Didi (Ini Dima-Okojie) and Raj (Ruslaan Mumtaz) are lovers who must contend with stiff opposition from their different families while fighting to hold on to each other.
NAMASTE WAHALA doesn’t stand out when it comes to romance dramas, but it certainly doesn’t fail to entertain.
Written and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja in her directorial debut, the movie revolves around two lovers (Didi, a Nigerian girl, and Raj, a guy from India) from different worlds who struggle to hold on to each other amid the expected resistance from the two families.
Those who are yet to see Netflix’s latest romance flick are advised not to have high expectations. Only by doing so can they sit back and enjoy this film.
Despite its predictability, Namaste Wahala has some valuable lessons for those who find themselves in similar situations. Because the truth is, we may be of different skin colours but we are all one.
Like all movies, this one has its ups and downs. Let me get to the negatives first.
The meeting of Didi and Raj (the two lead characters) is the work of lazy writing in my opinion. It was a collision (literally, they bumped into each other) that could have easily been avoided. It felt forced and created in me a certain bias for the film in the early goings.
After their second meeting at an event, what the viewer is treated to is a vocal rendition (typical Bollywood style) with the lovers engaged in a full-blown romance. WTF!
Didi comes from a home where her domineering father (played by Nollywood veteran Richard Mofe-Damijo) wishes she could stop seeing what he calls her hobby as a job and become the daughter he expects her to be.
Raj is an only child; something that makes his mother (Sujata Sehgal) dote on him endlessly as she never gets tired of being the overprotective mother that she is.
Didi and Raj’s blossoming affair is frowned upon by Didi’s father and Raj’s mother.
RMD plays the disapproving father all too well. He wants his daughter to marry a man of his choosing and refuses to accept Raj because he is not Nigerian.
Sehgal is a joy to watch, perfectly portraying the suspicious Indian mother who worries that the unworthy Nigerian girl is stealing her beloved son from her.
These are all things we have seen before in many films. But one thing I like about Namaste Wahala is that the love story is spiced by an investigation into an assault case. This is something that reveals the other side of Didi, showing that she is not just a pretty face.
Osas Ighodaro (a well-known face in Nollywood) plays Preemo, Didi’s father’s company lawyer who obviously loathes Didi and always looks for every opportunity to verbally abuse her.
The rivalry between Didi and Preemo works well as I enjoyed the way it played out. Ighodaro uses her short screentime to her advantage, leaving a lasting impression.
Now, the scene where Ernest (Didi’s father) meets Raj was not well executed in my opinion. It clearly showed the former holding the drink he gulped in his mouth. It was hard for me to guess what he intended to do and when he actually spat on the floor on seeing Raj, I laughed in amusement.
There are some other lapses but they aren’t so significant to mention. Now, let’s get to the good parts.
Broda Shaggi’s cameo appearance is a much-needed balm as his banter with Raj’s mother is (to me) one of the best comic moments of the film. His character embodies the typical Lagos driver who is foul-mouthed and uncouth.
Even though the romance between Didi and Raj is rushed, the chemistry between the actors playing them is undeniable. I ended up rooting for them.
Ini Dima-Okojie made me forget my bias with her acting. She showed me that Didi is a powerful woman who doesn’t just conform to the whims of her overbearing father.
Joke Silva also shines as Didi’s mother. The scene where she clashes with Meera (Didi’s mum) was fun to watch. Though I feel she should have been more utilized, I’m happy to say she didn’t disappoint.
Ruslaan Mumtaz as Raj also impressed me. But then again, when have I ever not been impressed by a leading Indian?
The comic element works well, though it could have been toned down in a few scenes.
Conclusively, Namaste Wahala doesn’t bring anything new to the table. But using an age-old formula yet again isn’t all bad. Besides, it is meant to be an entertaining love story and it works well in that regard.
Veteran actress Jodie Foster stars as a controversial attorney who decides to defend a man held in captivity as he is believed to be behind the 9/11 attacks on US soil.
In her quest for the truth, Nancy Hollander (Foster) uncovers a major conspiracy and is determined more than ever to follow through to make sure her client gets what he deserves.
Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim shine in Kevin Macdonald's The Mauritanian, a gripping tale of a man whose guilt is determined even before he is convicted of the crime.
Based on the 2015 memoir Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, The Mauritanian tells the true-life story of Salahi (Tahar Rahim) who is detained for fourteen years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for allegedly being a part of the 9/11 attacks.
