Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bling Lagosians: All over the place in search of a purpose

PRODUCER: Bolanle Austen-Peters Production
DIRECTOR: Bolanle Austen-Peters
RUN TIME: 97 minutes
MAIN CHARACTERS: Gbenga Titiloye, Elvina Ibru, Alex Ekubo, Osas Ighodaro, 
DOP: Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe
GRADE: 3/5

The Bling Lagosians is a nice family drama if we keep to the nuclear plot of the Holloway family — a flawed family with a couple of humane and beautiful daughters navigating through life in their various lanes and meeting at the necessary family junctions. 
Temidun and George’s marriage is struggling because of her one instance of infidelity while Tokunbo or Toku as Nnamdi calls her is an Oxford-trained lawyer who prefers screenwriting and dresses outlandishly. They are free spirits and we are happy that it ultimately ends well for them with George accepting Temidun back and Toku and Nnamdi discovering love while trying to make a movie.
But the father, Akin Holloway and Mopelola, don’t get such passes. Akin is a philandering, wayward, money guzzler who runs the company aground while the introduction of Mopelola’s character evokes images of a wicked witch or “spirit mother” which was a motif of the pre new-cinema Hollywood a la “Alaba Nollywood” as she proclaims “My party must be unrivaled in the land of Eko partydom…”

There are a few more subplots — a bunch of jealous friendly-enemy society ladies trying to out party each other; an Alaba/Upper Iweka movie marketer realizing that there was need for some professional diversification in movies invites a scriptwriter to write a blockbuster but tries top impose his own ideas on it; Shaggy and Helen Paul and the domestic crew who are being owed by an irresponsible couple planning a huge party and buying big cars and watches.
Production wise, the advent of international steaming services like Netflix, Amazon and co. to our film industry has had an effect akin to that of the arrival of MTV Base on our music videos. The quality of our films are improving by the day and is up there with international counterparts.
I also believe that we have some of the most talented actors, directors and producers in this country and what they were able to do on shoestring budgets are beginning to be transmitted to better funded projects and we are the better for it. However we need to capitalize on our strengths and not try to outdo anyone because we have enough and we are enough.
In an earlier review, I had mentioned that due to the fact that this “New Nollywood” is still at a formative stage, comedy seems to be the order of the day for now. Nnamdi says, “Nne we need to put comedy, people need to laugh, obodo siri ike.” But he was talking more about the slapstick kind which had reigned supreme in the Alaba and Asaba movie markets, but we are thankfully past that stage now. 
However there seems to be a pattern creeping into the New Nollywood. I don’t think it’s a full-blown genre yet, but it’s there and heavily too. Despite this film being called “The Bling Lagosians” which should already point us to its direction, there seem to be a whole world of movies designed in the “Crazy Rich Asians” model —“Wedding Party 1&2, Chief Daddy, etc… 
New Nigerian producers who are replacing the Alaba cartel, appear to have been caught up in this ostentatious display of riches trend in movies and making it look cool. But the danger here is that they are about falling into the Alaba pit and develop tropes that tell a whole different story from  the realities of the people outside the one percent of the one percent. Because while the one percent of the one percent may have the kind of money mentioned in the film, the current minimum wage of Nigeria is still 18 000 naira per month and we all live in the same country o!
Cinematography-wise this movie ticks the basic boxes and more but has some questionable blocking in some basic over-the-shoulder shots. There are a lot of profile shots of face to face dialogues where more frontal placement of the camera would have captured the emotions better. The scenes of Nnamdi showing Tokunbo his intended market and the party scene towards the end played out more like music videos than a movie. There are also a few focus-pulling issues while there are no subtitles for the various instances of Yoruba and Igbo usage. Netflix provides subtitles but not everyone watches TV with the subtitles on.
Even though I feel that Alex Ekubo doesn’t really fit into the role he was cast, his character was deep and funny and along with his looks, his romance with Tokunbo could be accepted even if it barely pulls through and looked more appropriate for a prose fiction which was the original form of the movie as written by Chris Ihidero. The exaggerated Igbo accent however, has become cliched and Alex has already done it in a couple of other films, so there was no need to replicate it here. 
Ultimately, The Bling Lagosians is another big step towards our freedom from the Alaba, Upper Iweka and Asaba creativity pits which bogged down Nollywood longer than they should have. It’s only going to get better from here and we would accept this and other movies of its ilk for now as we make steady progress in the New Nollywood.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Wedding Party and the present-day Nigerian cinemagoer

