"Stoker" is an art-house shocker.
While the film's title has nothing to do with Bram Stoker's "Dracula," it has its ghoulish elements.
With little advance word about the film, I didn't know what to expect.
The story in "Stoker" begins at a funeral, that of Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney), who died in a mysterious car crash. We see his widow, Evelyn Stoker (Nicole Kidman), and his daughter, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowski).
India, who shared a special bond with her father through their hunting trips, is especially distraught.
It was a groundbreaking announcement.
In less than two weeks, and decades after the middle school was a glint in the eyes of Northampton Area School District officials, groundbreaking for the $80.7-million middle school and secondary campus improvement project is set for 4:30 p.m. April 8.
The project is shovel ready.
"The next thing to do is start digging," said NASD Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik at Monday night's meeting.
"The Gatekeepers" is a documentary film that goes a long way toward helping to explain politics in the Middle East, especially since the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.
In six days, the Israel military took control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.
While Israel won the war, it put the nation in the midst of war on terror battles over Palestinian statehood and to prevent, as defenders and allies of Israel would say, the achievement of the oft-stated goal of Israel's enemies, namely, "to wipe Israel from the face of the planet."
At one point in "Oz The Great and Powerful," Oz (James Franco) says to China Doll, a Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) character voiced by Joey King, "One rule in show biz: Never work with kids or animals," adding, "I already have this ... ," as he gestures to another CGI character, Finley, a monkey in a bellhop suit voiced by Zach Braff.
To that show-business adage, it could be added, "Never work with CGI characters."
At least in "Oz the Great and Powerful," for James Franco and other live-action actors, it's a losing battle.
Apparently, Northampton Area School District's proposed new dress and grooming policy needs a makeover.
So, it's back to committee for Policy 221.
The Northampton Area School Board voted 7-1 Monday night to remand the proposed student dress code, which has generated heated opinions around the district, to the policy committee.
The present school dress code remains in effect through the 2013-14 school year, said NASD Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik.
"Quartet" is a thoughtful, entertaining and fun film that hits all the grace notes.
The film is directed by Dustin Hoffman, who will be 76 on Aug. 8, in his feature film directorial debut.
One question: Why did he wait so long?
Well, Hoffman started directing "Straight Time" in 1978, but Ulu Grobard took it over.
The setting for "Quartet" is Beecham House, a home for retired musicians in England, for which the success of the annual gala concert to celebrate composer Giuseppi Verdi's birthday may determine whether the castle-like manse will stay open or close.
If the draft policy for student dress and grooming in Northampton Area School District was being paraded on a fashion runway, the reviews so far would be mixed to decidedly negative.
The detailed eight-page draft, available to download on the NASD website, proposes new rules for students in kindergarten through 12th grade for the 2013-14 school year.
For example, for boys, shirts must have a turn-down collar and must be in solid colors of navy, tan, black, orange or white.
Skirts for girls, for example, must reach the top of the kneecap.
The Northampton Area School Board got a pleasant surprise at Monday night's meeting.
The cost of the new Northampton Area Middle School is apparently $5 million under budget.
Based on a presentation by Christopher W. Haller, project engineer, D'Huy Engineering Inc., concerning the bids and alternate bids, the middle school general construction cost is $42,053,500.
"This went almost one year to the day. For this size project, kudos to those involved," said Haller.
The cost is based on apparent low bidders unveiled at the Feb. 25 school board meeting.
The Northampton Area School District is realizing a savings of more than $2.5 million in refinancing costs after restructuring bonds during an Internet auction.
"You did an excellent job in maintaining your excellent credit rating," Jamie L. Doyle, director, Public Financial Management Inc., NASD financial consultant, told administrators and school board members at the Feb. 11 meeting.
It's called "Burlesque to Broadway," but the song and dance revue, 7:30 p.m. March 2, State Theatre for the Arts, 453 Northampton St., Easton, is much more, according to its star.
"It's a celebration of women, from Burlesque to Broadway and beyond," says Quinn Lemley, star of the show with co-stars, Sara Brophy, portraying Raz, a Rosalind Russell character, and Amanda Brantley, portraying Gracie, based on Gracie Allen. They're backed by a 10-piece orchestra.
"The show is like a young Bette Midler meets 'Chicago,' " Lemley says.