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EXPENDABLES 2 review

EXPENDABLES 2 review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Coming straight off of a successful mission in Asia, The Expendables mercenary team captained by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) returns to their home base of New Orleans only to find CIA spook Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) waiting for them. Barney owes Church 5 million dollars, so the team is strong-armed into a simple hijack mission which takes a bad turn when the villainous Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) intercepts them. Out for revenge, they track Vilain to a remote area of Russia where they learn he plans to sell a massive amount of plutonium on the black market.

For mercenaries, these guys are too darned nice. Over the course of the film, they risk their lives and lose a lot to save hundreds, maybe thousands of people, without really getting paid. Big-name characters show up out of nowhere to save their rear-ends on multiple occasions. The obligatory one-liners are cheesy, the action is out of control and the entire ridiculous movie is a larf… but it has to be seen to be believed…

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THE LORAX review

THE LORAX review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a fantastical utopian society called Thneedville which is entirely made out of plastic. The citizens live in blissful ignorance, unaware of their resource consumption while they foolishly pay for fresh air provided as a utility by the wealthy entrepreneur, Mr. O’Hare. Ted has a crush on his friend Audrey (Taylor Swift) who is fascinated by stories of mythical trees which used to grow in the city. When Audrey expresses her wish to have a tree, Ted makes it his mission to find her one and exits the enclosed city. He locates an old hermit called Once-ler (Ed Helms) who knows the secret behind the disappearance of the forests. The Once-ler tells Ted his story about meeting a creature called the Lorax (Danny DeVito), the appointed guardian of the forest who does not take kindly to tree theft and pollution. It soon becomes clear to Ted that the remorseful Once-ler may have had something to do with the destruction of the trees…

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2012 Olympics court controversy, hurt film industry

2012 Olympics court controversy, hurt film industry

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Although I’m not a big fan of most of the sports in the Olympics I really admire the athletes and what the organization stands for. Sportsmanship, the competitive spirit, team camaraderie, solidarity among nations… all of it adds up to something special. This year, I’m afraid the media has ruined it for me and the negativity surrounding the event hints at dire consequences for the future of the Olympic games.

Instead of touting the triumph of the winners, here is what the national/international media is spending most of its time focusing on:

London apparently hasn’t handled the crowd or the events very well. Critics claim that much of the city is open to terror attacks (despite a plan to arm rooftops with guided missiles), the city is constantly gridlocked and for some reason there aren’t many fans in the seats of the arenas…

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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES review

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

It’s not the Batman movie anyone was expecting but it is the Batman movie all fans deserve. It is the most revolutionary and mature comic book film to date. “The Dark Knight Rises” is a mishmash of Batman comic book stories revamped and retold as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, eclipsing even its two prequels. It’s not an ending to the trilogy or franchise as indicated in the trailers and the media. Instead it does something no other superhero film has ever done… It expands and completes the origin of the hero.

Since Batman defeated the Joker, took the fall for Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent’s murder spree and disappeared, the iron-fisted police force has brought order to the city and ushered Gotham into a new golden age…

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SILENT HOUSE (American remake) movie review

SILENT HOUSE (American remake) movie review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) accompanies her father (Adam Trese) and Uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) to their old summer home in upstate New York to pack up their belongings before selling it. The house is without power and has been vandalized by local hoodlums, prompting boards on all of the windows and padlocked chains on the doors. After her uncle leaves she runs into an old childhood friend in the front yard whom she doesn’t seem to remember. Back inside the house, her father disappears and she soon finds herself trapped inside and menaced by unseen intruders.

While the premise is familiar, the method behind its filming is an oddity. “Silent House” is presented as one long, continuous take that lasts the duration of the entire film which clocks in around 1 hour and 20 minutes…

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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN review

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Once again Hollywood enters the era of the “way-too-soon” remake. A successful blockbuster film like the 2002 “Spider-Man” might have produced its final sequel five years ago, but that’s not stopping producers from cashing in on an entirely new Spider-Man franchise. It might be an unnecessary redo, but “The Amazing Spider-Man” executes some aspects better than its predecessor.

