Hey folks, Harry here with our San Diego spy, "Zombie Bill". After Beatrix exploded his heart - you'd think Bill would never love again... well he crawled his cadaverous kung fu corpse to the test screening of Bill Condon's DREAMGIRLS. Shit, I don't blame him. Condon is an emerging filmmaking genius - and DREAMGIRLS is his "coming out" party. GODS & MONSTERS and KINSEY showed off his nuance as a director and a writer, while CHICAGO showed off his razzle dazzle for the musical genre. I'm expecting great things from DREAMGIRLS and it certainly seems... that's what we got...
Last night I saw a test screening of the movie, Dreamgirls, starring Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover and Jennifer Hudson. I must start by telling you that I am not completely sold on movie musicals. For the most part, I would rather see it on stage before I see it on screen. It just seems like musicals are difficult to translate to film. But of course there is always an exception to the rule and Dreamgirls is most definitely it.
As soon as the movie began, I knew Dreamgirls was in no way a traditional Broadway meets Hollywood musical. Writer/director, Bill Condon, intelligently stripped the movie of any Broadway cheesiness you might have seen in other movie musicals like The Producers and Rent. He instead kept the majority of the performances on stage and out of the street. By the time the first song was sung off stage, I was so engaged in the story I completely failed to notice or mind that it had even happened. The music itself is so infectiously singable. It has a vintage soulfulness that I think could easily make a big hit in todays music industry. It was no doubt a huge hit during the screening. Almost every number received cheering and loud applause. It was amazing to see the audience filled with energy and excitement after each number.
What really sold me on this film, however, was the acting talent of the entire cast. I expected the music to be great, but I never imagined the acting would be so outstanding. All I can say is Eddie Murphy will blow you away. He plays an unruly James Brownish character whose unpredictable antics will definitely make you laugh. Anika Noni Rose is a scene stealing fiend. Keep your eyes open, you will love her. Diana Ross, I mean, Beyonce Knowles is an amazing specimen. Her voice, her moves, her everything. She has the makings of a true Hollywood movie star. But the brightest of all the shining stars is by far, Jennifer Hudson. She plays, Effie White, a dismissed diva who sings a few show stopping songs that filled the audience with goose bumps, tears and uncontrolable cheers. She will definitely be a star after this movie. I can't believe that this is her film debut! There was such a believable realness to every word that came out of her mouth. I didn't matter whether the words were spoken or sung the audience loved every second of it. No pretense, no arrogance, just raw emotion. Definitely a sight worth seeing.
Besides a few slightly confusing bits of montage where Jamie Foxx steps into the bad side, Dreamgirls is virtually flawless. There will no doubt be tons of Oscar buzz. I highly recommend anyone who thinks they don't like musicals to go see it. It will completely change your perspective and believe me, you won't be able to get the songs out of your head. There will be a definite repeat viewing on my part and who knows maybe I'll watch it as many times as I watched Kill Bill.
And then that dirty fuzzy man known only as The Hedgehog burrowed in with this brief review:
Got a chance to catch this one in San Diego - loved it, thought it was a great movie and for it to be not yet finished...that's insane...First off the acting was great, Eddie Murphy was amazing and that girl from American Idol blew my mind, has she acted before in her life?
Loved all the acts in the opening talent show. The whole movie moves so fast - nothing really stands out that I didn't like, although I was a bit confused at the part towards the beginning when Jamie Fox is starting up the studio, it shows cuts of him selling a bunch of cars and then going to a boxing match, I'm guessing it was a rigged fight that he had set up to make the money, I mean it all came together at the end but it was just a little confusing when it was going on.
Nothing stood out as slow, I mean it was mixed with singing throughout enough that I didn't get disinterested ever. I really thought it was great and am excited to see it again when it's in theatres. People were applauding all the way through the movie, after a lot of the numbers and sometimes even during them. Oh, and after seeing that movie it made me wish I could bend Beyonce over, give her a good rodgering and make a map of Hawaii on her back....j/k...kind of.