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DVD guide

We review releases of 'Dreamgirls' and 'Little Children.'

Little Children (R)

Adapted from the book by Tom Perrotta, this look at suburban ennui is surprisingly unsettling. Kate Winslet, as a housewife ill-suited to the role, takes up with Brad (Patrick Wilson), the all-American stay-at-home dad next door. It's easy to see why she turns from a distant husband recently preoccupied with porn. A little less convincing is why Brad, who can't seem to pass the bar exam, would stray from his gorgeous wife (Jennifer Connelly). An unexpected subplot makes for the film's best performances. Jackie Earle Haley plays a convicted child-molester living with his mother who is obsessively hounded by a neighbor intent on protecting the community. The suburbs, even when they're as dark as this one, are an easy target. But there's fertile ground in exploring the simmering boredom and resentment that can tinge what are meant to be the most fulfilling rituals of adulthood: marriage and parenthood. Grade: B+
Teresa Méndez

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Dreamgirls (PG-13)

Sure, "Dreamgirls" is a musical, but it still has the least dialogue in the movies since the heyday of Jean-Claude Van Damme beat-'em-ups. Transparently based on the rise of Diana Ross & The Supremes, "Dreamgirls" follows a Detroit female trio led by vocal star Effie (Oscar Cinderella Jennifer Hudson) until she's sidelined by Berry Gordy — oops, I mean Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) — in favor of photogenic Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles). A labored second act centers on Effie's second act. Motown-style tunes are a treat as choreography, lighting, and editing provide snap, crackle, and pop. In the end, fatigue sets in after one song too many. Extras: Interviews with just about everybody on the set except for the fog-machine guy. Grade: B
Stephen Humphries


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