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SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on December 30th, 2009

Like any other venerable, once-popular property, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was bound to get a Hollywood redo sooner or later. Since I never much cared for the stuffy, British “Sherlock” films of the past, I welcomed the idea of a more stylized, updated version of the eccentric detective. Despite my usual dislike of the overrated English director, Guy Ritchie (better known as Madonna’s ex-husband), I felt his modern panache would mix well with the Victorian Era mystery genre. While all the right ingredients seemed present, the end result…

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AVATAR (2009) *** movie review by COOP

AVATAR (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on December 23rd, 2009

The most highly anticipated film of the year, “Avatar” marks director James Cameron’s first feature film since 1997’s “Titanic.” The notoriously meticulous filmmaker has painstakingly prepared this film, utilizing the largest motion picture budget to date. An estimated $300 million went into the making of this science fiction epic which boasts revolutionary 3-D imagery and supposedly “photo-real” special effects. Given Cameron’s exceptional track record for delivering some of the most successful mega-budget blockbusters of all time, “Avatar” has a lot to live up to…

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INVICTUS (2009) **** movie review by COOP

INVICTUS (2009) **** movie review by COOP

Posted on December 21st, 2009

In 1994, the long-standing South African Apartheid had dissolved; the country held its first multi-racial elections and Nelson Mandela became the first black African president of the nation. Knowing full well the transition of power would cause bitterness and distrust among the country’s affluent and powerful Caucasian minority, Mandela wisely realized that the two cultures must find common ground in order for the shattered country to unite. One unlikely way he chose to achieve this goal was to vocally and fervently support the country’s flagging rugby team. Lead by team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the South African “Springbok” (antelopes) rugby team was so hated…

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MUD DOG BLUES crew returns to Clarksdale by COOP

MUD DOG BLUES crew returns to Clarksdale by COOP

Posted on December 12th, 2009

On Saturday December 5th, Producers Jay Carl Nelson and Brett Magdovitz returned to Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale to screen the new trailer for their projected feature film “Mud Dog Blues” to the public. “Mud Dog” co-star and 12 year-old son of Nelson, Chase Dean Nelson also accompanied the producers to promote the project. The film will star GregAlan Williams (“Remember the Titans,” “Boston Legal,” “Baywatch” and “The Sopranos”), country music superstar Billy Dean, and Bigg Vinny the “Mac” from the band Trailer Choir. As the film’s promotional literature describes it:

This Project is a heartfelt family film about the “Blues” and the “Mississippi Delta”. Eleven year old Jake Bonham is the son of one of the wealthiest families in all of the South, but Jake…

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PRECIOUS (2009) ***** movie review by COOP

PRECIOUS (2009) ***** movie review by COOP

Posted on December 3rd, 2009

While many moviegoers enjoyed the inspiring, true-life story of Michael Oher in “The Blind Side” over the past few weekends, many skipped the similarly-themed “Precious.” Perhaps they thought it would be a bit of a downer… and they would be right. “Precious” is a melancholy tale in which the main character seems doomed from beginning to end, but this compelling tearjerker delivers some of the…

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HAPPY PRANKSGIVING!!! from DARK SIDE…

HAPPY PRANKSGIVING!!! from DARK SIDE…

Posted on November 26th, 2009

While I eat me some delicious, delicious slaughtered turkey, I figured I’d remind my fellow clowns about the finer things in life. The things we are all thankful for. Like Muppets…

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THE BLIND SIDE (2009) ***** movie review by COOP

THE BLIND SIDE (2009) ***** movie review by COOP

Posted on November 23rd, 2009

I’ll wager movie theaters in Mississippi and parts of Tennessee are selling out screenings of this movie all opening weekend. Ole Miss fans and South Eastern Conference followers have watched the exceptional football career of Michael Oher and have been touched by his inspiring life story. Those same fans (myself included) have eagerly awaited the release of this film. I had a feeling I’d enjoy the movie regardless of its merits. To my shock, I was completely blown away. “The Blind Side” is indeed THE feel-good movie of the year.

