ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Paparazzi (2004)

Director: Paul Abascal

Writer: Forry Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Tom Sizemore


Plot: A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.

Tagline – It’s time to settle the score.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Flashy Action Flick


Story: Paparazzi starts when rising star Bo Laramie (Hauser) has his break out action film, seeing him become an overnight sensation in Hollywood. This new fame brings more cameras on his life, with vultures known as the paparazzi, while most respect his privacy, one group led by Rex Harper (Sizemore) push the boundaries, trying to take photos of his family, Abby (Tunney) and son Zach.

When the vultures push Bo into a car chase, his family is injured in a car crash, turning Bo to the police trying to get them away from his family. The rivalry between Bo and Rex starts putting Bo’s new career in danger, forcing him to make his own plans to end the paparazzi following them.


Thoughts on Paparazzi


Characters – Bo Laramie is a rising star in Hollywood, he is about to have his first hit making him an overnight sensation, the talk of the town. He is also a family man off the screen, finding it difficult for him to balance the celebrity lifestyle and personal on. He gets targeted by the paparazzi, who want to bring him down, trying to hurt his family, he will do what needs to be done to keep his family safe against the paparazzi. Abby is the wife of Bo, she is a teacher and isn’t prepared for the gossip magazines that are showing the life of her family. Rex Harper is the leader of the paparazzi ring, he knows how the push the buttons of Bo to gather more stories and starts targeting him after he learns that he has triggered him.

PerformancesCola Hauser does give us a strong performance in the leading role, he look like a typical movie star which was needed for this role. Robin Tunney is the concerned wife, she does everything needed without doing too much difficult. Tom Sizemore does make for great pick for a seedy paparazzi reporter, you believe he is trying to make the life hard for Bo. Dennis Farina as the detective plays right into his wheelhouse as a former police officer.

StoryThe story follows a rising Hollywood star who becomes the target for the paparazzi who try to make his life a living hell, until they injury his family forcing him into his own revenge against them. This does fall into the revenge thriller which gets played along with a celebrity dealing with somebody trying to risk his family for a couple of photos in a magazine. The idea the celebrity is getting followed around by the paparazzi isn’t new, we do get cameos from actors that have had issues in the past too. This plays out just like you would imagine and will make you care about the characters motives being against the vulture like paparazzies.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is restrained because we can’t have anything over the top, it is mostly small fights and chases. The crime side of the film shows just how the life of the actor is being affected by the criminal actions of the paparazzi.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is the place where you would see the most type of paparazzi behaviour like this.

Scene of the Movie –
Rex learns his fate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The police would surely be able to offer more than they give Bo in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the paparazzi look to try and control the celebrities with photos and just how they will look to get revenge for risking their family.


Overall: Great action thriller.




Franchise Weekend – 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Screenplay) Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Thom Barry, James Remar, Devon Aoki


Plot: Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Sequel


Story: 2 Fast 2 Furious starts as Brian (Walker) is now a wanted man, he leaves LA heading for Miami to start a new life on the street racing scene. Getting his races from Tej (Ludacris), Brian has built up his own reputation on the streets.

Once Brian is captured by the FBI Agent Bilkins (Barry) and Agent Markham (Remar) who want Brian to go undercover once more but this time investigating Carter Verone (Hauser) who is recruiting street racers through fellow undercover officer Monica (Mendes), Brian one rule to make this happen is he gets to bring in Roman (Gibson).

The drop that Brian and Roman must make points them in a hard position but with friends around the town, they make their own plan to stick it to Carter and Agent Markham.


Thoughts on 2 Fast 2 Furious


Characters/PerformanceBrian fresh on the run enjoying the street racing scene, he gets dragged back into the undercover world but this time as an informant bringing in a friend from the past as we learn about his actions in the first film. Roman is the friend, who has suffered from the effects of Brian’s actions before we met him, he is rash, but brilliant behind the wheel and always talks himself into trouble. Villain wise we have Carter a rich criminal who is in need of drivers, he is deadly when you cross him but otherwise nothing unusual for the villain scene. Monica is the eye candle involved in the film who is the Brian character to the world.

Performance wise this is all good, Paul Walker is of course the highlight of the film with Mendes bringing all the sex appeal you need from her. Gibson does add a comical tone to the film which we do see get built on through the franchise. Cole Hauser is fine as a villain but you never believe he would be a threat for anyone.

