Tag Archives: Mike Ezuruonye

Intimidation

Intimidation

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Intimidation
Story/ Screenplay – Ubong Bassey Nya
Director – Ikechukwu Onyeka
Producer – Arsenal Bruno, Henrey Ukpai, Ikechukwu Onyeka

Starring:
Kofi Adjorlolo – Murktar
Mike Ezuruonye – Ikenna
Ini Edo – Zainab
Tonto Dikeh – Aisha
Prince Eke – Ekene
Chukwuma Uchegbu – Deputy Governor
Pat Asore – Amina
Uche Ebere – Vivian
Ikechukwu Onyeka – Kola
Kennedy Kalu – Abiodun
Joseph Mike – Mike
Ikeh Kenneth – Gang
Emeka Osuji – Tutcha

Themes Explored:
Blackmail
Suicide
“Saving Face”
Reputation
Scandal
Jealousy

My Rating – 72%

Zainab is due a visit home and her friend Aisha is accompanying her. Despite her father making reservations for the both of them to fly into Abuja, Zainab is hell bent on driving instead, seeking “adventure.” Although at first Aisha refuses to join Zainab on the drive to Abuja, she relents and ends up joining her. Zainab definitely finds the adventure that she was looking for. At first they get lost and the car breaks down. They manage to get help with the help of a stranger but when sunset hits and the gas runs out they are left no option but to follow and intimidating stranger into the bush. It remains to be seen whether he is to be trusted or not.

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

Zainab is a damn fool. Your father owns an airline and you are there wanting to drive from Lagos (I think it was Lagos, if anyone remembers different let me know) to Abuja. What adventure could she possibly be looking for? Perhaps the adventure of getting robbed and shot? Nonsense. Nigeria is not the sort of place that you take road trips just for the fun of it.

It was ridiculous that Zainab was so insistent on driving, especially when Aisha told her that she would go on ahead and catch the flight without her to the point that she walked out of the door. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would just follow her friend as what is the point seeking adventure on the roads between Lagos and Abuja by yourself? It would have made more sense if Zainab had been running late and then decided to drive, but she was not even running late. It seemed like the girl was on a suicide mission.
_____________

The Forest Scenes

Why does Zainab try and clobber the poor guy when they are in the woods after he has helped them so much. Is it because he is still in possession of her gun?

What sense did it make for Zainab to go and look for the stream to shower in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night? She was already mouthing off about how she would not cool or wash plates because it was her maids job so how realistic would it be that as prissy as she is she would want to go and wash in a stream. They had only been stranded 5 minutes.

It was in the forest scenes was when the tension really began to deepen. I never knew what was going to happen next, between Aisha licking her lips at the sight of the grunting stranger and Zainab attempting to clobber him every so often. So from trying to kill the guy Zainab now ends up spontaneously having sex with him up against a tree.
_____________

Reputation… Scandal… Jealousy

Aisha’s reaction to her friend getting with Ikenna was borne out of jealousy although she tried to disguise it as concern. After catching them in the act she tells Zainab,

“Wait until your parents find out about this… Wait until the scandal breaks in all the newspapers in Abuja.”

Er love you are such a hater. How can any scandal break unless you are the one to break it? She is an adult how is it your business if she sleeps with one random guy in a forest. Na wa! Aisha was taking hateration to another level. It would have been fine if Aisha were simply disappointed because she liked the guy. That is a natural feeling, but ultimately she had no claims to the guy so she needed to suck it up. Aisha was acting like Zainab had just snatched her husband. She even said to Zainab, “I could never throw myself at a filthy low life like that.” Erm but you did!!! Cooing how “fine” he was and constantly eyeing him up.

Zainab tells Ikenna that he cannot set foot in Abuja because she doesn’t want him creating scandal for her. Is the city not big enough to contain them both? It was looking to me like her own friend was more of a threat to her in terms of ruining her reputation and creating a scandal. She does not even know where the guy is headed to when she warns him. He does not even know who she is and all her yabbering about scandals would only serve the purpose to plant the idea of creating a scandal into his head.

