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Published on October 27th, 2012 | by David

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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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About the Author

David has been writing professionally since 2008, as a translator and product editor for Japan Trend Shop. Along the way he has worked in IT for Six Apart (and its reincarnation as SAY Media), Naked Communications, and Tokyo 2.0, as well as volunteering his nerdiness for dance events and organizations such as the Fusion Exchange and the Portland Swing and Jazz Dance society. After graduating Lewis & Clark College in 2010, David entered the Teach for America program, and taught Algebra and Geometry at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco. When he's not educating young minds or buried in a computer screen, he spends his time dancing, and frequently teaches dance with fellow TrulyNet author Ruth Hoffman.



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