Based on a true-life story, large and good-hearted African American teen Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) lives a solitary life of poverty and hopelessness on the streets of Memphis. A twist of fate…

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NEW MOON (2009) **1/2 movie review by COOP

NEW MOON (2009) **1/2 movie review by COOP

Posted on November 23rd, 2009

I gave last year’s “Twilight” a fair pass because it pulled off some original and compelling storytelling despite the backlash by non-fans who found the whole phenomenon silly and far too juvenile for mainstream audiences. I went so far as to read the New Moon novel and while I found it uneven, soapy and poorly structured, I understood and enjoyed the way it made a cliché subject readable. I also respected the direction it was heading and was looking forward to seeing the film adaptation and the next sequel (“Eclipse”). That good will has expired because…

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THE FOURTH KIND (2009) ***1/2 movie review by COOP

THE FOURTH KIND (2009) ***1/2 movie review by COOP

Posted on November 10th, 2009

High on the heels of the runaway box office hit “Paranormal Activity,” another “found footage” scare flick has entered the scene just shy of the Halloween season. Touting itself as a dramatization of supposedly real taped hypnosis sessions that reveal alien abductions, the creators of “The Fourth Kind” made a sizable gamble. “The Blair Witch Project” was ten years ago and found footage films had not regained a foothold in the genre until “Paranormal Activity” came around. Add to the fact no one expected the escalating hype and sudden wide release of “PA” and “The Fourth Kind” gets the lucky boost it needs for box office success. There’s one major difference between these two films…

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How to Avoid the Fright of Your Life While Watching a Scary Movie… by DARK SIDE

How to Avoid the Fright of Your Life While Watching a Scary Movie… by DARK SIDE

Posted on October 28th, 2009

(NOTE: Due to… 1. the Halloween Holiday 2. a trip out of state and 3. a lack of a working laptop, The Small Town Critic website will go on vacation until Nov. 4 when I will be bringing you a review of “Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day” – Coop)

Here’s a Halloween tip for those of you NOT particularly jazzed about seeing a horror movie in the theater. It might not be your thing, but sometimes you end up doing it; whether it’s your date choosing the movie, a group decision or it’s something you really want to see despite your aversion to acute fright…

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LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (2009) ***1/2 movie review by COOP

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (2009) ***1/2 movie review by COOP

Posted on October 21st, 2009

The film gets off to a quick start as Clyde (Gerard Butler) watches as two thugs break into his house, render him immobile and kill his wife and little girl within the first 2 minutes of the movie. Months later, hotshot prosecutor Nick (Jamie Foxx) calculates that the offenders will get off unless he cuts a deal. Distraught, Clyde waits 10 years and then gets his revenge on the two killers in very creative ways. He allows himself to be caught and informs Nick that his revenge is not complete. Suddenly, Nick’s friends, colleagues and anyone else responsible for the miscarriage of justice start dying in a series of…

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Belated ZOMBIELAND (2009) ***** movie review by DARK SIDE

Belated ZOMBIELAND (2009) ***** movie review by DARK SIDE

Posted on October 16th, 2009

“Zombieland” is an R-rated “Ghostbusters” for the new millennium. This crowd-pleasing film has won over jaded audiences and critics from coast to coast, taking most of its inspiration from a source I did not anticipate… blockbuster comedies from the 1980’s. It has elements that put it in the same category as “Vacation” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” resurrecting a tone and atmosphere I thought was long gone from the films of today. For this reason, I’m giving it my highest recommendation, not only to horror fans, but to those who miss the heyday of actors like Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.

Set months after the destruction of the world, neurotic college student Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) has survived the zombie apocalypse by following his own set of obsessive/compulsive rules…

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COOP gets an email from cult B-director Albert Pyun!  First footage from TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE!

COOP gets an email from cult B-director Albert Pyun! First footage from TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE!

Posted on October 14th, 2009

If you don’t know the guy then you probably didn’t frequent the same video stores I did in the 80’s and 90’s. Pyun’s direct-to-video releases were infamous for their high-entertainment value despite being made on the extreme fast and cheap. His most outstanding quality: Pyun has an uncanny ability for creating kick-ass action scenes.

His best film of all time was ironically his first. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) CLICK HERE FOR THE TRAILER has gone down in history as one of the best fantasy movies of the 80’s. It tells the story of…

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DARK SIDE sees PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2009) ***1/2 in Memphis with Craig Brewer!

DARK SIDE sees PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2009) ***1/2 in Memphis with Craig Brewer!

Posted on October 12th, 2009

Bless the Oxford Film Freak. After monitoring screening news about Paranormal Activity: Evidence of a Haunting like a hawk, I thought I had the lowdown on when it might show near me, like say in Memphis, TN. The projections: Not likely. Apparently Memphis doesn’t have the cinematic pull as Lincoln, Nebraska or Cleveland, Ohio (bollocks, I say) and wouldn’t be getting a midnight screening. Then I got word of a last minute screening in Memphis at the Indie Memphis Film Festival at the fantastic Studio on the Square Theater. The kicker… Craig Brewer (Memphis native/director of Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan) would be introducing the film.

