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/).

Book Review: Fire on the Mountain

John Brown's Story Lies A-Mouldering on the Page John Brown is one of American history’s most fascinating characters. The American Spartacus, Brown led an anti-slavery revolt in 1859 and has often been depicted as overzealous and even stark raving mad. After all, to racists, any white man who’d place himself in harm’s way by taking up arms in order to free Black slaves by definition had to be a lunatic. After his failed raid at Harpers Ferry a Continue Reading...

Book Review: Understanding Marxism

Understanding “Wolff-ism”: Prof. Richard Wolff’s Take on Karl Marx in New Text The 2008 crisis of capitalism sparked and regenerated interest in alternatives to the capitalist system, which was on the verge of collapsing. This included revived interest in socialism, with one of the results being the propelling of an obscure leftwing academic into history’s headlights. With appearances on TV shows including Bill Moyers’ and Charlie Rose’s Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Terry Gilliam’s Quixotic Quest: Mancha Ado About…? Monty Python collaborator Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote falls into an interesting motion picture category. Cinematic lore includes a sort of subgenre of “difficult” films often made by powerful directors seeking to impose their exacting, iconic, auteurish visions on studios, audiences, critics, etc. During the silent screen era the original uncut versions of D.W. Griffith’s Continue Reading...

Film Review: Us

Jordan’s Jeremiad: Bunnies, Ballerinas - and the Revenge of the Underclass? OK, I admit it - I’m a cinematic scaredy-cat. Ever since small kid days, horror movies have frightened the hell out of me. The last one I went to see was a 2018 LA Film Festival screening of Spell, which I saw because it was set and shot on location in Iceland, a country I’ve only seen from the sky and am interested in. To tell you the truth, I did manage to get Continue Reading...

How Will Trump’s Presidency End? Seven Ways It May

Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency have been marked by extreme controversy, divisiveness, and partisan polarization. Many contend America hasn’t been this divided since the Civil War. Shortly after 2016’s election, comedian Cecily Strong played CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Borger in an SNL skit, repeatedly complaining Trump “is not normal.” In fact, one of the rare things an overwhelming majority of Americans can agree on nowadays Continue Reading...

Film Review: Cold War

Defective Defectors Don’t Hit Trifecta Shot in glorious black and white, Cold War’s helmer Pawel Pawlikowski’s won the 2018 Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director award and the film was nominated for Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or. Cold War won six European Film Awards and as of this writing has won a total of 20 prizes and been nominated for another 32. In 2015 Pawlikowski’s Ida was nommed for a cinematography Oscar and earned the Best Foreign Continue Reading...

Film Review: Vice

Bureaucratic Brio: The Man Who Would Be Vice President - or Viceroy? Writer/director Adam McKay’s Vice, an all-star biographical movie about Dick Cheney is among Hollywood’s top 2018 political pictures. It’s utterly uncanny how Christian Bale completely disappears into his role as the former vice president, just as John C. Reilly does as Oliver Hardy in another biopic being released in America during the holiday season, Stan & Ollie. With Continue Reading...

George H.W. Bush, Dirty Tricks and Regime Change in Nuclear Free Palau

Propagandistic Presidential Pomp and Pageantry: From Bier to Eternity On Christmas day Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic Vice was released, with John Hillner (Law & Order) portraying George Bush Sr. After the ex-president’s Nov. 30 death, as accolades were heaped upon George Herbert Walker Bush even before his cadaver was cold I wondered who were they talking about? The effusive eulogizing reminded me of Ted Rall’s August 28 column headlined Continue Reading...