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: 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...

Movie Review: Maria by Callas

The Soprano: Inside Diva As an opera reviewer who doesn’t know much about the legendary Maria Callas I greatly enjoyed Tom Volf’s extremely informative documentary Maria By Callas. The film consists entirely of archival footage, clips of the soprano on TV talk shows and in the news, performance/concert vignettes, home movies and sound recordings. I don’t believe there’s a single solitary shot of original material per se by Volf but he has done Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Advocates

Gimme Shelter: And Much More French director Rémi Kessler’s heartwarming documentary The Advocates, which was screened at the LA Film Festival 2018, is now being theatrically released. The documentary takes an insider look at a compelling crisis that seems to be mushrooming across Los Angeles far beyond the confines of Skid Row: Homelessness. The 86 minute nonfiction film focuses in on a trio of L.A. organizers for whom the political is Continue Reading...

Film Review: First Man

The Wrong Stuff: From Claustrophobia to the Cosmos Director Damien Chazelle has had a meteoric rise in the Hollywood firmament. His 2014 hit Whiplash had a $3.3 million production budget and earned more than $13 million at the box office, while 2016’s La La Land cost $30 million. Presumably because that musical scored five times its costs, Chazelle’s latest movie, First Man, almost doubled La La Land’s budget. I usually don’t dwell on film Continue Reading...