Northwestern Press

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Movie Review: ‘Coco’

Thursday, December 14, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Coco” is an astonishing animation feature film that explores an actual mythology, and one that is atypical for the mainstream cinema.

Who knew that a movie aimed at families and children based on the Mexican holiday of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) would be a huge box office hit?

During the national holiday, families gather and pray for family and friends who’ve died, build private altars to them and visit their graves, in order to wish them safe passage in their spiritual journey on “the other side.”

Review: ‘Marshall’

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Marshall” is a powerful film about a Bridgeport, Conn., civil rights case in 1941 pivotal in the life and career of Atty. Thurgood Marshall, who in 1967 was the first African-American appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Director Reginald Hudlin handles the controversial material with care, emphasizing the human drama and the importance of the case in Marshall’s career and the Civil Rights Movement.

Movie Review: ‘Express’

Friday, November 24, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Murder On The Orient Express” isn’t exactly murder to watch, but it is painful.

While boasting a bravura turn as Hercule Poirot by Kenneth Branagh, who directs the star-studded extravaganza, the remake of the 1974 movie that was directed by Sidney Lumet, which is also based on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie, is pretty much of a train wreck, literally and figuratively.

LV house sales decline again, down 5.8 percent in October

Friday, November 24, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

House sales have declined for two months in a row in the Lehigh Valley.

Closed sales decreased 5.8 percent in October to 672 houses sold, compared to 713 houses sold in October 2016, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report.

Closed sales had decreased 3.5 percent in September to 697 houses sold, compared to 722 houses sold in September 2016.

For the year to date, closed sales increased 3.6 percent, to 7,020, compared to 6,778 for the year to date in 2016.

Allentown Symphony Association seeks successor for executive director Evans

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

An interim executive director is being sought to succeed Sheila Evans, who has resigned as Allentown Symphony Association executive director.

Evans’ resignation was accepted at a Nov. 10 meeting of the symphony association executive committee, according to association board President Philip C. Jackson.

“Sheila’s done an excellent job to getting us to where we are today. With Sheila’s resignation, it is our hope that we can even take it to higher levels,” Jackson said of Miller Symphony Hall during a Nov. 12 interview with The Press.

Review: ‘Thor’

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Thor: Ragnarok” is a bore.

Yes, there’s plenty of action, lots of quips, and terrific computer generated imagery, but “Thor: Ragnarok” fails in that most essential benchmark of cinema achievement: emotional involvement.

Now, this is from the perspective of a movie-goer (yours truly) who’s not a fan boy, has no interest in attending a Comic-Con convention and doesn’t engage in Cosplay (costume play). Heck, I’m one of those folks who long ago stopped dressing up for Halloween.

Allentown Symphony Association seeks successor for executive director Evans

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

An interim executive director is being sought to succeed Sheila Evans, who has resigned as Allentown Symphony Association executive director.

Evans’ resignation was accepted at a Nov. 10 meeting of the symphony association executive committee, according to association board President Philip C. Jackson.

“Sheila’s done an excellent job to getting us to where we are today. With Sheila’s resignation, it is our hope that we can even take it to higher levels,” Jackson said of Miller Symphony Hall during a Nov. 12 interview with The Press.

Review: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Varekai’ astounds at PPL Center

Friday, November 10, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you’ve never traveled to Las Vegas and have not seen a Cirque du Soleil performance there, the amazing performance organization that has been at the forefront of the new circus movement is traveling to you.

Right here in the Lehigh Valley, through Nov. 12, at PPL Center, Allentown, Cirque du Soleil is back with “Varekai,” an extraordinary, breathtaking, and awe-inspiring performance. “Varekai” is nothing short of acrobatic ballet.

Movie Review: ‘Loving Vincent’ is cinematic art

Friday, November 10, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Loving Vincent” is a cinematic work of art. The film, which is much more than Vincent van Gogh’s paintings brought to life, is by turns a “CSI” or “Forensic Files” psychological thriller.

Without setting up a “Spoiler Alert!” here, the storyline in “Loving Vincent” (It’s a somewhat unfortunate title in that van Gogh seemed incapable of loving himself, but readily and eagerly embraced the world, people, and everything and everyone in it. Then again, maybe the title is the height of irony.) has to do with the how he died. The film also celebrates how he lived.