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Is Blomkamp’s ‘Oats Studios’ the next big change in film?

Posted on July 17th, 2017
Is Blomkamp’s ‘Oats Studios’ the next big change in film?

by Coop Cooper

In the new internet age of media, professional filmmakers have been trying new ideas in order to take advantage of the fact that anyone can post a high-quality video online almost instantly.

South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp recently launched ‘Oats Studios: Volume 1’ as an experiment in seeing which of his cinematic ideas would stick if thrown at a wall. His plan was to take some of his favorite story concepts, fund, shoot and release high-quality short film versions of them on YouTube for free. He could then aggregate feedback from viewers to help him decide which shorts to make into features, series, webseries or into whatever format might fit. This idea isn’t new to Blomkamp since one of his first short films, “Alive in Joburg” was eventually developed into his Oscar-nominated feature sci-fi film “District 9”. However, after his last two features, “Elysium” and “Chappie”, didn’t perform as well as planned, Blomkamp engineered this new approach. All of these shorts are cinema-quality, sci-fi/horror hybrids with unflinching violence and gore (very R-rated), and they are currently free to view on YouTube…

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SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is fun, different and fully integrated into the Marvel Universe…

Posted on July 10th, 2017
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is fun, different and fully integrated into the Marvel Universe…

by Coop Cooper

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Now in theaters) – After helping Iron Man tip the scales in “Captain America: Civil War”, 15 year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) expects to be immediately thrust into service with The Avengers. Instead, he is sent back to his hometown of Queens, NY and instructed by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to lay low, stay in high school and stick to dealing with street-level crime for the time being. Frustrated, he follows orders until he stops a gang of bank robbers using stolen alien weaponry left over from the first “Avengers” film.






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BABY DRIVER, best movie of the year so far?…

Posted on July 10th, 2017
BABY DRIVER, best movie of the year so far?…

by Coop Cooper

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a savant genius at driving cars. Orphaned at a young age, he boosted the car of the dangerous gangster, Doc (Kevin Spacey), who recognized his special talent. Now Baby is Doc’s top getaway driver, although his talents and strangeness causes distrust and resentment from his fellow criminals. However, unlike his colleagues, Baby has a deaf foster father (CJ Jones) and a new girlfriend (Lily James) to worry about. Nearly done paying his debt to Doc, Baby has plans to get out, but an unstable, trigger-happy bank robber named Bats (Jamie Foxx) could put everybody Baby cares about in danger…






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THE MIST television remake pilot stumbles, but GLOW on Netflix is a sensation worth binging…

Posted on June 26th, 2017
THE MIST television remake pilot stumbles, but GLOW on Netflix is a sensation worth binging…

by Coop Cooper

“The Mist” (Thursdays @ 9pm Central on Spike) – Based on the novella by Stephen King, “The Mist” tells the story of a traditional small town in Maine enveloped by an ominous fog full of gigantic murderous monsters. While the townspeople try to survive the horrors within the mist, they turn on each other when the situation becomes increasingly hopeless.

A 2007 feature film-adaptation of the novel directed by “The Walking Dead” TV series creator Frank Darabont, received both critical and popular acclaim. While it was considered faithful to the original source material, it contained a different, shockingly bleak ending that fans and even King himself hailed as an improvement over the novella. The movie adaptation also featured some fantastic, grotesque monster designs…






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If THE MUMMY (2017) is any indication, Universal’s ‘DARK UNIVERSE’ will fail…

Posted on June 13th, 2017
If THE MUMMY (2017) is any indication, Universal’s ‘DARK UNIVERSE’ will fail…

by Coop Cooper

A remake of “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise… When I first heard about this, I was certain it had to be a false story. Universal Studios owns the rights to many of the classic cinematic monsters: Dracula, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. Universal has been sitting on these properties for decades trying to figure out how profit off of them in the 21st Century. With “The Mummy”, they are kicking off an interconnected franchise called “Dark Universe” in order to bring all of these classic monsters together for big-budget blockbuster films, kind of like Marvel with “The Avengers” and DC Comics with “Justice League”. After seeing “The Mummy”, I’m afraid they may end up with a disastrous string of bombs on their hands…






