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Leonard Maltin

John Lasseter, Toy Guru

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 31, 2010 4:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
James Cameron may be the King of the World when it comes to box-office receipts, but I haven’t seen him personally selling Avatar merchandise. On the other hand, Pixar’s John Lasseter is now appearing in a series of videos at the Disney Store online to introduce and promote a new high-end line of Toy Story toys and collectibles. A cynic could write this off as nothing more than a commercial ploy, and it’s certainly meant to sell merchandise, but what makes it work is that Lasseter is in fact a dedicated toy collector. When he says that he buys two of everything—one to keep in its package, in mint condition, and the other to play with—he isn’t kidding. His office at Pixar is crammed with character toys, and not just from Pixar movies. If you’re of the same stripe, you’ll want to check out this new line from Thinkway Toys, featuring Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other Toy Story characters—in anticipation of Toy Story 3’s release later this year. And if you follow the links you’ll see individual Lasseter videos describing each individual item.
More: Journal

Remembering Jean Simmons

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 27, 2010 1:59 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Like most film buffs, I was upset to hear about Jean Simmons’ passing over the weekend…but I felt incredibly lucky to have met her at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day Weekend in 2008. In his program notes for her tribute, Scott Foundas wrote, “It is one of the few serious shortcomings, don’t we all agree, of David Lean’s otherwise exemplary version of Great Expectations (1946) that Jean Simmons leaves the screen much too soon, to be replaced by Valerie Hobson as the grown-up version of the Estella character.
More: Journal

It's All About Me!

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 21, 2010 6:32 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Musician, entertainer, radio host and all-around good guy John Pizzarelli I don’t like blowing my own horn, but I can’t resist sharing two things with you. First, I’m the guest on this week’s edition of Radio Deluxe, the radio show hosted by John Pizzarelli and his wife Jessica Molaskey. John is one of the most talented guitarists on the planet, and a great all-around entertainer; Jessica is a theater-trained singer with impeccable taste. Somehow in the midst of their busy touring schedule they find time to host a lively (and very funny) two-hour radio show that celebrates the Great American Songbook, features the new generation of cabaret performers, and welcomes music-minded guests of all kinds. I was delighted to sit in and bring along some of my favorite arcane jazz and pop tracks—with and without movie connections—featuring Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards, Mel Blanc, Jack Teagarden and a host of others. You can download a podcast at http://www.johnpizzarelli.com/go.php?page=radiodeluxe_listen, and learn more about the show and where it airs near you by going to the home page at www.johnpizzarelli.com and clicking on Radio Deluxe.
More: Journal

A Great Speech About A Great Movie

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 18, 2010 7:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Journal

Dynamic Duos At The AFI Awards

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 16, 2010 1:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The best part of being asked to serve on the jury for the AFI Awards is that I get to attend an elegant luncheon for the honorees. Once the doors of the Four Seasons Hotel banquet room close, there are no television cameras inside, no publicists, no press. It’s meant to be a celebration of outstanding work in film and television during the past year, and that’s just what it is. Part of the fun is the schmoozing—getting to meet people whose work I’ve admired—and a personal pastime of mine is...matching up interesting pairs of filmmakers for snapshots. Here are some of the results from today’s lunch.
More: Journal

A Swashbuckler Lived Here...

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 14, 2010 11:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Journal

NEW YEAR, NEW ADVENTURES

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 12, 2010 2:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
A preview of the incredibly opulent Civic Theater in Auckland, New Zealand. More photos and videos to come! Please forgive my delay in grabbing hold of 2010. I've been on a long, and long-overdue, vacation to New Zealand and Australia, and I'll be sharing some of my movie-related experiences and pictures with you in the weeks to come. (Here's a teaser: a detail from an incredible movie palace I visited in Auckland.) I'm also learning to become a blogger, which is very different from maintaining a quiet website, which I've done for the last decade. Sometimes weeks would go by without an update, because I was...
More: Journal

Roy E. Disney's Name Where It Belongs

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 12, 2010 1:27 AM
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  • 2 Comments
At the outset of a "life celebration" for the late Roy E. Disney on what would have been his 80th birthday on Sunday, Disney chief Robert Iger surprised and delighted a packed house at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood by announcing that the studio's animation building in Burbank--the one with the whimsical Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's hat--will now bear Roy's name. A long, loud cheer went up from the crowd as an artist's rendering of the new building facade was beamed onto the theater screen. What a perfect tribute to the man who rescued Disney animation from possible extinction in the 1980s and oversaw its renaissance. John Lasseter also pointed out that it was Roy who was responsible for...
More: Journal

Inscribed in Hollywood History

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 2, 2010 1:07 AM
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  • 4 Comments
More: Journal

3 Times The Fun (2003)

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 1, 2010 9:36 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Now that my eyes have uncrossed, I can tell you about the incredible experience of attending The World 3-D Film Expo this past month at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
More: Journal, 3-D

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