Bethlehem Press

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Movie Review: 'Lego Movie' deconstructs

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Usually, the merchandise tie-in, toys and product promotions occur immediately before, during or after the release of a major motion picture.

With "The Lego Movie," the toys were there first.

Lego (from the Danish, "leg godt" (play well) is the brainchild of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter in Denmark. From 1949 to 2013, an estimated 560 billion Lego were manufactured. The colorful interlocking plastic bricks and accompanying gears, figurines and parts are connected imaginatively to construct vehicles, buildings and displays.

Theater Review: 'Family' has 'Royal' pedigree at Playhouse

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In "The Royal Family," playwrights George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber take Shakespeare's dictums that "all the world's a stage. And men and women merely players" and "the play's the thing" and apply it to a thinly-veiled send-up of the first family of theater, the Barrymores.

Only, in "The Royal Family," through Feb. 16, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem, the Barrymores are called the Cavendishes and Kaufman and Ferber take liberties with the subject material by minimizing their accomplishments and maximizing their foibles.

Movie Review: 'Her': love at first gigabyte

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Her" is a brilliant, prescient and unsettling romantic comedy by director Spike Jonze (born Adam Spiegel; director, "Adaptation," 2002; "Being John Malkovich," 1999).

The "Her" of the film's title is an OS1 (as in "Operating System," the recorded voice within a phone, mobile device or computer).

"Her" takes place in Los Angeles of the not-too-distant future where Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a Cyber Cyrano, composing hand-written love letters for folks at a loss for words to express their feelings to their significant others.

Theater Review: 'The Bride' vows to entertain at The Pines

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Return with us to the days when newspaper editors were tyrants, entry-level journalists were treated like chattle and the ever-present sound of the newsroom was the rhythmic rat-tat-tat of manual typewriters.

That's the setting for a world-premiere musical, "Here Comes the Bride," through March 9, The Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown.

Movie Review: An 'August' ensemble cast

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"August: Osage County" is an embarrassment of (rhymes with riches).

The men in the film based on the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play for drama by Tulsa, Okla., native Tracey Letts (who also wrote the film's screenplay) are deserving of equal-opportunity insults.

"August: Osage County" is a film to relish. The "August: Osage County" sauce is hot. Oscar-nominated Julia Roberts, as Barbara Weston (best supporting actor, female), and Meryl Streep, as Barbara's mother, Violet Weston (best actor, female), lay it on thick.

With Coens' 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' nothing is revealed

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For many film aficionados, a Coen Brothers film is an event.

"Inside Llewyn Davis" is a non event.

The film, set during a cold snowy winter in 1961, mainly in New York City's Greenwich Village nascent folk music scene, follows the career and personal train wreck that is the life of a guitar-strumming, songwriting, folksinger, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac).

Movie Review: SAG does the 'Hustle'

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Irving Rosenfeld has a comb-over like you wouldn't believe.

We get to see Irving, played by Christian Bale, meticulously prepare his coif before be attends an important meeting.

That opening scene is worth the price of admission to "American Hustle."

And that's not to take away from the many hilarious, heart-rending and wild scenes in the crime caper comedy directed by David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook," 2012).

Movie Review: Hungry like 'The Wolf'

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Director Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is one of the most outrageous, lurid and extravagant movies from a mainstream director.

"Wolf" makes director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" (2013) look like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937).

The debauchery of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), "The Wolf" of the movie's title, would seem to rival what we read and see of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, namely, rock stars, hip-hop stars, movie and TV actors, professional athletes, and Middle East potentates.

Movie Review: 'Smaug' alert for 'The Hobbit'

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Let's make this perfectly clear.

This movie review contains a spoiler.

Spoiler alert!

You've heard of that.

It's when a movie reviewer or someone writing or discussing a movie gives away a key plot point, one that might "spoil" the movie for you if you haven't seen it because the suspense or surprise of not knowing the reveal, or story resolve, or plot outcome, is removed.

Vespers celebrate that wondrous night

Thursday, January 2, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Leave it to the Moravians to stop traffic for a church service in downtown Bethlehem.

The occasion was the "Moravian College Christmas Vespers" at Central Moravian Church.

Those standing in sub-freezing temperatures on the steep, cold steps outside the doors of the historic church (built 1803-06) craned their heads to see which impatient driver was blowing a horn in the Main and Church streets gridlock.

"Nothing says Christmas like a honking car horn," cracked one online onlooker. The blaring horn almost drowned out the trombone choir playing from the church belfry.