Living in a meta-moment

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Published: Apr 03 2015, 01:01:am

Friday, April 3, 2015

     When we got around to looking at our recording of this week's Flash episode — a television show shot on location in Vancouver — my wife pointed out the name Mark Hamill in the opening credits. What I didn't know then was that Hamill had played a recurring character called the Trickster in the show's 1990 incarnation.

    As a result, I didn't realize that his 2015 appearance as the Trickster was, in fact, a reappearance, and a moment of meta-delight for long time fans. The story involved Hamill's long-imprisoned Trickster engineering his escape following the arrival of a new, younger Trickster in Central City.

    For me, the meta-moment occurred when the now freed elder villain leans over his apprentice and intones the line "I am your father!"
    But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there's more. On April 1 — no joke — USA Today posted an article headlined "The 5 best meta Mark Hamill moments from last night's 'Flash'."

    In these media-saturated times, meta has become an established, even expected, part of the entertainment experience. It's too late to view the development with proper alarm, so I've decided to just enjoy it.

    Something else I'm enjoying is the (possibly meta) building of my Reeling Back archive. Since returning to every-second-day postings, the ten most recent additions are:

LITTLE DORRIT — With a cast of some 300 players (including Derek Jacobi and Alec Guinness), and a running time of six hours, writer/director Christine Edzard's 1988 adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel offers a rich, intricate portrait of an age not so very different from our own. (Posted April 2)

BELLADONNA — A product of the pioneering Japanese anime studio Mushi Production, director Eiichi Yamamoto's 1973 feature, inspired by iconoclastic French historian Jules Michelet's Satanism and Witchcraft, is a beautifully realized example of genuine adult animation. (Posted March 31)

KNIGHT MOVES — Shot in Vancouver, this 1992 Euro-thriller brought Christopher Lambert to town to star in a monumentally dumb tale of a chess grandmaster who just might be a serial killer. (Posted March 29)

PULP FICTION — John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman play characters who are fascinatingly vile and utterly irresistible in director Quentin Tarantino's non-linear noir comedy from 1994, the movie that marked the emergence of the "video store generation" of filmmakers. (Posted March 27)

VIXEN! /  FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! — In 1968, exploitation film auteur Russ Meyer touched down on Vancouver Island to film establishing shots for the satirical sex comedy that would become the first American feature film released with the MPAA's newly minted X-rating. (Posted March 21)

SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE — Despite the best of intentions, the fourth and final feature in the original Superman franchise is a picture that offers many fine moments that never quite come together. (Posted March 20)

A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE — What better way to celebrate all things Irish than with this 1995 romantic comedy filmed in Dublin. Though its director was the Anglo-Indian Suri Krishnamma and his star English-born Albert Finney, the character he played was a true son of the auld sod, besotted with a love for the works of Oscar Wilde. (Posted March 17)    

VIDEODROME — At a time when he was best known as a horror director, David Cronenberg managed to successfully incorporate the ideas of media analyst Marshall McLuhan into this movie, a surreal 1983 shocker that starred James Woods as a cable TV station president who encounters the future of broadcasting. (Posted March 15)    

FLASH GORDON — Though he starred in this 1980 epic, the biggest of the big screen renditions of Alex Raymond's innovative comic strip, actor Sam J. Jones went from being unknown to being forgotten in the time it took the picture to play out its theatrical engagements. (Posted March 9)

BLUE STEEL — One way to note International Women's Day is to recall that Kathryn Bigelow — the only member of her sex to win a best director Academy Award — came to fame directing Jamie Lee Curtis in an action-packed, decidedly feminist 1991 feature about a policewoman in pursuit of a serial killer. (Posted March 8)