StoryMuch like the first film this is a heist movie at heart, we have the street racing needed to build the team and respect but otherwise this is in the same vein as the Transporter movie. This is all fun easy to follow but tries to build the characters within the universe.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is all what you would expect from the first film but offers nothing new, the crime world is now Miami but again isn’t too different either if you are left wondering what will happen next.

SettingsMiami does make for a great setting as the franchise looks to expand to new locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between and all work well without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good second chapter of the Brian character, it is a shame that we didn’t see Vin Diesel return because we did see the franchise revolving around him. This isn’t anything new but is easy to follow.


Overall: Solid sequel is all good but not great.




Matt Damon Weekend – Good Will Hunting (1997)

godDirector: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck, Cole Hauser


Plot: Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Amazing


Story: Good Will Hunting starts with Bostonians janitor Will Hunting (Damon) and his best friend Chuckie Sullivan (Affleck) who have always had to look after themselves. When professor Gerald Lambeau (Skarsgard) puts a theorem outside his M.I.T. room for his students to solve over the year Will solves it while cleaning the floors.

When Will finds himself in trouble with the law Gerald arranges to get him out of jail time with the deal of working with Gerald and seeing a therapist and after going through the professional respected ones Gerald turns to his old roommate Sean Maguire (Williams) who has alternative methods as his last resort.

Sean gets through to Will on a new level pushing him to actually us his gift while Will’s loyalty to his friends could put this future in jeopardy.

Good Will Hunting is one of the most powerful films of the whole of the 90s if not all of film time. The following of one man trying to find his place in the world with all the potential in the world is always going to be difficult to turn into a natural story but this one hits it on every level. The idea of building to genius to need to see what they are capable is brilliant as we see how understand the gift is just as important too. I believe the friendships feel natural and showing how the friendship between Will and Sean builds not only improves Will’s life but Sean’s too. I find this to be one of the most motivating films I have ever seen.


Actor Review


Matt Damon: Will Hunting is a self-taught genius that is living South Boston working as a janitor in M.I.T. spending the nights drinking with his buddies. When professor Lambeau learns his of his gift Will must go through therapy becoming one of the most wanted men in business world while deciding his own future. Matt showed all of potential in this performance where he is brilliant in.

Robin Williams: Sean Maguire is a brilliant therapist who was roommate of Gerald Lambeau. He is the only therapist that is willing to give Will the time needed as well as having the heartbreak of losing his wife to a long battle with cancer. Sean helps guide Will into deciding his future becoming the father figure he has never had. Robin is sensational in this role especially when you think this comes in the middle of a string of comedic roles.

Ben Affleck: Chuckie Sullivan is the best friend of Will’s who is the closest to family that Will has ever had. Chuckie sees the gift Will has and is involved in my favourite scene of the film. He will stand by Will through every moment of his life. Ben is great in this supporting role being the friend that Will needs and with the natural friendship between Ben and Matt shows through.

Stellan Skarsgard: Prof Gerald Lambeau is the teacher at M.I.T. who has put the tests up for his student only to find Will solving them. He is the one that save Will from jail putting him on the right path because he sees just how great he could be. Stellan is great in this role and the scene in the pub with Robin Williams brilliant.

Support Cast: Good Will Hunting has quite a small supporting cast with the extra characters being the rest of the group of friends and the love interest.

Director Review: Gus Van SantGus gives us one of the most powerful dramas filled with all the emotion needed.


Drama: Good Will Hunting is a powerful drama filled with emotion and life choices need to be made by Will.

Settings: Good Will Hunting keeps most of the settings simple but enough to show the different worlds Will seems to be stuck between.
: Good Will Hunting is one I do think everyone should be watching. (Must Watch)


Best Part: Best part of my day.

Worst Part: Nothing.

Funniest Scene: Harvard bar.

Favourite Quote: Chuckie ‘Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it’s great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think, maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.’


Believability: It could easily be a real story.

Chances of Tears: Happy tears.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars including Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

Tagline: Some people can never believe in themselves, until someone believes in them.


Overall: One of the most powerful, motivating and emotional movies ever made.




