Friday, May 15, 2015
By MICHAEL WALSH
Working as a full-time film critic for the second-largest newspaper in Canada's third-largest city, kept me blessedly free from the temptations of fame and fortune. Never important enough to take myself that seriously, I had the freedom to explore almost anything that interested me.
During my student days at the University of Toronto, where my first movie reviews were published in the campus newspaper, I'd seen other students — the names David Cronenberg, David Sector and Ivan Reitman come to mind — making films. There was a belief then that Canadians could make movies, an excitement that peaked in 1967, our centennial year, with Secretary of State Judy LaMarsh establishing a Canadian Film Development Corporation "to foster and promote" a feature film industry.
Nearly 50 years later, the design of the Reeling Back website reflects my belief that that story deserves its own room in the greater archive. To date, the Local News index contains 30 feature film titles in its Made in B.C. category. An additional 44 titles are included in the Made in Canada list. Each one is linked to the review that I wrote at the time of the film's release.
After surveying my files, I know that I have at least 50 more reviews to post in the Made in B.C. section, and another 126 Made in Canada feature titles. When done, the archive will include information on 250 domestic productions, the equivalent of a good-sized book on the subject.
And then there are all the other kinds of movie we remember here . . . which include the ten most recent additions to the Reeling Back archive:
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT — Director Robert Zemeckis's fascination with cinematic special effects resulted in this landmark 1988 feature, a movie that combines live-action with animated actors. Disney and Warner Bros. loaned out their biggest cartoon stars to play opposite Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd in a film noir comedy set in 1940s Los Angeles. (Posted May 14)
COOL WORLD — Inspired by the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit to try something new, adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi crafted this 1992 story of Holli Would, a "doodle" whose plan to become a "real" woman involves having sex with the artist who created her. (Posted May 12)
THE GOOD MOTHER — Holding true to the old Hollywood Code requirement that passionate women must be punished, director Leonard Nimoy made the life of the divorced mom played by Diane Keaton a living hell in this 1988 domestic drama. (Posted May 10)
A SPECIAL DAY — An Italo-Canadian co-production, this 1997 feature offers a tale of sex and politics played out in Rome on May 8, 1938. Not attending the festivities marking Hitler's meeting with Mussolini gives the unhappy housewife played by Sophia Lauren an opportunity to meet her sensitive neighbour, Marcello Mastroianni. (Posted May 8)
THE HINDENBURG — The real challenge for director Robert Wise was maintaining interest in a story where the ending is known to us all. George C. Scott stars in this 1975 thriller that offers sabotage as an explanation for the explosion that brought the age of the airship to its fiery conclusion. (Posted May 6)
BATMAN RETURNS — On his second visit to Gotham, director Tim Burton delved deeper into the issues of madness and rage at the heart of the comic-book drama. Michelle Pfeiffer co-starred as Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, in a 1992 feature made great by her memorable meow! moment. (Posted May 4)
84 CHARING CROSS ROAD — Nostalgic for the loss of personal amenities, this 1987 feature romantacizes one New York woman's love of literature, and her generation-long relationship with the the Dickensian bookshop in London that becomes the object of her affection. (Posted May 2)
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHESTER-ANGUS RAMSGOOD — Setting out to make a place for himself in an emerging Canadian film industry, 25-year-old University of B.C. graduate David Curnick gathered together a group of like-minded colleagues to create this 1970 calling-card feature comedy. (Posted April 29)
THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA'S ANIMATION FESTIVAL — In 1991, the year that the NFB's internationally renowned cartoon studio turned 50, American animation aggregator Terry Thoren marked the occasion with this feature-length collection. (Posted April 29)
SLAP SHOT — Arguably the best Canadian feature not made by Canadians, director George Roy Hill's 1977 sports comedy stars Paul Newman in an elbows-up body check to the myth and reality of the good old hockey game. (Posted April 29)