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Avengers Infinity War Spoiler-free Review: 10 Years Worth!

Ten years in the making. Ten years in the waiting.

 

Is it worth it?

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Well…630 million dollars (as of this morning) would say so!

From the moment Robert Downey Jr. donned the Iron Man suit, we’ve been made to feel like this is the moment we’ve been waiting for – even though that isn’t true. However, it could be because that 2008 movie marked the first time an Iron-suited Avenger would appear on the big screen – but that wasn’t the biggest clue.

The biggest tip was a certain post-credit scene.

Anyways, after 18 films and roughly 114/15 billion dollars in profit on a 3.7 or billion budget, Marvel decides to bring their 10-year plan to a climax.

Roll out the drums for Avengers: Infinity War.

 

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It’s simple really. Uncle Big-Bad Thanos who spent the last 10 years (or 18 films, depending on how you look at it) sending acolytes to gather the Infinity Stones finally decides it’s time to step up to the plate and serve himself. Or, as he so clearly put it in the Age of Ultron post-credit scene, ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself’. So he decides to go around the galaxy to gather the stones and then, right the scales of reality – a task he elected to do himself – or at least, with help from his genetically enhanced alien henchmen The Black Order (Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw (the talkative), Cull Obsidian & Curvus Glaive – read a comic!).

What follows is a throw down of galactic proportions.

 

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Random strands of events conspire to bring our heroes together and splitting them in two factions – Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider Man on one team, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Black Panther, Scarlett not-so-witchy Witch, Vision, Okoye, Black Widow, Falcon in another. Together, they form the resistance trying to stop Thanos from his goal – annihilation of half the galaxy’s population – one team engaging with him directly, the other team trying to stop him from getting the last stone.

How well that went is anyone’s guess.

For me, Thanos was the show-stealer here. I remember watching an interview in which Josh Brolin, the man who did voice and motion capture for the huge titan and also plays Cable in the coming Deadpool 2 said he had more fun playing Thanos than Cable. It took seeing this movie for me to understand and agree with that sentiment. As far as bad guys go, Thanos makes a compelling argument for the award for The Best Villain In Comic Movies. Personally, only one villain outshines him –

Again; your guess.

Of the many, many things to like in this movie, how everything came together is the best part for me. The Thor, Loki, Hulk, Heimdall narrative was well done and compelling as an opener and a setup for what was to come – but even then, nothing can prepare you.

 

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The cast inhabit their characters well, as much as I dislike Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda, she had a more prominent role than usual – and that was good for her. It was nice to see the Captain not be in uniform and yet, never more ‘captain’ than in his moments. I wanted more of a reunion between Black Widow and you-know-who – but I didn’t get it. Time?

Of course, Downey’s Stark is still quite an important part of the whole thing – and never more important than when Strange surrenders something and his only explanation is ‘There was no other way’. If you can’t work it out yourself, chill. I got you – shortly.

I also liked seeing Tom Holland more as Spidey than Peter. I have made it clear before; his Peter Parker doesn’t much work for me, but his Spider Man, the tiny hero with the heart of gold who always tries to do what’s right – he is a winner. Check out the Iron Spider suit!!!

One of the things that irks me about Marvel movies is how sometimes they try to retain the character’s comic truth – but can’t be bothered to put it in the narrative so they mention it in passing.

Case in point: Gammora.

 

Through the first two Guardians movies and even now, in Infinity War, we’re constantly beaten over the head with how she is ‘the most ferocious woman in the galaxy’ and in the comics, this was/is true. Gammora’s exploits are the stuff of legend. Can you say the same for the movie version? She doesn’t even appear particularly skilled in fighting! I understand the need to power down most of the movie versions of these characters – but power them down and shut the fuck up! They kept referring to her as that, and yet in the movies her sister Nebula is more fierce than she is.

Suckers.

Anyways, I doubt I need to tell you this movie is a must-watch. While there’s so much you’ll have to wait a year for closure on, go ahead. Be entertained.

And then, get yourself the stone of patience. A year is a long wait.

 

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Yup. No ‘stone of patience’. I just made that up.

Lame much?

