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This Lady Called Life (Movie review)

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“Aiye dey do you”.

This is a popular Nigerian street maxim that implies that you are a victim of circumstance, literally. Though also used to underpin that the source of one’s failures and/or retrogression is most likely because some evil individual or individuals’ is/are after you with voodoo or enchantment and even maybe, curses.

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The saying has become a common alibi for most dreamers who give up or give in to spiritual gymnastics, rather than take on life’s brutal resistance against breaking through in a highly competitive world.

“This Lady Called Life” is a brilliant playout of the above-described reality. The name of the movie itself is a poetic play of words. On one hand, it implies a howl against life’s eventualities (like in ‘life happened’) and on the other, it introduces the lead role, Aiye, who’s an exhausted receptor of the harsh exigent bartering of Aiye (life)!

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This 2020 romantic drama that stars Abisola Aiyeola as Aiye starts off painting the struggles of a single mother attempting to trade her misfortune for a big dream of becoming one of Nigeria’s most famous Sous-chefs. The biggest platform for showcasing her cookery talent lines before her but the struggles of juggling babysitting and delivering home-made food to her customers was going to stop her from getting in on time, to write a popular entrance exam for amateur chefs. Fully prepared and well-studied, she makes it in just in time for the exam only for her phone to ring and Jemima Osunde (Toke in the movie) gets on the line with the news that their mother (Legendary Tina Mba) has just been rushed to the hospital.

Aiye ditches her exams and rushes off to the hospital to discover it is not an emergency worth throwing away her life’s dream for. She returns to her lowly life saddened, after giving off the first sign of the dysfunctionality in her relationship with her mother.

Aiye’s father, played by Wale Ojo, comes visiting quite early the next day and theatrically gets her to agree to come home after several years of banishment, enforced by her mother, who couldn’t forgive her for getting pregnant while at school. She’s needed to take care of her since her father, an out-of-town university lecturer, and her sister, a pregnant new bride are not available to do so. She takes along her son, who has prior, had no relationship with his grandmother. The corrosive atmosphere of Aiyetide’s formative years soon becomes a new reality, as the movie goes on to show the damages of verbal abuse, compassionless parenting and the misery of a child that is never heard.

Aiye would soon find love in a customer and photographer, who opens the last door to the stage where her life’s dream stares her in the face. She’s become glossophobic because of her life’s experiences, and this hunts her even in her dreams. Again, ‘life happens’ in this her rare shot at a better life and in a flux of love, mistrust and hatred from her own mother, Aiye gives her best towards having a happy ending.

Kayode Kassum, the Yabatech and Wale Adenuga Productions-trained young filmmaker once again brought his expertise to bear in this work, just like he’s done with the highly successful movie Sugar Rush and other brilliant works. The Bisola that we know is extremely playful, one could imagine the amount of work it would have taken to get her into the character of a reserved and very serious Aiye – they must have shot and reshot some scenes to pin her to the script. The was definitely immense hard work to have achieved the excellent delivery that is seen in all major characters.

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The plot of “This Lady Called Life” is simple, almost like a stage play, but the execution clearly took meticulous care. Aiye’s one-room apartment and her parents’ house were shot in a way that the entire set could be collapsed into one big stage. There’s nothing fussy or overdone in the film’s look, nothing to distract. Human interaction is the main event here. Some interactions are intense, most others ordinary, but well lined with the striking realities of the society.

The highlight of the movie would be the scene Aiye walks into her mother flogging her son with a hanger, just after getting through the first audition in the ‘Red Dish Amateur Chef’ contest (by the way, Red Dish is a real-life leader in culinary arts training in Nigeria). Aiye comes out of her silence and confronted her mean mother for the very first time:

“You are a wicked mother…Tola raped me, I came to tell you, I begged you but you never listened”.

