Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Movie Review: In 'Heaven' there is no bier

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Is heaven a hope or real?"

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) asks that question in the opening narration of "Heaven Is For Real," a touching tale of admittedly corny sentimentality that left me all blubbery and emotionally- moved.

Burpo is pastor of a nondenominational church in Imperial, Neb. The pastor's faith, as well as the beliefs of his wife, Sonja (Kelly Reilly), and the faith of his congregation are put to the test when the pastor's four-year-old son, Colton (Connor Corum), has a near-death experience.

Movie Review: 'Captain America' an uneasy rider

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is a return to form for the action genre.

The Marvel Comics superhero sequel wisely eschews an overdependence on computer-generated imagery. Instead, the film concentrates on character development, dialogue scenes between the main characters and several impressive live-action scenes.

"Captain America" bristles with the kinetic energy of some of the best of the action-movie genre, including "The Terminator" (1984), "Total Recall" (1990) and "Die Hard" (1988).

Movie Review: Check into a 'Grand Hotel'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is an actor-studded comedy-drama that bristles with the joy of cinema. The film is a concoction of dizzying dialogue, madcap pacing, larger-than-life characters, bizarre encounters, manic escapades and stunning visuals.

While the film seems to have little to do with Budapest, Hungary, it is inspired by the sense of time and place of Eastern Europe sometime between the wars: World War I and World War II.

A Brotherhood for 10 years

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Blues Brotherhood, The Blues Brothers tribute group, is beginning its 10th anniversary year with a concert, 8 p.m. April 12, Musikfest Cafe, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

"Not only to we try to stay very true to the music, but we try to stay very true to the characters," says Paul Miller, who sings as and portrays Jake, the John Belushi character in The Blues Brothers.

Elwood, the Dan Aykroyd character, is portrayed by Aaron Hetrick, who has been with the Blues Brotherhood since its founding by Miller.

Rising up at Godfrey Daniels

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

There's a reason Harpeth Rising is called Harpeth Rising.

And it's not because the eclectic group has a harp as one of its instruments.

It has to do with geography and the aspirations of the trio that mixes classical music with bluegrass.

"We have many happy associations with that river," says Rebecca Reed-Lunn, banjo player and co-founder of Harpeth Rising, which makes its Lehigh Valley debut, 8 p.m. April 11, Godfrey Daniels, 7 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.

The Harpeth River is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

Theater Review: Touchstone 'Dream' a wonderful reality

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Journey: Dream of A Red Pavilion," in its world premiere through April 13, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, tells numerous stories about the Asian experience in the City of Bethlehem: Asian immigrants, Asian adoptees, Asian natives, Asian tourists, and the reactions to them by non-Asians, city officials and college professors.

Movie Review: 'Noah': Loose script sinks film

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You've probably heard the Borscht Belt joke with the punchline "So how do you start a flood?"

With an eye toward "Game of Thrones," "Lord of the Rings," "Thor" and the action-fantasy movie genre, you wonder if director Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan," 2010; The Wrestler," 2008) had that question in mind when he pitched "Noah" to studio executives with "What's the most famous ship in the world other than the Titanic?" and "Did you know that there's never been a feature movie made about the Biblical story of Noah?"

Movie Review: Musical antics from Kermit the Frog and Elaine Stritch

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For a sock puppet, Kermit the Frog has come a long way in his career.

Jim Henson's Muppets first appeared on a Washington, D.C., TV show 1955 - '61. "The Muppets Show" was televised nationally 1976 - '81. There have been numerous spin-off TV shows and television specials.

There've been seven previous Muppet theatrical feature movies: "The Muppet Movie" (1979), "The Great Muppet Caper" (1981), "The Muppets Take Manhattan" (1984),"The Muppet Christmas Carol" (1992), "Muppet Treasure Island" (1996), "Muppets From Space" (1999) and "The Muppets" (2011).

Touchstone 'Journey' inspired by Bethlehem Asian heritage

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The journey to Touchstone Theatre's "Journey From The East" began nearly two years ago at a party at the home of Mary Wright.

Dr. Norman J. Girardot, recently retired University Distinguished Professor, Lehigh University Department of Religion Studies, and Jp Jordan, Touchstone artistic director, were chatting about the newly-finished the Lehigh-Bethlehem Harmony Pavilion along the South Side Greenway, Bethlehem. Girardot was instrumental in the pavilion project.

"'Wouldn't it be cool to have some big production there?' they agreed," Wright recalls.

Theater review: Players' 'Lad' celebrates poetry month

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The stage version of "A Shropshire Lad," weekends through April 6, McCoole's Arts & Events Place, 10 S. Main St., Quakertown, is a memorable adaptation of a classic by A. E. Housman.

Ara Barlieb adapted and directs the piece, which is a world debut, based on an 1896 book of 63 poems by Housman (March 1859 - 1936), an English poet. Among the more familiar poems are "To An Athlete Dying Young," "Loveliest Of Trees, The Cherry Now" and "When I Was One-And-Twenty."