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Evolving family tensions

A special feeling for society’s outsiders

This edition of Reeling Back’s Coincidental Events is brought to you by the letter E. Today (February 12), we remember the Great Emancipator, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on this day in 1809. We honour an Egyptologist, England’s Master Exhumator Howard Carter, who lifted the lid of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus on this day in 1924. Mostly, though, we celebrate Evolutionary Theorist Charles Darwin, whose 1809 birthday has been marked by science sophisticates since 2003 as Darwin Day. This year (2018), its date coincides with British Columbia’s Family Day statutory holiday, which means that the observant in Canada’s Pacific province have all day to party together, or just settle back and reread On the Origin of Species. Like Lincoln’s 1862 presidential proclamation abolishing slavery, Darwin’s 1859 bestseller was a game-changer. It introduced the concept of natural selection — the key mechanism of evolution — which became the cornerstone of modern biology. It was followed by The Descent of Man (1871), and the continuing controversy between religious “creationists,” who take the Biblical account of Adam and Eve literally, and those willing to believe that apes are a part of the human family tree. For the most part, the popular culture draws its best inspiration from Darwin, among them director Richard Franklin’s imaginative 1986 simian shocker, Link.


local news

Lamb’s tale a shambles

Drama offers a clash of symbols

It’s 2018, so today (February 14), is both Christianity’s Ash Wednesday and the more secular St. Valentine’s Day. Should we give up chocolate for Lent, or indulge in it? In 1985, Meg Tilly, born on this day in 1960, starred in director Norman Jewison’s tale of choices, Agnes of God.

comics page

Reunion hardly heavenly

Bedevilled dose of double boredom

Winners of the first annual Academy Awards were announced on this day (February 18) in 1929. Actor John Travolta, who was born on this day in 1954, has had two nominations so far, though neither was for his reunion with Olivia Newton-John in the 1983 comedy Two of a Kind.


Responding to change

A new standard in Hong Kong cinema

For approximately 1.4 billion people around the world, today (February 16) is the Chinese New Year. To mark the occasion, and to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Dog, Reeling Back recalls director Li Han-hsiang 1975 Hong Kong epic, The Empress Dowager.


From stage to screen

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

Happy Place, Pamela Mala Sinha’s look into the lives of seven women who have attempted suicide, has its Vancouver premiere tonight (October 20). Last week during a “meet & greet,” the Winnipeg-born actress-playwright talked about her play’s upcoming motion picture adaptation.



A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES is the Internet address of Michael Walsh, a Canadian living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I spent my working life as a newspaperman. While others covered the waterfront, I specialized in movies. As a film critic, I published my views in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television, at conferences, conventions and in the occasional courtroom. It was my good fortune to cover 30 of the most exciting, innovative years in screen history (1965-1995).
Retired, but not inactive, I've launched Reeling Back in in order to recall and, perhaps, make sense of it all. Eventually, it will grow into an archive of the nearly 6,000 films I've reviewed to date. Because everything old is news again, each posting will include a note connecting these particular movie memories to the here and now.

And, yes, I intend Reeling Back to offer new material, including web-log commentary, reviews of current pop culture and additions to my own "works in progress" — four book-length projects still in the notebook phase.

From Will Shakespeare to Marshall McLuhan to Joss Whedon, the great thinkers have all reminded us that we live in a world of wonders. In this small corner of cyberspace, I'd like to share some of the wonders that I have seen.