Friday, 03 December 2021

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Arts & Culture (186)

Popular Nigerian actor Mr Ibu has recounted his near-death experience after he was poisoned by his staff whom he alleged was paid by his kinsmen to murder him.

The comic actor who spoke with Nigize TV attributed his still being alive to God as he talks about how his stomach grew so big he could not see his legs.

According to the Nollywood star, he was placed on medication that helped with the swelling of his stomach.

Talking about how he could have been dead and become another story, he says his big stomach is as a result of the incident and used to be bigger than what it is now.

He said:

“I don’t take alcohol up till now. Some people say I don’t take Alcohol yet my stomach is big, The belly is an idiot. It was after they gave me that poison. It was bigger than this before. If you had seen it, it was like a foam. I took medicine and it began to come down. Before I wasn’t able to see my legs.

They took me to Nnewi, saying we had a show. They held me there and beat me up. They beat me and then inserted poison in my mouth and ran away, leaving me there. It was my boys and dancers that came and carried me home. It was in Enugu that I woke up. God said no, you are not going yet.” he said

Mr Ibu

He added:

“Here in my office, they brought the first poison, I took it. I was falling around and nobody came to ask. Even the workers did not enter here even though they were hearing me fall around. I vomited something in my bathroom.

They gave me the second one, The people that gave me are the people working with me. I swallowed another one unknowingly because I never suspected them until when God opened my eyes. They paid them and gave them enough money to make sure they eliminate me. All these plans are from Enugu, my towns people and age grades that are surprised that I can own some things, build some houses, buy house in Lagos. They asked them to go and kill me.”

The actor recently spoke about the happenings in Nigeria saying that the things going on are orchestrated by evil people who do not have the peace and unity of Nigeria at their hearts.

He said:

“Danger everywhere. There is no more love in Nigeria. What we are witnessing is constant attacks, killings everywhere. All these things are the signs of the end time. We should pray for God to have mercy on Nigeria so that all these happenings orchestrated by evil people will come to an end.”

Born John Okafor but better known as Mr Ibu, he is a celebrated entertainer and is well known for his comic roles in Nollywood.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 October 2020 17:36 Written by

Studio Brat CEO, award winning singer-songwriter and performer Simisola Ogunleye, popularly known as Simi, has released the video for her ‘No Longer Beneficial’ single.

“No Longer Beneficial” was produced by Blaisebeatz and it’s video directed by Gizelle Hernandez. The record is off her latest body of work entitled ‘Restless II.’

The EP Restless II has records like No Longer Beneficial, There for You, City Lights, Triggered, Underserving, and Bite The Dust to it’s credit.

COURTESY: PM NEWS
Posted On Friday, 02 October 2020 19:11 Written by
Fatima, the daughter of former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, will be tying the nuptial knots with Aliyu, the son of former vice-president Atiku Abubakar on Saturday 3 October.

According to an invitation by the two families, the wedding Fatiha will take place at 18 Mambilla Street Aso Drive Abuja at 11am

The wedding must be one of the surprises of 2020.

Aliyu Atiku Abubakar and Fatima Nuhu Ribadu: wedding to be consummated on 3 October

The wedding invitation from Atiku Abubakar and Nuhu Ribadu

Although both parents are from Adamawa State, they belong to different political parties.

Atiku, who bears the title of Wazirin Adamawa,is a member of the PDP, while Ribadu, once flirted with PDP, but is now a member of the All Progressives Congress.

Fatima Ribadu, the beautiful daughter of the Ribadus graduated from the Nigerian Turkish International College in Abuja in 2015 before going abroad for university education.

She is in her early 20s.

Aliyu is the son of Atikus third wife, Princess Rukaiyatu, daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Mustafa. He is the third child and was named after Atikus father.

He thus became a special child to his father. And no wonder he succeeded himas Turaki of Adamawa, after Atiku was promoted the Waziri.

