Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Does 'Zero' add up to reality?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Zero Dark Thirty," an Oscar picrtue nominee and an American Film Institute movie of the year, is an intense cinema-going experience.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is nothing less than an account of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon and bin Laden's killing by United States Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

Long and shorts of film-maker's journey

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Stephanie Gardner wrote her way into film-making.

Gardner, an Emmaus High School, Class of '04, graduate living in New York City, screens seven of her short films, 3 p.m. Jan. 26, The Barrister's Club, 1114 W. Walnut St., Allentown.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be taken for the production of Gardner's next short, "Paris in Winter," set to lens next month in Montreal, Canada. "It's meant to be the antithesis of the typical Paris love story," Gardner says.

Oscar gold in 'Silver Linings'?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Silver Linings Playbook" is amazing, entertaining and profound.

Writer-Director David O. Russell draws from life experience to create a compassionate, funny and charming portrayal of Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), a young man with mental health problems who is trying to get his life back together.

He's released into the care of his Philadelphia area parents, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). Pat Jr. only wants to get back with his estranged wife, Nikki. However, Pat Jr. meets a young woman, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widow who has her own problems.

'Les Miz' big-screen dazzler

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Les Miserables" is an astounding movie, rivaling the best movie musicals ever.

The Top 10 all-time movie musicals, according to an American Film Institute list from 2006, are: 1. "Singing in the Rain" (1952), 2. "West Side Story" (1961), 3. "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), 4. "The Sound of Music" (1965), 5. "Cabaret" (1972), 6. "Mary Poppins" (1964), 7. "A Star Is Born" (1954), 8. "My Fair Lady" (1964), 9. "An American in Paris" (1951), and 10. "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944).

While even a list as prestigious as that of AFI is debatable, put "Les Miserables" on your must-see list.

Movie Review: 'This' is Apatow's home movie

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you're ever invited to the Apatows, you may want to politely decline.

That's because, based on writer-director Judd Apatow's "This Is 40," filmed in and around his Four Season hotel interior decor-styled Los Angeles area home, you will be subjected to a barrage of rude, lewd and crude invective, diatribes and behavior.

"This Is 40" is an often desperate attempt at comedy. I found the movie mostly insufferable. "This is 40" is Judd Apatow's home movie.

'Journey' to Middle-earth

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Despite its title, there's not too much that's unexpected in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

There are goblins, wizards, trolls, rock monsters and, of course, dwarfs.

This should please fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973) novels, on which "The Hobbit" is based, as it did my son, Elias, who accompanied me to a 3D screening of "Unexpected Journey."

It was the second time Elias saw "The Hobbit" movie. The first time he saw it was in the regular format. Elias said the 3D version enhanced some scenes, but it's not necessary to see "The Hobbit" in 3D.

THEATER REVIEWS APT gets into 'Every Christmas' spirit

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Every Christmas play and movie tells a story.

Allentown Public Theatre (APT)'s production of "Every Christmas Story Every Told (And Then Some!)," through Dec. 23, the Salemme Foundation, Allentown, manages to tell nearly all of them.

The comedy with music, written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alverez, premiered in 2003 at Cape May Stage, Cape May, N.J.

Ang Lee serves a slice of 'Pi'

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

As the end of the year 2012 rapidly approaches, director Ang Lee's remarkable "Life of Pi" is one film to put on your holiday season list.

"Life of Pi" recounts a deeply-moving spiritual journey that is fascinating and thought-provoking, and will linger with you long after you've viewed it.

Many of the images provide a relaxing, meditative quallity that lift "Life of Pi" from that of movie-going to that of a cinematic experience. Those who enjoy wildlife, nature films, folk tales, parables and fables will enjoy "Life of Pi."

At Bucks, 'Life' is 'Wonderful'

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The triple-threat (acting, singing, dancing) actors in Bucks County Playhouse's production of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," take a page or pages from director Frank Capra's 1946 Classic starring Jimmy Stewart and transfer the fable of American life to the New Hope stage, where it continues through Dec. 30.

The stage adaptation by Joe Landry was first presented in 1997.

Pity poor 'Anna Karenina'

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Anna Karenina" is a gorgeous mess the famous Tolstoy character and the new film version of the novel.

Director Joe Wright, who previously directed the historical romantic dramas, "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "Atonement" (2007), also starring Keira Knightley, who plays the title character, Anna Karenina, reached for opera and instead got soap opera.

Wright apparently made a conscious effort to not be repetitive of other critically-acclaimed movie versions of the Leo Tolstoy classic (published in installments 1873 - 1877).