Corinth Films’ Ghanaian Import, ‘Nakom’ Is An Imperfect But Engaging Story

Courtesy: Corinth Films

The independent movie community has, over the course of recent years, done a lot to offer audiences worthwhile alternatives to the nonstop barrage of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events being constantly churned out by Hollywood’s major studios.  The recent release of the period dramedy Scenes From an Empty Church proof of that.  Much the same can be said of Corinth Films’ British import, The Carer and Film Movement’s German import, Bye, Bye Germany.  These movies, and indie flicks, such as Butter, Shanghai Calling, and The Decoy Bride are even more proof of how much the indie film community has offered audiences in the way of real, and real entertaining options.  Of course even in the indie community, not every movie can be a success.  Corinth Films’ Ghanaian import, Nakom is one of those lesser movies.  Now that is not to say that the movie is a total failure.  It does have at least some positive, that being its story.  The story will be discussed shortly.  While the story is reason enough to watch, the pacing thereof is problematic, taking away from the presentation to a point.  This will be discussed a little later.  Luckily it is not enough to completely doom the presentation.  The cinematography also plays into the movie’s appeal, too, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, Nakom ultimately proves itself to be a presentation that is worth watching at least once.

Corinth Films’ recent Ghanaian import, Nakom — released to Western audiences Aug. 17 on DVD – is an imperfect presentation, though is still worth watching at least once.  The movie’s appeal comes in large part through its story.  The story in question centers on its lead character, Iddrisu.  Iddrisu is a young, soon-to-be doctor who is doing quite well in his medical studies.  Out of the blue, one day, he receives a call from his sister informing him that his father has been killed in a motorcycle wreck in Iddrisu’s home village of Nakom.  At first Iddrisu reluctantly stays, though he aims to return to his studies.  He ends up staying much longer than he originally planned.  That is partially of his own doing and partially due to pressure from his family and those in the village.  Eventually the pressure from self and from others becomes too much and Iddrisu reaches a breaking point.  How it all ends will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The thing is that this is a story that will connect easily with audiences because it is that believable.  It is not some over-the-top tale.  Many if not all people have been in the position of being torn between a sense of self and a sense of duty, whether in the sense of this story or another.  That in itself and the way in which the story is executed ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end of the 90-minute movie.

On a related note, Jacob Ayanaba (who plays Iddrisu) does so well in his performance.  He comes across as such an “everyman” in his subtle performance throughout.  It makes suspension of disbelief in the story that much easier.  Whether trying to comfort his cousin at the area hospital after learning of her pregnancy or handling the mental and emotional stress of taking on his father’s financial debt, or even trying to encourage another young, female member of his family to go to school, his performance is so genuine.  It makes it so easy for audiences to relate to him.  Taking that into account along with the story, the bigger picture here is solid proof of why the story featured here works so well.

For all that the movie’s featured story does to appeal to audiences, it is not perfect.  The story’s one sole flaw comes in its pacing.  The runs approximately 90 minutes, which is really not that long.  Even in that time, there are some moments throughout in which the story tends to drag.  Those moments are multiple, too.  Some of those moments come as Iddrisu is studying and finds himself distracted by something.  They also come at times as Iddrisu is eating meals with his family and little else is going on except for some dialogue.  Those and a handful of other moments will tend to leave the movie feeling far longer than its run time.  In turn, it will leave audiences feeling the desire to fast forward through the movie more than once.  Even with that in mind, the story is still not a total failure, but also not a total success.

Keeping in mind everything noted here, Nakom proves to be an imperfect presentation, though still worth watching at least once.  Making the movie more worth the watch is its cinematography.  Audiences will be pleased to know that the entire presentation was filmed on-site in Ghana.  So all of the stunning sunrise and sunset footage was really captured in the nation’s countryside.  The footage of Iddrisu selling onions in the area markets is actually that of markets in the nation.  The rural roads which he travels are also real.  It might not seem like much on the surface, but the reality is that it actually adds to viewers’ ability to suspend their disbelief.  The colors are so rich both in the daytime and even at night.  What’s more, knowing that the scenes are in fact real instead of CG will encourage audiences to remain engaged even more.  Again, it is an aesthetic element, but it plays so much into the presentation.  Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the story and the acting (and even the pacing thereof), the whole makes the movie that much more worth watching, if only once.

