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What looks good for the rest of 2015?…

Posted on August 21st, 2015
What looks good for the rest of 2015?…

by Coop Cooper

“Straight Outta Compton” about the rise of gangster rap group N.W.A. has been a critical and commercial success with impressive box office numbers this past weekend, and it also marks the end of the summer movie season. Here are ten other highly anticipated movies audiences have to look forward to for the rest of 2015…

“Black Mass” (Sept. 18) – Johnny Depp once again makes a bizarre physical transformation to play real-life murderous mobster-turned FBI informant, Whitey Bulger. Depp seems most comfortable when he finds a role he can disappear into, but he always walks the line between drama and parody. Could this be a sincere attempt by the actor to gain the attention of the Academy?

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SCREAM and MR. ROBOT… One of these TV shows is something you’ve never seen before

Posted on August 3rd, 2015
SCREAM and MR. ROBOT…  One of these TV shows is something you’ve never seen before

by Coop Cooper

“Scream” (MTV Tuesdays at 10/9C) – Based off of the hit 1996 horror film, this series brings the “Scream” franchise into the episodic world of TV and the internet. When a clique of high school teens maliciously leaks an embarrassing video on the internet, it goes viral and soon after, members of the clique and those around them start dying off under grisly circumstances. When the good girl of the group, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald), starts snooping, she learns the deaths might be connected to a murder spree in which her own mother was the sole survivor. As her friends die off, the list of suspects narrows and the situation becomes more deadly…

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Most anticipated films of summer 2015…

Posted on March 20th, 2015
Most anticipated films of summer 2015…

by Coop Cooper

The summer movie season is nearly upon us and here are a few of the most anticipated films that could rake in the big box office bucks…

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” (May 1) – In this sequel the superhero team fights Ultron, an omnipotent robot villain born from Tony Stark’s technology. This film will greatly expand the Marvel mythology and introduce some new heroes and villains who are sure to appear in future films.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” (May 15) – This will be the first “Mad Max” movie in thirty years and according to the spectacularly chaotic trailer, this franchise rebooting may be worth the wait. Tom Hardy plays the new Max who faces off against two warring clans of survivors, one of which is lead by a one-armed Charlize Theron…

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BETTER CALL SAUL is a worthy heir to BREAKING BAD and maybe then some…

Posted on February 13th, 2015
BETTER CALL SAUL is a worthy heir to BREAKING BAD and maybe then some…

by Coop Cooper

Anyone who regularly watched “Breaking Bad” through most of its run remembers how the shady ambulance-chasing lawyer character of Saul Goodman helped former chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) manage his crystal methamphetamine empire. While Saul was an amusingly good-natured and funny guy, he was a crook, but it was plain to see he had no stomach for the violence his job sometimes required. Now in a genius stroke, “Bad” creator Vince Gilligan has opted to tell Saul’s story which takes place before, during and after the timespan of “Breaking Bad” with the new series “Better Call Saul”…

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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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NIGHTCRAWLER is a fascinating look at freelance video vultures…

Posted on November 7th, 2014
NIGHTCRAWLER is a fascinating look at freelance video vultures…

by Coop Cooper

In urban Los Angeles, petty scrap metal thief Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) happens upon a fiery car wreck and becomes fascinated with the freelance cameramen who appear to cover the incident. Determined to break into the business, he buys a cheap camera, a police scanner and prowls the streets. His intrusive nature draws the ire of cops and competitors, but his work catches the eye of late night TV news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who admires Lou’s aggression and his attention to the bloodiest of details. His minor successes compel Lou to hire the clueless and homeless Rick (Riz Ahmed) as his assistant whom he continuously puts into dangerous situations. Under relentless pressure from Nina and his own ambitious ego, Lou spirals into increasingly felonious behavior after he beats the police to the scene of a brutal shotgun massacre in a ritzy LA neighborhood…

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GONE GIRL is an Oscar-lock and a subversive look at American relationships…

Posted on October 10th, 2014
GONE GIRL is an Oscar-lock and a subversive look at American relationships…

When Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) disappears under suspicious circumstances, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) cooperates with the police lead by the shrewd Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens). The story intermittently flashes back to show how Amy and Nick met, their whirlwind romance and their descent into mutual bitter resentment. As the evidence is uncovered, the community and the media begin to turn on Nick, believing him to be a murderer.

To end that description of the plot with ‘but all is not what it seems…’ would be an understatement. Much has been hyped about the New York Times best-selling novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay), with many critics claiming the twist and turns in the story makes this one a must-read.

This film adaptation will be nominated for Academy Awards and will probably win a few. Here are the reasons why…

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10 gritty ‘Rural Noir’ films to catch up on…

Posted on September 12th, 2014
10 gritty ‘Rural Noir’ films to catch up on…

by Coop Cooper

Rural Noir’ is a category that can include western, horror or Southern Gothic elements, but more accurately, they are dark and gritty crime thrillers based in rural locations, giving them a kind of isolating, ‘country’ feel. Here are ten of my favorites in chronological order…

10. “Deliverance” (1972) – Over forty years later this Oscar winner still packs a punch. Many mistake it for a horror film and while it has become the inspiration for many backwoods horror films to date, it remains a solid and shocking mainstream thriller about four men pursued by bloodthirsty mountain men while rafting on a Georgia river.

