"Cadillac Records" chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists. In this tale of sex, violence, race and rock and roll in Chicago of the 1950s and 60s, the film follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's greatest musical legends.
The story of how the blues became popular and gave birth to rock and roll begins at a dingy bar on the rough South Side of Chicago in 1947, where an ambitious young Polish imigrant, bar owner Leonard Chess (Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody), hires a talented but undisciplined blues combo that includes quiet and thoughtful guitar prodigy Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright) and impulsive and colorful harmonica player Little Walter (Columbus Short). Fascinated by the sound of the music ‚ and eager to cash in on the record burgeoning record business ‚ Chess arranges a recording session for Waters. Waters' early recordings start moving up the R+B charts and receiving heavy play.
Chess treats his musicians like family ‚ he buys them a Cadillac when they record their first hit record ‚ although the line between business and personal sometimes causes conflict with his increasingly talented and successful stable of artists. After backing up Muddy on his early recordings, Little Walter becomes a star in his own right, but his quick temper and loud manner often run him afoul of friends and the law. He also finds that the only woman he can talk to is Muddy's girl, Geneva (Gabrielle Union), who struggles to remain loyal despite Muddy's poorly concealed affairs. Big Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), a songwriter and bandleader, also is a key member of the Chess Records family, as is Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker), an intense and proud blues singer who develops a musical rivalry with Muddy.
But it's not until 1955 when a Chess artist finally "crosses over" into the realm of mainstream ("white") America ‚ a skinny guy from St. Louis named Chuck Berry (Mos Def), whose dynamic "duck walk" and catchy, country-tinged tunes mark the birth of rock-and-roll. When Berry is arrested and jailed at the height of his career, Chess finds another talented performer to cross over ‚ singer Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles), an emotionally scarred young woman whose vulnerability tempts Chess' loyalty and concern in unexpected ways.
As rock-and-roll grows more popular, the Chess artists find themselves revered by a new generation of musicians, but they have also each earned and lost a small fortune on booze, women and the high life, and their addictions begin to take their toll. Even as tragedy befalls, their music and their spirit remain strong: as the sixties wind down and Leonard Chess gets out of the record business, the blues live on.
Black Reel - Best Ensemble
Director Bill Condon brings Tom Eyen's Tony award-winning Broadway musical to the big screen in a tale of dreams, stardom, and the high cost of success in the cutthroat recording industry. The time is the 1960s, and singers Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), and Deena (Beyoncé Knowles) are about to find out just what it's like to have their wildest dreams come true. Discovered at a local talent show by ambitious manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx), the trio known as "the Dreamettes" is soon offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of opening for popular singer James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy). Subsequently molded into an unstoppable hit machine by Taylor and propelled into the spotlight as "the Dreams," the girls quickly find their bid for the big time taking priority over personal friendship as Taylor edges out the ultra-talented Effie so that the more beautiful Deena can become the face of the group. Now, as the crossover act continues to dominate the airwaves, the small-town girls with big-city dreams slowly begin to realize that the true cost of fame may be higher than any of them ever anticipated.
