July 18th, 2012

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Farewell my Queen" is the flipside of Coppola's "Marie Antoinette"

Leona Hensley, Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein, three mega millionaires whose fall from power became a public spectacle. As history often reminds us, those who forget the mistakes of the past are often condemned to repeat them. Two films, **Farewell My Queen** and **Queen of Versailles** open tomorrow that explores George Santayana's famous historical quotation, but with a humane perspective.

**Farewell My Queen** is taken from the perspective of Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), the lady in waiting to Queen Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger). The Queen and the Maiden share a love of reading saucy books from the royal library. With an emphasis upon fantasy, the Queen and her Hand Maiden overlook neighborhood poverty or that dead rats are floating up the river. After the storming of the Bastille, the Queen's decadent reign starts to crumble.

A french movie with English subtitles, **Farewell My Queen** has a touch of **Upstairs/Downstairs** and **Downtown Abbey.** For history junkies, this film presents Castle Versailles with glorious cinematography. As the queen who suffers from attention deficit disorder, Diane Kruger provides a grand performance, mixing public generosity with acute selfishness. **Farewell My Queen** is a beautiful downer.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Dark Knight Rises" to a chilling climax

There was no denying the edgy anticipation for the first showing of **The Dark Knight Rises** at the Museum of Discovery IMAX Theater last Friday afternoon. After the horrendous news from Aurora, Colorado, management and ushers were serious - but happy to see everyone show up for their sold-out screening. They acknowledged the police officers and they also mentioned that there were undercover police officers in the audience. Audience safety was paramount concern.

Marketing & Communications Director Marlene Janetos then asked for a moment of silence before the film began. Thus when the film began, the elephant was out of the auditorium and the audience felt safe to enjoy the most anticipated film of the year. Guilt free.

Like **Marvel’s The Avengers,** Christopher Nolan’s **The Dark Knight Rises** managed to live up to unrealistic expectations. With new characters like Bane (Thomas Hardy) and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) added to the mix, this **Dark Knight** film stands on its own. Yet a review of **Batman Begins** will provide extra pleasure which broadens character motivations.

There is a human element that director Christopher Nolan has captured in this comic book mythology. It is also worth noting that in the end credits, actor Christian Bale is listed as Bruce Wayne, not Batman. Unlike the campy Adam West **Batman** from forty six years ago, this Bruce Wayne is closer to John Wayne realism.

A man seasoned by violence since childhood, Bruce Wayne is weary from his previous battles. Peace has come to Gotham City, but at the cost of the souls of Bruce Wayne and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), who thought it was better to glorify a false legend than to face the truth.

Reality kicks back when Master Terrorist Bane arrives. A mastermind and first class monster, Bane organizes his army of criminals and unleashes inferno upon the citizens of Gotham. Unlike the mentally unbalanced adversaries of the previous movies, Bruce Wayne faces his most dangerous and disciplined challenge yet.

The themes about politics, violence and criminology are deep with well balanced arguments. However this is not a doctorate dissertation, this film is a human story behind the masks. Clocking in at two and three-quarter hours, ***The Dark Knight Rises** is pure cinematic popcorn eating escapism best seen on the big screen.