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Most anticipated films of the 1st Quarter of 2018…

Most anticipated films of the 1st Quarter of 2018…

Posted on December 26th, 2017

1. “Molly’s Game” (Jan. 5) – Written and Directed by Aaron Sorkin, this true story focuses on Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) who was targeted by the FBI for running the most exclusive high stakes poker operation in the world…

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI surprises old fans with something totally unexpected…

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI surprises old fans with something totally unexpected…

Posted on December 19th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

As far as Star Wars fandom goes, “The Force Awakens” had tough shoes to fill. It introduced new characters, re-introduced classic characters and had the unenviable job of resurrecting a storyline that has been in carbon freeze hibernation for thirty-four years. It was highly unlikely it would please all of the fans and predictably, the verdict was mixed among both fans and critics, but the film scored high with general audiences. As a lifelong and unapologetic “Star Wars” fan, I was one of the critics who was hard on it and my assessment became harsher with each repeated viewing. For me, the story felt ill-conceived, the writing poor and I didn’t feel endeared to the new characters. Imagine my surprise when “The Last Jedi” comes along and changes my mind about the unpredictable direction this new trilogy has taken…

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SHOT IN THE DARK: The series that shows the compelling careers of Los Angeles stringers…

SHOT IN THE DARK: The series that shows the compelling careers of Los Angeles stringers…

Posted on December 11th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Ever since seeing the 2014 thriller “Nightcrawler” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, I’ve been fascinated with the careers of ‘stringers’ or freelance camera operators who roam the streets of major cities hoping to record footage of crimes, accidents and disasters in order to sell the footage to news outlets. It’s a seedy, dangerous business where the competition is fierce, but the rewards can be high. Netflix’s new documentary series “Shot in the Dark” chronicles the exploits of real-life stringers in Los Angeles as they capture tragedy on camera while trying to stay one step ahead of their cutthroat rivals. While this docu-series is compelling and exciting to watch, it does bring up ethical issues that highlight the grey-areas of the business and raises the question as to whether the stringers featured in the show are merely ambitious business men or parasitic sociopaths…

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GODLESS and DARK: two new Netflix series that are mildly compelling…

GODLESS and DARK: two new Netflix series that are mildly compelling…

Posted on December 5th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

“Godless” (all episodes now available on Netflix) – The small Wild West town of La Belle, New Mexico, populated almost entirely by women, struggles to come back after a mining accident kills most of the male population. It soon becomes the target of the genocidal outlaw Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) when his number one gunfighter, Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) turns on him and seeks refuge there, showing up wounded on a nearby ranch run by a widow, Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery). With Griffin bearing down on them and with no means of escape, the citizens of La Belle prepare to defend themselves from the imminent massacre…

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THE PUNISHER and RUNAWAYS: Two new Marvel series that excel in very different ways…

THE PUNISHER and RUNAWAYS: Two new Marvel series that excel in very different ways…

Posted on November 27th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

“The Punisher” (all episodes available on Netflix) – Marine veteran Frank Castle (John Bernthal), whose family was killed in a mob hit gone wrong, puts on a uniform with a painted skull on his chest and systematically murders the entire crime syndicate involved in his family’s demise. Feeling his revenge is complete, he adopts a false identity and tries to live a morose, solitary life as a construction worker. Soon after, he is tracked down and blackmailed into helping a man going by the code name ‘Micro’ (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a government whistleblower who is framed and forced to go underground, abandoning his family. Castle eventually learns that those responsible for Micro’s situation had a hand in the murder of his family and Castle is compelled to once again put on his uniform and continue his violent spree of revenge…

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JUSTICE LEAGUE has ruined any chance to salvage DC Comics films…

JUSTICE LEAGUE has ruined any chance to salvage DC Comics films…

Posted on November 20th, 2017

by Coop Cooper I cut superhero movies a lot of slack. I read comic books when I was a kid and I was always frustrated that there were few to nil movies or TV shows that could capture the grand scope of a battle between Spider-Man and the Hulk or The Flash versus the Legion […]

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Outing sexual harassment in Hollywood: This one was a long-time coming…

Outing sexual harassment in Hollywood: This one was a long-time coming…

Posted on November 14th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

There was a time in Hollywood – oh, about a year ago – when a sexual assault scandal wasn’t necessarily a career-ending offense. Those accused would immediately deny it and vow to fight these ‘false’ allegations. Usually, their colleagues, co-stars, spouses, studio execs, etc… would announce their ‘support’ for their friend, stating they would ‘stand by them’ through the legal proceedings until their ultimate exoneration or conviction through the court system. Usually the matter would be settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and the problem would be swept under the rug. If it did go to trial and the accuser was convicted, said accuser would do their time/penance, lay low until the public had forgotten about the mess, then reemerge in order to stage a triumphant career comeback. It would appear that time-honored Hollywood tradition is now over…

