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Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: CBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal's New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he openedCBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal's New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music. Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40's, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police. Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 17
  2. Negative: 11 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 10, 2013
    70
    CBGB has more of the original prankish punk spirit than it even recognizes.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Oct 11, 2013
    50
    Alan Rickman's lead performance highlights a sincere but insubstantial rock pic.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Oct 9, 2013
    42
    Punk may not be dead, but this picture is D.O.A.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Oct 3, 2013
    30
    In its stylistically flailing stab at authenticity, CBGB ends up merely a mess of caricatures.
  5. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Oct 10, 2013
    25
    The most distressing bad choice in CBGB, a movie entirely composed from them, is that those brilliant songs are repurposed studio recordings.
  6. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Oct 8, 2013
    25
    As the film moves from one musical performance to another, the result increasingly feels like a series of celebrity impersonations set to a best-of-punk compilation album.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Oct 8, 2013
    20
    The film strives to cinematically reanimate that shabby underground lair; instead, it proves to be the most bastardized souvenir bauble of all.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Oct 19, 2013
    10
    I truly loved this movie!! It is a love story to the man, Hilly Kristal, the one who started a movement in music. He was a hero, roughI truly loved this movie!! It is a love story to the man, Hilly Kristal, the one who started a movement in music. He was a hero, rough around the edges, like the film, but I think that was the point the filmmakers were making. The casting was absolutely super as well: Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry (Amazing!); Rupert Grint as punk rocker, Cheetah Chrome (Inspired!); Ashley Greene, the best performance of her career; Freddy Rodriguez was completely unrecognizable (Very very good!); Justin Bartha as punk rocker, Stiv Bators (F'ck'n awesome!); Donal Logue is always one of my favorite (Great!). The bands were amazing as well, David Bryne and Sting and Television were spot on!! Run, don't walk to see this film... its fun, its funny and its a great story about the birth of Punk Rock on the Bowery. Don't listen to the critics they are DEAD WRONG!! Collapse
  2. Oct 25, 2013
    9
    I was entertained from start to finish by this high energy movie. The birth of punk music provides the backdrop for the story of HillyI was entertained from start to finish by this high energy movie. The birth of punk music provides the backdrop for the story of Hilly Kristal who has a vision for a club where musicians play original music. He starts out a ne'er do well and never really loses his messy, gritty persona while building CBGB. Alan Rickman is outstanding as are many of the familiar faces, and the unknown actors playing the rockers are spot on. Expand
  3. Jan 15, 2015
    9
    This is a very good movie portraying the birth of punk rock'n'roll. Are the music performances studio recordings? Yes, they are - so what?!This is a very good movie portraying the birth of punk rock'n'roll. Are the music performances studio recordings? Yes, they are - so what?! They show exactly what the bands sounded like when they debuted their singles.
    Actor performances are also above par, but above all, the movie told a story worth telling - and that is what I most value when watching a movie.
    Expand
  4. Jun 22, 2015
    5
    A TRIBUTE TO THE GODFATHER OF PUNK ROCK

    Movie review and some thoughts about Punk music I have been looking forward to this movie for a
    A TRIBUTE TO THE GODFATHER OF PUNK ROCK

    Movie review and some thoughts about Punk music

    I have been looking forward to this movie for a really long time .One reason for this was that i am a music addict and another reason was that i am a big follower of actor Rupert Grint ( Ron Weasley from Harry Potter ) who is struggling to carve a place of his own in the film industry.The American movie CBGB released in 2013 failed to produce any impact on Box Office.

    The film discusses about a man named 'Hilly Kristal ' nick named as " Godfather of Punk Music " who spent his lifetime helping the uplifting of so called " Street Music " and promoting new bands featuring the music of this genre.

    This is not a cult movie as the responses of critics were bad. This film isn't perfect even when we consider it under Musical Genre .Neither this film discusses about the uplifting of any particular musical genre nor it does discusses the transformation of Underground or Garage Rock into punk rock and there by into different genres including Alternative Rock and hard core rock.It just shows the life of a music devotee who owned a club called " CBGB , OMFUG " for promoting punk rock and amateur bands coming up with punk music.CBGB stands for " Country Bluegrass and Blues " and OMFUG stands for " Other Music For Uplifting of Gormandizers " .This guy gave stages to around 50,000 bands.Hilly Kristal had already undergone two bankruptcies before owning this music club.Many bands rose to fame after their debut performance at the club CBGB and that included bands like " Talking Heads " , " Blondie ", " Pattie Smith's group " and " Ramones " . It is not Hilly who invented punk rock but he had given a platform for many punk rock bands to develop.Thus ' Hilly Kristal ' is being ironically called as " Godfather of punk rock ".

