In a natal daze

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

Published: Jan 06 2016, 01:01:am

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


     If today is your birthday, your astrological sign is Capricorn. A hybrid critter borrowed from Sumerian mythology, it's part fish and part goat. According to one zodiacal website, those born on January 6 "are different from most Capricorn natives — they are uninhibited, socially and personally. They express their nature through action. They refuse to be bound by conventional rules . . ."

    If today is your birthday, you share it with Joan of Arc (1412), the action-oriented warrior saint who led French forces against the English in the Hundred Years War, and pioneer aeronaut Jacques Montgolfier (1775), who collaborated with his brother Joseph to slip the surly bonds of earth and invent piloted flight.
    Capricorns born on January 6 are said to "have a sense of decorum that lets them be rebellious in the most courteous way. Though charming, they make their own rules." Not a bad description for author Eric Frank Russell (1905), the genial English science-fiction writer who invented a famous ancient Chinese curse, and Sun Myung Moon (1920), the Korean media mogul who founded the messianic Unification Church.

    The Internet astrologer tells us that "January 6 people have a great love of the arts." If today is your birthday, you share it with the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg (1878) and Hollywood's first cowboy superstar, Tom Mix (1880).

    "Because they have an analytical streak, they do well in the business-related activities surrounding artistic professions." If today is your birthday, you share it with . . . me.

    But, enough of the candle-counting. The Reeling Back archive's ten most recent additions are:

OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN — Italian-born director George Pan Cosmatos's first North American picture, this 1983 thriller stars Peter Weller as a Manhattan householder obsessed with besting a rat that's taking over his home. Shot in Montreal, it does a fine job of creating tension without excessive gore. (Posted January 4)

LETHAL WEAPON — A Christmas film in the Die Hard tradition released a year before Die Hard, this 1987 action epic was the first of four films in which Mel Gibson appeared as the antic L.A. cop Martin Riggs. Under the direction of Richard Donner, Riggs is even madder than Gibson's breakthrough role, "Mad" Max Rockatansky. (Posted January 3)

ADVENTURES IN THE AFTERLIFEReeling Back celebrates the New Year with an original quiz designed to test your knowledge of seven recent television shows in which death is just the beginning of the story. (Posted January 1)

THIS BOY'S LIFE — An adaptation of author Tobias Wolff's memoir of growing up in suburban Seattle circa 1957, director Michael Caton-Jones's 1993 family drama was shot in and around Vancouver. Robert De Niro starred as a disciplinarian step-father at odds with his new wife's rebellious son, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. (Posted December 30)

SEX ON SKIS — Part of the cycle of "maple syrup porn" films that brought international attention to Québécois cinema, director Roger Cardinal's tale of libidinous snow bunnies starred Daniel Pilon and Céline Lomez. The 1971 comedy, originally called Après-ski, was much censored by the time it reached B.C. theatres. (Posted December 28)

OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 17 — In Part 17 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues The Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival with restored notes on seven pictures celebrating Man's Best Friends. (Posted December 26)

DIE HARD 2 — Having starred in the Christmas action classic Die Hard (1988), Bruce Willis returned for director Renny Harlin's 1990 sequel. In it, "another elevator, another basement!" stand between him and getting home for the holidays. (Posted December 24)

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP — Director George Roy Hill's 1982 adaptation of the John Irving novel wrestled manfully with the best-seller's over-the-top take on radical feminism. The usually manic Robin Williams showed remarkable restraint in the title role. (Posted December 20)
DARK STAR — Expanded from a film school project, this 1974 sci-fi comedy introduced genre fans to the considerable talents of writer Dan O'Bannon and director John Carpenter. Its space-faring crew of mad anti-heroes are right out of the underground comics of the day. (Posted December 18)

2010 — The sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, writer-director Peter Hyams based his 1984 feature on Arthur C. Clarke's second novel in the series. Here, a Russian-American mission sets out to find out what really happened when the Discovery reached Jupiter. (Posted December 16)