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

Posted on November 30th, 2015
JESSICA JONES raises the bar for superhero TV shows AND Marvel Comics…

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

Posted on November 13th, 2015
RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE…  a must see for a film fan

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

Posted on November 6th, 2015
BEASTS OF NO NATION… beautiful, brutal, one of the year’s best

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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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD wins the early summer releases for 2015…

Posted on May 22nd, 2015
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD wins the early summer releases for 2015…

by Coop Cooper

The first “Mad Max” film premiered in 1979, starring a very young Mel Gibson and the film went on to become a cult classic. Two sequels followed, the critically revered “The Road Warrior” (1981) and the less respected, yet highly entertaining “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” (1985). Now for the first time in thirty years, we finally have a new Mad Max film… and the result is spectacular.

Taking place sometime long after the original “Mad Max” film, Max (Tom Hardy) and his suped-up Ford Falcon are immediately caught out in the open, captured by the War Boys and taken prisoner. The War Boys are young, radiation-stricken mutants who live only half a life and must rely on constant blood transfusions to live. Unfortunately, Max is a universal donor and is used by the ambitiously suicidal War Boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult) as a rejuvenating ‘blood bag’…






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HBO’s GAME OF THRONES Season 5 is poised to surpass the novels…

Posted on April 24th, 2015
HBO’s GAME OF THRONES Season 5 is poised to surpass the novels…

by Coop Cooper

Fans of the “Game of Thrones” books are in for quite a shock as Season 5 of the adapted show for HBO has begun to depart from the original source materials. Two episodes in and I have already noticed some big changes which will have long-lasting repercussions for the series and could ultimately change the course of the original storylines.

Author George R. R. Martin is famous for dragging out the paths of his main characters who seem to get further and further away from each other with no chance for reunion in sight and he shows no indications of tying up all of the many loose ends introduced in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels on which the TV series is based…






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10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

Posted on February 27th, 2015
10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

by Coop Cooper

1. Funny actors don’t always make the best hosts. Just because Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony and had a hit TV sitcom doesn’t mean his jokes or timing are going to work. His racial references were clumsy. Even more cringe-worthy was an ill-timed joke about an award-winner’s dress after she dedicated her win to her son who committed suicide.

2. There will be an upset or two. I thought for sure Eddie Redmayne was the last actor in the category who would win Best Actor but I was sorely mistaken. Likewise did I underestimate the Academy’s love for “Birdman” which won best picture, nearly shutting out “Boyhood” from all other categories except for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, I was very pleased “Whiplash” won Editing and Sound Mixing along with a well deserved win for J. K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor…






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2015 (87th) Academy Award predictions…

Posted on February 20th, 2015
2015 (87th) Academy Award predictions…

by Coop Cooper

The 2015 Academy Awards will air this Sunday on ABC at 6pm (Central). Here are my predictions (potential winners are underlined)…






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More exceptional films from 2014…

Posted on January 16th, 2015
More exceptional films from 2014…

by Coop Cooper

I’m still powering through many of the 2014 films that are up for awards and here are five more I think are exceptional and worthy of a watch…

“Birdman” – A washed up actor (Michael Keaton) tries to salvage a troubled play production that could revitalize his career, but a narcissistic, unhinged co-star (Edward Norton), a zany cast of misfits and his own psychosis could derail his comeback. Shot to look like it was filmed in one continuous shot (it wasn’t), “Birdman” is an actor’s dream film which will be most well known for singlehandedly – if not temporarily – resurrecting Michael Keaton’s career…






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Coop’s top 10 Movies of 2014 (so far)…

Posted on January 9th, 2015
Coop’s top 10 Movies of 2014 (so far)…

by Coop Cooper

Keeping in mind I haven’t seen several of the hyped filmed which may be up for awards (ex- “Unbroken”, “Birdman”, “American Sniper”, “Inherent Vice”, “Selma”, “Foxcatcher”, “The Imitation Game”, etc…), here are ten of my favorites so far from 2014…

10. “Guardians of the Galaxy” – Possibly the most re-watchable film of 2014, this obscure Marvel comic book became the surprise blockbuster of the year. With comic Chris Pratt reinvented as an action hero co-starring with a menagerie of weird aliens, this franchise could be the “Star Wars” of this generation…






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NIGHTCRAWLER is a fascinating look at freelance video vultures…

Posted on November 7th, 2014
NIGHTCRAWLER is a fascinating look at freelance video vultures…

by Coop Cooper

In urban Los Angeles, petty scrap metal thief Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) happens upon a fiery car wreck and becomes fascinated with the freelance cameramen who appear to cover the incident. Determined to break into the business, he buys a cheap camera, a police scanner and prowls the streets. His intrusive nature draws the ire of cops and competitors, but his work catches the eye of late night TV news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who admires Lou’s aggression and his attention to the bloodiest of details. His minor successes compel Lou to hire the clueless and homeless Rick (Riz Ahmed) as his assistant whom he continuously puts into dangerous situations. Under relentless pressure from Nina and his own ambitious ego, Lou spirals into increasingly felonious behavior after he beats the police to the scene of a brutal shotgun massacre in a ritzy LA neighborhood…






