A grieving father sets out to find justice for his slain son and lay him to rest. Along the line, he crosses paths with old friends and foes, getting drawn back into the violent world he left behind.
I had no expectation from this film but felt compelled to watch given the calibre of the lead character. It turned out to be one of my favourite movies of the year, thanks to Editi Effiong's superb direction and RMD's nuanced acting.
RMD plays Paul Edima, the middle-aged man whose son was slaughtered by a ruthless gang of police officers. The experienced star is convincing, portraying a broken man craving justice and kicking ass along the way.
With the exception of the very first action scene, the visuals are good and the face-offs are quite impressive. But more than this, the themes of the film make it soar above your average thriller.
The Black Book explores systemic corruption, with the lens zoomed in on lawmen who often go against their oath by turning on those they have sworn to protect.
The plot is engaging, well-written, and made suspenseful by the director and a wonderful cast.
The movie's climax is fun, with the final confrontation taking place in the windswept drylands of Kaduna. I couldn't have asked for a better ending.
The stand-outs here for me are RMD, Ade Laoye, Shaffy Bello, and Denola Grey (even though he has a very limited screentime).
I recommend this flick for action lovers and movie fans in general. You will not be disappointed.
Gal Gadot stars as Rachel Stone, a secret agent whose cover within the MI6 is blown after a trusted ally betrays her and leaves her crew members dead.
Left with her wits and will, Stone goes after a mysterious hacker named Keya whose skills have her working for a vengeful individual out to use a powerful weapon to change the world.
Over the years, we have been inundated with countless spy movies, some of which end up repeating what has come before. Netflix's Heart of Stone is no different from most of them but it keeps your attention thanks to a charismatic lead and some eye-popping visuals.
The title is a pun which references the last name of the eponymous character and the object of the film's conflict, the latter being basically 'Godseye', the powerful machine we first saw in Fast 7.
It's good to see Wonder Woman star Gadot take on more action roles. Here, her character's strong moral code makes her question some of the things other spies don't.
As Rachel Stone, Gadot steers the narrative where it needs to go and her charisma is more than enough to keep some focused on what she is doing.
The issue with Heart of Stone is that as a spy action movie, it doesn't break new ground. While that is not a bad thing, one would expect that it would bring more to the table to stand out from other films in the genre.
On the positive side, the use of tech gadgets and the frenetic action sequences make for a worthy distraction from a totally predictable plot and a clueless antagonist.
Heart of Stone would not have the appeal it does if not for Gadot and Okonedo; their pairing works well, with actress Alia Bhatt also adding something substantial with the mystery surrounding her character.
This film is good, maybe very good but it doesn't compare with Bond movies. Nonetheless, I would recommend it for action lovers.
An aspiring warrior who encounters the wrath of a dreaded warlord must complete three deadly tasks. It's a journey that leads to the ultimate bloody showdown with a legend no one has ever defeated.
Gbotija fights for his life and his love in a tale of magic, power, and vengeance.
Nollywood epics have always been plagued with mediocrity. Lacking in substance, most of them failed because they are bereft of the most important ingredient that makes a good film of the genre; storytelling.
Jagun Jagun soars, boasting impressive cinematography, a wonderful plot, rich dialogue, and two stupendous lead actors.
Those who are familiar with Lateef Adedimeji's work won't be surprised by the sheer grit, determination and pathos he displays here.
As the unlikely hero Gbotija, the actor, who is one of Nollywood's best, shows such range, going through a whirlwind of emotions that you can't help but relate to his quest.
Femi Adebayo, another star who has made his mark in Nollywood portrays the antagonist warlord Ogundiji with such fetish that I have no doubt he was born for the role.
Together, Adedimeji and Adebayo constitute the Yin and Yang of a story that fuses Yoruba mythology and pacesetting action sequences elevated by an unforgettable score to take Nollywood epics to a whole new level.
