t know what she was doing there.) My only complaints would be that the movie did not feel finished, the undeveloped side story and the long drawn out non dialogue scenes that could have been cut out completely. However, on the whole… THUMBS UP. Nollywood Production Watch Nigerian African Movies Movie Reviews Review Lagos Idumota