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GONE GIRL is an Oscar-lock and a subversive look at American relationships…

Posted on October 10th, 2014
GONE GIRL is an Oscar-lock and a subversive look at American relationships…

When Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) disappears under suspicious circumstances, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) cooperates with the police lead by the shrewd Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens). The story intermittently flashes back to show how Amy and Nick met, their whirlwind romance and their descent into mutual bitter resentment. As the evidence is uncovered, the community and the media begin to turn on Nick, believing him to be a murderer.

To end that description of the plot with ‘but all is not what it seems…’ would be an understatement. Much has been hyped about the New York Times best-selling novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay), with many critics claiming the twist and turns in the story makes this one a must-read.

This film adaptation will be nominated for Academy Awards and will probably win a few. Here are the reasons why…






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10 gritty ‘Rural Noir’ films to catch up on…

Posted on September 12th, 2014
10 gritty ‘Rural Noir’ films to catch up on…

by Coop Cooper

Rural Noir’ is a category that can include western, horror or Southern Gothic elements, but more accurately, they are dark and gritty crime thrillers based in rural locations, giving them a kind of isolating, ‘country’ feel. Here are ten of my favorites in chronological order…

10. “Deliverance” (1972) – Over forty years later this Oscar winner still packs a punch. Many mistake it for a horror film and while it has become the inspiration for many backwoods horror films to date, it remains a solid and shocking mainstream thriller about four men pursued by bloodthirsty mountain men while rafting on a Georgia river.

9. “Badlands” (1973) – This artfully-scripted Terrence Malick thriller about two teen lovers (Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen) on a killing spree in rural South Dakota was the inspiration for “True Romance” and “Natural Born Killers”, both scripted (but not directed) by Quentin Tarantino…






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COLD IN JULY… Lansdale’s gritty rural noir is destined to become a cult sleeper

Posted on September 8th, 2014
COLD IN JULY…  Lansdale’s gritty rural noir is destined to become a cult sleeper

by Coop Cooper

“Cold in July” fills a genre niche that’s rare in the modern world. Gritty, rural thrillers are few and far between but there have been some notable ones in the recent past. “No Country for Old Men” and “Winter’s Bone” come to mind but this is the first time pulp novelist Joe R. Lansdale has contributed to it in the cinematic sense. Known mostly for his horror fiction and pulp crime novels, Lansdale has developed a cult following over the decades and has now crossed-over into the crime cinema genre aided by iconic horror director Jim Mickle and actor/screenwriter Nick Damici.

In 1980’s rural Texas, mild-mannered frame store owner Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) awakens in the middle of the night to find a masked intruder in his home. To protect his family, he shoots and kills the intruder. The local sheriff (Nick Damici) assures Richard the shooting was clean and that he did the right thing. As Richard and his family attempt to return to normal, the intruder’s father, Russel (Sam Shepard), recently released from prison, begins stalking and threatening Richard. Amidst this dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Richard uncovers a web of deception with the aid of the flashy, charismatic private eye/pig farmer Jim Bob Luke (Don Johnson). They uncover a horrible truth and must travel a dark path with Russel to put a stop to an evil that is worse than all of them…






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THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL… an oustanding Netflix-only documentary

Posted on September 8th, 2014
THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL… an oustanding Netflix-only documentary

By Coop Cooper

Netflix continues their domination of TV and film. It seems they have now exclusively distributed the best sports documentary since ESPN released the “30 for 30” series. That documentary is “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” and as of now it can only be watched on Netflix Instant.

Character actor Bing Russell (father of actor Kurt Russell) grew up obsessed with baseball, becoming a friend to some of the most famous Yankees of the day, eventually becoming a pro player himself. After an injury ended his pro baseball career, he returned to Hollywood, making some in-depth instructional baseball films starring his son Kurt. Although he loved both film and baseball, he felt compelled to leave Hollywood and become more involved in the sport. In 1973, upon seeing an opportunity to buy a AAA minor league team in Oregon, he took it and turned it into the only independent minor league Baseball team in the nation. Now the single-A Portland Mavericks, Bing announced tryouts would be open to the general public, drawing a huge crowd of misfits and former MLB rejects…






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THE PURGE: ANARCHY… far superior to its promising predecessor

Posted on September 8th, 2014
THE PURGE: ANARCHY…  far superior to its promising predecessor

by Coop Cooper

When the first “The Purge” movie was released last year, I reviewed it and decided it was an exciting idea for a franchise but the execution did not live up to the intriguing concept. I made a wish list of what I wanted to see in the next “Purge” film: 1. Take the action outside to the streets to show the carnage going on in a more open environment. 2. Show what different classes of people have to do to survive the night. 3. Show the futility of society in this version of America. Not only did “The Purge: Anarchy” completely fulfill my wish list, but it added a few new ideas by expanding on its mythology.

