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Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

Posted on May 15th, 2017
Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

by Coop Cooper

Last week I happened to catch the 1939 film “Drums Along the Mohawk” starring Henry Fonda about colonial settlers running afoul of Indians and the British during the American Revolution. In an early scene, Fonda’s character, Gilbert, brings his pampered and delicate new bride, Lana (played by Claudette Colbert), to his modest homestead in the wilderness. The first night they arrive, while Gilbert is out gathering firewood, an old ‘Indian’ appears at the door, frightening Lana. She collapses in a fit of hysteria and when Gilbert rushes in and tries to explain to her that the Indian is his trusted friend ‘Blue Back’, she continues her hysterical fit until Gilbert slaps very hard her across the face, snapping her out of it. Blue Back walks outside and brings back a large stick. He tells Gilbert that Lana is a fine-looking wife but a stick would be more efficient in beating her next time she gets out of hand.

In 1939, this scene was meant to be humorous, but now in the modern era, the laughter would more likely come from how un-politically correct this moment is…

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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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SPECTRAL and SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE, 2 Netlix movies worth checking out…

Posted on December 5th, 2016
SPECTRAL and SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE, 2 Netlix movies worth checking out…

by Coop Cooper

Netflix continues its domination of media by declaring it will now focus primarily on producing original material. Its selection of originals is already impressively large, but two new films have set the bar even higher with their attention to quality and entertainment value. These two films alone may be signaling the platform’s transition to fully competing with Hollywood. If you still don’t have Netflix, “The Siege of Jadotville” and “Spectral” are two compelling reasons to consider it…






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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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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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Football season means it’s time to revisit the pigskin cinema classics!

Posted on September 11th, 2015
Football season means it’s time to revisit the pigskin cinema classics!

by Coop Cooper

With football season upon us, it is time to reflect upon (and revisit!) some of the best football movies out there. Whether they are about high school, college, pro… or prison, all are either funny, exciting, inspirational or all three…






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CAKE, FOXCATCHER, BIG EYES, WILD, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT, SELMA…

Posted on January 30th, 2015
CAKE, FOXCATCHER, BIG EYES, WILD, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT, SELMA…

by Coop Cooper

Here are reviews of seven more films that created a buzz in 2014…

“Cake” – Jennifer Aniston stars as Claire Bennett, a grieving woman suffering through long-term physical therapy after a car accident claimed the life of her child, spirals into substance abuse and self destruction. When her ‘chronic pain’ support group partner (Anna Kendrick) commits suicide, Claire drags her loyal, yet exasperated housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barazza) around the city to discover why and to finally begin on her own road to recovery. Aniston’s performance is like nothing she has ever done before and keeps things light with deadpan humor despite the grim subject matter. Many believe she was snubbed for a ‘Best Actress’ nomination and sadly, they may be right. Barazza likewise deserved some recognition for her breakout performance as Silvana…






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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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EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is predictable… which is probably a good thing all around

Posted on December 26th, 2014
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is predictable… which is probably a good thing all around

by Coop Cooper

Mirroring the Old Testament verses on which it was based, Moses (Christian Bale) grows up a prince of Egypt and fights alongside of the future Pharaoh, Ramses (Joel Edgerton), as his adopted brother. Unaware of his Hebrew heritage, Moses is sent to parlay with the leader of the Jewish slaves (Ben Kingsley) who informs him of his past and his future destiny. In disbelief, Moses returns to his duties, but betrays Ramses to protect a Hebrew servant. Moses is exiled, finds refuge with a band of Jewish wanderers and quickly falls in love with a woman named Zipporah (Maria Valverde) whom he marries. After a time of peace, God speaks to Moses, setting off a chain of events that will lead to Moses freeing the Jewish slaves from Egypt…






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OUTLANDER… Starz TV series could be a hit (if you have a subscription)