Conversely, this film does have its weak points; a few annoying and unnecessary scene transitions, the expected cheap-looking special effects and lacklustre fights, and a love story that was not properly explored.
Its flaws aside, Jagun Jagun is a triumph and one I am proud to say came from the stables of the Nigerian film industry.
Three individuals find themselves at the centre of a nefarious government conspiracy as a series of eerie events lead them on a most unusual trail.
For what it's worth, director Juel Taylor gets the whole mystery thing right here, using a delectable trio of talented actors to immerse you in a tale of intrigue, conspiracy, and cover-ups. The bad thing, however, is that They Cloned Tyrone doesn't finish off strong despite starting stupendously.
John Boyega is Fontaine, a brooding young man who is more of a fighter and less of a talker. After 'surviving' a shooting following a confrontation with a notorious gangster, he teams up with a pimp (Jamie Foxx) and a prostitute (Teyonah Parris) to find out why and how he could still be alive and what the powers that be want with him.
Bloody, humourous, ambitious, intriguing, and downright crazy, this film is definitely a crowd-pleaser until it slowly becomes a victim of its own ingenuity.
The pacing is good, the actors spectacular, and the dialogue witty. I guess what went wrong is the writing because midway, the story wavers and climaxes into an all-out brawl that culminates in a boring monologue with an annoying antagonist.
I enjoyed They Cloned Tyrone so much until it became predictable. Boyega is compelling as the anti-hero who rushes first and asks questions later.
Foxx is charming and entertaining, playing Slick so well that I couldn't imagine anyone else getting the part. As for Parris, she gives the men (and the viewer) something to hold on to so that you never forget her even when she is offscreen.
This is a film that I thought would give Netflix something really good to boast about this year (the last memorable thing to release on the streamer was Nimona) but alas, that doesn't prove to be the case.
Aside from the tumble into mediocrity, They Cloned Tyrone is a charming flick that will crack the ribs of fun seekers who don't mind the film's imperfections.
For me, this is good enough to not be forgettable in a hurry but not remarkable enough to want me seeing it again.
A woman suffering from dissociative amnesia finds out that she is a person of interest when a corrupt politician decides to wipe out every trace of his dirty secrets going back many years ago.
As Sarah's memories gradually begin to come back, she must put together pieces of her troubled past and find a way to confront a formidable foe as she looks to embrace her present.
Niyi Akinmolayan employs the same intrigue and plot twists that captured viewers' attention in The Set Up, juxtaposing both past and present narratives to present a gripping story of love, secrets, power, and deceit.
Najite Dede and Efe Irele both play older and younger versions of the protagonist; a woman whose memories hold the key to a general's downfall.
While Irele is a feast for the eyes, it is Dede who completely owns this film. She shines in every way possible and her mesmerizing portrayal makes The House of Secrets one of Nollywood's best thrillers in recent times.
The black and white scenes for the past work very well, contrasting the colourful ones used to depict the present. In this regard, Akinmolayan proves that he is a master of the craft, handling both scenery and visuals with grace.
The set pieces are amazing and the attention to detail is commendable. A particular standout for me is the stupendous sound editing which perfectly captures the movie's tone and mood.
One positive of this film is the action scenes. As a critic who is always quick to point out flaws, especially when it comes to such scenes, I was impressed with what was pulled off here.
Actor Shawn Fuqua kicks ass (even if it's for a limited time) and looks really good and comfortable doing it. While one or two blows don't appear to land, the overall look is convincing.
The only complaint I have is the fire outbreak scenes; they are obviously computer generated and the CGI is horrible (it's a shame Nollywood hasn't found a way around this yet).
I was a bit sceptical about Akinmolayan not disappointing movie enthusiasts when he revealed that he was making a neo-noir film but now that I have seen The House of Secrets, the dude has made a believer out of me.
Fast-rising American singer Halle Bailey plays Ariel, a mermaid princess who defies her father by falling in love with a human prince.
