Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Oscars will have surprises

Friday, February 24, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was another good year at the movies in 2016.

In North America, movies grossed $11.4 billion in 2016, besting the record of $11.1 billion in 2015.

Walt Disney Studios held the top three positions: “Finding Dory,” $486.3 million; “Rogue One,” and “Captain America: Civil War.”

None of these was a Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards, to be telecast at 8 p.m. EST Feb. 26. Here are my picks for the seven categories of the Lehigh Valley Press “Readers Pick the Oscar recipients” contest:

Movie Review: ‘Fences’

Friday, February 17, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

- Robert Frost,

“Mending Wall”

“Fences,” the film version of August Wilson’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play is set in Pittsburgh circa 1956 where Troy (Denzel Washington, who also directs), is a municipal garbageman and former Negro League baseball player standout.

Troy and his wife, Rose (Viola Davis), have a son, Cory (Jovan Adepo, TV’s “The Leftovers,” 2015-17, in his theatrical feature debut), who excels at academics and football in high school and is being scouted for a college scholarship.

Movie Review: ‘The Founder’

Saturday, February 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

After seeing “The Founder,” you may never look at a Big Mac the same way.

For that matter, you may never think about a fast-food restaurant the same way, either.

“The Founder” is about Ray Kroc (a splendid Michael Keaton), a milkshake device salesman who bought out the McDonald brothers, Richard “Dick” McDonald (a great Nick Offerman) and Maurice “Mac” MacDonald (a fine John Carroll Lynch), whose San Bernardino restaurant was the model for fast-food efficiency.

Review: ‘Rogue One’

Friday, December 30, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It is, after all, named “Star Wars.”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” if not all “Wars,” has enough martial-arts, battles and aerial dogfights to please the ardent “Mortal Kombat” or “Call of Duty” gamer.

“Rogue One,” billed as the first stand-alone in the “Star Wars Anthology,” won’t disappoint “Star Wars” aficionados, should entertain the casual “Star Wars” fan and impress movie-goers.

Theater Review: A behind-the-scenes visit to ‘SantaLand’ at Civic514

Friday, December 16, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be one of Santa’s elves at Christmastime, “The SantaLand Diaries” gives you the inside scoop, a scoop of coal, that is, right in your Christmas stocking that will crack you up with laughter.

Jarrod Yuskauskas, in the role of David in the one-man show, does the heavy lifting. The result is heavy laughter.

Theater Review: ‘Follies’ we trust at Touchstone

Friday, December 16, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s a tradition that’s akin to the Christmastime hanging of the greens.

Call it the hanging of the quilt.

You know it’s “Follies” time when the big quilt patchwork curtain hangs over the stage of Touchstone Theatre on Bethlehem’s south side.

The show’s different each year. The curtain’s the same.

For the 2016 holiday season, “Christmas City Follies XVII” is a sanctuary city.

Review: ‘Loving’

Friday, December 16, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Loving” the film is about Loving the family. The title is ironic. The Lovings were arrested for getting married.

“Loving” is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple arrested because their marriage was illegal in Virginia. Their fight for justice became a legal battle that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

The Lovings were vindicated. Richard and Mildred Loving were plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Theater Review: A behind-the-scenes visit to ‘SantaLand’ at Civic514

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be one of Santa’s elves at Christmastime, “The SantaLand Diaries” gives you the inside scoop, a scoop of coal, that is, right in your Christmas stocking that will crack you up with laughter.

Jarrod Yuskauskas, in the role of David in the one-man show, does the heavy lifting. The result is heavy laughter.