Category Archives: Film Review

Action Film: Aremu Afolayan’s The Score

Script: Aremu Afolayan

Director: Aremu Afolayan

Cast:  Saheed Balogun, Eniola Olaniyan, Olumide Bakare, Sunkanmi Omobolanle, Aremu Afolayan.

Reviewer: Ayodele Olofintuade

The Score is an action film.

The movie is about drug cartels and focuses on the story of two drug lords Mustapha (Aremu Folayan) and Kamoru(Saheed Balogun) and their long running battle for supremacy.

Mustapha is an American(?) returnee who runs a drug cartel but is always stepping on the toes of a rival drug lord, Kamoru. Part of Kamoru’s cartel were two brothers. One of them made a deal with the police to become an undercover agent in order to shorten his prison sentence, he exposed Mustapha’s deals to the police which led to the death of some members of Mustapha’s gang. His younger brother confronted him about being a snitch and it led to a break in their relationship.

Although it is an action movie the story of an actor who seems not to be able to keep his hands off women was also woven into the movie.

The Cinematography was really good, there were many shots that went a long way in making the story bearable. There was no blurring that distracted the eyes.

The screenwriter must be commended because the story was well tied together, leaving no dangling threads. However I cannot say the same of the director, there were too many loopholes.

There was too much shouting, too many people pointing guns at one another unnecessarily and awful sex scenes. Watching some of the actors kissing was a painful process, they left you wondering if it will be wise to kiss anybody because you’ll be afraid that the person might just suck your face off. The close shots of the ‘kissees’ did not help matters in the least.

Saheed Balogun was terrific in his role as the rival drug lord, making such a smooth transition whenever he switched languages that you wish he will just keep on talking and everybody else should simply disappear. One moment he is speaking impeccable English the next he is speaking beautiful criminal Yoruba.

Veteran actor, Olumide Bakare also performed very well in his role as a ‘Sinator’ of the federal republic. He delivered his part flawlessly in spite of the fact that he did not appear in too many scenes.

In a bid to sound Italian (or is it American ?) Aremu Afolayan ended up sounding like a Yoruba man forced to speak like a Hausa man. He totally mangled every scene he appeared in. I flinched each time he appeared in a scene.

It was not only him most of the actors behaved like they were in a badly produced gangster Hollywood film. Which actually it was except it was a Nollywood production. There were too many shots of too many people swaggering aimlessly up and down a street.

All the characters were flat. No reason was given for why they are where they are presently in their lives. In this day of well rounded characters, it was a total disappointment.

One other thing that bothered me about the movie is the way major characters disappear in the course of the movie. The first person to go was Sunkanmi Omobolanle, who played the part of Sean, Mustapha’s brother. After about three scenes the guy silently disappeared and you start wondering what happened to him. Not long afterwards the undercover policeman (played by Eniola Olaniyan) disappeared without any explanations.

In the true Nollywoodian spirit about three major characters appeared towards the end of the movie and you’re not sure exactly what the point of bringing them in was because they spoke a couple of lines and the film ended. I guess it’s a new ‘major movie star waka pass’ thing.

I must be frank that this film has a lot of potentials but did not fulfil any single one. With so many good actors that featured in the movie, a little tweaking here and there would have made it a blockbuster.

Now to the things I learnt from this movie

  • It is not everybody that can act
  • I am not allowed to groan out loud too many times while in a cinema except I want to be thrown out

 

Film Review: Phone Swap As Produced by Kunle Afolayan

Phone Swap

Script: Kemi Adesoye

Director: Yinka Edwards and Afred Chai

Producer: Kunle Afolayan

Cast: Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, Joke Silva and Lydia Forson

Reviewer : Ayodele Olofintuade

 

 

Phone swap is an unabashedly romantic comedy. From the first scene to the last you are either laughing out loud or chuckling into your pretty expensive crépe that you are managing to eat because the cinema does not make eba and ogbono soup available, it is not sophisticated enough.

Mary (Nse Etim Ikpe), a much used and abused, but talented tailor, was very happy when her boss decided to pay for her flight to Owerri where she had to attend to a family emergency. Akin (Wale Ojo) on the other hand plans to play another one of his ‘one-upmanship’ games on his colleagues who had never liked him because he was not a team player. They planned not to tell him about a retreat in Abuja where they were to meet the new major shareholder of the company. Unfortunately for them their plans failed because Akin had a major-domo who was also a wonderful spy on his side.

At the airport the Mary and Akin bumped into each other due to the fact that Mary was so excited by being in an airport for the first time in her life. In the process of gathering their stuff after the collision the two of them got their blackberry phones mixed up. That was the beginning of a life changing journey for both of them.

In what has become a hallmark of Kunle Afolayan’s movies the camera shots were beautiful and the transition from one scene to the next flawless. The producers did their homework and I say kudos. The movie was so well shot that it can proudly stand side by side with any film produced in other parts of the world.

The part that has stuck to me was the way the fight scene between Akin’s ex-girlfriend, a Ghananian fiend (played by Lydia Forson) and Mary, was interwoven with the fight scene between Mary’s ex-boyfriend and Akin. For that scene alone I totally forgive the cinema for not having eba and ogbono soup on their menu.

Wale Ojo was in character as a, prim and proper, slave driver. He did not slip up once, and so was Nsen Etim Ikpe, she played her role of a woman just realizing how powerful her talent could be perfectly. Joke Silva was no exception, a reformed drunk trying to obtain her son’s forgiveness for the way she neglected him when he was young. Although Lydia Forson had a few bumps in the scene she was introduced as Wale’s fiendish sot of a girlfriend, but she rallied in latter scenes and ended up making the audience love her character in spite of its flaws.

Every character in the movie was well rounded. You knew why they are where they are at every point in time. There was enough background information shown in the first few scenes by the filmmakers so that you won’t have to wonder why someone behaved in a certain way.

I must confess that there were one or two scenes in the film, when you get a feeling that something went wrong somewhere during post production but it was not enough to detract from the movie as a whole. The story was tightly woven together and the comedy was not too slapstick.

I enjoyed the way the way the changes that occurred in the characters were unfolded over the course of the movie, and particularly love the way women were portrayed. For a change Nigerian women were strong, smart and beautiful. Although the women in this film are flawed, like every other human being, they were also shown to be inherently good and beautiful.

A note of warning though, expect to watch advert placements by a major airline and a mobile service provider. The producers hit you smack on the head with it. No subtleties, just plain old hustling of a service.

Now to the lessons I learnt:

  • How not to eat crépes.
  • It is possible to show women as victors and not victims in a Nollywood movie and still get Nigerians to watch it.

And finally, don’t be in a hurry to leave the theatre once the credits starts rolling, you’ll miss out on a pleasant surprise at the end of the movie.

 

Ayodele Olofintuade is the author Of Eno’s Story published by Cassava Republic Press and shortlisted for the NLNG Prize for Literature 2012.

 

 

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