INCLUDE_DATA

Coop’s favorite (family-safe) holiday season films…

Coop’s favorite (family-safe) holiday season films…

Posted on November 29th, 2011

Holiday films are a special genre, best viewed during this time of the year. If you’re looking for a few to give you a bit of seasonal cheer, you can do no wrong with the list below…

ELF (2003) – Made at the height of Will Ferrell’s career, Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human raised as an Elf at the North Pole. Definitely Ferrell’s most kid-friendly film, Buddy must restore Christmas spirit to a New York (and his father, played by James Caan) before everyone’s holiday apathy sabotages Santa’s annual mission. Only Ferrell could make a potentially annoying character this funny…

Read more...
“Immortals” flawed but visually stunning

“Immortals” flawed but visually stunning

Posted on November 18th, 2011

Ancient Greek/Roman films have a spotty record critically and commercially since they are difficult to pull off. Fortunately, “Immortals” is exciting and innovative enough to work as long as you can get over its glaring mistakes.

Theseus (Henry Cavill), a peasant warrior, is favored by the god Zeus (Luke Evans) to save mankind from the brutal King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke). Hyperion seeks the Epirus Bow, a magical weapon forged by the gods, so he can use it to unleash the Titans (evil former gods) who are imprisoned deep within Mount Tartaros. Hyperion wishes to enslave the world and start a war in the heavens, but killing Theseus’ mother in a raid sets the hero against him. Aided by a virgin oracle (Freida Pinto), a former slave (Steven Dorff), and the gods themselves, Theseus pursues revenge and his destiny…

Read more...
1 Comment
In honor of Veteran’s Day:  “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” are must-sees

In honor of Veteran’s Day: “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” are must-sees

Posted on November 15th, 2011

In honor of Veteran’s Day weekend, I felt it prudent to point out two of the best depictions of World War II ever set to film and to encourage anyone who missed them to put them both on your “must-see” list. “Band of Brothers” (2001) and “The Pacific” (2010) were produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and are arguably the best projects either of these two powerhouse names have ever been involved with.

Based on the Stephen E. Ambrose non-fiction book of the same title, “Band of Brothers” chronicles the story of Easy Company, the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne division. All ten episodes cover their time in Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. Each segment focuses on a different member of the company and their own personal struggles while encountering…

Read more...
“In Time” is worth the time… for sci-fi fans only

“In Time” is worth the time… for sci-fi fans only

Posted on November 15th, 2011

The concept of “In Time” would grab most sci-fi fans immediately. A reworking of the old “Logan’s Run” story, it takes place in a world where overpopulation has pushed society to the breaking point. As a measure of control, people are genetically engineered to live only to the age of 25. After that, they must earn more time in order to increase their (literal) biological clock to continue living. Time is subtracted when you need to pay for things like rent or a cup of coffee. The rich can live forever, frozen at 25 years old. The poor must fight for survival every single day. To make matters worse, time can be taken away by force.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a working-class guy with a matter of days left on his clock and his mother (the ironically young and beautiful Olivia Wilde) hides the fact that she has even less. One night he saves the life of a…

Read more...
Mississippi indie filmmaker spotlight:  Michael Williams’ ILLUMINATION

Mississippi indie filmmaker spotlight: Michael Williams’ ILLUMINATION

Posted on November 4th, 2011

Michael Williams is a reliable fixture at film festivals in Mississippi and the neighboring states. He’s also very talented, so when he asked me to take a look at his new short film “Illumination,” I jumped at the chance.

His story, clearly influenced by early Spielberg, easily reminds one of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) but with some similarities to Alex Proyas’ “Knowing” (2009). A cheating archeologist (Glenn Payne) discovers what is truly important in his life after his wife (Juliet Reeves) and son (Grayson Easterling) vanish under unusual circumstances. Saying anymore than that would be telling, but Williams manages to draw out some effective suspense through technical expertise and the performances of the actors…

Read more...
Things I learned while making a movie

Things I learned while making a movie

Posted on November 2nd, 2011

I went to one of the best films schools in the world and I learned a heck of a lot about screenwriting. I taught it to high schoolers in Los Angeles and adults at seminars. I got to work with some seasoned pros and I learned a little about the other aspects of filmmaking. Unfortunately, back in 1997, it wasn’t very easy to make a short film. It was expensive and cheap ones ($1000 and up) often looked terrible due to the technical hurdles crews would have to overcome. Watching my colleagues slave over their thesis projects with (mostly) mediocre results was discouraging. Because of this, I focused on becoming a writer and academic, ignoring the technical aspects I had little access to.

Fast forward to summer 2010… I had a weird dream and quickly churned out a screenplay based on it. I met some filmmakers at festivals, asked some questions, went back home, did research and took stock of my resources. I suddenly realized it could be done competently for much cheaper than it did thirteen years ago. I raised a crew, secured equipment, auditioned actors and in December of 2010 I shot my first short film “The Best Day.” The premiere was last night and here are a few important lessons I learned from the entire process:

Read more...
1 Comment