East Penn Press

Monday, January 20, 2020

Movie Review Big wheels: ‘Ford v Ferrari’

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Ford v Ferrari” provides a behind-the-scenes look at a slice of history that might not be known to the general public.

Car spoiler alert: “Ford v Ferrari” chronicles the strategy, testing and racing that went into winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 by the Ford Motor Company-sponsored GT-40 race car.

It was the first time an American auto manufacturer won the race. In fact, Ford cars placed first, second and third at Le Mans in 1966 with none of the Ferraris completing the race. Symbolically, the Ford Mustang outran the Ferrari Prancing Horse.

Movie Review: ‘Midway’ the CGI way

Thursday, November 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Midway” is a theatrical feature movie that would fit right in with the Turner Classic Movie channel’s annual Veterans’ Day telecast of military-themed movies.

One might reasonably ask why, at this time, a film about the Battle of Midway in 1942, a turning point in the United States” defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II, needed to be made.

Movie Review: South Korea tragicomedy an Oscar contender

Friday, November 15, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Parasite” is a powerful piece of film-making. It’s uncompromising cinema. This is a level of film-making far above most films, and beyond the reach of most film-makers.

The psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your theater seat almost from the beginning to the end of the film.

The acting is flawlessly naturalistic. The cinematography (director of photography Kyung-pyo Hong) is intensely personal. The pacing (film editor Jinmo Yang; production designer Ha-jun Lee) is unexpected. The soundtrack (composer Jaeil Jung) is beautiful.

Philadelphia children’s TV show star has movie costumes from legendary collection in Allentown Art Museum exhibition

Friday, November 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The exhibit is “Designing Hollywood.”

It’s really Gene London’s Hollywood.

The exhibit, subtitled “Golden Age Costumes from the Gene London Cinema Collection,” through Dec. 22, Allentown Art Museum, includes 60 vintage costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood movies, including those worn by Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Charlton Heston, James Cagney and many more.

Movie Review: ‘Addams Family’: Snap, snap

Friday, November 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

At the Addams Family household, it’s Halloween all-year-round.

“The Addams Family” animation feature film celebrates that, especially with the theme song.

You know: That rolling melody (dah, dah ... dah, dun) and then two snaps of the fingers.

It was the theme song, written by Vic Mizzy, for “The Addams Family” TV show (1964 - 1966).

The theme song has been a part of pop culture for 55 years. The Addams Family characters have been with us for 81 years.

Snap, snap.

Curtain Rises: ‘Into the Woods’ challenges Muhlenberg College students

Friday, November 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

An alternative title for “into the Woods” could be “Into the Id.”

As defined in Sigmund Freud’s theoretical construct of the psyche, the id is uncoordinated instinctual desires, the super-ego is critical and moralizing, and the ego is the realistic mediator between the two.

There’s a lot of that back and forth going on with the characters in “Into the Woods.”

That’s just for openers in Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s “Into the Woods,” accurately described as “a darkly comic re-envisioning of classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales.”

Theater Review: Get ‘Into the Woods’ at Muhlenberg College Theatre

Friday, November 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Into the Woods” at Muhlenberg College is a pristine production of the classic musical.

Through thoughtful set and lighting design, a fine performance by the 15-piece orchestra and superb singing and acting by Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre & Dance Department students, “Into the Woods,” through Nov. 3, Empie Theater, Baker Center for the Arts, merits serious attention from fans of the American musical theater.

Movie Review: ‘Maleficent’ deficient

Friday, November 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a hodgepodge of movies that have gone before: “Lord of the Rings” (2001), “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), “The Hobbit” (2012) and, of course, “Maleficent” (2014).

The Maleficent character is based on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale (1697) and Walt Disney’s animation theatrical feature film “Sleeping Beauty” (1959).

Angelina Jolie is back in the title role of Maleficent, fairy godmother of Aurora, again played by Elle Fanning.

Theater Review: Crowded Kitchen Players’ most unusual ‘Club’

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The title of “The Suicide Club” might be off-putting, but the Crowded Kitchen Players’ original play, continuing at 8 p.m. Oct. 25, 26 and 4 p.m. Oct. 27 and 8 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 and 4 p.m. Nov. 17, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, is thought-provoking and intriguing.

That’s because of the production’s commendable performances and a detailed script, written by Ara Barlieb, who directs the play. “The Suicide Club” is most unusual, unlike just about any play you will experience on the Lehigh Valley stage.

Movie Review: The ‘Joker’ is wild

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The ‘Joker” is wild.

The reboot, or origin story, of the arch-villain from the DC Comics’ “Batman” franchise, is a tour de force.

While the movie jettisons the article “the” in the name of the character and the movie’s title, it retains the menace.

The Joker is a villain, created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, who first appeared in the “Batman” DC Comics debut, April 25, 1940.