Tuesday, December 9, 2014
By MICHAEL WALSH
The aerial shot was beautiful, catching a perfect day over our Pacific Coast paradise. A subtitle identified the location as "Vancouver, B.C." In the episode broadcast last Tuesday (December 2), an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team paid a visit to the film and television production centre sometimes known as Hollywood North.
Or did they? When we see the actors on the ground, the urban background looks nothing like the Vancouver familiar to local citizens and viewers of the many TV series filmed here. In what might have been an inside joke, producer Joss Whedon's show seems to have used Los Angeles to double for Vancouver, a reversal of our town's usual role of playing everywhere else.
Or, maybe it's rubbing salt in the wound of Vancouver not being the shooting location for the new Agent Carter mini-series, scheduled for release next month. In January of 2014, the Internet rumour mill was pretty sure that that project was on its way here.
Or maybe it was meant as a more friendly gesture, an acknowledgement of the many connections the Whedonverse has to our town. As co-writer and producer of 2012's Cabin in the Woods, Whedon spent time in the neighbourhood during the two months it was before the cameras here. He's certainly aware that Cobie Smulders, the actress he cast to play Maria Hill in The Avengers, is a native Vancouverite.
Then, again, I could be making too much of a title card that came and went in a screen moment. It may be that that stunning aerial shot just happened to be at the top of the pile of stock footage in the editing room.
In other news . . . Reeling Back this week added a 250th title to its film review archive. The total number of postings of all types stands at about 335. The ten most recent were:
LOTOMANIA — A prescient warning, written and produced in 1980 by director and social activist Tom Shandel, this National Film Board documentary about government involvement in the promotion of gambling is even more true today. (Posted December 8)
OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 5 — In Part 5 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues its restoration of the 1997 Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival with notes on the 17 features in the program called Youthquake. (Posted December 1)
LEGEND — After the success of his science-fiction features Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), director Ridley Scott turned his attention to high fantasy with this 1986 foray into fairyland. (Posted November 30)
TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE — Four young directors, a group that included Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Joe Dante and George Miller, paid tribute to Rod Serling's memorable TV anthology series with this 1983 feature that recycled some of its best stories. (Posted November 28)
BETWEEN FRIENDS — Canadian feature film pioneer Don Shebib hoped to repeat the success of his 1971 debut feature Goin' Down the Road with this 1974 tale of young drifters who turn to crime hoping for their Big Break. (Posted November 26)
FORT APACHE, THE BRONX — Paul Newman starred in this 1981 drama of police-under-siege in which Canadian-born director Daniel Petrie expressed the optimistic hope that the gulf between cops and the public might be bridged by mutual good will. (Posted November 26)
OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 4 — In Part 4 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues the restoration of the 1997 Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival, with notes on the four features in the program devoted to documentary features. (Posted November 24)
AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON — It took five directors working with an A-list budget to produce this 1987 parody of B-movie stereotypes, a star-filled feature that managed to include a cameo role for professional sci-fi fan Forrest J Ackerman. (Posted November 24)
TIME BANDITS — Director Terry Gilliam's 1981 tale of a schoolboy's encounter with some renegade employees of the Supreme Being blazed the trail for today's many film and television re-imaginings of traditional literature and folklore. (Posted November 22)
OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 3 — In Part 3 of the 20-part series, Reeling Back continues its restoration of 1997's Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival with notes on the 13 features in a program called Cybercity. (Posted November 20)