Coming to Africa premiered this past weekend at the 22nd annual San Francisco Black Film Festival. Utilizing a virtual format, the festival screened over 200 films between Thursday and Sunday. The movie is the fourth feature film by Anwar Jamison, a Memphis-based filmmaker.
In the film, Khalil Kain, most known for his starring roles in Juice alongside Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps, and Girlfriends with Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross, is a community activist trying to convince his brother to buy into a plan that will solve the problems plaguing their community. His brother, played by Jamison, is a successful financial executive who thinks climbing the corporate ladder is the road to true black empowerment. A rude awakening, in the form of a career crisis, unexpectedly leads him on an amusing adventure in Africa.
Nana Ama McBrown is the love interest in the movie. The film also features David Dontoh, and PY Addo Boateng, who also serves as producer.
The majority of the film was shot in Accra, Ghana, during The Year of Return celebration, and the remainder was filmed in Memphis, TN. “I wanted to make a movie that no other American filmmaker has ever made, and we accomplished that,” explains Jamison. “I wanted to show an African city in a way that we haven’t seen on the big screen in America, and allow people to see that they have nice houses, malls and restaurants just like we do. Class determines your lifestyle no matter where you live.”
Coming to Africa will also screen at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival, which takes place August 6-9, before it’s official release in September, which includes a special premiere event during Labor Day weekend in Memphis. For more information on the movie, visit www.comingtoafricamovie.com.
Charlize Theron’s ‘The Old Guard,’ Netflix’s Most-Watched Movie, Is Another Franchise-Starter That’s Just Set-Up For The Sequel
Netflix’s The Old Guard is a $70 million prologue to a sequel that, even with strong initial viewership, may never actually get made
As expected by everyone paying attention, The Old Guard, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka (and adapted from on his comic book), is this morning’s most-watched movie on Netflix NFLX -4.2%. It would be something of a calamity if the film wasn’t at least in the top ten, considering the media attention and star power (specifically Charlize Theron in the lead role) for this $70 million comic book/superhero movie, although the idea of it earning mostly positive reviews and still ending up behind the likes of Unsolved Mysteries and The Lorax would have qualified as an all-too-fitting metaphorical irony. Nonetheless, we’ll see if it has any more staying power than, offhand, Eurovision, or whether it’s a one-week wonder.
If it continues to stick around, then I’d argue that the film will be an example of a rare movie that broke the cardinal rule of franchise-building and got away with it. There’s plenty to admire about The Old Guard, such as the strong performances (Chiwetel Ejiofor gets several lovely moments), an emphasis on character interaction over spectacle and the unapologetic LGBTQIA representation that plays like a dare to “old Hollywood” to get its act together. However, I didn’t care for the film as much as many of my (very smart) peers because it played less like a movie and more like a TV pilot or feature-length prequel to the next chapter. Yes, in a skewed way, it played the same game that usually dooms franchise-starters.
To be fair, the film, which stars Theron as the unofficial leader of a small group of seemingly immortal mercenaries, doesn’t quite err as badly in this regard as Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, Jon M. Chu’s Jem and the Holograms or Kenneth Branagh’s Artemis Fowl. The 124-minute, R-rated actioner does give you enough of “what you came to see,” namely Theron and her team (along with new recruit Kiki Layne) killing bad guys and looking cool while doing it. Its sins in this “glorified TV pilot” arena are more about how much of the film is spent with past-tense exposition and world-building, as well as leading to a conclusion that merely teases a more interesting status quo/more interesting movie than the one we got. Most Popular In: Hollywood & Entertainment
I didn’t think the action scenes were all that engaging, as there seemed to be a disconnect between the poignant conversations about morality and mortality and the deluge of faceless murdered goons who may be less “bad guy” and more “security personal just doing their job.” That’s always been a pet peeve with me (see also: The Matrix lobby massacre). Otherwise, the action sequences are indeed well-staged and well-edited by Terlyn Shropshire. But the core issue, to the extent that it matters, is the fact that The Old Guard didn’t feel like a singular feature. No spoilers, but it felt like set-up for the actual movie, with (like Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels) that obnoxious “You’ll get to see this cool adventure… next time!” tease.
The question is whether that this film debuted on Netflix and not in theaters merited the presumption that we’d get another one of these. You can argue Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom acted as glorified set-up for Jurassic World: Dominion, but A) Fallen Kingdom felt like a stand-alone movie and B) Jurassic World earned $1.671 billion worldwide so its sequel being successful enough to merit a third film felt like a safe bet. And it’s entirely possible that Netflix will announce on Monday that The Old Guard 2 is “in development.” Save for (offhand) To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and The Kissing Booth 2 (debuting July 24), it’s not like Netflix’s library is filled with sequels to their successful originals.
It’s a little ironic that The Old Guard premiered just days before the 20th anniversary of Bryan Singer’s X-Men, a film that felt like a new kind of franchise-starter, one that played like a TV pilot that ended with a glorified “To be continued!” The whole “first movie is set-up” gambit, inspired by comic books and episodic TV which can spend the first issue/episode on table-setting, is now almost a sub-genre unto itself. What was unusual in 1985 with Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (still waiting for that adventure to begin…) is now almost par for the course. But its application in cinema (Jem, Warcraft, Fantastic Four, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) almost always results in a one-and-done franchise.