 

 

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Have an Infinite-Goodness week!

 

 

*I don’t own copyright on any of the images. They belong to each of the respective copyright holders.

 

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Movie Review: New Money/Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay/Tomb Raider

 

So I have not been writing reviews for a minute.

I’m busy. So much so.

But I haven’t exactly abandoned my second first love. I still see movies as often as I can, as much as I can.

Having said all of that, I won’t be writing detailed reviews like usual – at least, not for this one because of the volume of stuff I need to get through. But I will do enough so you can decide to enjoy or pass on any of the three following:

  1. New Money

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Not a bad movie – which is to say it isn’t all that great. The lead actress, young cutie Jemima Osunde who apparently is a Shuga star as well (sorry, don’t know much about these things) gives a strong performance as a girl who finds out she’s the daughter of a multi-millionaire CEO who passes before he can do more than touch her cheek. He leaves a video message – and more or less bequeaths the entire chain of companies to her. Falz is the hungry boyfriend who sees all the advantages of dating a naïve girl with a good heart.

As a side note, that faux Yoruba accent thing Falz does is borderline annoying at this point. Sure, Folarin is an amazing actor. I just think he would fare better in serious roles. His jokes as Kwan, the main character’s primary love interest (oh, she has secondary and tertiary love interests; just watch) were not amusing in the least – though there were people laughing in the cinema.

Kate Henshaw is her mother, a struggling, kind woman who owns a restaurant and seems to never be out of depth. Dakore is the official wife who can’t have kids of her own – you see where this is headed, right?

Some other supporting characters gave brilliant performances, and shone whenever they were on screen. Jemima, in my opinion, has a bright career ahead of her. She did well.

 

A fairly predictable film, it does have flashes of brilliance but not enough to take it into ‘amazing’ or ‘breathtaking’ space. Still worth a watch if you have nothing better to do.

 

 

2. Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay Animated Movie

 

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As usual, there’s another mission for Task Force X. However, there are a couple of twists to this one. First is the lineup. We have the usual suspects (well, usual for 2016 moviegoers) Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang – and then we have a throwback from the original comics’ lineup, Bronze Tiger and then, we have Copperhead, thrown in for some reason, and then Killer Frost.

The story is as usual – get something done for Amanda Waller who, in this incarnation has lost quite a bit of weight and looks more like her DCU counterpart as played by Viola Davis. However, she didn’t lose all that weight because she was weight-watching; she lost it because she’s sick and dying. She needs some insurance – and therefore, the Squad is out on the road again.

It’s an interesting one; the Deadshot here is somber, calm and world-weary. Bronze Tiger is the one character who believes in a higher power and refuses to work with killers and criminals. Harley Quinn, who is a much-beloved character of mine, is disappointingly under-utilized here.

She provides comic relief is all.

A lot of DC characters show up, Vertigo, Punch and Judy, Vandal Savage, Professor Pyg, Scandal Savage, Knockout, Zoom, Silver Banshee, Blockbuster – all appear at some point, and yet manages to clutter up or slow down the movie. It’s not great great – but it’s a fun watch and waaaaaaay better than the live-action movie.

Not in cinemas – and I can’t share my copy. Sorry.

                         

 

 

3. Tomb Raider

 

 

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If you are old enough to have seen the original Tomb Raider, you probably will remember her as a sexy heroine in bum shorts who never looks flustered or stressed – no matter what is going on around her. Better yet, if you are old enough to have seen the original movie and played the game, you would have realized some things didn’t ring true for Angelina Jolie’s portrayal.

Like how she could take a mud bath and emerge without a hair out of place. Like how she manages to look sensual no matter what (this quality is one I feel distracted a lot from her tremendous acting ability) I watched the movies and I hated them – because they looked nothing like the Lara Croft I saw in the games.

And then, Alicia Vikander was cast as the new Lara Croft.

I had hopes. While I wasn’t exactly a fan of Vikander’s, I knew it was going to be a departure from the slinky sexuality of Jolie’s Croft. And that I looked forward to.

