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CONAN THE WEAK SAUCE ruins the name of the original

CONAN THE WEAK SAUCE ruins the name of the original

Posted on September 13th, 2011

Instead of coming up with a slick retread of the original 1982 “Conan the Barbarian,” Hollywood did something much worse. It took the plot from the original film, merged it together with the plot of the lesser 1984 sequel “Conan the Destroyer” and dumped out all the good stuff to create this obnoxious and brainless remake of a film…

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Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Posted on August 19th, 2011

Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Article by: Coop Cooper

Energized by the power and fantastic performances of “The Help,” this weekend I ventured online to see what my fellow American movie critics thought. The website Rottentomatoes.com averages the positive and negative reviews from critics of major print publications and assigns a percentage value. Anything under 60% is considered “rotten” and anything over that number is deemed “fresh.” While “The Help” gained a respectable 73% average, compared to the averages of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” (76%), Captain America: The First Avenger” (79%) and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (82%), its average seemed rather low. Considering the film’s box office and awards potential, I wondered where most of the negativity was coming from…

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“The Help” will win Oscars and prestige for Mississippi

“The Help” will win Oscars and prestige for Mississippi

Posted on August 11th, 2011

by Coop Cooper

There is so much to talk about regarding the film adaptation of the bestselling book “The Help,” I won’t waste time reminding everyone of the setup or plot. In full disclosure, I helped the director and producers secure locations within Clarksdale, Mississippi in order to make sure the production filmed here. Although I helped “The Help,” I always intended on writing a non-partial review of the finished product. The short: It’s a glowing review. The long: My (possibly biased) opinions will be vindicated on the day of the 2012 Academy Awards nominations. I believe “The Help” will emerge as one of the most important and highly decorated films of the year.

Director Tate Taylor (a Mississippi native) and the rest of the principle crew have a lot to celebrate. They took an unpublished novel and elevated it to A-list standards in a matter of months. Secondly, they succeeded far beyond the expectations of myself and fans of the book…

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“Cowboys and Aliens” is not as silly as it sounds

“Cowboys and Aliens” is not as silly as it sounds

Posted on August 11th, 2011

by Coop Cooper

The setup is nothing new. Set in 1873, A man with no name (Daniel Craig) wakes up in a wild west desert with amnesia and a strange bracelet. He runs afoul of an honorable lawman (Keith Carradine) and a ruthless cattle baron (Harrison Ford) who wants his head. Then the aliens attack. Cowboys get blasted and abducted and the Man-With-No-Name suddenly discovers the bracelet on his arm is an alien ray gun. The man teams up with his former enemies and a strange woman (Olivia Wilde) to save the abducted town folk.

Since this seemed like a goofy, high-concept gimmick, I was curious as to why it had attracted A-list heavy hitters like Craig, Ford and “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau…

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“Captain America:  The First Avenger” is the best superhero film of the summer

“Captain America: The First Avenger” is the best superhero film of the summer

Posted on August 11th, 2011

by Coop Cooper

After 67 years, we finally have a “Captain America” film that not only does justice to the Marvel franchise that created it, but also a worthy bridge film that leads directly into the “Avengers” feature film which will premiere next year.
Taking place in 1942, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants nothing more than to volunteer for the U.S. Army to serve his country on the front lines in Europe. His 4 ft, 90 lb frame and a long list of ailments result in rejection after rejection until Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) witnesses Steve’s pure hearted determination. After a long battery of tests, he offers Steve a chance to become America’s first “Super Soldier.” Steve accepts and is transformed into the superhero Captain America. Cap must face off against Hitler’s own renegade super soldier, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) who plans to take over the world using a mystical energy source called the Cosmic Cube…

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Last “Harry Potter” movie skillfully brings a franchise to a close

Last “Harry Potter” movie skillfully brings a franchise to a close

Posted on August 11th, 2011

by: Coop Cooper
I have a vested interest in the “Harry Potter” films – not only because “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was one of my first movie reviews – but because I’ve read every book and seen every film since. Throughout all those years I anticipated the end of the wildly successful franchise, and now the moment has arrived. This film marks the conclusion of Harry Potter and the end of a worldwide phenomenon.
As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) mourns the loss of his fallen friends, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) celebrates his acquisition of the Elder Wand, the most powerful and deadly wand in the world. In order to stop him, Harry and his travelling companions return to Hogwarts in an attempt to destroy the last of the magical “horcruxes,” items that give Voldemort his power. At Hogwarts, Voldemort’s Death Eaters prepare to lay siege to the school, forcing Harry and his allies into a final showdown that will lead Harry to his ultimate destiny…

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“Transformer: Dark of the Moon” = please no more “Transformers” movies

“Transformer: Dark of the Moon” = please no more “Transformers” movies

Posted on July 8th, 2011

The simplest plot description I can manage from this whole mess: NASA actually went to the moon in 1969 to investigate a crashed ship only to discover Soviet cosmonauts had beaten them to it. The artifact the Soviets bring back eventually causes the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl and has the power to bring all enemy robots (Decepticons) to Earth. The technology falls into the wrong hands and the heroic Autobots must team up with the humans once again to thwart a massive invasion of evil alien robots.

