Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shia LaBeouf (Disturbia) has big weekend with SNL

Hi-ya Shia LaBeouf really had his debutante this weekend. (As if, a Disney-started career ranging from “Holes” to “A Guide to Recongizing Your Saints” were not enough.) His newest film, “Disturbia” opened this weekend. There was an announcement, somewhat ambiguous that he will star in Raiders of the Lost Ark 4 (with a very ripened Harrison Ford). And he hosted Saturday Night Live on April 14, playing roles in several skits, at least one of the skits making fun of underage drinking laws. Since Shia is 20, he is below legal drinking age, and (except for Drew Barrymore, according to someone at Landmark Theaters) the youngest host ever for SNL.

The movie, Disturbia, is said to be a loose remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), in which a photographer, laid up in a wheelchair with a cast up to his thigh, becomes concerned about a possible murder in the tenement across the courtyard. The film is famous for its close-ups and the New York City apartment noise chatter effects. Rear Window was shown in downtown Washington in the mid 1940s in an old boxy theater called the Playhouse, pre-Cinemascope, perfect for the intimate shots of Hitchcock’s films. The new film, directed by D. J. Caruso (written by Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth), sets up a disturbed teenager sitting out a house arrest and noticing the possibility of a killer having moved in next door. But this time the kid Kale (played by Shia) is always tinkering with his computers and video equipment, despite having his iPod and xBox accounts taken away by his mother as part of his “punishment” (fortunately, his real estate broker Mom – right out of “American Beauty” – didn’t know the extent of Kale’s ability to teach himself new skills – a good lesson for kid. The opening of the film, where Kale loses his dad in a car accident and where he punches out a Spanish teacher who insults the memory of his father, is quite riveting.

Disturbia is shot in standard 1.85 to 1 aspect, Hitchcock-style (without Scope) in order to emphasize the close-ups, making Kale the center of the film and keeping the focus (around the house) limited. The opening fly-fishing scene in the mountains, however, reminded one of the scenery of “Brokeback Mountain” and even “Legends of the Fall.” A western, however, this film would not become.

The film is being exhibited as a quasi-art film, produced by Dreamworks SKG LLP, but actually distributed by Paramount as a "regular" release.

Shia gets a lot of media coverage. There is Ellen McCarthy “Shia LaBeouf has come of age” Oct. 13, 2006, here.

Apparently there was at least one real-life incident similar to some of the roles Shia has played. The story is here, but the early 2005 incident apparently blew over.

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