That scene, that phrase – “you never listened” sort of climaxed the train of lessons on the ill side of stern parenting that this movie sort to underpin. African parents expecting sainthood from their children and trashing them down anything they do not live to their religious/peer-pressure-coloured expectations, end up turning their wards to the cold hands of life and in most cases worst influences. Taking away vital support systems of love, empathy and attention, because a child wouldn’t fit into a parent’s mold is nothing short of callous. This fact was well delivered in this film.

It is very nice to see a film deal with this salient parenting issues with excellent nuances, particularly at a time we are dealing with major cultural differences between parents of varying generations. Also commendable is the film’s showcase of non-traditional and not-so-popular career paths of culinary arts and photography as an image of a worthy life pursuit by the main characters.

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The Cast
Bisola Aiyeola as Aiye
Efa Iwara as Obinna
Jemima Osunde as Toke
Tina Mba as mummy
Wale Ojo as daddy
Lota Chukwu as Omo
The Crew
Director: Kayode Kasum
Producer: Abisola Yussuf and Kayode Kasum
Screenplay: Toluwani Obayan

The “it” Factor? There is nothing novel about this work.

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Tanwa Savage: Baking a life filled with women, ancillary wahala (Movie review)

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Tanwa Savage movie trailer

A wealthy hunk with a randy father, what better recipe is there for baking a life filled with women and its ancillary wahala? This summarily paints the background of the 2021 high-grossing film, Tanwa Savage.

Uzor! Since ‘Inspector Sam’ character stole the limelight in the 2017 movie, Sergeant Tutu, bulky actor, Uzor Arukwe has become an alluring sight on Nigeria’s silver screen. Here in Tanwa Savage, he takes a break from the smart cop/detective stereotype to project the dysfunctional life of a polygamous man as Jola Savage.

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Jola relies on the impulse of his ‘third leg’ in search of a solution to his most embarrassing problem – childlessness. He ended up with “three answers to his prayer” as three women announces their pregnancy to him in quick successions in a single scene. Jolaoluwa goes from initial ecstasy when his wife’s friend, scouting with the couple confronted him with the news of her pregnancy. Jola wants to just break the news to his naïve wife, regardless of it being the result of adultery right under Zainab’s nose. Finally, his dream comes true, he’s going to be a father, nothing else matters!

But Zainab shows up right in the middle of the excitement to the break her own news – she’s finally pregnant for her beloved husband after several years of trying and waiting. Tosin, played by curvy screen goddess, Bimbo Ademoye, cut through the awkward silence occasioned by Zainab’s pregnancy news to smash the shameful revelation of her illicit romance with her friend’s husband right in her face. This was supposed to be the happiest day of Jola and Zainab’s life, but Tosin goes ahead to surprise her friend with the further news of her pregnancy. The scene wouldn’t climax yet until Uju shows up to add the ‘BIA’ to Jola’s WAZOBIA pregnancy distribution project. Nkechi Blessing bounces in alongside her vast backside to spice up the ridiculousness even further, with a news of her own incoming Jola Jnr.

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In the midst of all the madness, Linda Osifo delivers the character of a classy, grieving, betrayed pregnant wife, who’s got to deal with the menace her husband’s promiscuity has brought to their hitherto peaceful home. Jola’s father, played by veteran actor, Segun Arinze, talks him into accepting Uju’s forceful move-in into the Savage’s mansion and his world takes a turmoil twist, which the whole movie sorts to interpret in various comical forms.

Storyteller/Filmaker, Geshin Salvador may have put in a great effort to illustrate the world of a young family booted into dysfunctionality by the mistakes arising from the social pressures of having a child. One would imagine that every scene was an effort to paint a bifurcate of consequences and comedy of ‘when life happens’. Jola had to pay the price of adultery, but the nuances of his implied ‘playboyrism’ never got a clear show. Here was Jola, rich and handsome son of an influential womanizer, who himself has been hopping around the behinds of various kinds of babes, much so that Uju was a girl he snatched from his bosom friend, becoming chivalry to them girls all because they claimed to be pregnant. Kind of far from reality. At that height of success in reality, Jola would rather procure the care for the other two girls now that his very beloveth wife is pregnant too. Jola is depicted as caring and compassionate, yet cold and self-indulging. Maybe a deliberate twist of the writer, but the delivery leaves a gap in the mind of viewers as to the actual personality of the character.