Posted on September 8th, 2014
OUTLANDER… Starz TV series could be a hit (if you have a subscription)

by Coop Cooper

British military nurse Claire Randall (Caitrionia Balfe) returns from World War II after VE Day to her intelligence officer husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies). They abscond to Inverness, Scotland on a ‘second honeymoon’ to catch up on their love life and to indulge Frank’s genealogical interests. In the hills near the city, Claire witnesses a Halloween ritual performed by druids around an ancient shrine. The power of the ritual transports Claire back in time to 1743 in the midst of a battle between British Redcoats and Scottish Highlanders. There she finds herself on the run with a band of Scots where she quickly proves herself useful with her advanced first aid skills and medical knowledge. She forms a fast bond with the young fighter Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) after saving his arm, but she soon discovers that they are being hunted by her husband’s villainous Redcoat ancestor “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies).

This popular series of novels written by Diana Galbaldon has been described as a “Game of Thrones” for the romance novel crowd…






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AMERICAN HUSTLE review… It’s going to win a bunch of awards it doesn’t really deserve

Posted on January 3rd, 2014
AMERICAN HUSTLE review…  It’s going to win a bunch of awards it doesn’t really deserve

by Coop Cooper

In 1970’s New York, con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) discovers a new partner in the alluring and ambitious Sydney (Amy Adams). While they pull off scores and form a romantic relationship, Rosenfeld strains his relationship with his irresponsible wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who uses their young son to keep Rosenfeld under her thumb. When FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) busts Sydney and Rosenfeld in a sting, he strong-arms the couple into a series of undercover cons to entrap some corrupt political figures as part of the infamous ABSCAM operation. They inadvertently become involved with some frightening underworld figures and get in over their heads. Meanwhile, Rosalyn’s loose lips threaten to ruin everything…






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SAVING MR. BANKS… A moving tribute to the creative process and “Mary Poppins”

Posted on December 27th, 2013
SAVING MR. BANKS…  A moving tribute to the creative process and “Mary Poppins”

by Coop Cooper

The 1964 Disney film “Mary Poppins” holds an important place in the hearts of many who grew up with the songs and the movie. It is no surprise that Walt Disney himself orchestrated it that way, but few know what great lengths he went through to get permission to film it. The original series of books it was based on was beloved by Disney’s daughter and he made a promise he would turn it into a movie for her. Little did he know that P. L. Travers, the author of the books, would be such a difficult negotiator and it took Disney twenty years to secure the rights…






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THE COMPANY YOU KEEP glorifies some bad company…

Posted on April 30th, 2013
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP glorifies some bad company…

by Coop Cooper

“People make mistakes.” Those are the words of Robert Redford’s character, Sloan, in “The Company You Keep.” Sloan is a fictional member of the real-life Vietnam War era group the Weather Underground. Dissatisfied with peaceful protesting, this radical group decided to ‘officially’ declare war on the U.S. Government by bombing government buildings and attacking domestic targets. Normally they would warn of an imminent bombing in order to facilitate the evacuations of citizens, but it didn’t always work out that way. The “mistake” in question is the murder of two police officers and a security guard when the organization robbed an armored truck in 1981. This actually happened and serves as the catalyst for the characters in this story…






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PBS boosts programming quality with DOWNTON ABBEY

Posted on April 30th, 2013
PBS boosts programming quality with DOWNTON ABBEY

by Coop Cooper

I never thought I would care about “Masterpiece Theater” on PBS, but it seems even stuffy British period TV dramas can be compelling under the right talent. With three seasons completed, “Downtown Abbey” has slowly but surely become the talk of the internet and entertainment circles.

“Abbey” follows the lives of the Crawley family, lead by the Earl of Grantham and their servants at a wealthy English estate in the early 1900’s. The highborn family follows strict traditions and the servants work hard to maintain their positions until word comes down the family heir has been killed during the sinking of the Titanic. This throws years of tradition to question as both family and servants are subjected to modernism, social changes and World War I…






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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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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

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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