Actress- Sonia Braga has aged gracefully and playing a woman around her real age in Kleber Mendonça Filho’s latest film-‘Aquarius’ must have demanded a little to no effort—her flawless performance suggests nothing more than a woman at ease with herself and her role.
‘Aquarius’ isn’t only a strong plus for Sonia Braga, Kleber Mendonça Filho may have taken chances with his running time and slow pace but the brilliance of the two is such that, you wouldn’t realize the film runs for over two hours.
It’s a typical Brazilian movie; and it captures the breath of the sea as much as the neighborhood activities—the awful Brazilian class system entrenched on the back of skin color was touched on and the widespread case of nepotism; where almost every business is filled with close friends and family was also not left out of reach.
But the above were not the focus of Filho’s exploration or attack—the film is heavily seated on the connection between an individual and her home, a situation where every item surrounding her has a unique story to tell about her life’s journey.
Divided into three parts; the film starts with a beach scene featuring a far younger Clara (played by Bárbara Colen) in a car, blasting out “Another One Bites the Dust” in 1980. At this stage, Clara’s love and probable obsession with good music is being laid out.
Written by Park Chan-Wook and Seo-Kyung Chung, ‘Mademoiselle’ which translate as ‘The Handmaiden’ in English is a brilliant piece of art—yet it’s extensively confusing until the puzzle is pieced together at the end of the film. As a rework of Sarah Waters’ brilliant best-selling novel Fingersmith, ‘Mademoiselle’ is set in the 1930s—with two women playing … Read more
*spoilers, naturally, follow for those yet to watch Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4 ‘The Book of the Stranger’*
The house words of House Targaryen, ‘Fire and Blood’, seem like the most appropriate way to begin this review, since the world of Ice and Fire is now set on an inexorable path towards suffering the vengeful wrath of two Targaryens.
Well, one and a half. Jon Snow doesn’t yet know that he is a Targaryen, but like Daenerys, he is on a path towards a bloody war. And like Dany, he has massive reinforcements coming, although, again, he doesn’t know about his yet.
Most recent comedies we’ve seen have been funny in chops but Berlin-based filmmaker-Maren Ade’s latest work-Toni Erdmann, which she presented at the 69th Cannes Film Festival is nothing like the others—it’s a full blown comedy, straight from the start to the end. And it’s not just for the laughs, the emotionally explosive comedy has a … Read more
It’s a clash between religious fanaticism and science, the former backed by many scriptural quotations and the latter supported by arguments of reason and evidence—but at the end of it all, it’s the beauty and vigorous intelligence from both camps which leaves the viewer thrilled by this Russian film. Kirill Serebrennikov’s film “The Student” successfully and … Read more
*Spoilers, naturally, follow for those yet to watch Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 3 ‘Oathbreaker’*
The fallout from Jon Snow’s resurrection at the end of episode 2 proved to be every bit as eerie and ultimately satisfying as one could hope for it to be, as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch made his return to the land of the living in the most epic way possible.
The biggest question about Jon Snow since he was stabbed last season was never really about whether he was coming back, everyone knew that- the real question always was how he would come back and what effect that would have on the honourable Lord Snow.
When a film makes 270 million dollars and only 18 million was spent on it, then you are sure a sequel would more likely be seen—so we’ve been served with ‘Bad Neighbours 2’.
Though a sequel, one good thing about the comedy is that you do not need to have watched the previous to be able to laugh. It’s humorous in chops but as a whole, you would forget what it’s really all about the moment the credits begin to roll.
Perhaps, inspired by Zac Efron’s Magic-Mike-style dancing which grabbed a lot of attention in Dirty Grandpa, we get to see Zac in ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ doing it all over again—but this time with a plot purpose, to divert attention from an on-going thievery.
In ‘Bad Neighbour 2,’ Mac ( played by Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner ( played by Rose Byrne) have a little girl whose ideal playing-toy is their huge vibrator—and the plot of the film sits on the closure of a property sale by the couple.
When the couple thought they had successfully sold their property to move into another, it emerged to their surprise that they were in a 30 days Escrow window—a time frame within which the buyers on finding anything unpleasant could pull out of the sale.
