The Dark Knight Rises

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The Dark Knight Rises

Run time 164 minutes.
Not for children.

From l, Tomy Hardy and Chris-tian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

OK, I’ll admit it upfront. I never got Batman. He’s not really a superhero; he can’t fly; he isn’t invulnerable. So what is it about dressing up like a bat that makes him a crime fighter?

Well, it’s a comic book aimed at comic book mentality, so I guess that doesn’t make any difference. Batman was passé until director Christopher Nolan breathed new life into the genre in 2005. This is the third of his trilogy and it is very, very long. Even so, the music (Hans Zimmer) is ever-present and keeps the tension high throughout.

Christian Bale returns as the slow speaking Batman/Bruce Wayne, as do Michael Caine as his servant, Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox who manages Bruce’s money. New to the cast is Anne Hathaway, who keeps getting better, here playing a jewel thief who becomes Catwoman. She is better in this than I’ve ever seen her. Also new is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who gives his usual fine performance as an NYPD cop. Marion Cotillard rounds out the star-studded roster as a businesswoman who catches Bruce’s fancy.

There is one snafu in the film. Set in the fictionalGothamCity, it is an obvious stand-in forNew York Citywith its rivers and bridges. But early in the film as a helicopter takes off inGothamCityit flies by a building labeled “One Wilshire,” which is located whereWilshire Boulevardstarts, atGrand Street, in downtownLos Angeles. Oh, well, there are mistakes made in even the most expensive films.

Back to the movie, the “plot” in these comic book things is basically the same; Bane is a real bad guy and he wants to annihilateGothamCity. Things don’t look too good for Batman. I actually didn’t look at my watch too often despite sitting there for 164 minutes, so this is a pretty engrossing film.

Farewell, My Queen

Runtime 100 minutes.
OK for children.

From l, Léa Seydoux and Diane Kruger and “Farewell, My Queen.”

Despite a sparkling performance by Léa Seydoux, who plays a reader to Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger), if the real Marie had been required to sit through this slow telling of the aftermath of the storming of the Bastille, she would have pleaded for an early trip to the guillotine. That’s not to say that this film is completely worthless. It’s filmed atVersaillesand it gives a pretty good travelogue through the building that started as a hunting lodge for Louis XIV and eventually became the world famous palace and gardens it is today.

This is set on July 14-16, 1789, just after the Bastille fell in Paristo unruly mobs, which led to the reign of terror and people like Danton and Robespierre cutting off people’s heads left and right. It captures the terror felt by the people in the Court at Versailles, where the King and Queen were in residence at the time. The scene in which Seydoux is being dressed and shows her gorgeous body got my attention, but for the most part this is talky and paceless. In French.

Read more reviews at www.tonymedley.com. 

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