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A great American musical....
Screen-Space30 November 2006
Screened overnite in Australia for critics and industry.

Ten minutes into director Bill Condon's adaptation of the hit musical, I whispered to my friend "There's no way the film can go at this pace for two hours!" Because up to that point, we had been utterly dazzled by breathtaking staging, impassioned performances and a display of film-making craftsmanship in all its forms (direction, editing, design) that had the packed audience stunned.

Well, two hours later, I'd been proved wrong. Condon has created a vivid, emotional spectacle that will dominate the 06/07 Oscar nominations. Dreamgirls is one of the five best movie musicals ever made.

There is really nothing new about the storyline - smalltown singers make it big and ride the roller-coaster of fame. But thats what works so well for the film - the great cinematic clichés are embraced and played to the hilt by a creative team, both behind and in front of the camera, that knows what makes a great Hollywood musical.

There's not one weak link in the cast. Condon's camera is in love with Beyonce Knowles and she handles the journey from the innocence of the groups early years to the staggering success and fortune of the group at its peak with surprising range. While most singer/actress attempts are failures (Madonna, Whitney, Britney, k.d. lang), Beyonce proves to have genuine talent.

Jamie Foxx centres and grounds the film in a less-flashy role but one that is crucial to the films credibility.

But there are two standouts. Eddie Murphy as fading star Early has never done better work. And Jennifer Hudson delivers an absolute tour-de-force performance in a role that sees her dominate every scene she is in. Her belting solo number was applauded by the audience (a rare enough occurrence during an industry screening but a moment that was repeated a few times thru the film). Hudson is a lock for the supporting actress Oscar, even this far from the ceremony.

Dreamgirls is a better movie in every way than recent award winning musicals Chicago and Moulin Rouge (both of which I am a huge fan). It is a film that tells a classic rags-to-riches story utilising great cinematic technique and bravado. 2006 has offered up some great movie-going experiences for me (Thank You For Smoking, Children Of Men, V For Vendetta, Little Miss Sunshine); for the sheer cinematic thrill it provides, however, Dreamgirls proves to be the best two hours I've spent in a cinema this year.
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Belting Up The Old Story
littlemartinarocena6 February 2007
The legendary Broadway musical hit the screen, resurrecting the thrill of the original. That, in itself, is a miracle. I suspect that the miracle worker is Bill Condon. The story is told as if it revealed something we've never seen before and his winning innocence triumphs. The casting of Eddie Murphy was a stroke of genius. He unfolds a new inedited face and I predict a new career. The predictability of the tale becomes rewarding rather than annoying and I was surprised and moved all the way through. Jammie Foxx's unsympathetic turn manages to deliver a punch of humanity. Byonce Knowles, Danny Glover and the rest of the cast are a perfect foil for Jennifer Hudson's Cinderella Story. Bravo Mr Condon!
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A Triumph!!
nibbly27 November 2006
What a spectacular movie musical experience! This is one worth waiting in line, if not purchasing advance tickets for. Beautifully realized by writer-director Bill Condon, 'Dreamgirls' brings back thoughts of a few years ago when the movie musical version of 'Chicago' knocked our socks off, and (with the help of the gorgeous 'Moulin Rouge') helped to revive the modern movie musical. The sets, costumes, musical numbers all flow beautifully and make for an incredibly affecting motion picture.

As amazing and eye-popping as all of the scene work and musical numbers are, this is, ultimately, a movie rooted in its performances. Jamie Foxx gives further credence to his stature as an incredibly talented musician, and Beyonce Knowles (known for her vocal talents) still manages to impress with her songs and her voice. Not to mention her stunning beauty, as each costume and scene in which she appears seem to top one another in terms of showcasing her incredible beauty. Eddie Murphy blew me away with not only his truly heartfelt performance as Jimmy Early, but his amazing voice and showmanship. What a talent! Anika Noni Rose, who I fell in love with on Broadway in 'Caroline, or Change,' gives her performance as Laurelle soul and a deep, rich vocal styling. But let's face it..we are all going into 'Dreamgirls' wondering if 'American Idol' contestant Jennifer Hudson can pull it off. She has quite a bit to live up to, as Jennifer Holliday's performance as Effie White in the original Broadway production is legendary. Add to that the fact that this is Ms. Hudson movie debut, she must have been feeling a huge weight on her shoulders to do the part, as well as the show, justice. If she isn't able to do anything less than nail the part of Effie, as well as her signature song, 'And I am Telling You,' the whole production, no matter how great the other aspects hold up, runs the risk of crashing loudly. The question on everyone's mind is: Can she do it?

