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Tower Heist

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Mark Suszko
Tower Heist
on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:31:15 pm

Saw the trailer for this when I went to see "Cowboys and Aliens" today. This is the Ben Stiller/ Eddie Murphy/ Matthew Broderick movie. I'll say two things based on ninety seconds or so of trailer.

The money's hidden in the pool, I'll bet you a donut.

Eddie Murphy has aged a lot and had some face work done and is hard to recognize.


That said, I like the concept, a caper movie with a comedy twist and a "regular guys try to do the improbable thing they've only seen in movies" vibe... this might actually work out okay. But my wife says that ensemble movies with many big-name stars fail in proportion to how many stars are in it, and this may be one of those cases. The promo tells you just about all you need to know, perhaps too much, if my pool bet is right - it's pretty formulaic.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Tower Heist
on Aug 9, 2011 at 5:27:11 am

[Mark Suszko] "But my wife says that ensemble movies with many big-name stars fail in proportion to how many stars are in it, and this may be one of those cases."

She's right of course, but I can think of a couple of exceptions. Death on the Nile was a lot of fun, and I'm crazy about Red (Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich....).

The Clooney Oceans 11 was just okay in my book, and not all of the huge cast were tippy-top stars, but it certainly wasn't a failure. The first one stunk. The Rat Pack looked like they were having fun, but it was really thin. And really short. I think they knew exactly what they did and didn't have with that movie.

No doubt, lots of stars is riskier than it looks.

"The promo tells you just about all you need to know, perhaps too much, if my pool bet is right - it's pretty formulaic."

Formulas are formulas because they work more often than not. It's not cynical to put lots of stars in a movie, because that's one reason we go to ANY movie, even a serious one.

A lot of the pleasure in a formula picture is in the performances, which look pretty funny to me.

There's also a lot of fun to be had in getting there. Sure, the money is in the pool. I think that the trailer tips that. But they still have to get it out, and get it past the rich guy. I'm looking forward to seeing how they pull it off.

BTW, this is directed by Brett Ratner, who volunteered to direct the Oscars. I'm a big fan of the telecast...even if most of them are a disappointment...and I think he has a puncher's chance of pulling off something special.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Tower Heist
on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:24:53 pm

[Tim Wilson] "It's not cynical to put lots of stars in a movie, because that's one reason we go to ANY movie, even a serious one."

Slightly relating to this; I wish they would stop casting celebrities in every single role in animated movies. Sure there is an unknown kid here and there for a childish voice (though they often harvest the "Dakota Fanning" of the moment for these as well). Wouldn't it be amazing if they made a feature length animated film where the principle voice actors were like Billy West and Frank Welker? Ya know, professional voice artists...?

In terms of this Ratner movie... I think I'll pass. Looks too much like something Martin Lawrence would have done in the late 90s. Blue Streak, anyone? (fart noise)


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Tim Wilson
Re: Tower Heist
on Aug 9, 2011 at 4:48:07 pm

[Scott Roberts] "Slightly relating to this; I wish they would stop casting celebrities in every single role in animated movies. "

I HATE THIS. You get abominations like Brad Pitt as Sinbad. Sheesh. For all-stars, I'm going to add Charles Fleischer, who played Roger Rabbit among others.

Mel Blanc stands at the top, though: Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety AND Sylvester....

Daws Butler was Elroy Jetson/Mr. Cogswell, Barney Rubble, Yogi Bear, Quickdraw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound, etc.

June Foray as Rocket J. Squirrel(right behind Bugs for me) AND Natasha, Tweety's Granny, and bunches more, on the all-star list for me for quality rather than quantity. And Bill Scott: Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, Super Chicken, Tom Slick...

Paul Frees: Boris Badenov, George AND John on The Beatles cartoons, Barney Google, Ignatz on Krazy Kat, and a TON of offscreen narration: Irma La Douce, The Alfred Hitchcock Show and I Dream of Jeannie among others.

Now that I think about it, there are still some guys like this on TV. Hank Azaria on The Simpsons comes to mind. He's not there because he's a guy you recognize as an actor - he's there because he can do so many voices so well: Moe, Chief Wiggum, Apu, Comic Book Guy, Professor Fink, and a pile of one-offs. The guys on South Park are insanely good.

But for features, remember Beauty & The Beast? That was 1991. The only "celebrity" was Angela Lansbury. Robbie Benson and Jerry Orbach were there, but you couldn't recognize them, and Disney didn't pimp them. Not like they were exactly stars, either.

Followed the next year by Aladdin. I blame it all on Aladdin. On one hand, you had Linda Larkin knocking the cover off the ball as Jasmine, ditto Jonah Freeman as Jafar. How's THIS for voice actors - these two people don't even have pictures at IMDb!

Thennnnn you had Robin Williams. I liked him quite a bit in this movie -- actually bought the laser disk (oooo, laser disk) -- but he ran away with it, and very much became the focus. It went from "another terrific animated Disney musical" to "you gotta check out Robin Williams!" Gilbert Gottfried had a great supporting role, too, and very much became part of the conversation.

After that, it was impossible to miss the value that stars could add....but it was still gradual. Eddie Murphy played a lizard named Mushu (really? Mushu?) in Mulan that was EXACTLY like Donkey in Shrek, and it only accelerated from there.

Sigh.

Sorry for the off-topic rant, but I feel really strongly about this....


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Scott Roberts
Re: Tower Heist
on Aug 9, 2011 at 8:26:40 pm

Relevant infographic!

<a href="http://i1.creativecow.net/u/150514/toonweb.jpg"><img src="//i1.creativecow.net/u/150514/toonweb.jpg" border="0" /></a>


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Mark Suszko
Re: Tower Heist
on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:02:43 pm

Missing an important one:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005606/


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