Peter Parker (Adrew Garfield) loses his parents under suspicious circumstances and goes to live with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). In high school, he is a bullied loner whose brilliance does not go unnoticed by the beautiful overachiever Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). While looking into the death of his parents, the trail leads to OsCorp where coincidentally Gwen works as an assistant to scientist Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans). Peter goes astray on his tour and is bitten by a genetically modified spider…

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SUNSHINE CLEANING and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN reviews

SUNSHINE CLEANING and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN reviews

Posted on November 6th, 2012

It’s easy to miss even the best independent gems in the theater or on DVD. Here are are a two available for rental that I recommend taking a chance on…

“Sunshine Cleaning” (2008): A down-on-her-luck single mother, Rose (Amy Adams), gets the idea from her married cop boyfriend (Steve Zahn) to start up a potentially lucrative crime scene cleanup service. She impulsively talks her ne’re-do-well sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), into joining her but the two soon find themselves out of their depth as they find they have a lot to learn about the legalities and etiquette of the business. While Rose strikes up a friendship with a kindly, disabled janitorial supply shop owner (Clifton Collins Jr.), Norah begins a relationship with the a daughter (Mary Lynn Rajskub) of one of their dead clients. Meanwhile, their huckster father (Alan Arkin) teaches the finer points of shady salesmanship to Rose’s troubled grade-school aged son (Jason Spevack)…

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BRAVE review

BRAVE review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Disney’s Pixar Animation has an impeccable record. They consistently lead the way in revolutionizing the technology behind animated films and each time they release one, it’s a guaranteed blockbuster. They follow a very specific formula since the film must appeal to both children and adults in order to secure their chances for success. Unfortunately for their latest release, “Brave,” the story lost its way with an ill-advised plot twist…

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“Crowd funding” is the new way to finance films

“Crowd funding” is the new way to finance films

Posted on November 6th, 2012

For filmmakers, one of the most difficult parts of the experience is raising the money. This is especially true for independent filmmakers where this responsibility rests on the shoulders of the creators themselves. Until recently, grass roots fundraising, interest from production companies, paying for it out-of-pocket and the occasional publicity stunt were the only ways of generating the money to fund a film project. Now the budding phenomenon of “crowd funding” gives filmmakers and entrepreneurs a new resource for generating startup cash…

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THE GREY review

THE GREY review

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Isolated survival stories are hard to write and even more difficult to film. They usually take place under harsh conditions, pushing the limits of the filmmakers, the actors and the narrative structure. They also deal with subject matter than can be stark, defeatist and downright depressing. While “The Grey” contains all of these elements, I’m pleased to say it is one of the few that gets it right…

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PROMETHEUS is an insult to the ALIEN franchise…

PROMETHEUS is an insult to the ALIEN franchise…

Posted on June 8th, 2012

I’m very angry. Ridley Scott took the blockbuster franchise he started with the movie “Alien” and completely threw it under the bus to negate his career-defining success in such a way, it’s almost as if he willingly intended to sabotage it. I was well-prepared for this installment, kept away from early reviews and was aware/resigned to the warning that there would be NO recognizable aliens in this film, but I was not prepared for the level of incompetence displayed by the veteran filmmakers involved. Let me elaborate…

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THE RAID: REDEMPTION review

THE RAID: REDEMPTION review

Posted on June 8th, 2012

Martial arts films usually fall in and out of favor with the public as often as the styles that showcase them. Bruce Lee caused a worldwide Kung Fu sensation in the 1970’s. In the past few decades, Karate, Kendo, Ninjitsu, Muay Thai, Kempo, MMA and even Brazilian Capoeira have all had their cinematic moment in the sun. UK director Gareth Evans is banking that the dangerous Indonesian martial art ‘Silat’ is the next big thing and has made two films in order to prove it. The first was 2009’s “Merantau” and now Evans has created an indie sensation with his latest “The Raid: Redemption.”…

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How we made a movie in 48 hours…

How we made a movie in 48 hours…

Posted on June 8th, 2012

Can a quality short film be made in 48 hours? For several years now, creators of 48 hour film challenges have proven that it can be done by both professionals and amateurs alike.

The filmmakers and their crews are assigned a very specific genre (ex: wedding disaster, zombie comedy, hitman action, etc…) and a line of dialogue (such as: “It’s not just a hobby; it’s a way of life.”) that must be spoken during the film. The filmmakers must rush to write, plan, shoot and edit the film before the 48 hour time limit expires. The ultimate prize could be prestige, awards or cash. Though I feared I would regret it, I decided to take one of these challenge this past weekend. With a good bit of help, I succeeded…

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48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge completed!  Watch “REGRESS”…

48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge completed! Watch “REGRESS”…

Posted on May 22nd, 2012

by Coop Cooper

My colleagues and I have a new short film created in 48 hours for this contest: The Guerrilla Film Challenge

Our film: “Regress”

Logline: Told in reverse, “Regress” is about a woman who murders her husband and the bizarre sequence of events that lead up to the violent incident.