Ikenna’s hotel room came like it had a revolving door attached to it. We see Vivian coming through to flash her bribes of cash, fake passports and houses in California in order to get Ikenna to leave the country so that the fact that she unduly sent him to prison is not exposed. We see Zainab throwing her cheque around to try and make him leave Abuja in order to avoid embroiling herself in a scandal and we see Aisha simply turning up full of lust trying to force him to sleep with her. It is quite funny watching these women get so heated up, scared what Ikenna’s next move is going to be while he just lays back coolly.

The general wants to give Ikenna a job because there is “something I like about him” WHAT? You have barely spoken to him and when he came into the compound you looked at him in disgust. So at which point was it I wondered, that he began to like Ikenna? That scenario would have been more realistic if there had been some banter between them or commonality explored. In that case we would be able to see where this “like” had suddenly emerged from following the initial disgust. We also see Zainab’s mother stand by and approve of the guy after she had only just recently seen him in the supermarket with Zainab and whispered in her ear that she did not like the guy.
____________

Sound

When the girls hit the road in search of adventure the sound becomes appalling. A certain level of distortion is sound is inevitable when driving at high speeds with the wind interfering etc, however the sound was so terrible that you could barely hear the conversation between the two girls. At one point Zainab is driving at 120 MPH and Aisha panics and is told to shut up. Not only do we hear wind, static, and heavy vibrating noises but we hear loud orchestral dramatic music. It was overkill. The orchestral music was appropriate in some scenes in the film to heighten the tension but a lot of the time it was misplaced.

_____________

Ini Edo and Tonto Dikeh gave stellar performances, performances last seen in a Native Son. They had great chemistry as close friends and the fear they had of the stranger called Ikenna was very believable. Mike Ezuruonye played the silent but deadly character effortlessly; he embodied the character and gave nothing away in his movement, expression or eyes, which added to his character’s mystery.
_____________

Overall I really liked the movie, however I am getting annoyed about movies coming out and not finishing then you have to be waiting endlessly additional parts. What kinda buuuuuuuuuulsh… is that? It had its flaws as I have explored but after all the rubbish I have been watching lately I was so happy to actually watch something different and enjoyable. It kept me hooked to the screen wondering what was going to happen next. I just badly wish that more attention to detail had been paid in terms of realism in the story and script. If due care had been taken the movie could have been phenomenal. As it was it was simply just above average, but well worth watching. Watch Nigerian Movie Review Nollywood Production Nigerian Actress Actors

Advertisements

Missing Child

Missing Child

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Missing Child ~ 2009
Story, Screenplay, Direction – Ilochi Olisaemeka

Starring:
Patience Ozokwor – Owakwe
Mike Ezuruonye – Detective
Tonto Dikeh – Jane
Emeka Amakeze – Nnamdi
Juliet Ibrahim – Princess Rose
Halima Abubakar – Amara
Chukwuma Uchegbu – Emeka
Biola Ige – Adamma
Mary Igwe – Juliet
Favour Chimobi – Chioma
Ujunwa Asuzu – Chinyere

Themes Explored:
Childlessness
Child Trafficking
Phantom Pregnancy

My Rating – 42 %

Jane is desperate to have a baby and believes that if she acts like she is already with child she will “take in.” She buys baby clothes and in her room she has a dolly in a cradle that she rocks on a daily basis as if it is a real child. Even her husband is so used to the charade that he plays along with her. Will Jane ever get the baby she so craves?

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

In Jane’s obsession to have a baby we see her on the streets reprimanding a woman for shouting at and smacking her child. If a child is not being treated how she deems fit she will make it be known. She swoops in on the boy that is being punished by his mother and screams at his mother that she should show the child a “little care and respect.”

Some things in the movie are not made clear to the viewer. We are introduced to Mike’s character but I got through to the end of part one and really didn’t know what his purpose in the movie was at all. We are shown text messages and secret packages, but the whole thing drags on for too long without any explanation as to his role.

By part 2 I can deduce that there is some child snatching going on as is evident when Nurse Amara goes to give a beggar on the street money and the beggar metamorphosises into some kids that chant at her, “we don’t want your money. We want to see our mummy.” She freaks out and takes to her heels, so I take it from this that she is telling people that their babies have died and is selling them on.

