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Taking back the future

Terminator sequel seriously entertaining

Today (August 29) in 1949 was one of those days on which the world changed forever. It happened at a place called Semipalatinsk in north-east Kazakhstan, where the earth shook as the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. The test, code-named First Lightning, put an end to the nuclear monopoly the United States had enjoyed since July 16, 1945. It was less than a month after that first test in the New Mexico desert that the U.S. demonstrated the power of its new weapon by incinerating the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). Four years later, editorial writers introduced the term "arms race" to their readers. Not to be left behind, former "Great Powers" Britain and France set out to develop their own nuclear arsenals, with the U.K. joining the club in 1952 and France in 1960. When China tested its own bomb in 1964, satirist Tom Lehrer noted that "proliferation" had become "the word of the day" and responded with a song called Who's Next?. India, as it turned out, made use of its Canadian-supplied CIRUS reactor to build the bomb it set off in 1974, which prompted its neighbour Pakistan to go nuclear in the mid-1980s. North Korea made much of its October 2006 A-bomb test. By contrast, Israel keeps very quiet about its nukes, a stockpile that's been growing since the late 1960s. In the alternate universe envisioned by director James Cameron, today (August 29) is the day in 1997 that the machines rose up against us, an event at the centre of his Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).


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The sweet scent of love

Romantic comedy with a classic twist

Born on this day (August 14) in 1945, absurdist comedian Steve Martin was already successful as a TV and movie star. Then, in 1986, he visited B.C. to star in a film that he had written, one that would prove to Hollywood that this "wild and crazy guy" had a serious side: Roxanne.

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Evolving ideas of fun

Alunda is cave-speak for love in bloom

She burned her Bond-girl bridges in 1983, quipping to People magazine that 007 was "a chauvinist pig who uses girls to shield him against bullets." Born on this day (August 27) in 1947, Barbara Bach found the love of her life during the making of the 1981 comedy Caveman.


Sci-Fi's British Empire

Accenting a cinema's English roots

One hundred and fifty-seven years ago yesterday (August 2), Britain passed the Act Creating the Crown Colony of British Columbia. Today (August 3), we celebrate B.C. Day, a provincial holiday since 1974, that we're marking with a quiz based on sci-fi cinema's Britannic roots.


On the road again

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

Today (August 18) I'm on a long day's journey across Washington, navigating the scenic route to Spokane. Some nine hours driving time from Vancouver (according to the triple-A map's calculations), it's the site of Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention.



A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES is the Internet address of Michael Walsh, a Canadian living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I spent my working life as a newspaperman. While others covered the waterfront, I specialized in movies. As a film critic, I published my views in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television, at conferences, conventions and in the occasional courtroom. It was my good fortune to cover 30 of the most exciting, innovative years in screen history (1965-1995).
Retired, but not inactive, I've launched Reeling Back in in order to recall and, perhaps, make sense of it all. Eventually, it will grow into an archive of the nearly 6,000 films I've reviewed to date. Because everything old is news again, each posting will include a note connecting these particular movie memories to the here and now.

And, yes, I intend Reeling Back to offer new material, including web-log commentary, reviews of current pop culture and additions to my own "works in progress" — four book-length projects still in the notebook phase.

From Will Shakespeare to Marshall McLuhan to Joss Whedon, the great thinkers have all reminded us that we live in a world of wonders. In this small corner of cyberspace, I'd like to share some of the wonders that I have seen.