In that regard, I wasn’t disappointed. This Lara’s physicality is imposing – if exaggerated at some point. She’s just starting out; so there are several skill gaps but all of those details come together to give (me at least) a heartwarming viewing. The story and plot were choppy and reminiscent of several similar movies, the villain was just there, someone to provide a foil to Lara’s ambitions – but the character; Lara herself shows so much promise. I want to believe the next film will be the bomb. I believe so strongly.

Worth a watch. Beware; however, you might nod off in the middle.

 

 

Well. I hope I have done justice to these films. Have you seen any of them? What do you think? Please let me know!
 

 


Album Review: Psalmurai’s BLTN Is A Rap Classic

 

There’s the thing about rap – rap; not the inaudible ramblings that pass for it these days – it has power. Power; in that words that may or may not hold much significance individually become a pledge, an oath, a promise, a threat – whatever the wordsmith intended the listener to feel, when strung together in a witty and interesting way.

Power.

And, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben, or Stan Lee, as the case may be –

With great power –

You know the rest.

 

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Psalmurai is a rapper cut from the same cloth that birthed folks like Nas, Killah Priest, Mode9, KRS ONE and a few others. An understanding that words hold power, and therefore wordsmiths hold a responsibility to their listeners. If you’ve ever listened to anything this MC put out, the first thing that strikes you is how serious he takes his craft.

Starting out as a member of The Kalifate; now rebranded as The Brand, Psalmurai has been putting out solo work for a minute. From the critically acclaimed mixtape Grind Finale to the consistent yearly Wrap Up series (dropping since 2006) listeners have come to expect pure rhymes from this young MC.

And he’s yet to disappoint.

 

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Continuing the pattern of consistency is the latest entry in his catalogue; BLTN an acronym which stands for Better Late Than Never. Seven tracks long, tanking at twenty-six minutes, the tape is produced by MHP, a South-Africa based producer. On the first two tracks, MHP’s XYZ (super-producer, best known for his collaborative album with the great Mode9) influence is apparent – but MHP takes it a notch higher by taking the sound and making it distinctively his. Psalmurai’s bars are sharp and nimble as ever, as he spits on the opening track Dusk To Dawn;

 

Now do I gotta say I’m from the projects?

Or the ghetto in the beast like the Loch Ness?

Chick in stilettos selling sex for a lot less

Sex-working or walking around jobless

But God bless

Not my defense but offence

I’m breaking down the metal gates and the tall fence

Got nothing but smart men in my circumference

And I got what it takes to excite your girlfriend

 

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The feel of the project is introspective; he’s getting on the title track BLTN he goes;

My resolve; praise the Lord God daily

RIP to the late great Marcus Garvey

Who gave you the right, the robe and gravel to judge

We all equal under God and gravel nigga that’s deep

Six feet precisely

 

And then….he goes on further:

 

 Better late than sorry

I’ll rather say never

Instead of sounding stupid

I’d rather sound clever

But if I sound stupid to make a point

That’s clever

The wise can play the fool but –

Not vice versa

He aight – what is missing is the essence

The new school cool – what is missing is the lessons

I want Kalifa high, DJ Khaled blessings

But before God bless us – first He gon’ test us

 

There’s a confidence in Psalmurai’s delivery; he’s basically a ronin walking down a familiar path. For old listeners, it’s a known journey, for new listeners it’s a proper introduction. On Django, he’s does a bit of battling – all the time reminding his audience of his authenticity. And then, the tape kind of switches to the b-side, which has Psalmurai dabbling with some issues and storytelling.

 

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On Single, he balances rhyming with objectivity about the pressure the sexes go through:

She got it, yeah yeah she got it

Front to back she got – she a goddess

Mulatto got me hooked to be honest

She fine you cannot be fine beyond this

More stairs no; skyscraper

Oh boy! She’s been single for the longest

Like a thousand men, trying to date her

Makes it hard to pick and choose who the one is

She fine; ah-yeah yeah she the finest

Broke niggas too broke for her highness

Rich not rich enough for her highness

That is not the facts now let me digress

 

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Rhymes like that is what is missing from rap these days; thought-provoking, challenging and memorable words. Words that create pictures that linger in the mind – long after the record has stopped spinning.

