Red Sparrow

It’s slow news day here.

Red Sparrow is a movie with many twists. A spy movie full of intrigue, death, counter-intelligence and all of it for the motherland. Funny thing, though, American exceptionalism still shows. At the end, we are told they have outwitted the Reds.

Dominica gives an awesome performance. She is also does go through a lot of shit.

Grab some popcorn and enjoy the movie. Regular broadcasting resumes shortly

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Eye in the sky- Movie review

Following Ark’s review, I watched eye in the sky and I got beef.

The movie plays on the phobia that we have somehow come to develop about terrorists and the west’s equivocation of terrorism and Islam. To develop this theme, we have our would be suicide bombers meeting in some house and prayers being said but since we don’t hear what they talk about, the movie leaves us with a single conclusion, it is religiously motivated. It is simplistic.

The conflict or dilemma we are presented with is one-sided. We are driven to believe the suicide bombers and their leaders are irrational actors. So there is no background to their grievances. All we are to assume is they met, prayed, wired themselves ready to cause havoc and Britain has come to save humanity from terror. The only rational actors are the Brits and Muricans. Powell, if not for the little matter of the law, would have blown the plotters to smithereens without a thought. But unfortunately for her, she has to seek approval from civilians some of whom seem unwilling to really get involved, from the foreign secretary to the prime minister.

The drone captain refuses to fire his weapon the first time until the command centre led by Col. Powell sends him a revised collateral damage estimate. He is reluctant to release his weapon lest a child who is selling bread is killed. Angela North argues, and I agree, that firing the missile just because the suicide bombers may kill people is not a good reason to kill an innocent child. Lt. Gen. Frank tells North never to tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war this is after she tells him he ordered a bombing over coffee and biscuits.

My beef with the setting is that no part of Nairobi looks like that. Especially Eastleigh. And more son, we are not at war. Don’t tell me it’s a movie, most people think movies are documentaries and may start asking me if I live in the war zone of Eastleigh!

There are characters who do nothing in the movie. Nothing would be lost even if we didn’t have the command centre in Nairobi since the movie takes place between Col. Powell, Frank, the drone pilots and the situation room in the UK.

On collateral damage, this comment by Wole Soyinka resonates with me

The accidental casualty that is inflicted on innocents in the course of a conflict- I detest the expression ‘collateral damage’ when applied to human lives- occupies a different level of responsibility and censure, to be judged on the efforts made by participants in the conflict to avoid such violations of innocence or neutrality.

The acting is quite good.

And a comment on Westgate and Garissa attacks which are mentioned in passing the movie. I think somewhat the government or people in it were culpable in this crimes, their response appalling. I distrust the government line on the attacks, and for good reason.

While it is true gratuitous violence as practiced by suicide bombers is disgraceful, many government actors and actions would qualify as terrorism. They resign several millions to lives of misery, even death. For example corruption in the health sector means drugs are not available for patients, there are no doctors and more die from such acts than die from terrorist activities. We need perspective in addressing such matters. We must ask what are the issues that drive some people to the point of willing to die for causes that on the surface look absurd? Religion alone, to me, is not a sufficient answer.

All the money in the world

Is a movie about a man so rich, all he had was money. He died holding a painting. There was no one, repeat no one, to help him. But I go ahead of myself.

We are told Mr. Getty was so rich, no one individual before him had been as rich as he was in the entire universe. He is a great art collector, though, I think sometimes people fleece him and sell him fakes. He has no love for humans. He sees them as pests or as out to take his money.

Getty in order not to pay tax registers his empire as a trust fund. He gives no money to charity. In fact, he gives no money to no one. In his house, should you want to make a phone call, there is a pay phone in the lobby for your use.

Maybe the wife left him. I can’t recall what happens to her. For the son, the less said the better.

As for the daughter in law, she is great.

The grandson gets into trouble, or rather, trouble follows him. He is kidnapped by some outlaws who demand $17mn as ransom. When the money is not forthcoming, they sell him to an ‘investor’ who demands $7mn. The mother doesn’t have this money. The grandfather on the other hand could have raised this money without a sweat but simply refuses to do so.

The old man says everything and everyone has a price. The only struggle in the world is to know what that price is.

In order not to be a spoilsport, I will stop here and recommend you watch the movie. If you have watched it, you can weigh in below.

black panther

a review.

For most of you, not counting Ark of course, I guess, have watched the hyped  over hyped movie of 2018, black panther a Marvel Comics production. First, I am not watching any hyped movie again in a long time. I hate disappointments, especially in movies, where my only reason for paying to watch is to be mesmerized, entertained and possibly to be taken to a different plane of existence, even just momentarily.

