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Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

Posted on February 12th, 2016
Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

by Coop Cooper

I’ve never appreciated Super Bowl halftime shows very much. To me they always felt like pop-culture pandering to the masses, but it is quite clear a monumental amount of talent and organization goes into the production. When I saw Beyoncé perform with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, I didn’t think much of it other than “That Mars guy knows how to dance” and “Coldplay looks out of place” and “Why is Beyoncé dressed like Michael Jackson during his military uniform phase?” Little did I know Beyoncé was setting off a political firestorm in which many felt her performance was disrespectful towards America’s law enforcement officers by emulating the Black Panthers…

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Film selections at the 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest impress…

Posted on February 5th, 2016
Film selections at the 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest impress…

by Coop Cooper

The 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest is over and a good time was had by all. Here is a bit of what was screened at the fest and some of the fest’s more interesting (and Clarksdale-centric) offerings…

The festival kicked off Thursday night with the documentary “The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane” which included dozens of performances and candid footage from the Stones’ early years on up into the present. Interviews of the band members are used as voice overs to accompany and sometimes narrate the past footage, giving a rare insight into the history of the band, their blues influences and how they persevered and cheated death to become the icons they are today…

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THE MAGICIANS and THE X-FILES. Neither start off great, but both could reignite obsessions…

Posted on January 25th, 2016
THE MAGICIANS and THE X-FILES.  Neither start off great, but both could reignite obsessions…

by Coop Cooper

One is a new TV series based on a popular novel trilogy and the other is a true classic TV series resurrected for a new generation. Here are the new, highly-anticipated shows that premiered this week…

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SPOTLIGHT and THE BIG SHORT are pretty good as far as heavy-handed, outrage pieces go…

Posted on January 19th, 2016
SPOTLIGHT and THE BIG SHORT are pretty good as far as heavy-handed, outrage pieces go…

by Coop Cooper

Outrage pieces aimed at real-life institutions and events are compelling but like documentaries covering similar topics, they deserve skepticism and scrutiny in their presentation of the facts as well as their intentions, both political and personal. One thing that makes these films so polarizing is that they have an agenda and rarely present both sides of an argument, so they should be taken with a grain of salt even if they appear to be correct. Here are two Oscar-nominated films up for Best Picture that fall under this category…

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THE REVENANT must be seen in theaters!…

Posted on January 12th, 2016
THE REVENANT must be seen in theaters!…

by Coop Cooper

Every year I find at least a handful of movies that surprise me enough to earn my highest rating. It’s always a short list but it takes special mixture of originality, superior storytelling, spot on acting and spectacle for a movie like “The Revenant” to come along and surpass all expectations.

Based on a true story from the 1820’s, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his half-breed Pawnee son (Forrest Goodluck) leads a party of fur trappers through the bitter cold of the American wilderness when they are attacked by marauding natives. Forced to leave most of their haul behind, the party flees for their outpost and Glass is mauled by a grizzly along the way. Unable to carry him further, the Captain (Domhnall Gleeson) offers a reward to those who stay behind to care for Glass until he either heals or expires. Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) stays behind but betrays Glass by killing his son and leaving Glass for dead. Despite his grave injuries, Glass somehow survives and makes his way hundreds of miles across dangerous country to track down Fitzgerald and get his revenge…

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THE HATEFUL EIGHT is proof that Tarantino’s ego has reached critical mass…

Posted on January 8th, 2016
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is proof that Tarantino’s ego has reached critical mass…

by Coop Cooper

There are a few famous filmmakers out there who I feel have developed an unhealthy contempt for their audiences. At some point in their career, their inflated egos take over and they no longer care if anyone enjoys their films as long as they get what they want out of it. They give grandiose speeches on why everyone else is wrong or stupid but them and frequently lash out at critics and fans over the pettiest of nitpicks. Their movies become increasingly self-indulgent, less accessible to general audiences and their creative choices become questionable at best and spiteful at worst. We’ve seen this happen with M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith and George Lucas, all of whom polarized and alienated many fans with their toxicity (well, “The Visit” was terrible but Shyamalan is at least trying to get back in our good graces). Although he may have already succumbed to this long ago, I believe Quintin Tarantino presently falls squarely into this category and I offer “The Hateful Eight” as evidence…

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Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2015 (for now)…

Posted on December 28th, 2015
Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2015 (for now)…

by Coop Cooper

The end of the year is upon us and I have compiled a list of the best films I’ve seen so far in 2015. Granted, this list will undoubtably change as more Oscar-qualifying, year-ending films (like “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight”) become available. For now, here is the current list…

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STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS… It might be my LEAST favorite Star Wars movie. That’s right, I said it…

