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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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DJANGO UNCHAINED… good movie, makes Mississippi look like hell on Earth?

Posted on January 4th, 2013
DJANGO UNCHAINED…  good movie, makes Mississippi look like hell on Earth?

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has evolved a great deal as a filmmaker since he wrote and directed “Reservoir Dogs” in the 1992. Refusing to join the Directors Guild so that he could sidestep Hollywood bureaucracy and have total control over his projects was a bold move that few could have pulled off. It gave him nearly unprecedented creative control over big-budgeted films spawned from his fertile imagination. The downside to this he has no one to reign him in when he makes dubious stylistic decisions and while “Django Unchained” is a superior films in most regards, Tarantino could have used a few respected advisers who might have discouraged him from lapsing into his more questionable cinematic fetishes…

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ARGO review

Posted on November 6th, 2012
ARGO review

“Argo” takes place during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979-1980. Unbeknownst to the Iranians, six U.S. diplomats escaped the initial attack on the U.S. Embassy and hid in the Canadian Ambassador’s home in Tehran until they could be rescued. While the rest of the world watched the larger, very public hostage crisis, the CIA was covertly formulating a plan to extract the six escapees that nobody knew about. CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (director and star Ben Affleck) comes up with a radical plan to pose as a Canadian film producer, infiltrate Iran and have the escapees pose as a film crew for a fake sci-fi film named “Argo” in order to get them out of the country.

This true story is an extraordinary historical footnote which was begging to be made into a film. If this had been as tight and entertaining of a thriller as I was hoping, it could have been the best movie of the year but it had a few flaws that kept me from loving it…

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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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HUGO’s surprising twist raises it above the average PG film

Posted on December 20th, 2011
HUGO’s surprising twist raises it above the average PG film

Even the plot of “Hugo” is a mystery.
Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is a clever orphan in post-World War I Paris who lives in the clock fixtures of a train station. He spends his time spying on the various kiosk vendors, especially a mean toy merchant (Ben Kingsley) whom he steals mechanical parts from. He filches these parts to repair a broken robotic automaton his deceased watchmaker father (Jude Law) was repairing when he died. When caught by the toymaker, he begins a tenuous apprenticeship and a fast friendship with the toymaker’s pretty ward (Chloe Moretz). As Hugo begins to unravel the mystery of the automaton, he uncovers an unexpected secret. This secret will prove important to modern history once revealed; however, an overzealous station security guard (Sacha Baron Cohen) with a dislike of thieving orphans threatens to put Hugo in the poor house before he can complete his mission…

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THE DEBT quick review…

Posted on December 2nd, 2011
THE DEBT quick review…

“The Debt” follows three ex-Mossad agents in 1997 (Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds) who based their entire careers and lives around the fact that in 1966 they captured a notorious Nazi war criminal in Berlin. Despite their accomplishments, they’ve been keeping a terrible secret and when circumstances threaten to expose their shame, they set out not only correct the problem but to also right a wrong committed over thirty years prior. The story behind the secret unfolds in flashbacks with Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas and Sam Worthington (respectively) playing younger versions of the agents…

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In honor of Veteran’s Day: “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” are must-sees

Posted on November 15th, 2011
In honor of Veteran’s Day:  “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” are must-sees

In honor of Veteran’s Day weekend, I felt it prudent to point out two of the best depictions of World War II ever set to film and to encourage anyone who missed them to put them both on your “must-see” list. “Band of Brothers” (2001) and “The Pacific” (2010) were produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and are arguably the best projects either of these two powerhouse names have ever been involved with.

