Jessica Jones” returns for a second season

Months after Marvel’s Defenders which featured a combined cast from Netflix’s Marvel series namely: DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage and Iron Fist; Jessica Jones is back for a second season.

The Netflix/Marvel TV universe began with the first season of Daredevil and has since given birth to other series–some of which are named above– including Marvel’s The Punisher which was released in November last year.

Watch the trailer here.


Movie review: Black Panther – Marvel’s thrilling vision of the afrofuture

The latest big-screen superhero story is a subversive and uproarious action-adventure, in which African stereotypes are upended and history is rewritten.

Movie review: Black Panther – Marvel's thrilling vision of the afrofuture

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Letitia Wright as Shuri. Photo: Matt Kennedy/AP

Director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole tackle the superheroes of colour question with this surreal and uproarious movie version of Marvel’s Black Panther legend, in which the sheer enjoyment of everyone involved pumps the movie with fun. It’s an action-adventure origin myth which plays less like a conventional superhero film and more like a radical Brigadoon or a delirious adventure by Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Those were the colonial-era mythmakers whose exoticism must surely have influenced Stan Lee and Jack Kirby when they devised the comic books in the 1960s, supplying the Afro- in the steely afrofuturism of Black Panther that generations of fans have treasured and reclaimed as an alternative to the pop culture of white America. But it’s the –futurism that gives Black Panther his distinctive power.

Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa, a prince with a sensitive, handsome, boyish face and something introspective, vulnerable and self-questioning in his style. After the death of his father (shown in Captain America: Civil War, from 2016), T’Challa succeeds to the throne of the fictional African state of Wakanda, which lies west of Lake Victoria, on territory that is occupied in the real world by Uganda, Rwanda and northern Tanzania.

Wakanda is, on the face of it, dirt-poor as well as mountainous, jungly and inaccessible. But the point is that the Wakandans have deliberately cultivated the west’s condescending stereotypes of Africa as camouflage, to prevent outside interference. For beneath the foliage, Wakanda is a secret city state with more flying cars and suspended monorails than you can shake a stick at. It’s a hidden world of supermodernity – though it is nonetheless the land that democracy forgot. And all powered by the hidden element known as vibranium, which supplies limitless energy, and is harnessed by T’Challa in the armoured bodysuit he wears as Black Panther.

T’Challa’s brilliant sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is his Q figure, a scientist who designs equipment and weaponry. Lupita Nyong’o is Nakia, a Wakandan intelligence agent for whom T’Challa may very well have feelings. Angela Bassett is T’Challa’s widowed mother Ramonda; Forest Whitaker is elder statesman Zuri – basically, the Merlin of T’Challa’s court – and Daniel Kaluuya (from Get Out) plays border tribe chief W’Kabi, a man of uncertain loyalties.


Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, AKA Black Panther. Photo: Matt Kennedy/AP

But there are problems in Wakanda, not all stemming from the film’s few white characters: CIA man Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) blunders into Wakandan power politics, and white South African career criminal Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) plots to steal their vibranium. The Wakandan exile Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) wants to take over T’Challa’s throne and overturn his quietist approach, take advantage of Wakanda’s technological superiority, stand up for racially oppressed African Americans and black people everywhere, and establish a new Wakandan empire of righteousness on which the sun will never set. Our first view of Erik is when he is visiting an exhibition of looted African artefacts in the “Museum of Great Britain” in London.

This setup teases us with its resemblances to Thor and Asgard, as well as its inversions and theme-variants on the Lion King myth, yet it is very much not about a wicked uncle killing a noble king. The vibranium is vitally important; absurd, of course, but very much aligned with all those other natural resources that somehow only enrich people outside Africa: gold, diamonds, rubber and the coltan in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that we need for our smartphones. Deadpan, the film allows us to register the difference between T’Challa and Erik as an African and an African American – Erik being burdened by the traumas and injustices of American history in a way T’Challa is not. It used to be remarked that Barack Obama, born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father, was freed of that burden; his successor, under the impression that there is somewhere in Africa called “Nambia”, is not burdened by any great interest in Africa, but perhaps Nambia is his own creative concept neighbouring Wakanda.

And where do we go after this? Does Black Panther get to be another subordinate bit-part player in future Marvel ensemble movies? I hope not: I want stories where Black Panther takes on people outside Wakanda and I hope that Nakia gets a movie of her own. The intriguing thing about Black Panther is that it doesn’t look like a superhero film – more a wide-eyed fantasy romance: exciting, subversive and funny.