Posted on December 21st, 2015
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS…  It might be my LEAST favorite Star Wars movie.  That’s right, I said it…

by Coop Cooper

***NOTE: The first half is a spoiler-free review, but after the primary review I discuss all of the major spoilers***

Set around thirty five years after “Return of the Jedi”, the Resistance still battles the remnants of the Empire which now calls itself The First Order. Lead by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), the Resistance searches for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who went into a self-imposed exile when one of his Jedi apprentices, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), turned to the dark side and betrayed him. Finn (John Boyega), a First Order Stormtrooper with a conscience, deserts his post and escapes with Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who had been captured by Kylo Ren while searching for the location of Skywalker. The pair crash lands in the deserts of the planet Jakku and Finn becomes separated from Dameron. Finn runs across the young scavenger, Rey (Daisy Ridley), who has come into possession of Dameron’s droid BB-8 who has a map which could lead the Resistance to Skywalker. When the First Order tracks them down, Finn, Rey and BB-8 steal a ship and escape in an attempt to find Skywalker and join the Resistance. Along the way, they run into some infamous heroes of the Rebellion.

As I watched “The Force Awakens”, I was having conflicting emotions about what I was seeing. Something about the movie didn’t feel right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t until I watched “The Empire Strikes Back” again that I realized the problem… “The Force Awakens” is a rushed and sloppy movie by comparison…

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KRAMPUS earns its PG-13 rating and becomes a new holiday cult classic in waiting…

Posted on December 18th, 2015
KRAMPUS earns its PG-13 rating and becomes a new holiday cult classic in waiting…

by Coop Cooper

Holiday movies are tricky, but unless they take place during Halloween, holiday horror movies are the trickiest. There aren’t many great ones to speak of that take place around Christmas; even fewer that are aimed at younger crowds. Michael Dougherty made a name for himself as a director with the highly underrated Halloween movie “Trick r’ Treat” and now he seems hellbent on cornering the market on all holiday horror movies if “Krampus” is any indication…

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THE LEFTOVERS Season 2 finale… I finally get it and now it may be gone…

Posted on December 11th, 2015
THE LEFTOVERS Season 2 finale…  I finally get it and now it may be gone…

by Coop Cooper

***UPDATE: It was renewed for a 3rd (and final) season :) ***

It’s quite possible that HBO’s critically acclaimed original series “The Leftovers” may have aired its final episode. Sunday night marked the end of the second season and there is a possibility it will not be renewed for a third season due to lower than expected ratings. That would be a shame considering it is one of the best episodic shows on TV and after viewing this (potentially) final episode, I find myself desperately wanting to see a third season. Why? Because I finally understand it now…

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THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is a poor movie with an okay conclusion…

Posted on December 4th, 2015
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is a poor movie with an okay conclusion…

by Coop Cooper

As with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, Hollywood got the bright idea to make more money out of movies based on popular book franchises by splitting them into two (or in the case of “The Hobbit”, three) movies. The way this works best is when the book itself has naturally strong cliffhanger points in the story that will keep viewers hanging on for up to a year before the next installment, plus a strong story to begin with. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2” is definitely a case of a book adaptation, split into two movies, that didn’t work…

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JESSICA JONES raises the bar for superhero TV shows AND Marvel Comics…

Posted on November 30th, 2015
JESSICA JONES raises the bar for superhero TV shows AND Marvel Comics…

by Coop Cooper

Netflix has consistently produced outstanding original series for a few years now, but its “Daredevil” series based off of the popular Marvel comic book character proved that superheroes can succeed on the small screen. Continuing that model, Netflix has released the entire season of “Jessica Jones” based on the Marvel comic “Alias” (no relation to the spy TV series starring Jennifer Garner). “Jones” is an outstanding comic book adaptation and a welcome antidote to the ridiculously lame “Supergirl” TV series on CBS which is currently polluting the airwaves and giving superhero shows a bad name…

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Amazon’s flawed series production model…

Posted on November 20th, 2015
Amazon’s flawed series production model…

by Coop Cooper

Back in January, Amazon released an online-only pilot episode for “The Man in the High Castle”, based on the celebrated 1962 sci-fi novel by Philip K. Dick. The episode was free to watch to Amazon Prime members and gained acclaim by both critics and audiences. Based on the strength of the pilot and the reaction to it, Amazon ordered a full season of the show and went into production. On October 23rd, the second episode was released, and as of November 20th the rest of the episodes have been released all at once, similar to the Netflix release strategy. But unlike Netflix, Amazon took ten whole months between releasing the pilot and the rest of the series. That was plenty of time for most people who saw the original pilot to completely forget about it and lose interest by the time the show released…

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RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE… a must see for a film fan

