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Reviews for December 3rd, 2008


Directed by Hartmut Bitomsky.

In German with subtitles. This informative, yet bland documentary focuses on dust in many different aspects. Have you ever wondered what particles dust can be composed of? It can be made up of anything from dead human skin to toxins that come from a variety of sources. Gold dust, paint dust and sand dust all look quite pretty, although sand dust can also come in the form of desert sandstorms. There’s also the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that spread clouds of dust all the way from the Great Plains to the East Coast. Watch how the leaves of a plant cleanse dust by absorbing it in droplets of water. Director Hartmut Bitomsky goes on and on mundanely with more examples of the purpose of dust. An obsessive collector of dust gathers and showcases it with so much enthusiasm that it initially comes across as humorous in an offbeat way. Bitomsky should have included more interviews with that collector to further explore where her passion for dust-collecting comes from. He also fails to address the overarching question, “So what?”. It seems as though the film just has an assembly of facts and observations, but no coherent thesis, analysis, real insights or illuminating conclusions to compel or enlighten you. At a running time of 90 minutes, Dust often drags and leaves you feeling underwhelmed and, worst of all, mostly bored. Number of times I checked my watch: 8.
Released by Icarus Films. Opens at the Film Forum.

The End of America

Directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg.

Based on the book by Naomi Wolf. This alarming, provocative documentary tackles the issue of how America has become a fascist country. Co-directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg film Naomi Wolf, the author of The End of America, as she lectures to a large crowd about ten steps that the American government has used to change our society from open to closed and comparing those steps to similar ones in Germany when the Nazis had gained power. Our government has also been using of surveillance over its people along with the Terror Alert Levels as part of the Department of Homeland Security which increases our fears. Through his power and corruption, George W. Bush has allowed U.S. forces to torture suspected terrorists and not tried to cover it up in the media and public, but redefined the term “torture” to make it include intent to cause severe pain or suffering. Still don’t believe how corrupt our government can be? What about how suspected terrorists included many U.S. civilians, including Naomi Wolf, who were on our government’s “Watch List” and were—and still are—stopped at airports to be questioned. It’s quite maddening to watch how a young man working as a freelance journalist taping an anti-Iraqi War protest had been had been arrested by police and detained for many weeks because he wouldn’t give to authorities the footage from the protest showing the aggressive force used by the police. Naomi Wolf’s facts and observations about how our Government has diminishing democracy in America are quite accurate, but whether or not you believe in her assessment of those facts and comparisons to Nazi Germany will depend on how open minded you are about politics and evil. Comparing Bush to Hitler comes across as pretty extreme in the strictest sense, though, and no matter how much evidence Wolf provides, it won’t really change a Bush supporter’s view about Bush. It would have been easier to compare him to Richard Nixon, one of the worst and most Presidents in our nation’s history. Regardless of whether or not you’re able to grasp how fascist America has become, The End of America will at least make you realize that our government does indeed have corruption and that it would take a serious improvement of American politics in order to bring back power to the people. The conclusion of how Americans need to come together to stop suppression of democracy seems a bit too hopeful and overly simplistic as a solution to our government’s corruption. Fortunately, true democracy has a better chance to be re-established in America once Barack Obama becomes President on January 20th, 2009. On a side note, please be sure to check out the websites,,, and to grasp how the FDA uses its corrupt power to deceive the public by hiding the controversial, potentially harmful neurotoxin and flavor enhancer known as MSG. The FDA regards MSG as generally safe, so why do they allow it be hidden in many food and beverage products? Do you trust independent studies/researchers or the FDA? Decide for yourself, but, most importantly, ask questions and feel free to engage in intelligent discussions and debates. That’s at least a few steps toward bringing back some much-needed democracy and accountability into the health industry.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0.
Released by IndiePix. Opens at the IFC Center.

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