Dead Calm

Summit Entertainment

Not even Hitler liked to see dogs die in movies. That’s probably a fact, and it tells you just how unappealing the idea of seeing(or hearing) man’s best friend get shot, strangled, drowned, beaten, electrocuted or otherwise snuffed out is to audiences. Our distaste for it runs to the point that a movie can feature a psychopath murdering people, but the second a family pet investigates a noise only to whelp and die off-screen viewers see it as an unnecessary line being crossed. I agree in part because it’s usually a cheap move by filmmakers attempting to elicit an emotional reaction. It’s unearned and lazy, and it happens far too frequently in movies. But while roughly 97% of dog deaths in movies are gratuitous I’m here to suggest that sometimes, just sometimes, it’s okay that the dog bites it. John Wick — one of the year’s best action movies that you owe it to yourself and Keanu Reeves to see if you value fun, thrilling, immensely satisfying films — features Reeves as an ex-assassin who gave up the life for the love of a good woman, but as the film opens she’s died from cancer leaving him alone again. A knock at the door reveals one last gift from her — a puppy named Daisy — in the hopes that he’ll still have something to care for and love, but it’s not long before a random act of violence leaves the dog dead and Wick, like Lone Wolf McQuade before him, on a bloody path […]


Retreat features some sweeping exterior shots and action, but for the most part it stays contained within a single home on an isolated and otherwise empty island. Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton) have come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and to try to deal with a recent, undisclosed rift between them. They’ve had happy times at this cabin in the past and are hoping to recapture that magic, but their attempts at reconciliation are interrupted by the arrival of a battered and bloodied man named Jack (Jamie Bell) who they find unconscious and armed outside. Their act of kindness is soon punished with unwanted knowledge when he awakens and shares what brought him to the island. It seems a deadly and unstoppable virus has begun ravaging the outside world, and their only hope of survival is to seal up the cabin until the airborne danger has passed. The island has no telephone access. The CB radio they’ve previously used to contact the mainland is strangely silent. And Jack strongly insists both for their safety and his that they follow his instructions. And a man with a gun can be fairly convincing…

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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