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13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

Posted on April 3rd, 2017
13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

by Coop Cooper

Netflix continues its winning streak by releasing the adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling 2007 young adult novel “13 Reasons Why” into a thirteen episode series, all of which are now available online. Executive produced by pop star Selena Gomez, the heart-wrenching story about the consequences of bullying and teenage suicide is possibly the most well-crafted and thoughtful exploration of the subject. However, I’m afraid that its difficult, R-rated subject matter may cause it to miss the age group it was intended for…

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I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE proves why Netflix is tops, while KILL COMMAND almost proves the opposite…

Posted on February 28th, 2017
I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE proves why Netflix is tops, while KILL COMMAND almost proves the opposite…

by Coop Cooper

“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” – Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is a middle-class hospital orderly who can’t seem to shake the depressing feeling that the people she meets on a day-to-day basis are irredeemable jerks. When her house is burglarized and the police can’t seem to help, she decides to balance out the wrong that has been done to her. She enlists the aid of her weirdo loner neighbor, Tony (Elijah Wood), who has an interest in martial arts, ninja weapons and heavy metal. The pair unleash good-intentioned mayhem upon everyone they run across on their trail to recover Ruth’s belongings. Little do they know, the criminals responsible for the burglary are armed-and-dangerous killers…

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JACKIE and TONI ERDMANN, two lesser Oscar nominees…

Posted on February 7th, 2017
JACKIE and TONI ERDMANN, two lesser Oscar nominees…

by Coop Cooper

Two more 2017 Academy Award contenders…

“Jackie” – The story follows Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman) during the hours, days and weeks after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. It also flashes back to her infamous, televised ‘White House tour’ interview and contrasts that moment with her first interview after the assassination. The film depicts Jackie as a unwitting cultural icon who suddenly finds herself in the difficult position of showing strength in front of the public during her greatest point of grief…

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HIDDEN FIGURES and HACKSAW RIDGE, two “Best Picture” nominees that fit the bill…

Posted on January 31st, 2017
HIDDEN FIGURES and HACKSAW RIDGE, two “Best Picture” nominees that fit the bill…

by Coop Cooper

Here are two films, based on true stories, that could win big at the 2017 Academy Awards…

“Hidden Figures” – During NASA’s Mercury program, a group of African-American women work complex math calculations in order to get the first American into space. Katherine (Tariji P. Henson), a prodigy with numbers, corrects the advanced physics figures to get Alan Shepherd into orbit, then pioneers the figures for the Atlas rocket missions, and later, Apollo 11. Mary (Janelle Monae) aspires to become the first African-American, female NASA engineer.

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SILENCE and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA… Only one has the chops to be nominated for Best Picture

Posted on January 24th, 2017
SILENCE and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA…  Only one has the chops to be nominated for Best Picture

by Coop Cooper

Two more films that could receive an Oscar nomination or two…

“Silence” – In the 17th Century, the Jesuit order in Portugal begins receiving disturbing reports that their missionary priests in Japan are being detained and that the authorities are persecuting the 300,000 Christian followers in the country. Two Jesuit priests, Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) volunteer to covertly enter Japan in order to discover the facts and locate their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who is said to have disappeared. They smuggle themselves into mainland Japan where they are immediately greeted by native Japanese Christians who live in hiding and tell tales of Christians being rounded up, tortured and executed under the country’s recent ban on the religion. As the priests venture further into the country, they discover those who enforce the ban have developed a frighteningly effective method for ridding the country of Christianity…

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MOONLIGHT and LA LA LAND, two polar opposites rumored for Oscar nominations…

Posted on January 17th, 2017
MOONLIGHT and LA LA LAND, two polar opposites rumored for Oscar nominations…

by Coop Cooper

These two films have received a fair amount of Academy Awards chatter. They are also both complete polar opposites of each other, yet both have the potential to receive a “Best Picture” nomination.

“Moonlight” – Running from bullies, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert) – nicknamed ‘Little’ – hides in an abandoned crack house and is found by drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) who feels sorry for him. Upon taking Little back home, Juan learns of Little’s harsh home life and feels compelled to look out for him. Little feels safe with Juan and his kind girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae) but can’t abide Juan’s dealing, knowing that his own mother is one of Juan’s clients. In his teenage years, Chiron (Ashton Sanders) as he is now called, knows he is different and possibly gay. With his mother’s drug use getting out of control and the constant bullying at school, Chiron feels isolated and conflicted. After a betrayal of trust ends in tragedy, Chiron’s life changes drastically. Years later, as an adult going by the alias ‘Black’ (Trevante Rhodes), Chiron finds himself living a lifestyle he once looked down upon until a call from home compels him to return home and face the demons from his past…

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HELL OR HIGH WATER and FENCES… Do either have what it takes to win an Oscar?

