Nightmare wrote in with a look at a test screening DREAMGIRLS.
'Tis a long review (which we really appreciate) and the gist of it is: he loves the film, although he thinks some of its cast was underutilized, and feels that the film actually moves too quickly.
Personally, I'd rather it move too quickly than too slowly -- I prefer a film that gets the job done instead of overstaying its welcome (a bad habit many films have these days...the notion of "pacing" seems to have gone out the window, even in movies I love).
I'm really interested in this project; it hits on December 21. Which means: it's ROCKY -VS- DREAMGIRLS. The possibilities boggle the mind.
Went to an early preview screening tonight, something I vowed never to do again after a fucking nightmare last time when I waited for three hours for a preview of Cars and then got kicked out because I was in the wrong demographic (which is bullshit because I love Pixar).
But whatever, free popcorn and Coke made me do it. Plus my girlfriend is a musical fanatic and the flyers said the movie was a Broadway musical with big stars and it's about a girl group in the 1960s, so we knew it was going to be Dreamgirls. I don't mind musicals anyway. I saw Chicago, which was just OK. I saw Sound of Music as a kid and hated it. I did like Willy Wonka as a kid. And I liked 8 Mile, if you call that a musical? My girlfriend made me see Rent, a total POS which she loved.
Anyway, the screening was at the Pacific Gaslamp multiplex here in San Diego. Packed house and everybody was buzzing and cheered when we were told we were seeing Dreamgirls, so a lot of people know more about it than I did. They said we were the first to see the movie blah blah blah and the movie wasn't finished and could have technical problems that would be fixed later. It was true, there were sound problems where the dialog would crackle and cut out at one point in the movie.
If you asked me before what I was going to think of this movie, I would have guessed it was going to be just OK, but my girlfriend was going to love it.
So much for my predictions. I tell you man, this movie is FUCKING AMAZING. Definitely the best I've seen for a long, long time.
I loved this movie, and the whole audience there went completely bananas for it. I saw the trailer probably six months ago but didn't have a feeling one way or the other about it. I didn't have any idea it was going to be as good as it is.
The audience clapped after every song, we clapped for the characters, and during the big musical numbers we were cheering and yelling out. It was like being at a concert, a lot of fun. And at the end of the movie after the credits people yelled out "MORE!" You ask anybody at the screening and theyll tell you this happened. Amazing for a preview, I've never seen that happen.
The opening of the movie is great as we go suddenly into the world of live music and lights and sound. The music is unbelievable! It pumps you up every time a song comes on. The story is simple: three girls (Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and one other) get a gig as back-up singers to Eddie Murphy's character who is kind of a James Brown (everybody around us was saying this was the story of the Supremes, but this is obviously fictional. I don't know much about the Supremes, so maybe there are some truths to the story.) One of the girls is chunkier than the others and gets kicked out of the group, even though she's the lead singer and has this amazing voice - obviously that's Jennifer Hudson.
I admit I actually used to watch American Idol. So shes fired by Jamie Foxx who is really the bad guy in this for a change, a sleazy record company guy who is playing off Jennifer Hudson against Beyonce, who he starts sleeping with (we don't see this but it's no secret he's cheating on Jennifer Hudson.) Beyonce becomes the huge star and lead singer and Jennifer Hudson is left in the dust. I won't tell you the rest of the story although this is a film of a musical so obviously some people will already know what happens (I had never heard of Dreamgirls the musical by the way). I'll just say Jennifer Hudson isn't out of the story for long.
So the movie starts at a concert and the music is pumping from the beginning and I have to say it's GREAT music. We will defnitely be getting the CD. There are uptempo songs that Eddie Murphy sings (he's come a long way with his singing by the way. Remember Party All The Time lol). Eddie's songs are very catchy. Then the most incredible part of the movie is when Jennifer Hudson and the girls have this vicious catfight (not physically but in a song, but it's intense, one of the best acting scenes I can remember seeing for a long time in a movie) and then she sings this song that I won't even describe. The whole crowd in the theater was cheering and then people were standing up after the song. I have never seen a musical with songs that get the crowd so pumped up. Then when Beyonce becomes the big star she has her own songs, which are also great songs (not at all like her usual radio stuff, by the way)
In terms of the actors, Eddie Murphy is hilarious as he and the girls go on tour at the beginning and he gets it on with the third girl, who is also hilarious, by the way. You could tell the audience loved her character. Then Eddie's character takes a nosedive into drugs and the whole record company (which is like Motown) goes to pieces in the 70s. Then disco arrives, which is also very funny.
There are so many funny scenes I can't remember them all. But Eddie is also incredible as a dramatic actor and it all gets quite dark. This is a complete return to form for Eddie. He will get an Oscar for this, and so will Jennifer Hudson. Even Beyonce is great in this - believe me.
Beyonce is not at all like Beyonce, by the way. She plays a small part at first (I didn't actually know it was her) until she becomes the lead singer, and then she's like this glamour queen but not in a Beyonce/Destiny's Child way, more of like a black Marilyn Monroe. She has dramatic scenes and it was like with Eddie Murphy: you don't see it coming and suddenly she's acting very well in these heavy scenes. I am very critical and her acting is excellent. And Jennifer Hudson is absolutely Academy-Award level.
One thing I would criticize about the movie was that there were some characters who should have had more scenes, because sometimes just when you're getting interested in a character they disappear. Like Danny Glover is the best example of that. I've never really thought of him as the best actor in the world but in this hes excellent! But his part's too small for him to get noticed (if he had more scenes I would say he would be nominated for an Oscar for supporting role). He plays Eddie's manager and he and Jamie Fox have a big falling out scene where they're fighting over who represent Eddie.
The movie is nonstop, VERY fast paced. It takes you through the 60s with racial riots and Martin Luther King, then disco as I said and so many types of music. If you're into music at all you have to see this movie.
The camerawork and lighting and editing is one of the best parts about the movie. You just want to keep looking at all these images.
So that's it, there's a LOT in this movie so I want to see it again. If anything the story probably moved almost too fast. The movie could have been a few minutes longer to spend more time on things. It all went by very quickly.
My girlfriend of course went crazy during this movie and was actually the one who wanted me to send in a review because she wants everybody to see it. I would rate this 10 out of 10 and is probably the best movie I've seen in a couple of years.
We couldn't believe how much we got into this movie and the music. Everybody was tapping their feet and laughing and cheering. They handed comment cards at the end and I would say all the scores would have to be very high. At the end of the movie the whole crowd was applauding for a long time and they had this part when the credits were on where they had clips from all the different actors, and everybody clapped like crazy for each actor and then screamed nonstop when Jennifer Hudson came on.
Sorry I'm tired I just got home and we went for drinks after and now I'm writing all of this, so it's long and probably all over the place, sorry. If you post this review call me Nightmare. Definitely see the movie when it comes out.