‘Russia wants to hack the Oscars’: smear campaign targets maker of ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

THE film-maker behind the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Men in Aleppohas been targeted by a smear campaign that seeks to paint him as a terrorist sympathiser in the run up to the Academy Awards.

'Russia wants to hack the Oscars': smear campaign targets maker of 'Last Men in Aleppo'

A still from Last Men in Aleppo. ‘The film is coming from the side of the human being,’ says Fayyad. Photo: Handout

Feras Fayyad spent a year following a handful of volunteer rescue workers in the besieged Syrian city as they rushed towards bombed buildings to try and find people in the rubble. The resulting documentary has earned widespread critical praise and won awards including the Sundance grand jury prize.

However, the international recognition has been accompanied by an organized attempt to tarnish the film-maker’s reputation, following a playbook of Russia-backed disinformation and manipulation.

“It is like Russia wants to hack the Oscars like they hacked the US election,” he told the Guardian.

Since the Oscar nominations were announced, Fayyad, a Syrian national, has become the subject of several articles by Russia state news agency Sputnik News and “alternative news” sites to discredit his work, describing it as a “propaganda piece funded by western governments” and an “Al-Qaida promotional film”. Others have trawled through his social media accounts and published pictures of his family and friends. Syrian state media has followed suit. On Twitter and Facebook, dozens of accounts have accused Fayyad of being a liar and terrorist sympathiser.

Other Oscar-nominated film-makers and Academy members say the campaign could affect Fayyad’s chances of winning the award.

Chris Hegedus, who made Oscar-nominated documentary The War Room, described the articles as “outrageous” and said that they “made us see how Russia and others are meddling beyond social media and political elections”.

“It can definitely influence voters and make them question the legitimacy of a film to have false reports circulating and rumours that a film’s integrity is questioned,” she said.

Producer Amy Ziering agreed, mentioning other “white noise disinformation campaigns” including one that targeted her campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground and another that took aim at An Inconvenient Truth.

“It can very much damage an Oscar campaign’s success, but even more importantly it can damage the ability for important and necessary truths to be told,” she said.


Feras Fayyad’s Oscar-nominated film has come under attack as ‘western propaganda’. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Fayyad is baffled by the attacks on his reputation, particularly as he feels that the theme of his documentary is not the White Helmets as an organisation but an intimate look at the lives of a handful of people struggling to get by in a civil war.

“The film is coming from the side of the human being. It’s about a Syrian who is torn between his responsibility to his community and to his family,” he said, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, where his film was screened.

It’s a dilemma that Fayyad has experienced in his quest to make documentaries about people in Syria. In pursuing his work on the ground he attracted the attention of Syria’s intelligence service, and spent many months being tortured in prison on suspicion of being a spy.

After being arrested at the airport and bundled into a vehicle with his T-shirt pulled over his head as a makeshift hood, Fayyad recalls peeping down from his blindfold at the knock-off Adidas shoes of one of his torturers. For months he passed between beatings, starvation and periods in isolation, stepping over dead bodies left in corridors and bathrooms. The Syrian regime insisted he was a spy working for the US or Europe.

Those months behind bars flash into Fayyad’s mind when faced with the unfounded criticism of his work. To be accused of being a spy or propagandist is a terrifying prospect.

“In the community in the Middle East this is shameful and it would make people not trust me if they think I’m collecting information for the FBI,” he said.

He is daunted by the prospect of winning, believing it could exacerbate the harassment. “I feel scared about what we might go through,” he said.

SOURCE: The Guardian, UK

Claws out: how Black Panther fought off a toxic Ghostbusters-style online campaign

The pushback against an attempt to lower the superhero movie’s score on Rotten Tomatoes has shown that the culture war’s latest battleground is still raging.

Claws out: how Black Panther fought off a toxic Ghostbusters-style online campaign

The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, was considered rotten by critics, while its audience score was much healthier. Photo: Niko Tavernise/AP

You come at the king, you best not miss. Last week, an attempt to maliciously derail the record-setting rollout of Black Panther – Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster spotlighting the lithe warrior-monarch T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) – was itself promptly derailed. A scurrilous Facebook event page, whose stated purpose was to “give Black Panther a rotten audience score on Rotten Tomatoes” purported to be a grassroots protest against Disney and its “treatment of franchises and its fanboys”. Amid garbled claims that the corporation that owns Marvel had somehow paid off critics to trash the recent crop of superhero movies from their longstanding rival DC, the page organisers encouraged the use of hashtags like #DownWithDisney and #DCOverMarvel as social media rallying points.

