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Dreamgirls, Children, Iwo Jima and more

Christian critics consider Dreamgirls, Children of Men, Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan's Labyrinth, We Are Marshall, The Good Shepherd, and Night at the Museum. Plus, new reviews of Rocky Balboa, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Charlotte's Web.

Christmas is over, the new year has arrived, and top ten movie lists are springing up all over the place. You can scan almost 200 critics' lists at Movie City News, and Christianity Today Movies will run its end-of-year lists in the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, the cineplexes are full of end-of-2006 releases competing for Oscar attention. Are any of them worth watching? Or is it all just a bunch of hype? Here's an overview of recent releases, and what Christian film critics are saying about some of these movies.

Dreamgirls delivers the musical goods

American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson is singing up a storm in Dreamgirls, the big screen version of the popular Broadway musical.

Hudson plays Effie, one member of the Dreamettes, a Detroit vocal trio that also includes Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose). Effie's lover, Curtis (Jamie Foxx), is their manager. Add Eddie Murphy in a supporting performance that's getting some Oscar buzz, and you've got quite a cast.

Still, it's newcomer Hudson, and her show-stopping number near the end of the film, that has critics raving. But that doesn't necessarily mean the film is something to celebrate. Christian film critics have some reservations about this film, which was hyped as a sure-thing Oscar winner.

Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies) praises Hudson, but asks if Oscars should really be handed out for intensity rather than acting. He also notes that it's "almost a concert movie, and the 'dramatic' bits that come between the songs are little more than padding or connective tissue. … What matters is the songs, some of which do work rather well; you're likely to come out of the theater humming one or two of them, and you might even feel ...

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