Sunday, 15 November 2015

Ghanaian Movie Review: Nana Means King 2015 *The Opening Chapter*

GhMovieFreak is here to stay..

It’s safe for me to say… the Ghanaian Movie industry is on the rise… things have changed… mediocrity is no longer the status quo. The revolution has started!!

Those were exactly my thoughts after watching Nana Means King, which tells the story of Nana Kwame, a betrayed Ghanaian working illegally in the UK who finds himself on a quest, not only to survive, but to re-envision a life beyond his own shattered dreams.

Although this plot, on the surface, seems quite similar to that of Afua’s Diary (Our last review) it is entirely different. This Nana Obiri Yeboah (Known for directing The Cursed Ones) directed story highlights the psychological battles and challenging situations that black illegal immigrants face. Of course this is certainly something any Ghanaian can relate to in one way or the other. The fact that a story of this nature is well told in a movie as good as this should not go unappreciated.

It would suffice to describe the Directors/Makers approach to telling this particular story as a carefully illustrated psychological drama. It would also be fair to say that the Ghanaian audience is generally not used to an approach like this. But then, I believe the Ghanaian movie scene could really use some more movies like this. It’s hard not to acknowledge the clarity of how the story seeks to address some of the psychological issues that illegal immigrants face.

Right from the start, you sense that the movie is slow paced and laid back with the story line carefully unfolding. Regardless, it is intriguing and intense enough to keep you at the edge of your seat as the story progresses.

Prince David Osei was cast for the lead role.  And top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who could have done a better job at playing the character of Nana Kwame. He gave a classic PDO performance and was spot on in his delivery of his role.  I am most happy that, in a typical UK setting he did not try to force a British accent. The performance from supporting lead, Richard Armah who plays the role of Chris Kuma cannot go unmentioned. Although a new face, his interpretation of is character was natural and very impressive as well. I would love to see more from him.

I also liked that this movie did not take advantage of popular sites or scenery from the UK, so it becomes easy for the viewer to look beyond the fact that it was set, shot and produced in London. The cinematography was also different and added to the intense vibe that the movie exudes from start to finish.

Overall, the production wasn’t flawless, there were several scenes where the quality of sound sort of fluctuates and makes it difficult to follow the dialogue. Of course we would expect better than that from a London based production house.

I also did not like that some of the dialogues also seemed quite boring, obviously because of the slow pace of the movie. But that did not in any way affect the quality of this movie. It would be easy for anyone who isn’t paying attention to the actual story being told to argue that that this movie is boring. But no, this is a great movie, it is deeper than it seems.

The story line as it is in this defining chapter does leave holes in the plot of the movie. But we can only hope that the next installments do well to patch up these holes.

Its 75mins run-time, although short, is certainly worth it. Chapter one of Nana Means King does lay the foundation for a great story and its climax, sets you up to expect and anticipate more from the next sequel of this trilogy. (Yes, be expecting two more chapters)

That is why GhMoviefreak would like to score this movie 6.5 /10.

This movie is good and does throw a challenge to other production companies ready to join the revolution taking place on the Ghanaian Movie scene.  It was definitely worth the time and the wait. 

GhMoviefreak strongly recommends that anyone who supports the growth of the Ghanaian film industry must do well to go watch this movie.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Ghanaian Movie Review: Afua’s Diary 2015 *Dear Diary, Love Is Friday*

#GhMovieFreak is here to stay….

What better way to spend your Friday night than getting smothered with a good movie that makes you forget how terrible your week was? That was exactly the feeling after watching this movie.

A beautiful love story has a way of changing your outlook on a lot of things. Afua’s Diary did it for me.
This movie tells the story of a pretty African girl living in the UK who’s already complicated life of being in a rocky relationship with a boyfriend who depends on her for everything and having an alcoholic father back home in Ghana who keeps wasting money she sends him is further rattled by the fear of being deported as her visa nears its expiration.

Writer Bibi Owusu Shadbolt is responsible for this simple yet awesome script that does not just spell out a nice love story but also highlights the struggles of immigrants. It’s hard to not appreciate the story line of this movie. Evidently this isn’t the usual “everyday” Ghanaian movie.

