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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY… Marvel has another huge winner on their hands

Posted on September 8th, 2014
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY…  Marvel has another huge winner on their hands

by Coop Cooper

A strange chain of events lead up to the making of this film. A couple of years ago, if you had suggested that an adaptation of Marvel’s comic book “Guardians of the Galaxy” could be turned into blockbuster film that would break box office records, I would have called you crazy. However, the franchise did have a lot going for it, creating an unlikely yet instantly likable formula from which to base a “Star Wars”-like space opera. It was a huge gamble and somehow it worked.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted as a child by alien mercenaries and grows up to be the planet-hopping, swashbuckling scoundrel ‘Star-Lord’ who inadvertently steals a powerful weapon from the fanatical alien conqueror, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). While on the run, Quill is intercepted by Ronan’s second-in-command, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who has an agenda contrary to her master’s. Also hunting him are two bumbling bounty hunters: Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically enhanced raccoon and his almost mute partner, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a plant being with magical powers. The four collide and get thrown into prison by the Nova Corps, the intergalactic police force, where they run afoul of the hulking warrior Drax the Destroyer (wrestler Dave Bautista) who has declared revenge on Ronan and Gamora for the death of his family. The five form a contentious truce in order to escape but soon discover they hold the key to saving the galaxy from destruction…

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THE PURGE: ANARCHY… far superior to its promising predecessor

Posted on September 8th, 2014
THE PURGE: ANARCHY…  far superior to its promising predecessor

by Coop Cooper

When the first “The Purge” movie was released last year, I reviewed it and decided it was an exciting idea for a franchise but the execution did not live up to the intriguing concept. I made a wish list of what I wanted to see in the next “Purge” film: 1. Take the action outside to the streets to show the carnage going on in a more open environment. 2. Show what different classes of people have to do to survive the night. 3. Show the futility of society in this version of America. Not only did “The Purge: Anarchy” completely fulfill my wish list, but it added a few new ideas by expanding on its mythology.

Set in a future, dystopian version of America, crime and population-related problems have become nearly non-existent thanks to the annual ‘Purge’. On that day, for a period of twelve hours, all emergency services are suspended and all crime is legal. Citizens are allowed to hunt each other down with impunity. The only rules are that high-level public officials are off-limits as are ‘class 4 weapons’ (explosives)…






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THE STRAIN and THE LEFTOVERS… supernatural TV shows with potential?

Posted on July 18th, 2014
THE STRAIN and THE LEFTOVERS…  supernatural TV shows with potential?

by Coop Cooper

“The Strain” (FX channel Mondays at 9pm Central) – “The Strain” is a modern update of “Dracula” that mixes science into the mysticism of vampires. When a international flight from Berlin lands in New York with all of the crew and passengers either dead or in some strange state of hibernation, Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his Center for Disease Control team investigate, suspecting a rare viral outbreak. They soon discover a giant sarcophagus filled with dirt, teeming with worm-like parasites. After a series of brutal deaths, they begin to suspect that something larger is responsible for the outbreak and is attempting to escape the airport. Meanwhile, a shadowy millionaire (Jonathan Hyde), who arranged the delivery of the sarcophagus, attempts to secure it while a mysterious old pawn broker with a sword cane (David Bradley) tries to convince Goodweather to destroy the coffin before it leaves the airport.

Adapted from a series of comic books, this story isn’t very original as it culls many derivative ideas from a multitude of horror films…






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EDGE OF TOMORROW… great, but ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is still a better title

Posted on July 16th, 2014
EDGE OF TOMORROW…  great, but ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is still a better title

by Coop Cooper

Taking place in the near future, the Earth’s United Defense Forces attempts to repel a invasion of alien machines nicknamed ‘mimics’ from the European mainland. A cowardly military bureaucrat, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), is ripped from his cushy PR position after offending a commanding officer. Branded a deserter, demoted to private and thrust onto the front lines, Cage is promptly killed in the first battle. Instead of staying dead, Cage wakes up to find himself repeating the same day over and over again, only to be killed in the same battle every time. Using his foresight in battle, he saves the life of Rita (Emily Blunt), also known as the ‘Angel of Verdun’, a legendary soldier who learned her skills while trapped in a similar time loop. Rita recognizes Cage’s condition and resolves to train him to become the ultimate soldier so they can finally win the battle, close the time loop and change the outcome of the war.

The film does make some very nice homages, particularly to Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers which “Edge of Tomorrow” is almost an adaptation of – minus the time travel…






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X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST… almost the quality of THE AVENGERS

Posted on July 16th, 2014
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST…  almost the quality of THE AVENGERS

by Coop Cooper

In the near future, the world is all but destroyed as out-of-control robots known as ‘Sentinels’ hunt down and eliminate the last of the mutants. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hatches a plan with a handful of surviving X-Men to stop the Sentinels by using a form of mental time travel to prevent a key event in 1973 that lead to the mass production of the killer robots. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the only one with the brain-healing capacity to survive the trip, has his knowledge/memories transported back into his younger body in the 70’s and goes about tracking down the 60’s-era X-Men team which has disbanded since averting the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In that same timeline, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) wages a one-woman war with the U.S. Government, ultimately targeting Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a scientist who created the Sentinels and has been experimenting on mutants to discover how to best destroy them…






