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Zombie Bill & The Hedgehog have found their DREAMGIRLS!!!

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:

Hey Harry,

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.

The Hedgehog

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 11, 2006, 12:58 p.m. CST

    welcome plant

    by Stollentroll

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 12:59 p.m. CST


    by Barry Egan

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Dreamgirls vs Kill Bill

    by Stollentroll

    Comparing Dreamgirls to Kill Bill is like comparing Little Man to Monty Python.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:09 p.m. CST

    I love Condon

    by Ravengrey26

    Plant, shmant...Condon's work has been stellar, and I needed this to remind me of that so that I do make sure to go see Dreamgirls. I'm not a big fan of musicals, but in Condon's hands this should be some compelling stuff...

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I don't need to see Jamie Foxx ever again

    by Mgmax

    Jamie Foxx is like the Craig Wasson of black actors. Miami Vice completely killed any desire to ever see him on screen again. I'd watch all three Blade movies for the subtlety and nuance of Wesley Snipes before I'd sit through Miami Vice again. If it weren't for Samuel Jackson I'd take the pledge not to see any movie starring a black actor for the next five years-- I mean, Will "I'm so cute" Smith, Laurence "I am verrrrry impoooooortant" Fishburne, Martin Richard Pryor is Funnier Dead Than Me Alive Lawrence, and don't make me come back there and smack you for mentioning Tyler Perry. Only the great Samuel keeps me from having to wonder if I suddenly turned racist about actors.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Plants & Trolls

    by utz_world

    3 good reviews, eh? I guess Paramount & DreamWorks have the best English major interns in the business, huh? Trolls! Mgmax: Yeah, you're racist...but I don't think for one second that you "suddenly" became that way! Stolentroll: You truly live up to the latter part of your name!

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:34 p.m. CST


    by veritasses

    Beyonce is an incredible singer. Smoking hot too. But the's a HORRIBLE actress and we all know it. Eddie Murphy is barely passable as a dramatic actor. Danny Glover is flat and uninspiring in most of the roles he plays. And Jennifer Hudson is incredibly annoying and highly over rated as a singer. She might be a natural actor like Oprah in The Color Purple, but the odds of that are pretty slim. Even with a good director, it's hard to imagine this movie being anything close to being "...virtually flawless..." with this cast. It might get "...tons of Oscar buzz..." for "Best Song" but I'd be surprised if there's any buzz for any of the major categories.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST


    by Stollentroll

    "You truly live up to the latter part of your name!" Thank you, Sir.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Danny Glover-- the black Otto Kruger

    by Mgmax

    Go watch Magnificent Obsession and you'll see what I mean.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Stolentroll shows his age and level of class.

    by DirtyRatBastard

    Comparing Dreamgirls to Kill Bill is like comparing Little Man to Monty Python? Well, for one, Dreamgirls, the original musical, won an unprescedented amount of Tony awards during its original run. Kill Bill won the hearts of prepubescent geeks and lovable losers everywhere. To be honest, you cannot compare the two, nor should they ever be compared. Besides, Dreamgirls as film has the potential to be very successful if it has any semblance to the original musical...the shit was hot. But what do I know, I just have culture and class, where that is impossible to have within the genre caste that so ignorantly frequents this site. Here's a hint that many have said before me, and will say after me...YOU CAN LIKE MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF FILM.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Too soon

    by Badger999

    Whatever happened to the AICN TV show? I stumbled across its listing on the IMDB the other day. I didn't even remember there was one.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 2:52 p.m. CST

    On the subject of Jamie Foxx

    by Badger999

    Well... I'm not really a fan of his either, but that's a personal preference when it comes to his style, not because he's black. Morgan Freeman is black, and I think he's a terrific actor. I think the real problem is not with black actors, but with actors having to act "black" so they get the only roles being written for them. I'm not saying that's a good thing at all, but I think that's probably what's happening.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Stollentroll replies

    by Stollentroll

    Actually, having "culture and class" doesn't go well with listening to musicals, don't you agree? Try Johann Sebastian Bach if you wanna show off your "culture". Also, I don't think "Kill Bill" was aimed at prepubescent geeks at all - to me, Tarantino's films rather compare to the works of Godard than to geek movies such as ID4. And one last thing...whoever will say of himself "I just have culture and class"...certainly does not have any of the above.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 2:58 p.m. CST

    The Greenhouse Effect

    by exie

    There's a plethora of plants in here today!

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Two things

    by Drcool975

    Stollentroll is an ignorant assclown. Nobody will care or remember Kill Bill ten years from now except the sad, tired never grew up, comic book fans who idolize that video store geek hack. Second, mgmax is a racist piece of shit.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:07 p.m. CST

    The AICN TV Show...

    by tonagan

    I think that went down the tubes after Bill Maher snapped at Harry on Politically Incorrect when Harry said (paraphrasing) that "anybody could have a TV show".