Directing surely was of low performance in this movie. The scuttles scenes had punchlines falling flat, jabs hanging in the air and too much of noise making rather. The effort to put a Yoruba fowl-mouthed against an Igbo crazy ‘bitch’ didn’t quite play out well. Nkechi Blessing definitely didn’t deliver on the script – very unbeliever character, exaggerated interpretations. Tosin and Uju ‘sub’-trading were all over the place, didn’t quite elicit natural laughter. Viewers would struggle to understand the emotions they sort to stare in their arguments.

Zainab was a perfect character until the effort to infer some scenes through flashbacks, imaginations and suspense, leaves one wondering what her character was all about. Her affair with Michael, played by Timini, was supposed to be a twist, but played out has a passing act of human frailty. Most other effort at ‘curving’ the story, like the discovery that Jola’s friend was the father of Uju’s child, were very unbelievable interactions. For instance, the nurse congratulating Jola’s friend at the hospital is too basic a reason for Jola to ‘suddenly discover’ that the child might be his friend’s. For a man who’s longed to see his first child and knew his friend was ‘standing in’ for him at the hospital during Uju’s delivery, that a nurse comes out to congratulate the man that had brought the patient to the hospital does not affirm anything. Most allusions and conclusions of the script fall under this belt of ‘not convincing’ enough.

There were highlights that characterize a typical Nigerian plot in scenes where Jola has to run across three rooms in the middle of the night when all three heavily pregnant women needed his attention, and were Jola’s father was treated to the rowdiness and confusion he convinced his son to live with, much that he had to scream for help. The funniest of all may be when Tosin (Bimbo Ademoye) told Jola that “it was Jola Junior that was calling you but you ignored…I wanted to vomit and I wanted you to bring bowl for me to vomit, but as you ignored me the vomit now ignored me”. The blandest scene was where the three women were trying to bid Jola farewell on his way to work. Like that was going on with the ‘Gucci perfume” thing? And the flat comical effort of calling the security to come take gift from Tosin? Also, the scene of Jola’s father brining in a curvy lady to become his housemaid should not be in that movie. It’s a waste of viewer’s time!

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Tanwa Savage Review
2.6 Reviewer
0 Users (0 votes)
Pros
Attraction (8) –Brilliant storyline of ‘fathering’ three children same time only to discover ‘none’ is yours. Cinematography (7) – Good effort at visual language, but lighting and setting could have been better.
Cons
Plot – Not plausible enough. Theme – The theme is confusing. What’s the bottom-line message of the movie? Infidelity has grave consequences or roll with ‘life happens’? Acting – Average delivery for most characters, except Zainab. Dialogue – Most dialogues had loose ends. Editing and Effects – Transitions were not smooth, disjointed scenes left room for confusion. Sound & Music – Sound was not crisp, appropriate music absent. Directing – Below Geshin’s own standard. A lot of the scenes ought to have be reshot. The “it” Factor – Nothing spectacular about this movie order than fans wanting to watch their movie idols.
Theme3
Screenwriting2.5
Visual Design2
Cinematography3.5
Editing2.5
Sound and Music2
Acting2.5
Directing3
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A Man Of God

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Source: koko.ng

One movie that sheds light on some religious teaching that are actually not right is this amazing film right here, Man Of God produced and directed by Bolanle Austen Peters.
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The movie cast includes Akah Nnani, Atlanta Bridget Johnson, Ayo Mogaji, Dorcas Shola Fapson, Jude Chukwuka, Osas Ighodaro, Mawuli Gavor, etc. Man Of God centers around a young man named Samuel who comes from a religious home as his father is a pastor. While his father wants him to walk in the way of the Lord, Samuel has his heart set in the world and coupled with the strict way his father handles him, he decides to rebel and leaves home. Now the people he meets out there, how he maneuvers his path and where he lands at the end of the day is the core of this film. The movie draws its theme from love, religion, family, betrayal, and revenge.