9. “Badlands” (1973) – This artfully-scripted Terrence Malick thriller about two teen lovers (Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen) on a killing spree in rural South Dakota was the inspiration for “True Romance” and “Natural Born Killers”, both scripted (but not directed) by Quentin Tarantino…

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COLD IN JULY… Lansdale’s gritty rural noir is destined to become a cult sleeper

Posted on September 8th, 2014
COLD IN JULY…  Lansdale’s gritty rural noir is destined to become a cult sleeper

by Coop Cooper

“Cold in July” fills a genre niche that’s rare in the modern world. Gritty, rural thrillers are few and far between but there have been some notable ones in the recent past. “No Country for Old Men” and “Winter’s Bone” come to mind but this is the first time pulp novelist Joe R. Lansdale has contributed to it in the cinematic sense. Known mostly for his horror fiction and pulp crime novels, Lansdale has developed a cult following over the decades and has now crossed-over into the crime cinema genre aided by iconic horror director Jim Mickle and actor/screenwriter Nick Damici.

In 1980’s rural Texas, mild-mannered frame store owner Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) awakens in the middle of the night to find a masked intruder in his home. To protect his family, he shoots and kills the intruder. The local sheriff (Nick Damici) assures Richard the shooting was clean and that he did the right thing. As Richard and his family attempt to return to normal, the intruder’s father, Russel (Sam Shepard), recently released from prison, begins stalking and threatening Richard. Amidst this dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Richard uncovers a web of deception with the aid of the flashy, charismatic private eye/pig farmer Jim Bob Luke (Don Johnson). They uncover a horrible truth and must travel a dark path with Russel to put a stop to an evil that is worse than all of them…

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SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR… a day late and a dollar short (but watchable)

Posted on September 8th, 2014
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR…  a day late and a dollar short (but watchable)

by Coop Cooper

The first film was a gritty and grand cinematic experiment. A brilliantly stylish adaptation of a comic book revealed in contrasty black and white with the occasional red blood thrown around and a few other primary colors splashed in for punctuation. It presented an all-star, ensemble cast and hardboiled film noir with a dash of horror. Here it is again, but with a little less of all that good stuff.

This film seems to take place after the Bruce Willis segment of the first film but before the Mickey Rourke and Clive Owen segments of the the first film – that’s going to confuse some people, especially since it was out of sequence to begin with. It starts with psychopathic protector of women, Marv (Mickey Rourke), doing what he does best, killing scumbags and not remembering how he got there. Meanwhile gambling shark Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes to town with a reckless agenda and a hankering for a game of poker, and runs into exactly the trouble he was looking for. Exotic dancer Nancy (Jessica Alba) still bitter over the death of her would-be lover, Hartigan (Bruce Willis), self-mutilates and plots revenge while the ghost of Hartigan tries to talk her out of it. Private investigator Dwight gets in over his head with Ava (Eva Green), a fem fatal who appears to be in danger but obviously cannot be trusted…

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THE KNICK… Skinemax’s new show pilot is gory good

Posted on September 8th, 2014
THE KNICK… Skinemax’s new show pilot is gory good

by Coop Cooper

Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), a drug-addled New York City surgeon in the year 1900, attempts an experimental C-section with his superior Dr. Christensen (Matt Frewer) with disastrous results. Despite the setback and the tragedy it causes for the Knickerbocker Hospital, also known as “The Knick”, Thackery’s resolve strengthens to develop new procedures to cure previously fatal conditions. As he battles his own out-of-control addiction, he puts pressure on his colleagues and nurses to think out of the box and strive for perfection. Meanwhile, Thackery’s new assistant, an African-American surgeon, Dr. Edwards (Andre Holland), is forced into the position against Thackery’s will, causing further tensions at The Knick.

Among other factors, the success of this show could be based on whether audiences can withstand the extremely graphic surgery scenes…

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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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NEED FOR SPEED just as irresponsible as a movie that glorifies guns?

Posted on March 21st, 2014
NEED FOR SPEED just as irresponsible as a movie that glorifies guns?

by Coop Cooper

A scummy street racer with a heart of gold (Aaron Paul) is framed for a vehicular homicide by a wealthy sociopath (Dominic Cooper) who deals in high-end ‘supercars’ and illegal racing. When the racer gets out of prison, he plans revenge by attempting to win a massively illegal cross-country race bankrolled by the same wealthy sociopath. For some reason, he brings a condescending English woman (Imogene Poots) along for the ride. Just getting to the starting line of the race becomes hazardous when the arch villain puts a bounty on the rebellious duo.

The idea of illegal road racers being an organized, high-tech operation which utilizes hacking city surveillance cameras and air planes/helicopters to spot police patrols is laughable…

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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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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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“Captain Phillips” and the new Oxford Commons Theater

Posted on November 4th, 2013
“Captain Phillips” and the new Oxford Commons Theater

by Coop Cooper

In addition to the film “Captain Phillips”, I will also talk about the newly opened Oxford Commons Malco Theater which has been refurbished from the former ‘Amp’ theater on the east side of Oxford, MS. Few people remember the Amp as it had a short and unsuccessful run but Malco is betting that due to Oxford’s rapid growth, the town can now support a second movie theater. I sincerely hope they are right because the venue is classy and pleasant, but first the movie review…

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GRAVITY review… Probably the best film of the year

Posted on November 4th, 2013
GRAVITY review…  Probably the best film of the year

by Coop Cooper

A purely original cinematic experience is exceedingly rare these days. Even the best movies can feel like a (well-done) rehash of old ideas no matter how fresh the packaging is. A great cop movie is essentially the same cop movie you’ve always seen, only with excellent performances, dialogue, script, etc… Never before have I seen a film the likes of “Gravity.”…

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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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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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