Catasauqua Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Renaud makes 'DM2' fun

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Despicable Me 2" has nearly all the things you would want to see and hear in an animated feature family comedy.

It has distinctive and charmingly-rendered characters, voice talent that is very expressive, an interesting and entertaining storyline, an overall attention to detail and, most importantly, a sense of fun.

"Despicable Me 2" ("DM2") is co-directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.

Renaud is a Parkland High School, Class of '85, graduate who attended the Baum School of Art where he received a $1,000 scholarship.

THEATER REVIEW 'Measure' up at Pa. Shakespeare Fest

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of "Measure for Measure," through Aug. 4, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, is a marvelous feast of double-crossing stratagems, low comedy and high drama.

With Shakespeare, you usually get a drama or comedy. With the Bard's "Measure for Measure," you get both. The play could be regarded as the first of what is now known in TV and movie parlance as a "dramedy," or, more traditionally, a tragicomedy.

Depp in a 'Lone' star state

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In the western genre of motion pictures, "The Lone Ranger" ranks right up there with the more unusual.

While not as odd as "Cowboys & Aliens" (2011), it's not in the classic style of director Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" (1992), "3:10 to Yuma" (the 2007 version and 1957 original) or director John Ford's "The Searchers" (1956), starring John Wayne.

However, "The Lone Ranger," despite the reviling reactions of many movie critics, has a lot to recommend it.

It is one of the wildest of movies about the Wild West as you're likely to see.

'Importance of Being' funny

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Without being too "punny" about it, you are in for a "Wilde" time of laughter with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," through Aug. 4, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

While the laughs are decidedly high-brow and not low-brow puns, you don't have to be knowledgeable about the vagaries of Victorian society to be in on the jokes.

The passion of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

You don't need to travel to Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany, to experience a passion play. There's one right here in the Lehigh Valley.

The Muhlenberg College Music Theatre (MSMT) "Jesus Christ Superstar," through July 28, Empie Theater, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, is a thoughtful, often startling, entertaining passion play.

The first hit musical by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice, which debuted in 1971, is a revisionist retelling of the Bible's New Testament accounts of Jesus.

'Monsters U' gets incomplete

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The best things about "Monsters University" occur before and after the animated feature film.

"The Blue Umbrella," a film short preceding "MU," is many of the things that "MU" is not. "Blue Umbrella" is imaginatively to the point, original and thoroughly entertaining.

After the credits conclude for "MU," there is a scene about a snail character, introduced early in the film as he makes his way slowly to class. The outcome of his progress is in the post-credits scene, which is also many of the things that "MU" is not. The scene is very funny, clever and efficient.

THEATER REVIEWS Take 'The 39 Steps' to comedy at Pa. Shakespeare Fest

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) production of "The 39 Steps" yields nonstop laughter in a slapstick sendup of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film.

Hilarity ensues from the moment that four actors in multiple roles so many I lost count step on stage in the farce adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel of John Buchan and the 1935 Hitchcock film.

'Man of Steel' super-sized

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Man of Steel" is the latest makeover in the 75-year history of the ever-evolving Superman.

"Man of Steel," seen in the 3D Imax format for this review, is super in every way imaginable: super computer-generated special effects, super action, super chest-pounding loud and super long.

Yes, "Man of Steel" is super-sized.

Getting format choices out of the way first and it's a certainly a choice, as you can see "Man of Steel" in 2D, 3D, Imax and 3D Imax I think it's unnecessary to see the movie in 3D Imax, but Michael "Movie Maven" Gontkosky begs to differ.

Munopco debuts 'Shout!'

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Victoria Lang, a co-creator of "Shout! The Mod Musical," which makes its Lehigh Valley debut in the MunOpCo Music Theatre production, 8 p.m. June 28, 29 and 2 p.m. June 30, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton St., Allentown, is pleased to see the show being done in "her own backyard."

"I had a phone call from Victoria Lang," says Larry A. Williams, MunOpCo artistic director who is directing "Shout!" "She lives in Brigantine, N.J. She said the show is touring all over the world and it's nice to see that someone in her own backyard is doing it."