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WONDER WOMAN doesn’t measure up, no matter its cultural relevance…

Posted on June 6th, 2017
WONDER WOMAN doesn’t measure up, no matter its cultural relevance…

by Coop Cooper

Considering Wonder Woman is one of the biggest superhero icons of all time, it makes little sense as to why it has taken so long to make a feature film about the character. Many attempts have been made only to see the projects die in early development. There was even a TV pilot starring Adrianne Palicki in 2011 that was never aired because it was deemed too terrible. It seemed the property was cursed and even studio execs at Warner Bros said the character was unfilmable. However, when “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” introduced Gal Gadot as the Amazonian princess, Wonder Woman proved that she is too important to ignore. Too bad the film couldn’t solve the problems everyone was worried about…






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TWIN PEAKS 2017 PILOT: Is David Lynch trying to merge the “Twin Peaks” universe with “Mulholland Dr.” and “Lost Highway”?

Posted on May 22nd, 2017
TWIN PEAKS 2017 PILOT:  Is David Lynch trying to merge the “Twin Peaks” universe with “Mulholland Dr.” and “Lost Highway”?

by Coop Cooper

In April of 1990, I stumbled upon one of the strangest, most fascinating shows I had ever seen. “Twin Peaks” begins in Washington state near the Canadian border with the murder of a high school teenager named Laura Palmer and the arrival of an FBI agent assigned to investigate the case. The story quickly spirals off into a quirky, supernatural mystery with a bizarre cast of characters in a soap opera-style format. The original “Twin Peaks” series was a cultural phenomenon lasting only two seasons (30 episodes) but inspired countless other films and shows, most notably “The X-Files” and “Lost”. Before “Peaks” ended, the spectre of murder victim Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) made an ominous statement to Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) in the final episode that she would see him again in twenty-five years. It actually took twenty-six but “Peaks” is finally back with a new one-season-only series on Showtime.

The last season of “Twin Peaks” left a few unresolved cliffhangers…






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Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

Posted on May 15th, 2017
Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

by Coop Cooper

Last week I happened to catch the 1939 film “Drums Along the Mohawk” starring Henry Fonda about colonial settlers running afoul of Indians and the British during the American Revolution. In an early scene, Fonda’s character, Gilbert, brings his pampered and delicate new bride, Lana (played by Claudette Colbert), to his modest homestead in the wilderness. The first night they arrive, while Gilbert is out gathering firewood, an old ‘Indian’ appears at the door, frightening Lana. She collapses in a fit of hysteria and when Gilbert rushes in and tries to explain to her that the Indian is his trusted friend ‘Blue Back’, she continues her hysterical fit until Gilbert slaps very hard her across the face, snapping her out of it. Blue Back walks outside and brings back a large stick. He tells Gilbert that Lana is a fine-looking wife but a stick would be more efficient in beating her next time she gets out of hand.

In 1939, this scene was meant to be humorous, but now in the modern era, the laughter would more likely come from how un-politically correct this moment is…






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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 2 is just as fun and entertaining as the original…

Posted on May 9th, 2017
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 2 is just as fun and entertaining as the original…

by Coop Cooper

Now infamous cosmic heroes, the Guardians use their newfound celebrity to take high-profile jobs. Their latest assignment has them working for gold-skin beings known as The Sovereign lead by the regal and arrogant Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). After completing the job, they end up offending the highly pompous and sensitive Sovereign race, who in turn attempt to destroy them. While on the run, the team is separated. Star Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is confronted by a ‘Celestial’ named Ego (Kurt Russell) claiming to be his long lost father. Meanwhile, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) attempts to reconcile with her murderous sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan) while Drax (Dave Bautista) attempts to instruct Ego’s child-like alien ward, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) in the ways of social interaction. Separately, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) team up with Yondu (Michael Rooker) to escape a band of mutinous Ravagers while attempting to rejoin the other Guardians. Some characters have ulterior motives but ultimately, it is Quill who must make the decision to remain with his father, or join his friends in saving the Galaxy once again…






