The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Michael Lena, Judd Hirsch, Gabourey Sidibe
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Music by: Christophe Beck
Written by: Ted Griffin & Jeff Nathanson
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 21, 2012
"It's not just a robbery. It's payback"
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast in this hilarious comedy caper about a luxury condo manager (Stiller) who leads a staff of workers to seek payback on the Wall Street swindler (Alan Alda) who defrauded them. With only days until the billionaire gets away with the perfect crime, the unlikely crew of amateur thieves enlists the help of petty crook Slide (Murphy) to steal the $20 million they're sure is hidden in the penthouse.
When the staff of New York City's most expensive and luxurious condominium discovers that the billionaire investment advisor living in the penthouse has plundered their retirement fund, they take matters into their own hands. Convinced that light-fingered Wall Street Titan Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) has stashed his ill-gotten millions in his apartment, building manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) rallies his troops and enlists the help of small-time thief Slide (Eddie Murphy) to make sure they get back what's rightfully theirs. These rookie thievesincluding high-strung concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck), broke ex-Wall Streeter Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), new bellhop Dev'Reaux (Michael Peña) and feisty maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe)know the building better than anyone. It turns out they've been casing the place for yearsthey just didn't know it.
Tower Heist is a straightforward comedy/heist affair. Its script and ensemble cast is a sort of dumb down Ocean's eleven. Actually the comparisons in that regard are few but like Ocean's the theme works and thanks to a solid cast and Brett Ratner's familiarity with the genre the film is fun to watch. There are no real surprises as the story sets up and unfolds. Once things get going I have to say that I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Most of this is due to the interaction/banter between the characters. The situational humor isn't anything new but it compliments the latter. I got a kick out of watching the band of unprofessional thieves putting together and executing their plan. The variety of personalities among the group are drawn and portrayed with just the right amount of oafish likeability without being goofy simply for goofy sake. Alan Alda's Arthur Shaw is perfectly dastardly but Tea Leoni is a bit in over her head as the hard edged FBI Agent investigating him. The light action and suspense is essentially ineffectual but not detrimental within the story's framework. Tower heist isn't among the best films in its genre but it made me laugh and I found it to be an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.
The rating is for language and sexual content
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Tower heist comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
Tower heist looks terrific on Blu-ray Disc and features glossy high definition video quality that exhibit high level detail, razor sharpness and exquisite definition that brings out lifelike textures captured by the camera's lens. Dimensional perspective has a near infinite appeal that can be visually stimulating. Close ups are noticeably refined and revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of secondary hues. Fleshtones are rendered with vivid tonality and discerning complexional depiction. Contrast is bold applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and drives whites with washing away detail. Blacks are rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which makes them pop nicely during sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure in backgrounds. This is a pristine encoding and reference quality presentation that looks great.
This isn't an action/comedy that calls for an aggressive surround mix but it should be capable of delivering the goods when necessary, and this DTS-HD Master Audio presentation does. The mix has a front oriented perspective with appreciable dimension, good channel separation and crisp, descriptive dialogue that is always intelligible. As Josh and company put their plan into action the mix offers good front to rear balance and open atmospherics that create a fairly enveloping sound field. The result is a stable listening environment where the blend of music, sound effects, and subtle nuance contained in the recording are appreciable. Dynamics range is quite good which helps empower active moments while lending solidity and palpable presence to low frequencies.
- Second screen via pocket BLU app (includes Universal's Flick view feature) - Viewers can enjoy an innovative and interactive viewing experience, that allows them to control, interact and explore Tower Heist with groundbreaking new features right on a networked tablet or computer, in synchronization with the movie on the television screen.
- (HD) 2 alternate endings
- (HD) 9 deleted scenes
- (HD) Gag reel - 4 minutes
- (HD) Brett Ratner's video diary - 22 minutes
- (HD)Plotting Tower Heist:
- The Ratner/Grazier connection - parts 1,2,3
- The conspirators - 17 minute featurette - including cast/crew interviews
- Set pieces - 13 minute featurette that looks behind the scenes at several sequences
- The car - 8 minute featurette
- Feature commentary with Brett Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich, and co-writers Ted Griffin & Jeff Nathanson
- U-Control: Picture in picture featuring pre-visualization and storyboard comparisons of some the film's most exciting scenes as well as a look at the film's music.
- My scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Tower heist is a straightforward comedy/heist flick that doesn't bring anything new to the table but that doesn't keep it from being an entertaining bit of escapism that I rather enjoyed. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment in a strong offering that features sparkling high definition video, crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound and a solid supplemental package that include Blu-ray exclusives. This one has found a place in my collection and is worth taking for a spin.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package