Yes, it was straight forward, easy to grasp and follow… but it was equally entertaining and educative as well.  It did have the element of humor in the right proportion that makes you crave for more.

The audience laughed and showed excitement at the right intervals as the story progressed. Without the humor, Afua’s story would have been just boring and mushy.

I feel the cast was perfect for the script. Arguable, I think it’s good the makers didn’t rely on popular names to make this movie. Although they are entirely new to us Ghanaian audience, both leads, the gorgeous Cleopatra Wood (Afua) and the charming Fabio Abraham (Alan Freeman, Afua’s boyfriend) were a delight to watch. They seemed to have some good chemistry that sort of complemented their characters. It was also a delight to see ace Ghanaian satirist Kweku Sintim Misa (KSM) in his role as Afua’s father. This goes to affirm the fact that a good script and not “big name actors” is the foundation of a good movie.

A good romantic movie would not be complete without the perfect score. It’s difficult to ignore the choice of songs/soundtracks for this movie. The selection of songs was just perfect and on point for the story. The right acoustic tunes complemented the right scenes and made them more pleasurable. There were some scenes which I found myself paying more attention to the background song instead of the characters dialogue.

Nonetheless, the scenes felt isolated at some points, kind of in a haste to end.  Noticeably also, some accents were clearly forced to have the African originality… we blame no one, we could only appreciate their effort.

I was hoping the story would have transitioned at some point and ended up with the story line continuing here in Ghana but that didn’t happen. I guess I was only craving to get to see more scenes from Ghana besides those for KSM’s character. I feel the story would have had a much fulfilling climax if it had ended here in Ghana. (Well that just my opinion lol.)

Overall the production of this movie was above Ghanaian standard but it wasn’t flawless either. I believe there were some hitches in the audio which can be pardoned.

GhMovieFreak would gladly score this movie… 7/10.

Trust me when I say this was a good movie. Right from the start you are sure you are going to love it and it doesn’t disappoint at all. We would describe this as a classy romantic comedy that also captures the not often spoke of struggles of immigrants abroad, made with the Ghanaian audience in mind. A movie that truly deserves to be recognized and applauded. No wonder it has already won an award at the WAD Film Festival in New York.

It’s still showing in cinemas, #GhMoviefreak strongly advises that you go watch this with your significant other and you guaranteed having a nice time.

"I love you Friday born"

[Watch Trailer Here]

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Stage Play: Medicine For Love *April is Born*

GhMoviefreak is very much appreciative of Miss Budu-Acquah for helping us with this review.. Enjoy the read guys. #Cheers 


I don't regret the Friday evening rush hour hustle I had to go through to catch a seat and watch this first ever production by the April Communications.... Medicine For Love.

Let me just say, Naa Ashorkor and her team did a great job by pulling this act together. From start to finish, they had every single detail covered. The stage set was nice, suited the concept the play came with, even the costumes worn by each character helped with the definition of who and what they stood for. Well, maybe except the medicine man who had a cute blue blazer on some good shirt with braces and pants  Unless of course am told that is the 21st century dress code for medicine men. (lol).

The turn out was quite impressive. The media publicity for this was good.

The play… Medicine for Love… centered on Mr Tawiahs love/ family life and political strife. 
The opening scene had him call out for Kofi... his personal assistant to write a letter to Aunty Bea , explaining to her the need to hold on with her decision to bring a wife to him since the two influential chiefs in the village had already performed the marital rites of Atwei and Becky as wives. They were currently living with him not alone but Atwei had the mother and sister while Becky had also brought his old dad along. Reason is, either of them suspected the other of having the thoughts and potentials of preparing medicine for love So Mr Tawiah would choose her over the other, and So that was their task force and back up. Unfortunately his Aunty, wouldn't even wait the reply to her very first message, Efua Kwansima, the supposed wife, a princess was already on her way coming. 

Mr Tawiah's frustration could only worsen as his political ambition had ended with him selling his properties and spending all his hard earned money on campaign sand propaganda. That couldn't have been all, his hard strong willed Aunt had moved into his apartment too. 