This is the most mindless and loosely-plotted story in the franchise so far…

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Country band ‘Lucy Angel’ brings the heat in Clarksdale

Country band ‘Lucy Angel’ brings the heat in Clarksdale

Posted on July 5th, 2011

Mississippi’s new tax incentives for filmmakers have only recently been implemented and already we are seeing the industry taking advantage. Up-and-coming country band ‘Lucy Angel’ surprised and delighted many Clarksdale residents this past Sunday when they arrived in the New World district to shoot the latest music video for their song “Serious.” Producer Jay Carl Nelson, who shot a trailer for his prospective film “Mud Dog Blues” here in town last year, once again chose Clarksdale as the setting for this latest project with Lucy Angel…

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“Green Lantern” needs a second chance to make a first impression

“Green Lantern” needs a second chance to make a first impression

Posted on June 27th, 2011

An intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps chooses a brash test pilot named Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) to become its first human officer. Unfortunately for Hal, his Lantern predecessor was killed by a planet-devouring entity dubbed Parallax who sets its sights on devouring the Corps-protected planets starting with Earth. Hal must overcome his crippling fear in order to save the Earth and prove himself a worthy keeper of the peace. Green Lanterns have a very appealing and powerful weapon. A ring that harnesses the energy of pure willpower, then projects it into whatever form the wearer imagines. It’s like a portable hologram projector, except the holograms have a physical form. This weapon with unlimited possibilities is the reason we haven’t seen a “Green Lantern” movie until now. Portraying the power itself requires the most modern computer generated effects and a $100 million-plus budget. The power also provides the potential for unlimited silliness…

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“Super 8” almost resurrects that old Spielberg style

“Super 8” almost resurrects that old Spielberg style

Posted on June 15th, 2011

The most positive thing I can say about “Super 8” is how well it captures the style of those films from 30 years ago. Foul-mouthed kids? Check. Supernatural forces? Check. Sweeping music designed to fill the audience with wonder? Check. Grandiose action scenes? Check. Upbeat resolution? Check and mate. It takes elements from “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jaws” and so many others, you’ll feel waves of nostalgia during many of the key moments, especially in the first half. For this reason alone, I can almost recommend the film…

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“X-Men: First Class” is another worthy addition to the Marvel franchise

“X-Men: First Class” is another worthy addition to the Marvel franchise

Posted on June 15th, 2011

I had almost given up on the “X-Men” franchise after the misfire that was “X-Men 3: Last Stand” and the abysmal “Wolverine” spinoff. “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky recently teased comic book fans with a promise to make a higher-quality “Wolverine” film set in Japan (one of the most famous story lines in the character’s history) only to kill the project without adequate explanation. That news sunk my hopes even lower. At this point, a classic “X-Men” story taking place in the 1960’s didn’t make much sense to me. They had already modernized the original team members for the 2000’s and made them all youngsters. Thankfully with a bit of creative canon-bending, the gamble worked and audiences finally have another decent “X-Men” movie to enjoy…

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THE HANGOVER PART II fails to live up to the original

THE HANGOVER PART II fails to live up to the original

Posted on June 6th, 2011

Sequels rarely live up to the quality and success of the first film but “The Hangover Part II” should have been a slam-dunk. The original director and cast returned, including some of the popular minor characters. I knew it would be a box-office success, but I figured if it was even half as funny as first film, it would win me over. It didn’t and now it runs the risk of becoming the most disappointing sequel of the year…

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2011 Tupelo Film Festival was a blast…

2011 Tupelo Film Festival was a blast…

Posted on May 23rd, 2011

The more film festivals I attend, the more I learn to appreciate the unique qualities of each. For instance, small and friendly can be just as rewarding as big and bustling.

