{2jtab: Movie Review}

Tower Heist - Movie Review


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3 Stars

Time was when the mention of a double act with Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller would have had this reviewer racing for the nearest cinema. They are two of the most indelible and successful comedians the world has ever seen. In recent years, however, their output has been rather lacklustre at best. Is it audience fatigue for their antics or simply that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to?

Tower Heist, much maligned director Brett Ratner’s latest offering, is a caper film set in modern day, but delivers that well-trodden underdog rises to stick it to the man story that can be welcoming and enjoyable fun—and also runs the risk of boring an audience all too familiar with the outcome. Set in a Trump-like building, filled to the brim with New York’s wealthy elite, we are introduced to a likeable bunch of everyday folk who work tirelessly to satisfy the whims of these loaded tenants. One of these tenants (Alan Alda) is accused of running a Ponzi scheme, and the underdogs’ leader, Josh(Ben Stiller), is forced to tell his staff that all their money, entrusted to the crooked billionaire to invest, may be lost. When a member of his staff attempts suicide, and the billionaire shows all the compassion of a serial killer, Josh hatches a plan to right all the wrongs, which includes enlisting the aid of a childhood acquaintance (Eddie Murphy) with shady but necessary skills.

The story doesn’t have an original bone in its body, but let’s not get bogged down in that: most stories don’t these days. All Heist needs to do is provide characters we can root for, a villain we want to see taken down, and a few twists along the way to a predictable ending. This film is like a see-saw on a precipice. Just when it looks like it’s going to top over and fail dismally, it tilts back and keeps you going. The characters are likeable, but the start of the film is plodding, lacklustre, and almost loses you. The bad guy is not particularly engrossing, despite being played by M.A.S.H.’s Alan Alda; it’s certainly implied that he’s less than above board, but his actions are rather vanilla until the last act—and it is worth that wait. What will keep you going for the most part are the supporting characters (Matthew Broderick, Tea Léone, and Stephen Henderson standing out). Murphy’s arrival also adds a certain amusement, seeing how these rather straight-laced characters deal with him. But Murphy is not particularly funny; in fact nothing about the film will have you belly laughing at any point. What it does do, especially with its outlandish set pieces and finale, is surprise. In an extremely formulaic and rather bland script, there are enough twists and unpredictable outcomes to see you through, and, more importantly, to satisfy.

There really is nothing in this film that is standout. With the budget and pedigree of the cast, one might be expecting more from it: a new Ocean’s type film, perhaps? It’s nothing like that. I urge you to put all expectations aside, if you can. This is, despite any shortcomings, a well-made, likeable film. It’s easy to sit through (slow start notwithstanding), will probably elicit a grin or two, and will certainly not disappoint come its ending. If you wanna set your brain to neutral and just watch a silly caper, you could do a lot worse. Give it a go.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Tower Heist - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual content.
: Brett Rattner
: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson
Cast: Ben Stiller; Eddie Murphy; Casey Affleck; Alan Alda; Matthew Broderick
Genre: Comedy | Crime
Ordinary guys. An extraordinary robbery.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You people are working stiffs, clock-punchers. Easily replaced."
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 21, 2012

Synopsis: Queens native Josh Kovacs (Stiller) has managed one of the most luxurious and well-secured residences in New York City for more than a decade. Under his watchful eye, nothing goes undetected. In the swankiest unit atop Josh’s building, Wall Street titan Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is under house arrest after being caught stealing two billion from his investors. The hardest hit among those he defrauded? The tower staffers whose pensions he was entrusted to manage.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Tower Heist - Movie Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 21, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/DVS Dolby Digital 2.02, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Canadian) and Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); DVD disc

The AVC-encode and the DTS-HD 5.1 sound are amazing. The film looks spectacular and opulent, and the sound is immersive, especially during a dangling Ferrari sequence. Special features are generous, and common to Ratner’s other offerings, with a video diary and gag reel, etc.


  • Feature Commentary with director Brett Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich and co-writers Ted Griffin & Jeff Nathanson

Bonus features that appear on the both the Blu-ray™ and DVD versions include:

  • Two Alternate Endings
  • Hilarious Deleted & Alternate Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Plotting Tower Heist—Following the structure of a classic caper movie in three acts, director Brett Ratner, producer Brian Grazer and the entire cast bring this heist film to a whole new level. Viewers will learn how the project started, as well as meet the screenwriters and cast. This exclusive feature reveals the secrets of the set design, special effects and more, including what it took to create the iconic sequence involving Steve McQueen’s car!

The following features are exclusive to Blu-ray™:

Tower Heist Video Diary – Director Brett Ratner takes fans through the filmmaking process with these personal video production diaries from the set.


  • Picture-in-Picture – featuring pre-visualization and storyboard comparisons of some the film’s most exciting scenes.
  • The Music of Tower Heist

Pocket BLU™ App: The popular free pocket BLU™ app for smartphones is now even better with newly updated versions for iPad®, Android™ tablets, PC and Macintosh computers, with features made especially to take advantage of the devices' larger screens and high resolution displays.

  • Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
  • Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.
  • Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Keyboard: Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.

UNIVERSAL'S SECOND SCREEN, that allows viewers to control, interact and explore Tower Heist with features right on a networked tablet or computer, in synchronization with the movie on the television screen! While the movie plays, experience features such as:

  • Flick View: Interact with the movie; move content from the Tablet to the TV screen; and compare storyboards, animatics and other executing content by “Flicking” them from on their tablet to their TV screen, simply by gesturing their fingers upwards on their tablets.
  • Behind the Scenes w/Flick View: Viewers get an all access look at the making of the film featuring interviews with cast and crew.
  • Storyboards w/Flick View: Viewers will be able to take a closer look at the storyboards created for some of the amazing sequences in the film.
  • The Music of Tower Heist—Songs from the Tower Heist soundtrack are highlighted with the option to add to a playlist and purchase.
  • BD-LIVE™ - Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to access the latest trailers, exclusive content, and more!

{2jtab: Trailer}