Wednesday, June 8, 2011

UNDER (Movie Review)

-Tontoh Dikeh as Elizabeth (aka Lady MiuMiu)
-Daniel K Daniel as Dave
-Artus Frank as Harry
-Ganvivina Tamakloe as Father
-Vivian Achor - as Mother

-Esther Okereke as Chrystal
-Vivian Amegashie - as

Nonso Emekaekwue

Dennis Abey Osaba


Accra, Ghana

Running Time: ?


Homosexuality, Down Low,

Storyline: (the storyline is straight from the box - not my writeup LOL)
At home Larry was workaholic; at work he was promiscuous. The family reputation is at stake when Lizzy's relationship with Harry was taken a different turn and Harry's Secret lover in the house. A terrifying possibility that everything he built his world upon is a lie. The only problem is, does he truly understand what he is getting into?

My Review:
The Movie was watchable and nice. This would not be the first homesexual based theme ever made in Nollywood or Ghana movies, but this unlike Men In Love (starring Muna Obiekwe and John Dumelo) - I enjoyed watching this - not necessarily the theme (cos i dont care for any gay nonsense) but just the acting and emotions protrayed by the lead acts were convincing enough.

The story is about a young man called Harry (not Larry as the dvd box states LOL) - played by Artus Frank, from a very well to do home, who returns from abroad and starts engaging in homesexual relations with their live in houshelp/servant (played by new come Daniel K Daniel) with promises made by Harry to Dave that if Dave comports to fulfilling his sexual desires, in exchange, he (Harry) promises to sponsor Dave's education (which was Dave's ultimate aim and goal considering he was an orphaned young man with no money or hope to return to school whilst working as a help in these rich folks house).

Meanwhile Harry had a fiancee (Elizabeth played by Tontoh Dikeh) who eventually becomes his wife. So this is why this movie was called UNDER which is similar to the real life immoral trend rampant in the diasporan west - where married men (or men with girl friends) secretly have sexual relations on the DOWN LOW with other men - yet don not consider themselves gay- the nickname of these acts is called "DOWN LOW" and so it was very befitting the owners of this movie titled it UNDER because basically everything is done undercover. They dont kiss and tell.

If you are regular to this blog you will know they one thing i dont do is give movies away by telling the whole story line - but none the less this movie was simply "nice".

Tontoh Dikeh

Played her role ok, but as always i have said before - predictable as always - I mean what else is ever new with Ms Dikeh. When Tontoh is angry or emphasizing some strong point - by now I got that down pact and always predict exactly the way she is going to act - and lo and behold she never fails. The hard forceful talk with veins popping down her neck to emphasize he strong point LoL (personally i think its annoying) - the by force talking its getting real tired Tontoh - get it together. Like I said she played her role well, she knows how to play a bitch role to the T (like Genevieve in her hay days) and in this role she was to Dave (the househelp) and everyone else i the house. I have gotten to a point when i see Tontoh in a role I just say in a rolly eye way "Oh here we go again" - all her acts are predictable to me.

The one scene I did not understand and its no fault of the actors - was when she met her former secondary school friend (???? played by Vivian Amegashie) that part was very fakely played by both Tontoh and Ms Amegashie- and then on top of that how does your friend (Amegashie) tell you she works for your husband (Harry played by Artus Frank) yet Tontoh goes ahead and introduces to her husband again "Oh honey this is my friend from Secondary School Days her name is ......." am like Oh cmon Tontoh Dikeh, the girl just told you that is her boss and why are you reintroducing her again like they have never met-Doh!!!. In such instances in the movie the 100% full blame is on the director and not the actors. If an actor makes a mistake you catch you scream CUT and correct them before you move on. Sheish!!