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:07 p.m. CST

    leafy green review

    by Kevahearn

    Y'know, it often makes me nuts when people start screaming "PLANT!" every time they see a positive review on AICN. But, man, the world's strictest vegan could eat this review without the slightest twinge of conciensce.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:15 p.m. CST

    What do you gays mean "Plant"?

    by Drcool975

    Like any movie studio exec in his right mind would take the time out to garner positive buzz from the 17-45 live-at-home whiteboy demographic on this website. Nobody cares what Ain't It Cool News or its stupid posting base thinks. If these positive reviews were about an afore-mentioned Tarantino flick or Batman Two or whatever, you'd be falling over yourselves posting about it would own.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by exie

    I actually know for a fact that studios and producers have their staff come on here and in talkbacks to start or change buzz. Friends of mine who worked in the studio system have told me this and one of my friends works for a major producer who has a staffer monitor the boards daily. With the box office suffering a bit, it'd be stupid of them to not use this free form of advertising to put some more asses in seats.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:26 p.m. CST


    by Dannychico

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:26 p.m. CST

    part II

    by exie

    Not to mention, the demo that you described us as is probably the demo Dreamgirls is testing softest with -- if positive buzz on here can get the 18-45 yo whiteboys to show up for this, they will be ecstatic

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Why is AICN wasting time on this?

    by Trazadone

    Seriously, there is nothing remotely "cool" about this stupidness. I thought this was a site for geeky men. Geeky men don't care about this musical crap.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 3:41 p.m. CST


    by nef

    map of hawai... I GET IT . LOLOLOL...YES. SCORE

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 4:27 p.m. CST

    True Movie Geeks

    by Rebeck

    Like ALLLLLLLL types of movies, Trazadone. Not just the latest superhero movie. Only in the last couple years has it been reduced to comic book movies. Get a life, dude, and widen your horizon.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 4:50 p.m. CST


    by vinceklortho

    Wow, geeks, maybe this is a pretty good movie? I love how the nerds on this site freak out and call plant when a movie they are truly afraid of gets great reviews. You nerds truly do not hold the barometer of what's "cool". All movie nerds should check out one thing for this project: Bill Condon.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Why some of you are scared of this being good

    by RefriedBeaner

    Some of you don't want this to be good because if you go alone to see this, you'll come off as a homosexual. So I suggest you just get dates....oh right...nevermind. Just wait until it comes out of DVD and stop instantly criticizing a popular broadway show brought to film by a respectable director with an interesting cast.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 6:16 p.m. CST


    by -guyinthebackrow

    What about Denzel? No love for Denzel?

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 6:21 p.m. CST


    by -guyinthebackrow

    You cry homophobia to your fellow talkbackers, but your handle contains an anti-Mexican slur? Interesting.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 7:07 p.m. CST

    There be Plants in this Talkback

    by veritasses

    Isn't the fact that we even see Plants a sure sign that the Producers don't have any confidence in the commercial success of a movie? Why else would they need to resort to using Plants? There's a strong possibility that Plants might even have a negative impact because of the backlash.

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 9:05 p.m. CST


    by Drcool975

    Not one movie in Box Office history has been made or broken by this site. There may truth to what you are saying about studios unleashing plants for some of the bigger action/comic book flicks but I highly doubt the producers of Dreamgirls think the AICN Nerd endorsement is going to put asses in the seats. Most likely the posters saw a prescreening and loved it. The end. Everythang ain't a conspiracy.

  • Aug. 12, 2006, 1:22 a.m. CST

    Could be a plant

    by Plum

    Or it could be a literate AICN reviewer. Had to happen sometime. Bill Condon did a great job with CHICAGO and KINSEY, and DREAMGIRLS, with Michael Bennet's cinema-inspired directorial style, is a natural candidate for a film adaptation. I'm still dubious about the casting, but even mediocrities can look great with the right material and direction.

  • Aug. 12, 2006, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Black Actors (Non Racist Comment)

    by Rojira

    I think that a lot of black actors have been unfairly portrayed in a lot of films. They're basically used for comic relief, which is pretty insulting if you ask me. If more black actors were actually given meatier roles that utilise their acting skills there wouldn't be stereotypical use of their ethnicity and colour. I mean if the film you're making has a comic relief character whose black and its a comedy then yes by all means you can have them act as that type of character. But don't pigeonhole them in that type of role. Give them more roles that show their acting chops! With my screenwriting I don't use colour to define a person, I just describe what they're wearing and what type of look they have. If you are casting and you find an actor whose right for the job and he's black, then dammit hire them!

  • Aug. 12, 2006, 2:32 p.m. CST

    If you think black actors have it bad...

    by veritasses

    you might want to ask a Hispanic, American Indian or Asian person where they rank in the Hollywood social ladder. Black actors have it made compared to the other minorities. Though obviously white actors don't even need a ladder as they are already at the top.

  • Aug. 14, 2006, 2:24 p.m. CST

    It might be a really good movie

    by hisurfer

    Reports are that the 20" teaser got cheers at Cannes too, and that the studio is getting ready for a major Oscar push with Dreamgirls. Bill Condon has an amazing track record, the cast is a wet dream for both gay men and the African-American community - I'm fully ready to believe that this is the film of the year.