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Posted On Wednesday, 30 September 2020 02:31 Written by

BY MICHAEL BAMIDELE/ GUARDIAN.NG

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has married Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff, a year after she made the headlines for a rumoured wedding with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Daily Trust reported that the wedding Fatiha held on Friday, September 18, 2020, at the Maitama Juma’a Mosque in Abuja as confirmed by multiple sources.

The publication added that the event was a private affair as one of the sources disclosed that “very few people were invited to attend the wedding Fatiha because (of) the couple.”

“Those close to them didn’t want to publicize the issue”, the source added.

The report added that Abubakar and Farouq have been dating for “a while” as revealed by the source.

“They have been in a relationship for a while and what happened on Friday has put to rest all the speculations about her relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari,” the source told Daily Trust.

In October 2019, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq was at the centre of a rumoured wedding saga with President Muhammadu Buhari. The rumour, which began and fleshed out on social media, claimed that President Buhari will be getting married to Farouq because the First Lady Aisha Buhari had been away for months.

The alleged wedding ignited conversations on social media and in the pages of some tabloids, while on Twitter the hashtags; #TheWedding, #BUSA19, #AISHA, #Presidentialwedding and several others began trending.

“Apparently, the second wife story is true. What cant be confirmed is the date of the wedding fatiha. This man shouldn’t tempt his Creator. He just recovered from serious ill health and now he wants to add another yarinya! Second Term, Second Wife! Baba o! #SecondTermSecondWife,” Former Special Assistant on Social Media to the former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri tweeted at that time.

The rumoured wedding was further strengthened by a video which showed Aisha Buhari in an angry outburst at the Aso Villa after she returned from London. Mrs Buhari would later confirm to the BBC that the video is old and was recorded by a relative of the president who lives in Aso Rock, sometime in 2018.

Neither the president nor the minister, who was at that time in New York promoting a UN campaign against poverty, said anything about the rumoured marriage.

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the president, would later debunk the rumour in a chat with Tribune.

“How will anyone expect that the President will be getting married and it will be a secret affair?” Adesina said. “Nigerians like to gist and play banters, as it is another way of relaxation for many, and they have seen the president as a personality that suits their side talks. It is bad, but that is what happens.”

Posted On Thursday, 24 September 2020 13:23 Written by

Matt Berninger has shared the official video to his latest solo single ‘One More Second’ – you can watch it below.

The National‘s frontman is set to release his debut solo album ‘Serpentine Prison’ on October 16, and has also previewed the project with its title track as well as ‘Distant Axis’.

Having offered up a third taste of the record earlier this month, Berninger has today (September 23) shared the ‘One More Second’ visuals, in which the musician dances on his own in an illuminated studio space.

The video, directed by Chris Sgroi, combines footage of a Berninger singing the song from behind a classic microphone with shots of him busting moves against a backdrop of colourful projections. At the end of the clip, we see masked crew members enter the set.

“All dance moves property of The Breakfast Club, Footloose, and the holy grail of modern dance films: Flashdance,” Berninger wrote on Twitter. See that post above.

Upon the release of the song, the musician explained: “I wrote ‘One More Second’ with Matt Sheehy (Lost Lander, EL VY) with the intention for it to be a kind of answer to Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, or sort of the other side of that conversation.

“I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car.”

During an interview with NME back in December, Berninger said that he’d been “really prolific” in his songwriting, and had been “writing way more than I ever did” at that time.

“I’ve been editing myself less, and I’ve been less insecure both on stage and in my writing too. I’m writing more, but I don’t know if I’m writing better. I don’t know what to do with it all. I guess I’ll have to make more records.”

Posted On Thursday, 24 September 2020 01:26 Written by

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh and her best friend Bobrisky are two friends who have come a long way together and are still holding on.

The duo have publicly declared their love for each other over again. In a new photo the best friends were paired as a couple and Bob played the position of the guy.

