Game of Thrones has finally gotten rid the sex for good

Warning: this blog contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season seven, episode five. Do not read on unless you have watched.

Game of Thrones has finally gotten rid the sex for good

This breakneck-paced season has offered a different kind of eye candy … Game of Thrones. Photograph: HBO

Remember the bad old days of sexposition? All that naked flesh cynically deployed in the background – or even foreground – to sugar the presumably bitter pill of Westeros world-building? Sexposition was the stick used to beat Game of Thrones in the show’s early running, and it always felt like some HBO executive hedging their bets: if we’re going to let these fantasy characters discuss the detailed history, weirdly messed up seasons and absurdly tangled royal lineage of some made-up quasi-medieval continent, best throw in some titillation to stop bored viewers tuning out.

Fast-forward to season seven and it is a very different story. No need for writhing concubines or fluffy handcuffs: we are all locked in. It doesn’t even matter that every character is now sporting leather armour that covers 90% of their body. This breakneck-paced season has offered a different kind of eye candy: blockbuster-beating action, lusty sea battles, crafty castle sackings, terrifying dragons in full vengeful flight. For a large percentage of viewers, though, there’s a comparable thrill to piecing together the breadcrumbs of the show’s deep plotting. To successfully decode the fractured history of Westeros feels like a gateway to foreseeing its ultimate fate, looming just a season away.

Which is why Eastwatch – an episode required to brush away the smouldering remains of the spectacular Loot Train Attack before resetting the board for the season’s climactic double-whammy – arguably had its headline moment overshadowed by a maester’s chickenscratch on a dusty scroll. The much-anticipated return of Gendry (Joe Dempsie) was an open secret. The showrunners, perhaps feeling guilty for making Dempsie a benchwarmer for three seasons, bent over backwards to make his comeback cool. Get ready, they seemed to be saying, because here comes the hot smelter.

It was Davos who waved Gendry off in a rowboat, and it was Davos who located him again in a Fleabottom smithy. With his new badass buzzcut, the doughty blacksmith with royal blood coursing through his muscular arms was shown to be mission-ready, scooping up his Jason Bourne-style go-bag before the grouchy smuggler had even finished his recruitment pitch and expertly donking two King’s Landing watchmen with a customised warhammer. He even got do some manly you’re-a-bastard, I’m-a-bastard bonding with Jon Snow. Everything about Gendry’s return seemed intended to signal that This Guy And His Rad Hammer Are A Big Deal.

Game of Thrones has finally gotten rid the sex for good

Really getting the blood pumping … Gilly’s big reveal. Photograph: HBO

And yet. The moments that really got the blood pumping were more subtle. Jon’s ability to fondle Drogon’s muzzle without being turned to charcoal was a scene played without dialogue, perhaps to allow viewers space to squee over this latest confirmation that the King in the North has more than a little dragon-taming Targaryen DNA in him. Then there was dedicated student Gilly who, amid the papyrus graveyard of the Citadel, happened across the equivalent of a footnote in the small ads section of the local paper. Here, suddenly, was a glimmer of proof that Rhaeger, son of the Mad King, had annulled his previous marriage before his son Jon Snow was born, giving him by far the strongest claim to the Iron Throne.

That renegade maester Samwell was too busy seething over the short-sightedness of his elders to clock the importance of this was hardly the point. It was there for the viewer, another breadcrumb to ponder, another piece of evidence to index, another link to add to our personal maester’s chain of how we think it will all end. Instead of loitering in Littlefinger’s bawdy houses, we are walking patiently through our personal mind palaces, obsessing over historical marginalia. Impressively, Game of Thrones has made maesters of us all.


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Film Review: It’s so wrong to compare Isoken with The Wedding Part

We know the coming of Isoken has given all the guys who low-key hated The Wedding Party (TWP) frenzy, an excuse to finally speak out. We understand. It must have been painful to have been quiet all that time. The tide was too strong. TWP was classic hysteria.

Film Review: It's so wrong to compare Isoken with The Wedding Part

Like we always say, much of film criticism, beneath all the intellectualism and talk of ‘pastiche’ and ‘cornucopia’ comes down to ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’ and so it’s always proper to have people who don’t enjoy what everyone else does.

But you can say that without setting up a false comparison. Isoken and TWP are both excellent films, for two very different reasons.

