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THE WITCH is the pinnacle of the craft…

Posted on February 22nd, 2016
THE WITCH is the pinnacle of the craft…

by Coop Cooper

The story begins in 17th century America as Puritan settlers William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine (Kate Dickie), disillusioned with their community for its lack of piety, abandon their protected village to build a homestead in the deep wilderness on the edge of an ominous forest. They drag along their newborn son, out-of-control twins Mercy and Jonas (Ellie Granger and Lucas Dawson), sensitive preteen son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and alluring teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). When the newborn mysteriously goes missing under Thomasin’s watch, the family begins to unravel as they are plagued by menacing and unexplainable occurrences. When the suspicion of witchcraft arises, Thomasin becomes the prime suspect. As the threat puts all members of the family in peril, Thomasin must choose between survival and damnation…

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DEADPOOL does its own thing and superhero movies are better for it…

Posted on February 16th, 2016
DEADPOOL does its own thing and superhero movies are better for it…

by Coop Cooper

Every couple of years or so, a superhero movie comes along that defies expectations and completely stuns everyone with its originality and success. In 2010, “Kick-Ass” proved that a R-rated superhero movie could become a blockbuster. In 2014, Marvel proved they could take one of its minor properties and turn it into a Star Wars-like epic with “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Now Fox Studios has done the same with one of its minor Marvel properties, making a self-referential, gory, raunchy hit with “Deadpool”…

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THE REVENANT must be seen in theaters!…

Posted on January 12th, 2016
THE REVENANT must be seen in theaters!…

by Coop Cooper

Every year I find at least a handful of movies that surprise me enough to earn my highest rating. It’s always a short list but it takes special mixture of originality, superior storytelling, spot on acting and spectacle for a movie like “The Revenant” to come along and surpass all expectations.

Based on a true story from the 1820’s, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his half-breed Pawnee son (Forrest Goodluck) leads a party of fur trappers through the bitter cold of the American wilderness when they are attacked by marauding natives. Forced to leave most of their haul behind, the party flees for their outpost and Glass is mauled by a grizzly along the way. Unable to carry him further, the Captain (Domhnall Gleeson) offers a reward to those who stay behind to care for Glass until he either heals or expires. Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) stays behind but betrays Glass by killing his son and leaving Glass for dead. Despite his grave injuries, Glass somehow survives and makes his way hundreds of miles across dangerous country to track down Fitzgerald and get his revenge…

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

Posted on December 28th, 2015
Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2015 (for now)…

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

Posted on December 11th, 2015
THE LEFTOVERS Season 2 finale…  I finally get it and now it may be gone…

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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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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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 A Night of Horror 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
2017 Southern States Indie FanFilmFest

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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