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23 Oct 2012

TOWER HEIST

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:00   MOVIES

Tower Heist Cover Now what does it take to be a good thief? A certain amount of determination? Sure. An appropriate skill set? Yeah! A very cunning plan? Of course. Or what about prior knowledge of what you are about to swipe? Maybe. As they all sound plausible, don't they? Just like Director: Brett Ratner, plus Actors: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, and Matthew Broderick. Particularly in 2011 and for 104-minutes.


Tower Heist


THE STORY:
For ten long year's buildings manager, Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller), thought that business man, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), was just another wealthy resident living at his plush place of work -- called 'The Tower'. But Josh was wrong. One day it is revealed that Arthur is a high-class crook, who has managed to swindle a large amount of money from big corporations and his fellow employee's pension fund.

Damn! That sound's like a really sordid turn of events, doesn't it? Plus to make matters even worse, Josh get himself and his two pal's -- Charlie Gibbs and Enrique Dev'reaux (Casey Affleck and Michael Peña) -- sacked, after he smashes up a car belonging to Arthur, who is on house arrest for his dubious crimes.

Sh*t! What else does this fool get up to? Get FBI agent, Claire Denham (Téa Leoni), drunk, before planning to steel back the cash Arthur stowed away in his secret safe?

Yes. Yes he does.

However, for him to accomplish his revenge, first, he has to take under his wing Charles, Enrique, and down on his luck financier, Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick). And secondly, he has to coarse his hometown thug, Slide (Eddie Murphy), into his scheme as well.

Granted, this isn't really an easy task for Josh to complete in retrospect. Especially when you take into consideration that Slide is a somewhat dubious character, plus that the rest of them have never stolen anything in their lives. Also, something else that has to be taken into consideration; is that Charles is a bit of a wanker, and that they need another member of staff, Odessa Montero (Gabourey Sidibe), to break into the safe in question.

Ouch! Well, that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when a plan has a fumbling false start. As crooks jump about - swindlers want to scream and shout - the car is the key - and Robin Hood is criminal who is unable to flee. Yet.




THE REVIEW:
Now when I finally managed to sit down and watch 'Tower Heist', if truth be told, I really didn't have that much hope for it. Well, within recent years, Eddie and Ben's movies haven't amounted to much in my own estimation. They've come across as too formulaic, too pat, too droll, and -- it I may use profanity - too crap too.

However, I am very happy to say that this comedy is the exception to the rule. It's funny. It's slightly formulaic. And its just one of those movies which has surprised me so much, I was even ashamed to say that I wasn't overtly keen on Eddie and Ben's past works. Honest to God, this flick was a blast from start to finish. All the actors were on form. The story had a nice balance between pastiches and innovation. Plus I thought that how this film ended was very well constructed -- although slightly laborious in the execution.


Tower Heist Wallpaper


But wait up! Before I start to falter with my praise, I think that this would be a good time for some filmic facts. Agreed? No? Tough titty mo-fo. (1) Eddie Murphy came up with the concept behind this flick in 2005, as it was originally supposed to be an 'Oceans Eleven' type-film with an all-star African American cast. It was going to star himself, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, and David Chappelle. Then came along Ben Stiller. (2) 'The Tower' is in fact 'Trump International Hotel and Tower' in Manhattan, New York. Whereas the mall in Queens, is in fact a mall in Queens -- close to Astoria. (3) Actor, Greg Grunberg, demanded an apology from the director of this movie, Brett Ratner, because his son suffers from epilepsy, and there was an epileptic joke made in the trailer. Ratner did. (3) This movie is credited to the numerous writers involved. Such as Ted Griffin [Ocean's Eleven], Jeff Nathanson [Rush Hour 2 and 3], Rawson Marshall Thurber [Dodgeball], and many more I care not to mention [click on the links for the appropriate reviews]. (4) Eight time safe-cracking world champion, Jeff Sitar, was hired to coach the actors on how to crack a safe. (5) Ben Stiller's mother, Anne Meara, was in the film 'The Boys in Brazil' -- which his character, Josh Kovacs, references in this movie. (6) This was the final film for Heavy D. (7) Ben Stiller and Mathew Broderick worked together in the 1996 film, 'The Cable Guy'. (8) Robert Redford turned down the role of Arthur Shaw in this picture. (9) This flick has a website - www.towerheist.com (10) Prior to its release, this comedy was involved in controversial plans devised by Universal Pictures, where it was scheduled to be broadcast to paying 'Video On Demand' Comcast customers three weeks after it's release. This idea was eventually abandoned though. (11) One of the producers on this picture, Brian Grazer, stated that Alan Alda's 'Arthur Shaw' character was inspired by the Ponzi mastermind, Bernard Madoff.


Ben and Eddie in Tower Heist


OK, enough of that. Overall I have to say that 'Tower Heist' was a great film. In many ways it reminded me of a strange mixture of the 1974 version of 'The Taking of Pelham One Two Three', 'Hotel' the television series, and -- of course -- 'Oceans Eleven'. Moreover, in another way, this comedy also highlights what the actors involved are really good at doing. Ben with his erstwhile demeanor. Eddie with his OTT persona. Tia with her foxy yet intimidating style. Alan with his sardonic wit. Mathew with his jittery disposition. And a notable mention should go out to Casey, Michael, Judd, Gabourey, and Peter, for giving this crime-caper that fresh new edge which made it was it is. Great. Wouldn't you agree, obligatory interview clip?




Ha! Could not have put it better myself. I think.

THE RATING: A

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