 

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NHICT (No Heroes In Capetown) is the story of the search for greener pastures; a story that ends sourly for our lead character, Johnny who falls victim to Xenophobia.

Traveler is a chronicle of Psalm’s journey; how far he’s come and how he moves in his mind. Maka drops a stirring hook that makes me feel as though they need to collaborate more. Posse Cut has a number of rappers dropping bars that, while lackluster in points, are strong enough to round off the project.

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BLTN is a strong entry into a genre that is going through an evolution; recreating itself for an audience with less and less of an attention span. I believe in Psalmurai.

And if you enjoy rap, you should too.

 

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Visit: https://soundcloud.com/psalmurai to listen to and download BLTN. 

 


Movie Review: Justice To The League.

 

There’s a reason I don’t read reviews before seeing the movie.

At the end of the day, a critic is still human. And even though he/she is a human supposedly tempered by years of experience, personal bias still comes to play sometimes. However, someone with contrary views should still be able to agree with the critic – because criticism is not art. It is – or should be science – to a certain extent.

For example, we all agree that Beyonce is a beautiful woman. I don’t have to be Jay – Z to know that. What we may disagree on, is how beautiful she is. But to call Beyonce ugly is to talk out of your ass.

I said all of that to say this; Justice League is a solid film.

 

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After four mostly tepid films (Wonder Woman was/is seriously overrated), DCU had to pull out all the stops – including hiring Avengers/MCU alumni Joss Whedon to finish the film and direct some reshoots after Snyder had to step away due to a family tragedy. Though, I honestly cannot say they actually ‘pulled out all the stops’, this movie is a huge leap forward for the franchise.

We know the story. ‘Inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice (yada yada yada) Batman decides to recruit a team to protect a humanity he suddenly has restored hope in’.

Very boring premise if you ask me – but it was somewhat justified.

The opening sequences were taken adapted from the animated movie Justice League War which in turn was inspired by Jim Lee’s New 52 Justice League comic. Batman stops a criminal and is interrupted by a parademon, one of Steppenwolf’s (or Darkseid, depending on who you ask) minions who can smell fear. Batman stops said minion who then self-destructs. The criminal then asks Batman, ‘The world is going crazy. It’s because of him, right? Because he’s gone? Where does that leave us?’ or words to that effect. It’s a sentence that hits Batman enough to make him leave the criminal he stopped and swing off.

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From then, we see Wonder Woman stop a terrorist attack – and here is my first, personal issue with the movie; Wonder Woman is suddenly super-fast. Speed has never been one of Wonder Woman’s strengths – though it only makes sense since she’s fast enough to catch/deflect bullets. But her doing things that are best left for Flash – well.

Speaking of, Ezra Miller couldn’t have been better cast. His awkwardness and eagerness rounds off the team perfectly, though he came across as overdoing it sometimes. But he owns several high points of the movie.

Cyborg was mostly a tepid character; he looked good until he stepped out of the hoodie and into his metal shell. For a movie that cost so much to make, you would expect them to get his armor right. I mean, they could have built him rubber suits kinda like Iron Man, no? But no. They had to go full CGI.

It sucked.

That is the same thing that ruined the villain, Uncle Steppenwolf. He would have totally rocked as a bad guy but for the complete CGI thing that ruined him visually. He looked like a prop and talked like a dummy. Ugh.

 

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Superman was brought in as the deux ex machina – but somehow it works. I hated the fact that they killed Supes in his second movie, something we had to wait for 50 years to actually happen in the comics, and then, they brought him back before we had a chance to catch our breaths. But somehow, it works.

The best part however, is the Superman who came back. The character has gone through some growth since we met him in Man of Steel nine years ago (time flies don’t it?), and is starting to look and sound more like the Superman we know and love (or not; depending on who you ask). Though with Henry Cavill’s wooden face, I don’t have a lot of hope there. Still. Also, if you notice there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth, it’s because there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth. He’s on Mission Impossible 6, and apparently his character has a beard there and he could not shave. Guess what they did?

They CGI’d a mouth and nose on him. GROSS.