Isoken is a deliberate (if at some point, confusing) story with a very specific, dare we say feminist theme – that a woman has the right to be whoever she wants to be, on her own terms. It effectively camouflages as a romantic comedy, but is actually a serious film, dealing serious subjects, in a patriarchal society. It works because of this dominant theme.

TWP was a good film: a celebration of Nigerian partygoing, colour and vibe. And it was very conscious of what it was. TWP was both a movie about a party and a party in itself. It was a communal gathering of Nigerians experiencing in the cinema a slice of life we are intimately familiar with. Accusing it of a lack of a story is deliberately ignoring what it was and what it clearly said it was.

If a film says: I don’t want to have a story, I want to throw a party and you criticise it for not having a story, you’re being pedantic.

Both films are giant strides for Nollywood because they both push the envelope and help the industry attract Nigerians to trust Nigerian movies at the cinemas with their wallets and ATMs. They are excellent movies that achieve completely different things. Let’s stop this unnecessary drama.


This opinion review was first published on YNaija. Read the original version

Game of throne is back… and winter is here

“Game of Thrones” returns for its penultimate season Sunday, presaging the end of a saga of sex, violence and political intrigue that has become the world’s most popular TV show.

Game of throne is back... and winter is here

The R-rated fable of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne has just 13 episodes left, split across two shortened seasons which will bring the curtain down on a ratings juggernaut that made television history.

One of the darkest and most controversial primetime series ever made, it has been the target of criticism over the years for senseless violence and its repeated use of rape as a dramatic device.

The scriptwriters have brutalised women, killed children, depicted graphic sex and had their characters hacked, stabbed, flayed, poisoned, decapitated, burned alive, eye-gouged and eviscerated — all in glorious, close-up detail.

The adult themes have not deterred fans, however, and the audience has grown in the US to more than 23 million per episode.

“Game of Thrones” has more Emmy Awards than any narrative show in history and airs in 170 countries, with viewership figures shattering records across the world.

Season six was the first to move beyond George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels and carve its own path.

Critics said it marked a return to form, with the narrative allowing female characters to demonstrate complexity and moral agency lacking in some of the earlier seasons.

Viewers saw hero Jon Snow (Kit Harington) resurrected and declared King in the North, while Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) staged a coup in King’s Landing, murdering most of the royal family and her religious opponent, the High Sparrow.

Brutal killer

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), raped in a controversial off-book episode in season five by Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), fed him to his hounds and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) set sail for Westeros.

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Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss last year announced the shortened run of seven and six episodes for the final two seasons and confirmed the summer return for season seven, a departure from the usual April premieres.

The show has been teasing winter’s arrival since its pilot episode in 2011, and with the season six finale entitled “The Winds of Winter,” the camera crew was forced to wait for colder weather to begin filming season seven.

Few details have been revealed about the new episodes, except that Oscar-winning Jim Broadbent joins the cast and pop sensation Ed Sheeran is to make a cameo appearance.

One theory doing the rounds on social media is that fan favorite Dany may become a villain.

Proponents point out that her father, Mad King Aerys Targaryen, was a brutal killer and that the Mother of Dragons herself appears to be getting colder with each new season.

“I think that would be highly unlikely,” Iain Glen, who plays her ally and fellow exile Jorah Mormont, told the Huffington Post, however.

“I mean, this is Iain speaking and Jorah speaking — we share the same voice — my belief in her is such that I can’t see her going that way myself.”

– Ruling Westeros –
Snow and other major characters are expected to get more screen time during the final episodes despite the shorter seasons, mainly because the minor players keep getting killed off.

“It’s a nice change for me this season, he talks more, he’s more sure of himself,” Harington told Entertainment Weekly (EW) of his character.

“He doesn’t just know what he’s got to do but he’s more sure of what he’s saying, whereas before there was always some fear and doubt. I’ve gotten to enjoy not just grunting.”

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A 90-second trailer entitled “Long Walk” showed Cersei, Dany and Jon heading towards their respective throne rooms in King’s Landing, Dragonstone and Winterfell.

Episode 61, entitled “Dragonstone,” premieres on HBO at 9 pm in the US on both coasts, while the network has announced the following two episodes will be called “Stormborn” and “The Queen’s Justice.”

The biggest question of all — which will not answered this summer — remains who will be sitting on the Iron Throne and ruling Westeros when “Game of Thrones” comes to an end.

“I think Sansa should get the Iron Throne, and I think Jon Snow should rule Winterfell,” Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark, said in a video posted by EW.

