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|Charles Novia Praises "Hoodrush" by IAJA: 8:07pm On Nov 03, 2012|
Nollywood director Charles Novia calls Hoodrush—starring OC Ukeje and Bimbo Akintola—a “great movie.”
It almost seems like these days whatever comes out of the mouth (or in this case, keystrokes) of Charles Novia, it makes headlines. There were the stories of his quarrel with Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and the tension between Genevieve Nnaji and Stella Damasus: excerpts he culled from his recently published memoir Nollywood Till November. And then there was the thrashing he gave Tonto Dikeh’s twin singles.
And he’s back—with a critique of Hoodrush, the musical thriller that was released in cinemas throughout Nigeria on Friday, October 12. And the review, which he posted on his Facebook page today, is glowing with praise.
Directed by Dimeji Ajibola, Hoodrush features OC Ukeje, Bimbo Akintola, Gabriel Afolayan, Chelsea Eze, Ijeoma Agu and Leelee Byoma.
Below is Novia’s review of Hoodrush in its entirety:
’HOODRUSH’ : AN AMBITION FULFILLED: I am not in the habit of doing critiques of Nollywood movies, primarily for the reason that it might be misconstrued by people in the industry as inappropriate, given the manner my past objective critiques of personalities in the entertainment industry have stirred up storms of needless controversy. Another reason I don’t critique Nollywood movies is because I understand the limitations and frustrations the principal movers of each movie pass through to put the final output on the shelves.
However, that does not in anyway stop me from lambasting the silly and intellectually befuddling movies majorly churned out from the Asaba axis where professionalism is thrown to the dogs and an alarming rate of bandwagon stories and undignified elementary acting, coupled with laughable directing, have become the order of the day over there. And such movies from Asaba, unfortunately, get to be judged as the best the English sector of Nollywood have to offer, which rubs off negatively on other hard-working personalities in the industry. Perhaps, my using the term ‘Asaba movies’ may seem condescending to some people. I don’t have any apologies. In English Literature of Nigerian origins, the term ‘Onitsha Market Literature’ wasn’t well-received either but the stark realism of that genre is not in doubt. My reservations about the Asaba movies will be addressed in another post. I am more concerned with the feeling of exhilaration which has enveloped me for a couple of days after watching the movie ‘HOODRUSH’.
I don’t know the Director of that movie personally, neither have I heard of his artistic antecedents before now but as a trained film maker and an ‘elder’ in the business, I am inclined to stand and give a standing ovation to Dimeji Ajibola for a job well done. I told a few of my colleagues last night that with such bright sparks coming into the industry, there is much hope that the collective vision of moving the industry to greater heights will be achieved. I’m not going to give much critiques of the movie in this post. I will only commend the great and believable acting of O.C Ukeje, who ( as I have constantly predicted over the past couple of years) is the next Big Star in Nollywood, putting his body of work in perspective. OC was superb in the movie as was Gabriel Afolayan, a sibling of movie Director, Kunle Afolayan. There was a certain and believable organic chemistry between both guys who acted as brothers and the screen literally oozed with the brotherly affection they had for each other.
The movie is a musical, with great compositions of contemporary songs and both actors delivered their singing abilities to the hilt. It is to the credit of the Producer that he cast OC and Gabriel, both proven singers, in a true-to-type casting which made their role interpretations very easy. Gabriel got me in goose flesh when he made the final appearance at the Audition scene where he sang and was able to internalize a poignant pain from the preceding scenes which he brought out visually in that audition scene. Wow! I’m proud of these guys!
Bimbo Akintola, an experienced and oft-overlooked talent in Nollywood, gave the best acting in her life for years, in my opinion. I intend to do a special tribute to Bimbo on my Facebook page soon and much of that has been done in my book ‘NOLLYWOOD TILL NOVEMBER’ but permit me to sing her praises a bit here. Bimbo is the quintessential actress, the actor’s actor. I couldn’t help but scream in pure pleasure as she delivered scene after scene with a panache only a true thespian can achieve. I predict that Bimbo will win the ‘Best Actress’ laurel with this movie in any of the numerous awards in Nollywood, if the judges too are true to their sense of appreciation. OC Ukeje and Gabriel Afolayan should also be winning ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actor’ too in same award ceremonies.
New actress, Ijeoma Agu, was also fantastic in her outing. I like the fact that the Director chose to use her as Afolayan’s love interest and de-emphasized her passive and bland beauty for a ghetto look which she carried admirably throughout the movie. What Ijeoma lacks in looks, she made up impressively with her superb acting. She gave her role’s magnum opus in the scene where she sang ‘I believe in you’ to Afolayan. There were few dry eyes in the hall when we watched that scene.
‘ HOODRUSH’ is a great movie, despite a few lapses, very few though which I deliberately will skip here because they are barely noticeable and also to encourage all readers of this piece to go all out to watch this movie, now showing in the Cinemas across Nigeria. For fulfilling the requirements which make a good movie, the Director achieved a film maker’s ultimate ambition; to make a good movie. I doff my hat to a younger colleague and welcome him to the ladder of progress. May his road not cross the Asaba movie expressway, which at this point has lesser and horrendous destinations for the quality of Nollywood, not quantity.
(NOTE: The only edit made on Novia’s post was breaking it into paragraphs for easier reading. The term “Asaba movies” should actually be written as “Alaba movies.” It’s a derogatory term referring to the thousands of usually low-budget, poor-quality home movies commissioned by the marketers at Lagos-based Alaba International Market, the main commercial hub of Nollywood.) — DCA
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