| This musical fantasy set in the 1930s is a poor imitation of "Chicago." It suffers from a weak story and a bland male lead. The movie’s chief strengths are the choreographed dance routines and an outstanding original soundtrack (available on Atlantic Records) featuring B.B. King on the guitar and performed by legendary blues, jazz and R&B artists Etta James, Natalie Cole, Dr. John, Aaron Neville and Chaka Khan.
The flawed script puts a superficial gloss on spoiled rich kid Chaz Davenport (Gabriel Mann) who investigates the murder of his wealthy industrialist father. He is a playboy and the owner of a swinging nightclub. His lead performer and main squeeze Crystal (Bijou Phillips) is replaced on stage and in the bedroom by the mysteriously seductive blonde chanteuse Madelaine (Izabella Miko).
Apparently left out of the will, Chaz is hounded by a menacing henchman for a loan shark and offered protection by a strange police lieutenant (Elias Koteas).
This unidentified city, which resembles New Orleans, is plagued by a series of blackouts. This movie utilizes dark lighting with a palette of red and gold hues. The atmospheric mood is laid on thick.
The costumes and art deco designs are alluring. The two female leads have seductive eyes and beautiful figures.
Performance artist Toledo serves as the voiceover narrator and the master of ceremonies at the club. He shows off some nifty moves. His talent will remind you of Ben Vereen.
This film is dedicated to the musicians of New Orleans (the acknowledged birthplace of the blues), whose community was devastated by Hurricanes Gustav and Katrina. Half of the film’s profits will be donated to The Blues Initiative, a nonprofit organization that will directly aid musicians and contribute to the revival of cultural and musical arts in the Crescent City. Opening exclusively at the Leawood Fine Arts Theatre.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"