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AMERICAN GODS was a badly-written novel but the TV series shows promise…

Posted on May 1st, 2017
AMERICAN GODS was a badly-written novel but the TV series shows promise…

by Coop Cooper

The new TV series “American Gods” premiered on the premium Starz channel this past Sunday at 8pm Central. Adapted from the very popular novel by Neil Gaiman, “Gods” has been along time in development. Mixing fantasy/folklore with the modern world, “Gods” has a potential to become yet another hit cable series as long as the adaptation jettisons Gaiman’s questionable style.

A few days shy of being released from prison, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) learns his wife Laura (Emily Browning) has died in a car accident. While traveling across the country to her funeral, Shadow meets the enigmatic con man calling himself Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) who offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard. Shadow refuses but the persistent Mr. Wednesday keeps showing up along the journey to make Shadow the same offer. Low on money, Shadow finally relents to take the job on the condition he is allowed to attend his wife’s funeral to say goodbye. Along the way, they run across beings who look like humans but have supernatural powers. Shadow soon finds himself in the middle of a war between the ‘old gods’ of ancient legends and the ‘new gods’ of modern culture and technology. Meanwhile, he is haunted by the spirit of his dead wife…






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The dark side of online Film/TV content providers…

Posted on April 18th, 2017
The dark side of online Film/TV content providers…

by Coop Cooper

I often praise the virtues of online Film/TV providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime in this column, and while I feel the web is the future of film distribution, I am starting to see some problems with it. While it might seem like a jackpot for a filmmaker to get their films distributed on a streaming site like Netflix, it doesn’t always add up to positive results for the filmmakers or viewers. What that could mean for us: We might miss out on some great films – or tricked into watching bad ones – because they aren’t being promoted ethically, have misleading ratings or they might be tampered with in such a way that ruins it for the rest of us…






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13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

Posted on April 3rd, 2017
13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

by Coop Cooper

Netflix continues its winning streak by releasing the adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling 2007 young adult novel “13 Reasons Why” into a thirteen episode series, all of which are now available online. Executive produced by pop star Selena Gomez, the heart-wrenching story about the consequences of bullying and teenage suicide is possibly the most well-crafted and thoughtful exploration of the subject. However, I’m afraid that its difficult, R-rated subject matter may cause it to miss the age group it was intended for…






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THE BELKO EXPERIMENT is a fair addition to a difficult genre…

Posted on March 27th, 2017
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT is a fair addition to a difficult genre…

by Coop Cooper

With films and TV shows about societal collapse becoming increasingly popular with audiences, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn and “Wolf Creek” director Greg McLean team up to bring their own spin on the sub-genre with “The Belko Experiment”. Although it was quietly released in theaters against much bigger films, “Belko” has the potential to find some cult success when audiences discover it after it releases on home video/streaming.

It seems like another regular day at the nonprofit Belko Corporation headquartered in the South American country of Colombia. The international (mostly American) employees go about their daily duties in their main office building when a mysterious voice announces over the intercom that the employees must kill two of their own or four will die automatically…






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IRON FIST is < the other Marvel/Netflix series, but still worth seeing for fans...

Posted on March 20th, 2017
IRON FIST is < the other Marvel/Netflix series, but still worth seeing for fans...

by Coop Cooper

Tying into the Marvel/Netflix comic book franchise that started with “Daredevil”, “Iron Fist” finishes a origin story that will lead up to Neflix’s most ambitious series to date by teaming up all of the super-powered characters they have introduced so far. It’s too bad that “Iron Fist” doesn’t live up to those other series, even though it has enough watchabilty for those needing a Marvel Comics fix…






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The KODI app is a good argument for Hollywood to finally embrace the release of new films online…