For some commentators, posting a negative rating was a chance to complain about Star Wars becoming too progressive

Plotting to scuttle a film’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score sight unseen seems, at best, underhanded. But the fact this attack was aimed at the most high-profile movie ever to feature a predominantly black cast felt racist. Facebook quickly deleted the event on the grounds that it “violated the company’s community standards”. Rotten Tomatoes, the longstanding film reviews aggregation site that dishes out “fresh” or “rotten” ratings to new releases, responded in even stronger terms: “While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech.”

In an era when culture wars are predominantly fought on social media, this sort of down-voting can seem like an effective guerrilla tactic. Clicking on an angry red face or selecting zero stars is even easier than adding your name to an online petition, and such basic actions can often be automated. The pre-emptive thumbs-down pile-on that accompanied the female-led Ghostbusters in 2016 – one of the most high-profile instances of the toxic impulse to prejudge art that doesn’t fit in with some preconceived notion of what a franchise should be – means that it still holds the queasy distinction of being the most disliked film trailer on YouTube.

When YouTube launched in 2005, Rotten Tomatoes had already been operational for seven years. But recently the site has become a more fractious battleground, where the professional critical consensus – a film’s final Tomatometer score is determined by assessing reviews from a pool of vetted critics – meets public opinion in the form of crowdsourced audience reactions.


Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther. Hollywood executives have blamed Rotten Tomatoes for the failure of previous would-be blockbusters. Photo: Allstar/Marvel Studios/Disney

Perhaps Rotten Tomatoes was so quick to respond to the Black Panther controversy because of the divisive response to another high-profile Disney property. The Last Jedi was officially certified fresh after scoring 91% among critics, a stark contrast to the 48% average score it received from 180,000 audience reactions. For some of these commentators, posting a negative rating was a chance to complain about their favourite franchise becoming too progressive, too feminised or too interested in presenting diversity. (Others just didn’t like the jokes.) The #DownWithDisney agitators suggested they had successfully manipulated The Last Jedi’s audience score using bots, a claim denied by Rotten Tomatoes.

There are examples of similar Rotten Tomatoes score discrepancies with no conspiracy theories swirling around them. The recent PT Barnum musical The Greatest Showman, a big-top passion project from Hugh Jackman, was considered rotten by critics, with a 55% rating on the Tomatometer, while its audience score is a much healthier 91% (from around 18,000 reviews), which would seem to chime with its remarkable ongoing box-office run. There are no claims that a rabid group of diehard Wolverine fans has been artificially inflating The Greatest Showman’s audience score to help their hero.

The Last Jedi has also made bucketloads of cash, so do these Rotten Tomatoes scores really matter? Last year, the site found itself being blamed by Hollywood executives for the failure of would-be blockbusters Baywatch and The Mummy during a particularly lacklustre summer. (Just a few months later, those claims were being discredited.) More recently, clever marketers have worked out ways to weave an impressive Tomatometer showing seamlessly into a marketing campaign. Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age tale Lady Bird has been nominated for multiple Oscars and one key thread of that successful awards narrative was that it was Rotten Tomatoes’ new top-rated movie, beating Toy Story 2’s record for consecutive positive reviews. (Lady Bird has since been bested by Paddington 2.)

Even if its splodgy icons of plump juicy veg and snot-green splats can seem rather reductive, Rotten Tomatoes has evolved into a valuable platform for dialogue between cultural gatekeepers and impassioned fans. That’s why keeping it clear of hate speech can only be a good thing.

SOURCE: The Guardian, UK

Movie review: ‘Blind Spot’ | Even great actors can’t save a sinking script

Rita Dominic and Femi Jacobs were paired for the first time in 2013, in Mildred Okwo’s terrific satire, The Meeting. While they were cast as adversaries with Dominic’s Clara Ikemba acting as the ultimate foil to Jacobs’ mild mannered private citizen, the chemistry between them was significant enough to be excited about a future onscreen pairing. This happened in 2017 with the third rate romantic thriller, The Guest.