Set in a future, dystopian version of America, crime and population-related problems have become nearly non-existent thanks to the annual ‘Purge’. On that day, for a period of twelve hours, all emergency services are suspended and all crime is legal. Citizens are allowed to hunt each other down with impunity. The only rules are that high-level public officials are off-limits as are ‘class 4 weapons’ (explosives)…






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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2… best movie of the year?

Posted on July 16th, 2014
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2…  best movie of the year?

by Coop Cooper

If the first “How to Train Your Dragon” was “Star Wars”, then the second film is both “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” all rolled into one. I was a huge fan of the first film, going so far as to say it was the best Dreamworks Animated film ever, possibly surpassing anything put out by Disney’s Pixar as well. This sequel ups the ante with a more mature story, more action, continuing character development and gorgeously updated animation.

Set five years after the first film, the Viking village of Berk has fully embraced and integrated pet Dragons into its culture. Astrid (America Ferrera) and her friends compete in dragon racing games while Chief Stoick (Gerard Butler) and the other citizens collaborate with the dragons to provide for the community. Meanwhile, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless, explore the surrounding lands, charting new territories and new species of dragons. They soon run afoul of a band of mercenaries who are capturing dragons for the warlord Drago (Djimon Hounsou) who is enslaving dragons to expand his massive army to conquer Berk and then the world. Opposing Drago is the mysterious ‘Dragon Rider’ Valka (Cate Blanchett) who is a protector of wild dragons and has a secret connection to Hiccup. In order to save the dragons, Hiccup, Stoick and Valka battle Drago and his evil ‘Alpha Dragon’ which has the ability to turn the benevolent dragons against their masters…






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THE RAID 2… quality over the quantity of action in the original

Posted on April 18th, 2014
THE RAID 2… quality over the quantity of action in the original

by Coop Cooper

Martial arts movies seem to have fallen out of favor in America. With all of the great English-speaking karate stars aging themselves out of the business, there are no strong contenders to take on the mantle on this side of the pond other than former MMA stars with zero acting ability and very little charisma. However, Asia still has a heck of a martial arts market and Indonesia has surprisingly stepped up to take the current crown in Kung Fu (or in their case, Silat) action cinema. The phenomenal 2011 action film “The Raid: Redemption” put them on the map and now the anticipated sequel has arrived in theaters to up the ante…






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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is an early summer blockbuster that can’t possibly be outdone

Posted on April 11th, 2014
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is an early summer blockbuster that can’t possibly be outdone

by Coop Cooper

It seems the trend of Marvel attempting to top previous superhero films continues with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. This ambitious attempt to expand on the Captain’s mythology and continue to tie it in with other Marvel properties, especially the upcoming “Avengers 2”, is another giant leap in quality and scope. This new effort is not only overwhelming successful, it could be the best Marvel Comics film so far.

When we last left Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) he was saving New York from an alien hoard with the help of the other Avengers. Now Rogers works directly for S.H.I.E.L.D. as their top operative with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as his partner. When he witnesses his agency put people in jeopardy to ensure its own interests, Rogers develops trust issues with his superiors, particularly Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who is preparing to launch a new global defense system with questionable moral implications…






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Coop lists the Top 10 Performances of 2013

Posted on January 17th, 2014
Coop lists the Top 10 Performances of 2013

by Coop Cooper

2013 was a strong year for performances and of the films I saw, these were the ones that affected me the most…

10. Moises Arias in “Kings of the Summer” – This living cartoon of a human being gave the breakout comedic performance of the year as a weird Italian kid who tags along with two teen runaways to build a clubhouse out in the woods to escape their crazy parents. Although he gave an excellent, serious performance in “Ender’s Game”, in “Summer” Arias provokes laughs every time he appears on screen. He stands a good chance at growing into a memorable adult comedic actor…






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Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2013

Posted on January 13th, 2014
Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2013

by Coop Cooper

Many critics are claiming that 2013 was an exceptionally strong year for film with many “best of” lists showing a wide variety of favorites with no clear winners agreed upon. Here is my list for “Best Films of 2013”…

10. “Dallas Buyer’s Club” – This true life story about a Texas roughneck/AIDS victim who becomes a drug smuggler and activist to legalize non-FDA approved anti-AIDS drugs was one of the surprises of the year. McConaughey should get a Best Actor nomination and Jarred Leto should get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for their powerful, chameleon-like performances…






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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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