Following persuasion by friends, yours truly watched the movie and has a few things to say about it.

First, we can agree with T’challa’s father, the late king, that a father who has not taught his child well, has failed. We can have a long debate on whether a good man can be a king. That, I think, is in the province of philosophy.

IS advancement to be seen in skyscrapers and toys? Apart from the tall buildings and toys, very little of life in Wakanda is seen. I can’t for the life of me, tell what the life in Wakanda is like. Well, it is a monarchy, there is a council of elders, there is a ritual fight for installation of the king, a fight which methinks, shouldn’t be bloody but ceremonial, especially given that a king is chosen from the royal family. Any contender for the throne could just get a Ji jitsu trainer for the opportune moment.

I like the women though, especially Okoye and Shuri. Okoye’s loyalty to the nation of Wakanda is beyond dispute. She tells W’kabi she would kill him for Wakanda without question. When Killmonger becomes king, she makes it known her allegiance is to Wakanda regardless of who sits on the throne. Shuri reminds me of Q in Bond movies. She is at home with gadgets in a way that makes you, for a few moments, want to be her friend. You may, if she is up to it, be transported to the future. It is also the women who save Wakanda from Killmonger. Shuri, Nakia and the queen mother, devastated with the defeat of T’Challa look for allies to get the usurper out of the throne. It is their determination that at the end, that makes it possible for Wakanda to be involved in world affairs, but in a more humane way, through science and technology not war.

There is, an invocation of the role of ancestors in the African community. This happens, if I recall correctly, three times, the first at the enthronement of T’Challa, then of Killmonger and thirdly when T’Challa is sent to the ancestors where he declines to join them in eternal repose, arguing there is work to be done. I wish I could on occasion tell the ancestors to eff off!

As with most Hollywood movies, no movie is complete without a villain, even if it is a cardboard character. And for Black Panther, the villain is Killmonger. He believes, for whatever reason, his rightful place is the throne of Wakanda. After helping the artifact thief, Klaue, steal and escape from a CIA interrogation room, he kills him only to deliver the body as a trophy to Wakanda, where he challenges T’Challa. A ritual fight is organized, T’Challa gets the beating of the century and a for a brief interlude, we have a madman general at the helm. His idea of domination means conquering the world, with weapons, the American dream. I think the Americans, dream of an empire like the British empire of old, so that their imagination of an advanced civilization must include in it empire building.

Go watch the movie at a theater near you. You may be entertained.

For better reviews than I can ever write, visit here, here and here, written by a friend of mine

A United Kingdom

A movie.

A young man, Seretse Khama, from Botswanaland, is sent to the UK, following the death of his parents to prepare him for his role as chief of his people. After two decades, he is ready to return home, but there is a small complication. The man has fallen in love with a white woman, Ruth Williams. This would not be so bad were it not that apartheid was how the government of South Africa treated the relations between blacks and whites and the miscegenation laws were if not in the statutes, were there in practice.

The first question we are confronted with is whether, had the tables been turned, would Queen Elizabeth be eligible for the throne if she had a black man for a husband. I don’t know if the rules of the monarchy have changed, last time I heard, a member of the royal family destined to be king or queen wouldn’t marry a Catholic. Marrying black looks to me like a sure sign of foregoing the monarchy.

This however isn’t the only problem we have in our hands. The South Africans do not want the marriage to stand, at least not, if the husband and wife are both living in Botswanaland. They engineer a conflict between our young prince and his uncle, and to good effect. They even have a report manufactured to confirm this.

You all know young lovers and ideals. The love birds fly to Botswanaland only to receive a very hostile reception from all quarters. The sister to the young chief isn’t amused.

When in the village meeting is held and Seretse in a moving speech gets the nod from the people to be their chief, the die is cast and a battle of empires, so to speak, begins. The Brits hatch a plan to get the couple back in the UK. Seretse goes back on his own, leaving his wife to stay at home. He is banished from home and a long battle for freedom ensues.

The administrators from the colonial office are both ruthless and heartless.

The movie has some very great scenes and speeches. But most of the characters are cardboard characters. For example, Naledi, Sereste’s younger sister who, in her first meeting with Ruth is quite hostile transforms to be her defender, but this transformation is not well developed.

We also don’t get to see the conflicts the uncle struggles with, first when he departs to establish a new settlement after the villagers vote to have Sereste as their chief. There is just a single letter from nephew to uncle and then a meeting and we live happily ever after.


The first president of Botswana is the father of the fourth president who has started his tours of goodbye to his people as his term ends.

Khama Sereste put Botswana on the road for good governance and development, when instead of pursuing monarchy, suggested to the people they needed to elect their own leaders.


No man is free who is not master of himself