NollywoodForever.com (a Nollywood movie review site) for the past year has been an absolute must read for all Nollywood lovers online. Never again will Nollywood heads have to watch a Nollywood movie with a leap of faith wondering if the two hours or so dedicated to watching the movie will leave them beaming at the end or hissing!
We think NollywoodForever is a terrific site that has recognized a strategic market opportunity/need. If you don’t currently check it out before watching Nollywood movies, you really need to start doing so. It is more often than not, a life saver! —–> NollywoodForever.com
CP-Africa caught up with the website’s Founder, Alexia Shayun! Check it out below!
Interview conducted by Nmachi Jidenma
CP-Africa.com: Thanks for joining us at CP-Africa Alexia! In your own words, please tell us: “What is Nollywoodforever.com?”
Nollywood Forever Movie Reviews offers down to earth, unbiased reviews of the latest Nollywood movies (Nigerian and Ghanaian) on the market. It is for Nollywood enthusiasts as well as the casual viewer simply looking for a recommendation on what to watch. The reviews act as a discussion starting point for wider issues that the movies bring up. If you have not yet watched the movie then you only read up to the spoilers and then come back after you have watched.
CP-Africa.com: When did you start Nollywood Forever?
I started Nollywood Forever in March 2008, about a year after I watched my first Nollywood Movie. It started off as a WordPress blog which was nollywoodforever.wordpress.com. In February 2009 I acquired the domain name and then earlier this year I took the site off WordPress to self host it.
CP-Africa.com: Why did you choose to start Nollywood Forever?
When I first started watching Nollywood movies it was hard to know what to watch and what not to watch. It was like a game of eenie meenie minie mo. I would buy a movie because of who was in it, only to discover that it was a waste of time. I would scan the internet looking for reviews to read in a bid to know whether or not to buy a film and would find NOTHING. My only saving grace was Naijarules.com which did have some movie reviews but just not enough. I couldn’t find a site dedicated solely to Nollywood movie reviews that was satisfying to me. Those that I did find would be sparse, rarely updated, with barely there synopses and so I decided to start my own Nollywood blog, hence the creation of nollywoodforever.com.
CP-Africa.com: How many Nollywood movies have you reviewed so far?
So far I have reviewed 210 films and the number is growing.
CP-Africa.com: What is your favorite Nollywood movie?
I have so many favourites that it is hard to pick one. What I might deem favourite changes by the day and my mood. For today I will say Distance Between. It was a story based around incest and abuse, written by Remi Ibinola and directed by Izu Ojukwu. It was a joy to watch. The story, cast and cinematography were excellent. The sound was perfect and the style of the whole film was very arty which is different for Nollywood. You could tell that a lot of thought went into every detail in the movie. The four main cast members played their roles fantastically. The treatment of the abuse/incest was sensitively handled and the complexities of friendship explored, as opposed to skimmed over.
CP-Africa.com: Which Nollywood movie has been your least favorite so far?
I have watched so many bad Nollywood movies. One that immediately comes to mind Van Vicker’s debut, Friday Night. I actually saved watching it as that is how good I thought it would be. I think that if it is your first movie production, to write, direct and star may be a little too much as was indeed the case. It started off very badly. It was set in a nightclub and there was no dialogue or hint as to what was in store next which was a big mistake because as a viewer if you watch something that starts of badly and you are bored from the outset you will simply turn off. It also made the mistake of being too Americanised and casting very poor actors. If a viewer wanted to watch an American film they would go and buy one, after all there are many on the market. I am not in support of these Nollywood movies based in the US like the JJ Bunny Productions. For me they just do not work.
CP-Africa.com: Where would you like to see Nollywood in the next 5 years?
I hope that the industry continues to grow and gain recognition so that greater growth can occur and one day there will be more quality being put out than junk. I feel that if quality films are recognised on a grander scale, then those that are producing junk that was put together in two days will rethink and strive for quality instead of a quick buck.
CP-Africa.com: Where would you like to see Nollywood Forever in the next 5 years?
I would like it to be the number one website for Nollywood fans. Before anyone even attempts buying or watching a movie they will quickly log on and see if the movie is reviewed first. I also forsee expanding beyond reviews.
CP-Africa.com: Who is your favorite Nollywood Actor? Actress?
In terms of actors I would have to say Majid Majid Majid! Every movie he is in he kills it. Even in the atrocity that was The Shepherd he stood out and made his character believable. I know you said actor singular but let me add some more of my favourites. They would be Richard Mofe Damijo and Zack Orji. In terms of actresses it would be Patience Ozokwor, Genevieve Nnaji, Mercy Johnson. If I see any of these six in a film I know that even if the film is generally poor that their performances will usually be a joy to watch. They all have the ability to live, breathe and become a character and make you as the viewer feel what they want you to feel. Yes Patience has been typecast as the evil mama in Law for the most part, but it is a role that all her fans love to see her playing so if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
CP-Africa.com: What do you like most about Nollywood movies?
