Nollywood films were so uninspiring this year, our 2017 Review list could easily have been doubled. These ugly 10 are the bottom of the barrel.
Only films that scored a cinema release were considered for this list. Ranked from most tolerable to least tolerable.
Directed by Kunle Afolayan, Roti says too little, observes even less and distances with its coldness before building to a climax that manages to be both fitting and unsatisfying at the same time. The film sputters to life briefly when Fathia Balogun and Toyin Oshinaike, as opportunistic parents show up as foils to the mourning duo at the centre of the drama, but they are too peripheral to really matter. If more effort had been put into handling the story as respectfully as possible, Roti might have been a good film.
9. Alter Ego
Alter Ego is a long series of frustrating episodes. There is more tell than show. Aside from a male character’s generous shot of his gorgeous behind, director Moses Inwang almost always fades to black just when things are about to get heated up in the sack. For a film that teased tons of sexually daring stuff during its promotional run, Alter Ego and its star, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde never quite summon the courage to deliver the goods. Not to mention the film’s mixed up sexual politics and how woefully it fails the Bechdel test for a film that claims to explore female agency.
8. Celebrity Marriage
To see Celebrity Marriage to its noisy, clattering, jumbled conclusion is to demonstrate almost superhuman levels of patience. Or self-flagellation. For what else could be worse than watching Tonto Dikeh constantly mistake screaming herself hoarse for emoting? Perhaps the final 30 minutes of Moses Inwang’s Alter Ego? It is a close call. Pascal Amanfo’s direction is self-aware yet nonexistent. Sound is wobbly and goes on like so for long stretches. Almost no one comes out of this film looking good.
7. Idahosa Trails
The primary disappointment with Idahosa Trails may be that it ultimately fails to inspire any sort of emotion whatsoever, beyond basic blandness. Not awe, not reverence, not even fondness. Anyone who is remotely aware of the fiery brand of Pentecostalism that Archbishop Idahosa pioneered must recognise and be disappointed in the conclusion that this film doesn’t even begin to do him justice. Not even by the most forgiving of lenses.
6. The Guest
There is no beating around the bush here. The editing on the film is practically non-existent. The Guest is far from a decent effort. It suffers from tonal shifts so abrupt and manages to make a mess out of the characterisation, the one element that could have salvaged it. There’s no saving this one from itself. From the moment Rita Dominic enters the picture, she seizes control of the film but her campy good intentions cannot cover up the film’s second half where everything comes crashing down hopelessly.
5. Lost in London
Producer Uduak Isong Oguamanam and her collaborator Anthony Kehinde Joseph make a misbegotten attempt to plug their film into the present national mood, one that has seen thousands fleeing the country on account of economic hardship. Nothing wrong about this but Lost in London has nothing intelligent to comment upon or no new body of knowledge to add to the discourse. It merely rehashes old gags and tired tropes and doesn’t even bother to make them refreshing.
4. Stormy Hearts
Just to reiterate, there is no shred of talent between the four lead characters in Stormy Hearts and the film’s music reflects this. Badly dubbed, badly performed and terribly mixed, you want to weep when a character destroys Asa’s classic, Bibanke. The end comes fast enough, and not a moment sooner. Someone is killed, another is arrested, true love runs its course and you, dear viewer can finally be rid of this affliction. Nothing to see here.
3. Alakada Reloaded
The formula for Alakada Reloaded is simple really, it is a wonder it isn’t being replicated more frequently. Create a clichéd, instantly lovable, low brow character with endearing flaws, one that wears their ethnic bias proudly but can cross cultures to appeal to every kind of audience. Throw in a few good jokes, lots of bad ones. Plenty cameo appearances from questionable stars always help. Arrange some scenes that do not necessarily have to make sense or flow. Voila! We have a movie. Shame on us.
2. Blood in the Lagoon
Shot a couple years ago, Blood in the Lagoon hasn’t aged well, not in the least and its producers may have been better served, sending it quietly, straight to video. No one would have shed any tears. Perhaps no one would have noticed. And it would have been just as well. The film is strangely lit, poorly acted, choppily edited, lazily written and carelessly directed. Nothing works here, and no one survives the hurricane.
The idea of making a film about a struggling comedian and his talking dog must have come from the same place Hollywood conceives imaginative live-action fables like Cats & Dogs and comedies starring Eddie Murphy. A place of confluence, where faith meets adventure and risk is the price worth paying. This is the only explanation conceivable for the existence of a film like Kayode Kasum’s Dognapped, a dismal, one joke turkey that starts and ends with nary a joyful note.
The writer tweets from @drwill20
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