Tonto captioned the photo with the note below:

y’all joke too much..
She is sexy thou..
@samklef na your hand work be this?
.
Beacation with boo @bobrisky222

Posted On Wednesday, 08 July 2020 03:36 Written by

By Taiwo Okanlawon/ PM News

Controversial Nollywood actor, Uche Maduagwu, has stated that he does not regret supporting singer, Cynthia Morgan, because she is born to win like ex-Big Brother Naija star, Tacha.

Cynthia Morgan in an Instagram live video, with Ex-Miss Globe Nigeria, CASSANDRA, had revealed why she disappeared from the music scene despite becoming a household name.

Cynthia Morgan had alleged that Jude Okoye seized her accounts, made her stop using her name as well, and not promote her and does not own rights to the music she produced while still under Northside Inc, losing virtually everything.

However, Cynthia Morgan was dragged on social media after Jude Okoye released copies of the contract between the singer and his record label, Northside Entertainment.

The contract between her and Jude Okoye revealed that she lied about the content of the contract.

Uche Maduagwu, while reacting to the new development stated this in a post he shared on Instagram on Wednesday.

“I dont regret supporting #Madrina, shes born to win like Tacha. It has never been about the contract she signed in the past and this is where a lot of people are getting it wrong, its about her survival as a woman in a male-dominated #music industry…,” the caption read.

Cynthia Morgan, now Madrina, later wrote an open letter of apology to her former record label boss, Jude Okoye and former manager, Joy Tongo, for blaming her career challenges on them.

She wrote, “I Cynthia Morgan, would like to use this platform to appreciate all the love, well wishes and support from everyone… My heartfelt appreciation once again goes to Jude and Joy. It is the pain speaking, not Cynthia. Thanks for giving me the platform to grow the Cynthia Morgan brand.”

Posted On Thursday, 28 May 2020 12:34 Written by

Popular Nigerian video director, Clarence Abiodun Peters, has finally spoken about the death of professional dancer, Love Divine (Kodak), at his residence.

He took to his social media page on Monday morning to give his account on the events surrounding the death of the professional video vixen.

According to him, he was not physically in the same room as Kodak although they were in the same building.

He said it was a few moments after that they called his attention to the scene.

He also stated that no one has been arrested in connection to the dancer’s death.

He said he was only called in by the Police for questioning.

Please read Clarence Peters’ side of the story below:

On the 29th of April 2020, Love Divine Ike (Picture Kodak) was in the dance studio, on the premises of Capital Dreams Pictures, with 5 other team members and myself – 7 people in total.

At about 7:30 pm on the same day, while in another office – a building beside the dance studio, on the same premises, some people who were said to be with Love Divine at the time, rushed in and called my attention to the fact that Love Divine had collapsed.

We immediately rushed her to the nearest hospital, which refused to let us into their premises, let alone admit her. They assumed she was a Covid-19 patient.

We tried, but we were not able to gain entry into a second hospital. We eventually got her to a third hospital where she was pronounced dead 30 minutes after arrival.

I was not physically in the same room as her when the incident occurred, and when I inquired, I was told by those present at the scene that Love Divine, while taking a break from the dance session, was sitting on one of the metal sliding door rails, charging and using her phone plugged to an extension box.

The witnesses didn’t realize anything was wrong until they saw she had laid down, and they noticed smoke coming from her chest area.

She was said to be electrocuted, her phone was found on her chest, with severe burn marks, and the phone’s imprint on her chest.

The witnesses were taken to the Ojodu Police Headquarters straight from the hospital where statements were taken and the phone (which had traces of burnt flesh on it) was deposited.

The following day, the Police conducted an examination of the body and were taken to the scene of the incident for further examination.

The Police are currently carrying out a full-scale investigation into the events that occurred, and an autopsy will be carried out, with the full permission and consent of her family.

Please note that no one has been charged or arrested, by the Police. The witnesses and I willingly made ourselves available to the Police and we have all pledged our full co-operation, through every part of this process. I will be helping out in every possible capacity.