Hollywood veteran Jodie Foster plays Nancy Hollander, the defense attorney who takes on Salahi's case, with the assistance of Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley).
Hollander's decision to defend a 'terrorist' pits her against Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), a formidable military prosecutor who has been charged with building a case against Salahi so that he gets the death sentence.
As Hollander and Duncan communicate with Salahi to get to the bottom of the case, they are met with obstacle after obstacle. But something begins to dawn on them; the government is hiding something that could actually prove that Salahi is not the man they say he is.
On his part, Couch's determination to ensure that Salahi gets what he deserves is shaken when he finally gains access to some confidential papers documenting the unspeakable horrors the Mauritanian was subjected to in detention.
Couch has a very good reason to want Salahi dead but he has to ask himself if he is being pushed to take part in the execution of an innocent man because the government is fixated on him being the 'someone' who must pay for the 9/11 attacks.
The Mauritanian has an engaging plot that develops naturally, bolstered by intelligent dialogue and fully fleshed-out characters.
For me, two actors stand out here; Jodie Foster for her deft acting skills (she is so convincing as the aging attorney that the viewer may forget she is acting), and Tahar Rahim, whose amazing portrayal of the man whose hellish encounters on American soil inspired this film.
As Salahi, Rahim's portrayal is astonishingly spot on. Few men can endure what his character went through and retain their sanity and the way it is depicted will make the viewer wonder how such wickedness came to be in the hearts of men.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley also impress as part of the supporting cast. Both of them own their roles in the best way possible and leave no doubts as to why they were cast.
Conclusively, The Mauritanian is a movie with a very important lesson; every man deserves the right to a fair trial. This is a point that Foster's character hammers on almost throughout the film.
I commend the director, Kevin Macdonald, for a job well done. He successfully made a gripping drama that is up there with some of the finest films to come out of Hollywood.
Once again, another commendation to Foster and Rahim, the talented duo who elevate The Mauritanian to heights of greatness. Two thumbs way up!
Two mythical monsters battle for supremacy in the sequel to Godzilla: King of Monsters. Only one of them will be left alive and the key to human survival may be in the hands of a little girl who is close to Godzilla.
Adam Wingard's monster film proves to be the biggest and best yet in the genre, combining over-the-top action with dazzling visual effects to give viewers a treat worthy of its title.
Does it live up to the hype? Hell, yes! Of the two dueling behemoths, does a winner emerge? Hell, yeah! In the end, does it prove to be a genuine blockbuster? Again, hell yes!
Now, I'm not exactly a fan of Godzilla or Kong or monster movies for that matter. While I enjoyed Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005) and Kong: Skull Island, the last Godzilla film (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) released in 2019, didn't leave any lasting impression on me.
Honestly, I don't really see any reason to pit two fantastical beasts against each other just for the fun of it. So, I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about Godzilla vs. Kong's arrival.
The movie did arrive, I saw it, and damn! Adam Wingard has managed to turn something completely nonsensical into one of the best action movies in recent memory!
The plot: Alexander Skarsgard plays Dr. Nathan Lind, a geologist who teams up with Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), an anthropological linguist, to take the monstrous Kong to find the location of Hollow Earth (a hidden world within ours where the beast could finally feel at home).
Meanwhile, Madison Russell (Milly Bobby Brown) and her friend trail Bernie Hayes and enlist his help in uncovering a sinister plot being hatched by Apex Cybernetics, a tech organization trying to solve Earth's "Titan problem".
When Godzilla suddenly launches an unexpected and brutal attack on Apex, the stage is set for the inevitable confrontation between two colossal creatures. It's a fight that will only have apocalyptic consequences for earth's citizens.
As Godzilla and Kong face off, Madison and her team realize that what Apex has been up to is even more dangerous than they initially thought. It's something that endangers the life of every single person on the planet, and those of even Godzilla and Kong.
The story is straightforward and the dialogue is mediocre. Anyone expecting something more than just action and spectacle is in for a major disappointment as Godzilla vs. Kong doesn't have any lofty aims. It was made to entertain and in that capacity, it exceeds beyond what the viewer may have envisioned.
In the acting department, only two individuals stand out for me; Skarsgard and Kaylee Hottle, the young actress who plays the deaf Iwi native who befriends Kong and whose special bond with him is one of the film's significant arcs.
The cinematography (especially in the Hollow Earth scenes) is breathtaking, the special effects awesome and the action is, of course, the best part of the movie.
The fight scenes between the titular characters leave the viewer wanting more. They are well-staged and the camera angles are just right in showing the epic brawl.
