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|Index||84 reviews in total|
I never knew how influential and truly amazing blues music was. And living in the Chicagoland area it truly makes me proud and grateful the such history is so close by. And while the film left out certain aspects of the true struggle of the musician/singers of that day, it really brought to mind the lack of compensation for their works and acts of today. The film itself was basically what you expect from a biopic of any music group or styling. The delightful beginning exposure and find of artist, the beginning struggle, their great rise, their slow abusive fall, and their final collapse. But what wasn't so cookie cutter and norm was the content to be found in this picture. Really dynamic music, lots of sex and nudity, and even more pervasive language. This really allowed the characters to come to life, but also demonized the characters and didn't allow you to feel any compassion or loss for their troubled lives. While content allows the characters to live, I think in this case it really was extended without purpose. By showing nudity and including cursing it kind of got loss in translation how exactly you were to empathize with the as good/bad characters. But the acting was superb, the usual characters of solid and great acting of Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, and Mos Def, was compacted on the fact that some unusual suspects brought their A game, even some A+ material. The most surprising to me was Columbus Short character, wow, he really brought the lil' Walter character to life, and really made you hate/love him at the same instance. Gabriel Union focused on being parental and provided exactly what that character needed. And anyone who knows the capability of Eamonn Walker knows he brought that same intensity that he did with roles such as Said in Oz. And Beyonce even surprised, but even if she is a potty mouth in real life it just didn't seem to flow coming from her. Etta James is no sweat heart and she came from a rough street upbringing, bringing some one in with that same attitude and almost same corruptness would have been the more convincing, but she definitely did solid work. I really felt the Chuck Berry character was tailor made for Mos, and he really made you smile and almost relive the events. Even the rauchiness of these musicians were live and direct, which showed the accents of Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop of today. But what limited this film and would have made typical to great would have been a more extensive and true to life form. Lots of info was left out off course due to the matter of time and money, but if you gonna attack a era instead of and individual you should allow you editor and monetary budget to be more extensive, enjoyable and solid, but not great, really brought Blues musicians back to cool...
Was really looking forward to this but had to turn it off after half an hour due to the mass inclusion in every other word of the abhorrent swear term Motherf***er! Why the industry seems to think this is a nice phrase to listen to is beyond me. It's bad enough when we have the F word littered through out a movie but this is EVERY other word - why? do you think it adds to the 'flavour' - well it doesn't, it turns people off. Was this word even around in the fifties or just some modern day idiot who thinks it's a 'fine' word because it isn't. You show yourself up for the poor writer you are having this nasty term in every other word. It's a real shame too as this could have been great.
I won't slam this movie by being a "facts geek" because I thought it was a fun movie to watch, although I despise "imposter" versions of depicted artists' songs. But as a musician and a history buff I do know the things they got wrong or just simply BS'd. Instead, I opted to enjoy the storyline, which I did. I would have liked it so much better had it been at least a trifle more accurate, but we don't always get that unless we are watching a documentary. We dissect "Beatles" movies for accuracy (such as "Back Beat"), and this certainly deserves more serious attention to detail, but what the heck, I've watched it numerous times and still enjoy it for what it is; an entertaining movie about entertainers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many of (Beyoncé Knowles)'s crazy fans don't know that this movie of
her does exist. "Why is that ?" has a lot to do with the movie itself.
It's about a phase in the history of music. Back when the power of blues and rock 'n' roll was between the black hands. But while having a lot of drama, there wasn't much of psychoanalysis for its characters.
Let's clear something up : There is a difference between life or a newscast on one side, and drama or a movie on the other. In the first kind there is information, and at the second there is the explanation of it. One is about what, and the other is about why. According to this movie the stars of singing along with their producers are presented as psychos, addicts, and loose adulterers, as if that's the rule to work in the art business, not for any other more serious, more rational reasons !