Assassins are paid to kill girls that end up keeping their babies. I was wondering how that would work and why suspicions wouldn’t have been aroused. Why did the assassin let Julie go and give her a fat stack of money too? He didn’t seem to know her. We can gather that he felt sorry for her, but what was so special about her in particular? This area should have been explored in slightly more detail. I couldn’t figure out if Owakwe was in on Julie going missing or if the surprise on her face is all an act?
_____________

Even when Biola Ige acts out crying she has a dead look in her eyes. She was marginally better than in Darkest Link, in terms of she wasn’t overacting as much but truthfully speaking that is nothing to go by. I am still amazed that this girl keeps getting cast and YES I will keep saying it till she gets to stepping or significantly improves her game.

Halima Abubakar plays the role of the mentally tortured nurse very well. You will believe that she is nurse Amara haunted by these children to the point that she confesses all. It is a role that I have seen her in before though. For those who have seen Wild and Dirty you will remember the character that she played in that movie too became haunted to the point that she took to excessive drinking to block it out.

Patience plays Owakwe a baby stealer that poses as a kindly woman that “rescues” lost pregnant girls for the streets providing them with support and accommodation. I thought it slightly odd that none of the pregnant girls in the house became suspicious when girls kept on coming back to the house without their babies.

Tonto Dikeh excelled in this role. It was one that gave her an opportunity to act out a range of different emotions and expressions. Desperations seeped heavily from every pore of her being. I thought the pair up with Emeka Amakeze could have been better, although he played his role (as well as he could) the character felt very one dimensional against Tonto’s more developed character.
_____________

Work needed to be done on these pregnant stomachs. Some of them were not even rounded, but instead just lumpy material shoved up girls’ tops. In one scene a girl is walking and the lump is moving around desperately trying to fall out of her top with each step that she takes.

What was the point of Juliet’s character Princess Rose? In one scene we see her rolling around on a bed wearing a mini skirt and tank top. Detective Mike comes in and tells her, “let me get you something better to wear.”  This guy’s something better to wear is a thin short white dress, which we then see her wearing on a hospital bed. In which era does this make sense?

While we are on the subject of dress let me ask, why is a nurse wearing stiletto heels? This is pure madness! I have never been to a hospital and seen a nurse in stilettos. This is where research comes into play where common sense and logical reasoning has been lost. A nurse is helping to save lives not parading the catwalk at a Christian Lacroix show. Stiletto heels are not appropriate for a nurse to wear to work. Nurses wear covered, flat, slip resistance shoes. It is details like this that take away from the realism of a movie.
_____________

There was a very nice twist at the end of the movie. I will not give it away, but if you watch it you will see. I did, however wonder what was the relevance for us to see the detective eating out, picking up chicks, rolling on the bed with Princess Rose? It is like the detective storyline was just thrown in there as an afterthought. Even the pregnancy at the end of the movie, I wondered; why was that thrown in there? How did that relate to anything?

At the end of the movie there is a scene where Halima addresses Mike, “Yes Doctor” when he asks her for the story about the goings-on at the hospital. I assume this was a mistake but mistakes like this need to be reshot because these mistakes become distracting. ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS VITAL! Sound was somewhat poor. Very often we hear loud music playing over dialogue, which simply means you have to higher the volume and strain to hear or miss out bits. It was quite annoying along with the sound cutting in an out at times.
_____________

I would not recommend this movie as ultimately the execution was poor, parts of the story were over confusing and attention to detail was lacking in a big way. There were however some very good performances from the cast. I loved the whole concept of the phantom pregnancy as it was something different to the run of the mill stories you often get, Kudos for the attempt at exploring this not widely talked about phenomenon

Street President

Street President

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Street President ~ 2009
Story, Screenplay and Direction – Tchidi Chikere

Starring:
Mike Ezuruonye – Matthew
Tchidi Chikere – Spirit
Chika Ike – Nene
Jimmy B – Doug (Jimmy Y Bangura)
Ijeoma Azuka – Abel
Ed Nnasor – Mr Johnson
Collette Nkem Orji – Calista
Jospeh Mike – Doctor
Chinaza Ekpere – Rice Seller

Themes:
Passion
Karma
Sacrifice
Family
Love

My Rating – 56%

A poor local boy called Matthew; after finding out that serious money is to be made from fighting on the street enters a local competition. He wins his first fight, makes some money and gets himself a manager, Doug. Soon he becomes a feared and renowned street fighter called Street President or “Preso” as his manager calls him. Tied to the streets it is only the love of a woman that takes him out of it, but the pull is strong and though his body is out of the streets his mind is still there.

