TOWER HEIST Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 2 years, 193 days ago

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“Men on a mission” films and the heist genre (arguably the same thing) in general are virtually impossible to screw up. Even Brett Ratner, a director that (perhaps unfairly) gets beaten up regularly for the insensitive things he says in the press, and his party-boy image can deliver a film like Tower Heist, and it plays fairly well at home. You’ve got an ensemble of actors with Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy playing against Michael Pena, Casey Affleck, Mathew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe and Alan Alda, and with that cast you’re not going to get bored, even if you can see where the film needed a little more oomph. It’s all about seeing a plan come together, and how that plan gets complicated. And if the film isn’t as great as it could have been, well there’s that, but it’s just good enough. Our review of Tower Heist on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

97 Original Scores Up for Oscar; DRIVE and ATTACK THE BLOCK Ruled Ineligible

by     Posted 2 years, 252 days ago

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As the 84th Academy Awards move closer, we’re starting to get a better sense of how things will pan out. We recently shared the 39 songs that will contend for the Best Original Song category, and now the Academy has announced the 97 original scores eligible for the Best Original Score award. AMPAS is notoriously picky when it comes to eligibility in this category, and as we feared the scores for both Drive and Attack the Block have been deemed ineligible. Also disappointing is the ineligibility of Alexandre Desplat’s mesmerizing score for The Tree of Life.

While it’s upsetting to see some of the year’s best work side-lined, there’s plenty to be happy about. I was a huge fan of Howard Shore’s work in Hugo and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as The Chemical Brothers’ brilliant work in the criminally underseen Hanna. Hit the jump for the full list, as well as who I think will make the cut.

Weekend Box Office – PUSS IN BOOTS Snatches First Place from TOWER HEIST with $33 Million

by     Posted 2 years, 299 days ago

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And the bad news for new releases just keeps coming. Despite placing first on Friday, the Universal comedy Tower Heist could not pull off a weekend win. The all-star ensemble took in just $25.1 million from 3,367 locations or ten million less than it was expected to command. The culprit? Looks like audiences who kept Puss In Boots at the low end of its own projections last weekend came out in force for round two: giving the Dreamworks Animation release an impressive 97% hold and a second week at number one.

Title Weekend Total
1 Puss In Boots $33,000,000 $75.5
2 Tower Heist $25,100,000 $25.1
3 Harold and Kumar 3D $13,100,000 $13.1
4 Paranormal Activity 3 $8,525,000 $95.3
5 In Time $7,700,000 $24.2
6 Footloose $4,550,000 $48.8
7 Real Steel $3,407,000 $78.7
8 The Rum Diary $2,987,000 $10.4
9 Ides of March $2,000,000 $36.8
10 Moneyball $1,900,000 $70.3

Friday Box Office – TOWER HEIST Breaks In with $8.1 Million; HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D Looks Soft in Third

by     Posted 2 years, 300 days ago

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Despite a couple of big weekends, overall box office was down by over 10% in October.  That means that November has to be a blockbuster for this year to have a chance of breaking even.  Too bad it’s not going to get a lot of support from its first batch of new releases.  Tower Heist debuted at number one with an estimated $8.1 million from 3,367 locations.  While not bad, it’s also not the overwhelming win that Universal was looking for from their all-star ensemble.  Even worse, the comedy has a good chance of losing its number one stats to Puss In Boots by Sunday.  Last weekend’s number one film may have been held back by that freak East Coast snow storm; meaning the family film could experience a better than expected hold and a second weekend leading the box office.  Finally, a 3D price premium did not do much for the latest Harold and Kumar comedy.  A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas took in an estimated $5.4 from its 2,875 locations and is expected to end the weekend with around $15 million: or roughly the equivalent of what Harold and Kumar 2 earned for its own two dimensional debut in 2008.  We’ll have details and analysis tomorrow.

