The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 02, 1999, Page 18, Image 18

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    Sayles film leaves
audience guessing
By Emily Pyeait
Staff writer
“Limbo” is jam-packed full of risks.
Director John Sayles (“Lone Star”) takes gutsy
risks with stylistic decisions. Characters are fueled
by decisions to take risks. And audiences will take
a risk by seeing “Limbo.”
As in other Sayles’ films (“Passion Fish” or
44% M_/“I
Gastineau (David Strathairn) as a fisherman
tumed-handyman haunted by his past. Joe’s rela
tionships with Donna and Noelle develop at a
snail’s pace.
Stylistically, the film’s two hours could easily
be divided into two separate movies.
The first half of the film begins with a docu
mentary-style view of Alaska. At first, Sayles
manages to comment powerfully on the economic
development of a rural town. As the town’s tourism
Men with uuns ), the setting
serves as a character in the
movie. In “Limbo,” Alaska is
chosen as America’s last great
frontier.
Sayles also presents his
usual themes in “Limbo,”
where characters and commu
nities face transitions and
complex relationships.
Sayles continues the use
of strong female leads such as
“Lone Star” Oscar Nominee
Elizabeth Pena. In “Limbo,”
Him Review
The Facts
Title: limbo’
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
David Strathaim, Vanessa Martinez
Director: John Saytes
Rating: R
Grade: B
Fhre Words: Umbo - where Sayles leaves
you...
increases, the community
struggles to preserve its home
| from being destroyed by
change.
Sayles provides brief
glimpses of the town’s per
sonality, allowing audiences
to develop small relationships
with die canned salmon ware
house workers, the lesbian
couple struggling to define
themselves and the locals at
the town bar.
The first hour of “Limbo”
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
(“Color of Money”) plays Donna, a nightclub
singer troubled by her relationships with men and
her daughter, Noelle (Vanessa Martinez).
Donna’s struggles and willingness to live life
by risk-taking make her character vital to “Limbo.”
Mastrantonio’s performance is strong, and she
actually sings all songs in die film.
However, the similarities end there.
The pacing of “Limbo” is much slower than
other Sayles’ films. “Limbo” subtly introduces Joe
provides the character development that attempts
to hold the second half together. But the town that
is personalized so poetically is abandoned in the
entire second half of the film.
The second hour of “Limbo” is a tale of rela
tionships taken to their limits by the struggle to sur
vive.
Donna, Noelle and Joe escape from die town in
a fateful boat trip that leaves them stranded on a
deserted Alaskan island. Without supplies,
“Limbo” becomes a “Blair Witch”-style struggle
_ _ ... .... Courtesy Photo
Donna (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and Joe (David Strathairn) become stranded on a remote
island in director John Sayles’ risk-laden “Limbo.”
in the woods against the elements and the mind.
This adventure aspect of “Limbo” is so unlike
Sayles that audiences wonder what happened to
the strong narrative that kept the first half together.
The film’s ending demonstrates Sayles’ great
est risk of all, leaving the audience in limbo along
with the characters.
One aspect of the film that should be com
mended is Academy Award-Winner Haskell
Wexler’s cinematography. Wexler has collaborated
with Sayles in previous films.
Wexler’s style contributes to the completion
and aesthetics of each frame. In one of the opening
scenes, the camera work is so crisp and clean that it
should inspire future filmmakers.
During a scene at a wedding party, the camera
floats, following characters, only to pause for brief
conversation. As if following music, Wexler’s cam
era glides past others and lands softly and intimate
ly on Donna, who dedicates a “better-off-without
you” song to her boyfriend.
The most poignant images of “Limbo” are
captured in Donna’s face and the intercuts of
Noelle’s reaction. In a moment, the women’s
glances reveal the tension within the mother
daughter relationship.
“Limbo” is full of risks honorable in attempt
and worth checking out. Sayles’ latest is sure to
intrigue some and alienate others into a “condition
of unknowable outcomes.”
I
Main Ball Diamond
3:30 p.m. to midnight
Gates open at 3 p.m.
Also appearing: ^
C.A. Waller, TBA &
Blue House, 9 ’til midnight
Advance tickets: $8
Available at Homers
Omaha, Bellevue and Lincoln
apt
Sponsored by Tekamah Area Arts Council
and Tekamah Areajaycees with the
support of die Nebraska Arts Council and
die National Endowment for the Arts.
• Concessions • Beer Garden
• Kids Arts Activities
AMERICAN
CANCER
SOCIETY*
Trickster takes show on the road
■ The Amazing Arthur
entertains with juggling,
balloons and jokes at the
Nebraska State Fair.
Danell McCoy
Staff writer
State f air Events
VvVvV’
Sept. 1, 1999
Bvw# ' Upoe
Big Chef Zydeco 5:30 - 7 p.m.,
8 - 9 p.m., 10 - midnight ' vvg
Nine Live Cats 7-11 p.m. Hooters Beer Garden.:. -
Lee Ann Womack 8p.m. , Bob Devarfey Sports Center
_? ■X'ir-.iif:
On stage, The Amazing Arthur
tells audiences he learned all of his
tricks from his grandfather, a vaude
ville performer.
In truth, The Amazing Arthur, who
performs a variety of juggling, bal
loon and yo-yo tricks, learned his
trade through books.
“You can learn so much out of
books,” The Amazing Arthur said. “I
always emphasize to kids that ‘Yeah,
what I’m doing up here looks really
neat, but can you believe it’s all out of
books?’”
The Amazing Arthur, whose real
name is Arthur Silknitter, performs
daily at the Nebraska State Fair. He
keeps his audiences entertained with a
repertoire of tricks, gags and jokes.
Silknitter is an accomplished bal
loon artist, meaning he does more
than just make a few yellow and pink
poodles. He makes elaborate hats that
look like rainbows and even some that
look like Elmo from “Sesame Street.”
“I’ve known since college that all I
wanted to be was a full-time family
entertainer,” Silknitter said. “I like
entertaining the kids, and I get to work
with children every day.”
Silknitter, who graduated from
Peru State College in 1996 with a
degree in elementary education,
taught first grade at Indian Hill
Elementary for two years before mak
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ing the decision to go into the enter
tainment business.
“I got started by entertaining in
nursing homes,” Silknitter said. “But I
have done everything from weddings
and day cares to the Douglas and
Sarpy county fairs.”
Silknitter also takes his show on
the road. He has performed all over
the Midwest, including the Mid-South
Fair in Memphis, Tenn.
Although Silknitter is originally
from Lincoln - he now lives in Omaha
- this is his first time performing at the
Nebraska State Fair.
Silknitter learned many of his
tricks by reading books, but he also
had to learn to spend hours practicing
to perfect each trick. That was how he
learned most of his yo-yo tricks.
“It’s all a matter of practice,” he
said. “You never leave home without
it. You practice when your in line and
just have fun. That’s most important,
and that’s what has motivated me.”
Silknitter will be performing his
routine of comedic juggling and yo
yo every day at die Ag Hall Stage.
After his performances, he can be
found roaming around Ag Hall or the
Midway making balloon creations
and entertaining families.
“I try to stick around Ag Hall
because it has air conditioning/’ he
said. “But I tend to go where the Kids
are.”
Joe Didn’t
Pay Attention
to the Signs...
Until he hit one. .
pm i§