Bent on following her heart's desires, Ariel makes a deal with the diabolical sea witch Ursula, who also hatches her devious scheme aimed at destroying everything the little mermaid holds dear.
Visually speaking, Rob Marshall's retelling of the classic animation is replete with awe and wonder.
Like James Cameron's Avatar, the aquatic life is brimming with numerous sea creatures and boasts colourful characters that leave you mesmerised.
When it comes to the story and the director's interpretation, The Little Mermaid doesn't do anything beyond the expected.
As the headstrong and naive protagonist, Halle Bailey is able to depict a character literally out of her element and the adventures she must undergo to win the love of her life.
While the lead star's efforts are commendable (especially her vocal ability), her acting doesn't quite show the range I envisioned. In this, she is not to blame as she worked with the script she was given.
The animal sidekicks aren't the scene stealers I thought they would be; Awkafina manages to trump the others every now and then but it felt like I'd already heard the jokes somewhere else.
As the sea King Triton, Javier Bardem looks imposing and has the required charisma but isn't given enough time to shine. The backstory with his late wife was barely mentioned and could have been shown on screen.
Jonah Hauer-King plays Prince Eric the way he is meant to. He doesn't do anything spectacular with the role and neither does he stumble in the portrayal.
Perhaps the most interesting character in the film is Melissa McCarthy's Ursula. I knew she would be fun to watch and I totally enjoyed how she ate up all her scenes.
The Little Mermaid doesn't break new ground among Disney's live-action retelling projects and it certainly is not the best of them despite what may be circulating online (to me, that title goes to The Jungle Book).
Conclusively, Halle Bailey's musical performances are worthy distractions from the fact that this is a good movie that many excited fans are calling great.
The Mouse House has done a good job but it has to do a whole lot more to justify the essence of live-action remakes.
Cole is a man who falls in love with an enigmatic woman named Sadie. He gets the shock of his life when he discovers that she is a secret agent.
The two of them are swept away on an international adventure to save the world before they can decide on a second date.
Despite the star power of the two A-listers headlining this spy movie, Ghosted ends up being something that looks like what was written by amateurs or teenagers.
From an overlong premise to Chris Evans looking like he was miscast, Dexter Fletcher's film seems plagued with unending pitfalls.
While Anna de Armas is no doubt eye candy material, I was shocked that she had zero chemistry with Evans and that her character is in no way memorable.
Right from when the duo gets thrown into the spy game, it becomes clear that there were almost no stakes involved (I literally found it hard to believe that they were in any form of danger).
In my opinion, Apple wasted a considerable sum on this mediocre project.
While cameo appearances are always welcome, they always have to add something to the story. In this case, all the unexpected stars who appear are just there to show the level of idiocy they can descend to.
Oh, and the villain of the film (who is a two-dimensional character with nothing to do but make half-assed threats) is played by an incredible actor whose talents are completely wasted here.
The action is totally subpar and while the movie had one or two moments where it looked like it would go somewhere, it finally fizzled out into nothingness.
Those expecting something very good should skip this. Film lovers who are cool with predictably cheesy stuff with boring dialogue can see it.
A coming-of-age tale revolving around a group of friends who have to walk different paths while growing up on the mean streets and neighbourhood of Isale Eko, Lagos.
Filmmaker Jade Osiberu is audacious with her interpretation of an engrossing story told from the perspective of a man caught in a world of crime, betrayal, and power.
Tobi Bakre stars as Obalola, a promising lad whose big dreams of leaving the crime-laden streets of Isale Eko, Lagos are dashed when his foster father is brutally murdered.
Growing up alongside his best buddies Gift (Adesua Etomi-Wellington) and Ify (Chike), Obalola soon learns that turning his back on the only life he has known is not as easy as he thought.
Gangs of Lagos is a gripping tale that sucks you right in from the very first scene; the cinematography is perfect and every shot and camera movement adds flavour to the plot, giving you a look into the slums of Lagos and those who run it as you've probably never seen before.
