Ed Rampell

Film historian and critic Ed Rampell was named after CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College. After graduating, Rampell lived in Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii, and Micronesia, where he reported on the nuclear free and independent Pacific movement for “20/20,” Reuters, AP, Radio Australia, Newsweek, etc. He went on to co-write “The Finger” column for New Times L.A. and has written for many other publications, including Variety, Mother Jones, The Nation, Islands, L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News, Written By, The Progressive, The Guardian, The Financial Times, AlterNet, amongst others. Rampell appears in the 2005 Australian documentary “Hula Girls, Imagining Paradise.” He co-authored two books on Pacific Island politics, as well as two film histories: “Made In Paradise, Hollywood’s Films of Hawaii and the South Seas” and “Pearl Harbor in the Movies.” Rampell is the sole author of “Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States.” He is a co-founder of the James Agee Cinema Circle and one of L.A.’s most prolific film/theatre/opera reviewers. Rampell is also the author of "The Hawaii Movie and Television Book", published by Honolulu's Mutual Publishing, drops Nov. 25 (see: http://hawaiimtvbook.weebly.com/).

Film Review: Apocalypse ’45

Armageddon Then: Candid Doc Brings the War in the Pacific Home Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 feature Apocalypse Now depicted war crimes committed by U.S. troops against Vietnamese people: An unforgettable, operatic, bone chilling chopper air raid attacking a Viet Cong village set to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” so a surfer whose name is initialed “LBJ” can ride the gnarly waves there (Ride of the Valkyries - Apocalypse Now (3/8) Movie CLIP Continue Reading...

Film Review: Stealing Chaplin

The Great Gravediggers British director Paul Tanter’s droll Stealing Chaplin may be a comedy that will keep audiences laughing from beginning to end, but the other movie it reminds me of is screenwriter Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami. Although the latter is a heavy-hitting drama, the fanciful stories of both Miami and Stealing are loosely inspired by real life events. In the case of the former, following his 1964 championship bout with Sonny Continue Reading...

Film Review: M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity

A Method to M.C.’s Madness: Expressing Endlessness Robin Lutz’s visually compelling, inventive M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity strikes just the right note of whimsy in exploring the graphic art of a talent known for his sense of the whimsical. Just as his compatriots Bosch, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, created new ways of seeing with, respectively, surrealistic symbolism, chiaroscuro, photorealist style and Post-Impressionism, the Dutch Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Paul R. Williams Story

The Jackie Robinson of Architecture Undaunted, the pandemic can’t stop the Pan African Film Festival and in that immortal show biz tradition, the show must go on! Albeit virtually, as this year in order to stay cinematically safe, America’s largest and best yearly Black-themed filmfest since 1992 is moving online and starting later than usual, kicking off on the last day of Black History Month. 2021’s 29th annual Pan African Virtual Film + Continue Reading...

Film Review: Back of the Moon

An Apartheid Era South African Film Noir-ish Movie Undaunted, the pandemic can’t stop the Pan African Film Festival and in that immortal show biz tradition, the show must go on! Albeit virtually, as this year in order to stay cinematically safe, America’s largest and best yearly Black-themed filmfest since 1992 is moving online and starting later than usual, kicking off on the last day of Black History Month. 2021’s 29th annual Pan African Continue Reading...

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Trump’s Bombast

As the sun sets slowly on Trump’s presidency and we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the ex-resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, presumably leaving for exile at Mar-a-Largo, it’s worth reflecting: After all he’s said and done, what have we really learned from The Donald? By this, I don’t mean some sort of high-minded platitude, such as “Democracy is a fragile thing.” Rather, I am referring to what of value, that one can put to practical use, has Continue Reading...

Film Review: Dear Comrades!

Back in the USSR: Dear Red People When I was a student revolutionary, I attended a debate between a communist and liberal in Manhattan circa 1972. When the latter complained that workers didn’t strike in the socialist states one of the reds in the audience shouted out that this was because “The workers own them!” In Dear Comrades! seasoned Soviet/Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky poses the question: What does happen when the workers go Continue Reading...

Film Review: Donbass

The “People’s Republic of Donetsk” and More in the Wild, Wild East I’ve been a movie fan since childhood and by the time I got to Manhattan’s Hunter College, I’d already seen countless pictures. Majoring in cinema there I devoured copious amounts of cinematic offerings, and then as a professional critic and film historian I’ve gone on to watch an incalculable number of movies. I mention this because there are scenes in ​writer/ director Sergei Continue Reading...