Stage, not screen

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

Published: Aug 31 2014, 01:01:am

Sunday, August 31, 2014


    In addition to being an important film and television production centre (or, perhaps, because of it), Vancouver is home to a lively theatre scene. At this point, we're season-ticket holders, looking forward to five evenings with the United Players, the home company at the west side's Jericho Arts Centre, and another five on the schedule of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

    We're waiting for the always interesting Touchstone Theatre to announce its 2014-15 season. It has as its mandate the production of "essential Canadian plays," and as its artistic director the city's best stage director, Katrina Dunn. We'll buy those season tickets as soon as they are available.

    Earlier this week, we learned that Fighting Chance Productions, a company that specializes in musical theatre, will be putting on the infamous Carrie, the Musical in October. Now, that's a threatrical experience I find hard to resist.

    In the eleven months that Reeling Back has been online, I've only mentioned local live theatre once — actor/director Scott Bellis's wonderfully re-imagined student production of A Midsummer Night's Dream last October at Langara College  — but that could change. This blog may be just the place to recall those ephemeral delights that can happen only in live performance.

    Of course, my film review archive will continue to grow with regular additions. My ten most recent postings are:

MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN — Celebrating the birthday of science fiction's one and only mother, Reeling Back recalls the 1994 feature that was most faithful to the text of her 1818 novel. (Posted August 30)

BLUE THUNDER — Made almost a generation after the urban uprisings of the 1960s, director John Badham's 1983 action thriller anticipated today's concern over the militarization of municipal police forces. (Posted August 29)

XANADU — Everybody makes mistakes. In the case of activist documentarian Robert Greenwald, it was his 1980 attempt at making a new-age musical romance. (Posted August 28)

THE NEVERENDING STORY — Vancouver was the chosen location for the "real world" scenes in this multimillion-dollar fantasy feature inspired by a best-selling German children's book, adapted for the screen in 1984. (Posted August 24)

THE CONVERSATION — In terms of the modern surveillance state, Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 feature plays like Happy Days. Who knew that its mom-and-pop snoop shop would one day morph into the multi-national behemoth that is the NSA? (Posted August 22)

WHITE ROOM — Politely Canadian, writer/director Patricia Rozema's 1990 tale of "the watcher and the watched" offers style in place of anything like new emotional vistas. (Posted August 20)

THE ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY — Blacklisted American director Joseph Losey's 1972 account of the exiled Leon Trotsky's 1940 murder was not among the the best of his European-made features. (Posted August 20)

STAKEOUT — The first of three features that director John Badham filmed on location in Vancouver, this 1987 cop comedy introduced audiences to actress Madeleine Stowe. (Posted August 18)

MACBETH — A reinvention of screen Shakespeare, director Roman Polanski's Playboy-financed adaptation of "the Scottish play" was a matter of considerable controversy in 1972. (Posted August 18)

BLACK ROBE — Australian director Bruce Beresford already had an Oscar nomination to his credit when he took on the task of filming Brian Moore's novel of cultures clashing in 17th-century Quebec in this 1991 feature. (Posted August 16)