Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

‘Moonlight’

Friday, March 10, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Moonlight” is an extraordinary slice-of-life film, representing in the best sense what cinema is all about: to take us to places where we may not typically go in our life or imagination.

The film’s unusual cinematography elevates the material to a dream-like state, which contrasts with remarkably realistic performances and a spare soundtrack that makes the film even more captivating.

“Moonlight” is based on a semi-autobiographical play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, with the screenplay written by the film’s director Barry Jenkins.

Oscars will have surprises

Friday, February 24, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was another good year at the movies in 2016.

In North America, movies grossed $11.4 billion in 2016, besting the record of $11.1 billion in 2015.

Walt Disney Studios held the top three positions: “Finding Dory,” $486.3 million; “Rogue One,” and “Captain America: Civil War.”

None of these was a Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards, to be telecast at 8 p.m. EST Feb. 26. Here are my picks for the seven categories of the Lehigh Valley Press “Readers Pick the Oscar recipients” contest:

Movie Review: ‘Fences’

Friday, February 17, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

- Robert Frost,

“Mending Wall”

“Fences,” the film version of August Wilson’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play is set in Pittsburgh circa 1956 where Troy (Denzel Washington, who also directs), is a municipal garbageman and former Negro League baseball player standout.

Troy and his wife, Rose (Viola Davis), have a son, Cory (Jovan Adepo, TV’s “The Leftovers,” 2015-17, in his theatrical feature debut), who excels at academics and football in high school and is being scouted for a college scholarship.

Laubach-Franko Master Plan approved; officials laud proposal, eager to implement

Monday, February 13, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

The Master Site Development Plan for the William H. Laubach Memorial Park and Franko Farm Recreation Area that calls for an estimated $5 million in improvements is being lauded to upgrade recreation on the east side of Salisbury Township.

“What we tried to do was take a little bit of the overcrowding from Laubach and shift it to Franko,” said Leonard J. Policelli, landscape architect, project manager, Urban Research & Development Corp., Bethlehem, consultant for the Laubach-Franko Master Plan.

Movie Review: ‘The Founder’

Saturday, February 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

After seeing “The Founder,” you may never look at a Big Mac the same way.

For that matter, you may never think about a fast-food restaurant the same way, either.

“The Founder” is about Ray Kroc (a splendid Michael Keaton), a milkshake device salesman who bought out the McDonald brothers, Richard “Dick” McDonald (a great Nick Offerman) and Maurice “Mac” MacDonald (a fine John Carroll Lynch), whose San Bernardino restaurant was the model for fast-food efficiency.

Movie Review: ‘Jackie’

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

That a United States president’s administration should be remembered in light of a hit Broadway musical either says a lot about the sway of Broadway musicals over the American public, or the power of American politics myth-making.

While it’s uncertain if “Hamilton,” which had its “tryout” way out of town (as in the White House Rose Garden), will attach itself to a particular administration, “Camelot” attached itself to the President John F. Kennedy administration.

Or rather, Jackie Kennedy, as then grieving First Lady, attached the Kennedy administration to “Camelot.”

Salisbury Township--Realistic fake guns a challenge for police in traffic stops

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Salisbury Township Chief of Police Allen W. Stiles stepped to the table and opened a green satchel, put two semi-automatic handguns on the table and held the third pistol aloft.

The eyes of the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners widened and some officials shifted uncomfortably in their chairs.

Not to worry. As real as the guns appeared to be, they were fake.

Yet for Salisbury and other police officers, it is a worry.

And that was Chief Stiles’ point during his report to commissioners at the Jan. 12 township meeting.

11th annual ABEs salute Lehigh Valley Stage Records set, anniversaries observed, quality astounds

Saturday, January 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

To power-phrase, it was the best of times and it was the best of times in Lehigh Valley regional theater in 2016.

There didn’t seem to be a down side to the up side of theater in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton area, which continued with a robust mix of the innovative and familiar in-locally-produced shows, plus national touring productions that stopped in the Valley.

It seems that Valley residents who are theater-goers and those who travel to the Valley to see theater couldn’t get enough.