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THE MASTER review…

Posted on February 8th, 2013
THE MASTER review…

by Coop Cooper

One of my favorite films of 2011, “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” dealt with characters under the influence of cults and gave audiences a glimpse into the psychology of members who are under the control of an influential individual. It also offered clues to the techniques these individuals and groups use to exact control. Loosely based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard and the rise of his Scientology religion, “The Master” also explores these ideas of control, influence and self discovery in the package of an exceptional film…

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ROBOT & FRANK mini review

Posted on February 1st, 2013
ROBOT & FRANK mini review

“Robot & Frank” – Set in the near future where robot caretakers are commonplace, Frank (Frank Langella) is a retired cat-burglar in a small New York community whose Alzheimer’s symptoms are steadily increasing. His son (James Marsden) insists that Frank accept the latest model of robot caretaker (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) much to the ire of Frank’s daughter (Liv Tyler) who thinks robot labor is ruining society. Frank hates the robot at first but as the automaton begins to improve his day-to-day life, he soon realizes the robot could help him revive his former career. In an attempt to keep his waning brain sharp, Frank begins to teach the helpful robot the art of picking locks and casing marks. However, Frank’s renewed hobby begins to strain his relationship with the kindly librarian (Susan Sarandon) he is courting…

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ZERO DARK THIRTY review… Why I disagree with the critics

Posted on January 11th, 2013
ZERO DARK THIRTY review…  Why I disagree with the critics

by Coop Cooper
“Zero Dark Thirty” speculates the events leading up to the raid in Pakistan which culminated in a U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. team killing the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain) arrives in Pakistan to observe tortures of captured terrorists and eventually uncovers a lead as to where bin Laden is hiding. Her efforts prompt S.E.A.L. Team Six to execute a raid on bin Laden’s compound, an event which is painstakingly recreated by the Oscar-winning director of “The Hurt Locker,” Kathryn Bigelow.

I have always disliked these ‘too soon’ fictional accounts of non-fiction events which rely on wild speculation to dramatize recent incidents…

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STRUCK BY LIGHTNING review

Posted on December 27th, 2012
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING review

by Coop Cooper
Smart coming-of-age films are few and far between. When they aren’t right out inane, the good ones range from light and silly to pitch dark. Chris Colfer, the very young star/writer of “Struck by Lightning,” has deftly avoided these clichés to deliver an inspiring and very funny coming-of-age flick.
Chris Colfer (award-winning actor on the hit TV show “Glee”) stars as Carson Phillips, an outspoken overachiever who exasperates his classmates and the adults around him by challenging their apathy toward the injustices and mediocrity they choose to ignore on a daily basis. His basket case mom (Allison Janney) drinks and medicates herself into a stupor while mourning her dead relationship with Carson’s deadbeat dad (Dermot Mulroney) who has not told his pregnant fiance (Christina Hendricks) about the family he abandoned. Aided by his odd, video camera-obsessed friend, Malerie (Rebel Wilson), Carson blackmails his most adversarial classmates into writing for his startup literary magazine which he hopes will clench his chances for acceptance into Northwestern University…

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Coop’s top 10 indie films of 2012…

Posted on December 27th, 2012
Coop’s top 10 indie films of 2012…

by Coop Cooper
10. “Absentia” – Without any recognizable actors, “Absentia” is the most solidly effective direct-to-DVD horror film I’ve seen all year. It tells the story of a recovering junkie, Callie, who goes to live with her sister who is filing to have her husband declared “dead in absentia” after a lengthy disappearance. As her sister tries to cope with this development, Callie suspects the strange pedestrian tunnel within view of the house has something to do with the string of disappearances in the area.
9. “God Bless America” – This extremely dark comedy by former comedian Bobcat Goldthwait follows a sad sack (Joel Murray) who decides to assassinate a particularly nasty reality TV star before offing himself…

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Coop’s top 10 Big-release movies of the year

Posted on December 7th, 2012
Coop’s top 10 Big-release movies of the year

by Coop Cooper

Minus “Life of Pi,” “Les Miserables,” “The Hobbit” and a few others, I’ve seen enough movies this year to determine a list of the best films of the year. While I always miss some I can recommend later, I feel these best represent the pinnacle of big-release, Hollywood cinema for 2012… So far.

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FLIGHT review… See the crash, leave the rest

Posted on November 30th, 2012
FLIGHT review…  See the crash, leave the rest

by Coop Cooper

“Flight”: Commercial pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) pulls off a major miracle by crash-landing a badly damaged jetliner and saving the majority of its passengers. The following investigation reveals Whitaker was legally drunk at the time of the crash. Because of this, he is targeted by Federal investigators who seek to make him a scapegoat, but we soon learn that Whip’s substance abuse goes far beyond what the investigators suspect.