The characters are relatable, their motives and motivations make them well-rounded, and the actors all bring their A-games to sell their various roles.
I only have two issues with this film; one is that the action at certain points was disappointing (this has continued to plague Nollywood).
Secondly, I feel the character of Gift was left in the shadows a bit. Oba and Ify's backstories were explored so I expected to see the same with hers.
There isn't much to say about the film other than this; Osiberu is really shaking things up in the Nigerian film industry and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.
Two women who have had several conflicts in the past find themselves at loggerheads again when they establish food businesses in the same vicinity.
Things reach a violent climax when it dawns on neighbours that the women will take the battle to any length.
I lowered my expectations before seeing this and looked forward to it as Funke Akindele said it was her farewell to Nollywood. I ended up disappointed.
Battle On Buka Street is a messy, repetitive comedy that didn't have to be as long as it is.
Despite its talented lead stars and a resonating theme, the film wallows in the predictable cycle of exaggerated antics that keep plaguing the comedy genre in the Nigerian movie industry.
Funke Akindele amazed me in Omo Ghetto: The Saga but here she seems to be a shadow of herself and was almost outshined by her co-star Mercy Johnson.
For Johnson, she works with a mediocre script; the result is a character who is arguably the most engaging but whose arc (which was supposed to be a big deal in the final act) is executed off-camera.
Nkem Owoh is a sight for sore eyes and the acting veteran does evoke laughter without trying to at times.
For the better part of the film, we are treated to several acts of buffoonery all in the name of comedy.
The unexpected tonal shift to drama threw me off guard but just when it seemed to work well in advancing the plot and developing the characters, the outlandish humour returns, climaxing in a rather abrupt ending that made me ask if it deliberately sets up a potential sequel.
In terms of technicality, Battle On Buka Street pales in comparison to some of Nollywood's best.
The set pieces are okay and the scene transitions are nothing special but the indoor scenes lacked the expected creativity.
As I mentioned earlier, this movie has resonating themes which Nigerians need to be reminded of, especially at a time when we are on the precipice of deciding our nation's fate in the forthcoming election.
Besides the above, Battle On Buka Street is yet another forgettable comedy in the long list of comedies Nollywood keeps churning out.
Jake and Neytiri flee with their family when invading humans arrive on Pandora on a mission of retribution.
Taking refuge with one of the water tribes, they must adapt to the new way of life as their relentless enemies close in on their trail.
Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron set the bar high when he crafted the visual wonder called Avatar in 2009. It was hard to think of ways to beat that.
Now, 13 years after the original, Avatar: The Way of Water is here and while it doesn't thump its predecessor, the world-building and focus on family dynamics make it stand out in its own unique way.
Unlike the first part where Jake and Neytiri were quick to rush into danger, here they have evolved as they have their children to think about.
The couple makes the painful but wise choice to flee their home to start a new life with one of the water tribes after vengeful marines come for them.
It doesn't take long before they realise that they can't keep running and the inevitable showdown leads to a heartbreaking third act.
Performance-wise, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana carry this film like the professionals that they are, with all the supporting characters doing some spectacular acting as well.
The CGI here is impeccable and the focus on the waters of Pandora shows Cameron's love of the sea.
While the cinematography is out of this world (pun intended), the time it takes on showing the world of the alien seas gives the impression that this is a documentary and not a movie.
The action here is better than the first and the stakes are way higher, with the fear that anyone could be a casualty at any moment.
So, is this sequel better than its predecessor? The answer to that is both yes and no.
Yes because Cameron's penchant for taking your breath away comes into play again and this time, it is taken up a notch. Plus, there is more drama here, with the acting going far beyond what was seen in the first part.
No, because when everything is weighed collectively, you realise that the sense of wonder that fans got from the first film can never be recreated.
In all, I would call this one of the year's best. After all these years of waiting, Cameron's passion for filmmaking shines through yet again.