2019 has been a weirdly surprising year for Nollywood, the first six months saturated with terrible movies that I don’t even know where to begin, while the other half has the potential to be the polar opposite.
Filmmakers like Imoh Imoren has churned out four movie trailers this year already, two of which look compelling. Niyi Akinmolayan’s twisty dramatic thriller The Set Up premiered on Sunday and could be this year’s King of Boys.
Adesuwa Etomi Wellington has an animated movie due out soon – Malika: Warrior Queen, based on a graphic novel in which she voiced the lead character.
Indeed, the remainder of the year gives us some potentially great movies to look forward to, and these are the ones on our radar:
Lockdown is about a group of people trapped during a heist at the Quarterly Bank of Commerce, perpetuated by a criminal gang determined to open the vault before daybreak. Beverly Naya works in QBC and Kalu Ikeagwu is her boss who burdens her with work on the night of the heist.
The trailer has interesting thriller beats and moves with speedy pace. Naya, who has been typecasted for long as a uppity seductress (The Wedding Party) or just glossy-tongued material girl, explores a different range of her acting chops.
Kelechi Udegbe, Linda Ejiofor, Jude Chukwuka, Bucci Franklin, Harry Dorgu, Jerry Bakpa, Tomi Fabamigbe and Tunbosun Aiyedehin. September 2o can’t come soon enough.
The trailer for Muna offers Columbiana-adjacent thrills, and engages with the woman-suffers-trauma-and-she-must-take-her-revenge trope.
Female revenge movies are easy pop culture consumables these days, enabled by our current conversations on diversity and female representation. Adesua Etomi-Wellington is the heroine, showing range and talent.
No release date for Muna has been announced yet.
Oloture isn’t your regular, bombastic, comedy-branded movie from EbonyLife Films, and this departure only serves to give the film a more jarring aspect.
Sharon Ooja, who refreshingly is the main protagonist, is an investigative journalist that goes undercover in a world of sex work and pimps and the toxic forces that shapes its habitat. Will she survive within this grim underbelly.
That said, the movie looks susceptible in conflating legitimate sex work and human trafficking, and I really hope not.
2. Malika: Warrior Queen
Adesuwa Etomi-Wellington 2019 domination will end with the late-year release Malika: Warrior Queen, an animated movie from AntHill Studio.
Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Roye Okupe, the animation is set in 15-century West Africa, and follows the exploits of queen and military commander Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire.
The trailer is the literal definition of ”open for a surprise.” The movie will b screened at this year’s Lagos Comic Convention on September 21.
Farming was first screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, and it’s set to hit theaters October 11.
The British drama is based on actor and filmmaker Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ,and tells the story of Enitan who gets ”farmed” by his parents to a white British family to ensure he has a better life.
It stars Genevieve Nnaji and Kate Beckinsale, and the trailer is beautifully disturbing.
Honourable mention: The Set Up hits cinemas today, so go see it.