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THOR: RAGNAROK would have been perfect if it could have tied up a few (tragic) loose ends…

THOR: RAGNAROK would have been perfect if it could have tied up a few (tragic) loose ends…

Posted on November 7th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Compelled by the grim, apocalyptic vision he had during “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been traveling the Nine Realms in order to prevent ‘Ragnarok’, or the Asgardian version of Judgement Day. Since the prophecy of how Ragnarok begins is pretty specific, Thor closes what he believes to be the last loophole and then returns to Asgard only to find Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ruling it in the guise of Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Searching for his father, Thor learns that his long-lost sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett) has plans to conquer Asgard for herself. Failing to stop her, Thor and Loki end up on a waste-disposal planet ruled by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who pegs Thor as a contender for his high-profile gladiator battles. Aided by The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and the former Asgardian warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor and Loki attempt to escape the Grandmaster so they can return to Asgard and stop Hela…

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STRANGER THINGS: SEASON 2 brings the same great 80’s nostalgia with mediocre plotting and pacing…

STRANGER THINGS: SEASON 2 brings the same great 80’s nostalgia with mediocre plotting and pacing…

Posted on October 30th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

This season picks up nearly a year after the last one ended. Still traumatized from being trapped in the ‘Upside Down’ dimension, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) has visions of a gigantic, tentacled shadow monster attempting to break its way into our world. His mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), periodically takes Will to the kindly Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) at Hawkins National Laboratory for psychological and physical checkups, but the doctor may not be telling them the entire truth about Will’s condition. Meanwhile, the super-powered Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has escaped from the Upside Down and is found by Chief Hopper (David Harbour) who keeps her safe and hidden from Hawkins Lab in a cabin in the woods, but she runs away in a quest to find out more about her past. Meanwhile, Will’s friends welcome the newcomer Max (Sadie Sink) into their group while Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) finds an alien ‘pollywog’ creature from the Upside Down and raises it as a pet. Also meanwhile, Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) hatch a plan to get justice for their friend Barb who is declared officially ‘missing’ but was actually killed by a creature from the Upside Down which in turn was covered up by Hawkins Lab…

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HAPPY DEATH DAY is a good retro-slasher flick but Stephen King’s “1922” probably shouldn’t have been adapted…

HAPPY DEATH DAY is a good retro-slasher flick but Stephen King’s “1922” probably shouldn’t have been adapted…

Posted on October 24th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

“Happy Death Day” (now in theaters) – Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is a selfish, mean sorority girl at a Louisiana college who spends her semesters getting drunk and sleeping with random guys, all while having an affair with a married professor. After a particularly wild night, Tree wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a strange boy, Carter (Israel Broussard). After she spends the day insulting him, her friends and everyone who cares about her, she is brutally murdered by a masked killer. After her death, she suddenly wakes up in Carter’s bed again and repeats the same day. After she realizes what is happening, she attempts to change her routine and even fight back, but the killer is always one step ahead of her. As she begins to narrow the list of suspects, she also begins making amends to all the people she has hurt, but she soon realizes that she may not have unlimited chances to close the time loop and survive the ordeal…

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MINDHUNTER on Netflix has a terrible title, but is fit to binge…

MINDHUNTER on Netflix has a terrible title, but is fit to binge…

Posted on October 16th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Based on the nonfiction book about the life of FBI agent John E. Douglas, “Mindhunter” follows Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), an FBI agent in the the ‘Behavioral Science Unit’ in the late 1970’s. Having difficulty predicting and stopping violent serial killers, Ford teams up with Special Agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) who is stuck traveling to local law enforcement precincts to train police and sheriff deputies how to recognize and handle criminals with abnormal psychology profiles. With the help of psychology professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), Ford and Tench begin to unlock the secrets behind the minds of violent murderers by interviewing infamous killers such as Edmund Kemper (Cameron Britton), Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson) and Richard Speck (Jack Erdie). However, the ethical implications and psychological stress the job inflicts upon the unit may be too much for some of them to handle…

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 is a worthy predecessor to the original because it is original while paying homage to its roots…

BLADE RUNNER 2049 is a worthy predecessor to the original because it is original while paying homage to its roots…

Posted on October 9th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Considered one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, the original “Blade Runner” (1982) starred Harrison Ford as a policeman in 2019 Los Angeles assigned to seek and gun down fugitive ‘replicant’ androids who are nearly undetectable from humans besides their superior strength, intelligence and lack of emotions. The film was heralded for its stunning visual style and film noir detective story transplanted in a sci-fi setting. Despite being a box office bomb, the film gained cult status and is considered one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. Now it finally has a sequel after thirty five years. Although it isn’t perfect, I’m glad to say the sequel does honor to the original by once again showing the audience something they’ve never seen before…

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The INHUMANS series on ABC might be Marvel’s most costly fiasco…