Title Friday Total
1 Tower Heist $8,100,000 $8.1
2 Puss In Boots $7,800,000 $50.2
3 Harold and Kumar 3D $5,400,000 $5.4
4 Paranormal Activity 3 $2,900,000 $89.6
5 In Time $2,500,000 $19

TOWER HEIST Review

by     Posted 2 years, 301 days ago

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I was trying to figure out a way to find a more backhanded compliment than Brett Ratner‘s “Tower Heist is surprisingly not terrible,” but I came up empty.  At first glance, it should be the poster child for everything that’s wrong with mainstream American cinema.  Ben Stiller has been playing the same character, his co-star Eddie Murphy doesn’t seem to care about acting anymore, and Ratner is an unimpressive journeyman director.  And yet Tower Heist is kind of an entertaining movie.  Stiller plays against type, Eddie Murphy shows he can deliver when he’s not phoning it in, and Ratner keeps the film upbeat.  There are a mind-blowing number of obvious plot-holes, and the crappy screenplay relies heavily on coincidence, but the movie never comes off as insulting or offensive.  Tower Heist is like a sweet child who draws a terrible picture of your house, but he doesn’t know any better and just wants you to be impressed.

Universal Pictures President Ron Meyer Talks Candidly about the Studio’s Recent Flops, 3D, Prestige Movies, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 302 days ago

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Like any studio, Universal has had a tough time with movies they expected to be hits.  The Fast and Furious series is one of their killer franchises and they landed a sleeper hit with Bridesmaids, but the studio had to suck up bombs like Land of the Lost, The Wolfman, Robin Hood, Cowboys & Aliens, and even the geek-beloved Scott Pilgrim vs. The WorldRon Meyer, Universal’s President and COO for the past sixteen years, spoke about the studio’s flops at the Savannah Film Festival.  He also talked about 3D, avoiding prestige pictures, and their controversial move to try and rush Tower Heist onto VOD.

Hit the jump for When Studio Execs Speak Honestly.

Brett Ratner Talks TOWER HEIST, the Oscars, BEVERLY HILLS COP 4, HONG KONG PHOOEY, the Woody Allen Documentary He’s Producing

by     Posted 2 years, 304 days ago

With Brett Ratner’s comedy Tower Heist opening this weekend, I was able to chat with the busy director on the phone when he was in New York City promoting the movie.  Starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe, Téa Leoni, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda, Tower Heist centers on a group of disgruntled employees who decide to rob a white-collar criminal living under house arrest in their high-rise after he scams them all out of their savings.

During our wide-ranging conversation, Ratner talked about how he got involved in the project and who was originally going to star in it, the test screening process, deleted scenes, improv, what will be on the Blu-ray/DVD, and what it was like to work with Eddie Murphy.  In addition, Ratner talked about producing next year’s Oscars, future projects like Movie 43, 39 Clues, Hercules, Hong Kong Phooey, Beverly Hills Copy 4, Rush Hour 4, the Woody Allen documentary that he’s producing, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for the interview and audio.

8 Clips from TOWER HEIST

by     Posted 2 years, 309 days ago

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We’ve been provided with eight clips from director Brett Ratner’s upcoming comedy Tower Heist. The film centers on a group of disgruntled employees who decide to rob a white-collar criminal living under house arrest in their high-rise after he scams them all out of their savings. The all-star cast includes Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe, Téa Leoni, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda. Tower Heist opens November 4th.

Character Posters for TOWER HEIST Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy

by     Posted 2 years, 318 days ago

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Universal has released six bland character posters for Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist.  Each poster features a main character standing on top of a building, we get the actor’s name and their character’s profession, and I guess this sells a movie.  I suppose having an adorable dog on Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy’s posters doesn’t hurt.

Hit the jump to check out the posters.  The film also stars Tea Leoni, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, and Gabourey Sidibe.  Tower Heist opens November 4th.

Universal Halts VOD Plan for TOWER HEIST

by     Posted 2 years, 324 days ago

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Last week, we reported that Universal Pictures had made the controversial decision to release Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist on Video on Demand only three weeks after the film had hit theaters.  The test case would only be implemented for Comcast digital subscribers in Atlanta and Portland, Oregon, but theater owners finally drew a line in the sand against the studios’ continuing encroachment into the theatrical exhibition business.  Major theater chain Cinemark threatened to ban the movie from its theaters and smaller theater chains refused to screen the innocuous-but-most-likely-lucrative comedy.  In response, Universal has relented and “continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future.”

Or to read it another way, “You’ve won this round theatres but we’ll be baaaaaaack!” (and then Universal’s hot air balloon flies away).  Tower Heist opens in theaters on November 4th.

