About Ed Rampell

Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. Rampell is a L.A.-based film critic/historian and author. Michael Moore is on the cover of Rampell’s book Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolff?


Richard Wolff in Hollywood — If workers ran democratically-operated enterprises they wouldn’t have wildly unequal distribution of profits.

Richard Wolff: Cooperatives and Workers’ Self Directed Enterprises


Professor Richard Wolff asks isn’t it time that we brought the war home to make the American workplace safe for democracy, too?

Angelenos Say “No War On Syria”

hands off syria

Ed Rampell: Despite their diverse opinions, all of the demonstrators seemed to agree that hitting a hornet’s next with a stick woud not only not bring about peace, but will only worsen the situation.

Nickel and Dimed: Working Class Heroes

nickeled and dimed

Ed Rampell: Since the collapse of capitalism in 2008 there has been a rebirth of left-leaning theatre, and Nickel and Dimed is one of this dissident theatrical wave’s finest, most compelling dramas.

A Pair of British Brand Names Back on the Boards


Ed Rampell: Both the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum’s Merlin, Harbinger of Peace and Sacred Fools’ Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini have succeeded in taking a new look at and breathing new life into characters who have been popular for literally centuries.

Cafe Inquiry: Incendiary, The Willingham Case — Wednesday, July 31


Join us for popcorn and a FREE MOVIE in the Steve Allen Theater! This month’s film: Incendiary: The Willingham Case

Midsummer Night’s Dream: But Seriously, Folks


Ed Rampell: The Geers’ effervescent version of the Bard’s dream-like yarn is such rip-roaring good fun that it should suffice to say, that if you love yourself and believe you deserve to have a good time, get thee to a Topanga amphitheater.

La Dolce Fellini


Ed Rampell: Nevertheless, even though the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA, I still give a big thumbs up to this DOMA’s Nine, which I heartily enjoyed.

Impermanent Revolution: The Second Assassination of Trotsky

Christopher Rivas and Ashley Platz

Ed Rampell: This comedy, obviously, is much more concerned with its characters’ sex lives than, say, with a little thing like Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution (which I don’t believe is ever mentioned by name onstage).

Alcestis: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


Ed Rampell: To paraphrase the Bard: Toga or not toga? Transforming a period piece or classic into a modern dress work with contemporary costuming, dialogue, references and, perhaps, themes is tricky business.

The Royal Family: The Acting Bug Biteth


Ed Rampell: George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s 1927 The Royal Family is a love letter to the act of acting, and, in particular, to the actors and actresses who trod the boards and appear onscreen.

Inside Job: Skeptic SINema Series — Wednesday, 26 June

inside job

Join us for popcorn and a FREE MOVIE in the Steve Allen Theater!

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

grace lee boggs

Ed Rampell: This progressive picture is about the Chinese-American woman whom Angela Davis declares onscreen to have “made more of a contribution to Black people than most Blacks.”

Winter in the Blood: The Winter of Their Discontent

winter in the blood

Ed Rampell: Winter in the Blood imparts an excellent sense of the impact this foreign invasion and occupation has had on America’s aboriginal inhabitants.

Yes, Prime Minister: Wry, Sly, Brit Wit

yes prime minister

Ed Rampell: Yes, Prime Minister’s bristling dialogue is decidedly political and full of humorous social commentary about the British power elite, plus the expediency and opportunism that characterizes affairs (figuratively and literally) of state.

Dormant Beauty: The Right to Die Is Near

dormant beauty

Ed Rampell: Bellocchio is still pushing the proverbial envelope — his latest offering, Dormant Beauty, sort of combines the searing look at sickness and hard hitting politics of his first two features with yet another forbidden subject.

The Man You Love to Hate: Tricky Dick Rides Again!

our nixon

Ed Rampell: “Our Nixon” is a compilation film by Penny Lane about the only U.S. President (so far!) who resigned and had to leave that office is disgrace.

Capital: Left vs. Right


Ed Rampell: This behind-the-scenes expose of the banksters and their nefarious high finance manipulations and machinations is a fictional, highly entertaining counterpart to Oscar winning documentary Inside Job, about Wall Street’s massive defrauding of the people — at taxpayer expense.

Before He Became Muhammad Ali: One Night In Miami

one night in miami

Ed Rampell: One Night in Miami… has a deliciously enticing “what if?” notion based on limited documentation regarding what really happened behind closed doors after Cassius Clay (the appropriately irrepressible Matt Jones) whooped Sonny Liston in the Sunshine State.

Taming of the Shrew: Dis Me, Kate


Ed Rampell: “Hark! What light breaks through yonder canyon?” Why, it’s none other than another repertory season of revels and revelations at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, made glorious summer by these sons and daughters of Geers.

To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine

tom paine

Ed Rampell: The bioplay, expertly acted by Ruskin, reveals that Paine was a sort of Trotsky of the American Revolution — the world revolutionary who wound up as a prophet outcast.

Critic Ed Rampell on KPFK’s “Michael Slate Show” — Friday, May 31

ed rampell

Ed Rampell on KPFK: Rampell will talk about his CounterPunch cover story called “Hollywood’s Year of Living Clandestinely”

Évocateur: TV’s Agent Provocateur

morton downey jr.

Ed Rampell: While William F. Buckley presented an erudite face for reactionary politics, Morton Downey Jr.’s moronic ravings was really a far more honest mode of expressing the right-wing lunacy masquerading as the free market or imperial foreign policy, which started running amok in the 1980s.

Sightseers: Trailer Trash Smash Bash


Ed Rampell: Sightseers is a sort of demented On the Road meets Thelma and Louise meets Bonnie and Clyde, with a dash of Manson tribe sprinkled on top for good measure.

Cafe Inquiry’s Skeptic SINema Series: Monty Python’s Life of Brian

life of brian

Hollywood Progressive/LA Progressive film critic/historian Ed Rampell will introduce the movie and lead a post-screening discussion.

Get Your Brecht On


Ed Rampell: Brecht on Brecht is precise in its stagecraft, adeptly acted, deftly directed and Gayle Bluemel does her musical forebears, Mssrs. Brecht and Weill, proud.

Annual TCM Classic Film Festival Features Vintage Films and Stars Galore From Movies of Yore


Ed Rampell: Thousands of fans attended screenings of vintage films, discussions with and personal appearances by movie talents, dressed in period garb, partied like it was 1929 and witnessed an Academy Award winner’s footprints and handprints immortalized in cement at the fabled Chinese Theatre.

Olivier Assayas Interview: Changing the World Through Cinema

olivier assayas

Ed Rampell: Today, people don’t think of a revolution. They think of adapting society, of making the hope of more fairness, more justice, more social justice, more generosity, which are old things . But in the 1970s it would have been called “reformist,” which was an insult.

Skeptic SINema Series: The Invention of Lying

invention of lying

For the next several months, Cafe Inquiry will be your host for major motion pictures with a secular, skeptical, or topical bent, followed by discussion.

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater: Ailey’s Comets Cometh

alvin ailey

Ed Rampell: Ailey’s comets are soaring across the stage and illumining the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion through April 21 with three programs, all of them containing the iconic Revelations, created by Alvin Ailey himself in 1960.

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