Parkland Press

Monday, December 18, 2017

Movie Review: ‘Glass Castle’

Friday, August 25, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Glass Castle” is a difficult, if rewarding, film.

Among its attributes are Oscar nominee-worthy performances by Woody Harrelson as Rex Walls; Naomi Campbell as his wife, Rose Mary Walls, and Brie Larson as one of their four children, daughter, Jeannette Walls.

The film is based on the 2005 best-selling memoir, “The Glass Castle,” written by Jeannette Walls about her poverty-stricken upbringing by an alcoholic father and an eccentric mother in West Virginia. And that’s only part of the story.

Review: ‘Tower’

Friday, August 18, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Dark Tower” is a competent science-fiction film with several good performances.

The movie is based on the series of eight novels (1998-2012) written by Stephen King that stitches together several cinema genres and literary influences.

In “The Dark Tower” movie, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), known as the last Gunslinger, is battling Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), known as the Man in Black. Roland is trying to stop Walter from toppling the Dark Tower, purported to be the energy force that powers the universe.

Bud Cole ‘Celebration Of Life’ soars over Blue Mountain

Friday, August 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Kestrels circled in lazy patterns in the brilliant sky. A parasailer glided gracefully, looping back and forth. Far below rolled the green expanse of the valley and beyond, the hazy blue outline of the Pocono Mountains.

A long line formed in the lobby of Blue Mountain Resort-Summit Lodge, Lower Towamensing Township, Carbon County. There were hugs, words of condolence and anecdotes as Bev Cole, Bud Cole’s widow, greeted all.

Movie Review: ‘Maudie’

Friday, August 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Maudie” is a charming film based on the real-life story of Maud Lewis (1903-1970), a Nova Scotia folk artist with a disability whose paintings brought her national attention in Canada.

Look for an Oscar actress nomination for Sally Hawkins, who portrays Maud with brash reverence and raw-nerved reality.

Also look for an Oscar supporting actor nomination for Ethan Hawke, who plays Maud’s husband, Everett, with barely-repressed anger.

Maud, rejected by her Aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose) and brother, Charlie (Zachary Bennett), answers Everett’s ad for a housekeeper.

Allentown Band back at Waldheim Park for historic 102nd concert

Friday, August 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Allentown Band’s 102-year journey to Waldheim, Park, Allentown, continues with “A Musical Journey through American History,” 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

The Band performs historic, patriotic and popular tunes with special guests George B. Miller and Kate Scuffle, founders of Selkie Theatre, who will provide historical readings.

“In between each music piece, they’re going to reading something relevant to the period,” explains Pamela Varkony, concert chair for the Allentown Band concert conducted by Ron Demkee.

Theater Review: ‘Troilus And Cressida’ rules at PSF

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 2017 season of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) has been a fight to the finish.

Think about it: “Evita” (fight for power), “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (death and detective work), “The Three Musketeers” (sword fights), “As You Like It” (wrestling), and “Troilus And Cressida” (also, wrestling, and the deaths of Hector and Patroclus).

Up close & personal: State Theatre’s Shelley Brown promises fans more ‘Wow’ for venue’s 2017-18 season

Saturday, July 29, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Wow Factor” is in effect for the 2017-18 season of the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

The 2016-17 season at the historic State Theatre was billed as “90 years of Wow.”

State Theatre President and CEO Shelley Brown says when she was planning the 2017-18 season she made sure that the 91st year would continue to “Wow.”

“It really inspired me that it was really important to me that we’re ready for 90 more,” says Brown. “That’s why the tag line, “Nobody does it better.’

Theater Review: Shakespeare as we like it at PSF

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) has saved the best for last in its 2017 season (“Troilus and Cressida,” July 26-Aug. 6, notwithstanding) with a splendid production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” which bookends a season that opened with the spectacular “Evita” (June 14-July 2).

“As You Like It” is in repertory with “The Three Musketeers,” through Aug. 6, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. In other words, it’s the same cast in different roles. “As You Like It” was seen opening night, July 22, for this review.