*Spoilers, naturally, follow for those who have yet to watch Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 2 ‘Home’*
“Jon Snow is deader than dead”, Thrones director David Nutter told the President of the United States, Barack Obama, last year. It illustrates the lengths the showrunners went through to convince anyone listening that the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch was indeed, dead- nobody listened anyway.
And for good reason, it turns out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a viewing public be so sure that a certain character was not going to remain dead, so powerful is the character of Jon Snow. But the certainty over his fate was not just a sort of wishful thinking, but the logical endpoint for the carefully laid down clues the showrunners, and George R.R Martin, left for the audience.
The Avengers have become a global redemption force; a small group of super heroes whose activities are borderless. Though a private organisation, they are able to leap into any territory to knockout the bad guys—out of which collateral damages are inevitable.
To some, the Avengers are a global vigilante unit, uncontrolled and unsupervised by any prudent external power, and to others, they are plainly the fountainhead of the many wars which erupt on the back of their powers and rescue exercises. It’s always a catastrophic showdown when the Avengers roll out in battle, mostly destroying an entire city.
A collateral damage during a necessary combat in Lagos, Nigeria on the back of the Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) actions got the world paying keen attention—this time; about 117 countries agreed that the Avengers ought to be supervised by the United Nations such that their missions would be determined solely by a UN panel.
But some of the Avengers, led by Captain America (played by Chris Evans) are cynical about government controls and laid forward a total rejection to the idea, even in the face of a recollection of the many mayhem caused by their botched operations.
It was not a total Avengers’ rejection: Iron-Man (played by Robert Downey Jr) and a pack of others are in favour of the agreement—to them, that’s the way forward, with the plausible alternative being a complete shutdown of their operations by the world governments.
The below review was submitted by an up-coming film-maker who attended the premiere of ‘Amakye & Dede’ in Accra on 25th March, 2016—and he prefers to remain a ghost writer.
‘Amakye and Dede’ marks the very first time I have seen a Ghanaian movie on its opening night.
Like some Silverbird cinema employees, I never thought the movie was going to sell as much as it did. Consequently; I didn’t book my ticket until the screening day- I got there at 8 pm for the 9 pm screen, and the place was disgustingly filled with people.
I got to the cashier , and I was told the 9pm was sold out , so I had to wait for 11:30pm.
Eight-Nine-Ten-Eleven– that is four hours! There was no way I was going to stay for four hours to watch a movie– well, that was what I thought, until I return to the escalator and found out that the placed was blocked. People had to form a cue to catch an elevator ride as well. It was massive and fascinating , so well , I waited — but was it worth it?
Anthony Fuqua’s action film-London Has Fallen, a sequel to ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is extremely chaotic, brutal, fast-paced and exceedingly exaggerated—-it falls short of the first which demonstrated to the world low budget movies can also ‘break’ the box office.
If you are not quivered by the indiscriminate slaying of world leaders, the plot that everyone and everything would be put in a basket to avert the assassination of the United States president- Benjamin Asher (played by Aaron Eckhart) from many countries, perhaps, to their own disadvantage tickles the mind.
In what comes off as a ‘Final Destination’ style of killing, terrorists disguised as police officers succeed in whacking several world leaders in London, attending the funeral of the British Prime Minister.
There’s a background to the bedlam; the film opens in remote Pakistan, where a United States wanted terrorist and arms dealer’s humongous mansion is blown into ashes from the sky during the wedding of his daughter.
Two years after the ‘family annihilation’, world leaders converge in London for a funeral—and the film seems to suggest this was part of a revenge scheme, well executed by those seeking to make a global death counting statement, yet, with the US president as their ultimate casualty.
Robert De Niro seems to be hitting a late life crisis with his career—if he was bankrupt and was taking every role to make a quick buck, that would have been explicable.
But as it stands now, there’s no plausible reason why De Niro continues to fall down the slope of greatness: at this stage of his career, fans expect he will only hit our screens when it’s absolutely worth it.
Over the years, it has been a two side conversation as to whether Robert De Niro is good at comedy or not—and if we are to settle that debate solely with the outcome of ‘The Dirty Grandpa’, then the answer is clearly this; he sucks at it.
