Previewing Disturbia, Perfect Stranger

It's all the rage in Hollywood these days: not screening films for critics, and there's a ton of those this week. I'll get to those tomorrow. Now I'm gonna talk a little about the movies I will be allowed to see before they open on Friday.

Monday I'll check out Perfect Stranger. Despite the fact that I kinda liked director James Foley's 2003 flick Confidence, this new work of his isn't inspiring much of that emotion. Not only does it star the beautiful but talentless Halle Berry, in a standard woman-in-jeopardy "thriller" that sounds like it should have gone straight to Lifetime, word is that Foley shot three different endings, with three different characters as the killer. If the characters are all that interchangeable, how good can the film possibly be?

Tuesday it's Disturbia for me. This one's from director D.J. Caruso -- he made The Salton Sea from a few years back much better than it deserved to be, which is a sign in the favor of Disturbia, as is star Shia LaBeouf, one of the more interesting young actors working today, and the kick-ass title, which is cool. On the other hand, the whole thing sounds like Rear Window Babies, with Shia and his hot neighbor/would-be girlfriend as a couple of teens who spy on a guy they think is a killer from the immobility of Shia's house arrest. Oh boy.

Come to think of it, maybe it makes sense that the studios want to keep movies like these under wraps as long as possible. And if this is the stuff they're willing to let us critics see, imagine how terrible the other ones must be.

I'll also see Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie on Tuesday, and I'm kinda looking forward to this one, but only because of that nonsense up in Boston a few months back. I've never seen the cartoon the movie is based on, but it must be pretty awesome if its characters can be mistaken for weapons -- maybe they're like scary robot Transformers or something? They couldn't possibly be anything cuddly and unscary with that fearsome rep. Perhaps I'll wear my ATHF is the bomb T-shirt to the screening ....


MaryAnn Johanson

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