Posted on March 14th, 2017
The KODI app is a good argument for Hollywood to finally embrace the release of new films online…

by Coop Cooper

A video streaming app for a popular entertainment device is reopening the debate on movie piracy. The ‘Kodi’ app available only for Amazon Fire TV Stick has the ability to mine specific content from video sharing services and stream it live on your TV. This means you can search for pirated films and TV shows and watch them for free, even bootleg videos shot on cameras inside movie theaters. While this has been fairly simple to do on computers for over a decade now, Kodi is the first easy way to put it on your giant, flatscreen TV. Because of this, the debate on internet film pirating seems to be heating back up…






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LOGAN was released about 10 years too soon and we are VERY lucky for it…

Posted on March 7th, 2017
LOGAN was released about 10 years too soon and we are VERY lucky for it…

by Coop Cooper

Comic book movies usually follow a certain formula, especially in the first film of a franchise. As the following sequels roll in, one of two things happen… 1. They run out of fresh ideas, rehash tired cliches and the franchise dies an undignified death, or 2. They evolve into something special. Although technically a spinoff, “Logan” has surpassed its “X-Men” origins to become something so different and unexpected, it will be near impossible for future franchise installments to top it…






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I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE proves why Netflix is tops, while KILL COMMAND almost proves the opposite…

Posted on February 28th, 2017
I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE proves why Netflix is tops, while KILL COMMAND almost proves the opposite…

by Coop Cooper

“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” – Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is a middle-class hospital orderly who can’t seem to shake the depressing feeling that the people she meets on a day-to-day basis are irredeemable jerks. When her house is burglarized and the police can’t seem to help, she decides to balance out the wrong that has been done to her. She enlists the aid of her weirdo loner neighbor, Tony (Elijah Wood), who has an interest in martial arts, ninja weapons and heavy metal. The pair unleash good-intentioned mayhem upon everyone they run across on their trail to recover Ruth’s belongings. Little do they know, the criminals responsible for the burglary are armed-and-dangerous killers…






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JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 rules, A CURE FOR WELLNESS drools…

Posted on February 21st, 2017
JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 rules, A CURE FOR WELLNESS drools…

by Coop Cooper

“John Wick: Chapter 2” – Retired hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) assaults the stronghold of Russian mob boss Abram (Peter Stomare) to retrieve his stolen car from the first film. After doing so, he considers himself once again retired and ready to finally settle down in peace. When a ruthless ex-associate D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) tracks Wick down and demands a long-standing debt to paid through trade, Wick refuses on principle. When D’Antonio makes it clear that refusal is not an option, Wick goes back to work, traveling to Italy for one last job. Of course, when things go sour, Wick must shoot his way out of the situation with killers (lead by Ruby Rose and Common) coming at him from all sides…






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LEGION is the X-Men spinoff series that will be great despite its divorce from the source material…

Posted on February 13th, 2017
LEGION is the X-Men spinoff series that will be great despite its divorce from the source material…

by Coop Cooper

The new superhero TV series “Legion” premiered on the FX Network last week and it has the potential to be a big hit.

After a troubled childhood, David Haller (Dan Stevens) is admitted to a psychiatric facility where he is held for years following some inexplicable and extremely destructive occurrences allegedly caused by him. Heavily medicated to control his ‘schizophrenia’, the child-like David meets fellow patient Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) and immediately becomes smitten. They form a quick bond, even though Syd’s condition forbids any physical contact. When David impulsively kisses Syd, a unexplained catastrophe happens, resulting in David’s eventual capture by a shadowy organization who determines that David is actually one of the most powerful ‘mutants’ on the planet. David soon learns that he is being groomed as the primary weapon in an upcoming war between humans and super-powered mutants…






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JACKIE and TONI ERDMANN, two lesser Oscar nominees…

Posted on February 7th, 2017
JACKIE and TONI ERDMANN, two lesser Oscar nominees…

by Coop Cooper

Two more 2017 Academy Award contenders…

“Jackie” – The story follows Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman) during the hours, days and weeks after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. It also flashes back to her infamous, televised ‘White House tour’ interview and contrasts that moment with her first interview after the assassination. The film depicts Jackie as a unwitting cultural icon who suddenly finds herself in the difficult position of showing strength in front of the public during her greatest point of grief…






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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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