Year: 2016
Director: Kemi Adetiba
Run Time: 100 Minutes
Main Acts: Banky W, Adesua Etomi
Production Company: Ebonylife Films, Inkblot Production, Koa Studios
Distribution: FilmOne Distributions
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Nollywood
Rating: 3.5/5 

By Chilee Agunanna
I once interviewed Terry G, a Nigerian music artist, in his heydays sometime in 2010, after his song, “Free Madness”, was released or leaked, as he claimed, and he said: “Chilee, how do you think I will just put that kind of nonsense together and ask people to buy it as music, it’s just as I said in the song, the beat was for other people and I was just testing the microphone because production is not like MC where you will just say, hello hello to set the microphone, here you would have to do something for a stretch before you can get the settings right. That’s just what happened here and because of plenty shayo, I was carried away and sang a whole track.”
He went on to tell me that the Nigerian music public was not yet ready for meaningful lyrics in music. Nigeria, he said, was still a dancing society and no one really cared about the lyrics, it was just the beats that would make them dance and they were happy with it.
Nigeria seems to be at that stage in the movie sector at the moment, any cinema-quality offering with a simple storyline, star-power and comedy to make them laugh is enough to make it a good movie for now.
The Nigerian movie audience has wandered for long in the wilderness of Asaba, Onitsha, Lagos and other places where cast and crew are hastily assembled and low-budget home movies are churned out in large quantity with stock characters, cheap cameras and witchcraft, that any sense of quality from our movies is good for them.
Nigerians love Nigeria and no matter what happens, once there is quality from our locals, most of who have gone international and back, we will be very happy to patronize it. That has always been the Nigerian spirit.
Nigerian movies have long been challenged by the issue of funding and this in turn affected the quality of works produced in Nollywood. Comedy has always been bedrock of the Nigerian movie industry because with the very low budget of the movies, even the most common film tricks were difficult to accomplish and the success of the industry then rested on the sheer talents of the actors and they expressed this fully through comedy and drama.
Also the budgets of Nigeria movies were severely stunted in the past and the producers who controlled these movies were the marketers at Alaba who only wanted profit and were also afraid of piracy. Those days are virtually behind us now because gradually movies are going back to the professionals and the artists will have the chance to actually produce good art.
Nigeria had cinemas in the past but most of us never saw them, we only heard about them from our parents, just like we had movies and theatre before without really seeing them until “Living in Bondage” came out in 1991 and Nollywood, was born.
The new Nigerian cinema is here and the taste buds seem to favour comedy at the moment. A whole lot of good Nigerian movies are hitting the box office recently but none has been as commercially successful as The Wedding Party before it was AY’s 30 Days in Atlanta and its sequel, A Trip to Jamaica.