Let me just say this... I have never sat in a theater watching a musical where the audience erupted in applause like they would in a Broadway theater after a performer's song. Everyone (and I mean everyone!) was wildly applauding when she struck her last note in 'And I am Telling You.' It was such an intense experience to be a part of. I mean...as I am writing this, I am getting goose bumps. But not only is her singing tremendously effective, but her actual performance is just as good. She brings a vulnerability and an innocence that perhaps would not have come through had the part been given to a more experienced movie performer. Ms. Hudson is nothing short of breathtaking and, even if you are not crazy about the rest of the picture (doubtful), you will almost certainly be amazed by her talent. Just remarkable. This has to be one of the most impressive motion picture debuts in the history of cinema. Even during the closing "curtain call," when Jennifer Hudson's name was shown, there was, again, wild applause. A star has been born!!!
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Wow. And I thought it was going to be just "okay".
the_Poppuns13 January 2007
Fantabulous. Stupendous. I can't even believe it. I've changed my pick for Best Picture this year so many times you'd think I have multiple personalities. But let me tell you it's just been a tremendous year for film. Kudos all around. I tell you none of the BP nominees last year, could compete this year. And I loved Brokeback Mountain and Munich.

Dreamgirls is an amazing movie. I know what you're thinking. I didn't believe the hype either. But I saw it today and I actually don't think it's been hyped enough. Everyone deserves to be nominated. But it's just that kind of year, folks. Too many awesome performances not enough nominations. Of course the major buzz has been going to Jennifer Hudson and she does deserve as much praise as she's getting but that's because she's a 15. Everyone else is a 10. So she's better but it's ridiculous how awesome everyone else is. Of course Eddie Murphy's great. He's been in those movies where he plays like 10 fat people, which should have gotten him some recognition all these years, but of course they wouldn't go for that. But now that he's done such a great job here whatever awards he'll get, he'll deserve. And those of us who loved "Party All the Time" are definitely not surprised at his vocal prowess. Jamie Foxx is great again you know, but this time he's playing the villain so maybe that's why he's kinda been ignored. Anika Noni Rose. I don't know where she came from but I loved her too. All great voices. All great performances.

Beyonce. Okay, I'm not a huge fan. She's talented and I appreciated her acting from Austin Powers. Yeah that sounds weird but you could tell she was comfortable on screen and had a lot of fun. I don't generally like the way she and her contemporaries sing nowadays so I wasn't expecting much either way. I figured she'd be passable. But she did such a great job playing Diana Ross. Everything down to the gestures, and the fact that she wanted to lose weight for this, tells me that she definitely took her job seriously. And it paid off.

I think this is rated PG13. I can't remember why. I think there are a few bad words and one quick flash of some drugs. But I wouldn't mind taking a kid to this. Because there is so much more to it that's worth it. In a strange way I thought it would make a great double feature with Happy Feet. So much toe-tapping to be done. People waited in my theater through the credits for Jennifer Hudson's name/image to pop up and they all clapped. That never happens where I live either. Never. And there were little old ladies going "WOOHOO!" after a couple of Effie's songs.

If you like movies, this year go see everything. But make sure that you save time for this one. You're gonna love it.
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Dream-Musical to revive the Genre!!
SajeevaS1 February 2007
The pumped up beats, the glamorous outfits, and that Motown sound - YEAH! Something which the film industry's been waiting for since Chicago won a Best Picture Nod at the Oscars in 2002.

The casting is pitch-perfect. Jennifer Hudson is astounding, which keeps you wondering about her departure from American Idol due to insufficient voting??!! That voice, and those emotions pave the way for Oscar glory. Beyonce Knowles, though many critics have credited her as the weakest link in the movie, is far from being weak. Her radiant-glamour and her 20lbs less voluptuous figure, shine whilst "the Dreams" are on stage. She is far from being the weakest link. As Deena Jones, Beyonce has the voice, experience, looks and talent. Eddie Murphy actually acts, and "NO!" -he does not over-act, play multiple characters, or provides unneeded humor- there is a vein of emotions displayed vividly in his character -James "Thunder" Early - from his love between his wife and back-up singer, drug addiction, and winding career. Its too bad, it took Murphy this long to realise his capability and potential in a significant contribution to the film industry. Jamie Foxx - is easily the weakest link. His performance is insipid and it seems like he has been pasted in the scenes to give them attitude and ego-ism. Though its a very Jamie Foxx character, and is pretty much Curtis Taylor Jr. Jamie Foxx's on-screen presence and performance was not good enough. Anika Noni-Rose did not receive the acclaim she deserved. Sure she is the least known in the cast, but her portrayal of Lorell was spot-on, and was as powerful as Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson's performances. Her voice was amazing, and I hope this movie rockets her career.