Posted On Monday, 04 May 2020 14:13 Written by
Is your new year’s resolution to find true love? If so, you may well be considering a dating app for your phone. Thanks to trailblazers like Tinder, and new dating apps like KissaApp, online dating has gone mainstream. And mature daters want in on the action too.

Lorna is 62 and lives in Edinburgh where she works as a PA. She is a divorcee with children and grandchildren and is still looking for love.

“You come home from work, you want to be talking to someone about your day, it’s good for your mental health,” she explains. “It’s the reason why I’m still dating at my age.”

But it becomes harder to meet potential partners as you get older, she says. “For women of my generation you can’t just walk into a pub by yourself, because that sends a certain message.”

She became an early adopter of dating apps like Tinder, drawn to the way you can build up a rapport privately through messaging, before committing to meet in person.

It was exciting rather than frightening, publishing her profile for the first time, she remembers.

She has met some lovely people, but the experience also left her feeling uncomfortable.

“I was often approached by people much younger than me, people that are the age of my children. I found that creepy and unsettling. I didn’t even like the thought that they’ve looked at my profile.”

So the idea of a dating app that was age-restricted appealed to her. She tried signing up to one called Lumen, which is for over-50s. It’s just one player in a growing market for mature daters.

Online dating is a billion dollar global industry that has enjoyed huge growth in recent years thanks to mobile phones. The industry is expected to grow by as much as 30% over the next two to three years, according to research group eMarketer.

Tinder brought online dating into the mainstream after it launched in 2012, helping to remove any stigma around it. In the USA the number of people using dating apps shot up from 15 to 25 million between 2015 and 2018.

Matchmaking companies used to cater primarily for people in their late 20s to early 40s, who were looking to get married or meet a long-term partner. The big growth now is at either end of the spectrum: the 18-24 market and those over 50.

In the 2013-15 period, when Tinder was taking off, online dating tripled for that younger demographic; and in the same period it doubled for those aged 55-64, according to the Pewresearch centre.

Lumen stands out because, like Tinder it only exists as an app. It is designed first and foremost for the mobile phone.

“If you look on social media sites like Facebook, the audience is getting older, so it’s a natural extension that they would meet people online for dating,” says Charly Lester, founder of Lumen.

She founded it in London in 2018, believing she had spotted a gap in the market. She knew lots of people in their 50s and 60s who were just as phone-fixated as the younger generation.

Her app has attracted more than 1.5 million users in less than a year.

It’s free to join, but the company makes money by charging users for “premium” features. These include the ability to search potential partners with “advanced filters” like “height, children, smoking, politics and star sign” and the chance to see who has saved you as a “favourite”.

More established companies also cater for mature daters, like OurTime and Silver Singles. They began as website platforms but have now developed apps. OurTime says it has seen a 146% increase in active users in the past two years, with 63% of joiners registering by mobile.

Media captionCan a 30-something launch a dating app for over-50s?

Some dating apps wouldn’t let you sign up if you were older than 50, so people lied about their age, says Ms Lester. “Another reason we started the app is that a lot of women were complaining that men their own age didn’t want to date them any more, they wanted to date significantly younger.”

You do find men in their eighties chasing the “youngsters” in their 50s, she says, but you can use age-range filters to set who can see your profile.

So do mature daters behave differently to younger ones?

There is a divergence in what men and women want in later life, says Nicola Fox Hamilton, who lectures in cyber-psychology at Dublin’s Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

Image copyright
Nicola Fox Hamilton

Image caption

Nicola Fox Hamilton researches online dating

Women are looking for companionship but without a caring role, because often they are just escaping from that and value freedom, she says.

Men are more focused on committed relationships at this age, she thinks. And they are often struggling with more narrow social networks in real life, so online dating is a lifeline for them.

