Movie review: 'CBGB,' 2 stars
Directed by Randall Miller
Starring Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Justin Bartha
Playing at Village East
You could make a fistful of movies about the 33 years of CBGB, the iconic Bowery rock club that served as the focal point for the punk movement in the United States. There are so many stories packed into those 33 years, the 50,000 bands who performed there and the man, Hilly Kristal, who oversaw it all.
Any movie with the ambitious title "CBGB," then, has its work cut out for it. You're directly confronting a legend manifest in the fond memories of legions of fans and attendees, the ruminations of countless pop cultural historians and the ubiquity of retail goods.
Randall Miller's "CBGB" isn't up to this monumental task. It's messy and weirdly caricatured, with transitions comprised of comic panels rendered in the style of Punk magazine and the club feeling more like a staging ground for gross-out hijinks than transformative music.
The magnitude of what went on at 315 Bowery is largely missing, though it's hard not to be at least a little bit stirred by the covers of "Psycho Killer" and others.
Alan Rickman's unlikely casting as Kristal pays off; sadly he's the only well-rounded character here.