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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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THOR: THE DARK WORLD… more like “Star Wars” than “Lord of the Rings” (a good thing!)

Posted on November 15th, 2013
THOR: THE DARK WORLD…  more like “Star Wars” than “Lord of the Rings” (a good thing!)

by Coop Cooper

Since the events of the “Avengers” movie, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been traversing the ‘Nine Realms’ of the Universe with his Asgardian army, putting an end to longstanding wars with his wisdom and might. Meanwhile on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has tried to move on with her life, although her investigations into the mystical energy of Thor’s world leads her body to become possessed by a hidden, Universe-ending energy source. The creators of this source, the Dark Elves, existed before all other life in the universe and wish to use this destructive energy to undo all life besides their own. Thor must return to Earth to destroy this energy and save Jane, but can only reach Earth through the help of his imprisoned, adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who cannot be trusted due to his role in the destruction of New York in “The Avengers”.

It’s a preposterous premise and the plot description does it no justice. This film is a vast improvement over the original “Thor” film and feels more like “Star Wars” than “Lord of the Rings”…

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Most anticipated films of Oct./Nov. 2013

Posted on November 4th, 2013
Most anticipated films of Oct./Nov. 2013

by Coop Cooper

With blockbuster season over, Hollywood will release their holiday and wild card films to get audiences into theater seats. Here are a few that have potential…

“Gravity” (releasing Oct. 3rd) – Sandra Bullock plays a medical engineer on her first space mission with a soon-to-be retiring veteran astronaut played by George Clooney. On a routine spacewalk while the two are tethered, their shuttle explodes, hurling them far away from the space station leaving them stranded and helpless, floating in the vacuum. I wasn’t quite sure where a story like this could go (other than certain death for main characters) but unfortunately the TV spots promoting the film give far too much away. However, early word from critics has been overwhelmingly glowing and many are saying this film could sweep the Oscars…

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THE EAST, THE BLING RING, SPRING BREAKERS… all on DVD and once again, only one is interesting

Posted on September 20th, 2013
THE EAST, THE BLING RING, SPRING BREAKERS…  all on DVD and once again, only one is interesting

by Coop Cooper

Here are three films currently available on DVD which seem to have a common theme: People getting mixed up with the wrong crowd with disastrous consequences…

“The East” – Sarah (Brit Marling), a corporate spy, goes undercover for a security firm to infiltrate a group of highly destructive eco-terrorists who are plaguing morally questionable big businesses. Sarah gains the trust of the cult-like group and its charismatic leader Benji (Alexander Skarsgard) and pulls off a few ‘jams’ with them. At first she feels guilty for taking part, but eventually she sees justification for their actions… until things start going wrong. Soon she begins walking a line between joining the group or taking them down.

What showed promise in premise becomes a pretentious, preachy fairy tale in practice that takes direct aim at corporations the filmmakers think are immoral, but wags its finger only because the terrorist group goes too far and not because their philosophy may have been fundamentally flawed…

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RIDDICK, YOU’RE NEXT, THE WORLD’S END… only one of them is awesome

Posted on September 13th, 2013
RIDDICK, YOU’RE NEXT, THE WORLD’S END…  only one of them is awesome

by Coop Cooper

“Riddick” – Based off of the prequel films “Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick,” Vin Diesel once again finds himself stranded on desert planet full of hostile wildlife after his duplicitous compatriots double-cross him and leave him for dead. Raising an alien wolf and becoming an interplanetary version of Robinson Crusoe, Riddick discovers a secret about the planet that compels him to quickly find a way off of it. He locates a remote mercenary supply depot and alerts them to his presence despite the ever-increasing bounty on his head. Two competing bounty hunter ships arrive, causing a dangerous standoff between them, Riddick and the impending alien danger that approaches…

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ELYSIUM has epic sci-fi politics…

Posted on August 16th, 2013
ELYSIUM has epic sci-fi politics…

by Coop Cooper

Hollywood often plays politics but in the past decade or so it has had a tough time profiting from films that take a hardline partisan stance on a hot-button issue. In the case of “Elysium,” there is more than one political issue at play. In fact, one could argue it’s a fiercely unapologetic socialist propaganda film. One could also argue that it’s a visually masterful and exciting sci-fi film that upstages every single summer blockbuster of 2013.

