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Published 01, Feb, 2012

Our Louise Binder aka Dame Velveeta Peron sees A LOT of shows. Here she reviews The Iron Lady, A Dangerous Method from director David Cronenberg and lots more

In the Land of Blood and Honey - Another Apocalyptic Tale for Our Times

This is an excellent, relentless tale of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990's. Angelina Jolie has done a masterful (or is that mistressful) job of weaving the personal stories of her character against the backdrop of yet another senseless, internecine genocide. The people are three dimensional and complex, as is the explanation of the poltical and cultural histories that led to this war. The film has a strong "Schindler's List" feeling except that the villains are drawn with much more detail and sensibility. The critics should have been kinder to this film than they were. The acting, writing, directing and sets are terrific. I definitely recommend this film highly.

Yours for serious though provoking film making, Dame Velveeta Peron (DVP)

Haywire - Love Girl Power

I love to watch girls get away with murder. This is a great little action flick. Great cast with Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and a very believable newcomer in the role of the killing machine girl. Just great fun. Sit back and enjoy.

Yours in mayhem, DVP

A Dangerous Method - Misnomer based on this Film

True confession : I go to all of Cronenberg's films and don't like his directing. This film is, however, fairly good. Unlike some of his earlier outings, he tells the story directly and simply, without (please excuse the pun) hysteria.

Keira Knightley does a creditable job as the young woman who goes to Jung for help and becomes his star psychoanalytical experiment. I love Viggo Mortenson being anybody and he is a good actor, which is a bonus. I enjoyed his turn as Freud. Michael Fassbender, who is starting to feel overexposed to me, is fine as Jung.

I would like to have understood better the specific reason for the break between Freud and Jung, but there was at least a sense that it had to do with Freud's determination that sex is at the root of all emotional abnormalities and Jung's desire to explore other possibilities.

Overall, this film did peak my interest to do more research about the roots of psychoanalysis and the theories of these two men. If this field interests you, you will enjoy this dip into that arena.

Yours in support of belief that crazy and sex are okay, DVP.,

Handel's Hercules

I have never been in the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning before Saturday night. This alone is worth getting a ticket for Hercules or anything else that is performed there. The venue is spectacular. Fortunately, Hercules was also a wonderful piece of Baroque choral music. The singing was of very high calibre and the ballet dancers did a lovely job. A most enjoyable, pleasant and relaxing evening. Definitely worth a look and a listen.

Yours in mixing it up, DVP

The Iron Lady- Maggie would have loved the portrayal

Meryl Streep is Maggie Thatcher in the biopic. Her performance is chillingly accurate. I confess that, although I didn't agree with Thatcher's policies, I always admired her courage. Working with that gaggle of stuffed male shirts must have been intolerable, yet she did it for eleven and a half gruelling years. I wish the film had lived up to Streep's performance. Thatcher had a big life and it was probably unwise to try to make reference to all of it in two hours. For those of us around during Maggie's "reign" we could fill in many of the gaps when there was just a brief reference to things she had done, eg the death of Bobby Sands and other IRA members in jail, the Falklands, the crisis when she cut budgets. Still, there was much missed and what was there was not well enough described. Too bad. I'd still go for Meryl Streep's performance alone. Read up in advance to catch the references.

Yours in admiration of strong women, DVP.

Pariah - Sensitive, Thought-Provoking, Novel Coming of Age Story

Just when I thought there couldn't be a new take on the coming of age theme, along comes Pariah. This is the story of middle class Black-African America and how it deals with homosexuality, and in this case lesbian issues. It is refreshing to meet black characters who are not ghettoized but in the mainstream of American culture - or are they? They seem to have only black friends and colleagues. Their daughters' friends are also black. Sadly, this slice of American culture and race is no more tolerant than white societyis of homosexuality. The older of the two daughters is a lesbian, forced to be closeted except with her lesbian girlfriends because of this stigma. Everyone seems to know her sexual preference, even her parents who, nonetheless remain in deep denial. The dialogue is realistic and the acting terrific. The direction is flawless. This film deserves to be seen by a wide audience and I hope it is, but my bet is that those who already know the lesson it teaches will be its audience. You are no doubt among them, but go anyhow, not only because it is a great film but also to improve the possibiltiy for films with controversial, thought-provoking themes to continue to be made.

Yours in diversity, DVP

The Golden Dragon

I wanted to like the latest theatrical offering at the Tarragon Theatre, called the Golden Dragon, but ultimately I just couldn't. It made me feel like I wanted to go home and shower. The characters were either unsavoury and unsympathetic or totally broken and vulnerable. There was not a ray of hope in the theme, or the story which is about the Asian immigrant experience in urban Canada, as far as I could tell. The only redeeming feature of the production for me was the acting of a young man named David Yee, who provided the only point of entry to the characters that gave me a feeling of sympathy and concern. Sadly, his acting is wasted in a boring play.

Yours in thespianism, DVP