Tower Heist (Blu-ray) (2011)
Menu Animation & Audio
More…-Second Screen, Picture in Picture, PocketBlu
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Brett Ratner|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French dts 5.1
Italian dts 5.1
German dts 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Brett Ratner is a director who tends more often to be mentioned in a derisive tone than a positive one. Other writers on this site have demonised him as the man who destroyed the X-Men series. Regardless he has made quite a few successful movies in his time, especially the Rush Hour series and X-Men 3. This film, even though ranking sixth amongst his movies in box office take, still made around $150 million at the global box office. Despite all this box office success, critical success has pretty much eluded him but based on the extras this does not really faze him.
Anyway, his latest 'masterpiece' (according to producer Brian Grazer) is Tower Heist, an action comedy caper film starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy along with a great cast of other actors including Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda & Gabourey 'Precious' Sidibe. This film tells the story of the manager of an ultra-exclusive apartment block in New York, 'The Tower', Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) who is happy in his job, looking after the desires of the very rich who live in his building. One day, his favourite resident who he plays chess with and lives in the penthouse, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is seen sneaking into a truck in the basement. Thinking he is being kidnapped, Kovacs gives chase until coathangered by a female FBI agent, Agent Claire Denham (Tea Leoni). It is then that he finds out that Mr Shaw is being arrested for securities fraud. Josh had arranged for Shaw to invest the apartment block's pension fund a few months earlier and it quickly becomes apparent that all their money has been stolen. What follows is an elaborate heist to get into Shaw's apartment, where he is under house arrest, and then find and steal his cash reserve which they assume is there. Casey Affleck is Kovacs' brother-in-law who is about to have a baby and also works at 'The Tower'. Matthew Broderick is a resident of the building who has fallen on hard times and is being evicted. Gabourey Sidibe is a house maid who also loses her money. All of these characters band together to try and rob Shaw's penthouse, however, realising they have no real skills in crime they enlist petty criminal from Kovacs' neighbourhood, Slide (Eddie Murphy) to help them, although he is hardly trustworthy.
This film is a mixed bag of good and bad, some things are done extremely well, others poorly. The caper itself, once it finally gets underway is well staged with some great stunts involving a classic Ferrari, which we never see driving on a road. It is also great to see Eddie Murphy in a role which is reminiscent of the sort of roles which made him famous. Here he is a wisecracking criminal who is not overly talented but has enough attitude to convince the rest of the team he is. There are some funny sequences where he is trying to teach the group to think like criminals.
On the negative side, this film has way too much setup with over 40 minutes of very little going on before anything really starts to happen. By the time the film really gets going you have nearly lost patience with it especially considering that there are precious few laughs in that time. Leaving aside Eddie Murphy, this is an action comedy which is far too serious for its own good and Ben Stiller is playing it very straight here. This leads to a film which feels very flat at times, with Stiller looking old and a bit disinterested. Tea Leoni, Alan Alda & Gabourey Sidibe play their parts well, however Broderick is wasted, his character adds little to the story and Casey Affleck is just miscast.
In general terms, this film is a misfire which could have been much better considering the basic concept and the cast involved.
The video quality is excellent.
The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.
The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout and the shadow detail was excellent. The colour was excellent with no issues to report.
There is some minor shimmer to be seen such as on a jacket at 23:40 but this is nit-picking.
There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired and many other languages. They were clear and easy to read
There are no obvious layer changes during playback.
The audio quality is very good without being a disc to show off your system with. This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS-HD MA 5.1 and French, Italian, German & Spanish soundtracks in DTS 5.1.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.
The music by Christophe Beck is very well suited to the production providing appropriate tension and excitement.
The surround speakers were reasonably well used for atmosphere and surround effects without setting the world on fire.
The subwoofer was used to support the music and add bass to action scenes.
|Surround Channel Use|
A good collection of extras are included especially the impressive Second Screen extra.
The menu included sounds and scenes from the film and a nice design.
This disc is PocketBlu enabled so you can control your network Blu-ray player from your handheld and download content to watch on the go.
This is a very impressive technical feature of this disc which enables you to use your tablet (I tried it on an iPad) as a second screen during the film. On the second screen it shows you what music is playing section by section and also provides extras relating to specific scenes. So for example as you watch a particular scene of the film storyboards are displayed on your tablet or for other scenes an animated pre visualisation of the scene. You don't need to choose them they play automatically when you get to the appropriate scene in the movie. This requires you to have a home wireless network that both your Blu-ray player and tablet are connected to.
In addition to the second screen extra mentioned above you can also view the same content as a more traditional picture in picture extra directly on your television.
A pointless alternate of Slide picking Josh Kovacs up from jail.
A better alternate where the doorman has opened a bar.
A variety of bits and pieces which are worth seeing and some should have made the final cut.
Better than most gag reels this has some amusing improv and stuff-ups.
Brett Ratner's on set video diary is basically lots of behind the scenes footage of the shoot.
To summarise the vibe of this multi-part feature 'Brett Ratner & Brian Grazer think they made something pretty amazing here'. This includes four interview segments with the producer and director interspersed with making of featurettes. Topics covered include their history together, the process of developing the film, the original idea from Eddie Murphy, rewrites, casting, characters, design, locations and the car. More information than you probably wanted to know is included.
Quite a decent commentary which is relaxed and jokey but combined with self-congratulation. Topics covered include the script rewrites, getting Stiller involved, design and location etc. It is not overly scene specific.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Blu-ray version of this film in Region A is essentially the same except for some minor language differences.
A flat action caper comedy with some good elements.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are technically impressive and plentiful.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|