150 years in the future where overpopulation, disease and poverty has turned Earth into one giant third-world slum. The wealthy live on the luxurious space station Elysium where all is provided for, including cures for all diseases and even death. Max (Matt Damon) is a blue collar ex-thief turned straight who catches a fatal dose of radiation while on the job at a factory that builds Earth’s brutal robotic police force…

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OBLIVION… one of the best movies of the year that nobody saw is now on video

Posted on August 9th, 2013
OBLIVION…  one of the best movies of the year that nobody saw is now on video

by Coop Cooper

I’ve been waiting since April for this film to release on video so I could give it the review it deserved. Sometimes when I catch a great film too late in the theaters it makes little sense to write a review at that point because the film will be out of theaters before readers get a chance to watch it. Now “Oblivion” is available on VOD/Blu Ray/DVD and I’m happy to finally review it since it’s my favorite film of 2013 (so far).

The film takes place in the future long after a war against aliens rendered the Earth uninhabitable. Jack (Tom Cruise) works as a technician, repairing defense drones and giant collectors which suck up the remaining ocean water to convert it into nuclear fuel. The drones help protect him and the collectors from remnants of the alien invaders known as ‘Scavs.’ Jack awaits discharge so he can return to the ‘Tet’, a massive orbital space station, which will soon depart for a base on the Saturn moon of Titan where the last surviving humans now live…

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THE WOLVERINE… A robot Silver Samurai? Seriously?

Posted on August 2nd, 2013
THE WOLVERINE…  A robot Silver Samurai?  Seriously?

by Coop Cooper

Logan a.k.a ‘Wolverine’ (Hugh Jackman) has been hiding out in the Yukon wilderness after being forced to kill his lover Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) back in “X-Men 3.” He is tracked down by a mutant ninja named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who was ordered to bring him to Tokyo meet Yashida, a man he saved from the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki back in World War II. He reaches Yashida to learn he is the most powerful man in Asia, a pioneer in medicine and technology, but he is dying and claims to be able to grant the immortal Logan the gift of mortality. Yashida’s beautiful and wise daughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) stands to inherit the family fortune but her father (Hiroyuki Sanada) is plotting against her along with the Yakuza and a clan of ninjas known as ‘The Hand.’ Logan falls for Mariko and becomes embroiled in the family power struggle, but does not realize the forces working against Mariko have plans for him as well.

What a disappointment…

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PACIFIC RIM: Dumb fun but that’s about it

Posted on July 22nd, 2013
PACIFIC RIM:  Dumb fun but that’s about it

by Coop Cooper

Giant robots smashing Godzilla-sized monsters. It’s a summer movie combo made in heaven and “Pacific Rim” delivers, but in a strange twist, it also got critics excited. Not because the giant robot/monster thing hadn’t been done before (critics including me really hated the increasingly poor “Transformers” films), but this project had an acclaimed director, Guillermo del Toro (the “Hellboy” films, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone”) who has a knack for pleasing both critics and audiences. Does he succeed with “Pacific Rim?” Almost…

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MAN OF STEEL has flaws but it’s my favorite Superman film so far

Posted on June 21st, 2013
MAN OF STEEL has flaws but it’s my favorite Superman film so far

by Coop Cooper

As the doomed alien planet Krypton self-destructs due to the arrogance of its inhabitants, the military attempts to take over the parliament through a bloody coup led by General Zod (Michael Shannon) who believes he can save the people by seizing control. Jor-El (Russell Crowe) is a scientist who understands the gravity of this disaster and evacuates his infant son and an item called the ‘codex’ before Zod can reach him. Years later, Jor-El’s son Kal-El (Henry Cavill), now relocated on Earth and named Clark Kent, wanders the planet, hiding his immense power from humans as he is constantly put in the position of saving them. After discovering his origins, he inadvertently alerts Zod who has been wandering the galaxy aimlessly with his army looking for him. Zod arrives and threatens the entire world with destruction if Clark does not surrender himself and the codex. Now Clark must reveal himself to the world in order to save his adopted home.

It’s difficult to write a synopsis of this film without revealing what makes it so unique to previous Superman films…

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IRON MAN 3 nearly ruins a franchise

Posted on May 3rd, 2013
IRON MAN 3 nearly ruins a franchise

by Coop Cooper

The first disappointment of the summer season, “Iron Man 3” suffers from similar trilogy woes in which films like “X-Men 3” and “Spider-Man 3” diverged too far from the canon and fell flat with fans. I’ll blame some of this on writer/director Shane Black who took the reins from Joss Whedon to add his “Lethal Weapon” flair to the story, but obviously didn’t have enough respect for the original “Iron Man” comics.

