Thursday, December 4, 2008

Disturbia (2007)

What did I learn from Disturbia? Shia LaBeouf is a pleasant surprise. He's a wee bairn barely out of his 20s but his face is expressive, he's likeable and he can act. Until this movie, all I knew about LaBeouf is that I enjoyed saying his name and that he might be a bit of a bad boy (shouts out to the Entertainment News tidbits at

I wasn't expecting much from Disturbia. I thought it'd be a spoof about moving to the 'burbs from the "big city" with hijinks leading to neighbor bonding. Now that I have cable and hundreds of channels to pore over, it's easy to make choices because they are easily revoked. I said, what the hell and selected Disturbia--the name intrigued but it happened to be starting the same minute I had found it on the Guide channel.

Before the first 10 minutes had played, there was intense action that sets up the movie. An event leading from this incident causes Kale (LaBeouf) to end up in home incarceration for three months. Kale quickly falls into a slump of inactivity and boredom--being at home 24/7 slowly brings on insanity. His mother Julie (Carrie-Ann Moss) is gone a lot but when she's there, she's unable to connect with her increasingly slacker teenager. The boredom leads Kale to start monitoring his neighbors through his binoculars: he's got the new neighbors with the hot teenage daughter, the grade-school brats who torture him with pranks and the neighbor he starts to suspect is a serial killer. Shenanigans ensue, suspense builds and rising action follows. Disturbia is a simple film. There are times you are pushed to suspend reality too much, but you want to because, it's extremely entertaining. It reminds me of a modern episode of the Hardy Boys meets Scooby Doo...think "If it hadn't been for you meddling kids..." So, yeah, see it and look up Mr. LeBeouf. He's had a quite a few roles already. Am I the only newbie?

Director: DJ Caruso

Country: US

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 105 minutes

Scale: 3.75

Or, My Treasure (2004)

Dysfunction Junction Teenager Or (Dana Ivgy) wants her mother Ruthie (Ronit Elkabetz)to stop prostituting herself on the streets of Israel, get a different kind of job and just be her mother. Or collects plastic bottles for recycling, she works washing dishes at a restaurant--anything to bring money into the home in hopes her mother won't leave the house that night to walk the streets. Or takes care of Ruthie--validating her, getting her up in the morning, getting her a job, dying her hair. Her mother is the rebellious teen in the equation, who really does not want to stop doing what she's doing. From the beginning you see the smarts on Or. Her mother is a girl in a woman's body. It's lovely and painful to watch how much they depend on each other because even though Or is clearly the adult, she needs her mother, if not to have someone to take care of.

The movie shies away from judging Ruthie for being a prostitute. This way it focuses instead on the co-dependency and guides the viewer through it--you are in it. It's honest and unflinching, but ultimately it is Or who gets disappointed over and over. This is one to see if you are interested in character development. Or is not an action flick. It's about hope and disappointment, youth versus age and loss of innocence. Not a happy ending, but after you see it, you wouldn't want it any other way.

Director and co-writer: Keren Yedaya

Country: Israel

Genre: Drama

Run time: 100 minutes

Scale: 4