front page

What child is this?

Serving up a slice of cinematic true grit

Honestly. You’d think that if the Year of the Pandemic had taught us anything, it would have been the value of self sufficiency. And yet here we are, on Christmas Day (December 25) 2020 in need of a little seasonal good cheer, and the best our public broadcaster can come up with is a trio of foreign-made feature films last seen in Best Buy’s bargain bin: 1947’s Miracle on 34th St, 1951’s Scrooge and White Christmas from 1954. An imaginative CBC could have made our Yuletide bright with an all-Canadian celebration, three movies actually made in the Great White North. Today, we might have binged on director Bob Clark’s trend-setting 1974 thriller Black Christmas, the first film to use the holiday season as a backdrop for screen shock. Add to the program Phillip Borsos’s 1985 trip to the North Pole, One Magic Christmas. Finally, the star at the top of the tree is Clark’s A Christmas Story. A genuine classic, its tale of an urban Christmas Past played on the fine edge of the midwinter madness that we all feel. Credit (or blame) his movie with the revival of seasonally-themed filmmaking that persists to this day in the Hallmark Channel’s annual Countdown to Christmas. Perhaps you’re not feeling sentimental about our reality-tinged Christmas? Well, neither was director David Burton Morris when he set his 1988 road-trip drama Patti Rocks during the festive season.


local news

Getting past hair today . . .

A talent for unconventional invention

Those lucky enough to have survived 2020 are just glad to see the end of it. Moving on, let’s remember a bewitching bit of Canadiana from writer-director Michael Rubbo. Born on this day (December 31) in 1938, he came up with the 1985 spellbinder, The Peanut Butter Solution.

comics page

An anti-rebel rebellion

“Vote first. Ask questions later.”

Yesterday (January 13, 2021), U.S. President Donald John Trump was impeached for the second time during his term of office. As the world watches the political tragedy playing out in America, let’s recall writer-director Tim Robbins’s darkly comic political thriller from 1992, the prescient Bob Roberts.


Heckling the Chief

A tradition of pillorying the president

Washington is under lockdown today (January 20, 2021) for the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. The ceremony will not be attended by the outgoing Donald Trump, a man even more reviled than Richard Nixon, the subject of director Emile de Antonio’s 1991 documentary Millhouse: A White Comedy.


My glass still half full

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

Normally on this day (January 1), we wake up to the realization that not much has changed. This year, though, our idea of “normal” has undergone a seismic shift. While many long for a return to what was, the reality is that a new normal is inevitable, and we need to get used to it.



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.