Gal Gadot rocked. And despite the intentional toning down of Batman’s awesomeness to accommodate the other guys, there was still enough of him to make me want to see the stand alone Batman film – and to see Affleck play him some more. There was just enough to show why Bats is still the greatest hero ever – simply because he is always ten steps ahead.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch the damn movie.

Jason Mamoa is a pretty sweet Aquaman. Amber Heard is a formidable Mera – and I honestly look forward to the solo fish-man film. I’m not so sure Ezra Miller’s strong enough to hold down a solo Flash movie – but I’ve been wrong before.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

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By all means, watch Justice League in the cinemas – and see to it that you sit through the credits. There are two post credit scenes just like Marvel – and one of them involves my second-favorite DC character; a certain mercenary. DOPE.

Also, watch for the Green Lantern cameos.

 


Thor: Ragnarok Review – Third Time Is The Charm

 

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The first Thor movie was only monumental because of certain circumstances that surround(ed)  my seeing the movie – a personal story. Mostly I floated through it.

The second movie was worse. I went to the cinema twice to see it – and fell asleep midway through both viewings. What made the second time worse was; I was there on invitation from one of my closest friends. He wanted me to meet his fiancé.

However, I couldn’t help myself. That movie was a snorefest; and its dark themes and shadows didn’t allow it fit too convincingly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Permit me to say now; Thor Ragnarok is Thor’s Terminator II: Judgement Day.

If you don’t know what that is, Google is your friend.

While you’re at it, you might also want to check out Ragnarok – the actual Norse mythology version. In that tale, Loki is the one who brings about the ruination of Asgard by way of his alliance with the frost giants and Fenrir (Hela’s giant wolf in this movie) and Sutr the giant with a flaming sword.

However, the whole story was reworked by Stan Lee and others for the comics – and then reworked for the movie version. For example, Hela is Loki’s daughter in the comics; she was promoted to be Odin’s for this movie. She and him were conquerors who started out to rule the universe. After conquering nine realms, Odin grew uncomfortable with her ambition and bloodlust and sealed her off in a prison with his life force.

As long as he (Odin) lives…

 

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Thor: Ragnarok begins with Thor in chains and in a cage, soliloquizing about how he got there and what the next thing for him is (hold your breath for who his cellmate is) and then, he gets into a sharp quick battle with giant –

And then, he returns to Asgard where Odin has become a wine-drinking, grape swallowing, massage-enduring buffoon (watch for Matt Damon’s cameo). He plays a game of Catch-The-Hammer mostly with himself – and then exposes the fraud.

In a lot of ways, Thor has been reconstructed to better fit into the MCU; better and more regular jokes, colorful scenes and finally, a movie in which Thor gets to show his physicality. He is a better match for Hulk in this round, and the battle is exciting. There’s a scene in which Hulk grabs Thor and wipes the floor with him the exact same way he did with Loki in the first Avengers movie – and Loki, unable to help himself, jumps up in the bleachers and yells ‘THAT’S HOW THAT FELT!’ and effectively blowing his own cover.

A star-studded supporting cast do well in this turn also. Tessa Thompson shines well as Scrapper 142 or the last surviving Valkyrie, Marvel’s answer for DC’s Amazons. She holds her own well – which makes all the ‘feminist’ equality speech by Hemsworth at some point moot. Jeff Goldblum is the stellar Grandmaster, and with the co-opting and retconning of the War World storyline into Ragnarok and making the Grandmaster king instead of The Red King, and making the gladiatorial battles The Contest of Champions (another Marvel storyline) the arena is set for the ultimate smackdown: Hulk VS Thor.

Karl Urban plays Skurge, the original Executioner – who appears here without his usual boss The Enchantress. Instead, he’s a disgraced Asgardian who believes he is destined for greater things and mans the Bifrost Bridge in Heimdahl’s self-exile. Totting two AK-47s which he calls ‘Dis’ and ‘Troy’ he ends up in a way quite similar to his comic namesake’s end. Watch for spoilers. Mark Ruffalo is a great Hulk but an even greater Banner – or maybe vice versa – depending on who you ask, but his presence is felt every time he shows up on screen, either as the puny human who hasn’t ‘come out’ in two years – or his Hulking counterpart.