Jackpot!…

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DARK SIDE says the new DVD release TRICK ‘R TREAT (2009) ***** is the greatest Halloween movie that doesn’t feature Michael Myers!

DARK SIDE says the new DVD release TRICK ‘R TREAT (2009) ***** is the greatest Halloween movie that doesn’t feature Michael Myers!

Posted on October 7th, 2009

That’s right, I said it. The cat’s out of the bag. There’s no going back now…

Michael Dougherty’s long-beleaguered holiday film has finally found a wide-release on video. Originally slated for a theatrical release in October 2007, Warner Bros. suddenly shelved it with no explanation. The rumor was that the bigwigs feared it would bomb competing against Saw IV and then Saw V the following year. Not seeing an end to the Saw tradition of releasing a high-grossing film every Halloween (Saw VI releases this month), The WB decided to dump Trick ‘R Treat to a DVD/Blu-Ray release for Oct. 6 and market the hell out of it for one month.

What a low-down, dirty shame. One of the best Halloween movies of all time, it gets delayed for two years and it doesn’t even get a theatrical release. I hope someone leaves a flaming bag of crap at the Warner Brothers studio gate for that one…

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DARK SIDE sez, “You must see PANDORUM before it leaves the theater!”

DARK SIDE sez, “You must see PANDORUM before it leaves the theater!”

Posted on October 6th, 2009

I’m giving this one 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars. Now you know how I feel about it right off the bat. Why the urgency? Because like many others, I waffled in seeing it. For this reason, it’s tanking like Ishtar which isn’t fair at all because it’s a great sci-fi film that deserves a dedicated following of fans, and it may not be in the theaters much longer.

It’s one of the oldest pitches in the book: “A guy wakes up in a ______ with amnesia, so he must solve the mystery of who he is, how he got there and why someone (or something) is after him.”…

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HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS #11:  LEATHERFACE has a (Lääz) Rockit in his pocket… Care to blast off? by DARK SIDE

HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS #11: LEATHERFACE has a (Lääz) Rockit in his pocket… Care to blast off? by DARK SIDE

Posted on October 4th, 2009

Texas Chain Saw Massacre III: Leatherface (1990) was the biggest budget production of the original Chain Saw franchise before Michael Bay got his grubby little hands on them. It starred a young Viggo Mortensen as the handsome and deadly “Tex”, reliable character actor Tom Everett as a babbling maniac and genre legend Ken Foree as a heroic survivalist nut.

Oh yeah, and Leatherface sports a sweet mullet…

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SURROGATES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

SURROGATES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on September 30th, 2009

I like science fiction films that make me think, but sometimes a concept really gets my gears moving. Films with robots tend to catch my fancy. I even taught an English unit to high school students involving classic short stories about robots and how they could have a positive or negative effect on society. 95% of the time, the stories lean toward the negative. “Surrogates,” based off of a graphic novel, is no exception. While engaging and moderately exciting, it raises more questions that it answers…

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Oh, DETHKLOK.  You’ve done it again!  Review of DETHALBUM II by DARK SIDE

Oh, DETHKLOK. You’ve done it again! Review of DETHALBUM II by DARK SIDE

Posted on September 29th, 2009

Nope, it’s not movie news per se, BUT I’m trying to ease back into the horror scene after a long, pre-Halloween slumber. I’m kicking in the movie scene by reviewing Pandorum in the next day or two, but when a bunch of cartoon characters from “Adult Swim” can singlehandedly resurrect the flagging “death metal” scene, that’s news for the ages. Dethalbum II, by the fictional band Dethklok, hit iTunes last night at midnight and I downloaded it immediately. Why? Because Dethalbum I was so popular and completely owned the genre it satirizes…

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SLEEP DEALER (2009) ****1/2 ain’t snooze-worthy. In fact, It’s great sci-fi! by COOP

SLEEP DEALER (2009) ****1/2 ain’t snooze-worthy. In fact, It’s great sci-fi! by COOP

Posted on September 28th, 2009

Whew, back from a relaxing vacation to bring you an indie film that needs more exposure.

Set in the future where fears of terrorism have made travel across the border between America and Mexico nearly impossible, native Mexicans find a new, high-tech method of illegal immigration. Luis Fernando Pena plays Memo, a young man who reads “Hacking for Beginners” books and tinkers with his own surveillance equipment at his father’s struggling farm in Mexico. The U.S. Government has…

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