The INHUMANS series on ABC might be Marvel’s most costly fiasco…

Posted on September 30th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Before I can even explain the wacky plot of “Inhumans”, I need to go into who they are and how they fit into the Marvel Universe… Sometime in the distant past, highly evolved humans with powers known as ‘Inhumans’ decided the only way to survive was to isolate themselves from normal humans and erase any knowledge of their existence. With vast powers and superior intellect, they colonized the moon and developed a strange, totalitarian monarchy with a caste system of of upper-class royals/military and lower-level Inhumans with less useful powers and ‘freak’ humans born from other Inhumans who are forced into manual labor roles…

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Is THE ORVILLE more “Trek” than STAR TREK: DISCOVERY?…

Is THE ORVILLE more “Trek” than STAR TREK: DISCOVERY?…

Posted on September 24th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

“Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS All-Access, Sundays at 8:30 Central) – One decade before the Kirk/Spock era of “Trek”, First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) finds herself in the middle of a galactic incident when an investigation into a malfunctioning beacon puts her ship, the U.S.S. Shenzhou, into a conflict with the Klingons. Orphaned as a child by a Klingon attack and raised by the Vulcan Ambassador, Sarek (James Frain), Burnham’s rash behavior escalates the conflict, putting her at odds with her captain, Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) that could lead her onto a path to mutiny. At some point Burnham will become first officer on the U.S.S. Discovery under Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) but that doesn’t happen within the first two episodes of the series…

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AMERICAN VANDAL on Netflix is a clever satire about invasive serial documentaries…

AMERICAN VANDAL on Netflix is a clever satire about invasive serial documentaries…

Posted on September 18th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Even with its outrageous premise, “American Vandal” might fool a few people – at first – into thinking its actually a documentary thriller such as “Making a Murderer” or the hit podcast “Serial”. This fictional witty satire from Netflix takes the serialized documentary approach in order to shine a mildly comedic light on high school social classes, school board politics and the damage caused by airing everyone’s dirty laundry in public…

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“It: Chapter One” will go down as one of the best Stephen King adaptations…

“It: Chapter One” will go down as one of the best Stephen King adaptations…

Posted on September 11th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

I never thought Stephen King’s infamous novel “It” needed a second screen adaptation since the 1990 TV miniseries was sufficiently entertaining and scary. However, this new adaptation arrives during a perfect storm with the growing popularity of the similarly-constructed “Stranger Things” on Netflix and the collective coulrophobia (a fear of clowns) gripping the public due to recent sightings of ‘creepy clowns’ reported around the country. Luckily, “It” hits all the right marks and could rank amongst the best cinematic Stephen King adaptations of all time…

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TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, When your favorite TV show leaves you with no resolution…

TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, When your favorite TV show leaves you with no resolution…

Posted on September 4th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

I was dreading watching the series finale of “Twin Peaks: The Return” on Sunday night. Not because I didn’t want to see what would happen, but because I was deathly afraid of what MIGHT happen. I had decided this was the worst-case scenario for how things could end: Very few of the plot threads would wrap up and yet again the main characters would be stuck in some sort of dream nightmarish alternate reality. And then the show would end, forever… and it would appear that is exactly what happened…

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THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD won’t resurrect an antiquated genre…

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD won’t resurrect an antiquated genre…

Posted on August 28th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Here’s a movie genre you don’t see much anymore these days: The action buddy comedy. In the 80’s and 90’s, this was one of the highest-grossing genres in Hollywood. Franchises like “Lethal Weapon”, “48 Hrs.” and “Beverly Hills Cop” used to bring fans running to the theater. If “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is any indication, this genre is currently on the outs… but hopefully not dead…

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Is MoviePass worth it for you?…

Is MoviePass worth it for you?…

Posted on August 21st, 2017

by Coop Cooper

It sounds too good to be true, having the option to watch unlimited movies at at theater for only $9.95 a month. That’s exactly what Mitch Lowe, one of the founders of Netflix, is peddling to the masses. Founded in 2011, the services immediately felt resistance from theater chains over the concept. After a long ‘beta-trial’ process which included testing different price options which ranged from $20 low-price options to $99 a month in some locations. Two weeks ago, MoviePass announced the new $10 a month pricing option and consumers scrambled to sign up, crashing the MoviePass website and opening the discussion as to how this was going to work for consumers and how MoviePass, and theater chains, were going to make money off of this risky venture…

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Most anticipated films of the 2nd half of 2017…

Most anticipated films of the 2nd half of 2017…

Posted on August 14th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

1. “It” (Sept. 8) – Based off of the notoriously frightening Stephen King novel, a group of teenage friends are targeted by a monster disguised as a sinister clown (Bill Skarsgard) who is responsible for making local children disappear. This is the first film in a two-part series which will focus on the characters as children in this installment, then as adults returning home to put an end to the evil in the second film. “It” was previously adapted into a TV miniseries in 1990…

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