Bethlehem Press

Sunday, April 30, 2017

At Bucks, 'Life' is 'Wonderful'

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The triple-threat (acting, singing, dancing) actors in Bucks County Playhouse's production of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," take a page or pages from director Frank Capra's 1946 Classic starring Jimmy Stewart and transfer the fable of American life to the New Hope stage, where it continues through Dec. 30.

The stage adaptation by Joe Landry was first presented in 1997.

Pity poor 'Anna Karenina'

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Anna Karenina" is a gorgeous mess the famous Tolstoy character and the new film version of the novel.

Director Joe Wright, who previously directed the historical romantic dramas, "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "Atonement" (2007), also starring Keira Knightley, who plays the title character, Anna Karenina, reached for opera and instead got soap opera.

Wright apparently made a conscious effort to not be repetitive of other critically-acclaimed movie versions of the Leo Tolstoy classic (published in installments 1873 - 1877).

'Lincoln' deserves Oscar vote

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Lincoln," which depicts President Abraham Lincoln during the months leading up to and after the passage of the 13th Amendment that freed the slaves in the United States, is history brought to life.

"Lincoln" is astounding on several levels, not the least of which is one of cinema's most memorable performances: Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States.

Song sung Andreas

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Tony Award-nominated Christine Andreas doesn't so much sing a song as let the song sing her.

"When the song sings you, that's when you get the performance, not when you are singing the song," Andreas says in a recent phone interview.

Andreas will sing a variety of pop songs, accompanied by her husband, composer-pianist Martin Silvestri, in her Bethlehem debut, 7 p.m. Dec. 6, Fowler Blast Furnace Room, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, Bethlehem.

'Twilight''s last gleaming

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," fifth and final in the series, should please fans of the Stephenie Meyer novel and movie series.

For non-fans, "Breaking Dawn" signals it's time to put the brakes on "The Twilight Saga."

"Part 2" is an extended coda, with not much new happening that didn't happen in "Part 1," i.e., the marriage of Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the birth of their daughter, Renesmee.

'Wreck-It' an apt description

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Imagine having raspy-voiced John C. Reilly and whiny-voiced Sarah Silverman yelling, cajoling and yakking at you for one hour and 48 minutes.

That's one way to describe "Wreck-It Ralph," a garishly-colored, frantic, not very funny animated feature from Walt Disney.

The words of Vanellope, a Bratz doll style character voiced by comedian Sarah Silverman, used to describe Ralph, a Shrek-like character voiced by John C. Reilly ("Step Brothers," "Chicago" supporting actor Oscar nomination), best describe "Wreck-It Ralph" itself: "so freakishly annoying."

'The Perks' of teen-age angst

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Each decade, one and sometimes a handful of films is embraced by and-or define and seem to symbolize a generation of high school and college-age youth.

In the 1950s, of course, it was "Rebel Without A Cause" (1955).

The 1960's brings "The Graduate" (1967) to mind.

In the 1970s, there was "American Graffiti" (1973), "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), "Grease" (1978) and "Animal House" (1978).

Affleck's 'Argo' Oscar-bound

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Argo, an action-thriller that boasts impressive acting and directing, is based on a true spy story, "The Canadian Caper."

"Argo," directed by and starring Ben Affleck, tells the story about the United States Central Intelligence Agency bankrolling a fictitious Hollywood movie production to rescue Americans from Iran during the 1979 - '81 hostage crisis when Islamic student militants stormed and took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

CIA agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) poses as a Canadian movie producer to scout locations for "Argo," a science-fiction movie.

Being taken with 'Taken 2'

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Liam Neeson out-Bonds James Bond in "Taken 2."

You don't have to have seen "Taken" (2008). Here, Neeson, reprising his role a CIA spy operative Bryan Mills, must rescue his wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), and prevent his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), from being taken hostage by Eastern European terrorists intent on revenging their losses depicted in the first movie. At the center of the terrorist group is a father whose son, a kidnapper, was killed by Mills.