 

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A few plot holes slow this movie down – but none more than the following; when Thor lands on Sakar he is ‘injected’ with an ‘obedience disk’ which also doubles as a Taser of sorts. He enters the arena armed with double swords which makes sense because years of depending on Mijolnir, but after being pounded well by Hulk, he is able to summon his thunder in spite of being without his hammer. I mean, this man’s eyes were literally white, lightning was running up and down his arms – and yet, he was tazed into unconsciousness. AGAIN.

In a surprising turn of events Loki doesn’t outshine Thor much this outing – even though Hiddlestone remains sharp as ever. Instead, it would seem Thor has been built up and made more compelling – and his character growth is something interesting to watch.

All in all – Ragnarok is a fun watch. Go see this in the cinemas, and wait patiently; there are two post credit scenes. This is no Winter Soldier, neither is it Avengers 1 – but it is a worthy entry into the Marvel box-office successes.

I’d gladly watch it again.


Movie Review: Picture Perfect Is Damn Near So.

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Is there any such thing as a ‘perfect Nollywood movie’?

 

I, along with a lot other people don’t expect a lot from Nollywood. I’m used to substandard work, movies with plots that make little sense, acting that means something else entirely, dialogue that sounds like it was inspired by Martians – and a billion other flaws.

 

But every now and then, a movie comes along and makes me want to jump for joy.

 

I hardly go to the cinemas to watch a Nollywood film. This one, I stumbled into by accident. I was at the cinema to pretend-watch the latest Ape Planet something. I changed my mind last minute – but then, I still wanted to watch a movie.

 

So.

 

Against my judgment, I chose Picture Perfect. And I can tell you, I didn’t feel as fulfilled watching Spiderman: Homecoming.

 

And that is saying a lot.

It is written and produced by Biodun Stephen and directed by Tope Alake. The premise is simple: a tailor/fashion designer gets stuck in a notorious neighborhood and is about to be assaulted by a couple of touts. She’s saved by another tout who pretends to know her from somewhere – just to save her from the other ‘undesirable elements’. A bunch of funny things happen – along with a major plot twist – or not so much a twist, depending on what side of the camera you’re usually on.

 

I saw it coming tho.

 

It’s a simple movie; it isn’t trying to fix humanity or the government for that matter. It isn’t trying to make us see the value (or lack thereof) of marriage; it’s not trying to sell us the glam and flimflam of how the other half lives. It’s just trying to be a fun movie; sweet and entertaining.

 

And that; it manages quite well.

 

Picture Perfect works best because the cast completely inhabits their characters. Bisola Aiyeola smoked as Kiksy, the lead female’s best friend. She’s completely natural – though she does come across as overacting in a couple of scenes. But she is the voice of reason (as the lead’s best friend usually is) and she’s sweet and kind and fun and real and will marry me by force or…

 

I’m just kidding.

 

The women in the movie represent a class of oft-ignored Nigerian woman – strong, independent, capable, and caring, don’t exactly need men but want them nonetheless. The women in this movie are not weak, neither do they have an agenda or feel a need to shove the gender argument in your face. They are just women who love life and are living it on their own terms. I gotta get behind that.

 

Bolanle Ninalowo also rocked as Jobe aka Jobsy Jor-Jor, the tout who rescues Kumbi (Mary Njoku) from his less-than-gentlemanly associates. I would like to meet this young man, because his accent is spot on, and he cannot seem to stop saying ‘philanderer’ in all its forms. He’s the quintessential tout; rough, strong, respected, honorable, kind, thoughtful, considerate…Jobsy is a character to love and root for.

 

Mary Njoku, the female lead is also a pot of discovery. The way she switches between fluent English and Yoruba is noteworthy. She, just like Bisola is also completely natural, inhabits the character with grace and feeling. She is believable in all of her scenes, from the dissenting friend to the spurned lover to the consensual lover to the protective mother. The cast had a lot of fun creating this movie – and I’m sure the viewers will too.

 

The movie is not without its flaws tho, as a couple of scenes/incidents defy explanation, and in some cases, reason. Nothing major, however, the couple plot holes do not dim the fun to be had even slightly.

