Catasauqua Press

Friday, December 14, 2018

'The World's End' does not suffice

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"It's the end of the world as we know it," to quote the 1987 R.E.M. rock song, and I was feeling fine until near the end of the movie "The World's End."

Then, as in so many movies nowadays, it seems all apocalypse breaks lose, and "World's End" ends in fire.

"Ice would suffice," to quote the 1920 Robert Frost "Fire and Ice" poem.

Instead, director Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," 2004; "Hot Fuzz," 2007; "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," 2010), loses his cool.

Turkey Day 2014

Thursday, September 5, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

The big game will return to Muhlenberg

The big game is back at 'Berg.

For the first time in more than 40 years, the Thanksgiving Day football rivalry between the Catasauqua High School Rough Riders and the Northampton Area High School Konkrete Kids will take place at Muhlenberg College's Scotty Wood Stadium.

The gridiron classic took place at the Muhlenberg stadium, 2400 Liberty St., Allentown, from 1930 to 1968.

The football game moved to the Al Erdosy Memorial Stadium in 1969 after the stadium was completed and the Northampton Area Middle School opened.

Oscar may like Blanchett in Allen film

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Blue Jasmine" is the 49th film directed and 71st film written by Woody Allen, including some shorts, in the 47 years since his first movie in 1966. He's already filming his next movie, an untitled feature scheduled for release in 2014.

Allen, noted for his hilarious social satires, has also made dramas, often including funny moments. "Blue Jasmine" is one such film.

'The Butler' did it

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Butler" is an eyewitness to history through the eyes of a White House employee during the presidential administrations of Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

In "The Butler" screenplay by Danny Strong (actor, "Mad Men"), the cauldron of the Civil Rights Movement is backdrop for the presidential procession as well as the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a fictional White House butler inspired by the real-life Eugene Allen, who was on the White House staff for 34 years.

Movie Review: Fielding 'Elysium'

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Elysium" is a science fiction metaphor for the haves and have-nots of today.

In the year 2154, the super-rich live on a huge bicycle wheel-shaped space station orbiting Earth. It is a Garden of Eden. The wealthy are coddled in Boca-Raton meets Disney World surroundings. Health-care "med-pods" heal patients completely and quickly.

Down below, the whole Earth has become the Third World. Los Angeles is reduced to shanty towns such as those, for example, surrounding Mexico City.

Animation, actors enliven 'The Smurfs 2'

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Smurfs 2" is an amusing animated and live action feature film with excellent character voices, jokey dialogue and terrific animation that should be enjoyed by the pre-10 year-old set and hold the attention of most parents or guardians.

The characters were created by Peyo, aka Pierre Culliford, a Belgium comic-strip artist-writer. The name Smurf is a Dutch language translation of an invented French word, Schtroumpf, a made-up word for salt.

THEATER REVIEW

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

A star is born in Pa. Playhouse 'Aida'

As the late theater critic Jack O'Brian (1914 - 2000) wrote in his syndicated column, "Voice of Broadway" and said on his afternoon interview show WOR-AM: "Always the young strangers."

It's uncertain whether the phrase was borrowed from the title of Carl Sandburg's 1953 book, but O'Brian used it to refer to new talent in break-through roles in Broadway shows.

THEATER REVIEWS 'Henry VIII': An abridged production too far at PSF

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) production of "Henry VIII," through Aug. 4, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, is a curiosity.

The so-called history play, in its PSF debut (as is "Measure for Measure," also through Aug. 4), is said by some scholars to have been a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. "Henry VIII" was first performed some 400 years before no-fault divorce, June 29, 1613, at the Globe Theatre, which burned to the ground when a cannon in the play misfired and ignited the thatched roof.

'20 Feet' to summer indie films

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Summer and blockbusters go hand in popcorn at the movies.

The watershed year for the summer blockbuster marketing mentality of the major Hollywood movie studios was 1975 with the release of director Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," which ushered in the summer blockbuster genre of big-budget, fast-paced, thrilling entertainment.

During the summer and Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year's holiday season, there's "counterprogramming," whereby "indie" (independently-released) films are released, sometimes to critical and box office success.