Slightly similar to his recent movie-The Intern, Robert De Niro plays a retired old man-Dick—but this time, a grandpa whose wife’s death set him on a course to wildness, to explore the final women-fun options available to him before his own departure.
After all, he had been faithful to his wife since they got married.
He doesn’t do this alone as he intended to use his fun adventure to also redeem himself as a bad father, and wake the consciousness of his grandson- Jason Kelly (played by Zac Efron) who was a week away from marrying his boss’s uber-controlling daughter-Meredith—a viable means to secure him a fast track partnership at the law firm where he worked.
Leonardo DiCaprio has missed the Oscars many times but this year, the only way he will not pick the plaque considering his outstandingly superb performance in ‘The Revenant’ is to die from his bear wounds a few days before the grand ceremony.
‘The Revenant’ is beautiful and yet vicious; a story of endurance told in such a way that the unending ferocious adventures of a nineteenth-century fur trapper and frontiersman-Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) cripple your veins—let loose only when the credit begins to roll.
Having joined other civilian privateers engaged in a US military expedition led by Andrew Henry (played by Domhnall Gleeson) somewhere near the Missouri river to establish a lucrative fur-trapping base, Hugh Glass and his men are pulled into a deranged war with arrows flying all over from tribesmen-warriors. The tribesmen are enraged by the kidnap of a Native American-woman, Powaqa (played by Melaw Nakehk’o)
After arrows have pierced the throat of more than half the men of Andrew Henry, Glass somewhat becomes the leader, guiding the few to retreat—setting the film in full motion.
Despite ‘Joy’ being less comical to me when compared to ‘Spy’ and Jennifer Lawrence being no where close to Melissa McCarthy in the department of comedy in these two films, Lawrence, amazingly scooped the Golden Globes’ 2016 Best Actress for comedy with her performance in ‘Joy‘.
And she is even tipped for an Oscar nomination; that’s how confusing things get these days with films— but then, “it’s universally acknowledged that the Oscars hardly ever awards true comedy performances.”
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lawrence perfectly plays a strong lead in ‘Joy’, a half truth biopic of Joy Mangano, a revolutionary self-wringing mop inventor who enjoyed unimaginable success in the 90s—selling on the then popular QVC shopping channel.
‘Joy’ tells a story of a rise from grass to grace in the world of commerce but that was just for the outside world—the film takes us deep into the family setting of Joy, where chaos was the order of the day.
Joy Mangano (played by Jennifer Lawrence) was a single mother who had to forgo college to stay behind in a small town with her divorced mother- Carrie (played by Virginia Madsen) and father- Rudy (played Robert De Niro); helping both in different ways as one struggled to put his life back on the track and the other locks herself in bed, watching daytime Soap Opera.
The life of Joy was hectic at the family level, more like the drama her bedbound mother was glued to: she had her divorced fruitless husband- Tony (played Edgar Ramirez) living in the basement of what had only become the family house because her father kept supporting with the mortgage payments.
Shirley Frimpong-Manso has decided to dare her audience with an unexpected radical shift in her style of story-telling—seemingly temporal but the fact remains; ‘Rebecca’ is nothing like any of the movies we’ve seen from the multiple award-winning filmmaker.
Considering Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s scenery and costume strength, it surely must have been a film-making escapade to forgo her strong holds and forge forward to tell a story this way; which she brilliantly delivers but would require a certain level of broad attentiveness to fully appreciate the film.
‘Rebecca’ opens with a scene of two people sitting at the back of a Range Rover in a middle of no where, and for the entire duration of the film, that’s the location—it’s one of those odd two actors’ movies with mostly everything taking place at one location.
Nana Obiri Yeboah’s second feature film-The Cursed Ones which has received 15 Ghana Movie Awards nominations starts on a woolly slow path—yet it manages to piece together a remarkable picture by taking the viewer on an uncomfortable poignant journey as it attacks and exposes some of the entrenched societal prejudices developed on the back of our … Read more
Bond; James Bond is back—and if anyone thought Daniel Craig was the worst ever James Bond, “Spectre” will definitely change that notion.
