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Three-singer saga of the 1970s sort

December 31, 2006|SUSAN KING

* Flashback: Three decades before "Dreamgirls" hit the big screen, there was "Sparkle." The 1976 musical drama set in the 1950s makes its DVD bow Tuesday.

Written by Joel Schumacher, who went on to direct numerous films, including "The Lost Boys" and "The Phantom of the Opera," the film revolves around singing sisters (Lonette McKee, Dwan Smith and Irene Cara) from Harlem who dream of becoming stars. A pre-"Miami Vice" Philip Michael Thomas plays their manager. Curtis Mayfield penned the music, which includes "Look Into Your Heart" and "Loving You Baby."

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Posse of multiple personalities

* The couch potato: Martin Lawrence was a popular stand-up comic who had appeared in the "House Party" flicks when he got his own show, aptly titled "Martin," on Fox in 1992. This Tuesday the first complete season of the ribald comedy series arrives on DVD. The show, which ran until 1997, found Lawrence playing a character based on his stand-up act -- Martin Payne, a glib Detroit radio talk show host. Lawrence also played Sheneneh Jenkins, Martin's loudmouthed, dimwitted neighbor, as well as his mother, Emma, a security guard named Otis and a hippie named Jerome.

Lawrence's screen career took off during the heyday of the series, especially when he and Will Smith teamed for the 1995 hit "Bad Boys." But save for 2000's "Big Momma's House," Lawrence's film choices have been less than stellar.

-- SUSAN KING

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