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The Woman in Gold
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
April 1, 2015

 

The Imitation Game
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

The Wrecking Crew
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Release Date:
March 27. 2015

 

Wild
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

Home
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
March 27, 2015

 

Interstellar
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Release Date:
November 7, 2014

April 2015: Movies Opening This Month

posted by Nell Minow
The Woman in Gold by Gustav Klimt  All rights reserved Neue Galerie

The Woman in Gold by Gustav Klimt All rights reserved Neue Galerie

Happy April!  Here’s what I’m looking forward to in theaters this month.  It’s very intriguing that three movies opening in April have themes about eternal youth or transplanting consciousness, while another originally scheduled for this month, Pierce Brosnan’s “The Moon and the Sun,” has now been delayed.

April 1, 2015

“The Woman in Gold” is based on the true story of one of the world’s most famous paintings, the woman who posed for it, the Nazis who stole it, and the Holocaust survivor and young lawyer who sued the Austrian government to get it back.  Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Katie Holmes, and Daniel Brühl star.

April 3, 2015

“Furious 7″ is the last episode of the “Fast and Furious” series, with the final performance from the late Paul Walker.

April 10, 2015

“Ex Machina” (limited release) has two of my favorite actors, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, in the story of  a young programmer who evaluates a robot programmed to achieve consciousness.

April 17, 2015

“Self/less” has Matthew Goode, Ryan Reynolds, “Downton Abbey’s” Michelle Dockery, and Sir Ben Kingsley in the story of a wealthy older man who buys a strong, young body to carry on his consciousness.  It is directed by Tarsem Singh (“The Fall,” “Mirror Mirror”), which means it may not entirely make sense but it will be a treat to look at.

“Monkey Kingdom” DisneyNature’s 2015 Earth Day release has Tina Fey narrating the story of baby toque macaque monkey learning about her community and their world.

April 24, 2015

“The Age of Adaline” Blake Lively plays the title character, who never ages and thus must watch everyone she loves grow old while she stays young.  The cast includes Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn.

 

 

The Woman in Gold

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2015

WOMAN IN GOLDThe very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of the extraordinary period of intellectual and cultural life in Vienna known as the Sacred Spring era. Adele Bloch-Bauer died in 1925, and the portrait hung in a place of honor in the apartment her husband shared with his brother, sister-in-law, and two young nieces.

And then the Nazis invaded Germany, their atrocities included stealing the valuables of the Jews they were sending to concentration camps. They took the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer and hung it in a place of honor, after they renamed it to remove identity of the subject and the Jewish association of her name. “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” became the anonymous “The Woman in Gold.” The beautiful choker necklace she wore in the painting was also stolen and given to the wife of Nazi officer Hermann Goering.

More than half a century later, Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, asked the grandson of her old friend from Vienna if he could help her get the painting back. This film is the story of the painting, the lawsuit, and Maria’s indomitable spirit.

Dame Helen Mirren is radiant as Maria, witty, spirited, an irresistible force who cannot give up. While we never doubt for a moment that she will prevail, Mirren makes us want to watch it all unfold. It is an extremely difficult case, with many arcane legal details, and the real-life story, like all real-life stories, is more complicated and controversial than any movie can convey. Director Simon Curtis (“My Week with Marilyn”) and first-time screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell keep the focus on the odd-couple relationship between Maria and the young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds), with flashbacks to show us Maria’s relationship with her Aunt Adele, and then her wedding to a handsome opera singer, just as the Germans are about to invade. Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) is lovely as the young Maria, and makes us believe she could grow up to become Helen Mirren.

The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer now hangs in the Neue Galerie. And now this movie is a part of its story, putting Adele back into the picture and giving us a portrait of the niece who insisted that her story be told.

Parents should know that this film includes WWII-era peril and violence, with references to concentration camps and genocide. There is brief strong language including anti-Semitic epithets.

Family discussion: Why did Maria refuse Ronald Lauder’s offer to get her more experienced lawyers? What was the most important discovery in winning the case?

If you like this, try: the documentary about Nazi art theft, “The Rape of Europa” and learn more about the lawsuit

Interview: The Woman in Gold’s Simon Curtis and E. Randol Schoenberg

posted by Nell Minow

Director Simon Curtis told me, “My last film was My Week with Marilyn, and this one is my century with Maria.”  He is referring to “The Woman in Gold,” with Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, who brought a lawsuit to get back the portrait of her aunt Adele, painted by Gustav Klimt, which had been stolen by the Nazis.  The story covers much of the 20th century, from Maria’s childhood in a wealthy Viennese Jewish family, in a luxurious apartment, where the portrait was on the wall.  I met with Curtis and Randy Schoenberg, the real-life lawyer who represented Ms. Altmann, who is played by Ryan Reynolds in the film.