Movie review: 'Blind Spot' | Even great actors can't save a sinking script

A year after that not-so-terrific outing, Rita Dominic and Femi Jacobs are reunited for The Blind Spot, an improbable romantic drama with tonal shifts of comedy and traces of the supernatural.

Dominic and Jacobs play Ekemini and Ayomide, a pair of lovebirds headed to the altar. Both actors have been handed lines to speak, hoping that words alone would convince viewers of the legitimacy of their union. Suffice it to say that this plan does not work out as expected. There is very little chemistry between the duo and Jacobs in particular, with his low pitched rumbling, sounds like he is quite reluctant to be part of the process. Who can blame him though? The Blind Spot is a difficult sell. The writing sucks, so does the acting, especially from the supporting team. The pace is all wrong and the director seems like he is in over his head, juggling multiple genres all at once.

Sometimes the film tries to be funny- doesn’t always succeed- other times it dials up the drama, adding elements of suspense to sweeten the mix. None of it works at all. The writing, credited to Igunwe Alfred Otaniyuwa- who also directs- makes you wonder why anyone bothered with the project.

To be fair, The Blind Spot doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. The first signs of trouble appear early enough when Ekemini and Ayomide are introduced. He is horny (he’s a guy), she is virginal (poor girl). She turns down his sexual advances and proceeds to hand him over to his boys before going on an extended trip, to shop for the upcoming nuptials. She then repeatedly warns him not to have sex, as if she were expecting him to. She must be incredibly naïve. Or the scripting is incredibly bad. Bit of both.

Ayomide does the needful and hooks up with Joy, a stripper/tramp for hire played by Etinosa Idemudia who cannot act her way out of a simple scene. Following a wild night, Ayomide makes her breakfast in bed and she moves in big time, on the recommendation of her pimp, (Buzor Onyekwelu). It is all joy and goodness, not to mention great sex, for a while until the honeymoon is cut short and Ayomide reads her the riot act. His fiancée is expected back in town.

Disappointed, Joy says some very terrible things before packing up her stuff and leaving in a hissy fit. Meanwhile Ayomide and Ekemini continue as planned and take their incredibly boring romance to the altar. To his dismay, on the wedding night, Ayomide finds that he cannot perform his sexual responsibilities to his wife. No matter what he tries, his member never for once rises to the occasion. Ekemini is understanding at first and even patient, but after some time, she grows frustrated with the situation, yelling invectives and making use of uninventive football metaphors to hammer home her point.

It is unclear how such petty needling is supposed to automatically convert Ayomide into a stud but he distances himself from the audience sympathies by a stubborn reluctance to seek medical attention, convinced of the supernatural source of his problem.

In science, the concept of the blind spot is described as the area in the range of vision that cannot be visualized properly without some aid. It turns out there is more than meets the eye regarding Ayomide’s strange affliction. Ekemini’s grandmother (a weak Rachel Oniga) has an interesting tale to tell but would it be enough to save the young marriage?

Should you care about supernatural curses, or about Rita Dominic or Femi Jacobs, then maybe you should consider going out of your way to check The Blind Spot out. Otherwise it pretty much belongs right where its title suggests.


Davido stars in new Nollywood film ‘Legend at 60’

The rave of the moment, David Adeleke aka Davido, has bagged his second Nollywood role in a film titled, ‘Legend at 60.’

The singer plays the role of a young pilot in the new film, which tells the story of a pilot-turned-business mogul, Idahosa Wells Okunbo.

Davido stars in new Nollywood film 'Legend at 60'

Davido in new film ‘Legend at 60’. Photo: Premium Times

The film also stars Nollywood stars like Solomon Akiyesi, Maureen Ihua and Charles Awurum.

Davido shared the teaser to celebrate Okubo, who turned 60 recently.

In a preview shared on his social media timeline, on Monday, Davido potrays a highly skilled commercial pilot who has a lot of money to spend. The movie also features veteran reggae artiste, Majek Fashek, whose music career Davido’s character tries to revive.

Meanwhile, contrary to reports making the rounds on the Internet, this is the singer’s second Nollywood role and not his debut outing.

Not many are aware that Davido had his first shot in Nollywood in 2015, in a movie titled John Zerebe.

The 25-year-old singer starred alongside Gloria Young, Ikey Ojeogwu, Emma Blaq and Mimi Orjiekwe. It was produced by his cousin, Ojeogwu, and directed by Odiba Alfred. But it never made it to the cinemas.