So now the war;  Atwei a simple Ga girl who was spontaneous with the throwing of hands and gifted with fighting abilities backed by the mother, another hard woman with a strong mind verses Becky, a more sophisticated heavily shaped African beauty with exotic taste and a wide sharp mouth.. you can trust her painful words...and these two enemies joining forces  against  Aunty Bea the instigator and Efua Kwansima the proposed 3rd wife. Well, she won the battle after all because eventually Atwei found a handsome doctor to marry, and Becky went ahead with poor Kofi, Mr Tawiahs personal assistant. His medicine for love which was writing short notes and mails to Becky.. This indeed attests to the fact that.. Sweet little simple things get to women the most. 

The details is for you to find out and the viewers to know. 

But the play left me with a lot of lessons to keep in my diary. I have been to a couple of stage plays before but I cannot compare the level of satisfaction I had with this one to any of the others. The actors made it very difficult not to pay attention. The key element for every stage play is humor..  Medicine for love had it good.  

I still think some scenes could have been shortened to reduce the boredom. In effect, the whole play lasted close to 2hours 40 mins, which I feel was a little too much. 
Also some backstage activities were pretty much obvious, especially the arrangements of chairs and some of the props for some of the scenes. 

In all I would rate it a 7/10 . I enjoyed every bit, good grammatical construction, expression of emotions was on point, and coordination among the characters was dope not forgetting the occasional blend of the Ghanaian language.

I say kudos to April communications that was a good job on stage. I would gladly and willing brave through an apocalypse like traffic to make it to any production from Aprils Communications. They have really won me over. 
I like what Becky said at the end..#suspicion breaks the home and truthfully Sometimes none is guilty but suspicion.. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Movie Review: Beasts of No Nation 2015 *A Powerful Young Boy*

Wow… I just don’t know how I am going to write this review but well… here it goes.

A few weeks back Ghanaian media was taken over by the story of a 14 year old Ghanaian street vendor who won an international movie award. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing how good this kid was in the movie to have won an award that big and how this movie shot in Ghana would come out like. It was a bit of an uneasy wait because the trailer promised so much and I am sure I am not the only person who just couldn’t wait to see if it was really worth it.

Beast of No Nation tells the story of Agu a child soldier fighting in a rebel army in a civil war for an unknown country.

I know the plot kind of looks simple and shallow, but the entire script of this movie (which is actually based of a book by Uzodinma Iweala) goes real deep.  For lack of better words …..I would describe this movie as a captivating story propelled by a Powerful performance.

There have been many movies that also were made to capture and tell the story of the devastating effects of civil wars or political struggles in Africa but by far, this takes a different dimension, intended to give us a look at the inner mental conflicts and struggles of child soldiers.

Right from the start the story builds your interest in the life, intelligence and leadership qualities of the lead character Agu (Abraham Attah).  Who ever made the final casting choice to pick this young boy for this role would surely be feeling more than fulfilled. For someone who has never acted before he was flawless in every single scene.  He was born to do this... Abraham Attah was born to play Agu. At every point in the story line, as his character unfolds he is able to stir up the right emotions to transform his character to keep the viewers’ attention. He deserves all the praise he is receiving and we can only look forward to greater performances from him.

I had keen interest in seeing how Idris Elba was going to fit in this movie. In my personal opinion, he settled in comfortably…again. I am yet to see a bad Idris performance. But I must admit it is very hard to pay attention to him with young Abraham Attah stealing all of the spotlight.

It was also a good feeling seeing ace Ghanaian actors Fred Amugi, David Dontoh and Grace Nortey in this movie. Although they didn’t have lead roles or dominating characters I am content knowing that these GREATS haven’t been forgotten and were given a chance to contribute to this massive global hit. It also starred the beautiful and talented Ama K Abrebese. Although she seemed to have been struggling with speaking twi she did own her character as well.

In all there was nothing majorly wrong with the acting and performances. Even the extras and supporting cast were spot on in their deliveries.  I don’t know much about the director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s work but I am more than impressed with his work on this movie and I wouldn’t hesitate to watch anything else he is associated with.  He did an amazingly awesome job with this movie.

For something that was shot right here in Ghana you can’t help but be awed by the great visuals and cinematography that accompanied this story. Although the plot does not make mention of any particular country where it is set the makers did do well to utilize the locations at their disposal to complete the mix needed to successfully tell this captivating story.  I don’t think any Ghanaian who sees this movie would not be impressed with the scenery just as I was.

