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Beyonce Knowles as Etta James

December 2008 motion picture release

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Underdone and overlooked

  • Feb 14, 2009
  • by
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. SASS biopic of Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess Records, played by Adrian Brody
2. Quick look at Chicago in the time of segregation
3. Stirring portrayal of Muddy Waters by Jeffrey Wright
4. Short history of Little Walter, played by Columbus Short
5. Quick peek at Chuck Berry, portrayed by Mos Def
6. Quick leer at Etta James, portrayed by Beyonce
7. Passing glimpses of Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker) and Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer)

The problem with this movie is that it doesn't go deep enough into anything, skimming the historical and background stuff to focus instead on cars, cigarettes, alcohol and assorted misbehavior. The main thing you'll learn here is not what made these legends tick, but that they really, really liked Cadillacs.

A good cast, great music and a story that could have been a lot better than this. The stories of these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers deserve more than this superficial skim.

Amanda Richards, February 14, 2009

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More Cadillac Records reviews
review by . December 29, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Excellent theatrical and musical performances by all involved.     Cons: Not enough time to tell the story.     The Bottom Line: Cadillac Records was just the beginning of our musical journey into these very interesting and influential (Black) American lives.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. The roots of Rock-n-Roll, they used to change depending on your skin color and who was telling the …
review by . December 10, 2008
posted in Music Matters
Cadillac 1
In the opening moments of "Cadillac Records" the audience is advised that the film is "based on a true story".  Well, sort of.  I have read a lot about the history of rock and roll over the years and the fact is that the producers of this film chose to take quite a bit of artistic license with the story of Chicago's legendary Chess records.   You see Chess records was founded in Chicago in 1950 by the Chess brothers, Leonard (Adrien Brody) and …
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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About this movie


Cadillac Records is a 2008 musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company executive Leonard Chess, and the singers who recorded for Chess Records.

The film stars Adrien Brody as Chess, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Columbus Short as Little Walter, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. The film has been rated R by the MPAA for "pervasive langauge and some sexuality". The film is set for release in North America on December 5, 2008.

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Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 6, 2008
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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