Catasauqua Press

Monday, November 20, 2017

THEATER REVIEW DeSales Act 1 'Chicago' has all that sass

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Chicago" is as brash a musical as can be expected to be set in America's second-city, where crime, scandals and front-page newspaper headlines are second to none.

The musical, directed stunningly with that brash spirit by Dennis Razze, chair of theater, DeSales University, and Associate Artistic Director, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, continues 8 p.m. May 1 - 4 and 2 p.m. May 4 and 5 on the main stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

THEATER REVIEW Touchstone's 'Ulysses Dreams' realized

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Vouchsafe it to say that nothing like Touchstone Theatre's "Ulysses Dreams" was going on when the outdoor theater work was being presented for only its fourth performance April 14 at the Bethlehem Greenway Amphitheater no, not in any park, in any city, anywhere in the United States, or in any nation in the whole wide world.

'JP3D': New life in old dinos

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.

Doug Roth: The other side of D Smash

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was Dougie Roth's last show.

And, true to form, it was Dougie's show all the way.

Family members recalled a talent raw and near-genius, a personality at once hilarious and often off-putting and, in the end, a brother, a son, an uncle and brother-in-law who, after being a brother in arms seemingly railing against the world achieved an apotheosis of, if not contentment, then peace with family, friends, and so it seemed, himself.

A kind of 'Croods' charm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Croods" has its own kind of, ahem, "crood" charm.

Yes, there's lots of punching and smacking, fighting, rolling around, chasing, ugly faces, insults and did we say? fighting.

And that's just the Crood family of cavemen or is it cave persons? and doesn't include the prehistoric creatures.

Admittedly, I resisted seeing "The Croods." It was a case of 3D-animation feature overload. Also, I may have been wondering how "The Croods" could improve upon TV's "The Flintstones" (1960 - '66) for me the tabula rasa of prehistoric humor.

THEATER REVIEW

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Acting duo unparalleled in APT's 'Lives'

What a sketch.

"Parallel Lives" is a tour de farce of sketch comedy by two female actors who are, when you get right down to it, incredible to behold as they carouse through some 14 sketch-comedy scenes and an estimated 30 characters in an amusing two-hour show (not including a 15-minute intermission) produced by Allentown Public Theatre (APT) through April 7 at the Salemme Foundation gallery, Allentown.

'Stoker' an art-house shocker

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Stoker" is an art-house shocker.

While the film's title has nothing to do with Bram Stoker's "Dracula," it has its ghoulish elements.

With little advance word about the film, I didn't know what to expect.

The story in "Stoker" begins at a funeral, that of Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney), who died in a mysterious car crash. We see his widow, Evelyn Stoker (Nicole Kidman), and his daughter, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowski).

India, who shared a special bond with her father through their hunting trips, is especially distraught.

'Gatekeepers' is a must-see

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Gatekeepers" is a documentary film that goes a long way toward helping to explain politics in the Middle East, especially since the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.

In six days, the Israel military took control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

While Israel won the war, it put the nation in the midst of war on terror battles over Palestinian statehood and to prevent, as defenders and allies of Israel would say, the achievement of the oft-stated goal of Israel's enemies, namely, "to wipe Israel from the face of the planet."

'Oz' not so 'Great,' 'Powerful'

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

At one point in "Oz The Great and Powerful," Oz (James Franco) says to China Doll, a Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) character voiced by Joey King, "One rule in show biz: Never work with kids or animals," adding, "I already have this ... ," as he gestures to another CGI character, Finley, a monkey in a bellhop suit voiced by Zach Braff.

To that show-business adage, it could be added, "Never work with CGI characters."

At least in "Oz the Great and Powerful," for James Franco and other live-action actors, it's a losing battle.