The music especially the additional songs, gave this movie the final touches. Amazingly directed by Bill Condon, this is one movie, that lived up to its hype. Loved every bit of it.
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Fast-Paced Film, Incredible Score, Truthful Performances, Sumptuos Physical Design-What More Do You Want?
TheatreManiac721 November 2006
I went to a trade screening of "Dreamgirls" a few days ago and from the first seconds of the film, you can tell that you're in for the time of your life. To put it shortly, Bill Condon (director-writer) delivers the goods with this film. It's most definitely the first of its kind. It moves at a rapturous pace that leaves you breathless and delivers performances that are both subtle and fittingly over the top.

The movie explains plot holes from the Broadway musical and adds many historical occurrences (Martin Luther King Jr., etc.) that gives the film a much more social awareness. Most of the sung dialogue from the musical is replaced with spoken with the exception of a few scenes. The music itself has always been wonderful, and this able cast performs it spectacularly.

The performances are something else. Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murhpy, and Anika Noni Rose will blow you away. Murphy's vocals, though not as strong as his leading ladies, suit his character perfectly and shows a vulnerable side to him towards the end that we never knew he had. Rose makes the transition from a giggly little girl into a full-blossomed woman seamlessly, and Hudson-well, let's just say that any major hype you've heard about her does not do her performance justice. Beyonce Knowles will catch you off guard with her beautifully subtle performance, brilliantly channeling Diana Ross with her musical performances. Jaime Foxx, Keith Robinson, Danny Glover, and Sharon Leal also hand in admirable performances.

I could not recommend this film more. It gives hope AGAIN to the movie musical that "Chicago" revived and "The Phantom of the Opera", "Rent", and "The Producers" almost killed. I can't say whether this film will be the next "Chicago" (I do foresee MANY Oscar noms, including Best Pic and others), I certainly hope it will be. I dream it will be bigger. It is definitely not the next "The Producers". I can say this though: It is the first, and only, "Dreamgirls" that we will ever encounter.
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Terrific adaptation that stands on its own.
KentAustin7 December 2006
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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Jennifer Hudson
daughterofaking113 December 2006
The movie was excellent. I saw it last night and Jennifer Hudson got plenty of cheers and claps all through out the movie. The whole first half of the movie you forget that Beyonce is even in it. Don't get me wrong she does a great job too. Eddie Murphy was also very spectacular. It was good to see him in a film of this caliber again. There are great songs and the movie is aesthetically beautiful to the eyes. There are a number of great actors and actresses in the movie as well and I hope after their performance in Dreamgirls they get more work in the industry. Jennifer Hudson really shines in this movie, she definitely deserves to win any and all awards she is nominated for. PLEASE GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
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Eddie Murphy Was Gypped!
johnstonjames6 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
when the award for best supporting actor was announced at the 2006 academy award show, it was rumored that actor Eddie Murphy was so offended he walked out. he was severely criticized for it, but when you weigh his performance against the winner, Alan Arkin, i really can't say i blame him in the least.

Alan Arkin was given the award as a sympathy award because of his age and seniority in the industry, not for the merit of his performance. even more unfair and insulting, Arkin's performance in 'Little Miss Sunshine' was minuscule and literally(ha ha), very short lived on screen. not only was Arkin's role too small and not of much consequence, it simply doesn't compare with Murphy's energetic and mesmerizing portrayal of Jimmy 'thunder' Early, 'Dreamgirls' ill fated Motown celebrity.

Eddie Murphy sizzles with raw magnetism and musical virtuoso in one of the decades most memorable and powerful performances. Alan Arkin's sweetly deft performance as the little girl's doddering grandfather in 'Sunshine', was really no comparison and not even in the same class. i suppose it was nice to see the over-the-hill Arkin receive an award after all those years, but Arkin has been acknowledged with nominations before, and i doubt Eddie Murphy will ever find another role like this that showcases his numerous, considerable,talents. shame. the academy awards blew it and missed an important opportunity. i guess the pros don't always know what they're doing.

fortunately they knew what they were doing with Jennifer's Hudson amazing acting debut as the much beleaguered character, Effie. Hudson is nothing less than astonishing. it's hard to conceive that she is new to acting in major productions, because she takes to acting like a fish-in-water. Effie is a major role in 'Dreamgirls', with lots of singing and emotional requirements. Hudson manages both singing and acting exceptionally. her rendition of 'I'm Not leaving', is a awe inspiring mix of acting and singing. when Simon Cowell told Hudson she wouldn't go anywhere, he must have been out of his mind. along with Eddie Murphy, Hudson gives one of the decade's very best and most memorable performances.

i don't want to ignore the performance by pop star Beyonce either. she's just great and a even match for the enormously over powering charisma of Murphy and Hudson. Beyonce makes the transition from music video star to handling a major film role, smoothly and effortlessly.

there are also notable and memorable performances from 'Frog Prince' princess Tiana, Anika Noni Rose, and Jamie Foxx from the excellent drama 'Ray'.

