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The documentary Blackfish looks into the death of a Sea World employee who was drowned by the killer whale she trained. In 2010 the orca Tilikum gripped 40-year-old female trainer Dawn Brancheau in his mouth, drowning her during a performance. The film uses that death to look at the way the species is treated in captivity, and at the effect certain conditions have on the animals’ well-being. The orca whale is related to very few human injuries in the wild, but Tilikum has been connected with three human deaths in the span of two decades.

This look at Blackfish presents experts proclaiming the intelligence and awareness of the animals, and also talking about the process of capturing and penning the creatures, which is significantly less than humane. What happens when intelligence and mistreatment collide? As one interviewee says, ”[It] probably led to what I think is a psychosis.”

This trailer for Blackfish is chilling not for the behavior of Tilikum, despite the fact that relatively few people seem to know about the 2010 death, but for the inherent horror aspect related to a creature lashing out at conditions in captivity. Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we try not to get eaten by Shamu, evade the coppers on our motorbikes and four-wheelers, get all artsy fartsy with a subversive Falco tribute, head to Branson for some good ol’ fashioned fun in the heartland and screech in terror at a giant black and white tarantula.

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