I also liked the makeup and costuming. In fact they had every single detail figured out and executed to perfection.  Well, with an estimated budget of 6,000,000 USD we can’t expect anything less. (Makes me wonder, will a Ghanaian production company be able to make a movie this good with that kind of budget? I bet we will find out soon… fingers crossed.)

Surprisingly, this movie borrowed soundtracks from current popular songs from artiste like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale and Joey B. I don’t know what exactly influenced the makers to do so but it seemed a bit off for me… considering that the movie didn’t exactly tell the year or decade the plot was set in but had that vibe or feel to it that sort of expressed it set somewhere in the early 1990s or even much earlier. Also some of the scenes or dialogues made references to things or happenings that might not have been around at that time. Although these goofs are nothing major, for someone like myself who pays close attention to petty details in a movie they can be very confusing.

Although I did not like that it ended with several unanswered questions, its climax has a way of delivering the message the writer intended to give with this story. A well befitting climax for this 137mins emotional journey.  If you pay close attention you are sure to pick up the underlying theme of this movie.

Overall this was more than just an averagely good movie.  It does live up to expectations. I can guarantee that this movie would not only fascinate and entertain you, but would also awaken you and cause you to question your thoughts on certain aspects of human nature.
GhMoviefreak would like to score this movie a perfect 8/10.  And strongly recommend that you push it up your watchlist, you won’t regret it.

I wish we could call this movie as OUR own....I am waiting patiently for that time to be here. 

[Watch Trailer Here]

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Ghanaian Movie Review: Cartel: The Genesis 2015 *A New Breeze*

I was a bit hesitant going to see this movie today, been several long months of work and I was finally getting a weekend were I could just chill at home and get some very much deserved rest on a Saturday, but… Lewis hit me up and said… “Hey, let’s do this for GhMoviefreak”.

Kindly enjoy this… extensive review below.  #Cheers .

A lot of promo had gone into generating some hype for this movie, right from huge billboard ads to social media adverts, so there is certainly no way I can say I hadn’t seen or heard about this title. The trailer I had seen on Facebook really seemed promising…well for a Ghanaian movie… it was more than just promising. Good thing we made it to the premiere.

Cartel: The Genesis, tells the story of a Narcotics Investigative Unit agent who returns from training with the DEA in the United States and is motivated to hunt and bring to book all persons involved in the growing illegal drug distribution in Ghana.

Off the top, you immediately get the feel that this is something different. Its more than refreshing to finally see something other than the usual “Romance turned sour”, “Family feuds”  or any of those cliché story lines that Ghanaian movie makers are most comfortable with.  I was immediately impressed after seeing the trailer for the first time. So I did have high expectations going to see this movie… well… I did leave a margin of doubt in my mind should in case this movie fail to deliver.

Besides a couple of shortfalls, it didn’t fail to deliver..… I say again… it’s more than refreshing to finally see something other than the usual. The story line is different and I liked it.

One of the things I liked also about this movie was the fact that it didn’t have that many big stars. I mean we have seen several Ghanaian Movies lately that have paraded about  13 big names (at least) in one cast line up and yet still failed to live up to expectations. But Cartel was different.   Adjetey Anang (Pusher) played the lead role of Fiifi Wilson the DEA trained agent, and trust me when I say his performance was more than impressive.  It also starred, Joselyn Dumas, Kofi Bucknor, Prince David Osei and Emmanuel Armah. 

The acting in this movie I must admit was stale and mediocre at some points, obviously this is something very common in most Ghanaian movies I have seen. You can’t really fault the movie makers on this because they did use quite a number of new faces. The well seasoned actors really did own their characters and did well to nail their roles. I don’t recall ever being this impressed by a Prince David Osei performance as what he showed in Cartel.

We did laugh at a couple of scenes, I admire and appreciate the tiny elements of wit some of the dialogues had.

Noticeably Joselyn Dumas didn’t have that many scenes or lines in this movie. It was almost like she was just making a cameo appearance… nonetheless her fight scene did make up for all of that. Yes… Joselyn did throw down and it certainly was entertaining to watch.

