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An Ode to Activism: The People Vs. the Pipeline – January 9, 2015

In Review: Above All Else

Former stuntman and circus high-wire artist David Daniel is the central character of writer/director John Fiege’s gripping film, Above All Else. This must-see documentary is literally a David versus Goliath, Daniel in the lions’ den drama of Biblical proportions that pits the ex-gymnast, fellow landowners, and environmentalists against TransCanada’s ruthless drive to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The film portrays how the foreign transportation firm relentlessly buzzsaws, bamboozles, and bulldozes its way across America, using the law of eminent domain to fell trees and dispossess US citizens like Daniel of their private property.

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by: Ed Rampell

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Living With the Aftermath of the BP Oil Spill – November 21, 2014

In Review: The Great Invisible (Documentary)

During a congressional hearing with oil industry honchos following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson made a startling — and hair-raising — candid admission: “When these things happen we are not well equipped to handle them… There will be impacts.”

These “impacts” (one of the most Orwellian euphemisms since the Pentagon came up with “collateral damage”) include the spilling of an estimated 176 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico for 57 days after the April 20, 2010 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil-drilling rig operated by BP that killed 11 crewmen and devastated the Gulf’s ecosystem. While many of the aftereffects of the epic,… more

by: Ed Rampell

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In Conversation: Darren Aronofsky – August 29, 2014

Hollywood director wrestles with Alberta’s “out of whack” tar sands on a trip with the Sierra Club and Leonardo DiCaprio

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky just returned from an excursion to see up close and personal the Alberta tar sands, and judging by his response to how oil companies are impacting the environment, this unregulated part of Canada sounds more like the Wild West than the Great White North. Aronofsky – who directed and co-wrote the $135 million, 138-minute Paramount Pictures adaptation of the Biblical tale of Noah – made the expedition way up yonder with a Hollywood superstar and prominent conservationist.

In this candid conversation conducted by phone shortly after his return to New York City, Aronofsky presents a compelling eye witness account of how the Alberta tar sands extraction… more

by: Ed Rampell

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In Review: Noah – April 25, 2014

An over-the-top, big budget environmental allegory for our age

Why has Paramount Pictures produced a $135 million, 138-minute blockbuster starring two Oscar winners based on the Biblical fable of Noah at this time?

Cinema can be considered merely escapist mass entertainment. Or, like the Bible itself, film can be viewed as a storytelling vessel containing coded messages – motion picture parables to be deciphered. Movies are emanations of the collective psyche that both reflect and affect reality, even as they do so in a dreamlike medium in which imagery unfolds in the dark.

When you think of it that way, perhaps it’s no coincidence that a major studio production about humanity’s “Ur-myth”… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Film Review: A Fierce Green Fire – April 18, 2014

Rousing PBS documentary covering 50 years of environmentalism to honor Earth Day

Mark Kitchell’s 1990 Oscar nominated documentary Berkeley in the Sixties covered the campus activism that disrupted the House Un-American Activities Committee’s hearings, launched the Free Speech Movement, fought the police at People’s Park, and inspired student spokesman Mario Savio to declare: “There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part … You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.” Now Kitchell is back with another stand up and cheer nonfiction film about a different movement: Environmentalism and its eco-warriors who,… more

by: Ed Rampell

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