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

You know it’s a Tchidi movie when as soon as you pop the disc into the player you are assaulted by his music. First we see the video for his telephone single. You know that tune used to get on my nerves. Now I find myself singing it. I swear I know all the words! The self promotion doesn’t end there. There is a next tune and then the plugging of the album GOLD. See I know the name of it. Shameless plugging does work.
_____________

Does Matthew not think it odd that the guy pushing himself to become his manager dashed away his current charge, a millisecond after the guy lost the fight to run after a new anonymous guy who he has only seen fight ONCE? I guess this was meant to show us that Matthew was that good a fighter. To me it was not believable and Matthew should have at least pulled him up on that, because the same way he dashed the guy that he was managing would be the same way he could dash Matthew in the event that he lost a fight in future.

Added to that how are we meant to believe that Matthew is a formidable street fighter and his physique does not even match? Nonsense! Casting correctly is essential. Acting well is one thing, but the person chosen has to really fit the role and I don’t believe Mike fit the role.

Matthew is an orphan, didn’t pass secondary school, lives in an unfinished building and is desperate for cash. Why on earth does he look so clean, well dressed and then to top it off well spoken? He did not make a believable street boy to me at all. I thought he was too much of a pretty boy for the role and even then they could have had him looking and sounding rough and local like the other street fighters we see in the movie.

So Mike falls ill with hypertension. He is a young man and supposedly fit enough to be a street fighter and he has hypertension all of a sudden – YEAH RIGHT! That would be very odd, and there is no explanation as to what would have caused a fit and healthy young man to be suffering from hypertension to the extent that he is fainting in the street and has to stop fighting.
_____________

So many things were just unrealistic in this movie. We are given the impression that Doug truly does not like his “baby mama” as he calls her but then one day they get back together all of a sudden. I found it all so fake. When Doug would go and visit the son he was made to talk to him outside of the compound because his mother did not like him or want him in the house. She found his lifestyle abhorrent and was not in support of it.

I could believe that she started falling for him again because of the immense love he was showing towards his son, but no when she tells him that she has not stopped loving him, on one of the outside the compound visits she tells him that she wants him back because of the fact that he son loves and accepts him for who he is and so she will too. Rubbish! Why all of a sudden do you think street fighting and smoking is ok when you didn’t previously? A kid will accept his father no matter what, even if he is a killer. Since when do adults measure their actions and decisions on a kid’s?
_____________

The time line in this movie was fugged! In part 2 Matthew stands up to his bully boss and tells him, “I’m that kid they call the Street President because I mad my name on the streets.” However we never see him winning numerous fights or making this name he is boasting about. Pretty much as soon as he started he got into the fighting game he got hypertension, fell in love with Nene and came out of the biz. Perhaps more effort should have gone into mentioning previous wins even if they were not going to be shown, so that we could get an idea of how big his reputation was before this scene.

In Part 2 Matthew and Nene break up because of his flirtations with a girl in his dance class. Even the execution of this was disappointing. Matthew had never shown signs throughout the film of being a womaniser in any way. Even when Calista approaches him in the street and is madly flirting with him he seems not to notice or be interested in her. So how on earth did he go from not even noticing her when she was throwing herself at him to practically drooling over and molesting her during an aerobics class ALL ON THE SAME DAY? This did not make sense at all.
_____________

I liked the girl who played the orange seller in the movie. I’m assuming she is credited as the rice seller as I don’t remember any rice seller, so for now let us assume her name is Chinaza Ekpere unless Chinaza comes to come and debunk that. Her role was small but she played it well, interpreting fear without overacting it as would have been so easy. I’d like to see her in a bigger role to see what she can really do.

Collette Nkem Orji played Calista and her performance was on point. (When will the majority of credits be correct in Nollywood? They spelt this poor girl’s name wrong and I only found out the right spelling through facebook) She was that girl that everybody loves to hate; the man snatcher, the unrepentant cheat, materialistic and cocky with it. I think she has a natural comic ability. In one scene near the end of the movie she packs out of her boyfriend’s house and goes to meet Matthew, assuming that he has money and is staying in a hotel. When she finds out that he too is homeless she freaks out. He tries to calm her down,

“Money will come”

“Eh heh, money will come?” she says walking away.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going far away from this your shit life.”