Critics Choice Award - Best Song ("Listen")
Critics Choice Award - Best Soundtrack
Academy Award - Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Eddie - Best Edited Feature Film - Comedy or Musical
Blue Ribbon Award - Best Foreign Film
Black Reel - Best Film
Black Reel - Best Original Score
Black Reel - Best Original Soundtrack
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The Pink Panther
The world's most inept detective returns to the screen in this modern slapstick comedy. France's come-from-behind victory in the World Cup soccer championships turns tragic when the team's coach, Yves Gulant (Jason Statham), is murdered during a post-game celebration. Gulant's girlfriend, pop star Xania (Beyoncé Knowles), was standing by his side as he was felled by a poisoned dart, and in the chaos that followed a diamond ring he gave her was stolen, which held one of the world's largest and most valuable jewels, known as "the Pink Panther." The media and the public demand that the killer be found out and brought to justice, and Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline) of the Paris Police pledges to put his best man on the case. However, somehow the astoundingly clumsy but consistently lucky Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin) gets the assignment instead, and with his assistant, Gendarme Gilbert Ponton (Jean Reno), in tow, Clouseau follows a dizzying trail of clues from Paris to New York City as he attempts to recover the rare diamond and find the villains who killed Gulant. An updated variant on the Inspector Clouseau comedies that helped make Peter Sellers a major star in the United States, The Pink Panther also stars Emily Mortimer, Kristin Chenoweth, Roger Rees, and William Abadie; leading man Steve Martin also wrote the film's screenplay.Back To Top
The Fighting Temptations
Director Jonathan Lynn followed up the surprise hit The Whole Nine Yards with this musical comedy starring Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Gooding plays Darrin, a shallow New York advertising executive, who travels to a small town in the deep south upon receiving word that his aunt has passed away and left him a sizable inheritance. But once Darrin gets into town, he is informed that he will only receive the money if he successfully leads a local gospel group to victory at an upcoming competition. Reluctant but strapped for cash, Darrin takes on the task of finding the best singers in town and shaping the group up. Along the way, he becomes acclimated to the town with the help of his cousin Lucius (Mike Epps) and meets Lilly (Beyoncé Knowles), a single mother who not only possesses an incredible voice but also the ability to warm Darrin's cold heart. Along with Knowles, the supporting cast features a number of other real musicians, including Faith Evans, Melba Moore, Angie Stone, Montell Jordan, and The O'Jays.
Image Award - Outstanding Motion Picture
Black Reel - Best Soundtrack
Black Reel - Best Song
Film of the Year - Film of the Year
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Austin Powers: Goldmember
Austin Powers in Goldmember continues the exploits of the swinging-'60s leftover, who, as the film opens, is busy critiquing a big-budget Hollywood production of his life story, replete with a 20-million-dollar star in the lead role and a slew of John Woo-style action scenes. But not far from the soundstage lurks arch nemesis Dr. Evil (Myers), who has opened up a talent agency representing some of the industry's biggest stars -- all the while channeling their profits into a diabolical world-destruction plan with the unfortunate code name Preparation H. Dr. Evil presents a distraction to Austin by kidnapping his similarly swingin' father, Nigel Powers, and transporting him back in time to 1975. Travelling there to save his father -- and in turn win back his dad's sometimes-errant affection -- Austin comes across the alluring superspy Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles). The three of them travel back to the present day, where they join forces to battle Dr. Evil and his posse of nefarious evil-doers, including the trusty clone Mini-Me (Verne Troyer); his snotty son, Scott (Seth Green); the inimitable Fat Bastard (Myers); and the eponymous new addition to the fold: the epidermis-obsessed, precious-metal-fortified Dutchman called Goldmember (Myers).
Blimp Award - Favorite Movie
BMI Film Music Award - Music award
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Previously, and brilliantly, adapted as an opera by Georges Bizet, the Prosper Merimee novel Carmen served as the inspiration for this updated made-for-cable movie. Set in contemporary Los Angeles, the film stars Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's Child as the seductive Carmen, no longer an employee in a cigarette factory but instead an aspiring actress. The "Don Jose" character has become a cop named Sgt. Derek Hill (Mekhi Phifer), who after being ordered by his corrupt superior officer Frank Miller (played by rapper Mos Def) to arrest Carmen for her involvement in a bar fight, falls hopelessly--and tragically--in love with her. After leading Hill down the path to perdition, Carmen deserts him, not out of love for bullfighter Escamillo but for a top-40 rap star named Blaze (Casey Lee). Although the familiar Bizet melodies are heard as linking music, the main musical score is a complete original, composed by Kip Collins. MTV's Hip Hopera: Carmen first aired over the titular cable network on May 9, 2001.Back To Top