Bethlehem Press

Friday, May 25, 2018

Movie review: 'Vermeer': Paint by mirror?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Sometimes, you have to catch films before they get away. Even if you miss them at the multiplex, neighborhood theater or indie and foreign-films art house, certain films are must-sees whenever and wherever.

The following three films are well worth seeing. Each is linked by a magnificent obsession or passion. So, put on your film-hunting gear and don't forget the popcorn.

Movie Review: 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' go way back

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you're of a certain age and can get past the fact that it's not in sketchy black and white, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" is quite entertaining.

If you're a younger parent or a youngster, you may find the animated feature thoroughly entertaining.

"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" was originally a segment on producer Jay Ward's 1960's television cartoon series, "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show."

Movie Review: 'Men' not 'Monumental'

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Monuments Men" is anything but monumental.

That's too bad. The fact-based story about the United States' military mission to recover world-renowned works of art confiscated and hidden by the German Nazis during World War II has the earmarks of a bonafide thriller: priceless art, war, Nazis and a stellar cast, including and directed by George Clooney.

A catalogue of attributes doesn't always add up to a great work of art, much less entertaining cinema. "Monuments Men," at times, is a monumental bore.

Theater Review: Place Civic's 'Cities' on your itinerary

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Sanders knows drama. And, he knows how to select stage dramas and direct them.

Sanders puts a fine point on "Other Desert Cities," an audacious; by turns, surprising, and, ultimately, thought-provoking and heart-rending drama-comedy about one family's secrets.

"Other Desert Cities" continues through March 15 at Civic's Nineteenth Street Theatre, 527 N. 19th St., Allentown. The play was reviewed March 1.

And the Oscars go to ...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It's not nearly as surprising as who will receive an Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards, as who has not received a competitive Oscar.

The list, to name a few, includes Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant and Peter O'Toole.

That said, the year 2013 is memorable for brilliant directing, brave acting and superb productions. It was a year for the ascendancy of African-American directors and actors, as well as for fact-based stories.

This year, there could even be a WeightWatchers honor in the first category:

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.