Posted on January 9th, 2017
HELL OR HIGH WATER and FENCES… Do either have what it takes to win an Oscar?

by Coop Cooper

With the Golden Globes already given out, awards season is officially in full swing. Although the Academy Awards nominations have not been released, here are reviews for two films which have already received Oscars buzz…

“Hell or High Water” – Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) are brothers embarking on a West Texas bank heist spree. Soon-to-retire Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham) hit the road to try and track down the unknown bank robbers. As the robberies progress, it becomes evident that the brothers have an agenda that supersedes any wealth they will accumulate from these robberies. As the Rangers close in, Toby becomes concerned about Tanner, whose increasingly reckless behavior borders on the suicidal.

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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and TRAVELERS… One overrated Oscar contender and one great Netflix series…

Posted on December 26th, 2016
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and TRAVELERS…  One overrated Oscar contender and one great Netflix series…

by Coop Cooper

“Nocturnal Animals” (feature film in theaters) – Susan (Amy Adams), a pampered socialite and art gallery owner trudges through her loveless second marriage with her wealthy, yet uninterested husband (Armie Hammer). When her writer/teacher first husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) sends her a manuscript for his new novel, she takes it as a peace offering. Their bitter divorce left them estranged for nineteen years and she reminisces fondly and with regret as the words in his book move her. Eager to reconnect, she reaches out to him, but the story in the book hides an allegory for their failed relationship that could dig the knife in even further.

If “Gone Girl” is widely considered a masterful achievement in storytelling, then “Nocturnal Animals” merely feels like a moderately successful writing experiment. While it starts out like a tense Hitchcockian thriller, it loses momentum and becomes merely an ironic relationship drama…

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ARRIVAL foolishly sidesteps a plot resolution for a vague emotional one…

Posted on November 15th, 2016
ARRIVAL foolishly sidesteps a plot resolution for a vague emotional one…

by Coop Cooper

I’ve seen so many alien invasion movies, I often feel like there are few original storylines to explore. I can often anticipate the twists based on the limited amount of alien invasion scenarios that already exist in fiction and theoretical science. If aliens do visit Earth, there are only a few possibilities as to their intent… 1. Conquest/destruction 2. Aid 3. Passive exploration. Some of the best scientists and science fiction authors agree that if aliens actually make ‘first contact’ with humans, there would be no positive long-term outcome for us, even if they offer to help us. While “Arrival” offers A-list acting, outstanding special effects, and brings some interesting new ideas to the table, it completely fails to address the full consequence of this contact…

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QUARRY perpetuates stereotypes on TV, ATLANTA breaks them…

Posted on September 15th, 2016
QUARRY perpetuates stereotypes on TV, ATLANTA breaks them…

by Coop Cooper

Here are two brand new cable TV series, both taking place in the South, but with very different philosophies when it comes to dealing with stereotypes.. (Disclaimer… I’m not big on “Quarry”)

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Top 10 movies of 2016 so far…

Posted on September 5th, 2016
Top 10 movies of 2016 so far…

by Coop Cooper

My mid-year top 10 list is usually populated with the biggest genre films of the summer and a few wild cards from the beginning of the year. Expect this list to change drastically by the first of January when the rest of the indie films and studio prestige pictures for 2016 finally become available…

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BLOOD FATHER review: Mel Gibson may not be on the A-List but he’s still got it…

Posted on August 29th, 2016
BLOOD FATHER review:  Mel Gibson may not be on the A-List but he’s still got it…

by Coop Cooper

More films with big stars and modest budgets have opted to premiere on Pay Per View or online than ever. Some opt for a limited theater run, with a simultaneous release on services like DirectTV (for rent) or, more often, they bypass the theater release altogether. For example, “Blood Father” starring Mel Gibson, had its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is now available to rent on online streaming services like YouTube, Amazon, Vudu and Google Play.

Mel Gibson plays Link, an aging ex-con recently out of the joint and sober. He barely makes ends meet running a tattoo shop out of his trailer when he suddenly gets a desperate call from his runaway addict daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty). Lydia has become a target of termination by a drug syndicate after shooting her dealer boyfriend (Diego Luna) during a job gone wrong…

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FREE STATE OF JONES and THE DUEL: Two films with Mississippi connections that could have done better…

Posted on July 4th, 2016
FREE STATE OF JONES and THE DUEL:  Two films with Mississippi connections that could have done better…

by Coop Cooper

Here are two current films that have strong Mississippi connections. One takes place in the state and while the other does not, it was filmed within the state.
“Free State of Jones” – Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey), a medic in the Confederate Army, deserts for his home in Jones County, Mississippi when a young relative is killed in battle. Upon bringing the body back to the mother, Knight discovers that his family and neighbors – all poor women and children with the men off at war – are being robbed of all of their possessions by Rebel soldiers under the auspice of a 10% war tax. In the act of defending a family from robbery, Knight is identified as a deserter and must hide in the swamps amongst a small band of runaway slaves. Amongst those slaves is a Creole healer named Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) whom Knight forms a relationship with. As more deserters arrive to the swamp, Knight forms a militia and is able to run Confederates out of Jones and the surrounding counties. When the war ends, Knight and his followers suffer repercussions for their efforts…