'Dreamgirls' is also a good film and good cinema. it never sacrifices it's sense of filmmaking for Broadway musical contrivances. it also handles it strong emotions without ever being sappy, maudlin, or overly sentimental. considering the amount of highly charged emotions that pervade the story, it is all done with a certain matter of fact dryness and with dignity. the characters never seem whiny, pathetic or undignified. in fact they seem like people who are struggling to keep their dignity intact.

of course the music is tuneful and catchy and out of this world. the scene where "white" singers do a very "souless" cover of the "black" 'Cadillac Car', is a little exaggerated, but hilariously well deserved.

the very idea that Eddie Murphy lost out to the geriatric Arkin will probably always steam me and be one of the reasons i now pay very little attention to the Oscar shows. 'Dreamgirls' is a powerful film with mesmerizing performances and deep statements about race and the media. 'Little Miss sunshine' was basically nothing more than a communist manifesto for seven year olds.
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Nothing new
dragon_molester2 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Yeah. Pretty sure I saw this movie years ago when it was about the Supremes.

Another recycled storyline glitzed up Hollywood-style, borrowing scripts from better making-it-in-the-music-industry films.

Nothing original here.

More make-up, glammier costumes and choreography = more money for the questionably "talented" Beyonce draw.

If you like the throwback style, you should appreciate actual groups who struggled (without having digitized voices and a Hollywood empire).

