Leonard Chess founded Chess Records in the 1950s and discovered some of greatest talent in music history.
His stable included Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, legendary songwriter Willie Dixon and a bunch more.
Writer/director Darnell Martin’s packs their stories into a fascinating and -- most of the time -- accurate history lesson. Even better, she makes excellent musical choices and Cadillac Records rocks from beginning to end.
Jeffrey Wright does Waters, Mos Def has a blast as Chuck Berry and Knowles belts out fresh, but authentic versions of some of James’ standards.
Adrien Brody plays Chess and anchors a story that swirls around the label’s troubled artists. That’s where the record sticks. A little angst goes a long way.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rate R for mature themes, language, violence, sex. It opens Dec. 19 at the Columbia Mall 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.