    Punk Rock had its origin along with Punk subculture at countries like United States , England and Australia which can be dated back to 1970's.As this culture hasn't touched any Asian countries it still looks strange to Asians.Punk music basically focused on DIY ethics ( Do It Yourself ). These punk bands never had signed any record labels with only a few exceptions .Production and promotion were all done by the band members themselves.Punk artists promoted nihilistic attitudes and their lyrics were against establishments.They supported open sexual thoughts.Freedom of thoughts and expression were their mottoes.Punk costumes include body piercings , spiky dyed hair and leather jackets with metal studs.Voices were raised against punks for promoting some lewd gestures and for making lyrics containing profanity.

    Two waves of punk rock movement were over by the end of 80's.Towards the end of the 20th century, " Grunge rock " had its origins from the foundations of punk rock and the band ' Nirvana ' are still considered pioneers of that genre.Then came " Pop Punk " which gave this genre an appreciation on the mainstream level.Thanks to the bands like " Green Day " and " Blink - 182 " who had played vital roles in this. Now there are many " Alternative Rock " bands too.

    Not very late punk may take its rebirth in its raw form as the American and European countries are having the same political conditions as it was in 70's.The arresting of members of a female punk band called " **** Riots " in Russia around 3 years back for raising their voice against their president ' Vladimir Putin ' is an example of youths being pushed forward for such a movement.These members were charged with the offense of hooliganism.The fact that that these band members are just " Poseurs " and not real punks is still a question under debate.The question is whether other countries like countries of Asia could be a part of such movements.

    This film isn't a recommended one for movie lovers, but music lovers especially supporters of punk music could give this a try at least as a tribute to ' Hilly Kristal '.

    http://anoopjoseph90.blogspot.in/2015/05/cbgb-2013-tribute-to-godfather-of-punk.html
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  5. Oct 5, 2013
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Obviously a love letter, but a haphazard, disjointed one at best. Scene after scene and character after character seemed to be included only because they must have been somehow important, but why they were important is never really explained. It seems more like an anthology of re-enactments of 2nd hand stories, cleaned up and recycled into an TV after-school special (and probably had the same budget, judging by the cheap Halloween wigs that prove to be incredibly distracting in their awfulness). This is especially notable in a scene where, apropos of nothing, the guy from The Big Bang Theory offers a blowie to a guy we're supposed to believe is Iggy Pop...for some reason. I assume it was supposed to be some of the comedy we were promised, but, forced in as it was, it was just confusing.

    There are, inexplicably, two different opening scenes. Both are by-the-book cliches, and neither adds a single thing to the plot, showing us a baby Hilly Kristal running to the neighbors for some reason, and the ham-handed condensed version of the founding of Punk magazine, the inclusion of which exists solely to introduce some sort of narrator who spells out the "message" of the movie in talking points that sound like a book report shoehorned into unnatural dialogue.

    As likable as Alan Rickman is as Hilly, it's worth noting that he is the only real villain in the story as well. What little conflict and plot happens on screen centers around him being his own worst enemy- turning down advice and help at every turn, again, without offering an explanation or providing any context whatsoever for why he makes such bad decisions. There's no insight into who Hilly was as a person, just someone going through the motions like they're following a list.

    It's hard to tell who the audience for this film is. If you're not already familiar with the story, you won't come out really knowing anything of value about this pivotal point in music history. All you'll know is that some guy who was bad at business had a club the Ramones played at, and apparently that's important. If you're already a fan, you'll find the story lacking detail and richness, and the dumbed down spoon-feeding of punk history off-putting and exceedingly mild. The way the rock icons are portrayed is cartoonish, feeling more like an excuse for a costume party than any serious attempt at portraying reality.

    And don't even get me started on the obvious continuity errors sprinkled liberally throughout. The whole thing was like amateur hour, except that it felt more like 4 or 5 hours.
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  6. May 16, 2014
    0
    Oh my gosh! Just dreadful. CBGB is so bad it doesn't even deserve an OMG. It feels like it was made by a 12 year old that never left theOh my gosh! Just dreadful. CBGB is so bad it doesn't even deserve an OMG. It feels like it was made by a 12 year old that never left the suburbs during the 80s but dreamed about going to NYC and CBGBs. One after another some look alike actor comes out and lipsyncs a song. Then it ends. Expand

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