Tower Heist (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 25-Apr-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
More…-Second Screen, Picture in Picture, PocketBlu
Alternate Ending-2
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary
Outtakes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 104:25
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brett Ratner
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Ben Stiller
Eddie Murphy
Casey Affleck
Alan Alda
Matthew Broderick
Stephen Henderson
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Christophe Beck


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Dutch
Cantonese
Danish
Finnish
Icelandic
Korean
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Mandarin
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A good collection of extras are included especially the impressive Second Screen extra.

Menu

     The menu included sounds and scenes from the film and a nice design.

PocketBlu

     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.

Second Screen through PocketBlu

     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.

U-Control P-I-P extra

     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.

Alternate Ending - 15 Months Later (0:46)

     A pointless alternate of Slide picking Josh Kovacs up from jail.

Alternate Ending - Lester's Bar (1:48)

     A better alternate where the doorman has opened a bar.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (5:57)

     A variety of bits and pieces which are worth seeing and some should have made the final cut.

Gag Reel (4:18)

     Better than most gag reels this has some amusing improv and stuff-ups.

Tower Heist Video Diary (22:42)

     Brett Ratner's on set video diary is basically lots of behind the scenes footage of the shoot.

Plotting Tower Heist (47:22)

     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.

Audio Commentary - Brett Ratner, Editor - Mark Helfrich, Writers - Ted Griffin & Jeff Nathanson

     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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

     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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, May 28, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp 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 DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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