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March 2, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - One of the mortgage products that contributed to the housing crash is booming again: New home equity credit line borrowings soared 42% in the final three months of 2013 and were up sharply for the entire year, to $111 billion. But does this point to a return to the "my house is an ATM" mentality that characterized excessive home equity borrowing from 2004 through 2007, just before the crash? Should consumers - and the banks doling out the cash - be cautious about this trend?
February 28, 2014 | David Colker
Jim Lange was the original and best-known host of a television show that has come to be identified with the swinging late 1960s and 1970s: "The Dating Game. " "We were really the first reality show," he said in a 2002 Times interview, "paving the way for Howard Stern, Jerry Springer, 'Big Brother.' " Not that Lange, who graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota, was so proud of those offspring. He spent more than 50 years in radio and television and hoped to one day have a TV talk show.
February 15, 2014 | By Marissa Gluck
When Samad Firdosy bought the two-bedroom, one-bath home in La Crescenta in 2005, it was a fairly conventional single-story ranch house - with one difference. The house was nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and bordered in back by a 6-acre watershed owned by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. But it failed to take advantage of its rustic landscape and mountain views. Firdosy says he purchased the house intending to add more space but just couldn't visualize how. So the Jet Propulsion Lab materials engineer called a friend - Ali Jeevanjee of LOC Architects in downtown L.A. - to design an addition for him. Jeevanjee had grown up with him and done a renovation for Firdosy's parents.
February 13, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Writer Andy Cochran shows off a truly authentic voice in his delightfully off-kilter script for "Adult World," a smart, incisive comedy about a recent college grad's booby-trapped immersion into real life. Directed by actor-filmmaker Scott Coffey ("Ellie Parker"), this darkly funny film involves 22-year-old Amy (a game Emma Roberts), an intellectually entitled, rather clueless poet hellbent on literary stardom. But when Amy's strapped parents (Catherine Lloyd Burns, Reed Birney) announce they can no longer finance her dream, she's forced to take a job clerking at Adult World, a faded porn shop owned by a pair of frisky seniors (Cloris Leachman, John Cullum)
February 13, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
The question to be asked of "About Last Night," the so-called reimagining of the 1986 screen adaptation of David Mamet's caustic one-act dating comedy "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," is not: "Is it better than the first film?" because it's a draw, at best. Rather, the question is: "Is there any pressing need for it?" There isn't. Nonetheless, the apparently marketable title is back - minus its original closing ellipsis - and the action has been moved from Chi-Town to Los Angeles with four appealing, talented African American actors in the lead roles originally played by Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins.
February 12, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Today is Darwin Day, the 205th anniversary of the birth of the father of the theory of evolution. It's a scientific "holiday" that has had its evolutionary ups and downs. Five years ago, for the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of his publication of " On the Origin of Species, " celebration was robust, with Darwin Days proclaimed on dozens of college campuses, in museums and in the halls of government. Today, well, not so much. The oldest known ancestor of the holiday, pushed these days by the American Humanist Assn., arose at Salem State University in Massachusetts, in 1980, which still holds a weeklong Darwin festival.
February 11, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy, This post has been corrected as indicated below.
Fans of '80's movies such as “Footloose” and “Fright Night”  would often prefer that their favorites remain  untouched by the Hollywood remake machine. But stars of the new “RoboCop” say that a variety of elements make José Padilha's take on the classic action blockbuster a welcome addition. The film, which takes place in 2028, follows Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a Detroit police officer who after being critically injured in the line of duty is rebuilt as part man and part machine by an ominous tech company; he is then set loose on the streets of Detroit to fight crime.
February 7, 2014 | By Jack Leonard, Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton
Federal prosecutors announced charges Friday against two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies accused of assaulting a handcuffed inmate in a case that broadens the FBI's ongoing inquiry and raises new questions about how the Sheriff's Department has investigated deputy misconduct in the nation's largest jail system. Sheriff's officials previously rejected allegations that the deputies used excessive force despite a jail chaplain coming forward to say that he witnessed the 2009 incident and believed the deputies beat a helpless inmate.
February 7, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Early in the development of "The Lego Movie," Jill Wilfert, the executive who oversees Lego's licensing efforts in Southern California, had a question for her bosses at company headquarters in Denmark: Can we have a character die? "It wasn't something we ever had to really think about before," Wilfert said. "But we had to think about it now. " Their conclusion was yes, and it became one of a number of freedoms the company allowed Warner Bros., producer Dan Lin and writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller in creating the most freewheeling and reference-packed picture to come out of film's branded-movie era. PHOTOS: Actors who've been turned down for famous roles "Lego"--which as of Thursday had garnered a rare 100% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and was expected to open upward of $50 million this weekend--is a rare Big Hollywood entertainment with a playful subversiveness, the world's first postmodern toy film.
February 7, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
Just inside the entrance of Westwood's Hammer Museum stands a human-sized gingerbread hut by artist Nayland Blake. Left unadorned, its friendly, sugary scent wafts throughout the lobby. Across the room and up the museum's sweeping staircase, a harder-edged artwork of towering black-and-white text by Barbara Kruger reaches to the ceiling, dwarfing Blake's hut. "YOU," it screams. "You are here to get cultured. To get smarter, richer, younger, angrier, funnier, skinnier, hipper, hotter, wiser, weirder, cuter, and kinder.
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