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

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

Posted on December 28th, 2015

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…

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

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…

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

Posted on December 18th, 2015

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…

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

Posted on December 11th, 2015

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…

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

Posted on December 4th, 2015

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…

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

Posted on November 30th, 2015

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…

Amazon’s flawed series production model…

Posted on November 20th, 2015

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

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

Posted on November 13th, 2015

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

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

Posted on November 6th, 2015

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…

When your favorite character dies…

Posted on October 30th, 2015

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!

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

Posted on October 23rd, 2015

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

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

Posted on October 16th, 2015

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…

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

Posted on October 9th, 2015

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???

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

Posted on October 2nd, 2015

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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The most promising new genre TV shows of the Fall 2015 season…

The most promising new genre TV shows of the Fall 2015 season…

Posted on September 25th, 2015

by Coop Cooper

With far too many original shows in development to fit into a feature article, I’ll focus on the ‘genre’ shows which have some sort of sci-fi/horror/fantasy element to them. Here are a few of the brand new shows premiering this season that look watchable and have already gotten some critical acclaim (P.S. “Fear the Walking Dead” was such a disappointment, I didn’t even include it in the ‘not-so-hot’ list):

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MISSISSIPPI GRIND doesn’t insult your intelligence about gambling…

MISSISSIPPI GRIND doesn’t insult your intelligence about gambling…

Posted on September 18th, 2015

by Coop Cooper

I’ve never been a huge fan of gambling films. They tend to glorify an unrealistic amount of luck while passing off the luck and the skill as heroic or virtuous qualities. Fortunately, “Mississippi Grind” is not your typical gambling film.

Ben Mendelsohn plays Gerry, a gambler in Iowa who owes every bookie in town and can’t seem to catch a break. At a poker game, he meets the charismatic Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) who inspires him with confidence and a winning attitude. The two become fast friends and Gerry begins to see signs from on high that his luck is about to change. Gerry suggests to Curtis that they take all that they have and hit every casino along the Mississippi River down to New Orleans to make one big score to solve all of their problems. Unfortunately, Gerry’s luck takes a turn to for the worse, and his good luck charm, Curtis, may have some dark secrets of his own…

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Football season means it’s time to revisit the pigskin cinema classics!

Football season means it’s time to revisit the pigskin cinema classics!

Posted on September 11th, 2015

by Coop Cooper

With football season upon us, it is time to reflect upon (and revisit!) some of the best football movies out there. Whether they are about high school, college, pro… or prison, all are either funny, exciting, inspirational or all three…

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A WALK IN THE WOODS premiere in Oxford, Mississippi…

A WALK IN THE WOODS premiere in Oxford, Mississippi…

Posted on September 4th, 2015

by Coop Cooper

With the current spike of bigger-budget films shooting here in Mississippi, it’s easy to get excited when you see familiar faces featured prominently on the screen. Oxford resident Susan McPhail is one actor who has had an exceptional year and on Tuesday, August the 25th she attended the Oxford, MS premiere of “A Walk in the Woods” in which she plays an unforgettable role. Oh yeah, and the movie also stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte…

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FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is not what this fan wants…

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is not what this fan wants…

Posted on August 28th, 2015

by Coop Cooper

Set on the eve of the zombie outbreak from the original series, Nick (Frank Dillane), a young heroin user, awakens from a stupor at an abandoned Los Angeles church to find his friends dead and his girlfriend eating them. He runs away from the horrific scene, is promptly hit by a car and taken to a hospital. His estranged mother, high school guidance counselor Madison (Kim Dickens), and her English teacher boyfriend, Travis (Cliff Curtis), don’t believe Nick’s story, but Travis decides to check out the church anyway. Inside, he finds evidence that Nick was telling the truth. Meanwhile, Madison confronts an honor student who brings a weapon to school only to receive an ominous warning that something terrible is happening in the community and around the country that is being covered up. As Nick escapes from the hospital and Madison and Travis search Los Angeles to find him, a viral video of LAPD officers shooting a zombie sends the city into panic…

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What looks good for the rest of 2015?…

What looks good for the rest of 2015?…

Posted on August 21st, 2015

by Coop Cooper

“Straight Outta Compton” about the rise of gangster rap group N.W.A. has been a critical and commercial success with impressive box office numbers this past weekend, and it also marks the end of the summer movie season. Here are ten other highly anticipated movies audiences have to look forward to for the rest of 2015…

“Black Mass” (Sept. 18) – Johnny Depp once again makes a bizarre physical transformation to play real-life murderous mobster-turned FBI informant, Whitey Bulger. Depp seems most comfortable when he finds a role he can disappear into, but he always walks the line between drama and parody. Could this be a sincere attempt by the actor to gain the attention of the Academy?

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