Corinth Films’ recently released DVD presentation of Nakom is a presentation that while imperfect, is still worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story.  The story is relatable in its focus.  The situation in which Iddrisu finds himself and how he handles it will connect with most if not all viewers.  The work put in by lead actor Jacob Ayanaba interpreting the script adds to the appeal.  The subtle way in which he takes on the role throughout makes the story that much more worth watching.  While the story and the acting are both of positive note, the story’s pacing proves somewhat problematic.  That is because it tends to drag at multiple points throughout the movie’s 90-minute run time.  Luckily, that issue is not enough to completely derail the movie.  The movie’s cinematography adds its own appeal to the whole, offering even more reason for audiences to watch.  Knowing that the movie was shot entirely on site in Ghana adds a certain sense of realism to the movie, in turn encouraging audiences to watch even more.  Keeping this and everything else noted in mind, the movie proves to be a presentation that while imperfect, is still worth watching at least once.

Nakom is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:




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Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of Alternatives To Theaters’ Offerings In 2015

This year’s big screen offerings brought big numbers for theaters. The problem is that the majority of those big numbers were the result of Hollywood’s (and audiences’) seemingly insatiable appetite for prequels, sequels, and remakes. It’s a sad statement when one really sits down and thinks about it. And thankfully more audiences are coming to their senses about it each year and staying home instead, taking in the variety of alternatives being offered on television and online. Given, far too many of those alternatives were (and still are) serials, dramas, and some mixture thereof. But for all of the serials and dramas out there, they were just a drop in the bucket in terms of just how much was offered to audiences this year in the way of home entertainment. Shout! Factory released two more volumes of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 this year. It also released the final two seasons of the classic sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, the complete series run of The Saint, and much more. PBS has released all three current seasons of its hit reality/cooking show A Chef’s Life, and partnered once again with itv to release the third season of Mr. Selfridge. Timeless Media Group even gave audiences a good scare this year with the release of A Haunting: Season Seven. And for all of the conspiracy theorists out there, Lionsgate and History channel offered up the seventh season of Ancient Aliens. These are just some of the alternatives offered to audiences this year from the home entertainment realm. And they are all on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. That is in comparison to box sets for the whole family. That is a whole other list. That list will be presented tomorrow. In explaining the choices for the list of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, the overall packaging of each set was taken into consideration alongside each set’s bonus materials (or lack thereof) and the writing that went into each presentation. The combination of each element in each set went into coming up with this list. Not every set had bonus material such as with Welcome Back, Kotter’s third and fourth season. But the writing behind each season made each season entertaining enough that they each stand quite well on their own merits. The bonus material featured in both volumes of MST3K played a big role in their presentations deserving them their own spots as did the bonus material in Time Life’s new Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts box set and that of Hell on Wheels’ fourth season. That should hopefully give at least some background on why each title was listed where it was listed. Keeping that in mind every title listed here is fully deserving of its spot on this list. So enough rambling. Without any further ado, I offer for your reading pleasure dear readers, the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Box Sets for Grownups. As always, the Top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive special mention as they deserve to be on the list just as much. Here you go!

