SOURCE: Premium Times

Local South African movie The Wound shortlisted for Oscars

The Academy announced the nine films that will compete for the Oscar nomination for the best foreign-language film.

Local South African movie The Wound shortlisted for Oscars

Nakhane Touré stars in ‘Inxeba – The Wound’. Photo: Urucu Media

The films on the shortlist, and their country of origin, are:

Chile, A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, director
Germany, In the Fade, Fatih Akin, director
Hungary, On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, director
Israel, Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, director
Lebanon, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, director
Russia, Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, director
Senegal, Félicité, Alain Gomis, director
South Africa, The Wound, John Trengove, director
Sweden, The Square, Ruben Östlund, director

Félicité’s nomination comes after the first time Senegal sent a film for consideration for the Best Foreign Language film. The film tells a story on how a bar entertainer struggles to get funds after her child is hospitalized.

The Wound deals with the traditional Xhosa initiation into manhood. All actors cast were first language Xhosa speakers with direct experience of the initiation.

The film tells a story on how a bar entertainer struggles to get funds after her child is admitted to hospital.

SOURCE: All Africa/Uruku Media

I bet you missed this major continuity error in ‘Game of Thrones’

Game of Thrones is known for its higher than high production value, with expansive budget-breaking scenes that take weeks if not months to create. Like Jon Snow’s fight with the White Walkers beyond the wall, for example—a scene that involved an excursion to Iceland, green screens, fire, and hoards of extras. See?

But um, the thing is, it looks like the Game of Thrones producers forgot to CGI a zombie in, because the dude in the background of this shot is most definitely fighting air. In the words of Taylor Swift, he’s got a blank space, baby.

And in the event that you are like “Hold on! I bet this is secretly from the behind the scenes clip HBO posted on YouTube,” nah. I just re-watched the episode on HBO, and the below GIF is legit. That buddy of Jon Snow’s is simply attacking air, bless his heart.

Just nary a white walker to be found. But hey, sometimes it’s good to have moments like these to pull you out of Game of Thrones’ reality (a place, lest we remind you, that aunts and nephews have sex on boats), and back into real life. This is just a show! And sometimes, they make mistakes!

Game of Thrones: hackers threaten leak of season finale

The hackers who compromised HBO’s network systems in July have threatened to leak the final two episodes of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: hackers threaten leak of season finale

The “Mr Smith group” of hackers told tech site Mashable that it has access to “many HBO platforms” and that HBO should be “ready” for the leak of episode six, which aired on Sunday, and episode seven of its biggest hit immediately ahead of the show’s finale at the end of the week.

The hackers also gave Mashable a list of the usernames and passwords for a number of HBO’s social media accounts, including its primary @HBO Twitter account. Last week the OurMine hacking group took control of HBO’s social media, including the Game of Thrones Twitter account.

The US TV network has refused to pay a multimillion dollar ransom demand to the hackers, who compromised the network’s systems in July and have since leaked a series of embarrassing documents, emails and unaired shows, including Game of Thrones and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Game of Thrones is already one of the most pirated TV shows of all time. Experts have argued that due to the prevalence of TV show piracy, threats of releasing unaired episodes were not enough to coerce payment.

Alex Heid, chief research officer at risk management firm SecurityScorecard said: “Pirated content ends up on Pirate Bay within 24 hours of airing. Any show on HBO, any movie, the moment it’s released, on the first day, you see it on pirated internet streams.”

Analysts agree that HBO was aided by the fact that the hackers only released a few shows and that an entire season wasn’t released in one go, forcing viewers who wanted to watch it as soon as possible to subscribe to the TV network.

More potentially damaging to HBO could be the release of further sensitive information. Previous dumps listing actors’ personal details, scripts, shooting plans and a trove of emails. Up to now the damage caused to HBO by the leaks has paled in comparison to the chaos caused by the hacks on Sony Pictures in 2014.

A person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak publicly, said HBO was proactive in communicating with the Game of Thrones actors ahead of their personal information being released to the public, which may have helped mitigate the impact of confidential data leaks.

Richard Levick, the head of crisis-management firm Levick, said that being upfront with employees, customers and third parties about cyberattacks is essential. He said: “You can’t sweep it under the rug. You can’t be opaque about it.”