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Published on October 27th, 2012 | by admin

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Dust Up: A Vi­o­lent, Hi­lar­i­ous Desert Ad­ven­ture

You might not have heard of to­day’s movie, but if you’re a cinephile, es­pe­cial­ly the cult, mid­night-movie-lov­ing kind, you should def­i­nite­ly check it out. This film re­calls quite a few tongue in cheek ac­tion movies- the dry wit and postapoc­a­lyp­ic set­ting of Tank Girl, Kill Bill’s foun­tains of blood and west­ern swag­ger, and even a bit of Break­ing Bad’s meth land­scape. The plot is most­ly a car­ri­er for wit­ty di­a­log, gory slap­stick, and pro­tag­o­nists un­fazed by ab­sur­di­ty, but doesn’t pre­tend to be any­thing else. Dust Up is show­ing now in lim­it­ed re­lease, and avail­able on VOD as well.

Sto­ic eye-patched pro­tag­o­nist Shakes (Chris­tian Bada­mi) plays against young, wiry, up­beat Mel (Kei­th Bar­let­ta), a Na­tive Amer­i­can find­ing him­self af­ter leav­ing the reser­va­tion. A house call to fix a pump­ing prob­lem some­how cat­a­pults both in­to a strug­gle a be­tween a crazed waste­land drug lord, an in­ept ad­dict who owes him quite a bit of cash, and the ad­dict’s hap­less wife and ba­by. From there, the ac­tion is fast and fu­ri­ous, a goofy, gory thrill ride that rarely lets up.

The sound­track is a high­light of this film- scored and large­ly per­formed by psychedel­ic west­ern band Spin­drift, it con­tains their own hits as well as mu­sic from Les Blanks, Gram Rab­bit, and Kirk­patrick Thomas. Our screen­ing fea­tured a spe­cial Q&A ses­sion with the band, and it was great to hear them talk ex­cit­ed­ly about the chance to com­plete­ly score a film that fits their own style so per­fect­ly.

This is a very in­die pro­duc­tion, but de­spite the the lim­it­ed bud­get, the film­mak­ers man­age to pull off a co­he­sive, well-done movie with great sound, well-ex­e­cut­ed vi­su­als, and sol­id writ­ing. There are a few give­aways, such as sun­light wash­ing out in­door trail­er shots, but a few fa­mil­iar faces (Am­ber Ben­son, “Buffy,” and Ezra Buzzing­ton, “Jus­ti­fied”) help cre­ate the feel­ing of an in­ten­tion­al­ly B-styled film rather than a re­source-con­strained bud­get pro­duc­tion. The oth­er ad­van­tage of the film’s self-fi­nanc­ing is the cre­ative lat­i­tude of the di­rec­tor- be ready for shots and ideas that just wouldn’t get past a pro­duc­er’s ini­tial screen­ing.

Our screen­ing was host­ed at the Vor­tex Room in San Fran­cis­co, which de­serves its own write-up. In­side this 80′s-styled liv­ing room movie the­ater off Howard St., you’ll find a full bar, psychedel­ic pro­jec­tor im­ages on the wall, one of the largest cult film col­lec­tions in the world (the pro­pri­etor of­ten gets re­quests to lend them to en­thu­si­asts abroad), and even a fuzzy needle­work Charles Man­son poster. The crowd is just as eclec­tic, with pierced steam punk en­thu­si­asts and neo-Vic­to­ri­ans shar­ing ta­bles with grungy Mis­sion hip­sters and young, clean-cut SO­MA techies. If you are ev­er look­ing for a fun night in San Fran­cis­co, I rec­om­mend see­ing what’s play­ing there.

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