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Animation - Short Peace [Japan DVD] BCBA-4582
Animation - Short Peace [Japan DVD] BCBA-4582
40 used & new from $53.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Diverse animation with impeccable storytelling, April 18, 2014
"Short Peace" is an anthology of four extraordinary animated films directed by Shuhei Morita, Katsuhiro Otomo ("Akira"), Hiroaki Ando, and Hajime Katoki. The film follows in the footsteps of Otomo's "Memories" from nearly a decade ago and incorporates different animation styles and film genres into one unique experience.

The opening of the film features a young girl playing hide-and-seek with a boy who is never shown on screen. She keeps asking if the boy is ready for her to come and find him. When he's finally ready, her surroundings completely change. She sees and begins chasing a white rabbit through various environments that are consistently modified. The opening ends with a glowing red ball that flies up her shirt, lifts her into the air, and sifts through a variety of different appearances for the young girl before the "Short Peace" title is shown on screen.

"Possessions" begins with text that tells the story of Tsukumogami; every century souls occupy various inanimate objects and play tricks on people. The short opens with a lone samurai trudging through a forest during a thunderstorm. Seeking shelter, he finds an abandoned shrine to rest in. But the shrine turns out to be haunted as it transports our protagonist to a room infested with umbrellas, an intertwining fabric room, and a smelly garbage demon.

"Combustible" is a story of honor. It's presented in this traditional Japanese style with soft intricate colors which leaves the short feeling simple yet completely elegant. Matsukichi is disowned by his father after his tattoos are discovered, but this allows him to follow his one true passion of becoming a fireman. Waka becomes depressed with Matsukichi's absence as an uncontrollable flame suddenly engulfs their homes.

"Gambo" is the most gripping of the four shorts. A polar bear that can understand human speech is asked by the last remaining daughter of a small village to save them from the red demon. Featuring a field of red flowers that are realistically rendered and a nasty brawl featuring not only the bear and the demon but a samurai and an entire army, "Gambo" begins and ends in one of the messiest bloodbaths imaginable.

The anthology's finale is "A Farewell to Arms," a sci-fi short revolving around a group of scavengers with heightened physical attributes thanks to protective suits who are confronted by an automated artillery drone known as GONK.

"Possessions" is the most satisfying short. Its animation is this wonderful blend of traditional and 3D animation. While the short is somewhat strange at first, it's actually very lighthearted and a joy to watch. The little dancing umbrella frog is freaking adorable. "A Farewell to Arms" is a visual ecstasy thanks to how well its futuristic technology is animated and its dynamic sense of perspective.

"Short Peace" lives up to its title as its brief 68-minute duration results in a film that is extremely easy to digest. The animation in each short is breathtaking in its own way and its short length contributes to the fact that each story is quite engaging. With its beautiful animation and exquisite storytelling, “Short Peace” is a rare animated film that taps into reflective and sentimental territory.

DVD ~ Johnny Depp

2.0 out of 5 stars Squandering intelligence, April 18, 2014
This review is from: Transcendence (DVD)
Wally Pfister, a Chicago-born cinematographer with over 20 years of experience and a frequent collaborator with Christopher Nolan, slides into the director's chair for the first time with "Transcendence." The most exciting aspect of "Transcendence" was that it seemed like it was just physically demanding enough to spark whatever creative juices Johnny Depp has been lacking the past decade or so he's seemingly just been drifting through the motions to cash a paycheck. However, "Transcendence" manages to keep that redundant trend alive and turns what could have been an interesting concept into run of the mill fluff.

You'd think that approaching a character that goes through what seems like a complex story arc of being this extremely intelligent mind who becomes sick, faces death, and then finds new life as this computer generated consciousness would result in this really exceptional and vastly emotional performance. Somehow Johnny Depp makes the Will Caster role incredibly boring. Depp shows little to no emotion the entire film and despite getting top billing feels like he gets less screen time than Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany. Depp lacks whatever passion he once had that made him eccentric and captivating in the past.

Once Will is online, he convinces Evelyn to purchase the small town of Brightwood where they begin to rebuild. After a short two years, nanotechnology becomes the company's policy to fix everything. They begin healing people off the street whether they're blind or stuck in a wheelchair; their ailments are all miraculously cured. Damaged cells are repaired and can even regenerate, but in reality it's as if Will is building a hybrid army. In the grand scheme of things, quantum processors and a field full of solar panels doesn't seem like that much of an advancement from where we are now.

