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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
John Lasseter, the creative chief and top director at Pixar and Disney Animation, long ago proved that he can create timeless fairy tales with insects, in the fractured Aesop's fable A Bug's Life (1998), and with toys, in Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999). He extends his reach in Cars, an ultracontemporary comedy-drama about the perils of careerism and speed for speed's sake. Now 49, Lasseter rooted this tale of a racing wunderkind who gets his comeuppance in his own recent experience.
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By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 23, 2011
Five years ago, pundits were quick to cast doubt on "Cars. " A version of "Local Hero" or "Doc Hollywood" starring a high-speed auto? How misbegotten and outre! It turned out to be one of Pixar's most profitable pictures — and one of its best-loved. Creating a cast of automobiles with human features — eyeballs in the middle of their windshields, eyebrows at the top of them, and mouths and teeth under the grilles — director John Lasseter pulled off an ultra-contemporary yet homespun fable about a hot-shot racer who wins big when he slows down and smells the desert roses in the Southwestern town of Radiator Springs.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
Pixar's beguiling comedy-drama Cars, the latest alternate universe envisioned by computer-animation pioneer John Lasseter (the Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life), contains no humans, only automobiles that have human features: eyeballs in the middle of their windshields, eyebrows at the top of them, and mouths and teeth under the grilles. These cars overflow with heart, wit and new ideas. And the picture has a moviemaking fearlessness that conventional directors would be wise to emulate. At a time when blockbuster directors panic at the thought of slackening their pace and giving an audience time to feel something, Lasseter turns a portrait of hot-shot Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson)
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Reporter | February 26, 2007
HOLLYWOOD -- Martin Scorsese finally felt the love last night from the film industry, as his mob drama, The Departed, was named best picture and he was named best director. "Could you double-check the envelope?" Scorsese joked after being presented the directing Oscar by a heavyweight trio of his directing peers, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Scorsese, who had come up short on five previous directing nominations, received a standing ovation from the crowd at the 79th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre.
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By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 23, 2011
Five years ago, pundits were quick to cast doubt on "Cars. " A version of "Local Hero" or "Doc Hollywood" starring a high-speed auto? How misbegotten and outre! It turned out to be one of Pixar's most profitable pictures — and one of its best-loved. Creating a cast of automobiles with human features — eyeballs in the middle of their windshields, eyebrows at the top of them, and mouths and teeth under the grilles — director John Lasseter pulled off an ultra-contemporary yet homespun fable about a hot-shot racer who wins big when he slows down and smells the desert roses in the Southwestern town of Radiator Springs.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW | January 27, 2006
Animation has always been a tip-of-the-iceberg art in which seconds of finished work represent weeks of thought and labor. Ever since he put Toy Story into production, John Lasseter, the reigning genius at Pixar and the new chief of Disney animation, has infused that arduous process with joy and a love for movie heritage - even as he's taken cartooning (in the words of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear) "to infinity and beyond." For anyone who's followed Pixar closely, everything Lasseter has been saying in the wake of Pixar's sale to Disney - about the culture of Pixar being more important than its economics - rings as true as a church bell.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Reporter | February 26, 2007
HOLLYWOOD -- Martin Scorsese finally felt the love last night from the film industry, as his mob drama, The Departed, was named best picture and he was named best director. "Could you double-check the envelope?" Scorsese joked after being presented the directing Oscar by a heavyweight trio of his directing peers, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Scorsese, who had come up short on five previous directing nominations, received a standing ovation from the crowd at the 79th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre.
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By Chris Kridler and Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF | November 25, 1998
The studio executives go marching two by two out of their lTC anthills, carrying two of everything: two volcano movies, two Wyatt Earp movies, two asteroid movies, two computer-animated ant movies.But not all of the insects in the Hollywood collective are created equal. Sometimes, one ant raises itself up on its own six legs and comes up with something really special. Such is "A Bug's Life," the second ant movie of the year and the second, much-anticipated film from Pixar Animation Studios and director John Lasseter.
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By [THE LOS ANGELES TIMES] | November 15, 2007
Ratatouille [Disney, $30] The movie received only six negative notices out of 192 on the Web site Rotten Tomatoes to rank as one of the year's best-reviewed films. Filled with beautiful animation, wonderful characters and inventive slapstick comedy, and overflowing with heart and humanity, it is a gem. Written and directed by Brad Bird, who won an Oscar for 2004's The Incredibles, Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille revolves around a rat named Remy (voice of Patton Oswalt) who dreams of becoming a chef at a famous restaurant in Paris.
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By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2010
"Toy Story 3" is a prison break movie — and prison break movies have always juggled laughs and jolts. A Newsweek writer has raised the question of whether "Toy Story 3" is too frightful for small children. But children have always loved to be scared, whether by reading fairy tales or watching "The Wizard of Oz." As screenwriter Michael Arndt says, "There's nothing wrong with strong emotions — you go to a film to feel strong emotions. And the only time that doesn't work is if the emotions are cheaply earned or are made gratuitously.
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By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
Pixar's beguiling comedy-drama Cars, the latest alternate universe envisioned by computer-animation pioneer John Lasseter (the Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life), contains no humans, only automobiles that have human features: eyeballs in the middle of their windshields, eyebrows at the top of them, and mouths and teeth under the grilles. These cars overflow with heart, wit and new ideas. And the picture has a moviemaking fearlessness that conventional directors would be wise to emulate. At a time when blockbuster directors panic at the thought of slackening their pace and giving an audience time to feel something, Lasseter turns a portrait of hot-shot Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson)
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
John Lasseter, the creative chief and top director at Pixar and Disney Animation, long ago proved that he can create timeless fairy tales with insects, in the fractured Aesop's fable A Bug's Life (1998), and with toys, in Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999). He extends his reach in Cars, an ultracontemporary comedy-drama about the perils of careerism and speed for speed's sake. Now 49, Lasseter rooted this tale of a racing wunderkind who gets his comeuppance in his own recent experience.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW | January 27, 2006
Animation has always been a tip-of-the-iceberg art in which seconds of finished work represent weeks of thought and labor. Ever since he put Toy Story into production, John Lasseter, the reigning genius at Pixar and the new chief of Disney animation, has infused that arduous process with joy and a love for movie heritage - even as he's taken cartooning (in the words of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear) "to infinity and beyond." For anyone who's followed Pixar closely, everything Lasseter has been saying in the wake of Pixar's sale to Disney - about the culture of Pixar being more important than its economics - rings as true as a church bell.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | November 24, 1999
Is a second Golden Age of animation upon us?In a year when "The Iron Giant" was tragically overlooked by family audiences and "Pokemon: The First Movie" was giving Japanese animation a bad name, here come two movies that prove once again how ingenious, artful and flat-out entertaining animation can be. In radically different ways, "Toy Story 2" and "Princess Mononoke" bring the art form back to its roots as a medium meant for for general audiences, not...
NEWS
June 9, 2006
WORLD Al-Zarqawi killed in Iraq U.S. and Iraqi officials announced yesterday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed Wednesday, when an Air Force F-16 warplane dropped two 500-pound bombs on a house north of Baghdad. pg 1a MARYLAND School closing postponed In a reversal that could jeopardize millions of dollars in state funding, the Southwestern High School complex in Baltimore would not close this summer as scheduled under a proposal presented last night by the city school board chairman.
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