Your rock ‘n’ roll movie might be in trouble if there’s too much talking and not enough rocking. That may be the plight of “CBGB,” the new film centered on the famed New York city punk club.
Alan Rickman is obviously a big selling point of a film like this, lending credibility and personality to a history that all but burns with personality (and VD). With Hilly Kristal’s estate needing to sign off on his visage and all, of course it’d be a “must” to have Rickman’s role at the center of this wiry, drug-addled universe. But, here, dish him a line like “Why not live your dreams?”. Here’s a cockroach crack and a necessary few seconds allotted to CBGB’s bathroom. And on top of that, a bunch of actors like Malin Akerman, Rupert Grint, Ashley Greene, Johnny Galecki, Ryan Hurst, Justin Bartha and Bradley Whitford dressed as members of groups like Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones, Dead Boys, The Police, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith Group, but without a clue as to how they’ll play these awesome punk icons.
I’m not seeing a lot of teeth here. Or the acid-tongues, the sharp sounds or the bleary eyes. I see Halloween (no, not the band) costumes and bits of comedy script. Musical “Rock of Ages” had twice the amount of music in its hairspray-dominated trailers, and we all know how “Rock of Ages” turned out.
The “CBGB” doesn’t have a release date, with this perhaps as an early thermometer for its filmmakers. It’ll take a lot more than this to work up a sweat.