Posted on November 13th, 2015
RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE…  a must see for a film fan

by Coop Cooper

A few years ago at the Clarksdale Film Festival, attendees were treated to a very special screening of a Mississippi film project that had been in the works since 1981. Ocean Springs natives Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos were in attendance to show “Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation”, a shot-for-shot remake of “Raiders” done by Zala, Strompolos and their friends, filmed over seven years during the summers of their childhood. The film sat on the shelf until some well-known filmmakers viewed a bootleg copy and tracked down Zala and Strompolos, suddenly thrusting the two (now) adults into limelight. With their exceptionally creative adaptation screening at film festivals all over the world, the old collaborators found themselves haunted by the one scene in “Raiders” they were never able to shoot. Last year, they raised enough money to finally complete the scene back in their home town of Ocean Springs… and all did not go exactly according to plan…

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BEASTS OF NO NATION… beautiful, brutal, one of the year’s best

Posted on November 6th, 2015
BEASTS OF NO NATION… beautiful, brutal, one of the year’s best

by Coop Cooper

Netflix has been breaking new ground both in the original content it produces and in the way that content is delivered. They changed the model of serialized shows by releasing all episodes of an entire season at once (a brilliant idea) and made their original shows only available to watch through their online service, securing their dominance over other subscription services. Now Netflix hopes to change the model for releasing original feature films and “Beasts of No Nation” is the film that will push the boundaries of Hollywood distribution and possibly spell doom for the future of major theater chains…

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When your favorite character dies…

Posted on October 30th, 2015
When your favorite character dies…

by Coop Cooper

It’s a powerful phenomenon when a character, whom people spend so much time reading about or watching on TV or in a movie franchise, dies. Fans of the popular series “The Walking Dead” received a stark reminder this past Sunday that no character is safe when one of the ‘untouchable’ characters died a sudden and gruesome death. The internet erupted with curses and exclamations of disbelief. Chris Hardwick, host of the live post-broadcast show, “The Talking Dead” seemed genuinely shocked and nervously excited as he talked to his guests about what had just transpired. It would appear we have entered into an era of entertainment where protagonists can be killed off often and without warning…

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LAST SHIFT, WE ARE STILL HERE, TALES OF HALLOWEEN, THE GREEN INFERNO… Horror reviews for Halloween!

Posted on October 23rd, 2015
LAST SHIFT, WE ARE STILL HERE, TALES OF HALLOWEEN, THE GREEN INFERNO…  Horror reviews for Halloween!

by Coop Cooper

LAST SHIFT

A rookie cop (Juliana Harkavy) begins her first night on the job alone at an abandoned precinct which is scheduled to be decommissioned in the morning. Over the course of the night, she witnesses disturbing apparitions and learns that a Manson Family-like cult committed suicide in the holding cells. As the aggressive ghosts terrorize her, she struggles to hold onto her grip on reality and a story unfolds that connects her father, a deceased veteran cop, to her current predicament…

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Ridley’s THE MARTIAN washes away the stank of Ridley’s PROMETHEUS

Posted on October 16th, 2015
Ridley’s THE MARTIAN washes away the stank of Ridley’s PROMETHEUS

by Coop Cooper

“Gravity” took an admirable stab at creating a realistic space drama in 2013, and while I found it to be a near-perfect film in terms of photography, acting and effects, it seemed to leave some people cold. Some disliked having to watch one character act alone through most of the film, while others decried its unrealistic scientific aspects. Whatever the case, Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” seems to avoid a few of those problems and while I found it no better than “Gravity”, it sure proves that Scott hasn’t lost his touch after directing the space fiasco that was “Prometheus”…

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SICARIO has it all, including a possible franchise opportunity for Del Toro…

Posted on October 9th, 2015
SICARIO has it all, including a possible franchise opportunity for Del Toro…

by Coop Cooper

Every once in awhile, an action/crime drama will raise the bar in what is often a humdrum and stagnant genre. The style has become more sophisticated over the decades. Actors stopped shooting from the hip and got training from professionals. Lengthy and over-the-top, Hong Kong styled shootouts eventually gave way to a more realistic form of screen combat. The excitement now seems to come from seeing the actors performing accurate tactical reloads and dealing with the tension before impending violence and the traumatic aftermath. “Sicario” utilizes this new style effectively and even manages to elevate the genre…

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SCREAM QUEENS rocks, HEROES REBORN fumbles and THE MUPPETS are pervs???

Posted on October 2nd, 2015
SCREAM QUEENS rocks, HEROES REBORN fumbles and THE MUPPETS are pervs???

by Coop Cooper

One new TV show premiere stood out last week while another bombed and third left me scratching my head. Here is a breakdown of last week’s most anticipated new shows…

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Coop’s latest! The teaser for the upcoming 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 is Coop's latest, most ambitious short film and will be ready for a late 2013 festival season.

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 the teaser for Coop’s 1970’s grindhouse movie spoof…


I'm not even going to mention the freaky-deaky title of this film on the blog. Watch it to find out.

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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