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Odd Thomas

Streaming

odd thomasThis is a film that suddenly appeared on Netflix with little publicity and I certainly heard nothing about theatrical release or even DVD. The film is based on a book by Dean Koontz but I haven’t read the original story so I can’t really say how good an adaptation it is. I found it an entertaining story and it has quite a memorable punch to its ending

Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) starts out by justifying his Odd name and for better or worse we learn that this film is narrated. This a common way of adapting novels and providing the internal monologue that is such a common part of a novel. This has the danger of making the narrator’s character seem like a smug know-it-all. Odd is charming enough to get away with it but it’s a borderline case. Anyway Odd’s mother claims it was a mistake and his name was supposed to be Todd but his father claims his mother is insane and his name was always meant to be Odd and he seems to have point since all we see of her is a couple of scenes of his mother lunging at someone with a knife and then getting taken way to a psychiatric hospital. We see even less of Odd’s father.

Odd can see dead people but Odd doesn’t just see them: he does something about it. He claims that he keeps this a secret in case he get locked away like his mother but it seems to be a secret that everyone he knows is in on. The dead people he sees are hanging around because they have unfinished business and he confronts the murderer of a teenage girl in a chase and fight across the neighbourhood that Odd eventually wins and he turns the murderer over to the police. Odd has a strange relationship with police in that the Police Chief  Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe) knows about Odd’s abilities but he needs to present a case to a judge that doesn’t involve help from the dead.

Odd works as a cook in a diner where he’s very content since so much of his spare time is taken up with helping the dead. We meet his co-worker Viola (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her two young nieces. Then we meet Stormy Llewelyn (Addison Timlin) the love of Odd’s life. Stormy and Odd have known each other since childhood and he knows they are destined to be together because a fortune teller machine give them a card to say so.

Odd gets worried when a bizarre looking man that Stormy nicknames Fungus Bob (Shuler Hensley) comes into the diner and he is being swarmed by bodachs that only Odd can see, nasty looking parasitic special effects that are attracted to pain and carnage. One is bad news but there are dozens swarming around this guy. Odd decides he needs to keep an eye on him but he knows that bodachs will kill anyone if they discover they can see them.

The small town of Pico Mundo seems like such a nice place that it’s surprise that Odd finds much to do but he’s never seen anything on the scale that all the signs seem to indicate is on its way. Odd tries to investigate but he lives up to Stormy’s nickname of Pooh Bear because at times his head is full of stuffing and he notices important clues then forgets them.

The mood of the film seems to be quite light and humorous but there is a sense of the threat building and only Odd seems to have any clue that something is going to happen. When a woman called Lysette (Shuler Hensley) is killed by dogs only hours after Odd spoke to her at a barbecue he really takes it badly.

I really enjoyed watching this film and I liked the quirky characters and the set-up though there weren’t very many ghosts around. It reminded me a lot of Paranorman only this is live action and definitely for an older audience. It has a sort of indie feel about it so that will it probably not appeal to everyone. There’s a character played by Patton Oswalt who was probably more significant in the original story but has been cut down to a single appearance which is a pity. It has the feel of a TV pilot about it, but one of those pilots that makes me think about checking it out for a few more episodes.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Fairytale

DVD Review

Fairytale DVD 001This Italian film is a psychological supernatural mystery that I picked up cheap in the the local supermarket. It is on of those films that are entertaining enough to watch but it really doesn’t have anything that stands out enough to make it memorable

Sophia (Harriet MacMasters-Green) is moving into her new apartment in Italy with her young daughter Helena (Sabrina Jolie Perez) to get on with her life after Sophia’s husband Robert (Jarreth J. Merz) left her to find himself (a younger woman). Sophia is a historian who teaches at a local college and she is teaching her students about how the city they are in was created by the Fascist leader Mussolini when he drained the coastal marshes, eradicated the malaria carrying mosquitoes and created farm land.

Not long after they move in Helena starts losing one of her milk teeth. While driving Helena to her school Sophia tells her the story of the tooth fairy. Sophia is also getting distracted by interference on her car’s GPS and crashes into a truck when she strays into the wrong lane. The car gets smashed and turned around before skidding off the bridge into the water.

Sophia comes round in hospital and her first concern is Helena and she’s told she’s in the next room. Once she’s been checked out by Doctor Fabiano (Giuliano Montaldo) Sophia goes to see Helena who is looking a bit shaken up but seems relatively unhurt. Sophia apologises for crashing the car but Helena seems mainly concerned about losing her loose tooth in the accident. She demands that her mother find it right away.

Later when they go back to their apartment Sophia discovers Helena has another loose tooth and it is loose enough that Sophia can pull it out and she tells Helena that they can put it under her pillow and the tooth fairy will give her money for it. At night Sophia sneaks into Helena’s room to find the tooth but Helena wakes up and tells her the tooth fairy has already taken away the tooth.

Next morning Sophie asks about find any money and Helena says she did but she knows her mother left it because the tooth fairy had already been and given her money for her tooth. She shows the coins she claims she got and they are all strange old coins. This is the start of Helena acting like there really something in the old wardrobe in her room that wants teeth and gets angry with anyone who gets in her way. Sophia thinks that it might be a result of a head injury in the accident but after repeated tests Dr Fabiano assures her there is no sign of any physical problem. Helena has been drawing many pictures of the scary tooth fairy and Dr Fabiano shows them to a psychiatrist colleague. The psychiatrist is the one who alerts Sophia to the disturbing history of the building she is staying in.

It turns out there was a terrible crime committed in the building and it involved the wardrobe in Helena’s room. There’s also a creepy old neighbour Mr Ferri (Paolo Paoloni) who seems to know exactly what’s going on and warns Sophia to move out before it’s too late. Since it’s a horror film of course Sophia ignores the crazy man until it’s too late and she also sees the figure that is scaring her daughter. Sophia has to solve the mystery of the supernatural threat to her daughter while her ex-husband thinks he has grounds for applying for custody of Helena because the mental instability suggested by Sophia believing that a ghost is after their daughter. It builds to the fairly typical resolution of the mystery but this film has a little extra trick up its sleeve with a neat little dark twist in the ending that I liked.

It is interesting to watch an Italian horror film that has been dubbed into English not long after watching Berberian Sound Studio but this lot less gory than the exploitation film that was being made in that film. Instead it relies more on a fairly standard ghost story format with a creepy atmosphere and a small amount of CGI. It isn’t particularly scary but I was drawn in to the story while watching it even if I probably won’t remember it very much

Rating 6.0/10

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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