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'Adventures of Power' gets an enthusiastic drums up

CAPSULE MOVIE REVIEWS

Also reviewed: 'Black Dynamite,' 'Bronson,' 'Creating Karma, 'Eating Out' and more.

October 16, 2009|Michael Ordona; Gary Goldstein; Kevin Thomas; Robert Abele

The mass of men may lead lives of quiet desperation, but Power? He's living the drum.

"Adventures of Power" is "Napoleon Dynamite" with imaginary drumsticks, a quest movie for the Rock Band generation. Ari Gold (yes, that's also the name of the agent on HBO's "Entourage," and that show's Adrian Grenier plays the villain here) writes, directs and stars in the story of a dreamer from a small New Mexico mining town who longs to bash the fake skins.

Unfortunately, Power's passion for air drumming is a love that dare not speak its name. Says one character: "You aren't going to start that abomination again, are you? Because it's wrong!"

As labor unrest at the copper plant threatens to explode (the workers are led by Power's union-organizer dad), Power crosses the country to hone his skills at the pedal of a master. Naturally, there's a climactic contest for the big money ($2,000!).

Gold places his fond comedy in the '80s with all the cinematic skill of early MTV. It features a totally awesome period soundtrack (with plenty of Rush) and some rad pillow talk: "You have the golden locks of David Lee Roth," whispers Power to his lady love. There's also a glimpse into the dark underworld of Mexican air-drumming rings.

"Adventures of Power" just may teach the world that, as hard as it is to catch the wind, it's harder still to drum the air.

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Michael Ordona --

"Adventures of Power." MPAA rating: PG-13 for some language including sexual references. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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Accruing some bad 'Karma'

They say no one sets out to make a bad movie but after suffering through the atrocious "Creating Karma," I'm not so sure that's true. How else to explain a picture so emotionally, comically and, yes, karmically out of touch with the real world -- not to mention the sheer basics of filmmaking -- that watching it feels as if you're being "Punk'd," movie-style.

This shrill mishmash involves a cranky Manhattan magazine editor named Karma (co-scripter Carol Lee Sirugo), who loses her job, moves in with her New Age therapist half-sister (director and co-writer Jill Wisoff) and somehow becomes the darling of the downtown slam poetry set. Along the way, Karma encounters a wacky bunch of poets and free spirits who guide her to, I guess, enlightenment.

Under the best of circumstances, the movie would probably feel 30 years past its expiration date, but in the hands of helmer Wisoff it's virtually unplayable. The film is also a visual disaster filled with invasive optical effects and other head-scratching editing choices.

Triviaholic alert: "Saturday Night Fever's" Karen Lynn Gorney pops up here as Karma's globe-trotting, ex-hippie mother. It's been a long way down for John Travolta's old dance partner.

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Gary Goldstein --

"Creating Karma." MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes. At Laemmle's Grande 4-Plex, Downtown Los Angeles.

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Obnoxious role hurts gay story

"Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat" is just as silly and tedious as the first two unconnected tales of young gay love -- but lots worse. When director Glenn Gaylord and writers Phillip J. Bartelli and Q. Allan Brocka concentrate on the budding romance between handsome Zack (Chris Salvatore) and shy Casey (Daniel Skelton) the film is pleasant if predictable. Unfortunately, the film concentrates on Rebekah Kochan's ultra-foul-mouthed, dim-witted Tiffani, an exuberant man-chaser who unaccountably has made herself a gay community fixture.

Arguably, you can get away with saying just about anything as long as it's funny. Nothing that Tiffani and other ostensibly straight female characters say in the film is remotely amusing, just numbingly crass. And there's something downright disturbing about making a nasty, stupid heterosexual female character the dominant figure in an innocuous gay love story.

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Kevin Thomas --

"Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat." MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes. At the Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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Actor brings 'Bronson' to life

A fearless, indelible lead performance by Tom Hardy propels the wildly riveting "Bronson," the harsh true story of perhaps Britain's most notorious prisoner, Michael Peterson. Trust me, you've never seen a biopic like this.

That's because Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (the "Pusher" trilogy), who also co-wrote the script with Brock Norman Brock, has approached his pitch-dark material with such uncompromising vision and invention that, wherever you come down on the irredeemable Peterson, it's hard not to get swept up in the film's audacious power and strange buoyancy.

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