Beyonce's involvement makes this hypocritical garbage.
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Bland and flat
mnpollio25 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Dreamgirls, despite its fistful of Tony wins in an incredibly weak year on Broadway, has never been what one would call a jewel in the crown of stage musicals. However, that is not to say that in the right cinematic hands it could not be fleshed out and polished into something worthwhile on-screen. Unfortunately, what transfers to the screen is basically a slavishly faithful version of the stage hit with all of its inherent weaknesses intact. First, the score has never been one of the strong points of this production and the film does not change that factor. There are lots of songs (perhaps too many?), but few of them are especially memorable. The closest any come to catchy tunes are the title song and One Night Only - the much acclaimed And I Am Telling You That I Am Not Going is less a great song than it is a dramatic set piece for the character of Effie (Jennifer Hudson). The film is slick and technically well-produced, but the story and characters are surprisingly thin and lacking in any resonance. There is some interest in the opening moments, watching Jamie Foxx's Svengali-like manager manipulate his acts to the top, but that takes a back seat in the latter portion of the film, when the story conveniently tries to cast him as a villain, despite his having been right from a business stand-point for a good majority of the film. Beyonce Knowles is lovely and sings her songs perfectly well, but is stuck with a character who is basically all surface glitz. Anika Noni Rose as the third member of the Dreamgirls trio literally has nothing to do for the entire film. Eddie Murphy acquits himself well as a singer obviously based on James Brown, but the role is not especially meaty and ultimately has little impact. Foxx would seem ideal casting, but he seems oddly withdrawn and bored. The film's biggest selling point is surely former American Idol contestant/Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson in the central role of Effie White, the temperamental singer who gets booted from the group and makes a triumphant closing act return. For me, Effie has always been a big problem in both the show and the movie. The film obviously wants you to feel sorry for her and rather ham-handedly takes her side, but I have never been sure that this character deserves that kind of devotion. From the start, Effie conducts herself for the most part like an obnoxious, egotistical, self-centered diva, who is more interested in what everyone else can do for her rather than having much vested interest in the group of which she is a part. When she is booted from the group for her unprofessionalism and bad attitude, the charges are more than well-founded, but the stage show/film seem to think Effie should be cut unlimited slack simply because she has a great voice. Even though the film tries to soften some of Effie's harder edges to make her more likable, the charges still stand. Her story becomes more manipulative by suggesting she should have our further sympathy because she is an unwed mother struggling to raise her daughter - using the implication that (much like the talent card) motherhood immediately makes any behavior excusable. Indeed the only big effort the film makes to show Effie's mothering is to tell us about it and then include a scene where she barks at her daughter in the unemployment office, insists that the girl has "no father" and then refuse to look for gainful employment to support them since singing is all she knows. In the hands of a skillful actress, the gaps could perhaps have been remedied with technique and charisma. Unfortunately, Hudson is not that actress. She sings well, but the dialog-driven moments do not come naturally to her nor do high emotional moments. Effie's signature moment (the aforementioned And I Am Telling You... number) is well-sung by Hudson, but emotionally flat in the acting department. Effie is supposed to expressing her rage and desperation at her predicament, but Hudson comes off as a cabaret performer belting out a hot number. All in all, not quite the emotional highlight one expects. The latter portion of the film is basically a predictable melange of events that maneuver Foxx into Hudson's earlier position and allow her to strut back in and lord it over everyone. Foxx's criminal offenses in the film are undoubtedly par for the course of many struggling record producers, but the film's seeming implication that he has it coming because he helped usher in the disco era is rather ridiculous, not to mention pretentious and condescending, particularly coming from a film with all of the depth of a puddle. The end result is a faithful rendition of the stage hit, drained of emotion, energy or anything that can be described as dynamic.
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Seriously...Kill me now
sasiemaybe26 December 2006
This was longer than the Ten Commandments, All Lord of the Rings and the Matrix Trilogy combined. My oh My, what a nightmare. This is the single biggest over-hype of 2006. THere is not a moment that is not scripted and clichéd. Movie Musicals can be done brilliantly and bring genuine excitement to the viewer. Dreamgirls takes the route of Chinese Water Torture, in the form of endless music montages, shoddy acting, and poor directing choices (Seriously, Mr. Condon, did you HAVE to do the old Billboard countdown shots? It's at #58! No wait, look its rising up the charts and here is the passing Billboard notice to show you again....and again....and again)
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What WERE they thinking?
mmckaibab13 February 2007
Yes there are great performances here. Unfortunately, they happen in the context of a movie that doesn't seem to have a clue what it's doing. During the first 45-60 minutes of this all the music takes place as realistic performance. Suddenly, about an hour in, the characters who, until this point, had always spoken to each other, suddenly start singing to each other. To further confuse things, a little further in, out of nowhere, they actually do about 15 minutes of sung-through dialog, then seem to drop that idea and move on to other things, such as a number that begins in a jazz club with a drummer and two electric guitars suddenly turning into a fully orchestrated piece with a massive unseen string section. On top of all this inconsistency in how the music is used, is the composers' clear inability to actually write music in the style that is supposedly being portrayed. While the first couple of pieces do sort of mimic the 1950s Motown sound, the rest of the film is just (bad) Broadway show music. Then there's the pure silliness of snippets of a group doing a bad Jackson family imitation and Eddie Murphy morphing from Little Richard to James Brown to Lionel Richie. When he started channeling Stevie Wonder I couldn't help laughing out loud. This was clearly one of those films that make me appreciate how little time I have on earth and resent that I wasted two hours of it watching this film.
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The year's big "if"
zetes1 January 2007
It's a crowd-pleaser all right, and I usually object to those. But I have to say, this member of the crowd was rather pleased with the film. It's nothing deep, I'll say right off the bat. It's no cinematic masterpiece that will be a beacon for films to come. What it is, however, is an absolute ball. It's the only film I think I've ever seen that really captures the experience of seeing a great musical in the theater. It's fun, it's rousing, and it just made me feel good. The music is outstanding and surprisingly comes off as stuff that might really have been recorded during the eras depicted, with maybe just the right tinge of Broadway to them. The vocal performances are just outstanding. Of course by now everyone knows the standout is Jennifer Hudson, who will be unstoppable at the Oscars this year. Her acting is quite good, but she'll win it for the singing. I would also be perfectly happy to see Eddie Murphy take home a statuette. He's excellent in both comedic and dramatic moments. Much of the rest of the cast is good, too, including Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni Rose. The story is of course based on that of the Supremes, and in that way, I felt a little Susan Alexander Kane / Marion Davies situation going on with Deena Jones / Diana Ross. While the Dreams are supposed to be only like the Supremes, the film kind of does imply that Ross was not an extremely talented singer, which is of course patently false. Anyway, small quibble. No, Dreamgirls is no masterpiece, but I like it about as much as I liked Chicago, probably a tad more, and I wouldn't be too ticked off if the Academy went with it for Best Picture. I do prefer it slightly to The Departed. I just don't think Scorsese's fourth best movie about organized crime should be crowned. Definitely recommended, as long as you know what you're getting into.
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inauthentic, unwatchable, hideous
vandenberg_guy16 June 2007
I grew up in this age, I loved the music, it was part of my life. This movie creates an ugly caricature of that time and sound. The music doesn't sound anything like the real music of that era: it sounds like a misguided and failed attempt to make the music of that era sound like the current sounds. The story lines and (especially) the characters spontaneously bursting out in song are pathetic and false. I find it utterly, utterly incomprehensible why bona fide stars like Jennifer Hudson, Eddy Murphy, and Jamie Foxx would want to have anything to do with this piece of junk, and completely stunning why this movie won any awards! The acting is bad, the singing is bad, the script was called in by a screenwriter with a hangover on his/her way to a custody settlement hearing. This movie was offensively awful. YECH!
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What an Awful Movie
penncatt29 December 2006
It makes sense to me that this film is getting raves from Hollywood because oftentimes in Hollywood it's all just a popularity contest. It also makes sense when you think that people who are liking the film may just be reacting to the countless songs being spit out at you rather than story content. Yet, this film is overrated and overblown. Eddie Murphy looks just ridiculous. No way do Jeniffer Hudson and Beyonce Knowles give the Oscar rated performance so many have raved over BEFORE the film was even out. I can't even believe that Condon is being set up to be nominated for a Directing Oscar when all he did was put together an album. Glitz does not replace a nothing storyline. A bunch of songs does not a movie make.
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Dreamgirls in Charlotte - Screening
ncvalmont16 November 2006
Saw the preview last night of Dreamgirls in Charlotte, NC. First off I have to say that it is a great interpretation of the stage play. I thought that the script had really fleshed out the show and brought to life ideas that were only briefly touched upon. All of the characters were much more believable on screen, and the added songs really fit in with the rest of the score. The greatest triumph of this movie has to be Jennifer Hudson as Effie. She is truly a star. After she sang, And Im Telling You, the whole audience burst into applause. It was truly magical. I turned to the friend who went with me and said...she definitely will be nominated if not win the Oscar!!!
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Nowhere NEAR Oscar-worthy
curtis-820 February 2007
I just saw DreamGirls yesterday, and I was REALLY underimpressed. Despite all the Oscar buzz, this is nothing special. Anyone who was really impressed by this film has never bothered to see any of the true movie musical classics. Except for Eddie Murphy's great musical and dramatic performance, Dreamgirls is just a glorified TV movie with no style or flair. Just a bunch of amateurs singing AT each other!

