Thursday Night at the Movies: Cadillac Records (2008)

This might just turn in to the only thing I get dione for a while. Got a lot a free time since the layoff, and I can probably watch a movie every night. Something I couldn't do on my old job, since I worked 2nd shift, and most nights was too tired to sit up for an entire movie.

This movie caught my eye when I was @ Movie Gallery on Sunday. I don't remember hearing anything about it, so I don't even know if it was released theatrically or not. What you get here is a biopic, a movie based on true events. The central characters are Leonard Chess (played by Adrien Brody), the owner of Chess Records, a blues medium in the 40's and 50's, and Muddy Waters (real name McKinley Morganfield, played by Jeffrey wright), a blues musician from the South, who migrated to Chicago to be a musician.

Other people who show up in the movie are Little Walter (Columbus Short), Howlin' Wolf Burnett (Eamonn Walker), Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer). Chuck Berry (Mos Def), and an incredible peformance by Beyonce Knowles as Etta James. (Her performance of James' "At Last" will throw chills up your spine.)

Blues music is something that I have enjoyed and collected over the years, so I liked hearing the old standards again. But watching the credits, I was blown away again. Everybody knows Beyonce comes from a musical background, so it was no surprise that she had recorded the versions of Etta James' songs here. But what hit me was that each of the actors were credited as having recorded the versions of the songs they sang on screen, too. The most impressive one, in my opinion, was Walker's Howlin' Wolf. He got the gravelly sound down so pat that its hard to believe he isn't lip-synching, even in retrospect.

A very impressive movie indeed.

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