Karma is indeed a bitch because she runs back to her ex boyfriend that she left for Matthew and he refuses to let her back into the compound. Instead of begging she starts abusing him. This scene had to be the funniest in the movie. She is outside with nowhere to go; bag packed and starts screaming,

“According to you, now you have dumped me. Can you dump me? Do I look like someone you can dump – rubbish!”

After all that she mumbles to herself,

“Eh God! I don fock op!”

Mike’s performance was adequate in that he did his thing but the characterisation was all wrong. Chika Ike was just there. I find her such a boring actress. She has no charisma at all. Jimmy B was good but could have been better without all the Americanisms, but then that was probably scripted so not really his fault. Tchidi did well keeping to a minor role. He actually wasn’t bad at all.
_____________

I would say the movie is worth watching if you have nothing better to do. The story line was something different to the usual and in spite of all the things that were nonsensical it is an entertaining watch. I guess the message it was trying to put out there was that people should be accepted for who they are because some things can never been changed and even if they are it is only temporary.

Nollywood Production African Nigerian Movie Review

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?
___________

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.
_____________

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.
_____________

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!
_____________

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.”
_____________

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?

Nollywood Production Watch Nigerian African Movies Movie Reviews Review Lagos Idumota

The Celebrity

The Celebrity

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

The Celebrity ~2009
Story – Sylvester Obadige
Screenplay – Uche Jombo
Director – Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen

Starring:
Mike Ezuruonye – Wonderboy Dikeh
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde – Jess
Uche Jombo – Uneka
Ini Edo – Gift
Desmond Elliot – Ike

Themes Explored:
Peer Pressure
The Cult of Celebrity
Relationships
Family Issues

My Rating – 74%

We are privy to the private lives behind very public figures. Jess, Uneka and Ini are best friends who are all having issues with their romantic relationships.

Jess is a TV Personality. On her talk show she gives relationship advice but her own relationship is falling apart She manages to keep this information to herself not even her closest friends believe her relationship with Ike a music producer is rock solid. She maintains this facade by not airing her relationship issues and gossiping about her problems the way that her girlfriends do.

Gift dreams of a big wedding but her boyfriend is non committal and jobless. He claims to be in “business” but is always broke and encourages her to steal form her company to fund him. She has stolen one lot of money and he requests for her to steal more despite the fact that she has not yet paid back the last money she stole.

Uneka is a solicitor dating one of her clients a womanising footballer nicknamed “Wonderboy.” She suffers from low self esteem. Afraid that her boyfriend will leave her for a skinny girl she spends her days in the gym convinced that this will make him stay with her.

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

Family Pressure

Uneka is under pressure from her family to get married. Her mother tells her, about her relationship with Wonderboy,

“You are running around town with that small boy that has not paid your bride price.”

Both Gift and Uneka have younger sisters with their own issues that in turn affect them. Gift’s sister Yemisi is in school and pregnant for a boy that wants nothing to do with her. Uneka’s sister has had a child and abandoned by the man that she had the child for, who fled to Switzerland to live with an oyinbo woman.
______________

The movie is called The Celebrity, but not all of the couples include celebrities. Both Gift and her boyfriend are non celebrities, but it would have probably been better and made more thematic sense for at least one of them to be in the public eye.

I didn’t even realise that Wonderboy was supposed to be a footballer until half way through the movie, neither did I realise that Uneka was supposed to be his lawyer and that the relationship is supposed to be a secret from the press. This should have been made apparent much earlier.
_____________

Mike’s swagger is superb (Emeka Ike take note!) and he steals the show with his flawless lyricsing in pidgin. He fully immersed himself in the role and played the character perfectly. He has some wickedly funny lines. In one scene he gets caught by Uneka in a hotel room with 3 girls. After she catches him and runs out of the room in disgust he turns to the girls and announces,

“Mess up – well what has happened has happened so let’s finish now,” before diving underneath the duvet.