To be blunt, Godzilla vs. Kong is a mindless piece of unfiltered entertainment that will delight geeks and action aficionadoes. I had a total blast watching it and will definitely do so again soon!
Kudos and two thumbs up to Adam Wingard for making a really dumb movie so cool that you forget how dumb it really is and just relax and enjoy the ride!
It won't come as a surprise to me if a decision is made to helm a sequel. I have a feeling that many movie fans (myself included) are hoping that that happens.
In conclusion, Godzilla vs. Kong is a non-stop joyride, slowed down only by the few scenes where the two titans aren't beating the hell out of each other!
The rivalry between the popular cat and mouse comes to the big screen. When their antics threaten the successful wedding ceremony that is set to take place in a plush hotel, a new employee decides to take matters into her hands and eliminate them.
The Tom and Jerry movie tries to capture the comic wonder of the cartoon series but ends up being a noisy affair with distracting music.
From the moment the decision was made to helm a live-action/2D animated hybrid of the beloved classic, there was little possibility of making something worthwhile. In the end, Tom and Jerry pales in comparison with the source material.
Directed by Tim Story, the movie stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Kayla, a girl who gains employment in a prestigious hotel in New York by posing to be who she is not.
Her job is marred by the presence of the titular cat and mouse whose feud threatens to ruin a wedding between two famous individuals in the hotel.
Michael Pena co-stars as Terence, the event manager of the hotel (and Kayla's boss), who is suspicious of her the moment she appears. He wants to get rid of her but can't quite find a way to do that. As Tom and Jerry's antics continue to mess things up, Kayla decides to use Tom's feline instincts to capture and get rid of Jerry.
Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda are the couple whose arrival at the hotel is greeted with warm hospitality. Their wedding is set to be one of the most momentous occasions in the history of the hotel.
But things begin to go sideways when Kayla's efforts to stop the mayhem continuously caused by Tom and Jerry leads to more and more disaster.
One doesn't expect much from the plot of this kind of movie, but putting in a few surprises wouldn't have hurt. Instead, what we get is a string of predictable sequences and a lead actress who is seriously lacking in the comedy department.
Moretz became a screen darling after her impressive performance as Hit-Girl in the Kick-Ass films. After then, she has continued to show promise as a talented actress.
Unfortunately, her acting here isn't all that convincing. Her character is not really someone you root for and Moretz has a lot of work to do if she plans to convince audiences that she can portray hilarious characters.
Her acting comes across as forced, and she tries too hard at times. Pena who usually steals the screen in whatever role he is given is one of the film's worthy distractions but even he can't save it from being a forgettable affair.
His character doesn't have much to do other than be suspicious of Kayla and make a fool of himself. As for the visual effects, they weren't bad at all.
I was impressed with how the 2D characters interacted with real-life objects and made contact with them. But when sharing scenes with humans, the viewer could easily tell that the animated characters weren't really there.
The eponymous characters are supposed to be the best part of the movie but this is not the case. Admittedly, there were a few scenes when their clashes brought back memories of the classic cartoon series. But for the most part, their actions were repetitive; Tom trying to catch Jerry (and failing) and Jerry constantly outwitting Tom.
If you want to make a Tom and Jerry movie, give us something that is lacking in the animated series. To be fair to the writer Kevin Costello, there is the romance subplot between Ben and Preeta but even that doesn't help this film wallow in mediocrity.
The music is another element that was too distracting. It was good but at times, not needed. It felt more like noise than melody at times.
I wouldn't say I was disappointed after watching Tom and Jerry because I knew it was bound to be a letdown. I just expected more from Moretz and Pena whose inclusion didn't even ease the feeling of disappointment.
This was a wasted effort in my opinion and that isn't easy to say as I'm well aware of how much work goes into these types of movies. I wish something better and more creative was greenlit instead. Conclusively, Tom and Jerry is a loud, fanciful, and hollow mess that doesn't leave any lasting impression.
A young man struggles with PTSD after serving in the army. He and his partner take solace in heroin and their lives begin to crumble before them. In an effort to pay off a debt he owes a gangster, Cherry begins robbing banks; something that bodes tragedy for him.
With CHERRY, Tom Holland proves that he has the versatility to conquer Hollywood as he sheds the superhero persona he is famous for playing to give a rousing performance of a PTSD victim.
Based on the novel of the same name by Nico Walker and directed by the Russo Brothers, Cherry is the story of the eponymous character, a young man who watches his life crumble before him after his travail serving in the army.
