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Talking pictures: Meet Pixar’s ‘creative genius’

Also, 2-films-in-one ‘Grindhouse’ runs more than 3 hours

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Chip 'n' Dale star in "Working for Peanuts," classic 1953 cartoon showing at 3-D venues with Disney's "Meet the Robinsons."

Chip ‘n’ Dale star in “Working for Peanuts,” classic 1953 cartoon showing at 3-D venues with Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons.”

Disney Enterprises Inc.

It's not just the moviegoing public that loves John Lasseter. The Pixar vice president and creative chief has also won the respect of the entire animation community.

That includes some Disney animators who were initially irked when Lasseter and Pixar were given creative control over the Mouse House's animation divisions a couple of years ago.

"John is a creative genius," said Stephen J. Anderson, director of Disney's "Meet the Robinsons. "There are few people in the movie industry, not just animation folks, who have his passion and energy."

Anderson and his animation staff were forced to go back to the drawing board after Lasseter saw an early version of the film and suggested some fairly drastic revisions. However, as Anderson noted, "It was obvious that John's suggestions would make it a better movie. And he was very open to discussing ideas."

Anderson and three of the "Meet the Robinsons" animators were in Salt Lake City last week to discuss the new film, which opened Friday.

According to computer-graphics supervisor Kyle Odermatt, it was also Lasseter's idea to include two classic Disney shorts with "Meet the Robinsons." (Showings of "Robinsons" at 3-D venues are accompanied by 1953's "Working for Peanuts," featuring Chip 'n' Dale; the 2-D showings include the 1938 Mickey Mouse 'toon "Boat Builders.")

"John has so much love and respect for what (Disney) has done in the past," Odermatt said. "And he's trying to bring back that feeling of the studio as a creative community."

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD (BAD) THING? Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez also have a reputation as visionary filmmakers, albeit on a more R-rated level, but their indulgences sometimes get the best of them.

Take "Grindhouse," which opens next week — a film that is actually two feature-length pictures pieced together as an homage to those cheaply made B-movie thrillers of the 1970s that were shown as double-bills.

Within the "Grindhouse" framework are "Planet Terror," directed by Rodriguez, and "Death Proof," directed by Tarantino, as well as movie-trailer spoofs that were directed by Eli Roth ("Hostel"), Rob Zombie ("The Devil's Rejects"), Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead") and others.

The R-rated "Grindhouse" runs 191 minutes!

I haven't seen the film yet, but that three-hour-plus running time has me a little scared. And not in a good way.

JUST ENOUGH OF A GOOD THING? A film that's considerably less indulgent than "Grindhouse" is "De Nadie," Tin Dirdamal's fascinating documentary about illegal immigrants from Central America, which is only 80 minutes long.

The Sundance Institute, the Salt Lake Film Center and the Park City Film Series are sponsoring a free screening of the movie Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium.

For more information on the film, browse either www.sundance.org, www.parkcityfilmseries.com or www.slcfilmcenter.org.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com