This weeks new movies reviewed by Paul Byrne including Tower Heist, In Time, Jack Goes Boating and Sensation.
TOWER HEIST (USA/12A/104mins)
Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena.
THE PLOT: A bunch of disgruntled workers at a New York apartment high-rise decide to take their Wall Street billionaire boss (Alda) to the cleaners after his embezzling leads to their pensions being wiped out. Leading the way is General Manager Josh Kovacs (Stiller), joining Robin Hood are merry doormen Lester (Stephen Henderson) and Charlie (Affleck), bankrupt business whizz Mr. Fitzhugh (Broderick) and slick jailbird Slide (Murphy). There’s $20m stashed somewhere in their ex-boss’s penthouse, and they’re determined to steal it…
THE VERDICT: Having two former box-office heavyweights Eddie Murphy (who ruled the ‘80s) and Ben Stiller (who ruled the ‘90s) in the lead roles here gives Tower Heist a distinctly 1980s feel. Hell, this comedy plays like it was made in the 1980s, right down to the slightly ridiculous plot developments that become increasingly Scooby-Doo as the heist unfolds. Still, there’s fun to be had, as all of the actors involved play to their comic stereotype strengths. The gang is a low-rent Ocean’s 11 – an image triggered not only by the script, but also by the presence of Casey Affleck – but Murphy hasn’t been this enjoyable in a long, long time. RATING: 3/5
Directed by Tom Hall. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Luanne Gordon, Owen Roe, Patrick Ryan, Kelly Campbell, Eleanor Methven.
THE PLOT: Gleeson plays lonely farmer’s son Donal, made all the lonelier when he returns from a quick check of the sheep – and a quick wank with his secret porn kit (jazz mag, kitchen roll, hand sanitizer) – to find his father slumped in the chairlift. Determined to finally enjoy the pleasures of actual flesh, Donal books himself a ‘delightful dinner companion’, Courtney (New Zealander Gordon), and the two strike up a strange and strained relationship. How much of it is business and how much of it is pleasure soon becomes an issue when the unlikely duo set up an agency of their own.
THE VERDICT: ‘It’s not Pretty Woman’, runs the movie poster tagline, and they’re right. It’s Risky Business meets Glenroe. Only not quite as sexy as that sounds. Gleeson lets it all hang out, literally, as the lonely farmboy whose entire knowledge of sex has been learnt through the internet. So, perhaps it’s not that surprising that he should be easily talked into opening a brothel. In the midlands. It’s a curious little film, like Garage, only without the garage. And lots of full frontal nudity. That it should turn into The People vs Forrest Hump in the final act only adds to the strangeness – this is no Confessions Of A Horny Hick. Which, you know, is admirable, given how easy it would have been to play Sensation just for laughs and titillation.
IN TIME (USA/12A/109mins)
Directed by Andrew Niccol. Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Vincent Kartheiser, Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, Alex Pettyfer.
THE PLOT: Niccol’s sequel-of-sorts to 1997’s Gattaca has mankind once again in a dystopian near-future.
Our body clocks now stop at 25 years old, after which you literally have to buy your time. Timberlake plays strong-willed, factory worker Will Salas, who, after being given a century of credit by a suicidal playboy just as his beloved mum (Wilde) fatally runs out of time, heads into the rich zone to live the life of, well, someone with all the time in the world.
It’s here that he meets poor little rich girl Sylvia Weis (Seyfried), and pretty soon, she’s got Patty Hearst fever, the duo turning into Bonnie & Clyde as they rob her daddy’s banks, with CMurphy’s dogged timekeeper cop on their trail.
THE VERDICT: It’s a sci-fi survival dilemma that makes hardline hustlers out of men and Kardashians out of women. It also means that a 50-year old MILF can be played by a 27-year old Olivia Wilde. Confused? You won’t be. But, after the initial set-up, you might be bored. Niccol’s film is far more Jumper than The Matrix, being a high-concept sci-fi thriller without even one thrilling money shot. RATING: 2/5
JACK GOES BOATING (USA/IFI/91mins)
Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Richard Petrocelli.
THE PLOT: Hoffman plays the shy and awkward Jack, invited along by his best friend, and fellow limo driver, Clyde (Oritz), to a dinner date along with Clyde’s wife, Lucy (Rubin-Vega), so he can meet the latter’s new co-worker, Connie (Ryan). Connie also isn’t all that great around people, especially when it comes to getting close, but a promise by Jack over dinner to take her boating when the winter passes soon gives both of them something to look forward to.
The days pass too slowly for Jack though, even with all those swimming lessons for the big day, and he soon decides that they should hook up sooner, for dinner. And he’s going to cook. Even though he has no idea, as yet, how to.
THE VERDICT: Based on the eponymous play by Robert Glaudini, Jack Goes Boating may have proven a hit with the critics, but such a melancholy character study was never going to cause a crush at the multiplex. Its box-office take in the US – where it was released in September of last year – struggled just past the half-million dollar mark. Which is not exactly what Hoffman would have wanted, but then again, his directorial debut is a melancholy character study of a particularly melancholic fellow. Which seems to be Hoffman’s favourite kind of role; Jack is not all that far removed from the grieving widower in 2002’s Love Liza, written by his brother, Gordy. Slight, but mighty. If that makes sense. Ryan is terrific too. As always. RATING: 3/5