Now, the first half hour was good, but I was irritated at how Eddie Murphy's terrific raveup performances were truncated and interrupted by montages. Those were easily the best songs and best performances in the film. And the "rise to the top" portion of the film was the only part of the film that had a consistent point of view or any momentum. The remaining hour and 45 minutes was a formless, rambling mess that was neither realistic nor fantastic enough to be interesting. It was also visually dull and included too many sound-alike tunes.

Condon didn't try to turn any of the tunes into big show pieces as I'd expected they would. Each number in the 2nd half was just one closeup after another of people "singing" AT each other. And the way they shot Hudson's big "love me" number was criminal! Condon just shot her stomping around the stage--no drama at all! God it sucked!

AND note to all involved--that "sing-talking dialog" stuff might work on stage, but it DOES NOT WORK IN MOVIES (see embarrassing failures of Evita and Phantom). All that "I'll teeeell youuuu something Efff-ieeee!" crap should have been left on the editing room floor. Those aren't "songs."

Again, the film--except for Eddie Murphy's amazing performance--was nothing more than a glorified TV movie. There must have been megabucks behind the PR work for this film! I wonder how much money was spent to give it that pre-release "one to beat" Oscar buzz? As a whole this film was, except for Eddie, NOWHERE NEAR an Oscar caliber movie! (except for Eddie) I'd rank it right up there with Grease 2. BIG disappointment, especially after all the (very expen$I've) hype!
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nayanbhula13 February 2007
After all the nominations and wins, my wife and I finally saw this -- I love this era of soul music, so i was really excited about the music. For the most part the music was good...some overblown American Idol theatrics and shrieking instead of singing, but overall good. I was also excited to see the acting...and in the end I wasn't that impressed. Jennifer Hudson seems to be everyones favorite this year, but I didn't think she had to do to much acting...it was good to see a newcomer, so confident in a role -- but in regards to actual nominations, this is probably the last you'll see of her. Eddie Murphy was good in his very small role, I wish that he was given more dialog or more story...if he wins the Oscar, I guess it's the Academy giving him an award for the bulk of his work. But, Hudson clearly shouldn't win...I hope the Academy looks to the Babel nominees, who had to act, not make music videos with emotion! Costumes and make-up were great, Beyonce's role shadowed her real life...in the sense, beautiful woman, good in various forms, singing, dancing, acting...a great product. Not actual a standout in any of them. In the end OK movie, overrated....definitely.
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Deja Vu
onggia12 March 2007
I'm an old guy who was around in the 50's and 60's when they were cranking out those stock rock 'n roll biz movies. I've seen this movie a dozen times before. Dreamgirls has the clichéd characters and the predictable paper thin plot that were characteristic of the genre. Even in the context of that genre Dreamgirls doesn't make the grade because it has an instantly forgettable soundtrack.

I think Dreamgirls was supposed to be a parody of those old movies, but none of the critics got it because they are all too young to have seen them. They are not classics. Dreamgirls takes itself very seriously with not one moment of humor. Therein lies the parody -- nobody took those old rock n roll movies seriously.

As those old rock 'n roll movies demonstrated, transferring great stage numbers straight to film with twinkie filling between the numbers does not make a great movie.