Another scene that was extremely annoying was when this same actress played by this same lackluster actress Vivian Amegashie was kinda flirting with her boss Harry (Artus Frank) in his office -with her tight skirt and booty all pirked in the face of her boss and flipping thru some binder or album of some sort. I'm like Aaarrhhhggh that scene was so annoying to me, I was like "What exactly is this girl doing - is that the new millenium style of flirting or what" - that scene was fake to highest degree. Like I said this lady Vivian Amegashie is going straight to my "Duck and Dive Drive By List" - she has no screen presence whatsoever - and i cant say she has potential - at least not in my eyes. Bye!!! LOL

Artus Frank - well I am not a big Artus Frank fan - he is simply good but no where near great. He is good when it comes to showcasing strong emotions - but sometimes over acts the part and he does this evil look with his eye - which sometimes the part doesnt even call for it. Its becoming outdated now Artus try something new. He has the greatest smile and i wish he'd use it more when the scene calls for it, cos every dvd box where he is on the cover its that same Jack Nicholson in the movie "Shining" evil look. He does play dark evil & wicked roles very convincing but at the same time Mr Frank you want to make sure you are not pidgeon holed to some acts. Though Liberian and lives in Ghana, I sometimes find it very hard to understand him when he speaks. I sometimes have to rewind to really understand what saids, but its becoming better though.

Harry (Artus Frank) chemistry between Dave (Daniel K Daniel) was very good - a lil too good actually -Foreinstance after years of not seeing each other , since Dave had been thrown out of the house /role as a househelp - they finally found each other again - spend the night in a hotel and Dave telling Harry "I dont want to return to cold lonely years without you". Am like chei -chim chim chim chiomooo hmm - thank God this is just fiction ooh, hia!. I got uncomfortable sometimes watching their chemistry because they both made it so real like a Man & Woman but then you are looking two men - and that goes to show they did a good job because lets just get this straight neither Artus or Daniel is gay (so please dont be making any unnecessary comments - they are both actors who simply played their roles - neither of them are gay - so lets just get that point straight) - when two people play a role and you cannot separate the real person from the actual role - then kudos to them because they achieved their aim. None of the scenes were as ewww as John Dumelo and Muna Obiekwe in the movie "Men In Love" - they simply insinuated whatever it is they were suppose to be, in all the scenes but you dont physically see any kissing, or slapping on the ass as you saw in "Men In Love". They made the character believable and this brings me to finally review Daniel K Daniel.

Daniel K Daniel

Daniel K Daniel who played the character Dave - is a new actor on the scene (well not new anymore cos he is been acting for two years now and my first movie or notice of him was in Ladies Men/Love and Sacrifice) -His role had a lot of emotions in it, considering he had never been experienced to such acts of homosexuality before and here he was being manipulated by the hands that fed him (his boss' son Harry). Mr Daniel as an actor not only just have strong screen presence, he's very articulate, speaks well and knows how to bring the character to life most of the time.

His role as Dave was timid and very vulnerable and that is how and why his boss and his family were able to maltreat him so much, and this eventually led to Harry seeing his vulnerability and sexually abusing him (Yes i call it sexual abuse because initially he was against it but got manipulated to it)

There were scenes where he had to communicate his hurt to Harry (Artus Frank) of how this whole ordeal was making him feel inside - and I must say he nailed it - he played it so well, because you could feel his pain and his emotion come thru your screen - you could feel his sadness/loneliness/lost - kinda like you are poor and been pushed in the corner back agasint a wall, and dont know waht to do- His delivery was on point and even when he eventually got angry at Liz (Played by Tontoh Dikeh) you could really feel his frustruation and anger.

His only scene i did not think his acting was that convinving (at least in my honest opinion) was when he got frustruated and got drunk and Harry confronted him in the house he'd rented/bought him - that drunk scene was not convincing at all - kinda reminded me of VV drank or crying. lol! (I rewatched that scene 2 times cos i wanted to be sure I saw what i saw - and honesty - it just didnt do it for me) LOL - I mean that whole scene was maybe 3-4 mins long and its starts off with Dave depressed and supposedly drunk out of frustruation, but by the 4th minute of this scene, when Harry (Artus) got injured by getting his hand caught in a door and Dave is comforting him (Its like the drunkeness had just vanished-Fiam! lol). The comforting part though, quite well done.