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2015’s First Family Film Is Also One Of Its Least Enjoyable Films

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Group/Dimension

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Group/Dimension

Anchor Bay Entertainment is one of the biggest and most influential independent studios in the entertainment world today.  It is the driving force behind no fewer than three of AMC’s biggest series, one of which—The Walking Dead—is one of the biggest series on television today.  Its role in the Starz network has also led to the success of series such as Black Sails, Da Vinci’s Demons, and Blunt Talk.  It is also at least partially behind some of the biggest independent movies to come along in recent years.  Those movies include the likes of Henry Poole Is Here, Unfinished Song, and Shanghai Calling just to name a few.  For all of the impressive marks on the studio’s resume, it proved earlier this year with its new big screen adaptation of author Michael Bond’s Paddington books that it is not infallible.  While the movie is a fun little flick for the whole family it is hardly one of 2015’s most memorable movies.  That is thanks in large part to its unoriginal script, which can easily be compared to the equally forgettable 1992 canine-centered movie Beethoven.  Both movies’ scripts are so similar that it is impossible say that this work has any real originality.  This is even despite Paddington sticking to its source material.  As troubling as this is to the whole of Paddington, it would be unfair to say that the movie is a total loss just from this one element.  In the story’s defense, actress Nicole Kidman is to be commended for her work as the villainous taxidermist Millicent.  The movie’s makeup and costume departments are both just as much to applaud for their work in making Kidman into Millicent.  It is thanks to their work that she is nearly unrecognizable.  Sadly their work and that of Kidman herself are the only real shining gems of Paddington.  The special effects used to bring Paddington to life are nothing new.  They can easily be compared to the work of those behind Yogi Bear and so many other CG/live action hybrid flicks before it.  And as beautiful as the story’s backdrop is even it can’t save the movie.  That is even when it is set alongside the movie’s only other positives.  That being the case, the sad reality of Paddington is that even as entertaining as it is for the whole family, it is largely one of this year’s most forgettable theatrical releases.

Paddington was one of the most anticipated family movies of 2015 ahead of its release early this year.  Sadly the hype and anticipation over this new big screen release proved to be all for naught.  That is because it proved in the end to be in fact one of the year’s least memorable movies.  The main reason that it proved to be such an unforgettable work is its script.  In watching this movie, there is no denying its blatant similarities to the 1992 family flick Beethoven.  It’s almost as if the movie’s writing team of Paul King and Hamish McColl took Beethoven’s script and tweaked it to meet the needs of this story.  For all intents and purposes, Paddington was an orphan much like Beethoven when he [Paddington] was taken in by the Brown family.  Sure, Paddington wasn’t adopted from a pet store.  But it can be argued in regards to the character development exhibited through the story’s progression that he does in fact become “adopted” more or less.  It’s just a different scenario.  As the story progress, audiences see Paddington pursued by Kidman’s villainous Millicent only to ultimately meet a rather hilarious end just as Dr. Varnick (Dean Jones—The Love Bug, Clear and Present Danger, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes) does in Beethoven.  For the sake of those that have not seen either movie, neither character’s fate will be revealed here.  Getting back on the subject, it can be easily seen in putting the two scripts side-by-side just how similar the pair is to one another.  That being the case, it is difficult to take Paddington with much seriousness or even respect being that this is the case.

If the similarities between the two movie’s scripts aren’t enough to convince audiences of just how unforgettable Paddington proves to be, a comparison of some of the movie’s characters might help convince viewers.  We will start with a comparison of the stories’ father figures.  Charles Grodin’s George Newton character from Beethoven has been almost identically replicated in Paddington in the form of Hugh Bonneville’s Henry Brown.  That replication is right down to his original, gruff reluctance to take in Paddington when the Browns first meet Paddington.  George Newton was much the same way with Beethoven in that movie.  Young Judy Brown (Madeline Harris—The White Queen, Being Human, Man Down) is a near mirror image of Beethoven’s Ryce Newton (Nicholle Tom—The Nanny, Justice League, Beverly Hills, 90210).  Both actresses portrayed the moody daughter figure in their respective roles.  And just as Sarah Rose Karr’s (Kindergarten Cop, Father of the Bride, Beethoven’s 2nd) Emily was Beethoven’s best friend in that movie so is Jonathan Brown’s (Samuel Joslin—The Impossible) relationship with Paddington much that same in this movie.  Taking into consideration the overall lack of originality in regards to both the movie’s script and its characters (and their growth over the course of the movie’s progression), it should be clear as to why it is so difficult to call this movie anything more than perhaps a one-time watch at best.