My nomination for the most over-hyped movie of 2006 goes to ...
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z981338 January 2007
I anticipated the release of the film as much as any fan of the Broadway play. I waited and read reviews for months about the award winning performances. I mean with the star power of Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Danny Glover... the movie couldn't be less than 4 out of 4 stars, right? WRONG! I was definitely disappointed by the finished product. The film did not match up to the publicity hype it was given and the only saving graces were Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose and Jennifer Hudson.

Eddie Murphy's James Brownesque performance rescues the movie just when it hits its multiple lulls and Jennifer Hudson's performance compels you to pay attention each time she's on screen. Her performance of "And I Am Telling You" was the only time that I felt the hype was deserved. You cringed as she begged her no good man to let her stay in the group and in his life. As many reviewers have stated, she steals the movie from the more experienced actors and deserves all the accolades she's receiving for this performance. Anika Noni Rose was also a strong presence with a great voice and comedic talent.

Jamie Foxx and Beyonce Knowles, on the other hand, cruised through their performances. Foxx's acting skills for this film seemed to predate his extraordinary "Ray" performance and Beyonce Knowles was on an extended fashion photo shoot or video taping, posing and shimmying her way through the movie. Her performance wasn't strong enough to make you care about her character at any point in the film.

The movie was too hyped, 30 minutes and 1 song (Beyonce's "heartfelt" solo to Jamie Foxx) too long.

DH -- Vancouver, WA
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Don't believe the hype
shoreke1 January 2007
Dreamgirls is a perfect example of why I hate most musicals. Just when there is a poignant dramatic point in the movie...mofos burst into song. That is just not the way human beings behave. The gattdam singing ruins it for me every time. They needed to limit the songs to when the girls were actually performing on stage.

Most of the music in Dreamgirls is second rate, overwrought & melodramatic. Too bad they couldn't use the magnificent Holland-Dozier-Holland songs from the Motown era.

Most of the performances were superficial; but I blame that on the shallow nature of the script. The characters played out like fuzzy facsimiles of real people.

When a gifted child gets a B on a report card we are disappointed it was not an A. If a retard is able to correctly add 2 + 2...we throw the kid a party. Critics are treating Dreamgirls the way we treat retards. Dreamgirls benefits from low expectations. It is a mediocre musical being celebrated as if it was on the same level as the Sound of Music.
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Dreamgirls are anything but!
holden_1 January 2007
First of all, the ads are misleading. This is not a simple rags to riches story drama. This is a big, over the top musical. Lines are often sung instead of spoken, and compared to other musicals of our time, such as Phantom of the Opera, this one unfortunately feels and views as a play; flat and rather amateurish characters and directing made this rather reminiscent of a paltry made-for-TV biography of the Supremes. With a poor semblance of plot, cringe-worthy overacting by all leads at some point and a running time at least a half hour too long, this movie is by far one of the biggest movie disappointments in recent memory. What I will say in praise of this film is that while she's not exactly Oscar-worthy yet; Jennifer Hudson is most definitely one of the best singers that I can recall in recent memory and her performance was the strongest in the film.

But what it comes down to is; could I recommend this with a clear conscience? Sadly no. This movie bit off more than it could chew, and it shows.
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DREAMGIRLS : A Movie Musical To Re-Ignite The Genre With It's Soaring Energy...
cwrdlylyn9 January 2007

Firstly, it would be unfair to review a film like DREAMGIRLS without acknowledging some of it's many flaws. After a year of hype, DREAMGIRLS proves a slight disappointment in terms of emotional gravitas & depth. When a film is hyped for an entire year as the front-runner for the Academy Award, film-goers have every right to go into the film expecting fully-developed characters, rich emotion, & detailed storytelling. However, film-goers be warned... you aren't bound to get what you expect. DREAMGIRLS is rather shallow in terms of character development & genuine plot. However, if you go in expecting the film to be a stunning spectacle of entertainment & fun, you will not be disappointed.

Whatever DREAMGIRLS may lack in terms of complexity, it makes up for with sheer energy & relentless commitment to entertain its audience. The admittedly thin story revolves around the discovery & rising stardom of a trio of young women from Detroit; Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles), Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) & Effie White (Jennifer Hudson). After meeting manager Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx) at an amateur night, the girls find themselves on tour with one of the country's leading African-American entertainers named Jimmy Early (Eddie Murphy). As they tour the country, Curtis romances the girl's lead singer Effie White & slowly develops the girls as a solo act named the Dreams.

However, once the Dreams are ready to cross-over on their own, the dynamic changes completely & the happy rise to stardom becomes troublesome. In order to market the group to white audiences, Curtis replaces Effie with Deena as lead singer, causing a rift in the group dynamic which leads to Effie's retaliation & inevitable dismissal from the group. While the first half of the film focuses on the rise to stardom, the second half focuses on the continued stardom of Deena, who is now married to Curtis, & the struggle of Effie to make it on her own. As is clear from the plot description, the actual twists & turns of the plot are rather complex... but the depth with which they are examined is very lacking.