The fist fights and gun fight scenes were excellently choreographed, nothing too much or exaggerated… just perfect enough to keep the “Action Movie” vibe going. The audience did enjoy those scenes and were equally impressed as I was, the cheers and applause can never lie. That last fight scene at the end of the movie deserves to go into the books of the Ghanaian Movie History as the “Most Epic Ghanaian Movie fight Scene -  yet”.  Both actors did portray the right amount of emotions to sell that scene.

Although I liked the cinematography to some extent, as I was quite impressed with some of the very decent angles the producers shot some of the scenes from, I feel they did abuse the Arial shots. That many Arial shots just didn’t do it for me any more at some point. The sound wasn’t flawless either; it’s quite a bit of a letdown for a movie this promising to make sloppy mistakes in the sound department. Even the score was questionable at some parts for me and almost ruined the value of those scenes.

There were also some minor continuity and production flaws like below standard visual effects, still photography flashes and crew members reflections caught on camera that didn’t really mere the overall quality of this movie that much but only sort of did well to remind me that I was watching a Ghanaian movie. (These little things do matter as well). Pascal Amanfo needs to pay more attention to these petty details. A very good script can be reduced to substandard if production doesn’t go right.

Regardless, I did enjoy watching this movie from start to finish, there was no single point that I felt like I was wasting my time at all. The unexpected twist at the end of the movie certainly does make you want to see the next one. Yes… The Genesis is only the beginning as they say… I honestly can’t wait to see the sequel. I can only hope and wish it steps up on the action and thrill that this one provided.

The Ghmoviefreak team  would gladly rate this movie a well-deserved 6/10.

In all, Cartel gives me hope that the Ghanaian movie industry still does have a bright future, a future were our movies can rub shoulders with some of the best in the world. I have always hoped that the day would come sooner than later, today… I have seen that day move a little bit more closer

Yes, I strongly recommend you go watch this movie as it is certainly worth your time.

[Watch Trailer Here]

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Movie Review: Pan 2015 *Timeless Adventure*

#Yup… We don’t play #GhMoviefreak 

PAN,is the movie title adaptation for the original widely known story of Peter Pan (Created by J.M. Barrie). This big screen adaptation was directed by Joe Wright (who is famous for titles like, Pride & Prejudice and Atonment both based of good books).

I am sure a lot of people might have a fair idea of the Peter Pan story growing up:-  A mischievous never aging boy who can fly who spends his never ending childhood on having adventures fighting pirates with his gang on a small island called Neverland.

I know this sounds like a lot of …. Erm lol …. Childish fantasy but hey it was very intriguing growing up. I am sure a lot of people can agree to that.

The Pan movie however looks to tell the genesis story of the Peter Pan character.  I feel the whole idea behind making this movie was to sort of revive people’s interest in the J.M. Barries books.  The makers of the movie tried their best here but... failed to some extent. Joe Wright's  Pride & Prejudice and Atonement were obviously better movies than Pan. 

Besides, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) who stars as Blackbeard, no other big names were cast for this movie. Peter Pan was played by young Levi Miller who I believe did handle is role well enough.  I can’t really fault the cast or the acting in this movie because there is not much to expect or compare with when you do not really know the cast. 

But certainly it was more than refreshing to see Hugh Jackman in something very different than what he is known for.The story line fails to make the cut for a genesis/prequel movie, and doesn't layout a reason for a sequel but heavily delivers in terms of keeping you entertained and interested for a greater part.  Also the makers did more than awesome with the CGI. Yes!! This movie definitely hits the nail in the head on that note. Reasons being that, most of the cinematic shot were of flying pirate ships and mid air stunts. As a matter of fact, this movie must be seen in 3D. 

It's only then would you appreciate the CGI effects The music score was also on point. Its hard to forget that scene with the Slaves singing and chanting on the arrival of new slave recruit and also the scene with Blackbeard's grand entry into the mining pit. A good music score is something every adventure movie needs.

I didn’t like the costumes though; it made the movie, at some scenes feel too funny and colorful, almost like watching clowns at a circus show. The tribal folks being blown into colored dust wasn't needed just made it dreadful.