“Sansa should rule the Iron Throne. Arya should rule Winterfell,” countered Harington, who said he thought Snow should rejoin the Night’s Watch defending the realm against threats from the north.

Movie: Five Nollywood movies to watch this week

With top Hollywood movies including Spider-Man: Homecoming, Despicable Me 3 still in high demand at the cinemas, Nigerian movies are not left out as they are also doing well at the moment.

From comedy to psychological thrillers or romantic movies, Nollywood filmmakers are also upping the ante. Are you drawing up your itinerary for the weekend? Then, you may want to check out these Nollywood films at a cinema house near you.

1. ROTI

ROTI

The psychological limits and endurance of a couple are stretched after the wife, Diane, suddenly sees an exact replica of her dead son (five years after his death), walking leisurely home from a different school and living an entirely different life. The emotional ramifications of this experience becomes near damning.

5 – Isoken

Everyone in the Osayande family worries about Isoken. Although she has what appears to have a perfect life – beautiful, successful and surrounded by great family and friends – Isoken is still unmarried at 34 which, in a culture obsessed with marriage, is serious cause for concern. Things come to a head at her youngest sister’s wedding when her overbearing mother thrusts her into an orchestrated matchmaking with the ultimate Edo man, Osaze. Isoken is a romantic drama that explores cultural expectations, racial stereotypes and the bonds that unite families in touching, dramatic and comedic ways.

Stars: Dakore Akande, Joseph Benjamin, Marc Rhys

1 – AJUWAYA- The Haunted Village

AJUWAYA- The Haunted Village

Kannywood sweetheart, Rahama Sadau, plays a lead role in ‘Ajuwaya – The Haunted Village’. Produced and directed by Tolu Lord Tanner, the film follows the story of six corps members who were posted to a remote village in Osun State for their youth service and unwittingly woke an age-long evil. Kemi Lala Akindoju, Timini Egbuson, Lanre Hassan, Etinosa Idemudia and many others also star in the film.

Public outrage over a Shakespearean depiction of Trump

Shortly after the presidential election, Oskar Eustis, one of New York’s most successful theater executives, knew what he wanted to do. He would direct a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” with the title character a provocative but inexact stand-in for President Trump.

Public outrage over a Shakespearean depiction of Trump

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Mr. Eustis was not alone. All over the country, from Oklahoma to Oregon, theaters have been staging “Julius Caesar” this year as a way to chew over politics, power, democracy and authoritarianism at a moment when a populist leader with a fondness for executive power has moved into the White House.

Most of the productions take place without incident, but Mr. Eustis’s, which opened Monday night in New York, has been engulfed in controversy ever since a bootleg video of the assassination of Caesar, who is styled and performed to suggest Mr. Trump, began circulating on the internet last week and some who had seen the performance started to complain.

That prompted Mr. Eustis to devote his opening-night speech to a full-throated defense of the theater’s mission, which he urged audience members at the outdoor Delacorte Theater to record on their cellphones and share. “When we hold the mirror up to nature,” he said, “often what we reveal are disturbing, upsetting, provoking things. Thank God. That’s our job.”

A clash between Trump supporters and an iconic Manhattan arts institution over what kind of art is appropriate was perhaps inevitable in this hyperpartisan age. The proudly iconoclastic Public Theater is the birthplace of “Hair” (the Vietnam-era antiwar musical) and “Hamilton” (the hip-hop musical celebrating immigrants). And Mr. Eustis, the Public’s artistic director, is an unabashedly left-leaning theatermaker who believes in the value of provocative art.

Defenders of the production, including some theater critics, describe the Public’s “Julius Caesar” as nuanced, complex and loyal to Shakespeare’s text — a cautionary tale about the costs of political violence.

But the production is also explicit and graphic, featuring a blond, Trump-like Caesar in a red tie, whose bloody stabbing is seen as offensive and inappropriate to some who have seen it. They, along with Breitbart News and Fox News, have driven a campaign on social media against the Public that has prompted two corporate sponsors — Delta Air Lines and Bank of America — to withdraw their support of the production, and a third, American Express, to distance itself.

“It was appalling,” Laura Sheaffer said in a radio interview. “Shocking.”

