Woman in Gold

I went off to work and had a discussion about Record Store Day. We had some ice cream in the freezer, but it was rock hard. I walked over to Safeway and bought some mango slices, strawberries, and grapes. I felt frustrated at the 51B bus. I can’t stand it when two buses arrive one after the other on a route like this. I dropped off the food and took another bus downtown so that I could make a connection to get to the Grand Lake Theater. A lot of high school students got on the bus, and I listened to the Beatles’ white album. I dozed off, and when I awoke, “Julia” was playing, and the bus was nearly empty. I reached the theatre three minutes before the start of the movie. I had to go upstairs. “Woman in Gold” was apparently the type of movie that attracted older people. Some of them had difficulty getting to their seats, and some of them couldn’t keep quiet during the movie. Some old people can’t refrain from commenting about everything. The movie starts off with a funeral, which made me feel some pain. Helen Mirren has taken on foreign accents in a couple of her recent films. This time her character’s family came from Vienna. I would say that her accent wasn’t completely convincing, but I liked watching her. It was 1998 in Los Angeles, and I wondered how she could keep her little shop going. I don’t think I saw any customers in the place. Nobody bought anything. Her family had a Klimt painting hanging on one of their walls, but Nazis took it. The movie was the story of the legal battle to reclaim it. Maria Altmann hires a family friend named Randol Schoenberg, a grandson of composer Arnold Schoenberg, to help her. We also see extensive flashbacks to get a picture of the deteriorating atmosphere for Jews in Vienna, and how two people were able to escape to the United States. It felt like this movie was a combination of “The Pianist” and “The Monuments Men.” I think it’s difficult to like a story involving lawyers, legal procedures, and courtrooms. However, you have to root for an injustice to be corrected. The roadblocks they faced reminded me of why I couldn’t understand why my friend Jacqueline loved studying law. The movie only gives us the briefest sense of how much work goes into a case. We see these montage shots of Schoenberg reading papers in bed. I liked the scene where he and Maria spend a day searching for a copy of a will. It made me think back to “All the President’s Men,” with Woodward and Bernstein in the library. I thought that Ryan Reynolds’ performance as Schoenberg was uninteresting. The movie has a familiar, predictable rhythm to it, and you know what it going to happen between the principals. I rather liked the movie, even though it wasn’t as enjoyable as “The Hundred-Foot Journey” was last year. The final sequence was unusual. Maria says she’s going to take a minute to visit her old house, even though she’s going to take more than a minute, obviously. The final shot of the movie is a trip into the past, and it had the feel of an Ingmar Bergman film. Adele Bloch-Bauer was born in 1881 and died in 1925. I wondered what a movie with Helen Mirren and Judi Dench would be like. I thought it had possibilities of being like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I saw from the Internet that they were both in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1968. Some of the other cast members of note were Katie Holmes, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jonathan Pryce. Katie was Schoenberg’s wife. McGovern and Pryce both played judges, although Pryce was William Rehnquist. I’m not sure that a general movie audience can get excited over a painting. Maria Altmann died on February 7, 2011, eleven days before her 95th birthday. Most of the audience stayed politely for the end credits, but I stumbled around towards the exit because I wanted to catch a bus home. A big group of Asian college students was on the bus I took. I watched the Partridge Family episode “In 25 Words or Less.” The featured song was “Echo Valley 2-6809.” I fell asleep, but later I would watch the first episode of the fourth season of NUMB3RS, called “Trust Metric.” I didn’t like the developments in Colby’s character. I watched Alec Baldwin on the Letterman show. He talked about fatherhood, and he gave Dave a present of an alarm clock that he could throw against a wall. John Mayer appeared at the end to sing “American Pie.” I thought his singing lacked the nuance of Don McLean. The crowd seemed to love him, though. I watched another rerun of James Corden with David Beckham and Claire Danes. On CBS This Morning, I saw that on this date in 1999, Wayne Gretzky played in his last game in the NHL. Some of the people who died on April 18 include Albert Einstein (1955), Thor Heyerdahl (2002), Kitty Carlisle (2007), and Dick Clark (2012). Today is a birthday for Conan O’Brien (52), Eric Roberts (59), Rick Moranis (62), James Woods (68), and Hayley Mills (69). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 18, Gene Autry recorded “Back in the Saddle Again” in 1936. In 1956, Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco. In 1985, “Make It Big” by “Wham!” became the first Western pop album released in China. In 1994, Roseanne Barr filed for divorce from Tom Arnold.

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