yungnollywood’s picks for Recent Releases

yungnollywood's picks for recent releases

As we know, yungnollywood is nostalgia central – but this watchlist is not.

By far my favourite on the list, Living in Bondage – Breaking Free was released in 2019, directed by Ramsey Noah, starring members of the original 1994 cast Keneth Okonkwo, Kanaya O. Kanayo and Bob Emmanuel – and new comer characters Jide Kene Achufusi as the protagonist, Enyinna Nwigwe and Munachi Abii (Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2007, we love a beauty queen). Ramsey Noah plays my favourite character – Richard Williams, a devilish, well connected, charming business tycoon with wealth and power from a suspicious source. What I love about this: the way the present story line connects to it’s origins. This proves what we already know – Nollywood and the horror genre have a symbiotic relationship that can only be created from the authenticity of living life. Also his love interest doesn’t die which is always a win for women in occult movies.

Watch the trailer here

Another Horror Thriller and Sequel on the list, Nneka the Pretty serpent was released in 2020. Directed by Tosin Ugho with the screenplay by Adia Uyoyou – the film follows the story of an orphan Nneka and the realization of her power. Unlike Living in Bondage – Breaking free, we have a new story present with similar themes to the 1994 release. Yes we have a powerful seductress with deep ties to the marine kingdom but her origins seek to reverse the demonization mermaids often experience in Nigerian expression. What I love about this: the backstory is amazing; the way all the characters are connected in the past and present within that world is complete. Also the casting- the protagonist is played by Idia Aisien, she has one of those faces that even a surgeon cannot buy you because God made it – very befitting for a movie title with ‘Pretty’ in it.

Watch the trailer here

Switching up the tempo to something much lighter, The Bling Lagosians is a 2019 drama comedy that centres on everything you love about the shallow frivolities of the Lagos upperclass. Written by Anthony Kehinde Joseph, we are introduced to the Hollaways and the consequences of their various vices. The patriarch of the family Akin played by Gbenga Titiloye, has all but squandered his generational wealth and his wife Mopelola, played by Elvina Ibru a true joy to watch, refuses to ever be upstaged, so you can imagine. What I love about this: it’s hilarious – the light and heavy shade, the drama, the scandal, the party planner that needs his money upfront because he has an internal radar for spotting incoming poverty, the ambitious servants and the eternal tug of war between old money and new money.

Watch the trailer here

Released in 2022, Battle on Buka street tells the tale of middle class polygamy and the it’s long term effects on multiple generations. Played by Nkem Owoh, Maduka is married to four wives but the story centers on two – Asake played by Sola Sobawale and Ezinne played by Tina Mba. Their daughters, Yejide played by Funke Akindele and Awele played by Mercy Johnson have grown up to inherit their misplaced rivalry and their lives revolve around being better than the other in every aspect, from Maduka’s attention to the best food on Bukka street. What I love about this: Awele’s mischievous twin daughters Kaira and Kaiso, played by Gbemi Akinlade and Miracle Gabriel respectively. Whenever they come on the screen, you will be entertained. Also of course the all star cast – Nollywood lovers have a full plate.

Watch the trailer here

Now this 2023 crime thriller, 6-part series actually made me scream. Shanty Town is the story of a crime lord Scar, played by Chidi Mokeme, his ghetto constituents – most especially the prostitutes he rules over and the political powers that fund his dealings. Produced by Chinenye Nworah and Ini Edo, we follow the return of Inem (Ini Edo’s character) to Shanty Town and how her presence unravels it’s foundation of exploitation and violence. What I love about this: it actually made me squeamish – it was so realistic that the glorification that normally comes with the crime genre went out the window, you do not want to be from/in this hood at all. Also, hearing Ibibio spoken was a nice change because Lagos is such a metropolitan city. Chidi Mokeme did an amazing jib playing Scar, we both pitied and detested him, which is the most important factor for a succesful supervillain character. Watch the trailer here

Gangs of Lagos premiered in 2023 and is directed by Jade Osiberu. It’s another story of crime lords in a Lagos ghetto and the connection to the rulers of the country. Tayo Faniron does an amazing job as Nino, a gangsta witha heart of gold who takes Obalola, played by Tobi Bakare under his wings from childhood. If you enjoy cinematography and colour grading, then this is a film you can really enjoy. The use of the Eyo masquerades controversial or not took the story to another level of execution. What I love about this: the beginning and the end. The casting was a bit off for more me but the set up of the story and the conclusion are so good it made it to the list.

Watch the trailer here

Glamour Girls is a 2022 movie directed by Bunmi Adesoye and produced by Abimbola Craig. It stars Nse Ikpe-Etim as Donna the ambitious head courtesan and brains behind the operation, Sharon Ooja as Emma the newest addition to Donna’s line up, Joselyn Dumas as Jemma the one who returns to Donna in the midsts of financial trouble after committing to one man and Toke Makinwa as Louise, the one with a double life, as women embarking on the pursuit of personal and financial freedom through seductive prowess. Although this is another sequel, like Nneka the Pretty Serpent the story is metamorphosed reconstruction of the 1994 version with an appearance of two actors from the original cast – Gloria Anozie-Young as Doris and and Dolly Unachukwu as Thelma. What I love about this: powerful women, which is everything yungnollywood represents. Women in cooperation with most of the characters having a happy ending, traumatic experiences aside.

Watch trailer here

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