The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Title: Tower Heist (2011)
Director: Brett Ratner
Runtime: 104 minutes
There are no weak links in Tower Heist, but Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Gabourey Sidibe are the stand outs. The whole cast is quite funny, and the characters are really likable.
Story & Script
A rich man “invests” the pensions of the entire staff of The Tower where he lives. Unfortunately for them, this rich man is really a dirty dealer, and all of their money is lost. Ben Stiller plays the manager of The Tower, a ritzy Manhattan residence. He vows to get their money back, and the only way he can do that is by robbing the man of the millions they’re certain he has in his home. The story works surprisingly well, and delivers in both catharsis and laughs. The last act gets a bit ridiculous, but I was invested enough in the characters at that point that it didn’t really matter. I just wanted to see the bad guy get it.
Brett Ratner has an extensive and eclectic filmography, but I’ve generally liked his work over the years. Tower Heist is another in his line of successful work. There’s nothing special about the editing or cinematography, aside from how well he able to use heights to create some truly tense moments, but Ratner does what he needs to tell this story clearly and humorously, which is good enough for me.
There are a couple moments of tension that fit really well in this heist film. One is toward at beginning, and acts as the motivation for this entire crime, and the second is during the finale when the crime is happening. These are small but unexpected moments that helped drive the film home for me.
There is enough comedy in this that I would enjoy watching it again. I’m not sure how many times I could watch it before it got stale, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it a second time at least.
Tower Heist is an enjoyable heist film, but the target audience is a bit unclear, which ultimately hurt the film. There are moments where the movie feels like a family film, but then there are times where the sexual references and language destroy that image. Still, I laughed quite a bit during Tower Heist. The characters drive this story, and you really want to see the bad guy get what’s coming to him.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.