Today (December 15th, 2006)was a great day and a sad day for me. It started with a trip down to Los Angeles to see a preview screening of Dreamgirls - can I just say Wow, and I'll say that backwards as well, "Wow!"
First off - Eddie Murphy as James Thunder Early was dynamite - I was mesmerised and captivated from the minute he appeared on the screen. He's back, ya'all! If he doesn't get an Oscar nom then he will have been robbed, he is THAT good.
Jennifer Hudson is breathtakingly Oscar worthy as Effie. I cannot believe that Hudson came into this film as a novice - she more than holds her own with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce and simply tears up the screen. You WILL go to see her performance more than once - she is just that good.
She also is a testament to the brilliant directing of Bill Condon (who kindly signed my numbered Dreamgirls lithograph before the lights dimmed). Really - how could the HFPA have snubbed him for a Golden Globe nomination? This girl did not come off the street as a brilliant actress - somebody had to play a part in getting that performance out of her. He stood behind me watching as we, the first paying audience to see Dreamgirls took it all in. This was a little distracting for me at first but as the story unfolded I assure you, you will be as captivated as I was.
I was surprised by the lackluster performance by Jamie Foxx - he was supposed to be the villain in the story and I expected him to be more menacing and "black godfatherish" in his role but he fades to the background in scenes with Hudson and Murphy. I was suprised by this but it is true.
It was nice to see the original Lorell Robinson, Loretta Devine as a Jazz Singer toward the end of the movie, proving that she is still an original Dream girl. All I can say is please go see this movie - the performances are legendary and deserve to be seen and savored. The cinematographer Toby Schliessler and theatrical lighting designers Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer made the visuals on the screen look like a work of art. The costumes are true to the period and beautiful. I was not familiar with the work of Eddie nominated Avid editor Virginia Katz, but I will do a follow up interview with her soon - she is a talent to watch. Let me know what you think about the movie, add your comments below.
The sad note to this story was that after we saw this movie, we heard that a close family member had passed away and that I will be travelling again as a result. Life is fleeting my friends so give your flowers to the living while you can. I love you all and wish I could be with you in person.