What started off as a tense, exciting plane crash drama suddenly becomes a long-winded substance abuse dramedy that reaches epic levels of sleaze and product-placement hypocrisy. I haven’t seen a movie about alcoholism and drug abuse this depressing since “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Requiem for a Dream.” While those films kept the tone consistent, “Flight” can’t decided what kind of movie it wants to be…

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END OF WATCH and DREDD reviews

Posted on November 6th, 2012
END OF WATCH and DREDD reviews

“End of Watch” – Two hero cops (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) working the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles stumble upon evidence that the brutal drug cartels from south of the border are committing unprecedented atrocities within the area. With reckless disregard for their own safety, they go out of their way to seek out cartel activity, causing them to become targets. All the while they keep the stress and danger they face on a day-to-day basis a secret from their loved ones.

This engaging film acts as a horror tale for prospective police officers. It puts its characters through the worst and most dangerous situations a cop can face and they soldier through them, often with a smile and a wink. The gangsters are as evil as evil can be…

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SUNSHINE CLEANING and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN reviews

Posted on November 6th, 2012
SUNSHINE CLEANING and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN reviews

It’s easy to miss even the best independent gems in the theater or on DVD. Here are are a two available for rental that I recommend taking a chance on…

“Sunshine Cleaning” (2008): A down-on-her-luck single mother, Rose (Amy Adams), gets the idea from her married cop boyfriend (Steve Zahn) to start up a potentially lucrative crime scene cleanup service. She impulsively talks her ne’re-do-well sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), into joining her but the two soon find themselves out of their depth as they find they have a lot to learn about the legalities and etiquette of the business. While Rose strikes up a friendship with a kindly, disabled janitorial supply shop owner (Clifton Collins Jr.), Norah begins a relationship with the a daughter (Mary Lynn Rajskub) of one of their dead clients. Meanwhile, their huckster father (Alan Arkin) teaches the finer points of shady salesmanship to Rose’s troubled grade-school aged son (Jason Spevack)…

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THE GREY review

Posted on November 6th, 2012
THE GREY review

Isolated survival stories are hard to write and even more difficult to film. They usually take place under harsh conditions, pushing the limits of the filmmakers, the actors and the narrative structure. They also deal with subject matter than can be stark, defeatist and downright depressing. While “The Grey” contains all of these elements, I’m pleased to say it is one of the few that gets it right…

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48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge completed! Watch “REGRESS”…

Posted on May 22nd, 2012
48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge completed!  Watch “REGRESS”…

by Coop Cooper

My colleagues and I have a new short film created in 48 hours for this contest: The Guerrilla Film Challenge

Our film: “Regress”

Logline: Told in reverse, “Regress” is about a woman who murders her husband and the bizarre sequence of events that lead up to the violent incident.

Click HERE to watch

Password: pattern

– Coop

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WHITE DOG (1982) is a sad, disturbing, unreleased film about racism

Posted on May 21st, 2012
WHITE DOG (1982) is a sad, disturbing, unreleased film about racism

Every now and again Hollywood produces a film that has merit, yet never makes it into mainstream theaters. The film could have big actors, a high-concept premise and critical acclaim, but something scares distributors from releasing it widely or at all. Such is the case of the 1982 Sam Fuller film “White Dog” which offers a disturbing allegory on racism that is flawed, upsetting and compelling.

On the way home one night, a Los Angeles actress, Julie (Kristy McNichol), accidentally hits a stray white German Shepherd with her car. She rushes the dog to a vet who manages to save him but after learning the dog may be put down at a shelter, Julie reluctantly brings him home. Soon, Julie becomes attached to the dog after he saves her from a serial rapist…

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Mississippi Filmmaker Spotlight: Kenny Cook and “Bitter Shoes”

Posted on May 1st, 2012
Mississippi Filmmaker Spotlight:  Kenny Cook and “Bitter Shoes”

If you’ve ever been to a Mississippi film festival in the past few years then you’ve probably seen Kenny Cook. The prolific actor has been a go-to artist for their short films for awhile now. Cook has been in many award-winning films playing leads and character actors alike.

Now the actor makes his directorial debut with “Bitter Shoes”, the story of a broken man (played by Cook) who resorts to kidnapping in order to relive the memories of his dead son. It’s a heartbreaking story that features a fine performance by Cook and co-star Julie Sampley as his grade school-aged hostage…

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Top 10 1980’s movies that kids today are missing out on

Posted on April 23rd, 2012
Top 10 1980’s movies that kids today are missing out on

10. “Top Gun” (1986): With talk of a sequel finally in the works, this one almost didn’t make the list. However, no other film has convinced so many kids to want to be fighter pilots than “Top Gun.” Now that Tom Cruise has agreed to return for a sequel, we might finally get another great modern-day dogfighting film (but not likely).