It is an extremely complicated story, so I asked Curtis how he decided what he needed to focus on. “It could have been so many different movies.  Adele could have been a movie in her own right.  We wanted to tell the story of Maria and Randy’s relationship and their campaigns.  Once we were telling that story we realized we needed to just go back into the past and get a sense of that incredible time in Vienna before the second World War and in particular that sense of community, that extraordinary community that produced so much that the world benefited from and that was kind of shattered overnight in 1938.  I was influenced by the Bergman film Fanny and Alexander and I felt the sense of that apartment where all these people, all the different generations who bumped into each other and thrived on each other.”

Copyright 2105 The Weinstein Company

Copyright 2105 The Weinstein Company

Schoenberg, whose grandfather, the composer Arnold Schoenberg, was one of the luminaries who visited Altmann’s family in Vienna, knew Ms. Altmann because their families stayed in touch when they emigrated to the United States.  As shown in the film, he was young and inexperienced when she asked him to help her get the painting back.  I asked if their relationship was as spirited as the one portrayed in the film.  “Sometimes it was,” he said.  “Every part of the film where you think, ‘Oh, that must have been made up’ has this core of truth to it. So I told [first-time screenwriter] Alexi Kaye Campbell that I had at one time an argument with Maria. It was actually after we won the case but Austria had required us to do a whole procedure where they could have an option to buy the paintings. This was after they decided, and Maria was feeling so magnanimous that they flew out to meet with us. They said, ‘We need more time.’  She was 89 years old. And she said, ‘Oh of course, there is no problem,’ and I pulled her aside and I said, ‘Maria, you cannot do this to me after eight years of working on this. You can’t let them do this. They are going to stall; they are going to find out some way not to give back the pictures and it’s all going to be lost.’ And I had to really sort of fight with her.  So that shows up in the film in other ways. We had a very friendly relationship obviously because she was very close with my family, very close with my grandmother and she would tell stories about my grandmother and great grandmother. So normally we had a very friendly relationship like being with my own grandmother.”

As shown in the film, Ronald Lauder (who ultimately bought the portrait) did offer to pay for a more experienced team of lawyers. In real life, Schoenberg urged her to get advice from some independent law firms about whether he was up to the job.  After she consulted them, she decided to keep him.  And, as shown in the film, he was so nonplussed by the first question he was asked at the Supreme Court that all he could do was say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.”

This was not the first time Curtis worked with Dame Helen Mirren.  He was a production assistant on one of her films, where he said his job was bringing her coffee.  “That’s pretty much all I did with her on this film as well,” he laughed.

 

 

Faith-Based Movie Picks — The Today Show

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of Easter and Passover, the Today Show has some good suggestions for faith-based movies, from the very serious and respectful to the light-hearted.

Previous Posts

April 2015: Movies Opening This Month
Happy April!  Here's what I'm looking forward to in theaters this month.  It's very intriguing that three movies opening in April have themes about eternal

posted 3:37:58pm Apr. 01, 2015 | read full post »

The Woman in Gold
The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of the extraordinary period of intellectual and cultural life in Vienna known as the Sacred

posted 5:58:01pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: The Woman in Gold's Simon Curtis and E. Randol Schoenberg
Director Simon Curtis told me, "My last film was My Week with Marilyn, and this one is my century with Maria."  He is referring to "The Woman in Gold," with Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, who brought a lawsuit to get back the portrait of her aunt Adele, painted by Gustav Klimt, which had been stole

posted 3:37:47pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Faith-Based Movie Picks -- The Today Show
In honor of Easter and Passover, the Today Show has some good suggestions for faith-based movies, from the very serious and respectful to the light-hearted.

posted 3:13:29pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Another "Star is Born" Movie? Possibly, with Bradley Cooper as Director and Beyonce to Star!
A movie that's already been done three times (at least) may just get yet another remake if the rumors are true that Bradley Cooper will direct and Beyoncé will appear in "A Star is Born."  The original 1937 version, said to be inspired by (among others) the marriage of aging vaudeville star Al Jol

posted 3:54:02pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »


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