Quality is now more demanded by the audience, comedy is once again at the rescue and a storyline not demanding any major tricks like The Wedding Party, with star-quality of the dramatis personae, it was always going to be a success.
The Wedding Party is a romantic comedy that fulfills most of the needs of the present Nigerian cinemagoer. Its success is largely based on the quality of production and the star cast and crew whose fans and friends have hyped the movie into the stratosphere. It is a simple storyline that incorporates a number of serious messages and issues along with the party atmosphere. There is the clash of cultures between the Yoruba and Igbos; the promotion of local dishes above cozy expensive ones; the abandoned Nigerian graduate and so on.
The movie is about wedding and reception story of an Igbo boy, Dozie Onwuka (Banky W) and Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi), a Yoruba girl. The funny inter-tribal clashes that could have occurred during such event from the beginning of the ceremony to the end. Within this were issues of unfaithfulness both for Dozie and his father, Chief Felix Onwuka (Richard Mofe-Damijo). There is the snobbish attitude of Lady Obianuju Onwuka (Iretiola Doyle) to the perceptibly loud and seemingly uncultured attitude of Dunni’s family. Dunni’s mother, Tinuade Coker is played by Sola Sobowale while the father, Bamidele Coker is played by veteran comedian, Ali Baba.
The cast, which cuts across the major entertainment genres of Nigeria—actors, comedians and musicians, means that the appeal base was spread across the fans of these stars. Also the heavyweight production team of Ebonylife Films, Film One Distribution, Inkblot Production and Koga Studios and the direction of Kemi Adetiba, a New York University-trained filmmaker who has so far directed only music videos in Nigeria, should be also be counted towards the success of this movie. It further buttresses the fact that films are returning to the professionals instead of the Alaba marketers who were only after profit.
While the claims of open casting can count for some of the members, Zaina’s job at Ebonylife, Banky and Adesua’s act in his video “Made for You” would have definitely swayed things in their favour. Zaina is excellent in her role and to me her discovery is one of the highlights of the movie and I hope to see her again on a movie screen.
There are no complicated plot twists, but like I said, that’s not what the movie aims to achieve, it just wants to provide quality laughter different from the bombastic characters of the Osuofia and Jaguar. In fact the serious scenes are somehow wished away to make way for the laughter sections and this is provided in ample episodes of the movies. This at the moment satisfies the Nigerian audience and as we proceed to appreciate good movies, the stakes would continue to be raised on all fronts.

Friday, March 29, 2013


The Branama Queen is here again! And it is with joy and gladness as she drops the video for her song, Celebrate, which features LKT and YQ.
It is the first video off the Chorus Leader CD which was released recently. Chorus Leader is the first CD of the Best Of Both Worlds double CD album.
"Celebrate" features YQ and LKT and the video was directed by Gbenga Salu. There were also appearances by Eric Arubayi of West African Idol, Anogiri, Grace Amah and Bhaira Mcwizu among others. It was shot in Maryland, Lagos.
Celebrate is a feel-good video that reflects the lyrics of the song praising and thanking God for his goodness and mercies.
Kefee says the song is for happy people. “It’s a song to show gratitude to God and the video reflects that.”

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Full Report of The Experience 2012 in Lagos

The 7th edition of The Experience held on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Lagos. It is an annual Gospel music concert organised by the Pastor Paul Adefarasin-led House On The Rock (HOTR) church.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Joseph Benjamin
A total of 32 awards were handed out to practitioners of the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, at the Best Of Nollywood (BON) awards which held on Sunday night at TBS Auditorium, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. It was hosted by Nollywood actor, Nonso Diobi and former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Sylvia Nduka.


Bantu's Born Throway team
Nigeria-German born musician, Ade Bantu and his brother, Abiodun, alongside their Afrobeat/Afropop band, Bantu, performed at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Cologne Manifesto ‘Get off your ass! Speak up!’ on November 9, 2012.
The open air concert which held at the banks of the River Rhein in Cologne, Germany attracted over 70,000 supporters and millions of TV viewers around the world.
The Project Fame judge told E-Xtra that it was an incredible experience performing in front of that number of people.
Bantu performed alongside German rock band, BAP; Turkish Ska Punk band, Athena; and Cologne folk pop band, Hohner, amongst many others.
The “Get Off You Ass! Speak Up!” movement started on November 9, 1992, when musicians and artists from Cologne, Germany, reacted to the horrific news of racist attacks and murders all over Germany with a spontaneous open air concert at Choldwigplatz. Over 100,000 people joined the protest then.
Racism has resurfaced as a major topic in Europe especially in football circles where the likes of Mikel 
Obi, Anton Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and many other players have been subjected to one form of abuse or the other in the English Premier League.


Nollywood actress, Cossy Orjiako, is never out of the news for a long time. She recently celebrated her birthday party by releasing semi-nude pictures of herself pole-dancing to friends.
Last week, she dropped a double-impact news – She christened her new house “Playgirl Mansion” and dropped news of releasing a full-length music album of December 15.
Using her handle, @cossydiva, the actress who also acquired 12 plots of land in Abuja recently, Tweeted pictures and the menu of the mansion to her followers: Play girl mansion is now open. Pls send the left over rams …A pretty big boobs chef will make a delicacy out of em.
There were also information about the forth coming album in subsequent tweets: ‘My Album launch is Dec,15, Venue the sea..Prest Boat Cruise.. life band …buffet..and lots of take home gifts. 1st class affair
If the album is anything close to what we are suspecting it would be, Cossy would simply be readmitting herself into an exclusive cast of Failed Nollywood Musicians. A list which includes herself, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Ini Edo, Desmond Elliot, Jim Iyke and the ongoing disaster of Tonto Dikeh.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Facebook Lover Arraigned for Attempted Rape, Murder