Cinemark Threatens to Ban TOWER HEIST from Its Theaters in Response to Universal’s VOD Plan

by     Posted 2 years, 330 days ago

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Just yesterday, Universal Pictures announced it would be releasing Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist to premium VOD subscribers a mere three weeks after the movie opens in theaters on November 4th. In direct response to this announcement, Cinemark (the nation’s third largest theater chain) has threatened to ban the movie from all 300 of its locations. This is a bold move that our own Matt Goldberg agreed with in principle, but didn’t expect to happen. As Matt mentioned, Tower Heist could potentially be a very successful film as it “has the stars, a sound comic premise, and it covers multiple demographics.” Will Cinemark really risk the tens of millions of dollars it stands to lose by taking a stand? Or will Universal Pictures blink first rather than risk losing the revenue?

Hit the jump for more info.

New Trailer for TOWER HEIST Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy

by     Posted 2 years, 330 days ago

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A new trailer for Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist has gone online.  The film centers on a group of employees working in a high-rise who decide to rob a white-collar criminal after he fleeces them out of their savings. After viewing both trailers, I stick by my conclusion that it will be a popular movie featuring the kind of safe humor that makes a crummy show like Two and a Half Men the #1 show on comedy.  However, it looks like we might finally get another funny performance from Eddie Murphy.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda.  Tower Heist opens November 4th and hits VOD in select markets three weeks later.

TOWER HEIST to Hit Video-on-Demand Three Weeks after Theatrical Debut

by     Posted 2 years, 331 days ago

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In what is the most audacious VOD plan to date, Universal Pictures will release Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist on VOD three weeks after the movie opens in theaters on November 4th.  However, the rental will cost a hefty $59.99.  This VOD plan marks the biggest move yet in the recent battles between studios and theaters over when movies should go to VOD.  This past spring, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and 20th Century Fox launched Home Premiere, a premium VOD service that offers movies for home viewing only two months after their theatrical debut.  While these VOD rentals aren’t cheap (it costs $30 to rent a movie on Home Premiere), studios have been looking for new revenue streams since the collapse of the DVD market, and they believe (correctly) that the high price of tickets and concessions coupled with the poorly-run theater experience could drive consumers to premium VOD.

Hit the jump for more.

First Trailer and Poster for TOWER HEIST Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy [Updated with 5 New Images]

by     Posted 3 years, 35 days ago

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I know I should have zero interest in Tower Heist.  It’s directed by Brett Ratner, it has Ben Stiller playing a straight man, and Eddie Murphy hasn’t done a good comedy this century, but I have to admit that the trailer got a couple laughs out of me although they weren’t from Stiller or Murphy.  The movie’s got a great supporting cast that includes Michael Peña, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, and Alan Alda, but the biggest laugh in the trailer comes from watching Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) hit on Murphy.  I also have to mention that this and Horrible Bosses share the message that if you’re interested in committing a crime, ask a black guy (preferably one who was in Dreamgirls).

Hit the jump to check out the trailer as well as the new poster.  Tower Heist opens November 4th. [Update: We've added five new images from the film and replaced the poster with a hi-res version]

Exclusive: Michael Pena Talks 30 MINUTES OR LESS, TOWER HEIST, END OF WATCH, GANGSTER SQUAD and Doing More Comedies at Comic-Con

by     Posted 3 years, 36 days ago

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When I sat down with Michael Pena at Comic-Con a few days ago, the first thing I told him was he needs to do more comedies.  Trust me, after you guys see 30 Minutes or Less, you’re going to agree with me, because Pena steals every scene he’s in.  While I thought Pena was awesome in Observe and Report and on the second season of Eastbound & Down, it’s his work as a hitman named Chango that proves he’s ready to carry a movie.  Thankfully, when I brought up doing more comedies, Pena said that’s his plan.  Which makes me very happy.

During the interview we also talked about how he prepares for doing comedies (explains how he looks at documentaries and real people for inspiration for his characters), what was it like to work with Eddie Murphy on Tower Heist, talks about End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and describes their ride-along with a police officer where the perpetrator was shot in the face, Gangster Squad, and he also talks about working with director Ruben Fleischer on 30 Minutes or Less and then Fleischer crashes the interview.  Hit the jump to watch.

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