Bethlehem Press

Monday, March 27, 2017

Movie Review: ‘The BFG’

Friday, July 15, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Big Friendly Giant” (or “The BFG” to the double-entendre obsessed) is a big disappointment.

“The BFG,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on the best-selling 1982 children’s book of the same title written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.

The problem with “The BFG” cannot solely be blamed on Spielberg. The book, padded out from a short story, has inherent structural challenges. Once the set-up is achieved, it’s mostly downhill plot-wise. This review contains spoilers. It’s assumed you’re familiar with the book.

Theater Review

Friday, July 15, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

‘Buddy Holly’ raves on at Bucks

The life and music of Buddy Holly is told in story and song in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” through July 16, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope.

The energetic, talented and engaging cast performs some 27 songs written, co-written and-or popularized by Holly, born in 1936 in Lubbock, Tex. His meteoric rise burned out at age 22 when he was killed in a plane crash in 1959, along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, while on the “Winter Dance Party” tour near Clear Lake, Iowa, a tragedy memorialized by Don McLean in his song “The Day the Music Died” (1971).

Theater Review: ‘Buddy Holly’ raves on at Bucks Playhouse

Friday, July 8, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The life and music of Buddy Holly is told in story and song in “Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story,” through July 16, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope.

The energetic, talented and engaging cast performs some 27 songs written, co-written and-or popularized by Holly, born in 1936 in Lubbock, Tex. His meteoric rise burned out at age 22 when he was killed in a plane crash in 1959, along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, while on the “Winter Dance Party” tour near Clear Lake, Iowa, a tragedy memorialized by Don McLean in his song “The Day the Music Died” (1971).

Movie Review: ‘Free State’

Thursday, July 7, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

When it comes to Civil-War era movies, “Free State of Jones” can be placed alongside “Glory” (1989), “Lincoln” (2012) and “12 Years a Slave” (2013) among contemporary American cinema interpretations of the Civil War era.

The awkwardly-titled film recounts a little-known chapter in American history when the rebels fought the Rebels, and took down a Confederate flag and raised an American flag over the Ellisville, Miss., Courthouse.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival tells a brilliant ‘West Side Story’

Friday, July 1, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you think you know “West Side Story,” either from having seen a previous stage production or the 1961 movie version, think again.

Until you’ve seen the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of “West Side Story” directed by PSF Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze, you don’t know “West Side Story.”

Hunky ‘Dory’

Friday, July 1, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Gazing at fish swimming in a home aquarium can be very relaxing.

Watching fish at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J., or the National Aquarium, Baltimore, Md., can be amazing.

“Finding Dory” is relaxing and amazing. It’s like being inside the aquarium. It’s comforting and meditative. Talk about “sleeping with the fishes.” Not to worry. You won’t be lulled to sleep. “Finding Dory” may make you want to scuba dive with the fishes.

Gofundme begun for Bud Cole’s recovery

Friday, July 1, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Bud Cole, long-time columnist for the Lehigh Valley Press whose award-winning “Bud’s View” appears in the Focus section, is grateful for the friends and relatives who’ve helped him in his recovery.

Chief among these has been Sandy L. Burkart, PT, OCS, PhD, a fraternity brother at East Stroudsburg University and retired West Virginia University Professor and Chairman of Physical Therapy.

Burkart has spearheaded a gofundme campaign to help retrofit the Lehigh Township house where Bud Cole lives with his wife, Bev.