So lets dig in; first there can’t be a movie without a script right, so lets talk about the storyline. The storyline of this movie has no graph, there is nothing like it’s going up then it came down, this graph didn’t even move because there were too many loopholes, my God. It’s as if they expected the audience to fill the blanks that came up. For instance, after Joy and Teju graduated and left Samuel behind in school because of his carryover, what made Teju come back, how come all of a sudden she started staying with him and helping him. It was stated that Joy had gone for her NYSC, did how come Teju didn’t go, that gap was just too obvious.

When he was broken, all of a sudden Teju the jobless graduate was there? please give us a break. Secondly, what was the sound engineer (Pastor Zach) doing in the Pastor Samuel‘s house with his wife, is his wife his assistant, or what? Thirdly, what was Bolanle Austen Peters doing in the movie, was that also part of the script, if it was, it was a bad addition because, this movie could have been better without that part. We can go on and on about the loopholes in the script, but lets move. Coming down to the characterization, the lead cast Samuel played by Akan Nnani was under played, like played below expectation, the role was not maximized to its full glory (lol). In terms of delivery, expression, intonation, carriage, this role was definitely not for Akan, maybe a Daniel Etim-Efiong could have killed this role but Akan didn’t do justice to it at all.
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Another person who didn’t deliver in the movie Man Of God was Prince Enwerem (Pastor BJ), his delivery was kind of one and off and that scene where Samuel confronted him about the whereabouts of Joy, that turn was as fake as fake its self. We definitely have to ask what did Lilo Aderogba do in this movie, if you didn’t know, she was the lady that came to tell Pastor Samuel that he has a visitor who turned out to be his brother. Yes, that lady, even her walk in was not good to put it lightly. Nollywood is not for all BBNaija stars and most of them need to know this. But one sect that did justice to their role was Osas Ighodaro (Teju), Eucharia Anunobi (rev. Mrs Gift Asuquo) and Dorcas Shola Fapson (Rekya). They literally ate up their roles in ace. Now lets talk about the costume and make up, while the make up was good, the costume had us confused, because today, Teju is all tuban and bubu gown and tomorrow she is chic business class woman, come on.

Pastor Samuel‘s costume could have been better to hone in his character because those Ankara suits and gold chains did absolutely nothing for him. Now the musicality was very bad, I mean, what was Samuel singing, Bolanle Austen Peters needs to be able to draw the line when it comes to knowing when she is doing a stage play and when she is shooting a movie, because this movie can pass for a stage play. Every song was definitely not on point and that affected the flow of catharsis; it just killed the mood and emotions, especially the scene where the brothers reunited, come on.  The errors and inconsistencies in the movie Man Of God is too much that it makes one wonder out loud. Yes, they got the portrayal of the typical Nigerian church service and how the church has become a business but we get confused once again when we think of the way they time travel in this movie. Lets look at when they were in school, Samuel was sending emails on a desktop computer, what era was the movie set in? because in one scene its like they are in the 90s, then next its like they are back in 2000s. This is one of the things the costumes did help with at all.
Final Thoughts
We can go on and on and keep talking about everything that went wrong in this movie but one of the many solutions that can be adopted is firstly; have the right cast, and script. Secondly, don’t shoot a movie like its a stage play, we are in the cinema, our house, etc, not in the theatre watching the film. The movie Man Of God gets a 3/10 because Nollywood has definitely passed this stage, but a big weldone to the entire cast and crew, we hope for better productions.
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