Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic, editor of Movie City News and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming. Check a few signs on Twitter (@chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram (instagram.com/raypride). Twitter: @RayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
Brett Ratner directs this pleasing tale of plucky employees at a Trump-like tower who scheme to recoup their pension funds squandered by a Madoff-like defrauder under house arrest in a penthouse decorated by the Gagosian Gallery. The bottom of his outdoor pool atop The Tower sports a C-note facsimile with a Benjamin Franklin engraving. Indoors is parked his prized 1963 Ferrari worth its weight in gold. Ratner sees “Tower Heist” as a “tonally perfect” outcome of the script by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Russell Gewirtz, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ted Griffin, Leslie Dixon, Noah Baumbach and Jeff Nathanson. What he might mean is that this Thanksgiving-timed caper with a car chase through Macy’s annual parade is a bit less silly and slightly more grown-up than his earlier “Rush Hour” efforts. (Nothing blows up in a fireball.) Set in “the most expensive real estate in North America,” “Tower Heist” is inoffensively populist about setting up an evil financier (Alan Alda) for his comeuppance at the hands of his building’s manager (Ben Stiller), a maid, an elevator operator, a concierge, a doorman, a tenant facing eviction and a ringer (Eddie Murphy) bailed out of Rikers Island. Banter about favorite films is a screwball treat, but do not scratch your head over architectural continuity in the rooftop scenes. With Michael Peña, Téa Leoni, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch. 104m. (Bill Stamets)
“Tower Heist” is now playing.