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Purple Rain | HD DVD | (20/08/2007)
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While "rock musical" remains a phrase used by sadistic parents to give their offspring nightmares the genre does occasionally throw up the odd gem, Purple Rain being perhaps the shiniest example. Given the theatricality of Prince's stage shows, it was only a matter of time before the diminutive pop potentate found himself a big-screen vehicle but few could have predicted that Purple Rain would become nothing less than a cultural phenomenon. The story, co-written by one-time Starsky & Hutch scripter William Blinn, may be a somewhat hackneyed tale with His Purpleness overcoming a troubled background and musical rival Morris Day to achieve his dreams of rock stardom. However, the cast, which also includes Prince protegée Appollonia, rises above the clichés to hand in a set of performances which, while never likely to trouble the Oscars, prove that all concerned can at least play a rough approximation of themselves with minimal difficulty. What really helped push the film's box-office receipts through the roof, however, was its soundtrack featuring a clutch of hit singles--notably "When Doves Cry"--and which cemented our pint-sized hero's position as one of the globe's premiere performing artists. Sadly, subsequent attempts to re-bottle this particular brand of lightning with Under The Cherry Moon and Graffiti Moon would prove substantially less successful, but Purple Rain still looks--and, more importantly sounds--rarely less than funktastic. --Clark Collis
Dreamgirls | HD DVD | (28/05/2007)
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Dreamgirls follows the rise of a trio of women who have formed a promising girl group - The Dreamettes. At a talent competition they get the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the back-up singers for headliner James 'Thunder' Early. Though the Dreams become a crossover phenomenon they soon realize that the cost of fame and fortune may be higher than they ever imagined...