Ms. Sheaffer, a sales manager for Salem Media, a conservative-leaning media group, saw a performance on June 3. Three days later she described her dismay over the production in a conversation with the conservative radio host and comedian Joe Piscopo, then voiced her concern again to the media and politics site Mediaite, declaring “I don’t love President Trump, but he’s the president. You can’t assassinate him on a stage.” Mediaite made the most of the story, posting it with the headline “Senators Stab Trump to Death in Central Park Performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.”

The reaction from the artistic community could not have been more different. “It’s an odd reading to say that it incites violence, because the meat of the tragedy of the play is the tragic repercussions of the assassination,” said Bill Rauch, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is presenting a “Julius Caesar” throughout this year. “The play could not be clearer about the disastrous effects of violence.”

Still, the wheels of conservative media — as well as some other outlets — were already in motion. Breitbart and The Blaze jumped in, citing Ms. Sheaffer, along with Newsbusters, a conservative media watchdog. Television’s “Inside Edition” quoted an unidentified audience member on camera saying, “I didn’t like that they made this person who looks like Trump get assassinated.”

On Sunday, “Fox and Friends,” the Trump-friendly morning show on Fox News, gave the outrage its largest platform, running multiple segments on the story. “Notice, nobody has a problem with it on the left,” said Pete Hegseth, a “Fox and Friends” host who appeared with Mr. Trump during his presidential campaign. “Nobody seems to care. It’s only us talking about it.”

That got the attention of one of the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., who mused on Twitter: “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”

That prompted the National Endowment for the Arts, whose funding had been threatened by the Trump administration, to issue a statement denying any financial connection to the production. By Monday, the N.E.A. website had a pop-up disclaimer reading “No taxpayer dollars support Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Julius Caesar.”

The City of New York, by contrast, is sticking with the Public, which it supports financially.

“Threatening funding for a group based on an artistic decision amounts to censorship,” said Tom Finkelpearl, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs. “We don’t interfere with the content created by nonprofits that receive public support — period.

The Public has been in a defensive crouch, answering questions only by written statements. Numerous trustees contacted on Monday declined to comment, saying that the theater had asked them not to speak.

The board members play no role in approving the theater’s programming or production choices, but many are on the board because they endorse the artistically risky programming associated with the Public.

On opening night, several prominent artists reiterated their commitment to the theater. Alec Baldwin, the foremost pop culture interpreter of Mr. Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” said that supporters of the Public needed to make up the lost funding. “I called up Eustis and said let’s get a bunch of people together and fill in that hole — get some people who want to raise that gap,” Mr. Baldwin said.

Shakespeare in the Park costs about $3 million a year to run; the Public would not specify where that money comes from, but Bank of America has been the program’s “lead corporate sponsor” for the last 11 years. And runs are limited; the last performance of “Julius Caesar” is scheduled for Sunday.

“We stand completely behind our production of ‘Julius Caesar,’” Mr. Eustis said in an email to the theater’s supporters Monday afternoon, after a day of meetings about the controversy. “We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”


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Mr. Eustis added: “Our production of ‘Julius Caesar’ in no way advocates violence toward anyone. Shakespeare’s play, and our production, make the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”

And, even as some corporations backed away, other key donors, and the artistic community, remained supportive.

“It’s an upsetting play, but if there’s a production of ‘Julius Caesar’ that doesn’t upset you, you’re sitting through a very bad production,” said Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. “It’s clear that the corporate sponsors who pulled out are just being cowardly and caving in to a lot of cranky right-wing people because Breitbart and Fox News told them to.”

Jennifer Goodale, a program director at the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, which gave $250,000 to support the production and was described by the Public as the program’s “lead foundation sponsor,” said that her foundation would continue to back Shakespeare in the Park.

“Theater provokes a discourse, and we accept that — not every theater piece can please everybody,” she said.

The New York Times, which has sponsored Shakespeare in the Park for 20 years, also continues to back the program. “As an institution that believes in free speech for the arts as well as the media,” The Times said in a statement, “we support the right of the Public Theater to stage the production as they choose.”

Ms. Sheaffer, whose impromptu stage review helped kick off the controversy, said on Monday she had no regrets about challenging the Public. “I grieve for the theater, but the reality is there has to be consequences,” she said.


Publication first appeared on The New Times

Movie: This picture from the scene of The Wedding party 2 is lite

Irreti Doyle. And Patience Ozokwor. And Richard More-Damijo.

This picture from the scene of The Wedding party II is lite

Not forgetting of course, as we can never tire of saying, that this same film has Chinwetalu Agu, Sola Sobowale, Seyi Law and Chigurl.

Why can’t December just be next month already?

Movie blog: Patience Ozokwor features in ‘Wedding Party 2’

Veteran Nollywood actress, Patience Ozokwor will feature in the movie ‘Wedding Party 2’.

The Wedding Party

Actor Enyinna Nwigwe shared a group photo of the cast which included the veteran actress.

The first edition of the movie reportedly raked in the highest amount from a single project in the Nigerian movie industry.

Movie blog: Patience Ozokwor features in ‘Wedding Party 2’

It featured music star, Banky W, Adesua Etomi, Sola Sobowale, Richard Mofe-Damijo among others.

Mercy Aigbe is suffering from Mental issues – Husband

Husband of Mercy Aigbe, the Nollywood actress, Lanre Gentry, has said that his wife is mentally unstable.

mercy-aigbe-millionaire-husband

Mercy Aigbe and husband Lanre Gentry

The hotelier made the allegation Wednesday in a chat with Best of Nollywood.

“Mercy has mental issues and I am the one who knows how many places we’ve been to so she can remain stable. I have papers to prove these.”

Lanre debunked claims by Mercy that he beat her, adding that contrary to her claims she was the one who actually connived with her friends to attack him.

He insisted that he had never beaten his wife throughout their marriage as he invoked biblical curses on himself, to prove the authenticity of his claim.

He alleged that sometime last year Mercy claimed to be going to China for two weeks, but he later discovered that she was holed up in a Dubai hotel with a man.

Lanre shared several WhatsApp conversations from Mercy, in which one revealed her asking a third party to get some dollars from the man for her.

“When I challenged my wife, she said she only wanted to collect money from him – a married woman!!! But I discovered that it was the same man that paid for the Magodo house she just moved to, which I also found out had been rented over a month ago.”

He added, “See, I understand Mercy’s antics too well. All she wants is to move out of my house and be free to live the life of a single woman. What I have tolerated from her all these years, no man can tolerate from any woman.

“I worship mercy and I have deposited N8m at Benefit Motors to buy her a N16m Range Rover ENVOGUE for her 40th birthday. I have also paid N1.2m for a hall opposite Sheraton Hotel to celebrate her big but she has her eyes on other things.”

When asked why he had not contacted Mercy’s family to intervene, he said she had no regards for her parents. He added that he was the one taking care of them as she has refused to cater for their welfare.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/YNaija

Entertainment Drop: Banky W taken by Adesuwa as MI shocks the world – all you need to know

The engagement announcement that shook Nigeria

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On Wednesday morning, award-winning R&B artiste, Banky W took to his Instagram to share a story that started with how he first met Nollywood actress and his Wedding Party co-star, Adesua Etomi in 2012. He quickly went on to how their paths crossed again in 2015 and the big shock? He finished off with the sweetest surprise.

[“We were hiding in plain sight” | Banky W finally gets engaged to Adesua Etomi]

He asked her to marry him in February 2017 and the two are a couple now. In fact, their introduction is set to hold this weekend. And no, this is not a movie.

The internet went into a frenzy following the news. Memes, congratulatory messages and even a prophecy of doom followed.

Wizkid would like to be exempted from these marriage convos…

Early on in the day, Mavin label boss, Don Jazzy jokingly weighed in on the engagement announcement asking if blogger, Linda Ikeji would like feature in a movie with him.

Last night though, Wizkid took to Twitter to congratulate the couple and was excited they finally made it public considering their close friends have had to keep their secret for a while.

A Twitter user asked Wizkid when he would take the big step and here’s what he said:

Also on Twitter, rapper Wale put this music critic on blast and here’s why:

American-Nigerian rapper Wale whose album Shine was released few days ago had to set an American music critic, Anthony Fantano after condemning some of the songs on his album.

Not that Wale has a thin skin for criticism but Fantano ignorantly attacked all the songs on Wale’s album that featured Nigerian artistes.

Wale featured Wizkid, Major Lazer and Dua Lipa on the track My Love and Fantano assumed he copied the Carribean sound:

Here’s how Wale explained things to him:

Then Fantano had yet another opinion and Wale dropped a few Yoruba curses on him:

Is Chocolate City about to unveil a new artiste? MI, Music

The question on our minds as Chairman of Chocolate City music label, MI Abaga shared a video chronicling the artistes that have been signed on the label since inception.

The video ended off with a question, “Guess Who?”