The Tupelo Festival (May 11-14) takes place at the Lyric Theater in the historic downtown area of the city and runs primarily on the theater’s single screen. Like the Clarksdale Film Fest, it has a more intimate setting than the Oxford or Crossroads fests as it is free of the distractions inherent in a multiplex theater trying to balance regular movie-going patrons with festival attendees. It also has the advantage of allowing every attendee unlimited access to the filmmakers and festival events…

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COMEDIVA: Gender-specific comedy site aims for world domination

COMEDIVA: Gender-specific comedy site aims for world domination

Posted on May 18th, 2011

By Coop Cooper

I don’t usually (read: never, and probably won’t again) cover web series or comedy sites on here, but sometimes you have to give props to talent.  America Young, an old friend of mine from Los Angeles (who is also a filmmaker, actress, voice over talent, stunt woman, film festival coordinator, toy dog enthusiast, etc…), pointed out the Comediva.com site out to me and suggested I take a look.  Since I contributed an article for Kat Hill and her Action Flick Chick website (click here to read my article “Why Manly-Men Love Action Flick Chicks“), I figure a good female comedy plug is in order…

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THOR silly but a worthy addition to the Marvel franchise

THOR silly but a worthy addition to the Marvel franchise

Posted on May 13th, 2011

I had many favorite superheroes as a kid but Thor ranked among the highest. He had the power of flight and strength of Superman, he commanded the elements, he wielded a magic weapon and he ruled an entire kingdom. I held out little hope anyone would adapt him into feature film without making him look as silly as Batman in the 1960s TV show. Finally, “Thor” has arrived and although some of the silliness persists, it holds up well enough to usher the God of Thunder into the “Avengers” superhero team movie next year…

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10 reasons why film festivals are important

10 reasons why film festivals are important

Posted on May 9th, 2011

After attending numerous film festivals over the years, I quickly learned the benefits of such an event, but was frustrated I was not exposed to them sooner. I feel it is necessary to highlight the advantages so people in my community, and others, can understand what the big deal is. These positives do not apply exclusively to film festivals, but to music, art and all other creative festivals as well…

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May 6th marks the beginning of the summer movie season

May 6th marks the beginning of the summer movie season

Posted on May 4th, 2011

by Coop Cooper

As educational institutions gear down for their summer sabbatical, Hollywood gears up to release their highest-budgeted films. This tradition seems to arrive earlier each year, but the first of these mega-budget projects usually arrive in May. The May blockbusters are strategically placed in this month, often under the assumption the studio heads feel the films are weak, risky or may not compete against the reliable mid-summer releases. Sometimes the reason is simply beating other films to the punch and audiences occasionally find some some pleasant May surprises. Here’s what’s coming next month: CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITE

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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 on DVD signals the beginning of the end

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 on DVD signals the beginning of the end

Posted on May 2nd, 2011

It’s been a long ride but the wait is nearly over for fans of the “Harry Potter” series. Since the release of the seventh and final book, legions of loyal readers have awaited the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” which was mercifully split into two films to accommodate as much of the story as possible. “Part 1” released last year and now arrives on DVD (for sale only, rentals will be made available on May 10th). “Part 2” will release in theaters this summer on July 15th.
Instead of spending their senior year at Hogwarts; Harry, Hermione and Ron go on the run as…

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Tax incentives for filmmakers means more business coming for Mississippi

Tax incentives for filmmakers means more business coming for Mississippi

Posted on April 18th, 2011

By Coop Cooper

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed new legislation this month increasing the previous tax rebate another 5 percent for films made in the state. This means out-of-state productions filming in Mississippi will now receive a 25 percent rebate for their local expenses and out-of-state cast/crew. Additionally, they will receive a 30 percent rebate for any local cast/crew they employ.

These new rules have also been clarified and updated to qualify the use of new production and distribution technologies for these rebates. The new rules qualified internet/streaming media as acceptable forms of distribution and other aspects of film such as animation and cinema sequences for video game development. Expanding the definition of “media” itself has ensured… READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITE

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DVD REVIEWS:  BLACK SWAN and TRON LEGACY

DVD REVIEWS: BLACK SWAN and TRON LEGACY

Posted on April 12th, 2011

By Coop Cooper

One highly anticipated sequel (“Tron Legacy”) and one Oscar-winning film (“Black Swan”): Both are now available on DVD for you to buy or rent.

“Black Swan” tells the harrowing story of a talented, yet emotionally repressed ballerina named Nina (Natalie Portman) who suddenly receives the role of her career playing the Broadway lead in “Swan Lake.” When the sleazy and demanding director (Vincent Cassel) challenges Nina to tap into the dark side of her personality in order to play the sinister Black Swan role, she begins a slow spiral into madness. The conniving upstart Lily (Mila Kunis) both seduces Nina and threatens her career, propelling Nina’s insanity into disturbing realms of paranoia and hallucination.

“Black Swan” emulates the unsettling art-house horror films of Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, but manages to remain explainable enough for general audiences to digest. It punctuates the more disturbing scenes of… CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITE

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