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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Trouble the Water,’ ‘Death Race,’ ‘I.O.U.S.A.,’ ‘The House Bunny,’ ‘Flow’

This could turn out to be one of the most important movies of the year. Not because Trouble the Water [opens limited August 22] was winner of this year’s Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, though that’s damn impressive, but because it purports to offer an unvarnished view of what was going on in New Orleans during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Supposedly — and hardly surprisingly — it shows quite a different view than the one the mainstream media was propagating about looting and lawlessness and civil unrest.

If Trouble is a look at the ongoing but mostly uncommented-on collapse of America, then I guess that makes Death Race [opens wide August 22] just more of the bread and circuses that’s meant to distract us from it. Look at the cars going vroom — just like yours isn’t since you can’t afford to fill up the tank anymore! And look at the convicts killing one another like NASCAR gladiators! It’s fun!

More collapse, more bread and circuses. I.O.U.S.A. [opens limited August 22], from the maker of the delightful documentary Wordplay, now turns his attention to the national debt, and how it’s leading us down the road to financial meltdown. Not that anyone trying to make a living these days isn’t already familiar with financial meltdown, of course.

But never mind, because there’s The House Bunny [opens wide August 22]. Hoorah! Girls with bouncy boobs and no brains don’t think too much about economomics, so why should you? Look: boobs!

I can’t wait to see what They will come up with to distract us from the entirely manmade disaster that the documentary Flow [opens limited September 12] depicts. Another escapee from this year’s Sundance, it’s all about the the dwindling supply of fresh water on our planet, and how what’s left of it is being privatized away into a corporately owned commodity. You think four bucks a gallon for gas is bad? Wait till water is four bucks a gallon… and there’s no free tap to turn to instead.

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