Click HERE to watch

Password: pattern

– Coop

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WHITE DOG (1982) is a sad, disturbing, unreleased film about racism

WHITE DOG (1982) is a sad, disturbing, unreleased film about racism

Posted on May 21st, 2012

Every now and again Hollywood produces a film that has merit, yet never makes it into mainstream theaters. The film could have big actors, a high-concept premise and critical acclaim, but something scares distributors from releasing it widely or at all. Such is the case of the 1982 Sam Fuller film “White Dog” which offers a disturbing allegory on racism that is flawed, upsetting and compelling.

On the way home one night, a Los Angeles actress, Julie (Kristy McNichol), accidentally hits a stray white German Shepherd with her car. She rushes the dog to a vet who manages to save him but after learning the dog may be put down at a shelter, Julie reluctantly brings him home. Soon, Julie becomes attached to the dog after he saves her from a serial rapist…

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BATTLESHIP is board game bonanza boffo buffoonery

BATTLESHIP is board game bonanza boffo buffoonery

Posted on May 17th, 2012

Hollywood has recently begun mining venerable board games… not video games mind you but actual tabletop board games as motion picture properties. The first of these films is “Battleship” based off of the popular Hasbro game which made “You sunk my battleship!” an American catch phrase.

The story takes place off the coast of modern day Hawaii as the U.S. Navy is engaged in war games with the Japanese naval fleet. Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) might remind you of Maverick in “Top Gun.” He is a screw-up who was brow-beaten by his brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), into joining the Navy after his arrest for stealing a burrito from a convenience store to impress the daughter (Brooklyn Decker) of the fleet admiral (Liam Neeson). After screwing up one time too many, Hopper faces the possibility of a court martial after the war games. Luckily for him, a scouting alien invasion force is attracted to Earth by high-tech radio waves meant to contact extraterrestrial life… oops. Soon Hopper is off the hook when the aliens crash land in the water near his fleet and erect a force field, trapping the Earth ships inside with them…

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Texting in movie theaters:  It could get worse…

Texting in movie theaters: It could get worse…

Posted on May 4th, 2012

Modern movie theaters have done a lot in order to attract viewers. Many now advertise full meals, gourmet coffee, frozen treats, state of the art digital projection, stadium seating, Dolby 7.1 sound, 3-D films and many other amenities to make spending a couple of hours at the theater more attractive. Not all of them work.

Even now, big Hollywood theater chains are considering a move that might send many traditional movie patrons running from the aisles. In a terribly misguided effort to keep the younger generation in movie seats, AMC Regal theaters and other chains are considering allowing viewers to freely text on their cellphones during movies…

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Mississippi Filmmaker Spotlight:  Kenny Cook and “Bitter Shoes”

Mississippi Filmmaker Spotlight: Kenny Cook and “Bitter Shoes”

Posted on May 1st, 2012

If you’ve ever been to a Mississippi film festival in the past few years then you’ve probably seen Kenny Cook. The prolific actor has been a go-to artist for their short films for awhile now. Cook has been in many award-winning films playing leads and character actors alike.

Now the actor makes his directorial debut with “Bitter Shoes”, the story of a broken man (played by Cook) who resorts to kidnapping in order to relive the memories of his dead son. It’s a heartbreaking story that features a fine performance by Cook and co-star Julie Sampley as his grade school-aged hostage…

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CABIN IN THE WOODS is a horror game-changer

CABIN IN THE WOODS is a horror game-changer

Posted on April 23rd, 2012

Every once in awhile, a movie comes along that can change a genre forever. In the case of horror films, “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “The Exorcist” (1973) and “Scream” (1994) are all examples that broke the mold and changed how people view horror. “Cabin in the Woods” has also earned a place on this list.

We all know the story… Kids go to a cabin in the woods, bad things happen. “The Evil Dead” (1981) and its horror/comedy remake “Evil Dead II” (1987) are credited for perfecting this subgenre. Although no other film of this type has come near to competing with these originals, it hasn’t kept filmmakers from trying. The subgenre has been one of the most overused and poorly-made film types of the past 30 years. “Cabin” takes the concept and turns it on its head in such a way, I believe the subgenre is now spoiled for good. Trust me, this is a very good thing…

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Top 10 1980’s movies that kids today are missing out on

Top 10 1980’s movies that kids today are missing out on

Posted on April 23rd, 2012

10. “Top Gun” (1986): With talk of a sequel finally in the works, this one almost didn’t make the list. However, no other film has convinced so many kids to want to be fighter pilots than “Top Gun.” Now that Tom Cruise has agreed to return for a sequel, we might finally get another great modern-day dogfighting film (but not likely).

9. “Field of Dreams” (1989): Easily one of the greatest baseball films of all time, the story mixed sports with a dash of fantasy to create a tear-jerking film even guys can love. While no sequel or remake is needed, kids who haven’t seen “Field of Dreams” are sorely deprived…

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