So, why not relating the bohemian life style with the privation of those characters ? Consequently living in excess may be the answer for a first living in indigence. Why nearly all of them lacked the stability or the desire to it ? Is it for hating their grandfathers for it, the same grandfathers who left their lives for the white man to control and humiliate ? The thing is this movie doesn't explain or even try to !
So with the exception of (Etta James), all the shown men were having emotional problems for what exactly ? (Adrien Brody)'s character (Leonard Chess) was happily married then a cheater ? Here's where the movie gets weird. Hence I felt for most of the time that I turn over an album of old photos, more than watching a movie that deals finely with the inner of its leads.
Then, how come that the movie forgets putting boards for the years where the events are taking place, until it's too late ? How come the theater where (Chuck Berry) always sings looks like a dark narrow room ? And how come (Adrien Brody) throughout the whole movie doesn't age at all unlike the rest of characters ?
(Brody) is (Brody) in every movie I watch for him. Obviously, I do not like the guy, and for a damn objective reason : he doesn't convince me much with whatever he plays. Look at the scene of dying; truly pathetic. However this time I blame the script too.
On the contrary, (Jeffrey Wright) was very good. (Eamonn Walker) seemed like anyone but himself. (Beyoncé) enjoyed us utterly, being to great extent the best of this movie and not due to her great body only, but of course for the effective portrayal and the incredible singing. The moment of burying the harmonica player, with (Elvis Presley) singing in the background, embodied perfectly the death of the company. Then mixing old track with rap music was so bright; since it says that this modern phase is another step of development which may lead to another revolution ahead. It put beautifully and softly the rap music at a respectful place in the staircase of progress, assuring that it's the voice of its age, just like the blues and rock 'n' roll were for their ages.
It's insightful and sad movie. However missed being more profound and dense; a quality I find and love in most of (Martin Scorsese) and (Oliver Stone)'s historical movies. So that's why, with not that big budget too, it looked like TV movie, not winning a good publicity either. Know now the answer of my first question !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a musician and a fan of most of the acts portrayed in this film, I
was intrigued. And indeed, it is a good biopic of sorts that does
justice to Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry,
etc., and the way that those great records were made. Adrian Brody and
Mos Def are especially fantastic. I rarely ever get disappointed with
their movies, except for "Predators" and "Be Kind, Rewind",
respectively. The former was just overall terrible and the latter was
"Cadillac Records" does however have one MAJOR drawback. Beyonce. For starters, I can't stand her voice. Doesn't matter if she's singing her crappy pop music or doing Etta James songs. Also, she can't act. Comparing this role to her role in the travesty that was "Austin Powers: Goldmember", where her lines were nothing more than stereotypical blaxploitation toss-offs, in "Cadillac Records" all of her lines are the usual music bio-pic rigmarole. And in both films, they're delivered with the emotional range of a piece of cardboard.
So, if you like musical bio-pics or are a fan of any of the people involved with either the story or the movie itself, give this a go. But be sure to fast forward through the parts with Beyonce. You'll thank me for it later.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Muddy Waters' story is, without a doubt, a fascinating one. His more
than impressive rise from rags to riches - not to mention his
relentless importance for the music industry - is something that every
screenwriter would like to sink his or her teeth into. When also taking
into account that one of the most talented actors of his generation has
chosen to play this cultural icon, no-one would want to doubt the final
However, for some reason, 'Cadillac Records' doesn't stick. To be honest, the first viewing was quite an ordeal in itself. From his first until his last appearance on screen, Jeffrey Wright shines. The incredible instilled intensity is something I have personally been impressed by since his titular role in 'Basquiat' - where he was supported by a cast of cult actors including Christopher Walken, David Bowie and the late Dennis Hopper. 'Cadillac Records' also has a great supporting cast, but they all don't really seem to care. Even the prolific Adrien Brody seems to neglect the importance of his role with a nonchalance which an person in his position should be ashamed of. Wright, however, manages to carry the film all the way through and thus makes the film bearable - but only just.
