TOWER HEIST [2/21]
* * (C)
Directed by Brett Ratner
Starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidibe
Universal//Rated PG-13//Comedy//105 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
This ensemble production trades plausibility for a shot at winning a Miss Congeniality award. Stiller plays Josh Kovacs, building manager of a Trump-like Tower. His daily pep talk to staff reminds them that security and service distinguish the building and apartments starting at $5 million. Kovacs practices what he preaches by anticipating residents' needs, especially those of investment guru, Arthur Shaw (an appropriately smarmy Alan Alda). Kovacs is horrified when the FBI arrests Shaw for defrauding investors because Shaw handled the Tower employee pension fund. Sympathetic FBI agent Claire Denham (Tea Leone), tells Kovacs she believes $20 million dollars is stashed in Shaw's apartment. Remembering Shaw's hidden safe, Kovacs hatches a plan. He enlists the help of his criminal neighbor Slide (Eddie Murphy), unaware the petty thief knows nothing about safecracking. Murphy bluffs his way in, ordering Kovacs and crew to each steal $50 worth of merchandise from a local mall. Kovacs also recruits a failed stock trader (Matthew Broderick), the Tower's concierge (Casey Affleck), and a Tower new-hire, played by Michael Pena. Kovacs finds a real safecracker in Tower housekeeper Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), the daughter of a Jamaican locksmith. Failing to construct a credible heist, the film relies on humorous set pieces, broadly sketched comedy and heartrending snippets meant to make its larcenous characters appear more sympathetic. The male characters come off as dim and dimmer, though Sidibe's self-possessed housekeeper, is a truth-telling riot and Tea Leoni's FBI Agent steals the movie with her hilarious drunk scene. DVD features: Two Alternate Endings, Deleted & Alternate Scenes, Gag Reel, Plotting Tower Heist in three acts, Commentary with director Brett Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich and cowriters Ted Griffin & Jeff Nathanson. Blu-ray features same plus: Director's Video Diary, U-Control: Picture-in-Picture & The Music, pocket BLU App, Advanced Remote Control, Video Timeline, Mobile-To-Go, Universal's Second Screen interactive viewing experience, Flick View: Behind the Scenes, Storyboards, and Soundtrack.
PUSS IN BOOTS [2/24]
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Chris Miller
Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris
Paramount/Dreamworks//Rated PG//Animated, Family//90 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
In this "Shrek" spin-off, Puss in Boots receives both an origin story and his own adventure. A successful outlaw and notorious Don Juan, Puss re-teams with his childhood best friend, Humpty Dumpty (Galifianakis) to steal magic beans from Jack and Jill (Thornton and Sedaris), in order to climb the beanstalk and kidnap the goose that lays the golden eggs. The pair are joined by Kitty Softpaws, a declawed femme fatale, cooed by Hayek. Family-friendly visual gags abound, and while the film lives up to its 3D pedigree, it falls somewhat short on plot. DVD features: The Voices Behind the Legends, Deleted Scenes, Easter Eggs, The Three Diablos: All-new Puss adventure, Interviews with the cast and creators, Glitter Box Dance Off!, Klepto Kitty, Kitty Keyboard, Fairytale Pop-Up Book, Kitty Strikes Again game, CATivities (DVD-ROM), Printables. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: Film and special features on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy Pack. The Animators' Corner with creators, animators, cast and crew, Create your own custom fairytale, Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge, Trivia Track.
DOWNTON ABBEY: Series 2 [Out Now]
* * *1/2 (A-)
Out on Home Video: 'Tower Heist' released
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