Starring Tom Holland (the fast-rising star who plays the MCU's Spider-Man), Cherry is a singular look at the effects of PTSD, and an individual's descent into the world of heroin addiction.
Cherry's life changes when he falls for his college classmate Emily (Ciara Bravo) and their relationship quickly blossoms into teen romance.
The protagonist's life takes an unexpected turn when his girlfriend informs him that she is leaving for Canada to further her studies in Montreal. Devastated, Cherry makes a rash decision; he joins the army.
He is shocked when Emily does a 180 turn to let him know that she won't be leaving the country anymore. But by then, it's too late and soon, he joins his band of brothers for combat duties.
Cherry is changed by his horrific experiences as a soldier, and when he returns, even Emily's presence isn't enough to drive his never-ending nightmares.
On the brink of insanity, Cherry takes solace in heroin, initiating Emily along the way. Before long, he's robbing banks to pay off a debt he owed a notorious gangster.
The path that Cherry is on can only lead to self-destruction, but he is powerless to alter his faith and has to watch as Emily slowly dissolves into a caricature of who she was. Tragedy looms, but Cherry could care less. All he is after is self-gratification and he is ever faithful to his new god - heroin.
Cherry isn't the first movie on PTSD, neither is it the best (not by a long shot). But what makes it compelling is Holland's portrayal of the young man whose physical and psychological torture is largely one of his own makings.
Apart from their MCU movies, I'd never seen any film(s) directed by the Russos, so I was keen to see something different helmed by them. I say they did a good job.
I loved the way the protagonist's suffering is shown; the visual representations, weight loss, etc. Everything was as realistic as one would expect from this kind of drama.
I expected Holland to deliver and the dude went far beyond that for me. I just couldn't take my eyes off him. I will be shocked and disappointed if his performance here doesn't get him at least a major award nomination.
As the main supporting character, Ciara Bravo is equally impressive as the girl who becomes fed up with her partner and decides to also become an addict. Her acting talent is never in question here.
Cherry doesn't break new dramatic grounds but it is worth seeing, thanks to its resonating themes, Holland's character arc, and mesmerizing performances from the two leads.
Based on true-life events, Judas and the Black Messiah is the story of how William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) on the behest of the CIA infiltrates the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party to get information on Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).
SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is an immense triumph, thanks to exceptional performances from Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Standfield.
Helmed by a relatively unknown director, the movie was produced by Ryan Coogler (BLACK PANTHER), who saw something in the story worth telling. In the end, King's interpretation is a phenomenal masterpiece that is thought-provoking and insightful.
Set in the late 1960s, the movie sees petty car thief Bill O'Neal (LaKeith) make a deal with the FBI in exchange for his criminal records being expunged.
The feds want him to get close to Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), the chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. O'Neal infiltrates the party and eventually becomes Hampton's driver, gaining his trust while relaying vital information back to the FBI.
O'Neal struggles with his conscience over his dirty deeds while Hampton's influence continues to grow. As the cases of brutality against the blacks continue to rise, the feds put more pressure on O'Neal, knowing that taking Hampton (and the Black Panthers) down depends on him being able to deliver the final crushing blow from within.
Frankly, I didn't know what to expect after seeing the trailer. Coogler's involvement gave me little assurance that seeing this film wouldn't be a total waste of time. In the end, I was blown away.
First off, I tip my heart to the acting talent that is Daniel Kaluuya. The man is a sheer force of nature! He impressed me in GET OUT and QUEEN & SLIM. Here, he shows that he isn't just acting the part of Fred Hampton. He IS Fred Hampton. The passion his character exudes, dedication, and selflessness are well depicted with his astonishing acting. In my opinion, he deserves an award for it.
LaKeith Standfield also delivers (I expected nothing less) with a realistic portrayal of his two-faced character and the inner battles he fights. His shifty eyes give you a peek into an individual who is hiding something. He is the darkness to Kaluuya's light, the Judas to one seen by many as the black messiah.
The music is another element that helps in setting the mood; poignant and apt, it is well utilized, making for a perfect ensemble. The supporting actors also play their roles well as no one seems out of place or underused.
In the end, I must commend Skaka King for making a masterpiece. In an era where there is still racial segregation and inequality, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is a look into the troubled past of a people who have suffered so much due to no fault of theirs.
Despite the injustice continually meted out to them, the never-ending fight continues. Why? Because in the words of the great man himself, 'You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution!'
