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Author Ed Rampell

Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman opens with a shot of a costumed Elton John (Taron Egerton) walking down a corridor. Whether intentionally or not, the scene suggests the start of Bohemian Rhapsody, as Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) strides from an arena’s backstage to perform at Live Aid, which that movie returns to at the end of the Queen biopic (interestingly, Fletcher completed the excellent Bohemian Rhapsody film after Bryan Singer was fired). However, in Rocketman, instead of advancing towards a stage to play, as the film begins Elton enters what we learn later on is a group therapy session in a rehabilitation…

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The “Canyon” referred to in the title of Andrew Slater’s Echo in the Canyon is Laurel Canyon. The co-writer/director’s 82-minute nonfiction film explores the music scene that emerged out of this mountainous enclave in Los Angeles and the impact “California Sound” had on a subsequent generation of musicians. For a brief moment in music history, Laurel Canyon was the epicenter of the folk-rock sensibility. Despite being located inside one of America’s largest cities, the Canyon boasts exquisite surroundings captured onscreen with splendid cinematography, picturesque environs that appealed to countercultural residents with their return-to-nature vibe. As record producer Lou Adler relates:…

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Hollywood has had a long love affair with pop stars. Considering their often outrageous personas, lifestyles, talent and high profiles, pop music figures are naturals for movie biographies about them, and many have been shot. The release of Bohemian Rhapsody is likely to revive and rev up the film genre of rock and roll biopics. By this we mean biographical pictures about actual rock ’n’ roll musicians, in the way that Bohemian Rhapsody depicts Queen and its front man, Freddie Mercury. They may cover all or a significant portion of singers and musicians’ lives — Bohemian Rhapsody, for example, focuses on 15…

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Below, enjoy an exclusive review of the new Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody from Rock Cellar’s resident film critic, Ed Rampell. Are You Ready for Freddie? The new 20th Century Fox movie Bohemian Rhapsody, in theaters Nov. 2.,is to the genre of rock star biopics what Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme is to opera. Actor Rami Malek delivers a Freddie Mercury for the ages. His depiction of Queen’s front man is as complex as Val Kilmer’s Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors or Paul Dano and John Cusack’s joint portrayal of Brian Wilson in 2014’s Love & Mercy. In…

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We live in highly polarized times and one of our era’s biggest lightning rods of divisiveness is Edward Snowden. Opinions remain sharply divided over the young intelligence agent and contractor who leaked top secret information to the media exposing the National Security Agency’s colossal global surveillance of millions of innocent Americans’ (and others’) supposedly private phone calls, emails and Internet use. Is Snowden – who now lives in Moscow and has been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with violating the Espionage Act – a criminal and traitor to his country? Or is he a noble champion of individual rights,…

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Amidst the sound and fury of the 2016 presidential campaign, much has been said by and about Donald Trump. But in his new book The Making of Donald Trump, David Cay Johnston removes the curtain to reveal how this “Wizard of Odds” really does business and more. Using public records and his own personal reportage, Johnston – who began covering Trump at Atlantic City in 1988 for The Philadelphia Inquirer – exposes who Trump really is and his modus operandi. Johnston won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting, as well as the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) Medal and…

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Susan Sarandon’s debut feature was as a hippie in the landmark 1970 film Joe, starring Peter Boyle as a disgruntled blue collar worker who goes on a shooting spree against counterculture denizens of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. While Joe would probably vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, Sarandon is on the stump for Sen. Sanders. Sarandon is well known as an activist who has used her celebrity to support and bring attention to many causes and candidates, including 2000’s Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. At the dawn of Bill Clinton’s presidency, while Sarandon and her then- partner,…

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Michael Apted is a crossover film phenomenon… The U.K.-born filmmaker has directed extremely commercial Hollywood movies such as: The 1981 romantic comedy Continental Divide with John Belushi, the 1983 Soviet-set crime thriller Gorky Park starring Lee Marvin and William Hurt, the 1988 Rwanda-set biopic Gorillas in the Mist starring Sigourney Weaver as zoologist Dian Fossey, the 1991 legal drama Class Action starring Gene Hackman, and 2010’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Then there’s the Indian country-set 1992 mystery Thunderheart starring Val Kilmer,  1994’s Nell starring Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson, and the 1999 James Bond blockbuster The World…

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