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By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2010
Behind an unassuming storefront on West Read Street, clowns and animals cavort freely while prim and proper Victorian ladies and gentlemen look on. A "50s Chevy sits ready to pull its silver trailer cross-country, while music school benefactor George Peabody gazes sternly from a darkened corner. And a game of pingpong waits to get started. For eight years, Anne Smith's Antique Toy Museum has sat quietly at 222 W. Read St. on the outer fringes of Mount Vernon, housing a vast trove of mostly late-19 t h - and early 20 t h -century playthings.
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ENTERTAINMENT
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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ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | August 19, 2010
For 39 summers, Columbia filmgoers have thronged to the Lakefront Film Festival. Its host and programmer, Tom Brzezinski, aka Mr. B, was holding summer community screenings two years before that. As he said in a series of e-mails, he wanted to give "something back to the community" after he helped open, in September, 1968, the first Howard County public school in Columbia — Bryant Woods Elementary, where he served as the first media specialist/librarian in the county school system.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2010
The "Toy Story" trilogy is a primal suburban growing-up story. The movie's screenwriter, Michael Arndt, whose father was in the foreign service, grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. "We moved there when I was 4 or 5 years old, then went to Sri Lanka for two years; then I went to junior high and high school in McLean, right near the Potomac River. To paraphrase Sarah Palin, 'We could see Maryland from our front porch!' " Now Arndt may become the first screenwriter to go two for two at the Oscars.
NEWS
By KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE | December 8, 1996
"Toy Story" is such a big hit on video that Disney has just released "Tiny Toy Stories" ($9.99).It's a collection of five whimsical short subjects -- one an Oscar winner -- from Pixar studios, which created "Toy Story." All are done in the same three-dimensional computer animation style.Actually, "Tiny Toy Stories" is a sort of history of computer animation. The first film, "The Adventures of Andre & Wally B," is from 1984. It was probably ambitious for its time, but it's only a couple of minutes long and seems slight today.
BUSINESS
By PROVIDENCE JOURNAL-BULLETIN | December 3, 1995
Mr. Potato Head -- the first toy ever to be advertised on television -- made his big screen debut in the new Disney film, "Toy Story."The toy -- a plastic potato with removable eyes, nose and ears -- isn't the only Hasbro product to appear in the computer-animated movie.The film, about a roomful of toys that come to life, also features such Baby Boomer favorites as Battleship, Candy Land, Mousetrap, Parcheesi, Life, Scrabble and Tinkertoy."We think it's a wonderful film and we think it will increase sales of our core brands," said Hasbro spokesman Wayne Charness.
FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | November 22, 1995
It's where the toys are.It's toy meets toy, toy loses toy, toy gets toy.It's the toy from Ipanema or at least Pixar Inc., a sub-contractor of the Walt Disney Company.It's "Toy Story" and if you don't sit there bleeding bliss, exhaling pleasure, gliding on happiness and sucking down the nectar of delight, make a note to yourself never to go to the doctor's again because he'll have to tell you that you're dead.Who'd have thought it?Certainly not this critic, who attends most screenings in a pique of high cynicism, convinced all movies are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
FEATURES
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...
FEATURES
By David Kronke and David Kronke,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 23, 1995
For many adults, toys are just overpriced plastic things they consider buying only when their children begin to vigorously test their diaphragm capacity in a department store.But few adults pay as much attention to toys as John Lasseter.In Mr. Lasseter's office at Pixar Animation Studios in Richmond, Calif., toys line the shelves, and many of them were there long before he began work five years ago on "Toy Story," the first fully computer-animated feature. "The main reason to do this film," says Mr. Lasseter, "was so during work hours, I could go to a toy store and buy toys on the company credit card."
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2010
The "Toy Story" trilogy is a primal suburban growing-up story. The movie's screenwriter, Michael Arndt, whose father was in the foreign service, grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. "We moved there when I was 4 or 5 years old, then went to Sri Lanka for two years; then I went to junior high and high school in McLean, right near the Potomac River. To paraphrase Sarah Palin, 'We could see Maryland from our front porch!' " Now Arndt may become the first screenwriter to go two for two at the Oscars.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2010
Behind an unassuming storefront on West Read Street, clowns and animals cavort freely while prim and proper Victorian ladies and gentlemen look on. A "50s Chevy sits ready to pull its silver trailer cross-country, while music school benefactor George Peabody gazes sternly from a darkened corner. And a game of pingpong waits to get started. For eight years, Anne Smith's Antique Toy Museum has sat quietly at 222 W. Read St. on the outer fringes of Mount Vernon, housing a vast trove of mostly late-19 t h - and early 20 t h -century playthings.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow | October 30, 2009
Toy Story and Toy Story 2 **** ( 4 STARS) You shouldn't pass up a chance to see them in 3-D. "Toy Story" is a buddy movie, with cowboy raggedy-doll Woody and sleek Space Age action figure Buzz going through the roughhouse version of getting-to-know-you familiar from "48 Hrs." and "Lethal Weapon." "Toy Story 2" is warmer and harder to classify. It's an ensemble comedy about several unexpected matters, including Woody discovering his show-biz roots - and his "inner cowboy" - and Buzz soldiering on through a hall-of-mirrors-like experience similar to the one John Malkovich endures when he goes into his own brain in "Being John Malkovich."
TRAVEL
February 18, 2007
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. JOURNEY THROUGH HALLOWED GROUND Capital Books / $20 Instead of spending Presidents Day weekend skiing or off at a spa, why not brush up on your U.S. history? This book charts a 175-mile historic driving trip from Monticello in Virginia to Gettysburg, Pa. Most appropriate is the "presidential journey" part of the tour, which takes readers to the homes of several presidents including Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. And though Camp David is closed to the public, the book recommends stopping at the nearby Cozy Restaurant, which has an exhibition about the presidential retreat.
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.
NEWS
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC | December 31, 1995
The best film of the year, the most fully realized, the most adroitly balanced between technique (considerable) and narrative (thunderous) and delight (intense), was "Toy Story." Who'd have thought it? Not I, said the critic, who expected a festival of product placement and a platform to sell a new line of Disney plush toys.The film demonstrated anew the oldest of lessons: that story still matters and that story is really the only thing that matters.It was really an epic as vast in scale as "Star Wars" or "The Searchers" or "The Pride and the Passion."
FEATURES
By Nick S., 16 and Nick S., 16,Chicago Tribune | February 24, 2000
In Pixar's "Toy Story 2" by Activision ($40, PlayStation), Woody has been kidnapped. Only you and companion Buzz Lightyear can save him and bring him back to his toy family, where he belongs. The game's many levels immerse you in adventures that lead Buzz Lightyear from inside Andy's house to far outside it. As you journey with Buzz in search of Woody, you'll encounter many familiar faces from the "Toy Story 2" movie -- including Mr. Potato Head and Rex the dinosaur. Characters will ask Buzz to complete certain tasks in each level.
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