A movie director and his girlfriend have a major fight on the biggest night of his life. During the course of the rift, secrets are bared and issues they never knew existed surface.
Sam Levinson's film is engaging at first but loses steam just past the halfway mark, leaving the viewer bored in a never-ending cycle of the same issues.
John David Washington is Malcolm, a filmmaker, whose girlfriend Marie (Zendaya) seems upset after what he sees as the biggest night of his life.
After returning from the premiere of his movie, Malcolm is ecstatic and can't stop talking about the night's affair. He notices Marie wears a glum look and after probing, she finally begins to unearth some issues that lead to arguments and an unending quarrel.
I was eager to see how the director would sustain the interest of the viewer with just two actors and for the first few minutes of the movie, I was entertained.
The dialogue was okay and they both seemed to talk like normal folks would, that is until they became caught in a predictable and boring repeat of talking about annoying stuff.
First of all, the characters are well-written. JD's acting is impressive (one would expect nothing less from the son of Denzel Washington). Even Zendaya (who I never knew had such range) didn't disappoint. What put me off was the endless cycle of arguments and make-out sessions.
When I realized that was what was in store for the viewer for the entirety of the film, I became pissed off. Zendaya is a good actress but her character is so annoying.
Just when you think the arguments are over and they have both settled, she brings up yet another reason to keep fighting. You couldn't even put a finger on what exactly she wanted from her boyfriend as she kept saying a whole load of trash.
This is not to say Malcolm was without his flaws. The difference is that he is more tolerable. I understand what the director was going for but in my opinion, he failed to hit his mark as this movie ends up becoming entrapped in what was supposed to lift it beyond mediocrity.
Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) is a young girl who embarks on a quest to find the last dragon and save her village.
Raya and the Last Dragon is the best animated movie from Disney so far, blending spectacular action, eye-popping visuals, and a powerful story to give fans a surreal experience.
Written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, Raya and the Last Dragon is the story of Raya who seeks out the last surviving dragon to save the kingdom of Kumandra from the evil menace of the Druun (evil spirits responsible for turning people to stone).
As a child, Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) was betrayed by one she thought was a friend and that led to the catastrophe that pushed decimated her people (including her father).
Because of that tragic incident, the heroine has major trust issues and this is something that influences every move and decision she makes. Raya meets Sisu (Awkafina, the last dragon, early on and finds out that she is not what she expected. Sisu is the opposite of Raya; easily trusting and goofy.
Despite the fact that it was the actions of humans that led to her race being destroyed, Sisu's trust in humanity remains unwavering and she is ready to go to any length to show that they can change.
Finding Sisu is only the first part of the quest as the two (along with a few sidekicks they pick up in the course of their journey) must find the other parts of the missing orb which holds the key to bringing back all that they lost and vanquishing the Druun.
Raya and her friends are pursued by Namaari, a fierce female warrior from the Fang tribe who will stop at nothing to claim the only power that remains in the land.
As Namaari closes in, Raya realizes that the only way to succeed in her quest may be to open up her heart again to trust a bitter enemy. It is no easy feat as even Sisu is powerless to stop the threat that eventually catches up to them.
First off, the animation is superb; from the character designs to the costumes and the realism of the CGI environment. Even the movements of the characters show a marked improvement compared to previous animated films.
Then the action is awesome. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I saw a PG rating cos I knew it had to with the action. Having seen the movie, I must say that it has the best fight sequences I have seen in a Disney film.
The thing that is most remarkable about Raya and the Last Dragon is its themes; learning to trust even when you have no reason to, the power of unity, and change beginning from each and every one of us as individuals.
There is no better time for all the races of humanity to embrace one another and live in harmony. This is the message at the core of this film. I grew up watching animated movies and cartoons.
In all my years reviewing such films, none of them has had the impact that Raya and the Last Dragon had on me. I was moved to tears at a point (that's how powerful the movie is). The only other film that comes close to this, for me, is Moana.
It's not easy to keep movie fans spellbound with fantastic tales over the years, but in that regard, Disney has continued to succeed. It's easy to forget that Raya and the Last Dragon was made during the height of the pandemic (forcing animators and others involved to work remotely) because the final result astounds the senses.
Two thumbs way up to directors behind this superb film, Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada, and the two wonderful leads, Kelly Marie Tran and Awkafina, for an unforgettable voice acting impression.
And last but not least, much thanks to the Mouse House for delivering something phenomenal (as you guys do most of the time). Raya and the Last Dragon is undoubtedly one of the finest films ever made, one which I will see many more times again!