Generally, I wouldn’t describe this movie as awful of a huge failure…. It certainly has some high moments and obviously was entertaining. You can’t really expect much from a Fantansy adventure based of a children’s book. It’s a good family movie which kids would love from start to end of its 111 minutes runtime but I am pretty much sure most adults would find it to be such a waste of time. If there is going to be a sequel, I really can’t say… but I hope they make it much better if they really want to pull some traction with reviving Peter Pan. 
Well I feel a score of 5/10 would do. Hoping it meets its production budget and stays a week long on the box office number 1.
Hey, nonetheless if you have some time on your hands or just looking for chill moment to relax and cool off, do well to go see this movie for yourself.

Cheers! #GhMovieFreaks!!
[Watch Trailer Here]

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Movie Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails 2015 *A Step Above The Maze*

It’s been a while since I wrote any reviews and I must apologize. I know some of you guys have been wondering why. No reason would be good enough, just know this… GHMOVIE FREAK is here to stay. The new website is almost ready… keep your fingers crossed. Enjoy the read. Cheers!!

For anyone who has seen last years (exactly one year) release of The Maze Runner, this very title would not be new to you. The prequel ended with a cliff hanger that certainly had everyone expecting what the follow up title would deliver.

This follow up kicks off right after where the prequel ended…. As Thomas played by Dylan O’Brien (Most popular for his role in Teen Wolf) and the rest of the Gladers after escaping the maze now face other unexpected challenges as they search for resistance fighters to help fight WCKD.

Well anyone who has seen the first movie would easily be able to follow the happenings of this one. (For anyone who hasn’t seen the first Maze Runner, I would advise that you do so before going to see Scorch Trails).

Be prepared to find that this second installment does pack more action and thrill than the first. Not to over hype it, but yes…. It was more entertaining.  Very unexpected I must say, obviously because of the use of other scenes unlike the first, which had all of the story line restricted to the insides of the maze and the glades. In this movie you get to see gun fights, explosions, chases, daring escapes and zombies.


I personally wasn’t expecting zombies and from what I have read online the writers might have really changed the story line of the original books these titles are based off. (Bae, turned, looked at me and said,”Really, you brought me here to see Zombies? Really?”  lol).

I haven’t read any of the books but it seems those who have are not impressed with the turn this movie is taking. Nonetheless, I feel adding zombies made sense and kind of adds some depth and clarity to the entire plot of the first movie.

Apparently the kids where put in the maze to test their strengths to find a strain or enzymes in their genes that can be used to make a cure for a virus that has been plaguing the world. (Or so… lol). 

If not anything, Scorch Trails really does make you appreciate the Maze runner movie some more… you begin to get that “Ok, this all makes sense now” feeling at some points in the movie. (That is, if you really are paying attention to it).

Like always I am impressed with good CGI, the directors didn’t go overboard with it. A perfect blend of good acting, great cinematography and flawless CGI can do a lot of good for even the poorest scripts. Be prepared to be impressed if you are a sucker for good visuals like I am.  I would love to see this movie again just to appreciate these good shots and ride the thrill that its actions scenes provided.

Another good thing about this movie was the acting. In my opinion the lead Dylan O’Brien is certainly a star to look out for.  There were some new additions to the lead roles for this movie. Unfortunately, the new additions or supporting lead role cast weren’t given that many lines so it’s almost difficult to keep up with the characters names and exactly why they were in those scenes. Nonetheless, the acting was on point. Better than some other reigning titles that also parade an equally young cast lineup.
As much as Scorch Trails adds some depth to the plot of The Maze runner, it’s still likely to leave you confused and wondering what the entire movie is about. There are still many unanswered questions which I hope would be answered in the next installment. (Let’s pray it’s the last installment and not another Part 1 & 2 thing).  Again this one ended with cliffhanger that makes you thirst already for the next movie.  I already can’t wait for this time next year. (Its projected release date).
This might not be a perfect movie in terms of understanding and big cast names, but its 2hrs 11mins run-time is worth it. You are guaranteed of excitement, thrill, good entertainment and an equally fulfilling climax.  Comparing this to the prequel, The Maze Runner is like an innocent new born baby and Scorch Trails is and blooming daring adolescent.  Let’s wait patiently to see how its adult life plays out

That is why I would rate this…( a well-deserved)…. 7/10. I would strongly recommend every movie lover to go see this tile. 

The Maze was really just the beginning. 

[Click Here To Watch Trailer]