East Penn Press

Sunday, September 24, 2017

‘Despicable Me 3’

Friday, July 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Despicable Me 3” isn’t so much despicable as bland.

This time, Steven Carell gets to voice two characters of the film’s title, the original “Despicable Me,” Gru, and now his twin brother, Dru.

The saving grace in the third of the “Despicable” series (“DM2,” 2012, and the original “Despicable Me,” 2010) are, of course, the Minions, those one and two goggle-eyed, blue denim bib overall-wearing, yellow vitamin capsule looking, nonsense-spouting characters.

Theater Review: ‘All for one’ in ‘The Three Musketeers’ at PSF

Thursday, July 20, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Three Musketeers” mantra of “All for one, and one for all” sums up the sword-wielding comedy-drama at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), through Aug. 6, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

The show’s full title, “Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers Adapted From The Novel by Alexandre Dumas,” underscores the “one for all” approach to the material, staging, acting and direction. The July 12 opening night performance of “The Three Musketeers” was seen for this review.

Review: ‘Beguiled’

Friday, July 14, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s midway through the 2017 movie year and, though it’s early in the Oscar race, “The Beguiled” is a contender.

Look for multiple Oscar nominations, including for Nicole Kidman, actress, as Miss Martha, headstrong headmistress at a young women’s academy circa 1864 Virginia during the Civil War. A wounded Union solder, Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell, likely supporting actor nominee), is given refuge at the school.

Movie Review: Baby, you can drive ‘Transformers’

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Or is it?

“Transformers Universe: Bumblebee” is set for a June 2018 release. A sixth “Transformers” is set for a June 2019 release.

In this, the fifth movie, the Transformers don’t do all that much transforming. When they do transform, from cars and vehicles to Autobots, they mostly do so lurking behind a building support column or accompanied by flare effects.

The fascination with “Transformers” is to see them transform. Isn’t that what made the Hasbro toy so much fun to begin with?

2017-18 season: Miller Symphony Hall leader sees renewed opportunity in Allentown renaissance

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Season schedule: Page B2

Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, home to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, had a “great season” for 2016-17, and Allentown Symphony Association Executive Director Sheila K. Evans has an even better season in store for 2017-18.

“It was a great season. We had an amazing season last year,” Evans says.

Maestra Diane Wittry is in her 22nd season as Allentown Symphony Orchestra Music Director-Conductor, bringing world-class artists to Miller Symphony Hall, enhancing the cultural community in the Lehigh Valley.

Theater Review

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Inspector ‘Hound’

The howls you hear during “The Hound of the Baskervilles” stage play at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival aren’t those of the titular hound, although there is that.

No, the howls are nearly nonstop from the audience at “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a regular laugh-riot through July 16, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. The opening night June 23 performance was seen for this review.

Review: ‘Cars 3’

Friday, June 30, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s called “Cars 3,” but there are many more than three cars in “Cars 3.” It’s named “Cars 3” because it’s the third in the Disney-Pixar feature animation series about a rambunctious group of cars with anthropomorphic traits. That’s not a stretch because many of us give our “chrome horses” affectionate or not so affectionate male or female names.

“Cars 3” again gives us vehicles that are quite the characters with cute, spiffy or clunky bodies, personalities and voices. The cars’ suspensions and tires animate like frisky puppies or barnyard animals. The grilles function as mouths.

Theater Review: ‘The Hound’ is afoot at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

- Sherlock Holmes,

“The Hound of the Baskervilles”

The howls you hear during “The Hound of the Baskervilles” stage play at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival aren’t those of the titular hound, although there is that.

No, the howls are nearly nonstop from the audience at “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a regular laugh-riot through July 16, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. The opening night June 23 performance was seen for this review.