Northampton Press

Friday, September 21, 2018

'Oblivion': Cruise drone-alone

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Oblivion" is a stunning sci-fi thriller that transports you to another world: Earth in the not two-distant future.

The year is 2077, intones Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) in the prologue. An alien invasion has made the planet uninhabitable, he tells us. Surviving humans have fled to Triton, a moon of Saturn.

Harper is a kind of space-age mechanic. Only, instead of repairing cars, he repairs drones, which have been developed into all-purpose super-fast, super-lethal security forces. The drones are like a three-dimensional Pac-Man and they destroy any targets in their path.

THEATER REVIEW Civic's 'Next to Normal' is anything but

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Next To Normal" is certainly not your normal musical.

It defies the conventions of traditional Broadway fare in several ways.

"Next to Normal," through May 19, Civic Theatre of Allentown, has very few spoken words of dialogue. The story is advanced through songs 17 in act one and 20 (including five reprises) in act two, for a total of 37 production numbers.

This is about double the number of songs in a typical musical. "Chicago," for example, has 11 songs in act one and seven songs (with no reprises) in act two, for a total of 17 production numbers.

The great budget debate

Thursday, May 2, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Board divided over tax increase

The Northampton Area School District is between a budget and hard place.

The result may mean higher than anticipated school district taxes for NASD property owners.

Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik and Business Administrator Terry Leh have been updating the school board on the fiscal challenges facing the district as the state-mandated July 1 approval deadline of the 2013-14 budget looms.

"What we are looking for is some kind of direction," Kovalchik said to the school board.

'The Place' for fine acting

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"The Place Beyond The Pines" is a complex drama with three parallel plots telling three interlocking stories. Each is about an individual's choice, and the truth or consequences that result, depending on the choices made.

"Pines" is an indie film crime caper that is of chief interest for its clever if somewhat convoluted screenplay and a bevy of stellar performances by some of the United States' best hot young movie stars.

THEATER REVIEW DeSales Act 1 'Chicago' has all that sass

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Chicago" is as brash a musical as can be expected to be set in America's second-city, where crime, scandals and front-page newspaper headlines are second to none.

The musical, directed stunningly with that brash spirit by Dennis Razze, chair of theater, DeSales University, and Associate Artistic Director, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, continues 8 p.m. May 1 - 4 and 2 p.m. May 4 and 5 on the main stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

Shovelfuls of hope for future

Thursday, April 25, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

NASD breaks ground for new middle school, secondary campus project

The silver shovels were lined up and ready for the Northampton Area Middle School and Secondary Campus Renovation Project groundbreaking ceremony.

But it seemed all Northampton Borough Councilman Ed Pany had to do was raise his arms skyward and, like Moses parting the Red Sea, the ground would part, too.

Even so, shovels were put to the test for the $80.7-million project as Earth Day became earth-moving day along a grassy slope on the edge of Northampton Borough Park.

Putting them to the test

Thursday, April 25, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

NASD transitioning from PSSAs to Keystones

Students, teachers and school districts are being put to the test in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Northampton Area School District is no exception.

The rigor of student testing is taking its toll not only in student stress but also in classroom teaching time, according to Lydia Hanner, NASD director of curriculum and instruction.

Tests and preparing for tests are taking up more of the school year.

THEATER REVIEW Touchstone's 'Ulysses Dreams' realized

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Vouchsafe it to say that nothing like Touchstone Theatre's "Ulysses Dreams" was going on when the outdoor theater work was being presented for only its fourth performance April 14 at the Bethlehem Greenway Amphitheater no, not in any park, in any city, anywhere in the United States, or in any nation in the whole wide world.

'JP3D': New life in old dinos

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.