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GODZILLA… epic

Posted on July 16th, 2014
GODZILLA…  epic

by Coop Cooper

Godzilla is back! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the venerable lizard in American theaters. One of my favorites was “Godzilla 1985” that was Japan-produced, but released in the U.S. as a sort of remake of the original. However, after the disastrous 1998 Roland Emmerich production that had New York overrun with ‘baby Zillas’, like some sort of “Jurassic Park” knock-off, the giant monster hasn’t been in demand. Then in 2008, “Cloverfield” unexpectedly renewed interest in the genre and talk of re-resurrecting Godzilla began. The biggest risk was turning off modern adult viewers by making the film too goofy. I’m very relieved this wasn’t the case here…






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AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2… they blew it

Posted on July 16th, 2014
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2…  they blew it

by Coop Cooper

After a quick and confusing prelude that shows the last moments of the lives of Peter Parker’s parents, we learn that Spidey/Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is now at the hight of popularity in New York City. He thwarts a plutonium robbery by Aleksei “Rhino” Sytsevich, saves nerdy electrical engineer/Spidey superfan Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and makes it to his graduation in time to accept his diploma from his valedictorian girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Despite his hubris, Parker is still haunted by the promise he made to Gwen’s dying father to stay away from her due to his dangerous lifestyle, so he begins to push her away. Meanwhile, Peter’s wealthy childhood friend Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) discovers he is dying from a rare genetic condition that claimed the life of his father, Norman (Chris Cooper)…






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ORPHAN BLACK, RICK AND MORTY and SALEM… 2 good TV shows, 1 bad

Posted on July 16th, 2014
ORPHAN BLACK, RICK AND MORTY and SALEM…  2 good TV shows, 1 bad

by Coop Cooper

“Orphan Black” – Premiering on BBC America last year, “Orphan Black” begins with a career criminal named Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) who witness her exact double committing suicide by jumping in front of a train. Sarah steals the identity of the dead double to rob her bank account, but instead she uncovers a group of clones the double was protecting… and Sarah is one of them. Sarah teams up with her clone sisters to determine where they all came from and why someone is murdering them one by one.

“Orphan Black” began its second season this month and only now am I discovering what a superior show it is. Its success is partly due to the twisty storytelling and witty dialogue, but mostly because of Tatiana Maslany’s uncanny ability to play multiple characters and completely disappear into them…






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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is an early summer blockbuster that can’t possibly be outdone

Posted on April 11th, 2014
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is an early summer blockbuster that can’t possibly be outdone

by Coop Cooper

It seems the trend of Marvel attempting to top previous superhero films continues with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. This ambitious attempt to expand on the Captain’s mythology and continue to tie it in with other Marvel properties, especially the upcoming “Avengers 2”, is another giant leap in quality and scope. This new effort is not only overwhelming successful, it could be the best Marvel Comics film so far.

When we last left Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) he was saving New York from an alien hoard with the help of the other Avengers. Now Rogers works directly for S.H.I.E.L.D. as their top operative with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as his partner. When he witnesses his agency put people in jeopardy to ensure its own interests, Rogers develops trust issues with his superiors, particularly Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who is preparing to launch a new global defense system with questionable moral implications…






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RESSURECTION and BELIEVE: Will these TV shows survive until season 2?

Posted on March 14th, 2014
RESSURECTION and BELIEVE:  Will these TV shows survive until season 2?

by Coop Cooper

Since primetime TV is turning into a seasonal free-for-all where new shows are released almost haphazardly, two new supernatural dramas have now premiered on major network channels in an attempt to compete with the increasingly popular cable dramas…

“Resurrection” – In a rice paddy in China, a young American boy appears out of nowhere, confused and practically mute. Upon the boy’s return to America, FBI officer Marty Bellamy (Omar Epps) is tasked with finding the boy’s parents and returning him safely. Despite attempts to discover the boy’s identity, all signs point to the boy originating from a town called Arcadia, Missouri…






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ROBOCOP remake omits everything I loved about the original…

Posted on February 21st, 2014
ROBOCOP remake omits everything I loved about the original…

by Coop Cooper

The new “RoboCop” film is a textbook example of how Hollywood can mix all of the right elements together and still produce a vastly inferior remake when compared to the original.

Undercover Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) steps on the wrong toes and gets blown apart by a car bomb. Omni Consumer Products salvages enough of Murphy’s body to transform him into RoboCop, the next generation of robot technology merged with a human being. Designed to soften the image of the company’s militarized drone industry to make way for global expansion, Murphy is left with his free will intact. As he tries to come to terms with the loss of his organic body and his endangered relationship with his family, OCP has become concerned with his human-like hesitation and occasional panic attacks. They fiddle with his circuitry resulting in the loss of his humanity, turning him into an uncompromising, fascist drone. However, while solving his own attempted murder, Murphy begins to regain his humanity and take down those responsible, much to the chagrin of the corporation’s CEO (Michael Keaton)…






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BLUE JASMINE and HER… Two reviews

Posted on January 31st, 2014
BLUE JASMINE and HER…  Two reviews

by Coop Cooper

It’s easy for critics to miss even the most important films during their theatrical runs. Now that the Oscars are fast approaching, here are a couple of 2013 films I have recently seen and are worth mentioning….