With time this gentleman will grow to be a household name in African Movies - he is definately a force to be reckoned with- so pay close attention. Way before they became househould names, I predicted this with Mercy Johnson after "The Maid, Majid Michel after "Crime To Christ" as i have lately also with the likes Yvonne Okoro as well as Martha Ankomah and true enough my predictions are mostly right - it doesnst take too long to from outright to see who has potential to be great or not. Its that s first impression where the camera and audience loves you). He is definately a looker with great potential in future pertaining he works with the best of the best directors to bring it out of him and help him grow. I am very picky as you all know and Daniel K Daniel like i stated here - amongst the several new faces - we definately need to keep an eye on. I just hope some of our BEST Producers are paying attention and will use the likes of him (I said BEST PRODUCERS!!!! - let me just reiterate - BEST PRODUCERS - cos we dont want our growing best to fall on the bandwagon like the rest and work with just any tom-dick-harry! saying yes to every damn script to make a quick buck). No ma'am that is not going to happen.

Lately i try not to put as much blame of the actors for the many flaws in movies as much as i do with the directors - this 2011 I am on the directors big time-I am definately watching them. If someone is a good actor with great potential, and you the director behind the camera watching with your eyes cannot feeellllll this person is acting drunk convincingly - then you cut - and redo the scene - correct him and bring the best out of him - but i guess REDO-ING scenes is not nollywood/ghana movie making vocabulary - there is no time to redo ish. They scream AKSHON!! lol - time is money - Gotta GO!! Gotta Go!-we got one month to do this movie, lets hurry up and do these scenes quick. Nonso Emekaekwue- bia, listen-we the audience are no fools ohh- we know when you rushed thru a movie to get it done (at least veteran movie watchers like myself) - by simply watching the movie, because the flaws overshadow everything else. There is a huge evident different between a movie that the makers took their time to make vs a movie that was rushed through. Its not hard to tell at all.

The lady who played ? (real name: Vivian Amegashie) - I am sorry to say, i will have to add her to my drive by list. This is the third time i seen her in a movie and honestly I will pass on her next time. Esther Okereke who played ? - this will be my first time seeing her in a movie and personally i think she is simply "ok" as an actress.

Vivian Achor and Gavivina Tamakloe characters i did not care for at all. First of all all that honey honey honey stuff is getting real tired. Their chemistry was just blah and really fake. Their costume i never understood because one minute they wearing normal clothing next minute they are wearing Igbo Royalty clothing and am thinking "wait a minute, are they suppose to be king and queen cos i dont ever remember hearing it being announced in the beginning, middle or end of the movie. Yes this movie was shot in Ghana by a Mr Nonso Emekaekwue and his crew, please just stay consistent. The costuming of the parents were very confusing to me. It was not synching with the movie and storyline. Yes i know your characters are rich and what not - but you dont have to be royalty to be rich - that was a strong epic fail for the movie and lost some major points.

In Summary to my review Daniel K Daniel, Tontoh Dikeh and Artus Frank held the movie up to make it good- but they can only do so much if the other supporting acts or extras are not as good and the director cannot live up to par neither with flaws that needed to be corrected to make it more real. This is why regardless of a movie being not so good i watch it, because i like to focus on the actual talents and not necessarily the poor direction of the movie. The script was good I liked it. The directing - not so much - the whole production of this movie coulda been better. And I asked my self at the end of the movie - so what is the moral of this story.

Is this based on some true life story or something?I just hope this gay theme movies doesnt become rampant in OUR industry. This is the third one thus far i have known of and i just hope it doesnt become a common theme for production. We are africans and our moral values frown on such behaviour and granted we live in this world today and cant deny slowly but surely this is creeping to Africa - its just not common yet (as far as i know) in Africa and we want to keep it that way. Let the West do their thang! If the producer is trying to tell us something that this is todays reality even in Africa - then i say TUFIAKWA - may it not be so. We will not loose our men (or women) to such immorality.

Some few actresses name (eg actress ?? Amegashie and the lady who played Daves girlfriend) name in the movie i dont recollect (dont blame me - their performance was not that memorable) but bear with me as i search for the role names and post it here. Please bear with me,


(Normally i dont review movie with this low rating, but for this movie by request i did)

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