Though it's not being released until March 17th, I was able to see an early screening of Ask The Dust, a film which I knew very little about prior to watching it, but would like to do everything I can to spread the word to watch for it when it's finally out.  There's talk that it may have a limited release at first, perhaps in the art house circuit for starters, but if you live within driving distance of this movie, make all efforts possible to check it out.

Based on a 1939 book of the same title by John Fante, it reminded me of a Charles Bukowski story.  I got quite a laugh when looking at the editor review on Amazon which states that Bukowski was actually quite a fan of the man's work and wrote as a preface to a later edition of ADT, "Then one day I pulled a book down and opened it, and there it was. I stood for a moment, reading. Then like a man who had found gold in the city dump, I carried the book to a table. The lines rolled easily across the page, there was a flow. Each line had its own energy and was followed by another like it. The very substance of each line gave the page a form, a feeling of something carved into it. And here, at last, was a man who was not afraid of emotion. The humour and the pain were intermixed with a superb simplicity ... that book was a wild and enormous miracle to me."

I'll admit the film is a wild and enormous miracle as well.  Set in the 30s, it tells the tale of Arturo Bandini (played very well by Colin Farrell) who moves to the still growing Los Angeles to ply his trade as a writer.  Down to his last nickel, and no further along than the day he arrived, he buys a cup of coffee and encounters Camilla, a fiery Mexican waitress that Salma Hayek was born to play.

The chemistry between the two is instant and very real feeling, but their stubborn ways keep things very adversarial during their initial meetings.  She becomes his muse, and triggers events that finally give him something worth writing about.

I won't go in to much detail about the story, because it's great to watch it unfold as a surprise, but there's plenty of great dialogue, gorgeous scenery, and hot sexy action to make this a date movie for intelligent people that you won't soon forget. 

And, oh yeah, if you need another reason to see this film, Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell are both naked like crazy in the movie.  I'm not talking body double shots with head cut out of the frame, or a fleeting glimpse that is designed to break the pause button on your DVD remote control.  I'd say that there's a good 4-5 solid minutes of eye popping Hayek nudity in this movie.  Even some full frontal shots.  And hats off to Farrell, who clearly doesn't have a problem showing his goods, who not only has the guts to do a full nude scene in the ocean, but if that water is as cold as it looked, the folks that run that Guiness book should be giving him a call.

Bear in mind, this film is as of yet, unrated, and might be edited before the official release.  But if they know what's good for them, they'll let the word of mouth work its magic and make people check it out.

And nudie goodness aside, its a great movie, an another fine work of art from writer/director Robert Towne.  Go see it when you can.

-Robert Berry



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