It’s everything a typical James Bond film is known for—-with a bonus comedy well served by Q, (played by Ben Whishaw ), the slow and yet smart tech supremo at the Mi6 headquarters.
At the World Premiere held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Daniel Craig stated among other things that though he loves playing James Bond, he hates to watch himself on screen—but I am sure, for once, he would love to see himself on the big screen for the excellent role play as the quintessential British spy.
“Spectre” kicked off in Mexico City: Mr. Bond is introduced with a woman by his side, strolling through a crowd at the Day of the Dead—and as usual, it was not a coincidence that Bond showed up there.
Soon, the somewhat skeleton festival is turned into a magnificent air display—Bond was at work, punching a tough Assassin and the Helicopter’s pilot which beautifully pushed the aircraft into an unending loop.
At this stage, you wouldn’t really know who to be scared for—is Bond about the crash into the crowd of people running helter-scatter? Of course not, it’s 007 at his best. And that was just the introduction: superbly executed to get your full attention.
Director-Cary Fukunaga’s excellent presentation and tiny breakdown of Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel-Beasts of No Nation into a movie with the same title brings out the odd beauty in war without undermining the intrinsic brutalities well associated with a jungle and haphazardly coordinated war—where child soldiers are the ultimate killing machines.
The film opens with young Ghanaian actor-Abraham Attah (who plays Agu) living in a small village, which served as a buffer zone for UN peacekeepers in an unnamed country plunged into war—but soon, the well protected village also lost its safety net.
Immediately before an attack which throws the almost peaceful village into insane panic, Agu’s mother (played by Ama K. Abebrese) and his younger sister joined the women and children of the village in a chaotic escape to a city as the men stayed behind to defend their lands.
Agu, who at this stage had connected well with viewers from the earlier few scenes which showcased him as an innocent silly young man left with nothing meaningful to do except to indulge in all manner of jokes and tricks with his friends and family because of the war was left behind—alongside his older brother and father.
A brutal attack on the village ignited the vehicle that drove the whole film. Agu’s first hand experience of the viciousness of war: the killing of his father and brother right in front of him pushed his legs to run far into the forest in search for refuge.
Soon, Agu the innocent one man refugee on the run became a member of a ferocious battalion, led by Commandant (played by Idris Elba). But this was after the film-maker had cleverly and in detail broken into particles the sort of tough trainings and spiritual initiations new intakes including Agu had to undergo—to become full family members of the battalion.
Though the film is vague about why war had broken out and the actual mission of Agu’s new family of soldiers, including several child soldiers—it makes it obvious the battalion holds no mercy and has no conscience within which it operates. It’s a deranged unit made up of unstable products of the war to kill and capture villages.
The brutalities of the war seen through Agu’s eyes, backed by his narrative put on screen: the violence, gruesome killings and the unending desire of the soldiers to fight for what seems like a blank promise founded on deceit. And in between these atrocities which Agu plays pivotal role lived his fears, the uncertainty of the future and his hunger to see his mother again.
If Justice means staying within the borders of the law and being accountable for your actions even when the fight is against ruthless cartels, ‘Sicario’ would come off as a thriller founded on ‘using all means’ to achieve a result, heavily motivated by vengeance—therefore a bunch of “bad” US agents taking illegitimate hit at the bad guys from Mexico.
Emily Blunt (who plays Kate) confidently steps into the movie as a lead FBI agent, specialising in the field of kidnap-victim recovery. That sounds straight forward and less harrowing but not when she leads her men to a cartel safe house—where they were plunged into total shock by their findings, made worse by a bomb blast which killed two of her men.
This opening horrendous experience sets the film on a path, defining Emily Blunt’s direction and ushering the viewer into the sort of cartels the “good guys” are up against. But who really is a good guy becomes difficult to establish as the film rolls on.
Idealist, young but tactful-Blunt and her partner were horrified by the cartel safe-house experience and when she was offered the opportunity by those who call the shot at the Homeland Security to join the direct fight against those who were responsible for the horror, it took her less than a minute to agree.
Even if not for the sake of the awkward and yet refreshing role Robert De Niro plays , ‘The Intern’ is not a movie you would want to re-watch—but you wouldn’t totally hate it.