Shaken after the Avengers vs. aliens battle in New York, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) barely sleeps and spends every waking moment designing new Iron Man suits for every dangerous situation imaginable…

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G. I. JOE: RETALIATION is a bad example of ‘Extreme Action’

Posted on April 30th, 2013
G. I. JOE: RETALIATION is a bad example of ‘Extreme Action’

by Coop Cooper

One of my favorite sections in Blockbuster Video when I was growing up was the ‘Extreme Action’ shelf. Sort of a mixture between superhero stories and shoot-em-up action blockbusters, extreme action films are usually R-rated ‘B’ movies or big-budget PG-13 popcorn films. With a heavy emphasis on martial arts and/or sci-fi, they feature over-the-top scenes which escalate in intensity over the course of the film. The Asian market perfected this type of film in the 90’s after America invented it in the 80’s. “G. I. Joe: Retaliation” fits squarely in that category and after seeing it, I had two thoughts: 1. It was a horrible movie. 2. I may have outgrown the extreme action genre…

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“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” review

Posted on December 27th, 2012
“The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey” review

It’s been nearly ten years since New Zealand director Peter Jackson completed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and released them to great international success. Now he has done the same for the prequel book “The Hobbit” which has been split into three movies and will be released yearly as was “Rings.” “An Unexpected Journey” is the first of these installments and has just been released in time for the holiday season.

The film begins during the first “Lord of the Rings” film “The Fellowship of the Ring” as Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is about have his birthday party in which he secretly plans to leave the Shire for one last adventure. Before he leaves, he prepares his memoirs for his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) which chronicles his adventure 60 years before when he was a young man (Martin Freeman)…

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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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TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN part 2… Why the whole series was a big success

Posted on November 23rd, 2012
TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN part 2…  Why the whole series was a big success

by Coop Cooper

It’s difficult to do a review on the film adaptation of the final installment of a popular teen novel series, especially when you have no significant interest in it. No matter what you say about it, the target audience will still see it – and probably adore it – even if non-fans held captive in the theater would sooner watch paint dry. Since this is the case with “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2” I’ll forgo the traditional review and rating in favor of offering a theory of how the series became such a phenomenon both in young adult literature and in film.

For those counting, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” picks up after Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) near death experience while giving birth to her half-vampire daughter with the benevolent vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). In an effort to save her, Edward converts Bella into a vampire at the last moment, thus bringing her fully into the fold. Other vampires, especially the ancient and despotic Volturi Clan, see the child as a threat and conspire to destroy her. Bella, Edward and the child’s bound werewolf protector, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) attempt to assemble enough sympathizing vampires and wolves to defend the child from the imminent attack.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the above synopsis might sound absolutely ridiculous…

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Coop’s next short film GOD MAKER has 6 more days left to fund!

Posted on November 13th, 2012
Coop’s next short film GOD MAKER has 6 more days left to fund!

That’s right, I’m making another short film. At this second, we only have 6 days left on The Indiegogo campaign with only $900 out of $5000 left to go to shoot this one (filming in Dec. of 2012) in Clarksdale and Como, Mississippi.

This one is a blues music-themed horror film set in the Mississippi Delta. See that fetching actress in the teaser box? That’s Juliet Reeves, my lead actress and co-producer. Here’s a bit of the pitch…

Since I began filmmaking, I wanted to create a project that included some of the most outstanding aspects of Northwestern Mississippi where I grew up. I wanted it to include the culture, architecture, folklore and – most importantly – BLUES MUSIC.

Your contribution will help me, my actors and my crew to film my latest screenplay, “God Maker”. This film is my revisionist take on the Robert Johnson “sell your soul to the devil” legend. It will be our most ambitious film to date.

Check out our fundraising page for our teaser trailer and to help us spread the word!… Go here to see the GOD MAKER teaser and to contribute!

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SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED review

Posted on November 6th, 2012
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED review

How might you react if you saw an ad in the classifieds that read:

“*WANTED* Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”

You might laugh your head off, then move on to read “Peanuts” in the comics section. What if I told you that this ad was really placed and some enterprising filmmaker decided to make a movie out of it? It happened, and the result is the indie comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed.”

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a sarcastic, dark-humored intern at a high-profile Seattle magazine who struggles with money while waiting for her big break…

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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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REVOLUTION and LAST RESORT… TV pilot reviews

Posted on November 6th, 2012
REVOLUTION and LAST RESORT…  TV pilot reviews

“Revolution” (now showing on NBC, Mondays at 9pm central) – In present day Chicago, an event that completely wipes out technology plunges the entire world into a new dark age. Fifteen years later, people live a simple, Spartan existence. Ben (Tim Guinee) knows the secret behind the power outage and may hold a clue to bring the lights back on. A ruthless militia posse lead by Capt. Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) tracks down Ben and kills him. Neville captures Ben’s teen son but allows Ben’s daughter Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) to escape. Charlie’s only hope is to find her Uncle Miles (Billy Burke), an ex-soldier living in Old Chicago, who can help her save her brother. As it turns out, Miles may hold another key to the secret of the power outage.

A couple of annoying things about a technology-free future:

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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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