In another scene close to the end of the movie where Uneka is chastising him in front of Jess he tells her,

“Baby, cool down now. Stop increasing temperature in front of foreigner”

Ini is doing her usual lip licking and squinting. I guess that is her version of “sexy.” I must admit that despite this she had some great emotionally dramatic scenes. We see her go to rescue her sister from having an abortion. You could really feel her combined love and anger, likewise we see her at the hospital again after her sister’s suicide… different emotions but just as powerful.

Omotola was looking radiant. The make up and braids were on point. Her character “owns” Desmond’s at the end of the movie. Even though she wasn’t a particularly likeable character I did enjoy the showdown and almost felt like standing up and giving her a round of applause. She tells him,

“When I’m finished with you, you will pack your things and return to the village to sell chewing gums.”
_____________

The movie ends with the women feeling empowered, after feeling powerless for so long. It was a good way to end. I’d recommend this movie, it was well paced, funny and bought up issues that everybody and anybody can relate to.

Moment of Truth

Moment of Truth

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Moment of Truth ~ 2005
Story – Uju Onwuachu
Screenplay – Chuks Obiorah
Director – Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen

Starring:
Mike Ezuruonye – Frank
Benedict Johnson – Collins
Chioma Chukwuka – Evelyn
Georgina Onuoha – Kate
Obiageli Molobe – Grace
Fred Aseroma – Philip
Charles Okocha – Paul
Gloria Mba – Ann
Susan Peters – Gladys
George Davidson – Neighbour
Goddy Ezenwa – Landlord

Themes Explored:
Poverty
Domestic Violence
Possessiveness

My Rating – 71%

Evelyn sells bread on the roadside. One day she gets talking to a guy who is one of her regular customers and amazes him with the brilliance of her knowledge. When he finds out that she has dropped out of school and taking JAMB due to financial difficulties it bothers him deeply. It is one day when he comes across the family being evicted by their landlord for non payment of rent that he takes action. He shoulders their burdens by finding them a new place to stay, putting Evelyn’s brother in business and claiming financial responsibility for her schooling. This man seems too good to be true, and slowly find out that he really is too good to be true.

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

The relationship between Evelyn and Frank very soon turns from a platonic one into a romantic one. We see another side to him. He turns form a sweet caring man into a controlling and abusive monster.
_____________

I thought that the transition in Frank’s character was too sudden and unexpected. We should have been given more of a hint towards his abusive and violent nature earlier on in the movie for the situation to be believable.

Evelyn’s mother is an enabler encouraging his behaviour by always apologising for her behaviour even when she has done nothing wrong. We can see how poverty can mar even the strongest relationships. Evelyn’s mother clearly loves her but it is the fear of going back to poverty that pushes her to behave in the way that she does.
_____________

Watching this movie I can see how much Mike Ezuruonye has improved. In this movie his acting is more than adequate but he is overacting a tad too much and bouncing around all the time like a kangaroo.

At the end of the movie Evelyn meets Philip who offer her, a woman he has barely spoken to the offer to relocate to the US, along with her mother and brother and pay for it all… YEAH RIGHT!!! How unrealistic. The ending felt a bit rushed. We see Frank face his moment of truth in losing Evelyn. It is then that he goes on the charm offensive, an accurate depiction of the cycle of domestic violence.
______________

The movie was unoriginal but yet highly watchable with some good performances. I would recommend it. We see how poverty and the chance to escape it can make people withstand abuse they ordinarily never would.

Soul of a Maiden

Soul of a Maiden

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Soul of a Maiden ~ 2008
Story – Obi Madubuogwu, Bruce Iyke Okafor
Screenplay – Tai Emeka Obasi, Tchidi Chikere
Director – Tchidi Chikere

Starring:
Ini Edo – Olamma
Mercy Johnson – Nuria
Mike Ezuruonye – Prince Obieze
Laz Ekwueme – Igwe
Uche Ebere – Oyinne
Obi Madubuogwu – Emenike
Chigozie Okoli – Agaba
Mary Stella Okolie – Nin
Jenifer Danladi – Amaka
Ndidi Okafor – Ijeoma
Michael J Egene – Arinze
Tony Alor – Agu
David Ihesie – Ichie Igube
Alfred Nwaze – Ichie Okoro
Ikechukwu Jideofor – Igwe Amaegede