2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

As part of the Paul Walker focus weekend here is my review of one of Paul’s portrayals of Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious series. I hope you enjoy, Aled from SofaWatch

Title – 2 Fast 2 Furious

Year of release – 2003

Genre – Action/Crime

Length – 1 hour 47 minutes

Rating – 15

Director – John Singleton

Writer(s) – Gary Scott Thompson and Michael Brandt

Who is in it? – Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce, Eva Mendes as Monica Fuentes, Cole Hauser as Carter Verone plus many more
What’s it about? – Brian O’Conner (Walker) is an ex cop and along with his partner Roman Pearce (Gibson) they set on a job to transport dirty money for a shady Miami criminal Carter Verone (Hauser). However O’Conner and Pearce are working undercover for the police and are on a mission to bring Verone down.

Equipped with high powered cars and their wits they take on the challenge and work together to bring this criminal to his end.

Is it any good? –  Loved this film and the combination of Paul Walker
and Tyrese Gibson worked a treat. The lovely Eva Mendes was as pleasing
to the eye as always. The story line was fantastic. Go undercover and
work for the drug exporter and then bring him down whilst saving the
girl. Plus doing all this in a modded Mitsubishi Evo and Mitsubishi
Spyder, amazing cars and the exhaust tones were pleasing to he ear.

Why should I watch it? – Any fan of fast cars will love this film. It is full of awesome cars, awesome driving and of course Eva Mendes!!

How do you rate it overall? – 8/10

Transcendence (2014)

logoDirector: Wally Pfister

Writer: Jack Paglen (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kata Mara, Cole Hauser, Morgan Freeman, Clifton Collins Jr, Cory Hardrict, Josh Stewart


Plot: Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed-to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.


Verdict: Intelligent Film Reaching New Levels


Story: We have seen plenty of films through the years that focus on an intelligent computer system trying to take over but what if the computer started out as a human mind? This is the question we get asked here and even though you could argue both sides of the fence about which is right and wrong. This film doesn’t seem to give you a definitive villain or hero, it is up to you to decided which you believe to be good or bad. This will test you to choose a side, it will test you on how to react to a change that could very well start happening soon. So switch the brain on and watch. (8/10)


Actor Review


Johnny Depp: Will Caster the genius computer programmer who has spent his life trying to create the next level of artificial intelligence, but when he life is cut short he becomes the test subject in putting his mind into a computer. He soon starts to evolve his intelligence to levels no one thought was possible. It is hard to really rate Depp’s performance as most of it is a voice over while in computer form, but he does keep you interested in what will be said and done next. (8/10)


Rebecca Hall: Evelyn Caster Will’s wife who puts his mind into the computer and runs away to help him build his intelligence but she soon can’t believe how far he has come. Good performance showing how far you would go for love. (7/10)


Paul Bettany: Max Walters a trusted friend and colleague who helps transfer Will’s mind but after being kidnapped by the anti-technology group learns the error of his ways and comes up with a plan to stop Will. Good performance showing how someone can learn from their mistakes. (7/10)


Cillian Murphy: Agent Buchanan he is In charge of trying to stop Will once his power gets too much, but give the people with the plan whatever they need to stop him. Good supporting performance. (7/10)


Kata Mara: Bree the leader of the anti-technology group out to stop any new waves in technology at any means, she leads her people along with the FBI in a wave to stop Will. Good performance in a supporting role. (7/10)


Morgan Freeman: Joseph Tagger another one of Will’s colleagues who is against the idea from the start but stays a friend the others and tries to help Evelyn before it is too late. Good supporting performance. (7/10)


Director Review: Wally Pfister – Brave attempt in his first strides into directing offering an intelligent film. (8/10)


Mystery: You have to keep watching to work out what the mystery is and figure out what is happening. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: A very real look at what could happen in the future with all our technological advances. (10/10)

Thriller: Tries to keep you involved but has moments when it lets the suspense go. (7/10)

Settings: Good settings used throughout with the dessert being a great setting for the final showdown. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects used, not over using them but making them important when needed. (10/10)

Suggestion: I think it would be fair to say this won’t be for everyone, but if you give it a go you might get a better reward than you think. (Give It A Go)


Best Part: Going Transcendent.

Worst Part: Has slow moments

Action Scene Of The Film: Attack on the base.

Believability: It could happen in the future but for now we are not that far yet. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Unlikely

Box Office: $103 Million

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: What if a new intelligence was born?


Overall: Smart, Too Smart For Its Own Good

Rating 79