“Her” – Taking place in the near future, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) upgrades his new all-in-one operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) that is so human-like, it is indistinguishable from the personality of a real human. As Theodore interacts with the A.I. (artificial intelligence) it enriches his life as both a personal assistant and friend. As their relationship grows it turns into something romantic, but a sudden evolution in the operating system could put a stop to it…






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Movies to anticipate in 2014 (part 1)…

Posted on January 24th, 2014
Movies to anticipate in 2014 (part 1)…

by Coop Cooper

The slate of films releasing into theaters in 2014 is more crowded than ever. Here are the ones I think have most potential to either be critically-acclaimed blockbusters or disappointing flops…

“The Monuments Men” (Feb. 7) – With a stellar cast, this film about academics sent into Nazi Germany to save works of art from becoming casualties of war could be a big hit as long director George Clooney doesn’t drop the ball.

“RoboCop” (Feb. 12) – It was a bad idea in the first place to try to remake one of the most iconic and beloved sci-fi movies of the 1980’s but with this version jettisoning much of the source material and R-rated content, I predict this could be one of the worst remakes ever…






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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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Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2013

Posted on January 13th, 2014
Coop’s Top 10 movies of 2013

by Coop Cooper

Many critics are claiming that 2013 was an exceptionally strong year for film with many “best of” lists showing a wide variety of favorites with no clear winners agreed upon. Here is my list for “Best Films of 2013”…

10. “Dallas Buyer’s Club” – This true life story about a Texas roughneck/AIDS victim who becomes a drug smuggler and activist to legalize non-FDA approved anti-AIDS drugs was one of the surprises of the year. McConaughey should get a Best Actor nomination and Jarred Leto should get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for their powerful, chameleon-like performances…






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Movie trailer mechanics: GODZILLA 2014 = good, INTERSTELLAR = bad

Posted on December 20th, 2013
Movie trailer mechanics:  GODZILLA 2014 = good, INTERSTELLAR = bad

by Coop Cooper

Trailers, or ‘sneak previews’ as they used to be called, are effective for advertising an upcoming film. Ranging from thirty seconds all the way up into four minutes, trailers edit together key parts of the film in order to give the prospective audience a sample of what they will be seeing if they decide to (hopefully) pay to see the whole feature. Everyone is familiar with them but there are a few things about trailers many people don’t know about unless they are intimately linked to the business (or read a bunch of movie blogs)…






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Hollywood continues to go PC (except for raunchy comedies)

Posted on December 13th, 2013
Hollywood continues to go PC (except for raunchy comedies)

by Coop Cooper

As I browsed the online Hollywood rumor sites and trade publications (a daily ritual of mine), I came across a poster for a new Tom Cruise film scheduled to release this summer that I wasn’t familiar with. The sci-fi/action film “Edge of Tomorrow” wasn’t something I remembered hearing advanced word about which was surprising considering Tom Cruises’ films are often hyped long before they even begin shooting. I did some quick digging and realized I had heard of this film, but under a different title. “All You Need is Kill”, based on a Japanese novel, was a much more clever and memorable title than the generic one that replaced it. It could be dismissed but this is the second time this year that the word “Kill” has been removed from a major studio film title…






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CATCHING FIRE… A rare case where the sequel outshines the original

Posted on November 28th, 2013
CATCHING FIRE…  A rare case where the sequel outshines the original

by Coop Cooper

A few months have passed since Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) survived their Hunger Games ordeal and they are now expected to go on a ‘Victory Tour” as propaganda shills for the oppressive government. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has noticed that Katniss and Peeta have drifted apart and that Katniss has renewed a secret courtship with her childhood friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Snow warns Katniss to maintain the appearance that she and Peeta are in love and to encourage obedience among the citizens. This proves impossible as Katniss has become a symbol of revolution to the more oppressed districts. Her presence only incites uprisings, prompting the government to carry out executions for any minor show of protest. In attempt to humiliate and destroy Katniss, Snow drafts all former Hunger Games winners into a final, deadly battle royale. This time, some of the more dangerous contestants have an agenda other than their own survival.

This sequel successfully builds upon everything that was set up in the first film and has ten times more emotional resonance…






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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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ENDER’S GAME review… An excellent adaptation

Posted on November 8th, 2013
ENDER’S GAME review…  An excellent adaptation

by Coop Cooper

Although it never had the level of exposure as “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games”, the “Ender’s Game” series of books predates those blockbuster franchises and has a large fan-base dating back to the mid-1980’s when it won the Nebula Award for ‘Best Novel’. Its adaptation to film has been attempted several times in the past but budget restrictions and the difficult special effects scenes (much like the situation with “John Carter of Mars”) kept the adaptation from going into production until F/X technology could affordably catch up to the story’s demands. Now the film adaption has finally come to pass and its potential success could initiate a new blockbuster franchise, but only if it meets the expectations of fans, critics and most importantly… the box office…






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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 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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