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Top 10 Best Movies about summer camps and summer vacations…

Posted on June 27th, 2016
Top 10 Best Movies about summer camps and summer vacations…

by Coop Cooper

Summer vacations and summer camp… The films that tackle these two traditions are the inspiration for these lists. “Jaws” could have been #1, but that would have been cheating since the main characters were hard at work and not on vacation. “Dirty Dancing” could have made the list, but I seem to be the only one who doesn’t have fond memories of that film. Nevertheless, here is what I came up with:

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SING STREET is an instant classic for lovers of the 80’s…

Posted on May 16th, 2016
SING STREET is an instant classic for lovers of the 80’s…

by Coop Cooper

Connor, aka ‘Cosmo’ (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), an awkward middle-class kid growing up in 1985 Dublin, Ireland, receives a shock when his bickering parents (Aidan Gillen from “Game of Thrones” and Maria Doyle Kennedy) tell him they can no longer afford his education at a posh Jesuit school. He transfers to a rough, inner-city Catholic school and is immediately bullied by the students and tormented by the hard-nosed headmaster priest. He becomes infatuated with an older orphaned girl, Raphina (Lucy Boynton) who hangs around the school and claims to be a model waiting on a one-way ticket to London to pursue her career. He impulsively invites her to star in a music video for a non-existent band he sings in. She accepts and he scrambles to quickly form a band consisting of his fellow classroom misfits in order to hold her interest. He lucks out and assembles a competent cover group but his slacker older brother (Jack Reynor) insists that only serious bands write their own songs. Cosmo tries his hand at songwriting and has an exceptional talent for it, but life hardships threaten to derail his efforts and his pursuit of Raphina…

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EDDIE THE EAGLE might be the feel-good movie of 2016…

Posted on May 2nd, 2016
EDDIE THE EAGLE might be the feel-good movie of 2016…

by Coop Cooper

Based on a true story, Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) was a sickly, awkward and unathletic British child who develops a tenacious fascination with the Olympics. After being discouraged by everyone – especially his blue collar father – at every turn, Eddie keeps formulating different plans to achieve his dream. He settles on downhill skiing as his best chance, but after years of training, he is kicked off the British Olympic team. He figures his next best chance is to try his hand at ski jumping, except Great Britain hasn’t had an Olympic ski jumper in competition since the 1920’s…

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DOWNTON ABBEY, the end of a TV phenomenon…

Posted on March 7th, 2016
DOWNTON ABBEY, the end of a TV phenomenon…

by Coop Cooper
Although the final episode aired during Christmas in the UK, American audiences got their last glimpse of “Downton Abbey” during the PBS Masterpiece Theatre finale this past Sunday. The show, which chronicled the trials and tribulations of the Lord of Grantham and his royal English family for six seasons could have been easily dismissed as a stuffy, British soap opera with little appeal to American or international audiences. Instead, the series became PBS’s biggest programming hit of all time and captured the imagination of viewers from countries like Argentina and Japan…

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SPOTLIGHT and THE BIG SHORT are pretty good as far as heavy-handed, outrage pieces go…

Posted on January 19th, 2016
SPOTLIGHT and THE BIG SHORT are pretty good as far as heavy-handed, outrage pieces go…

by Coop Cooper

Outrage pieces aimed at real-life institutions and events are compelling but like documentaries covering similar topics, they deserve skepticism and scrutiny in their presentation of the facts as well as their intentions, both political and personal. One thing that makes these films so polarizing is that they have an agenda and rarely present both sides of an argument, so they should be taken with a grain of salt even if they appear to be correct. Here are two Oscar-nominated films up for Best Picture that fall under this category…

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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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THE HATEFUL EIGHT is proof that Tarantino’s ego has reached critical mass…

Posted on January 8th, 2016
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is proof that Tarantino’s ego has reached critical mass…

by Coop Cooper

There are a few famous filmmakers out there who I feel have developed an unhealthy contempt for their audiences. At some point in their career, their inflated egos take over and they no longer care if anyone enjoys their films as long as they get what they want out of it. They give grandiose speeches on why everyone else is wrong or stupid but them and frequently lash out at critics and fans over the pettiest of nitpicks. Their movies become increasingly self-indulgent, less accessible to general audiences and their creative choices become questionable at best and spiteful at worst. We’ve seen this happen with M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith and George Lucas, all of whom polarized and alienated many fans with their toxicity (well, “The Visit” was terrible but Shyamalan is at least trying to get back in our good graces). Although he may have already succumbed to this long ago, I believe Quintin Tarantino presently falls squarely into this category and I offer “The Hateful Eight” as evidence…

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

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short 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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