It’s also a myth that people are not interested in sex at this age, she says, with women placing only a slightly lesser value on it than men.

Scams

However, this age group is more prone to “catfishing” and romance scamming, she warns.

Catfishing involves people creating fake profiles to lure people into a relationship. When this is a scam, the goal is to extract money from the unsuspecting person.

People have lost anything from £50-£800,000, with many losing more than £5,000, says Ms Fox Hamilton.

A typical scam account might involve an attractive man serving in the military – or any kind of scenario that explains why they struggle to meet in person.

Many victims don’t believe it has happened until the police tell them, she says, and even then they struggle to take it in. Many who do realise it has happened don’t report it out of shame.

Lumen acknowledges that scamming is an issue in this market. It combats it with artificial intelligence software, and a “selfie” registration system which makes users take a photograph of themselves when they register, and compares it to the profile photos they then upload to ensure they are genuine.

A team of just 15 look after a site where 1.5 million are looking for love, and human intervention is sometimes required to spot people joining in bad faith.

Back in Edinburgh, Lorna says she is always careful to follow the sensible safety precautions recommended by dating sites – she thinks would-be mature daters shouldn’t be deterred.

Many of her friends have found successful relationships through online dating, including marriage. She hopes she will be next and in the meantime she enjoys the excitement, she says.

“Each time someone sends a message, my heart lurches,” she confesses. “It’s like when you see someone across the dance floor.”

Posted On Wednesday, 01 January 2020 19:43 Written by

I saw a lot of movies this past year. This isn’t exactly abnormal, as I see a lot of movies every year (it’s quite literally my job), but 2019 was significant in that I watched more new releases than ever before. From January until now, I watched 157 samples of what ultra-modern cinema has to offer, and, as you would expect, it was often a roller coaster in terms of quality. But while some of what I witnessed was downright abysmal, there were more than a few opportunities for me to affirm my absolute love for film.

When a say “more than a few,” I definitely mean more than 10, which made crafting this list an incredible challenge (note: I probably write this every year, but I repeat it because it’s constantly true). I only finally settled on the order last night, and I even still may wind up flipping some stuff around as I write and my deeper thoughts about a particular title are brought to the surface. There was a tremendous amount of material to appreciate for someone with my particular taste in 2019, and ranking the abstract feeling that I get from great film was never going to be easy.

It’s rough not having room here to fully dive into my appreciation for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, James Gray’s Ad Astra, Craig Brewer’s Dolemite Is My Name, Riley Stearns’ The Art Of Self Defense, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, and Trey Edward Shults’ Waves, but these are the best and my most favorite movies of 2019.

10. In Fabric

Not everyone is going to be on-board with Peter Strickland’s In Fabric. It is a very specific kind of genre film with a very specific sensibility, and not everyone is going to respond to the material. That being said, I very much am part of the audience that this film is trying to reach, and in that effort it did tremendously well. These kinds of strange, stylistic throwbacks don’t come around all that often, but here we have an awesome one that is slick, silly, and creepy.

You can’t really take a film about a haunted dress all that seriously, but that’s something that In Fabric bizarrely recognizes as it simultaneously makes you both giggle and jump out of your seat. It’s a fully committed giallo film, accented with flashy colors, pulpy characters, and a dash of the supernatural, but also comes at those details with a modern mindset – allowing them to play both as originally intended, and also with a slight smile. It’s a joy, and a sensory delight.

9. Ready Or Not

While I laughed a lot watching some great comedies this year (some still to come on this list), there were few movies I had as much fun with as Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s enchanting horror adventure Ready Or Not. All the way through it is sparkling with imagination, as its truly original tale plays out with fantastic twists and turns along the way.