Based on the Stephen E. Ambrose non-fiction book of the same title, “Band of Brothers” chronicles the story of Easy Company, the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne division. All ten episodes cover their time in Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. Each segment focuses on a different member of the company and their own personal struggles while encountering…

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Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Posted on August 19th, 2011
Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Article by: Coop Cooper

Energized by the power and fantastic performances of “The Help,” this weekend I ventured online to see what my fellow American movie critics thought. The website Rottentomatoes.com averages the positive and negative reviews from critics of major print publications and assigns a percentage value. Anything under 60% is considered “rotten” and anything over that number is deemed “fresh.” While “The Help” gained a respectable 73% average, compared to the averages of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” (76%), Captain America: The First Avenger” (79%) and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (82%), its average seemed rather low. Considering the film’s box office and awards potential, I wondered where most of the negativity was coming from…

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“The Help” will win Oscars and prestige for Mississippi

Posted on August 11th, 2011
“The Help” will win Oscars and prestige for Mississippi

by Coop Cooper

There is so much to talk about regarding the film adaptation of the bestselling book “The Help,” I won’t waste time reminding everyone of the setup or plot. In full disclosure, I helped the director and producers secure locations within Clarksdale, Mississippi in order to make sure the production filmed here. Although I helped “The Help,” I always intended on writing a non-partial review of the finished product. The short: It’s a glowing review. The long: My (possibly biased) opinions will be vindicated on the day of the 2012 Academy Awards nominations. I believe “The Help” will emerge as one of the most important and highly decorated films of the year.

Director Tate Taylor (a Mississippi native) and the rest of the principle crew have a lot to celebrate. They took an unpublished novel and elevated it to A-list standards in a matter of months. Secondly, they succeeded far beyond the expectations of myself and fans of the book…

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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!) TURKEY SHOOT, BOOKIES, RESTORATION, SHELTER, THE GREAT RAID, I SELL THE DEAD…

Posted on August 6th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!) TURKEY SHOOT, BOOKIES, RESTORATION, SHELTER, THE GREAT RAID, I SELL THE DEAD…

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Coop’s most recent MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter):

Looks like a random video store sampling this time. Sometimes, that’s the way I like it…

TURKEY SHOOT: Bourgeois sadists hunt Aussie political prisoners. Banned in OZ in the 1980’s, but a total exploitation hoot. 3&1/2 out of 5

BOOKIES: 3 college dorks start a gambling operation out of their dorm room and run afoul of the mob. Smug and sloppily written. 2 out of 5

RESTORATION: A disgraced English doctor is forced to marry King Charles II’s mistress, resulting in tragedy and redemption. Epic. 4 out of 5

SHELTER: Shrink meets a schizo man who suffers from a demonic curse. Gimmicky yet stylish thriller from the writer of IDENTITY. 3 out of 5

THE GREAT RAID: True story of WWII rescue of POWs from a Japanese camp in Philippines. Inspiring story yet poorly executed film. 2 out of 5

I SELL THE DEAD: Amusingly well-written tale of cockney graverobbers who specialize in capturing vamps, zombies and aliens. 3&1/2 out of 5

Thy Twitter has spoken.

-Coop

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Strategies for women to convince their men to go see “CHICK FLICKS”… by COOP

Posted on May 27th, 2010
Strategies for women to convince their men to go see “CHICK FLICKS”…  by COOP

For many of you couples, this is probably a common argument: He wants to see the new Bruce Willis action movie while she’d rather see the latest romantic comedy starring Julie Roberts. Now this may not apply to all guys. Girls, if you have a boyfriend/husband who likes most romantic comedies and Victorian Era dramas, then hold onto him. You’ve bagged yourself a sensitive, modern guy there. Since that description doesn’t apply to the majority of men, here is some advice for women trying to convince their significant other to see the latest “chick flick” (don’t worry tough guys… this benefits you too).

