Malin Akerman Weekend – Couples Retreat (2009)

Director: Peter Billingsley

Writer: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Dana Fox (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin David, Kali Hawk, Tasha Smith, Jean Reno

 

Plot: A comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.


Tagline –  A comedy about a vacation in paradise they’ll never forget

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Well Casted Comedy

 

Story: Couples Retreat starts as we meet the four couples at the different stages of their relationships, Dave (Vaughn) & Ronnie (Akerman) who have infant kids, Joey (Favreau) & Lucy (Davis) who are about to see their kid go off to college, leaving them to go their desperate ways, Shane (Love) who has just separated from his wife and dating 20-year-old Trudy (Hawk) and Jason (Bateman) & Cynthia (Bell) who are struggling to conceive and want the support of their friends by going on the tropical retreat.

Once the couples arrive on the island they learn they all must take part in the exercises, which isn’t what they signed up for and we are left to see which couples will make it through under the guidance of Marcel (Reno) and his theories.

 

Thoughts on Couples Retreat

 

Characters – We have a lot of characters here, we are going to go through the couples first, Dave is a video game designer who has a young family, married to Ronnie, he is the most reluctant to go because of the age of their kids. Ronnie is similar to Dave, the kids are taking their time, taking away from their free time. Jason & Cynthia are the couple that request the help on the holiday, they want children and are two people that are almost identical with their planning. Joey & Lucy have accepted they are going to separate once their daughter goes to college, they are both looking for options on the island because they have been together since high school. Shane has separated from his wife already, he has fallen into a relationship with a 20-year-old in Trudy as part of his mid-life crisis. Trudy is a youngster of the group always unhappy that Shane can’t keep up with her.

PerformancesWe do have a very good cast here, Vince Vaughn gives us his normal comic idea, which is something I enjoy watching, it goes well opposite Jason Bateman’s slightly uptight style. Jon Favreau is good in his role and the most unknown f the four men is Faizon Love that keeps up with the rest well. The women get to focus on the different stages of life too, the thing is they could all be interchangeable in their roles if we are being honest. Kali Hawk is the stand out of the women performers.

StoryThe story follows four couples at different stages of their relationships, this is important because friends will need to learn from their friend’s positions and see where things could go. While this doesn’t always give each relationship, the time required to show where things are going for the couples, but this unleashes more comical moments in the film. While not overly loved by everyone, I feel this does work for the people that will enjoy a simple comedy movie.

ComedyThis comedy does work in most places, we have couples moments and solo moments which work to keep things flowing.

SettingsMost of the film is on the tropical island which gives us the beautiful backdrop for the events.


Scene of the Movie –
Clashing with employees.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have the man problems, but we don’t see enough of what the women problems are.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy that hints more often than it misses and has good cast working towards their strengths.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

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Malin Akerman Weekend – The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Scot Armstrong, Leslie Dixon, Kevin Barnett (Screenplay) Bruce Jay Friedman (Short Story)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry, Carlos Mencia, Scott Wilson

 

Plot: A newly wed man who believes he’s just gotten hitched to the perfect woman encounters another lady on his honeymoon.


Tagline – It seemed like a good idea… at the time

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: The Heartbreak Kid starts as we meet 40-year-old Eddie (Stiller) a single man who has never got near to marrying, with his friends settling down, when he comes out of an ex-girlfriend wedding he is feeling down, but a chance meeting with Lila (Akerman) could change everything in his future.

Being spontaneous and learning that Lila could need to leave for work unless she is married the two get married after just 6 weeks together and head off on their honeymoon in Mexico. The longer the two spend together the bigger secrets that come out and Eddie starts to regret marrying her and it becomes worse when he meets Miranda (Monaghan) while on the honeymoon.

 

Thoughts on The Heartbreak Kid

 

Characters – Eddie is a 40-year-old man who has never committed to a relationship with his friends getting married, but when he meets Lila he bites the bullet and gets married only to learn Lila isn’t the woman he thought she was and tries to start hanging out with another woman at the resort. Lila is the beautiful woman that comes into Eddie’s life, to stay in America she gets married, only to show the flaws that Eddie hasn’t seen yet, one that is different to what he wants. Miranda is a woman that Eddie meets at the resort and they just click, but she doesn’t know his secret.

PerformancesBen Stiller gives one of his best performances of his career on the comic level, he fits the character well and gets both the serious and slapstick style down well. Malin Akerman does great and uses her abilities for the comedy that goes against what you would expect. Michelle Monaghan is always a great choice in these roles and fits the role perfectly.

StoryThe story shows us what it is like to be getting to an age where getting married can become important or facing loneliness and warns us about getting married too quickly, leaving you a chance to fall for the person you are meant to be with. This does work for a story as we watch Eddie try to keep his wife happy and start flirting with another woman and the comedy plays into this well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy works well in this film we get a range of it from sarcastic to slapstick, the romance works too because it shows what it is like at the age where people would feel the need to settle down.

SettingsMost of the movie is in and around Mexico which looks beautiful throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Everything revealed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is long in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is one comedy that I did enjoy, it has good jokes and comic moments, as well as a good romantic story involved.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy throughout.

Rating

 

 

The Final Girls (2015)

final girlsDirector: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Writer: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Nina Dobrev, Malin Akerman, Alia Shawkat, Chloe Bridges, Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Angela Trimbur, Cory Hart, Dave Davis, Bryce Romero

 

Plot: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Horror Comedy

 

Story: The Final Girls starts as Amanda Cartwright (Akerman) a famous slasher star from the 80s and now a single mother of Max (Farmiga) is struggle to find work in the modern era of cinema. But this is a horror film and we need a tragedy which is Amanda dying in a car crash.

Three years later Max is at college age struggling through when her step-brother Duncan (Middleditch) and her best friend Gertie (Shawkat) talk her into a special screening of her mother’s cult film Camp Bloodbath along with an old friend Vicki (Dobrev) who is the total diva. At the screening a freak fire leads the friends running for their lives only to find themselves inside the movie.

When the friends find they can be killed they must come up with a plan not only to survive but get out of the movie alive.friends

The Final Girls mixes the idea of horror and comedy perfectly to make this one of the best original ideas in recent years. The concept of having a film within a film works because we get to see how different the teenagers of two different generation clash. The idea of half the cast knowing where the film will go but try to change it gives the film a time travel element too. The fact this has a comic tone it also manages to have a serious tone. This is an original story that really works well making this one that is very enjoyable.

 

Actor Review

 

Taissa Farmiga: Max Cartwright is the daughter of a former scream queen, after her mother dies she finds herself alone in the world. After getting talked into a screening of her mother’s cult film she finds herself inside the movie getting to spend time with her mother and potentially change her career while trying to save her friends. Taissa is good in this leading role.

Nina Dobrev: Vicki is the diva of the friends, she used to be best friends with Max but the two had become distant. She is the bitchy friend which she understands would make her one of the easy victims in the film. Nina is good in this role where she is perfect fit for the role.

Malin Akerman: Amanda Cartwright/Nancy, Amanda is the mother of Max who died early on Nancy is the character in Camp Bloodbath that Max gets to spend time with as they try to change the script. Malin does a good job in this role where she does take dual roles.

Alexander Ludwig: Chris is the guy that has the hots for Max, he comes off very nervous but supportive to Max. his ex-girlfriend is Vicki turns up at the screening. He gets stuck in the movie too where he must help to protect the girls. Alexander is good in this role fitting the leading male character.  

Support CastThe Final Girls has the supporting cast you would expect to see in this style of film which all work out brilliant with Angela Trimbur and Adam Devine stealing nearly every single scene.

Director Review: Todd Strauss-SchulsonTodd gives us a horror comedy that comes off original while paying the respect to the 80s movies.

 

Comedy: The Final Girls is filled with laughs poking plenty of fun at the genre without being a parody.

Horror: The Final Girls pays respect to the horror side of the story without being scary.

Settings: The Final Girls puts most of the film in the camping grounds and is trapped in the area with a different idea because instead of being isolated we get the trapped idea.
Special Effects
: The Final Girls has great effects used through the film when needed be it with the kills or change between era.

Suggestion: The Final Girls is one that all horror fans should watch, this is one of the most original ideas in film. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Tina is hilarious.

Worst Part: Nothing too much.

Funniest Scene: Tina trying to escape.

 

Believability:  No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully.

Post Credits Scene: Bloopers.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

Overall: Brilliant horror comedy with laughs around every corner.

Ratingcard

 

Catch .44 (2011)

logoDirector: Aaron Harvey

Writer: Aaron Harvey (Screenplay)

Starring: Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Shea Whigham, Jimmy Lee Jr, Brad Dourif

 

Plot: For Tes (Akerman) and her two cohorts Kara (Nikki Reed) and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll), the job sounded simple enough: intercept a double-cross drug shipment for their crime boss Mel (Willis) at an isolated diner. But when an unstoppable chain of events unfolds, everyone soon realizes no one is who they seem and the job may be something other than eliminating the competition. What started as simple instructions has now turned into a deadly cat-and-mouse game – with large guns pointed at everyone.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Let me tell you a story

 

Story: Catch .44 starts with Mel (Willis) telling someone about their working relationship but that he never trusted them. Next we meet Tes (Akerman), Kara (Reed) and Dawn (Woll) talking a lot of nonsense in a diner while on a job looking for a truck and one is now dead. Oh yay rewind where we now see the three girls getting prepared for this job. We learn that the girls are being sent by Mel to interrupt a drug shipment that is running through Mel’s shipment lane.

Next we met assassin Ronny (Whitaker) who likes to become different people along his jobs, we start by seeing take a police car and kill the officer. Flash forward again to the job in the diner and another one is dead, this is really losing the point of tension. We see how Ronnie heading in the same direction as the girls and even having a confrontation together. Back to the job yet again and we see that there is actually back story going back 2 years now, my head is starting to hurt now. Back to the diner again and we learn the real reason for the job and we have a Mexican standoff.

Catch .44 is a standoff film that somehow manages to make a simple job takes an hour and a half, really I don’t know how they stretch this out so long because it is easily one of the most boring films in recent years. The story jumps around the time periods too much and what could have been a really good shoot out scene ends up being shown four times with the next bit happening, it’s like could you have at least just come up with something to fill the gaps instead of reminders of something that happened FIVE MINUTES AGO. This story was a simply a mess and isn’t worth trying to explain anymore. (1/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Malin Akerman: Tes the leader of the girls and planner of the job, she keeps things together but isn’t prepared for the twists. Malin doesn’t look the part in this and struggles to make an impact. (2/10)

 

Nikki Reed: Kara the loose cannon of the three girls who is the one that makes the sloppy mistake that leads to her getting killed in the opening scene. We do follow her in the story leading up to the job. Nikki does what is required in the supporting role. (4/10)

 

Deborah Ann Woll: Dawn third member of the group who manages to keep the connection together when things start going wrong between Tes and Kara. Deborah does her supporting role well but nothing special. (4/10)

 

Forest Whitaker: Ronny assassin and deliveryman for the drugs who has a connection with the past but has an agenda of his own. Forest won a Oscar right? How does he end up in films like this? (2/10)

 

Bruce Willis: Mel drug kingpin who has arranged the job but really could just been setting up the girls so he can get rid of them. Bruce took his money and enjoyed not having to work. (1/10)

 

Support Cast: Catch .44 has support cast that mostly ends up dead.

 

Director Review: Aaron Harvey – Aaron gives us a messy film that really isn’t going too remembered by anyone. (2/10)

 

Action: Catch .44 has little action that doesn’t really make you want to see mostly shooting with same scene over and over again. (3/10)

Crime: Catch .44 fills the crime storyline well trying to through twists into the criminal world. (5/10)

Thriller: Catch .44 doesn’t pull you as it blows the good scene in the opening scene. (2/10)

Settings: Catch .44 uses generic settings for the type of film. (4/10)
Special Effects
: Catch .44 uses terrible effects with the blood splatter. (2/10)

Suggestion: Catch .44 is one to avoid at all costs. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Music is ok.

Worst Part: The story.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: NO PLEASE NO

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

Overall: This was just simply terrible and the characters spend more time telling stories than being in one.

Rating 5

Stolen (2012)

logoDirector: Simon West

Writer: David Guggenheim (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Akerman, Sami Gayle, Edrick Browne, Mark Valley

 

Plot: In New Orleans, the notorious bank thief and family man Will Montgomery steals $10m with his partners Vincent, Riley Jeffers and Hoyt. However, he has an argument with Vincent in the runaway and Hoyt leaves Will behind. He tries to flee but the FBI agent Tim Harlend organizes a manhunt and Will is captured, but he burns the stolen money to get rid of the evidences against him. Eight years later, Will leaves the prison and he goes to the house of his teenage daughter Alison Loeb, who has issues against him. Alison leaves Will alone in a coffee shop and takes a cab to go to a session with her shrink. However, a couple of minutes later, Will receives a phone call from Vincent, who is presumed dead, telling that he has abducted Alison and will kill her unless he receives the $10m of the last robbery. Now Will has twelve hours to find a way to rescue his daughter from the hands of the psychopath Vincent.

 

Verdict: Easy Thrills

 

Story: How often have we seen a bank robbing team spilt up with one turning on the rest when a job goes bad? It’s easy to create the basic tension between the characters, you add in the resilient cop and we get the basic three way battle, all out to outsmart each other. Having the kidnapped daughter involved makes the villain of the piece look even more villainous. Sounds basic and it is, don’t expect any massive twists or turns just enjoy the story unfolding. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Nicolas Cage: Will the mastermind of the bank robbers who gets caught, fresh out of prison he wants to live a normal life but his old partner has other plans for him. Good performance from Cage, do what he needs to do without really excelling. (7/10)

 cage

Josh Lucas: Vincent the twisted former partner of Will who has been through some hard times and even faked his own death biding his time until he can get his money from Will. Good villainous role that does enough to make himself worse than just an old friend out for revenge. (8/10)

lucas

Danny Huston: Tim the FBI agent who has been tracking Will for years putting his own personal life at risk and just when he thinks he has him he loses out on catching him with the money. Typical FBI agent role, that uses his hat to try and making him look different. (7/10)

 huston

Malin Akerman: Riley a member of the robbery team that gets away and has turned her life around to become more honest. She helps Will when he needs to resources of his old life to save his daughter. Good supporting role. (6/10)

 riley

Sami Gayle: Alison Will’s daughter who resents him after his time away who gets kidnapped and tries to outsmart her kidnapper. Simple ‘Help’ performance that offers nothing new. (6/10)

 

Director Review: Simon West – Good direction to create a simple to watch thriller. (7/10)

 

Action: Few car chases that look good but not as much action as you would expect. (7/10)

Thriller: Good thriller that keeps you pulled in to see what will happen next. (8/10)

Settings: New Orleans makes for a good setting showing off the carnivals there. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the thriller fans out there to enjoy, it could appeal to the more casual fans as well being easy to watch. (Thriller Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Will’s robbery, just nonsense style.

Worst Part: Where did they get the information to be ready at the start?

Action Scene Of The Film: Will trying to escape the opening chase.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $2 Million

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: 12 Hours. $10 Million. 1 Kidnapped Daughter.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Thriller

Rating 70