 

Is there any such thing as a ‘perfect Nollywood movie’?

Maybe not yet; and I stand corrected, but Picture Perfect comes close.

 

Now showing in a cinema near you.  


F8 or Fate of The Furious: A Review

 

For the most part, the premise of the Fast and Furious movie franchise can be summed up in one sentence:

 

‘Watch; don’t think’.

 

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It’s hard to knock a franchise that has grossed over five billion dollars and is eight movies deep. However, it is what it is. The Fast and The Furious franchise has been around for seventeen years and have collectively grossed over five billion dollars. When you consider, however that the last one (Furious 7) single-handedly grossed 1.6 billion dollars, more than the first five installments of the franchise combined, you know they (Universal) know they’re onto a good thing – and as is usual, will ride it till it can be ridden no more.

 

For the most part, The Fast and The Furious requires suspension of belief from the audience in spades – but never more than in the latest installment; The Fate of The Furious.

 

While honeymooning somewhere ‘off the grid’, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is approached by a mysterious woman who coerces him into working for her against his ‘family’.

 

The end.

 

I’m serious. That’s as far as ‘plot’ for this particular movie goes.

 

Fate (as I will be calling this movie from here on) opens with; (wait for it)…a street race. I mean, of all the openings F. Gary Gray, fresh off the huge success of Straight Outta Compton could have gone with, it had to be the cliché of all clichés – as far as this particular movie franchise is concerned?!

 

Huge disappointment.

 

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An alluring, mysterious woman; Cipher (Charlize Theron) shows up at Dom’s honeymoon destination (you get nothing for guessing where this destination is) and shows him something on a mobile phone screen, ‘something’ she believes is powerful enough to make him come and work for her – even though she’s a terrorist and he knows. Almost immediately, Dom gets a call from Agent Hobbs, asking for his help. The usual suspects (the family) are quickly rounded up again by Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson; The Rock) to go steal some EMP to stop it from falling into some terrorists hands – same piece of machinery Cipher needs for her ‘grand plan’. The mission is successful – only for Dom to sabotage it, steal the EMP and dump Hobbs into police hands.

 

Somehow, he ends up in the same prison Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is in…

 

One of the biggest issues I have with this particular outing is how short on memory everyone seems to be. Wasn’t Deckard the same dude who killed Han (Sung Kang) as revenge for his brother’s ‘death’ in the sixth film? All too suddenly, they’re forced to work together and when the team is given news of Deckard’s death, they’re actually sad.

 

WTF?!

 

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Trust me; moments like the one I just described abound. Cipher, played with amazing detachment by Charlize Theron is another misnomer in her role. She’s the big bad in this movie, and unfortunately, she has nothing different to offer from the other ‘big bads’ in the other Fast and Furious movies. She’s a boring antagonist; it isn’t clear what she wants, she rambles a lot about nothing or pointless rhetoric, and is passionless. Her ‘kissing scene’ with Dom was just that; a bland uninspired lip-lock.

 

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Exhale for a bit – and then, wonder with me how human hands can be used to redirect the path of a torpedo. Or how a submarine dives and resurfaces effortlessly as though it is a dolphin. Moments like those are why the description ‘mindless action’ exists.

 

The ‘family’ was interestingly inept in this venture; it was as though they couldn’t find any use for themselves individually. That diversity that made us love As an aside, be prepared to hate that word ‘family’. It is thrown around like so much confetti at a wedding, as though the characters need to remind themselves in their many ‘why are we doing this again?’ moments.

 

Roman’s (Tyrese Gibson) humor was responsible for quite a number of the laughs in the movie – and frankly, it begins to be annoying at some point. I would have loved to see more Helen Mirren who played Magdalene Shaw, and the partnership between the Shaw brothers was another good one.

 

All in all, for all my issues with this installment, I acknowledge the truth that Fate isn’t a bad movie. For all my knocking it, I don’t go to cinemas for ‘intellectual, life-changing’ movie experiences. I do that shit in my house.

 

No; I go to the cinema to be entertained and refreshed. And on that score, Fate delivers EXCELLENTLY.

 

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