This week at the movies, we’ve got the rise and fall of a girl group ("Dreamgirls," starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, and Eddie Murphy) and some yuletide splatter ("Black Christmas," starring Michelle Trachtenberg). What do the critics have to say?
At the height of its powers, Motown was described by label head Berry Gordy as "the sound of young America." "Dreamgirls" is a musical about a fictional (but loosely based upon the Supremes) girl group’s rise and fall during the heady days when black pop first became the soundtrack for kids across the racial divide. An early Oscar favorite, "Dreamgirls" largely lives up to the hype, according to the pundits, with quality songs and strong performances from Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and especially "American Idol" castoff Jennifer Hudson. At 77 percent on the Tomatometer, "Dreamgirls" is Certified Fresh.
Ah, the holiday season: a time for reflection, goodwill toward others… and piles of dead sorority girls. Nothing makes spirits bright quite like a remake of the 1975 proto-slasher "Black Christmas," which wasn’t screened for critics before hitting theaters on (surprise!) Christmas day. Well, since it opened, a few reviews have trickled in, and they’re not very nice. The plot: a group of sisters trapped inside a sorority house are picked off one-by-one by a prank-calling madman. While some critics say the film has flashes of sick wit, others say it’s too generic and too short on tension to generate scares. At 15 percent on the Tomatometer, "Black Christmas" is on the critics’ "naughty" list.
Also opening this week in limited release: the Spanish period comedy "Unconscious" is at 100 percent; Guillermo Del Toro‘s eerie magic realist fantasy "Pan’s Labyrinth" is at 98 percent; "Children of Men," Alfonso Cuaron‘s dystopian sci-fi actioner starring Clive Owen, is at 94 percent; "Notes on a Scandal," a cat-and-mouse thriller starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, is at 82 percent; "Miss Potter," which explores the inner life of children’s author Beatrix Potter and stars Renee Zellweger, is at 71 percent; "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," Tom Tykwer‘s visually sumptuous serial killer film, is at 58 percent; and "The Dead Girl," a dark, multipart drama starring Toni Collette and Brittany Murphy, is at 50 percent.
Recent Film Musicals: