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paul_haakonsen

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1370 reviews in total 
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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Don't expect anything extraordinary to appear here..., 15 April 2014
3/10

While there are far better and worse possession movies out there, then "The Appearing" really didn't bring anything new to the genre, nor did it manage to differentiate itself from many other movies in the genre.

The storyline was easy to follow, perhaps a bit too simple at times, but it was weighed down by the fact that the movie never really got up into gear and left its mediocre pace in its wake.

The acting in the movie was wooden at best, and there weren't really any particular performances that stood out in any way. There was an shadow cast over the entire movie, from what appeared to be a fact that people weren't really putting their souls and wholeheartedly efforts into this movie.

The effects were actually adequate, and were the lifeline of the movie. Well, don't go and expect multi-million dollar effects here though, but the effects were used to good extend and did their jobs well enough.

If it was deliberate that there were absolutely no chemistry between Rachel (played by Emily Brooks) and Michael (played by Will Wallace), then director Daric Gates did a good job, because there were absolutely no on-screen chemistry between these two at all. It does put a notion into the mind though; was it because the characters were growing apart and becoming estranged because of the death of their daughter, or if it was because of the lack of talent of the actors, well...

For a horror / thriller movie, then "The Appearing" was frightfully devoid of anything even remotely scary or shocking.

Bad Asses (2014) (V)
Just as entertaining as the first movie..., 15 April 2014
5/10

If you enjoyed the first "Bad Ass" movie, then you will definitely like "Bad Asses" as well, because it is just as entertaining and out there as the first movie was.

The storyline is much similar to the first movie, sure. Frank Vega (played by Danny Trejo) is now trying to live a fairly quiet life after his semi-famous attention he got in the first movie. Living in a quiet neighborhood, he frequently visits the nextdoor liquor store run by Bernie Pope (played by Danny Glover). Frank is training local youths in the boxing center, when Manny (played by Jeremy Ray Valdez) gets killed because of drugs. Teaming up with Bernie after he saved Frank's life, the two men set out to find out to clean out the dirty seed in the community.

Actually the storyline was good, despite it being corny and full of clichés. But there was just something fundamentally entertaining about it. And the movie really flourished because of the talents that were in the movie. Both Danny Trejo and Danny Glover were excellent cast for their particular roles. But I will say that Andrew Divoff really was well cast for the role as Leandro Herrera, and he played the character well.

There is a good amount of action in the movie, and despite being up well in their ages, both Danny Trejo and Danny Glover do show that they still got it. And Danny Glover did bring a comedy relief to the movie, that actually worked out quite alright.

So, for those who enjoyed the first "Bad Ass" movie, you don't want to miss out on this one.

Schwarzenegger and Stallone truly delivers..., 15 April 2014
7/10

Having grown up with the action movies of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, to name but a few, during my childhood and youth, then it is always refreshing to see these iconic action stars on the screen.

Initially, I had some reservations about "Escape Plan", especially since this is the third prison movie of Stallone's, and the synopsis for this movie didn't really promise something great.

But I am glad that I saw it, because "Escape Plan" delivered the goods. This is a great action/thriller in every sense, and if you grew up with Stallone and Schwarzenegger's movies, then you definitely do not want to miss out on this one.

The storyline, shortly summarized, is about Ray Breslin (played by Stallone) who goes undercover in secure prison facilities in order to test their security measures and prove that they are indeed not inescapable. Taking on a new job, Breslin finds himself in over his head in a very strange facility, where he has to team up with Rottmayer (played by Schwarzenegger) if he is to break free of captivity.

The action sequences are great, as they always are with these guys. But what also made the movie so great, was the plot line and the revealing of what was really going on with the prison facility. That was a twist of events that I found really good.

There are some great names to the cast list, aside from Stallone and Schwarzenegger, such as Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones and Vincent D'Onofrio. Personally I can't claim to find any enjoyment in hip hop star 50 cents as an actor, and he is not one I would put my money on. But luckily his role is a minor one.

"Escape Plan" is definitely a man's movie, full of action, testosterone (although not up to par with "Expendables), and an interesting and well executed storyline. The movie is definitely well worth a watch if you enjoy action and thrillers.

7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A monotone machine experience at best..., 13 April 2014
5/10

I had no expectation for this movie, and can't really claim that I did any prior investigation into it before sitting down to watch it. And now that I have, I sit here with a somewhat hollow feeling.

While the movie was nice visually and atmospherically, then content-wise and story-wise, then "The Machine" didn't really lift the bar in any possible way. The storyline was nearly non-existing, or at least simple to the level of being pointless, which made the movie suffer terribly.

The concept of the movie does raise a valid question about robotics and their usage, but director Caradog W. James really didn't manage to establish anything in that sense. And the movie ended up being a rather shallow experience and a pointless one as well.

I will say that the acting was adequate, and people were doing good enough jobs with their given roles and characters. But everything was just a tad too superficial, and the actors weren't really allowed to shine on the screen.

Visually, then the movie was nice to watch. Now, don't expect a billion dollar Hollywood CGI fest here, then you will be sorely disappointed. But the effects team behind "The Machine" pulled it off quite nicely, and the effects came off as believable and real. Although, one thing did raise a question mark, as a machine, would would you see billowing steam exhaling from Caity Lotz's mouth during the "revolt" scene? That was just a stupid mistake (either that, or I pay way too much attention to everything in the movies).

I am giving "The Machine" a 5 out of 10 stars, because it was a mediocre experience that suffered from a horrible storyline, and had the effects and acting to lift up the movie despite the bad storyline. But come the ending, there really were no particular point to this movie.

Ghosts, romance and dark comedy; this movie is one not to miss out on..., 13 April 2014
8/10

"Spellbound" ("O-ssak-han Yeon-ae") aka "My Girlfriend Can See Ghosts" is another one of those sure win Korean movies. There is just something fantastic about so many of the movies that come from Korean cinema, and "Spellbound" is well worthy addition to the collection if you enjoy Asian movies.

The movie is about Kang Yeo-Ri (played by Ye-jin Son) who is a gloomy and mysterious woman who, by sheer luck and chance, ends up working with Ma Jo-Goo (played by Min-ki Lee) in his Horror Illusion magic show. Ma Jo-Goo soon finds out that perhaps he gotten a bit more than he bargained for when he starts to find out the haunting secrets that surrounds the enigmatic Kang Yeo-Ri.

"Spellbound" combines three genres of movies quite nicely; being romance, comedy and horror. And the end result is a very enjoyable movie with a story that sinks into you and sticks with you. Especially because the director, In-ho Hwang, did a really good job with this movie and delivered right on the money.

The characters in the movie are well-detailed and stand out as very believable characters, and this is, of course, helped quite well along the way by the talents of the people on the cast list, who all contributed quite nicely to the movie, especially the two leads who really had great on-screen chemistry, but also great charisma on their own.

The effects are quite nice in the movie, although this is not a movie that rides high on special effects. But those put to use are really spectacular and serves their purpose quite well; be it the magic tricks, the make-up, or the ghost.

The odd mixture of romance, comedy and horror does make for a very peculiar mixture, but it worked out quite nicely, and I am very happy that I sat down to see this movie, and can strongly recommend it to any fans of Asian or Korean cinema in particular.

"Spellbound" gets a definite 8 out of 10 stars from me. Thumbs up for this movie, way, way up...

Strap yourself in for a flamingly hot thrill ride..., 13 April 2014
6/10

"Out of Inferno" turned out to be somewhat similar, if not a little bit better than "Backdraft". Why? Well, this was pure action and thrills, whereas "Backdraft" was weighed down by drama and a somewhat laughable story.

Imagine a towering commercial building set ablaze with nowhere to run, whilst fire is consuming the lower levels, but also spreading on the levels above you. Then you have "Out of Inferno".

The movie was quick to pick up pace and keep going at that pace, not really becoming dull or boring at any point.

However, one thing did puzzle me, since this was a Hong Kong movie, why was it shot on location in Thailand and China? It would have made more sense had it been filmed on location in Hong Kong, also by bringing more familiarity to us who are familiar with the places in Hong Kong (as I have lived there), but instead they opted to shoot in two different non-related places. That was just stupid.

That being said, then the performances in "Out of Inferno" was quite good, and there were some pretty big names to the cast list, some Hong Kong heavyweighters, if you will. Ching Wan Lau, Louis Koo and Angelica Lee performed quite nicely together in this movie.

However, for a Pang brothers movie, then "Out of Inferno" wasn't quite up to their usual standards. For some reason, perhaps it is just my own personal opinion, then they make horror and thrillers better than they make action movies.

The name of the movie was a little bit ridiculous, but hey, that is just a matter of personal preference, of course.

"Out of Inferno" is well worth a watch if you enjoy Asian cinema.

This is essentially a poor man's "Robocop"..., 13 April 2014
5/10

The Asylum does it again; take on a forthcoming potential blockbuster and make a poor man's version of it. This time it is with the remake of "Robocop", and The Asylum cleverly called it "Android Cop". Potato, potato...

Despite it being such a shameful and blatant copy of "Robocop", then I will say that The Asylum actually well all the way with this one, and it is by far one of their best productions to date. Be it a rip off or not, there are so many similarities that you just can't ignore.

Moving on... The movie is about police officer Hammond (played by Michael Jai White, I wonder how they managed to get him to do this particular movie) who ends up having to work with a highly advanced android police officer (played by Randy Wayne). Teamed up, they have to infiltrate a dangerous zone to find the mayor's daughter. But as they progress in their investigation, more and more secrets are unveiled, and things are definitely not what they appear.

"Android Cop" was actually rather enjoyable, despite being a rip off movie. Just take it for what it is, and don't read too much into it.

The effects in "Android Cop" were actually quite nice, especially for a production by The Asylum - they really upped the stakes here. And it was a nice thing, a most welcomed thing indeed. The CGI effects were quite good. The only thing that wasn't overly impressive was the toy-like suit of armor that the android police officer was wearing.

"Android Cop" get a solid 5 out of 10 stars from me, and this is definitely a step up for The Asylum - I just wonder when they will stop with the copying of forthcoming potential blockbusters and start coming up with original ideas for themselves...

Robocroc (2013) (TV)
Robocroc is everything you expect it to be..., 12 April 2014
4/10

While the title of the movie is just dripping with everything campy, cheesy and low budget, then "Robocroc" actually turned out to be entertaining enough to watch. How so? Well, in a campy, cheesy, low budget kind of way.

The story is about a military rocket crashing during an accident and experimental nanotech robots escape and take up residency in a huge crocodile, turning the ferocious predator into a massive steel predator instead. This robotic predator is killing and spreading terror in a local wild- and amusement park.

The storyline was as predictable as it comes, and it was also as cheesy as it comes. I mean, nanotech robots turning a crocodile into a robotic version of itself? Sure, why not...

As far as the acting goes, well with a movie of this particular type and caliber, you know exactly what you are going to get and what kind of talents will be in the movie. And they were right on the dime.

Effects-wise, well then "Robocroc" was actually adequate enough. Sure, there were moments where you have to struggle not to smirk or laugh at the horribly animated CGI crocodile, but once it turned full robotic, it actually looked quite nice.

"Robocroc" is the type of movie that you watch when you have nothing else to watch, or when you need some kind of pointless entertaining on the screen while nurturing a bad hangover.

Afflicted (2013)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
This movie turned out to be a surprise..., 11 April 2014
6/10

I am not one normally keen on the type of movies that are shot in the style of hand-held camera, where the camera is here, there and everywhere. So it was with some reluctance that I was going to watch this movie; but having seen the trailer on IMDb had me convinced that it might actually just stand out.

And now having seen "Afflicted", it most certainly did stand out from a heap of other less than mediocre movies with shoddy camera work. Sure, the hand-held camera angles and points of views were a little bit hard to swallow, but they actually worked out well enough for the movie.

The storyline was nice and had a good pace to it. The movie quickly stepped up into gear and never really slowed down. And the way that the story progressed and how Derek's condition progressed was really interesting, and it was what made the movie work out so nicely.

For a movie with such a small ensemble of actors on the cast list, there was a lot resting on the shoulders of the performers. And I will admit that they carried the movie quite nicely.

The effects and make-up in the movie was quite good and worked to show and tell exactly was the audience were to believe.

All in all, then "Afflicted" is a good movie, if you can stand the hand-held camera points of view. Directors Derek Lee and Clif Prowse (who also starred in the movie themselves) have managed to put together an interesting movie with a whole new visionary approach to what can be be described as vampirism.

Nothing really extraordinary here..., 11 April 2014
5/10

I used to enjoy Animes and Mangas quite a lot when I was younger, but haven't really watched a lot ever since I left my teenage and young adult years behind. But I do manage to squeeze in the occasional series or movie here and there.

From the synopsis to "Blood-C: The Last Dark" then it sounded like it would be rather interesting, or at the very least have some great potential.

And now having seen the movie, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed, because the movie turned out only to be mediocre. There was nowhere near as much gore and violence as people had made it out to contain, and the storyline started out in a great pace and was interesting, but it quickly took a turn, and not for the better. The movie quickly toned down in pace and sort of started to drag out with too many scenes with just dialogue and plot building, whereas the action, gore and mayhem were left in the side track.

Animation-wise, then "Blood-C: The Last Dark" was quite alright. Although I didn't really fully welcome or grasp the reason for why they had to make use of CGI animation alongside with ordinary Japanese style animation. It just didn't blend all that well; pick one style and stick with it.

I was so cursed to watch the English dubbed version, which was also sort of a moment of irritation, as I prefer to watch everything in its original language. Dubbing, despite it being in 2014, is still painful to witness, and it is rare that you come across dubbing work that is really done with such gusto, heart and soul that it is actually up to level with the original language.

I assume that you have to be a fan of the series to properly enjoy this. I must admit that I didn't even know that there was a series, not before after having read some IMDb reviews for this movie.


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