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Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf's life was filled with tragedy.
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".
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In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
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Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due?Written by
When James "Thunder" Early asks his band mates "Who was the first singer to start wearing shiny clothes?", one responds "Little Richard." The responder was Jimmy's piano player, who came on-stage to sit in for Jimmy when he first taught the Dreamettes the parts for "Fake your way to the top." See more »
In the montage, the entry in the charts does not make sense. The song is #1 in its first week, but it was also #8 the previous week. See more »
The original 1981 "Playbill" cover for the Broadway version of "Dreamgirls" is displayed during the end credits just before the names of the show's Broadway creators are featured. See more »
In 2017, Paramount released a "Director's Extended Edition" of "Dreamgirls." This version runs ten minutes longer than the theatrical version and contains changes which include the following:
The opening talent show scene has extended performances of "I'm Looking' for Something'" and "Goin' Downtown," including a longer scene on the stairs outside the Detroit Theater, where Curtis offers Marty a cigarette and a sales pitch after Charlene and Joanne walk out on him, and Curtis catches a first glimpse of Deena
Sung dialogue leading up to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" ("You've got me to think for you now...") proceeds the scene in which Curtis tells Wayne and CC of his plan to sell off the car dealership, similar to the lead-up to the song in the original Broadway show. This scene takes the place of the shorter, spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
All shots of Wayne enacting Curtis' payload plans at radio stations are replaced with scenes of the Mafia members Curtis makes a deal with distributing the records and the money
The Jimmy & the Dreamettes performance section go "Steppin to the Bad Side" is extended
"Love You I Do" is extended by adding an instrumental break under the scene in which Michelle gets a job at Rainbow Records, and then showing Effie sing the song's second verse on camera
"Heavy" is extended by adding a break and a chorus, and placing more emphasis on Effie keeping an eye on Deena's image taking over the TV studio monitors
There is an extra shot of Curtis and Deena's mansion as Deena heads to the service car outside
An extra scene shows Curtis, C.C., Wayne and other Rainbow executives at a board meeting, at which Curtis decides to finance his "Cleopatra" film pet project with a 10th anniversary special (This scene includes two F-bombs by Jamie Foxx; the Director's Extended Edition is unrated as a result)
"Patience" is extended by adding extra choruses to the section in which Jimmy and Lorrell record the song, accompanied by a choir
"Perfect World" is extended by including a full verse and chorus
"I Meant You No Harm" and "Lorrell Loves Jimmy" are both extended by a few bars
Jimmy's silent glare at Deena basking in her fame at the Rainbow 10th anniversary TV special is replaced by sung dialogue ("Because I was here long before you...") similar to the "Firing of Jimmy" scene in the original Broadway show
"I Miss You, Old Friend" is extended by a few bars
"Effie, Sing My Song" - sung dialogue in which C.C. and Effie reconcile - is added in place of the spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
"One Night Only" is performed in full (only half is used in the theatrical version). At the conclusion of the song, Curtis' Mafia associates come to Effie's performance in Max Washington's bar, which is how they get word (and a tape) to alert Curtis
Curtis has an extra line of dialogue when being interviewed on the Dreams' farewell performance red carpet, in which he announces that his new artist, Tania Williams, will be releasing her debut album in a month
I saw a preview screening of Dreamgirls on Nov. 15. and have to say I was pretty blown away by it. I can always tell when a movie really hits me because the thought immediately runs through my head, "Wow, I can't wait to OWN this on DVD." Needless to say, Dreamgirls is now at the top of my "To Buy" list.
I saw the original Michael Bennett production in 1985, a few years into its Broadway run when Jennifer Holliday was no longer in the Effie role. But even without Holliday I found the show and its score to be among Broadway's best. While I certainly hoped this movie would at least give us a respectable representation of what made the Broadway show so thrilling, I must admit I was afraid to get my expectations too high after the recent string of disappointing stage to screen musical transfers - Phantom of the Opera, Rent and The Producers. Yeah, I had heard the buzz was good for Dreamgirls, but, well, you know how that goes. Sometimes the bigger the buzz the flatter it falls.
And let's face it. Movie musicals are just flat-out tough to pull off. While I consider the number of truly great movies to be pretty small, the list of truly great movie MUSICALS is even smaller. And the ones that manage to do more than just recreate a literal adaptation of the stage play, truly utilizing the medium of film to create something bold and cinematic are almost non existent: Cabaret, Chicago...maybe one or two others...end of story. Plus, I think it's even more difficult to successfully transfer musicals to film today given modern audiences inability to accept characters "breaking into song."
So I hope I'm not adding to the already extensive hype when I report that, for me at least, Dreamgirls delivers big time. The film manages to achieve the near impossible task of remaining faithful to it's source material (in fact, several times it gives direct nods to Bennett's brilliant original staging) while utilizing the medium of film to it's fullest, creating something fresh and exciting in its own right.
Dreamgirls not only transitions seamlessly between spoken dialog and musical numbers, but redefines musical storytelling by using the musical artifice of "breaking into song" carefully and judiciously to punctuate only those moments in the movie when the emotion builds to the point where words can no longer adequately contain it. I can't express strongly enough how impressed I was with the way Bill Condon managed to handle these transitions. Truly masterful. But it's not just the transitions that are handled well. The movie is artfully rendered and exquisitely produced in literally every area with outstanding, heartfelt performances by each and every cast member. And yes, Jennifer Hudson is as good as they say. I can honestly say that there's no way I can imagine this film being done any better.
If there's any weak spot in Dreamgirls, it's the dramatic flaws inherent in the piece itself. The second act of the stage play (after "and I'm telling you I'm not going") was never quite as dramatically intense or focused as the first. And the movie feels pretty much the same way. But, believe me, this is a minor flaw compared to what's RIGHT about Dreamgirls.
Make no mistake. This film is going to be a triumph and earn a place in movie history. Not to mention my DVD library.
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