Friday 18 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Blackfish


A whale of a tale — and unfortunately true — is told in this engrossing and emotional documentary that'll have you rethinking any plans to visit SeaWorld.

Rod Lott December 4th, 2013

8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive

With a month to go, the year in cinema has seen no shortage of memorable screen villains. Loki returned for Thor: The Dark World while Gen. Zod battled it out with our Man of Steel. Consider Khan of Star Trek Into Darkness and the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz the Great and Powerful.

And let’s not forget swarming zombies (World War Z), the lack of gravity (Gravity) or, of course, rich white people (42, Elysium, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave).

Taking the cake for the most unlikely antagonist, however, can be found in the documentary Blackfish, which shows Friday and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It says a lot that the baddie of the CNN Films presentation is not Tilikum, the killer whale who makes good on his marine-mammal classification by eating an innocent woman, but the SeaWorld management and PR lackeys who deny and lie and spin and misplace blame.

A gripping work of nonfiction that I hate has to exist, Blackfish delves into the 2010 death of a veteran SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau, at the park’s Orlando, Fla., location by Tilikum, a male orca. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s point is not that Brancheau’s death was tragic, which goes without saying, but that it was utterly needless. As viewers learn, Brancheau was hardly Tilikum’s first victim; since his capture in 1983, the oft-frustrated whale has a proven track record of lunging at and yanking on his SeaWorld trainers, resulting in two earlier fatalities, not to mention many more close calls.

So why on earth would SeaWorld knowingly allow its employees to be put in harm’s way? As one of many former trainers interviewed says, “His semen is worth a lot of money,” and money talks (in falsehoods). An estimated 54 percent of SeaWorld’s in-captivity whales carries Tilikum’s potentially aggressive genes, making the creatures “ticking time bombs.” The scope of Cowperthwaite’s camera extends to chronicle similar incidents in Canada and Mexico, and a marine biologist notes that no record exists of orcas harming a single human in the wild. Those last three words are the operative ones. Spot a trend?

The evidence against SeaWorld’s practices that Cowperthwaite collects is damning and chilling, yet the show(s) must go on, because those Shamu plush dolls don’t sell themselves.

A stellar example of cinema as investigative journalism, Blackfish admirably aims to tell all sides of the story — er, stories — except that one participant in the decades’ worth of casualties and cover-ups declined to participate: SeaWorld. Amid all the eyewitness testimonies, courtroom transcripts and amateur videos, the theme park chain’s silence speaks loudest.

Hey! Read This:
12 Years a Slave film review
Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray review
World War Z film review

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