Themes Explored:
Osu Caste System
Tradition
Acculturation Vs Assimilation
Royalty

My Rating: 88%

Olamma is an outcast in Afan Asa village. She is taunted and marginalised and does not know why until she approaches her mother to find out the full story. It is then that she is told of the history surrounded her ancestry and in turn present situation. She is descended from a woman who was sacrificed to the oracle for a cow. She was a virgin on sacrifice and in life was never married. She did however, have many children, as a result of men besieging her at night. Such was the fate for an osu and for future generations. Olamma is horrified and is determined to break the cycle vowing to never let a man see her naked body much to her mother’s fear that such a vow will only invite the wrath of the Gods. Things look to change when a chance encounter brings her close to Obieze the Prince, heir to the throne of the kingdom, however when the king finds out about his son’s intention to marry Olamma he sets out to prevent such a union and will go to any length to do so.

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

I loved this movie! It was a very simple yet very well told story about the Osu. It is a sad story about injustice and unfair treatment towards a people who have done nothing to deserve it, all as a result of “historical offences.” Not knowing very much about the Osu and their history I found this movie very informative. I loved the traditional setting, the garments and the music. The music was very appropriate at all times. It had a haunting sound to show the melancholy fate that the Osu are resigned to which later changes to more uptempo “happy” music to show joy and hope at around the time the Prince decides that he wants to marry Olamma.
_____________

At one point the Prince attends a virgin dance where he is supposed to choose a bride. He chooses Nuria. It turns out that she is not a virgina and so the wedding is called off. He finds out that she is not a virgin when he goes to make love to her one night. After the deed he confronts her about not being a virgin and she tells him that she was raped to which he exclaims,

“You have obviously been at it more than once.” How would he know?

This particular scene has too much static and background noise and the dialogue was difficult to hear.. They should have reshot this one scene. The prince later goes to tell his father,

“I noticed everything in there was loose and filthy.” Haba! How would having sex with that random palace guard guy a few times make it so loose and filthy?

It is very ironic when he then says to his father,

“She should go far away to those kingdoms where they treat women like scum and serpents.” Is Olamma not being treated like scum under your very nose by the osu system which is being upheld in your kingdom?
_____________

The question must be asked, can traditional beliefs co exist alongside Christianity? In one scene the Prince asks his father,

“I stand in front of the Virgin Mary which my mother put there as a symbol of our Christian belief before she diesd and yet you still uphold this barbaric culture… I mean forcing me to choose a wife from a dance.”

His father replies,

“Son, we have to walk a tightrope between living in the modern world and maintaining our culture.”

In this movie the caste system is renounced as a barbaric practice and one which is forfeited for modern world practice. We see this when the king declares all Osus in the village as freeborn, despite opposition within his camp. It is a great ending and shows that change can come about when people have passion for an issue and stand up for what they believe to be right as the Prince did with his father. It only takes one person in a position of power to talk up and make others see reason. On hearing that the king wants to declare all Osus freeborn and elder states in supports,

“Don’t we all breathe, cry, feel pain? Are they not human beings as we are?” Very true talk.

The ending is bittersweet. Although the osus are declared free the love between the Prince and Olamma is essentially the sacrificial lamb. She leaves the village. Although she loves the Prince she cannot marry him living in the knowledge that it was his father that killed her mother. It is sad to see that they are not going to be together but at the same time it is realistic. What woman is going to want to be with a man whose father went to the extent of killing her mother? It would be an everyday reminder, so in that sense I understand why the movie ended in the way that it did.
____________

I would recommend this movie. Ini is great as Olamma the oucast, Mercy is great as the village seductress and Mike is good as the Prince but even better when playing the old man role. An excellent make up job was done. Even though I recognised the voice as Mike’s, I looked at the face and it did not even register that it was him. When Mike is playing the old man begging for water because he is thirsty Nuria has no compassion and tells him, “Instead of walking to your grave you are here obstructing the stream path.” It is Olamma that takes pity and gives him water, telling the others, “Don’t you see this man needs help?” This goes to show us that people must be judged on the content of their character and not by how they are labelled by society. Such labels can never show us who a person really is. This one is a must watch!