Thursday, 03 November 2011 22:32

Tower Heist Featured

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Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment in association with Relativity Media present a PG-13, 104 minute action, crime, comedy directed by Brett Ratner and written by Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson with a theatrical release date of November 4, 2011.


Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) lives in the penthouse of his New York City condominium building known as ‘The Tower’.  He swims in his private pool on the roof of his building which sports a bird’s eye view of money painted at the bottom.  He gets waited on hand and foot by a very elite staff lead by the building manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller).  Josh likes to flank himself by the best at his job with the likes of his assistant Rose (Marcia Jean Kurtz), front desk manager Charlie (Casey Affleck), whose wife is eight months pregnant, an added story line in the plot, Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe) the maid, who’s Jamaican accent is a bit tough to comprehend at times, Miss Lovenko (Nina Arianda) on phones, who is constantly reminded by Josh of her studying on company time for her bar exam, Lester (Stephen Henderson) the doorman, ready to retire shortly and Enrique (Michael Pena) just hired from BK to become the buildings elevator operator.  Each member of the staff is under the watchful eye of Josh who in turn answers to Mr. Simon (Judd Hirsch), the General Manager.

Every morning Mr. Shaw comes downstairs gets in his car at a specific time like clockwork but one morning Josh notices he is missing from his car.  When he scouts the building in search of Mr. Shaw he notices on a camera that Shaw was being lead into a white Stillman Brothers truck.  Thinking he is being kidnapped Josh is on hot pursuit only to be taken down by an FBI agent Claire Denham (Tea Leoni).  Shaw was being investigated for securities fraud and tried to flee from the FBI for conducting a Wall Street Ponzi scheme.  Unfortunately since everyone that worked in the building invested their money through Shaw it ends up that there is no pension and they’re all broke, losing everything they’ve worked years to accomplish for their future.  Amazing how one man full of greed has so little true thoughts or emotions for the many people that surround his everyday life.  Stealing from those with so little, only to line his own pockets full of wealth, should be crime enough to send him away for his life time but evidence is everything in a court of law that sometimes seems to protect the criminal rather than the victim.  The saying seems true that it’s who you know that could change everything for the criminal surely guilty of a crime committed. 

Resident people at ‘The Tower’ pay millions to live there, not for the fact that they never have to give out tips since they’re not allowed but rather the fact that the staff remembers everything about them and takes care of their every need.  Shaw a man with bragging rights lives in a plush penthouse, has Steve McQueen’s Ferrari in his living room, don’t ask how he got it there, and apparently has robbed his entire staff of their entire savings.  Although the FBI is having trouble locating the money, Shaw apparently hid it somewhere where no one will find it.  Lester worked twenty nine years to save up seventy three thousand dollars, all of which he gave to Shaw to invest and all of which has disappeared.  One night on his way home he attempts suicide, feeling he has lost everything including his will to live.  When Josh informs Shaw who is now on house arrest he doesn’t seem to care if Lester is alive or dead.  What better way to get is attention than for Josh, under the watchful eyes of Charlie and Enrique, to take it out on something he loves, something that sits in the middle of his living room, something worth millions?  Of course when Shaw is believed to most likely get off with not time served it doesn’t take very long that he has Mr. Simon fire all three men.

Josh knows a secret about the possible whereabouts of the twenty million dollars Shaw stole from his investors, his employees, so he devises a plan that involves Charlie, Enrique, Odessa, Mr. Fitzhugh, a resident evicted from the building for lack of payment because he’s broke, and Slide (Eddie Murphy) a neighbor of Josh’s who tends to shout racial slurs and more at him every morning on his way to work.  Grant it thanks to director Ratner it’s nice to see Murphy in rare form once again, a spitting image of his days in his old films, ‘Beverly Hills Cop’.  One really funny moment involves Slide in the mall testing his new partners in crime.  The results being panties, a sweater, sneakers, diamonds and one scented candle.  I won’t tell you where that was hidden, you’ll have to see for yourself! 

The money is hidden in Shaw’s penthouse and even though Josh and most of his men no longer work in the building they devise a plan to get it back.  What do they have to lose they’re all broke anyway!  Things just don’t go as planned though thanks to several deserters from the original gang.  Thanks to Snoopy and the Thanksgiving Day parade, a meeting for Shaw and the judge, the missing of Miss Piggy, ok not really, the heist moves full speed ahead leading up to a fortune found that gets thrown right out the window of the penthouse.  In the end, a wrong is righted, a bribe is made, justice comes to those robbed via special delivery and if this was a game of chess, the winner claims, checkmate.

The movie flies by for 104 minutes thanks to some great direction, a wonderful mixture of comedy and drama and a superb script.  Ratner has a way of making the audiences toss logic out the door but instead having them get caught up in the moment of the story.  He may have actually jump started Murphy’s star power again since it seemed to be lost in many of his last films.  In this film Murphy is his old self and thankfully so since his days as a ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ have been missed. 

Stiller has once again taken the bull by the horns and achieved the act of control making this ensemble cast of delightful actors come together on film to make a really good movie.  Of course, Murphy being the polished member of the cast, giving the story some great one liners from his sharp tongue and quick wit, almost straight from his 80's days.  Affleck plays pretty much a man with no major personality which adds much of the dry humor to his every scene. Broderick, a man who lost everything in the story gains everything in this role, sometimes making me feel the presence of the old Ferris Bueller, although more low key yet jumpy to his every move.  Girl power joins the story with the likes of Leoni playing a strong yet very likeable special agent enforcing the law but understanding the plight of the middle class man up against a Wall Street crook.  Oh the irony how art imitates life!  Sidibe is truly precious in this role even though her accent tends to fade in and out or maybe it was just plain hard to understand her lines sometimes.  Hirsch does not have a big role but Alda really shines here proving he can play on the dark side not as a funny man but as the man you love to hate. 

Truly a fun film with a great cast that proves you can make a ticket worthy movie for the audience to spend their hard earned cash for at the box office.  Timely of course considering the events on Wall Street and the many cases of scams getting uncovered in the news.  This film will have you laughing throughout and applauding at the end.  Thankfully no animals are harmed in the heist even though a little Yorkie takes the plunge down an elevator shaft.  Written and thoroughly enjoyed with 3 paws out of four by Jon Patch.

Read 3595 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 November 2011 22:39
Jon Patch

Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio. In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area. Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin' Pets. Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year. I worked with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for19 years under the title of V.P. Affiliate Relations and Programming, later worked with Genesis Communications until starting a new network ATRN.  Currently working with GAB Radio Network and with Josh Leng at Talk Media Network.  I am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin' Pets, for the past 29 years... My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind whom all share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth. This is the only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever... | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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