Firstly, don’t ever… EVER use the word “cute” to describe a movie. As soon as guys hear a movie is “cute” or “sweet” or any other adjective that conjures images of babies and puppy dogs, they immediately…

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INVICTUS (2009) **** movie review by COOP

Posted on December 21st, 2009
INVICTUS (2009) **** movie review by COOP

In 1994, the long-standing South African Apartheid had dissolved; the country held its first multi-racial elections and Nelson Mandela became the first black African president of the nation. Knowing full well the transition of power would cause bitterness and distrust among the country’s affluent and powerful Caucasian minority, Mandela wisely realized that the two cultures must find common ground in order for the shattered country to unite. One unlikely way he chose to achieve this goal was to vocally and fervently support the country’s flagging rugby team. Lead by team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the South African “Springbok” (antelopes) rugby team was so hated…

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THE INFORMANT! (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on September 25th, 2009
THE INFORMANT! (2009) *** movie review by COOP

I didn’t laugh until about 40 minutes into this artsy, awkwardly-styled independent film. There, if that didn’t scare you off, then you might enjoy this light and quirky story by Steven Soderbergh. You won’t be rolling in the aisles, but if you can wait for the tension to build, the laughs will come. It’s too bad Soderbergh couldn’t kick the humor off to an early start because a less patient audience would either fall asleep or walk out…

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PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on July 3rd, 2009
PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009) *** movie review by COOP

Some would credit Director Michael Mann as the undisputed king of cop vs. robber crime epics. Creating TV shows like “Miami Vice” and “Crime Story,” plus his perfect opus “Heat” gives him all of the street cred needed to tackle the true-life story of notorious bank robber John Dillinger and the G-Men commissioned to take him down. An apparent slam-dunk for the maestro of modern shoot-em ups. After coming off his lousy remake of “Miami Vice,” I would’ve expected Mann to step his game. As they say in the 1930’s gangster movies of old: No dice…

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MISSISSIPPI MOVIES: How Modern Hollywood Perceives the South by COOP

Posted on June 19th, 2009
MISSISSIPPI MOVIES:  How Modern Hollywood Perceives the South by COOP

I once had a roommate/friend in college who flat-out refused to come to visit me and my family in Mississippi. He thought the south had such a bad reputation that he was bound to experience something so offensive to his beliefs that he would not be able to keep a civil tongue. We were in Dallas, Texas, at the time, mind you. I suddenly became self conscious when I learned that people from parts of Texas or even other parts of the South regarded Mississippi as backwards, unfriendly to outsiders, racist and dangerous. Was my home state that bad? Sure, history played a part in the…

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WHAT WE DO IS SECRET and BRONSON… 2 amazing biopics! by COOP

Posted on June 17th, 2009
WHAT WE DO IS SECRET and BRONSON…  2 amazing biopics!  by COOP

Both of these deserve your intense scrutiny. They involve real-life controversial (anti-heroes, if you will) figures who set out to impact the world and did so in their unique way. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they sure are interesting:

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10 MOVIES DESIGNED TO OFFEND YOUR RELIGION (Part 2) by COOP

Posted on June 10th, 2009
10 MOVIES DESIGNED TO OFFEND YOUR RELIGION (Part 2) by COOP

The movies in this list fully expected and possibly depended upon offending certain religions in order to succeed. Sometimes the film in question preys upon longstanding fears and prejudices in order to make a point. Here are 10 movies designed to offend your (or someone else’s) religious beliefs (Note: The Small Town Critic does not endorse or defend any of the viewpoints these films present)…

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“Bard None: A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY

Posted on April 16th, 2009
“Bard None:  A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY

Terrence Howard is Macbeth. That’s not a typo. The “Hustle and Flow” star recently announced plans to not only bring the seminal Shakespearean tragedy to the big screen but to set it in the Caribbean confines of Puerto Rico and cast himself in the title role. No start date has as yet been set for “Macbeth, Mon” but I’ll wager it’ll be a favorite of the Sundance set come 2010. Oh, and Eddie Murphy has decided to reinvent the wheel by taking “Romeo and Juliet” and shifting the focus of the story to Mom and Pop Montague and Capulet; thereby turning the treasured tale of unrequited love into “Meeteth the Fockers”…

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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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