Nonetheless, what makes DREAMGIRLS one of the most thrilling cinematic experiences of the year is the sheer energy & talent of it's inarguably incredible cast. From the very first notes, it is clear that DREAMGIRLS is a return to the grandest of musical formats. Bill Condon has decided not to hold back in any way. The costumes, the lighting, the music, & the choreography are so "in your face" incredible that once this movie gets going the audience can't slow down. Bill Condon does a decent job of incorporating some racial tones into the film with the Detroit Riots and "I Have A Dream".. but these racial elements can't eclipse the glitz & glamor that makes DREAMGIRLS what it is.

No review of DREAMGIRLS would be complete without acknowledging the contributions of it's incredibly talented cast. Jamie Foxx in the role of conniving businessman Curtis Taylor Jr. brings a subtlety to the screen that is almost off-putting at first when you consider how flashy his performances usually are. However, Foxx's subtle sliminess makes the slow revelation that Curtis is a man virtually devoid of emotion all the more unsettling. Meanwhile, Beyonce Knowles as front-woman Deena Jones is certainly the most beautiful screen presence to reach the silver screen in years. But it would be an understatement to simply acknowledge Beyonce's beauty, as she manages to travel leaps & bounds above her previous screen efforts. On the page, Deena is an incredibly underdeveloped character, but in the few moments of depth we see in Deena, it is clear that the script short-changed Beyonce's potential here.

Eddie Murphy is a sheer joy in one of his best roles, & he exhibits a singing voice that sounds like it was plucked straight out of Motown's heyday. Again, like Deena Jones, Jimmy Early is rather underdeveloped on paper with a drug addiction that seems more like a plot contrivance than a genuine character flaw... but Eddie Murphy gives the sub-plot more resonance than one would expect from the script. His relationship with Lorrell (played by a delightful Anika Noni Rose) is surprisingly the most well developed romantic pairing in the film.

Finally, one can't possibly review DREAMGIRLS without acknowledging the fact that this will go down in history as the moment the world was truly introduced to the talents of Jennifer Hudson. As the most crucial role of the film, Effie White is the most emotionally rich character in the entire piece, while also being a scene stealer both vocally & attitude-wise. Hudson delivers on all levels, especially in the vocal department. If she does not go on to be a significant force in the music industry, it only goes to show that the industry sometimes has no clue what to do with genuine talent. In the acting department, Hudson doesn't shine quite as strongly as she does vocally... but for a reality star's film debut this is a transcendent performance richly deserving of the awards attention she has received.

Overall, one might ask why a film like DREAMGIRLS, with it's numerous flaws and shortcomings is still ranked with a 10 by myself. Personally, I think sometimes a film does not have to be graded simply on it's depth & complexity. There's a place in this world for movies that soar as sheer entertainment just as much as there is a place for heavy, dramatic pieces. DREAMGIRLS isn't the type of film that will change your life or reach it's audience on a deep level. However, it is the type of film I could watch over & over on DVD & still not absorb every detail. DREAMGIRLS might not be the "Best" motion picture of the year, but it certainly is the most entertaining motion picture I've seen in years.

... A ...
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Jennifer's Show!
Britinmiami5 January 2007
You have to put this movie into perspective! I enjoyed it but it was not until later that I realized that it was not that good! It entertains and that is about it! Well some people may say what more do you expect! Well I suppose I wanted the film to be more than it really is. Then again I also wanted the score to be bigger and better than what it was! The story line is OK and does refer to the Supremes story as we all know... However, the music apart from the "BIG" number is boring. I bought the CD and played it twice and got bored! I immediately listen to Wicked and what a major difference! Now that is what you call a great score! The greatest thing about this movie is Jennifer Hudson! She is perfect for the part and she does a great job with her acting. Also she gives a great performance of a really great song. Everyone knows she was under pressure to reach the levels of Jennifer Holiday and I think she did a good job. However, its was her acting ability that pulled it off.

The other star of this show was Eddie Murphy. He was quite outstanding in this film and his role was almost believable. The problem he had was that he was not given enough time to develop the role...

The other huge gap in this film was the relationship that was supposed to exist between Foxx and Hudson. Where was it? I think they could have cut the terrible slushy scenes with Foxx and Knowles and concentrated on the relationship with the other two. Now that would have made the film much more interesting.

Ah but we have to have our eye candy Beyonce to sell the film. What a pity any time was spent on her as I must be the only person around who is not bothered if I never saw her again! However, I am certainly going to follow the career of the brilliant Jennifer Hudson! You go girl!
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