Catasauqua Press

Sunday, April 30, 2017

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.

A 'Master' of his film domain

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Master" is one of those films that audiences and reviewers either love or hate.

Since I try not be a "hater," put me in the category of "strongly dislike" regarding "The Master."

My opinion has to do with "The Master" writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson ("Punch-Drunk Love," "Magnolia," "Boogie Nights"), whose films are fascinating and confounding mish-mashes of big ideas, intriguing characters and performances connected by often incoherent storylines and punctuated by shock-value scenes.

Eastwood fields the 'Curve'

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Forget about the trouble with the chair.

There's no trouble with Clint Eastwood in "Trouble with the Curve."

Eastwood is as delightfully cantankerous as ever as an elderly baseball scout named Gus who still pours over stacks of newspapers rather than log onto the computerized "Moneyball" statistical analysis approach to assess high school, college and other Major League Baseball prospects.

Fishtank Ensemble: World music in one

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For members of Fishtank Ensemble, the music world is their oyster.

The cover of Fishtank Ensemble's latest CD, "Woman in Sin," looks like a pop-up greeting card with the eclectic music group's images in front of, or perhaps in, an aquarium surrounded by denizens of the deep.

Fishtank Ensemble, which played Musikfest in 2011, plays at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Mauch Chunk Opera House, Jim Thorpe.

You be 'Frank,' I'll be 'Robot'

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Robot & Frank" is a cute comedy-drama that presents issues about growing old and health care for the elderly in a very entertaining way.

The film by movie producer turned first-time feature director, Jake Schreier, and TV writer-producer and first-time feature screenwriter, Christopher D. Ford, should garner an actor Oscar nomination for Frank Langella, previously nominated for his stunning portrayal of former President Richard Nixon in director Ron Howard's "Frost-Nixon" (2008).

'Rush': Fastest thing on reels

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The envelope, please.

That's the plot device on which, ahem, rides "Premium Rush," one of late summer's most adrenaline-charged movies.

The title refers to the speed, priority or experience of a New York City bicycle-courier delivering a high-priority message.

Never mind the definition. This film is the fastest thing on reels. You'll grip the arm of your movie theater seat, the person next to you (best to know him or her first) or your reporter's notebook (as was my case).

Nothing normal about 'ParaNorman'

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The cleverly-titled "ParaNorman," the new animated feature film, takes a page from the screenplay of "The Sixth Sense" (1991) where a young boy sees ghosts.

You no doubt remember the line: "I see dead people"?

In "ParaNorman," there's doubt among family, middle school classmates and New England towns people about just what Norman sees. Most think he simply has a vivid imagination.

Norman persists, however, and soon, he's scared up seven accusers from the grave who had sent a young girl they believed to be a witch to her doom 300 years ago in 1712.

Civic's 'Body' has lots of heart

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Why We Have A Body" is one of the most remarkable, disarming and memorable stage productions this summer in the Lehigh Valley region.

The drama-comedy, in its Lehigh Valley debut, continues for only three more performances, Aug, 24 - 26, in the annual SummerStage series in Civic Theatre of Allentown's Theatre 514.

The subject material, which lobby signs warn is for mature audiences only, will not be to everyone's taste.