I like the folks involved with The Old Guard. Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights and Theron’s Atomic Blonde are modern genre classics and I loved Rucka’s run on Detective Comics in the early 2000s. I will express artistic disappointment and still cheer commercial success. If we do get The Old Guard 2 which gives us an adventure based on the notions teased out at the end of this movie, it will be a somewhat unprecedented victory. However, if The Old Guard is a hit but the sequel still ends up in the same development hell as Bright 2, then it’ll be just another feature-length tease for a franchise that never actually came to be. Considering Netflix’s self-proclaimed status as a Hollywood disruptor, that would be bitterly ironic.
PERFECT PICTURE; TEN YEARS LATER: Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Movie Debuts On Netflix, Inc.
Producer Shirley Frimpong Manso’s 2019 movie ‘The Perfect Picture – 10 Years Later’ – a sequel to ‘The Perfect Picture’ which was first released in 2009 debuts on Netflix, Inc. – an American media-services provider and production company headquartered in Los Gatos, California. ‘The Perfect Picture 10 Years Later’, brings back the original cast in what’s one of the highly anticipated movies of the season.
Now in the sequel, the story of the three beautiful friends, Aseye (Jackie Appiah), Dede (Lydia Forson) and Akese (Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku) continues. The original film was about three women pushing their thirties and making bold attempts to change their lives, but destiny had other plans for them. Now in the sequel, the ladies are back, this time pushing their forties. Even though they are older and wiser, they realise that now they are saddled with more issues including their not so fairy-tale relationships.
It’s been 10 years since Sparrow Productions (now Sparrow Pictures) released its critically acclaimed romantic-comedy, ‘The Perfect Picture.’ Produced by Shirley Frimpong-Manso, the film became one of the most popular fan favourites in the Ghanaian film industry. Now, a decade on, the film is back for part two, ‘The Perfect Picture, 10 Years Later.’
CODE 254: Nonini Unveils The Rot In Kenya’s Creative Space With New Movie
NAIROBI – Wednesday, May 13, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Kenyan musician, actor and film producer Hubert Mbuku Nakitare, who performs under the names, Nonini, has arrayed a legion of notable East African creatives who casted in a 59-minute film, which premiered last week, was co-produced by the musician’s production company Pro Habo in partnership with Big Ideas Entertainment.
Aptly captioned “Code 254”, A womanising Detective Lomo (Angelo Kinyua) works to Uncover a Cartel that’s Trying to Control the Entertainment Space in Nairobi and beyond. The Cartel wants to Takeover the Multi-million Shilling music Recording Business, through Intimidation and Murder of the main Players: Nonini (Hubert Nakitare), Lady B (Bernice Nduku) and Chege TMK (Chege Chigunda); in Order to Create a new Drug Route into East Africa, where a Growing Population of Moneyed Youth is Hungry for fresh & exciting Things.
Speaking in a interview with Music In Africa, Nonini revealed that, the movie was inspired by the state of the entertainment industry and its cartels, explaining that, the project was borne out of his 2010 music concept “Kila Mmoja” which featured Chege and Lady B. Code 254 is rentable online for 48 hours at 200 Kenyan shillings and 600 shillings to buy on My Movies Africa – a Kenyan digital outlet offering movies on smart devices.
BECOMING: Michelle Obama Premieres New Movie On Netflix
CHICAGO – Thursday, May 7, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – If you weren’t able to land tickets to Michelle Obama’s blockbuster book tour, Netflix just gave us the next best thing. Becoming, the documentary, was premiered on May 6. It follows the former First Lady on the international tour she took following the release of her best-selling memoir in 2018.
Like the book, Becoming the film isn’t just a reflection of Obama’s eight years in the White House. Rather, it’s a deeply personal examination of her life before her husband became president. In fact, it covers the years before she even had a husband, describing her childhood, time in college, and her early relationship with Barack, whom she met in her 20s when he became her mentee at their law firm.
The documentary was co-produced by Higher Ground Productions, which was founded by Michelle and Barack Obama after he left office. As such, the camera’s access to Obama’s private life is unprecedented. She’s always been candid as a public figure, but Becoming is an even more intimate look at her personal life: She speaks frankly about her marriage to Barack, how she sacrificed her ambition in lieu of his, their visits to a marriage counselor after having children, and more. She addresses motherhood, too, describing how she didn’t feel prepared to have children, let alone raise them in the White House.
Much of the film is compiled from interviews she gave onstage during the tour, where she discussed the pressures of being the first black First Lady, and how she coped with the media denigrating her on the campaign trail and throughout her husband’s tenure. “It changes the shape of a person’s soul,” she says, reflecting on the racist stereotypes and personal attacks she faced while campaigning. In one interview with Oprah, she reveals how she cried for hours on the ceremonial final flight out of Washington; “[it was] the release of trying to do everything perfectly,” she explains.
Becoming isn’t revelatory in any profound ways, especially if you’ve already read the memoir. That said, the film is well made and moving; ultimately, it’s an intimate look at a political and public figure whose poise, intelligence, and humanity hasn’t wavered since we met her. She’s also just a delight to watch, with good taste in music and clothes, and perfect comedic timing. And Becoming, like Michelle Obama, will leave you with a sense of hope and optimism; watching it will give you a few hours of sublime escape.
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