 A 26-year-old man, who allegedly pushed down his Facebook lover from a multi-storey building over a disagreement over sex was arraigned in Lagos on Friday.
The accused,  Arthur Obiora, is facing a three-count charge of threat to life, attempted rape and attempt to cause bodily harm at  a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court.
 The prosecutor, ASP A. C. Orji, told the court that Obiora met Nkiruka Akabuogu on Facebook  (a social media network)  and invited her to a club house in Apapa where they had drinks.
The prosecutor said the pair later moved to Obiora’s house at Block 10, Flat 317, 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Orji said Obiora, who claimed to be an unemployed graduate of Igbinedion University Okada and the Centennial College, Ontario, Canada, shut all the doors in the apartment and demanded to have sex with Akabuogu.
“This was after he had smoked some wraps of Indian hemp. He tried to rape her and threatened to kill her with a bottle of beer. The girl, fearing for her life, then jumped down from the third floor of the high/rise building,” Orji said.
The prosecutor said that the incident happened at about 3a.m. on Oct. 31.
 “The girl was discovered lying unconscious in a pool of her own blood about 30 minutes later by the security men in the premises who then reported it to the police.
``The police took the girl to a hospital and after she regained consciousness, obtained her statement,’’ Orji said.
“This case highlights one of the major problems of the social media. The young lady went to visit someone she doesn’t know. She met the defendant on Facebook and they had been chatting until Oct. 30,” he said.
Orji said that the offences contravened Sections 56 (A), 260 and 404 (1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos 2011
The magistrate, Mr Martins Owumi, granted the accused bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 21-year-old Nkiruka sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis, and is undergoing treatment at the General Hospital, Marina, Lagos, following the incident.
Nkiruka, a Linguistics student of the University of Lagos, had told NAN on her hospital bed that she went clubbing with the young man she met on Facebook  a week earlier, and ended up in his family home at 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
She noted that the young man had earlier talked about sex on phone prior to the outing but she told him she was menstruating.
Nkiruka said that on getting to the house, the man tore her dress and tried to rape her.
According to Nkiruka, the man thereafter pushed her down from the third floor of the building because of her refusal to have sex with him.
But the mother of the young man, who was at home on the night of the incident, told NAN that she was not aware of what happened.
She claimed she slept around 10 p.m., while the disagreement between the pair started much later.
The magistrate adjourned the case to Nov. 30. 
Source: News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The news coming from the camp of Mavin Records has it that their premier artist, Wande Coal, is about floating his own record label.
The label is to be called Black Diamond Records and will have its own artists but Wande will remain a Mavin Records artist.
The formation of the label is reportedly with the blessings of Don Jazzy and it will be a similar arrangement with M.I’s Loopy Records which runs independently even when M.I is still a Chocolate City Records artist.
Don Jazzy is fully in support and it will not in any way disturb Wande’s status as a Mavin Records artist.
Inside sources claim that Wande’s desire to form his own record label goes as far back as his Mo’ Hits days when a disagreement with D’banj almost led to him leaving the label but for Don Jazzy’s intervention and promise to support him.
The time for that support has come. Wande is currently working on his sophomore album and has released a number of singles as precursors to it.
Other artists on the Marvin Records imprint are D’ Prince, Dr Sid and Tiwa Savage who is the only non-Mo’Hits member.

Monday, October 29, 2012

K-Solo Denies Wife's Baby

Last Friday, Kikelomo, the wife of music producer, K-Solo was delivered of a beautiful baby boy and this would have been a congratulatory message to the couple.
But as we have recently come to expect from such quarters, nothing is as good or as bad as it seems as the case maybe. This is actually the beginning of the latest saga of the long-running family opera involving these two because K-Solo has immediately denied fathering the baby.
To welcome the new baby, he posted this statement on his Facebook page: