FILM REVIEW: Burt Lancaster’s Oscar-Winning “Elmer Gantry” at the Trylon Theater

I once dated (briefly) a guy who sold steel. I kept asking him about steel––what it’s made of, what it’s used for––until one day he said in exasperation, “I don’t care about steel. I’d sell anything.” That’s Elmer Gantry. He’s the all-American salesman: he’d believe, really believe, in anything he thought you’d buy. It is success that proves faith in this religion, not the other way ’round.The Lancastic! Continue Reading

FILM REVIEW: Burt Lancaster in “The Killers,” Nov. 1-3 at the Trylon Microcinema

“Lancastic!” a retrospective of eleven Burt Lancaster films, kicks off at the Trylon Microcinema on November 1 with Lancaster’s debut film, The Killers (1946). A film-noir classic, The Killers was directed by German-born Robert Siodmak, a master of shadow and light. Film critic Pauline Kael called Lancaster “a great specimen of hunkus Americanus.” But in his first screen appearance, playing a none-too-bright boxer who took more beatings than he ever gave, he is more like a bruised lily.The film’s first 13 minutes recreate almost word-for-word Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers.” A couple of men turn up in a nowhere town. One fat, one thin, they look like a comedy duo. They’re not. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Embedded: With the Mosaic Quilting Project in Minneapolis’s Kingfield neighborhood

I am not the craft-making type. I am a klutz, with an X-Acto blade scar on my thigh to prove it. I agreed, however, to be an embedded journalist–on hand to observe, not to participate–in a public art project in south Minneapolis called the Mosaic Quilting Project.Mosaics are made of little pieces of cut glass, arranged to make a picture. Glass is dangerous. Ancient people made arrowheads out of glass, and modern people hit each other with beer bottles.”We don’t eat at the tables where we’re gluing down the glass pieces,” one of the mosaic project coordinators, Mary Ann Schoenberger, told me. Continue Reading