The drama, the buildup of tension, the black cast, the African setting was what kept me coming back over and over again for more Nollywood. It was like nothing I’d seen before. The refreshing thing about it was seeing people that looked like me on screen. It was like being a kid again and discovering the Cosby show. I also loved the fact that Nollywood as opposed to Hollywood is mostly dialogue driven and I meshed well with that alongside stories that I could relate to. I have watched many movies with life lessons and scenarios that are relatable and will stick with me.
CP-Africa.com: What do you dislike the most about Nollywood movies?
I dislike the negative effect that the marketers have on the industry. It is concerning that movies are being split up into multiple parts. How do we expect to truly be part of the international film community when this splitting up of movies is not international practice. Imagine Parts 1,2,3 and 4 of a movie being screened at Cannes? Of late the trend is for movies to be repackaged with different covers and titles. How can this be taken as anything else but 419?
CP-Africa.com: What 2 things do you think Nollywood can most improve upon?
The issues surrounding marketing are big ones. These are issues big enough to derail the whole industry as far as I can see. Why won’t people watch online when they may well be buying a movie that they have already seen before? Aside from that improving visual and audio quality is important. There are movie makers coming out with films with near perfect/ near perfect audio and visuals but they are in the minority rather than the majority.
CP-Africa.com: Do you think Ghanaian movies are better than Nigerian movies or vice versa?
I think that they are very similar. Both industries have their good movies and their bad. A lot of people are talking about the sexualisation of Ghanaian movies. I am seeing this trend occur in Nigerian movies too. Whatever happens in one is transferable to the other particularly as the industries majorly cross over.
CP-Africa.com: Who in your opinion is the the hottest male Nollywood actor? Actress?
There are too many hot guys in Nollywood, so to pick one is hard but I would say Nonso Diobi because I have had a soft spot for him since I started watching, but then let me throw in Seun Akindele into the mix as I have seen a few of his movies lately and he is taking Nonso’s place as Nollywood’s hottest guy in my eyes. As for Actress it has to be Genevieve Nnaji. She embodies beauty, grace and poise and is an excellent ambassador for Nollywood.
Thanks so much for joining us Alexia!
Alexia Shayun was born and raised in London and is of African-Caribbean parentage… You can check out her website, Nollywood Forever online here
Nollywood Forever is on Facebook. You can like it here
Check out Alexia’s latest movie review on NollywoodForever.com. She reviews the movie, Black Soul
Nollywood African Movie Review
The Black Soul ~ 2010
Repackaged as My Worst Experience
Story/ Screenplay & Director – Willie A Ajenge
Producer – Andy Nnawuihe
Ramsey Noah – Kalu
Jackie Appiah – Ruth 2
Fumi Holder – Kate 2
Rebecca Asamoah – Young Kate
Sandra Mprah – Young Ruth
Willie Ajenge – Warden
Henry Ofori Deckem – Abulo
Nollywoodforever.com Rating – 68%
Ruth attends St Morgan’s High School, a boarding school in the fictional Federal Republic of Mangonda. Ruth is a daddy’s girl who never wants to do anything that could possibly disappoint her father. She is drawn into bad girl activities that she would not normally engage in though peer pressure by her roommates who regularly take trips across the border to frolic at parties with older men.
One weekend her roommates persuade her to come with them out of the country to entertain some “big boys.” As soon as she gets there she is full of regret weanting to leave but unable to. If she thinks that this is the biggest of her problems the real problem is not yet to come as the guys that they are hanging out with are entangled in the drug trade and the girls have to bear the heavy repercussions for what was supposed to be a weekend of fun.
On their trip to meet the big boys for a weekend of fun it was kind of comical watching all these small girls bobbing along with MASSIVE wigs on top of their heads.
The girl who played Kate Rebecca Asamoah was the best actress of the bunch (of the young chicks). Ruth played by Sandra Mprah had very stilted speech which made her slightly awkward to watch Ramsey Did a great job as Kalu the mad man, he was especially convincing when he would have an outburst. I thought that he got the right balance. He didn’t overdo the mad man act.
Facially I thought that Jackie Appiah resembled Rebbecca Asamoah more than Sandra Mprah, they both had roundish faces and delicate features. The same was the case with Fumi Holder resembling Sandra Mprah more than the actress that played the younger version of her.
Picture, Sound & Soundtrack
Soundtrack had me grooving to the golden age of music. We had throwbacks like La Isla Bonita by Madonna as well as Brandy’s I Wanna Be Down. The picture and sound was very much old school Nollywood. You would think that the movie was at least 10 years older than it was. I struggled to believe that it was a 2010 movie. The picture had that fuzziness that old movies have and the first scene was so echoey I struggles to hear what was being said and in the part to the sound was just bad.
The girls are thrown into prison because the guy that they are in the car with is involved in drugs. What I didn’t see was whether or not the guys went to jail too. Would it really be feasible that these girls would have been sent to prison and their parents not contacted?
Read more: Nollywood Forever