The lapses in the storyline and disconnect from the many things that would actually happen in real life in certain scenarios clearly put the movie out there as one of those forcefully meandered to achieve a specific ‘happy ending.’
From the start, ‘The Intern’ comes off as something meaningful but take De Niro out of the picture and it would come crumbling on the floor as an ordinary work and life crisis movie—this time, with a young mother of one taking in the stress while her ‘stay at home’ husband brings up with their beautiful daughter.
In ‘The Intern,’ Robert De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a well lived 70 year old retired widower bored with the amount of time he has on his hand. His earlier escape routine of always being on the go seemed perfect until he came across an advertisement by a new local internet start-up looking for interns—and this time, it was not convention, the company wanted senior ‘citizen’ interns.
In the early days of modern cinema, it was deeply amazing to have one actor play two roles in the same film—and appearing in the same scene as two different characters. Today, technology has made this perfectly possible and movie goers are no more wowed by such techniques.
But in ‘Legend’ Tom Hardy’s two watchable and somewhat distinct characters may confuse you into believing, these characters are being played by two different people—just that there is good facial resemblance.
As expected when a film is based on a true story, the critics have written out far disconnecting reviews—with the movie receiving as much as 5 stars from some reputable film critics and as low as 2 stars from others. I am yet to see a star but the varying in the praise points to the fact that, these critics paid attention to different elements of the film.
The film comes off as a caricature and well below our understanding of what gangsters are capable of doing; their antics and mode of operation. But considering the fact that the film was set in the 1950s, the huge disparity in the brutality of those tagged gangsters was inevitable.
Tom Hardy successfully plays Ronnie and Reggie Kray—East End London based twins who rose on the back of violence and intimidation to earn enviable street credibility and huge bank balances in the 1950s and 1960s.
Together with their gang-The Firm, the Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults, and the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell—the latter activities ended their freedom on the street and the former fetched them a hell lot of money and control.
Apart from the obvious fact that no one can perfectly fit into the black suit of cocky British actor-Jason Statham, the on-screen ‘street fighting’ prodigy was the reason why the sequel-The Transporter caged impressive international attention.
Others can say, it was a complimentary relationship, because ‘The Transporter’ shot Jason to a worldwide audience who were in desperate need for a new hero and he was the perfect catch for the job.
Therefore, the decision to go ahead with a new installment without the original master key came as a shock to many film critics—and ‘The Transporter Refuelled’ confirmed that there can never be another ‘Transporter’ without Jason Statham—unless you want to call it; ‘The Transporter Failure.’
It was not just the absence of the swaggering Jason Statham that pushed ‘ The Transporter Refuelled’ below the red lines, the storyline was far-stretched—and in most cases, unrealistic events took off just to get a fight scene up or inject a high speed chase around the French Riviera.
Newcomer-Ed Skrein spoke with the same Jason Statham pace and fought at near speed but these were not enough, the Jason persona was missing and it was all over the movie. The high speed chases came off good, well placed ‘Fast and Furious’ stunts but the man behind the wheel still had question marks all over his forehead.
Last night at the Greenwich Odeon Cinema in London, ‘When Love Happens’ received a grand premiere—and it has also been released in selected UK cinemas for further showings…
The film which joins the path of the new emerging crop of well produced and packaged Nollywood movies, capable of taking slots in the big UK cinemas repeatedly sent the audience into the enchanting chamber of laugher; unforced and unpredicted.
My co-critic and fiancée-SassyChic who is not a fan of loud cinema outburst of laughter couldn’t hold hers—even though that was the second time we were seeing the movie. Such is the unadulterated comedy—in action and in words that the movie serves.
It’s a perfect RomCom with a well balanced audience reaction; the ‘Awwws’ that exude the fact that romance was at play were frequently doled out with genuine giggles and laughter—the exact reaction RomCom’s ought to invoke, even with mixed audience.
Directed by Seyi Babatope, the movie sets off with Moduroti Bankole –Smith (played by Weruche Opia), a 28 year old woman whose conventional hunt for love was pushed to new forms by the impending wedding of a friend.
