by Emmanuel Osanedum
Let’s get right into it : Hollywood, as usual pushed its film boundaries last year, though the inevitable producer here and there still managed to dig us some bad movies; and in Nollywood, we had the usual one or two bright stops. We take a quick pick of the 10 movies that influenced Nigeria.
Ije: Easily the number one Nigerian movie this year – for many reasons. Hype certainly one of them. But hype is good when the product is as good, which was also the case here. Produced by newcomer Chineze Anyaene, one of the better products the New York Film Academy has given to Nigeria,Ije takes Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji and did to them what dozens of Nigerian filmmakers should have done: give them a fantastic story and a director with a good head. Ije isn’t the best that Nigeria can do – and in a way, it was disappointing to the extent that it fell short of last year’s The Figurine in every material particular – but it was light years ahead of anything else that we had to offer last year, and that’s enough to thank God for.
Inception: Across the world, there is a collective orgasm over what the legendary director Christopher Nolan and the equally, er, legendary Leonardo Di-Carprio – permanently looking like a lout these days with those funny, awkward beards – did with this movie. I can understand why, but count me out of it. When a director takes enough turns to confuse the viewer, all the while giving him a nagging suspicion that something really smart is happening on the screen but I just can’t figure it out, it’s easy to see what is being done. They call it Inception, I call it Deception. Well directed movie, many props for a thoughtful story line, and brilliant acting on all levels, but what exactly was going on? The truth, is many people don’t know: but no one wants to look less than smart.
Salt: A little flesh, just enough close-ups of her delicious thighs (and yes, that sounds dirty on many fronts, but let’s call a thigh a thigh) and completely bad-ass acting, Angelina Jolie finally established herself as an acting genius. Like Meryl Streep, all you need is Jolie and your movie’s done. Doing a Russian-American spy in a role originally meant for a man, Agent Evelyn Salt jumps over bridges, climbs over walls, hangs by ceilings, contorts at impossible angles, shoots at close range, jumps out of a helicopter, gets beat up with a enough blood to challenge the Christ – and survives everything. Salt is one of the best action movies this writer has seen in a long time. So I saw it thrice.
Inale: It’s the kind of movie that’s destined to succeed. Directed by Jeta Amata, soundtrack by the legend Bongus Ikwu (the movie is produced by his daughter, Keke), and acting by Hollywood’s Hakeem Kae-Kazeem and Caroline Chikezie, with a cast list including Ini Edo, Dede Mabaiku and Omawumi Megbele, Inale – said to be Nigeria’s first musical shot on celluloid – was made to shine. For those who saw it, it certainly seems to have done just that. There were a few hiccups about the storyline, and one or two coughs with acting, but Inale is an ambitious movie that touched all the right spots. So why exactly didn’t it get much more buzz than it did, which was barely?
Anchor Baby: It came in big, boasting of awards from film festivals across the globe, a Nigerian-Canadian collaboration featuring Omoni Oboli (you remember her from The Figurine). This one thing has to be said: though the camera work for Anchor Baby left too much to be desired, not to mention the bland shots, backgrounds and everything else that spoke to an absence of directing creativity. Now that’s that. In every other way, this was an intimate, touching, unexpected story that is sure to shock you with its blink-and-you-miss-it denouement. What shines through though is the quality of the story, the quality of the dialogue and Omoni Oboli. You should see this movie.
The Social Network: Everyone knows it as the story of Facebook, what many don’t know it isn’t really the truestory; the writers and producers took quite a bit of liberty from it, gratuitously painting the founder of Facebook, mark Zuckerberg as – in turns – a jerk and prick. That having been said, oh what a story! The Social Network is easily the best film to come out of Hollywood in 2010. The story is intelligent, smart and sensitive. And the acting matches it frame for frame. Miss this at your own peril. Oh, and go with a notebook – it’s also a lesson in greatness.
Kajola: I have only found one person who watched Kajola and liked it, and I don’t think much of his opinion. Worse, everyone else came out of that movie insisting that the acclaimed futuristic movie actually took us many steps into the past. And all that talk of spending more than 25 million naira on the transparently tacky animations and stunts (you could see in the trailers)? Those who spent their monies find that harshly impossible to believe. I didn’t see that movie. So I guess you have to believe their report. And it gets worse: Desmond Elliot was in the movie.
Sex and the City 2: Sarah Jessica Parker always manages to look both self-absorbed and self-indulgent in every single one of her movies. Saved by a fine storyline, a plot that millions of women identify with and aspire to in turns, and all that finery that took the focus away from what was really going on she continued to avoid scrutiny. But in SATC 2, the queen was finally naked. Funny enough, this writer loved the substance of SATc 2 over SATC 1, but the rest of the world had just about had enough. Cut to the chase, save for the fashion, this was mediocre Sex.
Twilight: The Eclipse: Those two hot guys – one lanky and distant in that sexy way, the other well built and welcome in that sexy way – and the young woman who spends every movie installment moping like a spoilt kid with no sense of life’s purpose, all stuck in some vague island where there is just one high school and no vending machines, surrounded by werewolves and vampires: and there you have it: A worldwide sensation that broke box office records and guaranteed another sequel. God help us.
Eat. Pray. Love: We all wanted Julia Roberts back… until she came back. Then we found out it was just longing and nostalgia. Eat.Pray.Love was a Travel-channel documentary that lasted one hour too long. It might be a soothing balm for lonely hearts here and there, but as a movie experience, it tanked bad. Obviously, Julia Roberts alone is no longer enough for anything more than mad publicity and media hysteria. Which this movie got in droves, and which is how come it made this list.
And, what else? Oh yea, there was another Harry Potter movie, with screaming kids and packed-full cinemas, yada yada yada. And what about Nigeria? There was a Vivian Ejike movie called A Private Storm that had a media-heralded premiere in Lagos, Ghana’s 6 Hours to Christmas, featuringTinsel’s Chris Attoh and Damilola Amolegbe, the impossibly named Memories of my Heart, no surprises there to find out it is an Ini Edo film, andBursting Out (or was it Loose?) which one defining moment was Genevieve Nnaji being mobbed by fans at the Odeon Cinemas in London. Oh, and Jim Iyke premiered one movie at the same Odeon Cinemas, forever tainting the prospect of people automatically respecting Nigerian movies premiered at the Odeon. Everyone who watched that movie – projected from a tacky projector onto the screens, God help us – only spoke of what a mess it was.
I don’t remember the name, didn’t ask for it, and cannot be bothered to go Google it. Life might be a movie, but it’s not as long as 2009’s Avatar.