The script, which tries to be popculturally stylistic at moments where this is completely uncalled for, is a shambles. Seemingly focusing more on the presentation of a coherent period illustration than on the music and characteristics of Waters' music, the film essentially shows us no more than a bunch of unimpressive people doing unimpressive thinks - except for you-know-who. Furthermore, the success of sentimentally-tinted biopics in the past seemed to have inspired 'Cadillac Records'' filmmakers a great deal, as it seems to have been thrown all over this particular canvas in inconsiderate, clumsy proportions. And what to say about Cedric The Entertainer than that if he ever does a similar voice-over to the one he performs here... then I don't know what will happen - but whatever will, it won't be pretty.
Generally, I won't advise you to watch this film, unless you're a Jeffrey Wright fan.
The subject matter is interesting but the dialog is not clear and the
scenes move from one to another without much explanation. It is hard to
understand what is going on.
Beyonce's fright wig is scary. Adrien Brody is slightly out of place here. The incidents of racial discrimination are rather strangely thrust in the story.
Overall even if you do like the songs from the era, this story is just not well told. Such a waste.
Don't bother to watch it even if you like the leads. It's just very badly scripted and directed.
Cadillac Records is a fairly decent attempt to capture the flavour of a bygone era coupled with a fairly poor stab at exploring racial prejudice in 1950s US. But perhaps the film's biggest flaw is that it simply tries to cram too much history into an inadequate running time. Adrian Brody plays Leonard Chess and he's as good as you'd expect - but he's still overshadowed by Jeffrey Wright's portrayal of blues legend Muddy Waters. In fact, a more focused story was available to the makers in the relationship between Muddy Waters and the talented but self-destructive Little Walter. Beyonce Knowles also gives a stylish performance as Etta James, another damaged but immensely talented singer. The music is great and the film looks great, but the way in which the film whirls through the history of Chess Records means we never really get an in-depth understanding of its characters.
If you ever watch a movie that has a movie or video scene being part of that movie, you will always see a fairly accurate set decoration: lighting, rigging, boom operator, monitors, sound guy, costuming, props, etc- all the needed technical things that lend to the credibility of the scene. But 99 times out of a hundred if it has anything to do with music- be it in a club, concert hall, or the studio, those details get glossed over, ignored or forgotten by the director:(1) Electric Instruments, mixing consoles, and mic's have no cables,(2) sound timbre does not match the instrument- examples:Fender Rhodes sounds like an acoustic piano, real strings and horns from a synthesizer, vocalist voice is doubled- even thought there is only one of her,(3) instrumentation does not match the recorded music- big orchestral sound from a trio, harmony vocals by absent singers, single sax is now a horn section, chords being played on monophonic synthesizer, (4) ambiance is all wrong- reverb, echos, big crowd sounds in a small club, perfectly blended and mixed sound.(5) Hands and mouth don't sync up with the music- my personal favorite is the piano glissando that looks going up but we hear it going down, music that fades out. (6) artist who dress up in the studio- they never do that (7) full band recording in the same room with the vocalist- NEVER HAPPENS! (8) vocalist holding the mic in hand in the studio- NEVER HAPPENS!(9) All musicians wear leather and have long hair (10) A record exec walks in the scene and gives the act a record deal- NEVER HAPPENS. Common Hollywood get your act together already.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cadillac records has a fantastic soundtrack. Having said that, personally I think it would have worked better as a mini-series. There are so many characters that it's difficult to focus on just one. Nevertheless, many actors shine in their roles. Adrien Brody tackles a difficult role with his usual ease. The fabulous Jeffrey Wright is a stand-out, Mos Def is an irrepressible Chuck Berry and Gabrielle Union is quietly impressive in a supporting role. Beyonce, however, in a key role of Etta James is woefully miscast and her acting talents are dubious. The script is good, the set-pieces attractive and the film is beautifully shot.
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