The issues with Paddington’s script both in regards to its story and its characters and their development do plenty to keep the movie from being anything that families will remember for years to come.  For all of its problems Paddington is not a total loss.  It does have some positives.  One of those few, rare positives is the work of actress Nicole Kidman as the evil taxidermist Millicent.  Millicent takes the character established by Dean Jones in Beethoven and steps up that role even more.  What that means to say is that she really is believable in her delusions.  Yet at the same time there’s a certain comic element about Millicent that Kidman brings out on camera that audiences will love just as much.  The combination of those two elements together makes Kidman the real star of the movie interestingly enough.  It makes a person want to see the movie if only for her performance.  On a related note, those that were responsible for Kidman’s makeup and attire are worthy of their own credit.  That is the movie’s only other real, noticeable positive.

Nicole Kidman may have played the role of the villain in Anchor Bay’s new CG/live-action hybrid adaptation of Paddington.  But even playing the villain, she was the real shining gem of this otherwise forgettable flick.  That is because the movie’s script—both in regards to its story and characters and their development—is anything but original or even memorable.  Luckily she isn’t the only bright element of this movie.  Those that were responsible for Kidman’s makeup and costume are also to be commended.  That is because collectively, they made her nearly unrecognizable.  If viewers were to see her on screen in this movie without knowing it was her ahead of time, they would not have known at all that it was her.  That is unless they were to have sat through the movie’s credits or researched the character online via a website such as, or other similar sites.  From her hairdo (was that a wig or not?) to her costumes to even minute details such as her overall makeup, those responsible for bringing Millicent to life on screen (at least in terms of her look) are to be highly commended for their work.  Maybe that is why Kidman did so well in her portrayal.  She felt that said individuals had done such an impressive job in their charge that she felt that comfortable in her own acting.  That could well be just this critic’s own take of course.  But it is still something worth considering.  Regardless, it is safe to say that the work of those individuals along with Kidman’s own work are the only real elements of Paddington worth watching.  The movie’s script in every one of its aspects really does nothing to make the movie memorable.  That being the case, it is safe to say that while Paddington is not this year’s worst movie—that dishonor currently sits between Marvel’s new Avengers movie and Universal’s new Despicable Me spinoff Minions—it definitely is hardly one of the year’s best new big screen features.

It’s sad to say that Anchor Bay’s attempt to bring author Michael Bond’s beloved furry friend to life on the big screen.  That’s especially the case because its debut early this year marked the first time ever that Bond’s character had been adapted to the big screen.  Sure there was a TV show some decades ago.  But up until this year, no studio had had the gumption to adapt it for a big screen feature.  For that reason alone, Anchor Bay deserves at least some credit for having the bravery to give it a chance.  One can only hope that considering its weak, unoriginal script juxtaposed by the otherwise impressive work of actress Nicole Kidman and those charged with helping bring Kidman’s character to life, that the movie’s now rumored sequel will fare better.  That is because while this movie is not the year’s worst new theatrical offering, it is definitely not one of the year’s best either.  Here’s to hoping, Paddington.  Here’s to hoping.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Anchor Bay To Release New Psychological Thriller

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release the new indie-horror flick In Fear this Spring.  The movie, starring Iain de Caestecker (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures), and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey), it is the feature film debut for writer/director Jeremy Lovering.  In Fear has already made waves at international film festivals in nine countries including: Toronto After Dark (Canada), the Rosebud Entertainment Fantasy Festival (Germany), Fancine – Festival de Cine Fantastico (Spain), and the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea).

In Fear follow’s the plight of a young couple being tracked in their car by an unseen predator.  The couple is trapped in its car as it travels a number of country roads in an attempt to escape its seemingly invisible assailant.  The couple’s car is its only protection.  The story combines the fear of the dark and of the unknown.  It will be available March 11th on Blu-ray, DVD and Video on Demand.  The Blu-ray presentation will be available for SRP of $29.99.  The DVD will be available for SRP of $24.98.

More information on In Fear and other films from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at