It features an ensemble full of scene-stealers, with Melanie Scrofano as coked-up Emilie and Adam Brody as the brooding, torn Daniel leading the supporting cast, but Samara Weaving is the true breakthrough star as the extraordinarily badass Grace. By the end of the film, as she is covered in blood wearing her shredded wedding dress and yellow Converse All-Stars, she has all the makings of a horror franchise star, haunted and tormented by the devilish Mr. Le Bail. Hopefully the cinema gods will deliver on that front, but for now we have an instant comedy horror classic that I can’t wait to enjoy again and again for many years to come.

8. Doctor Sleep

By the time I was sitting in a theater waiting for the lights to go down and Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep to start playing, I was ready to burst with anticipation. Flanagan is a filmmaker who has fascinated me for many years now, and I love the Stephen King novel – though simultaneously I fully recognized the immense challenge of both reworking the book into movie form, and operating as a sequel to one of my all-time favorite horror films: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

I left my screening blissful, and even having seen the movie again since I still can’t believe how remarkable it is. All of the changes that are made from the source material – both those necessary because of The Shiningand otherwise – vastly improve the story, and on top of getting a satisfying conclusion for Dan Torrance, we also get to meet what is now one of the all-great big screen Stephen King villains in Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose The Hat. A fan couldn’t ask for a better adaptation than this one… and the fact that we’re getting a Director’s Cut is icing on the absolutely delicious cake.

7. Parasite

When the first trailer for Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite dropped earlier this year, I clicked play in response to the massive wave of buzz the movies received following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival… but then quickly stopped it about 20 seconds in. I was already excited for the film simply because of the writer/director’s past work, and was satisfied just getting a taste of what his next movie was promising to deliver – excited to just wait and take in the whole experience while in the theater. It’s a move I’m grateful I made, because few titles this year so wonderfully unfold as this one, packing in shock after shock.

As soon as you get comfortable with Parasite being one thing, it becomes something else, and the way in which it builds on both its narrative and satire is satisfying and eye-opening. It tackles universal subject matter in both ingenious and intense ways, creating a particular balance in tone that never lets you know which way things are going to turn next. It’s a perfect film for our current moment in history, and Bong Joon-ho’s greatest movie to date.

6. Midsommar

Ari Aster’s Hereditary fell just short of making my Top 10 list for 2018, but make no mistake: I was instantly convinced of the writer/director’s immense talent. His sophomore effort arriving just a year later, Midsommar had my curiosity as soon as I learned about its premise – though a big part of what I love about it is how it totally belies what you expect from its plot. While it certainly has the hints of The Wicker Manthat you anticipate, as well as moments of pure, terrible dread, at its heart the movie is really a dark comedy about a break-up, and is frequently as funny and weird as it is brutal and horrific.

Florence Pugh had an incredible year in 2019, also delivering excellence in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and Stephen Merchant’s Fighting With My Family, but it’s with the extreme emotions required to bring Dani to life that she demonstrates just how special she is. Astor’s script puts the character through an odd and special hell that is perfectly accentuated by Jack Reynor as the asshole boyfriend Christian, and it’s all given a surreal feeling courtesy of the constantly-present sun. The level of detail is outstanding (only rivaled by Jordan Peele’s Us this year), and every rewatch is guaranteed to reveal new layers that were imperceptible on the first go-round.

5. Avengers: Endgame

The incredible feat accomplished by Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame this year is only accentuated by the controversy and mixed response to both the final season of Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. As demonstrated by the failings of those two projects, it’s tremendously hard to craft a capstone for a complex, years-long, beloved story, and yet the conclusion of what has been dubbed the Infinity Saga is both epic and completely satisfying, ultimately doing absolutely everything it needs to do.

There was no film that I thought more about in the first half of this year, wondering how the Marvel Cinematic Universe would bounce back after Thanos’ horrific snap, and I was ecstatic to experience a blockbuster with an entirely new tone compared to Avengers: Infinity War, and endlessly smart and clever applications of its impressive roster of heroes. It’s an impeccable goodbye to many of the characters I’ve loved watching on the big screen in the last decade, and an exciting demonstration that Marvel can not only still surprise an audience, but will continue to do so for many years to come.

4. Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is a film that dances on the head of a pin. There is obviously not a lot to laugh about in regards to the events of World War II and fascism’s rise in Germany, and yet Waititi uses it as a background for the funniest movie of 2019. It’s stunning to watch the film do its balancing act, able to make you laugh out loud and then put you on the precipice of crying, and it says everything about how far the writer/director has come as a filmmaker.

Looking back on his filmography, Taika Waititi has been changing things up tonally from the start of his career behind the camera, but Jojo Rabbitis his best crafted work to date, and his sharpest. It’s sweet and beautiful, with Scarlett Johansson delivering a delightful performance unlike anything we’ve seen from her, and poignant and emotional – taking full advantage of its loaded setting. I admire it as much as I enjoy it, and that has stayed true through multiple viewings.

3. The Lighthouse

I enjoy splashy visual effects and sweeping, epic stories as much as anyone, but my demands for drama are actually very simple. Regardless of genre, I can be completely satisfied watching two characters relate to each other as they are locked in a location together for an extended period of time. Of course, it helps if one of them is a shady figure with a mysterious past, and the other is actively trying to drive the other one insane. In other words, Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is a film perfectly tailored to my tastes, and one that I absolutely love.

Following The Witch, Eggers is quickly proving himself as a stylistically fascinating filmmaker, as we dive into a whole new era with this story, and it manages to feel both entirely authentic and fantastically heightened. It’s both gritty and gross, and weirdly hilarious at times, with Willem Dafoe delivering one of the most amazing performances of the year and of his career as the grizzled Ephraim Winslow. It’s a movie that can be thoroughly enjoyed thanks to its head-spinning decent into madness tale, and also endlessly dissected for all of its ambiguous meanings and conclusions.

2. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino is the filmmaker who truly inspired my deep love of film when I was younger – so every new release of his comes with a special level of anticipation unlike anything I experience for any other kind movie. I’m always prepared to be amazed, but also remarkably vulnerable to be disappointed. Obviously at this point you’ve already figured out which of those two emotional responses I had to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

The film is inarguably the most ambling in terms of narrative that Tarantino has ever produced, however, it’s able to pull off that looser feeling with some of his most finely tuned and engaging characters – all of whom are brought to life with turns that deeply remind us of just how incredible the performers can be. It’s an experience that makes you want to step through the screen and into its world, and while the third act is easily one of the most exciting of the filmmaker’s career (high praise given the existence of both Inglourious Basterds and Kill Bill), there’s also a special sadness that comes part and parcel with it as a result of knowing that the end credits are coming and the lights will soon be back on.

1. Uncut Gems

A bizarre thing happened to me a few weeks ago when I watched Josh and Bennie Safdie’s Uncut Gems for the first time. Every part of me recognized that Adam Sandler’s protagonist, Howard Ratner, is a true blue scumbag, willing to flush his entire life away on a big enough gamble… and yet I unconsciously found myself literally pumping my fist and silently celebrating with the character every time a significant shot was sunk in the basketball game around which the entire third act hinges. Looking at my hand, and understanding my desire to pair the gesture with an out-loud cheer, I realized I was watching what I would ultimately call my favorite film of 2019.

The genuine feeling of rip-your-hair-out panic that Uncut Gems is able to generate is otherworldly, as Howard stacks gamble on top of gamble, never once recognizing that one thing going wrong will destroy everything. It’s strange to think that a movie could have that kind of effect, but it’s a credit to both the atmosphere that the Safdie brothers are able to generate, and the brilliant performances from the whole cast. It’s a cinematic experience that should give away dental guards with each ticket sold, but even without it’s worth the damage done grinding your teeth.

So those are my Top 10 movies of 2019… what are yours? Tell us how many films you’ve seen this year and how you would rank your favorites in the comments section below.

Posted On Tuesday, 31 December 2019 04:20 Written by
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