Movies For Grownups Christmas Weekend Preview

Two new family-friendly stocking stuffers-plus one over-the-top lump of white-hot coal from Martin Scorsese-provide perfect reasons to get out of the house this Holiday season.  The New Stuff:   Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers in this magical (and allegedly true) story of how Uncle Walt convinced P.L. to let him bring her creation to the screen. If Thompson lays the prim-and-proper schtick on a bit thick, and if Hanks plays Disney …

Tom Laughlin: The Renegade Who Challenged Hollywood and Won

Action flicks of the 1970s featured an army of  two-fisted tough guys with hard stares and gritted teeth, who angrily defied the establishment and did things their own way, especially if that entailed acts of violence at frequent intervals. But none was angrier, more defiant or more willing to kick butt and take names than Billy Jack, the protagonist of a trio of films by actor-director-producer Tom Laughlin. Laughlin, who died on Dec. 12 at age 82 in Thousand Oaks, …

Transform Your Smartphone Photos into Holiday Albums

Photos unite family and friends, so if you want to be the hit of a holiday party, just copy my friend Pauline. She recently sat down at brunch and whipped out a stunning book she had made from photos on her iPhone.  She said she compiled it with a really easy-to-use mobile app. The beauty and coolness of the photo album got more raves than photos of her grandkids. “What a great gift,” my sister-in-law Sue said, reaching for her phone …

He Taught Hollywood How to Write Screenplays

Syd Field was one of the most famous names in Hollywood screenwriting – even though, by his own account, the only movie script of his ever produced was an obscure Argentine film, Los Banditos. “I never saw the film,” he once explained. “But it was a pretty good script, as I remember.” Field, who died on Nov. 17 at age 77 in Beverly Hills, became famous by analyzing the art of screenwriting and then giving other writers tips on how to …

Ed Lauter: He Played the Characters You Loved to Loathe

Unless you’re the rare moviegoer or TV viewer who watches all the end credits, the name Ed Lauter probably won’t ring a bell. But you’d surely  recognize his balding pate, angular nose and jutting, dimpled chin, and his narrow, perpetually squinting eyes. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter In his four decades as an actor, Lauter, who died on Oct. 16 at age 74 in West Hollywood, Calif., appeared in more than 200 roles. They ranged from appearances in TV series …

Movies for Grownups Weekend Preview Oct. 18

Is this the biggest movie weekend of the year? Possibly! You’ll never get to all these openings in a couple of days, but two sure-fire Oscar contenders - All is Lost and 12 Years a Slave - should be at the top of your must-see list. 12 Years a Slave Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery leads a powerful cast. Movies from Roots to Django Unchained have shown us the evils of slavery: 12 Years a Slave makes …