Bethlehem Press

Saturday, October 21, 2017

'The Butler' did it

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Butler" is an eyewitness to history through the eyes of a White House employee during the presidential administrations of Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

In "The Butler" screenplay by Danny Strong (actor, "Mad Men"), the cauldron of the Civil Rights Movement is backdrop for the presidential procession as well as the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a fictional White House butler inspired by the real-life Eugene Allen, who was on the White House staff for 34 years.

Movie Review: Fielding 'Elysium'

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Elysium" is a science fiction metaphor for the haves and have-nots of today.

In the year 2154, the super-rich live on a huge bicycle wheel-shaped space station orbiting Earth. It is a Garden of Eden. The wealthy are coddled in Boca-Raton meets Disney World surroundings. Health-care "med-pods" heal patients completely and quickly.

Down below, the whole Earth has become the Third World. Los Angeles is reduced to shanty towns such as those, for example, surrounding Mexico City.

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP: Eastern, Western firefighters advocate fire code and building inspection program

Thursday, August 15, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Salisbury Township firefighters responding to a fire in a building they are unfamiliar with may become a thing of the past.

That's because a fire code and inspection program for commercial buildings by certified firefighter inspectors may be in the offing for Salisbury.

Township officials and firefighters are advocating for the program, saying it would ensure the safety of residents, building owners and firefighters.

It may require the hiring of a certified fire inspector, most likely on a part-time or freelance basis.

Animation, actors enliven 'The Smurfs 2'

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Smurfs 2" is an amusing animated and live action feature film with excellent character voices, jokey dialogue and terrific animation that should be enjoyed by the pre-10 year-old set and hold the attention of most parents or guardians.

The characters were created by Peyo, aka Pierre Culliford, a Belgium comic-strip artist-writer. The name Smurf is a Dutch language translation of an invented French word, Schtroumpf, a made-up word for salt.

Varieties on stage

Thursday, August 15, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

It was a soggy end to the 30th annual Musikfest Aug. 11 with the Blues Brotherhood at Americaplatz (Levitt Pavilion), SteelStacks, Bethlehem.

"It wouldn't be Musikfest without rain for the Blues Brotherhood," said Jake Blues (Paul Miller, owner of Loopers restaurant, Bethlehem), one-half of the lead duo that includes Elwood Blues (Tom "Bones" Malone) and is backed by a rock band and brass section.

THEATER REVIEW

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

A star is born in Pa. Playhouse 'Aida'

As the late theater critic Jack O'Brian (1914 - 2000) wrote in his syndicated column, "Voice of Broadway" and said on his afternoon interview show WOR-AM: "Always the young strangers."

It's uncertain whether the phrase was borrowed from the title of Carl Sandburg's 1953 book, but O'Brian used it to refer to new talent in break-through roles in Broadway shows.

THEATER REVIEWS 'Henry VIII': An abridged production too far at PSF

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) production of "Henry VIII," through Aug. 4, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, is a curiosity.

The so-called history play, in its PSF debut (as is "Measure for Measure," also through Aug. 4), is said by some scholars to have been a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. "Henry VIII" was first performed some 400 years before no-fault divorce, June 29, 1613, at the Globe Theatre, which burned to the ground when a cannon in the play misfired and ignited the thatched roof.

'20 Feet' to summer indie films

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Summer and blockbusters go hand in popcorn at the movies.

The watershed year for the summer blockbuster marketing mentality of the major Hollywood movie studios was 1975 with the release of director Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," which ushered in the summer blockbuster genre of big-budget, fast-paced, thrilling entertainment.

During the summer and Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year's holiday season, there's "counterprogramming," whereby "indie" (independently-released) films are released, sometimes to critical and box office success.

Renaud makes 'DM2' fun

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Despicable Me 2" has nearly all the things you would want to see and hear in an animated feature family comedy.

It has distinctive and charmingly-rendered characters, voice talent that is very expressive, an interesting and entertaining storyline, an overall attention to detail and, most importantly, a sense of fun.

"Despicable Me 2" ("DM2") is co-directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.

Renaud is a Parkland High School, Class of '85, graduate who attended the Baum School of Art where he received a $1,000 scholarship.