Outside the pressures and constant reminders that she has not found love in a long time caused by the fact that she was an event planner hired to be in charge of her snobby friend’s wedding, Mo lived in a home where fairytale love somewhat surprisingly existed.
Mo’s parents who were madly in love as if they had just met couldn’t stop nudging her to find someone and despite the many men on the streets of Lagos, Mo bought into the advice of trying online dating—after all, the conventional modes couldn’t fetch her a thing.
After its best episode yet with the Kofi Wayo inspired third episode, this week’s ‘Guy Guy’ has a lot to live up to with the season debuts of Stonebwoy and Countryman Songo…
Even the greatest shows of all time have their worst moments. Those are the moments where fans have to strain hard to remember why they love the show so damn well in the first place. It occurs for most shows a few times a season and is an inevitable by-product of having to live up to the craziest standards imaginable week after week.
Rupert Friend takes centre stage in ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ as a rogue product of a discontinued secret military programme which was set up to specifically create human killing machines.
Called Agent 47, Rupert Friend was not just trained to kill but created for this—and even with eyes closed, he could kill hundreds from afar without being hit by a single bullet. What else do you expect from a movie inspired by a video-game?
With a bar code stamped on the back of his skull which also carries his agent number, Agent 47 sets off to hunt down Katia Van Dees (played by Hannah Ware), a young woman with hyper-sensitive survival skills made possible by his father—the same missing man she was trying track down.
As Agent 47 moves in on Katia Van Dees, he comes off as the villain until John Smith (played by Zachary Quinto) steps in—a different agent who initially claimed he was sent to protect Katia from Agent 47.
But things turned around when it became obvious that, John Smith was looking to capture Katia’s missing doctor father—to get the doctor to help his agency revive the agent programme.
Just like the audience, Katia nearly believed John Smith was her protector and the good guy—until Agent 47 landed his chest with several bullets. And when Katia and everyone thought John Smith was dead, things took a different turn—and the true pursuit began.
Agent 47 has been programmed not to feel “pain, fear and even love” but as the film rolled in with more gun shots, it somewhat becomes obvious that, though programmed, Agents could hold onto such feelings.
After a one week break to accommodate the Ghana Journalists Association Awards Night, your no.1 contemporary comedy show ‘Guy Guy’ returns this weekend with its most explosive episode yet.
I have honestly had a blast since I started reviewing ‘Guy Guy’. It’s funny without being too silly, star studded which I always like to mention; but mostly I just like it because it is a Ghanaian production I can watch without throwing up and which makes for a nice thirty minute break from a hectic time in the office.
Increasingly, the big screens are being filled with less thought-provoking movies these days—as more offensive words and antics lead in the world of mainstream cinema.
And even though ‘Vacation’ was not as foul as TED 2 to my co-reviewer and conservative fiancée, you can pigeonhole it as terribly offensive and less humorous as it had a central child throwing out many swear words throughout the movie.
Perhaps, modern comedy has gotten to the stage where you cannot do without foul language and certain inappropriate antics—and film makers seem to be wrongly interchanging wit for insolent.
Off the back of Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo infamous decision to take their family across the US to “America’s Favourite Family Fun Park” in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ed Helms (who plays Rusty, a domestic flight pilot), now a middle aged son of Chevy decides to give his wife and two children that ‘wonderful’ experience in ‘Vacation’.
Married to hanging-in-there-Debbie ( played by Christina Applegate), Rusty managed to convince Debbie and his two sons James (played by Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (played by Steele Stebbins) to go on a family road trip to Walley World theme park—promising them a wonderful experience just as he had with his parents when he was young.
It’s this long road trip to Walley World theme park that puts the film on it wheels—the family conversations were every so often funny but if you have a problem with a child being unable to construct a full sentence without swearing, then surely you wouldn’t even find the family chats amusing.
James, the younger brother of Kevin kept throwing out words far inappropriate for his age—and he couldn’t stop terrorizing the calm Kevin until latter part of the movie when he was taught a little lesson.
James’ reoccurring foul language which sometimes were met with similar ‘jabs’ from his parents would have maintained their comedy punch lines if they were infrequent, a little more controlled. But the fact that almost each sentence had it was a push beyond the border.