9. “Field of Dreams” (1989): Easily one of the greatest baseball films of all time, the story mixed sports with a dash of fantasy to create a tear-jerking film even guys can love. While no sequel or remake is needed, kids who haven’t seen “Field of Dreams” are sorely deprived…

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“Game of Thrones” phenomenon begins a new season

Posted on April 23rd, 2012
“Game of Thrones” phenomenon begins a new season

A year ago, the first season of “Game of Thrones” premiered on HBO and thus began a phenomenon, leading up to several season finale cliffhangers that had fans salivating for more. Now the second season (based on George R. R. Martin best-selling book series) has begun and so has the well-deserved hype for this outstanding series.

Like the series of books, the TV series takes place in a fictional Medieval world in which mythical creatures have vanished and the lords of “Westeros” battle to take over the “Iron Throne” after an insane king’s assassination causes a power vacuum. Many make claims and form alliances, but in this Machiavellian world, no one can be trusted. Only the Starks of Winterfell are honorable beyond reproach but murder and treachery from the more ambitious houses destroy and scatter their family. As these houses cut each others’ throats over power, an exiled princess plots to retake her kingdom with the help of exotic armies from the Far East… and once extinct dragons who obey only her commands. All the while a neglected, desperate order of monk soldiers guard a massive frozen barrier in the North in an effort to keep feral men, deadly mythical creatures and a zombie plague from invading the kingdom…

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Catch up with some great TV shows on demand/DVD

Posted on March 20th, 2012
Catch up with some great TV shows on demand/DVD

Many consumers know that nearly every popular TV show ever created can be found on DVD or online, but some do not take advantage of this opportunity. They may prefer to catch the more current shows on the networks as we have always watched them, or recorded from a service like Tivo. Unfortunately, many people are missing out on some great shows simply because they don’t have cable stations like HBO or Showtime. Some foreign shows are only available on DVD or a service like Netflix or Hulu +. Here are some reasons why you might want to try to catch these older series online or on DVD/Blu Ray…

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10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

Posted on January 24th, 2012
10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

Why should you check out the 2nd Annual Clarksdale Film Festival? I can think of a few reasons…

1. Memphis wrestling idols “Superstar” Bill Dundee and Buddy Wayne will be on hand Thursday night for a Q&A following the documentary “Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’.” Anyone who grew up in the area remembers seeing these guys performing on live TV or at the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium. If you missed this event by the time you read this article, pay close attention. There is much more to look forward to the rest of the weekend…

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GYPSY HEART brings a fresh spin to an old legend

Posted on January 24th, 2012
GYPSY HEART brings a fresh spin to an old legend

by Coop Cooper

While watching “Gypsy Heart” one might wonder where the story is going, until the payoff when they realize the story is oddly familiar to those who appreciate a good legend. A good samaritan (Glenn Payne) picks up an alluring hitchhiker (Courtney Cheek) on a rural Mississippi road. The more questions the guy asks, the more uncomfortable the girl becomes. Soon it becomes apparent that the girl is hiding something. As they approach their destination, both parties soon discover the reason for their chance meeting…

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Is “Moneyball” handicapped at the Oscars?

Posted on January 23rd, 2012
Is “Moneyball” handicapped at the Oscars?

By Coop Cooper
Yet another film released to DVD that I’m sorry I overlooked until now. It has the potential to be the best film of the year, but can it engage legions of Oscar voters who may be cynical towards America’s favorite pastime?

Brad Pitt plays real-life Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Beane who is facing a potentially disastrous 2002 season after losing the playoffs and his MVPs. Without the budget to secure the most sought-after players in the league, Beane risks everything to a radical idea hatched by Yale economics whiz, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Brand convinces Beane that statistical analysis by computer is the answer in drafting the right players – not the most valuable ones – in order to score runs. This challenges over a hundred years of traditional theory and the results of this gamble eventually change the sport forever…

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More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

Posted on January 23rd, 2012
More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

by Coop Cooper
All of the following films are on the short list for Academy Awards nominations, and while they all have Oscar-caliber qualities (particularly acting), I felt they fell short as “Best Motion Picture” contenders… except for one.

1. “War Horse” – Based on a book and a stage play (????), “War Horse” chronicles the story of a boy searching for his remarkable horse that is lost in the chaos of the battlefields of World War I. Possibly the best film ever in which a non-talking animal is the main character of the story, “War Horse” didn’t unfold as maudlin as I expected. Director Steven Spielberg tends to serve his weepy dramas with an overdose of sugar, but this film has just enough action and skillful execution, it rises above the typical “Lassie” story. While the plot is episodic and awkwardly paced, it’s just too…

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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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