Monday, October 5, 2015


Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Drum roll, please!"

"Whiplash" has five Oscar nominations, for picture, supporting actor (J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher, the hard-driving music teacher), adapted screenplay, editing and sound mixing.

Even for those who don't know the difference between a single paradiddle and a double-stroke roll, "Whiplash" is a must-see for the performance of Simmons alone, the presumptive supporting Oscar recipient. It's the role of a lifetime for Simmons, a noted character actor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's an embarrassment of riches at this year's Oscars.

While 2013 was regarded as one of the best years in a decade for great films, one could make the case, based on the Oscar picture nominees alone for the 87th Academy Awards, that 2014 was even better.

The year 2014 will be remembered as the year of the director.

There was writer-director Richard Linklater's "12 Years a Film," i.e., "Boyhood," filmed over the course of 12 years with the same actors as we see lead actor Ellar Coltrane grow from an elementary school student of age 5 to a college teen of 18.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Matt Ryan performs as Bruce Springsteen in previous "Bruce in the USA" concert at Penn's Peak. He'll be returning to the Peak this Friday, Feb. 21.

Who hasn't heard of Bruce Springsteen?

"The Boss," as he is also known, had such great hits as "Born in the USA" and "Dancing in the Dark."

You can hear the hits of Springsteen at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe on Saturday night when Matt Ryan, from the World Famous "Legends In Concert" cast, brings his "Bruce in the USA" show to the venue.

Ryan began playing the Springsteen character in 2000, in the Legends "full scale" Las Vegas show. The great success with "Legends" evolved his character into the Bruce In The USA show.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Foxcatcher" is a fictional account of one of the most bizarre crimes in United States history.

"Foxcatcher" is nominated for five Oscars, including actor for Steve Carell in a transformative performance as John E. du Pont, supporting actor for Mark Ruffalo as wrestling coach David Shultz, director for Bennett Miller; original screenplay for E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman and makeup and hairstyling.

Friday, February 6, 2015

"Selma" is a good film. It needed to be a great film.

Nonetheless, "Selma," which purports to tell the behind-the-scenes public and personal politics of the 54-mile march in the African-American Selma Voting Rights Campaign in 1965 from Selma to Alabama's capital of Montgomery, is an important film and should be seen.

Friday, February 6, 2015
TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Dennis DeYoung bring "The Music of Styx" to Penn's Peak on Friday, Feb. 13. The following evening, Remember When will performing a Valentine's Day show at the venue. This is part of Remember When's final tour. The band is retiring at the end of 2015.

You don't have to burrow inside for six more weeks of winter.

Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe has a hectic concert schedule over the next two months that offers a wide variety of music to get you out and about.

Next week, there are two big events scheduled.

On Feb. 13, Dennis DeYoung, a founding member of the band Styx, brings "The Music of STYX" to Carbon County's largest music venue. The concert begins at 8 p.m.

This is a return appearance for DeYoung. All his performances have attracted large crowds at the Peak.

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Donna the Buffalo wlll perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe.

Donna the Buffalo will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at The Mauch Chunk Opera House, located at 14 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe.

Donna the Buffalo's sound is groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music that began over 20 years ago with roots in old-time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of Cajun/zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country.

They have been performing original roots music since 1989.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The musical group Free Range Folk will be performing at the Tamaqua Community Art Center on Valentine's Day, with special guest Gene Morrison.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't be put off by the provocative title, "American Sniper."

Don't be put off by the empty chair.

Clint Eastwood is clearly and firmly in the director's chair for "American Sniper," perhaps the boldest and probably the most controversial film in the career of the 84-year-old director-actor-producer (it's the 37th film Eastwood's directed; he has 67 actor credits).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It has been nearly half a century since Paul Smith, former musical director at Zion United Church of Chirst in Lehighton, created the Zion Opera Workshop for amateur performers.

It's a community theater that has continued with annual musicals for 46 straight years.

This year, the Workshop presents "Annie Get Your Gun" on March 5, 6 and 7.

The performances, held in Smith Auditorium of Zion United Church of Christ, usually sell out so advance tickets are recommended.