Will is stuck in this constant loop of evolving while Evelyn suddenly begins to feel betrayed and violated. Then there's Max's side of the equation with the mindset that this technology has gone too far and it needs to meet its end. It's a copy and paste command taken to the absolute extreme.

"Transcendence" is able to boast some extraordinary cinematography, but it lacks a heartfelt performance from anyone in the cast. This science fiction thriller is like a really unpolished, chunky puree that combines "The Lawnmower Man," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," and the ending to "The World's End."

Dom Hemingway [Blu-ray]
Dom Hemingway [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jude Law
7 used & new from $30.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Luck is for losers, April 18, 2014
This review is from: Dom Hemingway [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The first five minutes of "Dom Hemingway" are devoted to Jude Law going on a narcissistic tangent about how magnificent his genitalia is. The brief moments leading up to Dom's release from prison are stylized unusually; red screen, voice overs, and an image of Dom with a washed out contrast used for the title sequence. Dom's slow-motion strut signifying his status as a free man with dozens of cellmates chanting his name and throwing rolls of toilet paper in celebration informs you that this man has one hell of a story to tell.

The humor in this British black comedy is fairly dark and twisted. Dom tracks down the man who his wife married after he went to prison, confronts him, and beats him within an inch of his life the very first thing after being let out. While Dom is sitting there catching his breath, he recognizes an old friend and catches up with him a bit before threatening the other man's life again. The majority of the comedy comes from Dom's explosive tirades and his inability to use any sort of filter whenever he speaks.

At its core, "Dom Hemingway" is more than a crude film about a corrupt man convinced he's owed this massive debt. Dom missed his daughter's childhood and wants more than anything to be a part of her life again. In her early 20s, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke) is married with a child of her own yet wants nothing from the man who stepped out of her life over a decade ago. Dom meets a woman named Melody (Kerry Condon) along his adventures, who serves as a reminder that lady luck is never too far away from any situation.

Despite Dom showing signs that he might slowly be drifting from the destructive path he finds himself barreling down the arc the character goes through is a sloppy one. Everything seems to rely on whether luck is on your side or not. Over the course of the film Dom realizes that everything comes full circle without him putting any sort of effort into really changing his ways. Everything ends up fixing itself when Dom is at his worst solely because luck is destined to help him out when he needs it the most.

Jude Law gives an extremely passionate performance fueled by explosive fits of rage in "Dom Hemingway." Law is in rare form here and is undeniably mesmerizing as the venom spewing, short fused, alcohol dependent titular character. Vulgar on the surface, "Dom Hemingway" is actually the story of a man short on his luck who desperately wants to reconnect with his daughter. Unfortunately the story finds itself running in circles and nothing feels resolved. "Dom Hemingway" feels like a Guy Ritchie film the English director would never admit to writing or directing.

Cheap Thrills (Watch Now While It's in Theaters) [HD]
Cheap Thrills (Watch Now While It's in Theaters) [HD]
Price: $6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The glory of greed, March 28, 2014
"Cheap Thrills" seems like the type of film that makes an excuse to show the most gruesome and horrific sequences that come to mind and attempts to pass it off as entertainment, but it's actually a very well crafted black comedy thriller that sheds lights on human nature and what one individual will do when he or she faces desperation.

The film is an unexpected surprise from act one, especially when it comes to the level of acting from everyone involved. Besides "Piranha 3DD," this is probably the closest thing to horror David Koechner has ever done in his nearly two decade acting career. While on the surface, Colin (Koechner) just seems to be looking for a good time and a party worthy enough to satisfy his wife's birthday but there's a dark twist to Colin's behavior; a twist that isn't necessarily unforeseeable but is rather ballsy nevertheless. Meanwhile Pat Healy, who is no stranger to the characters he portrays being described as the creepy comedic relief ("The Innkeepers") or smarmy and treacherous ("Compliance"), does a bit of a 180 in "Cheap Thrills." Craig seems to be a guy who had a troubled past, but now focuses on being the husband and father that he needs to be. Scared of what awaits in an incomeless future, Craig sees a way to make ends meet until an opportunity presents himself with Colin's challenges.

Ethan Embry's take on the Vince character is absorbing. Vince is basically the muscle and debt collector for some shady investor (loan shark? drug dealer?). In his own words, he's still one step away from finding himself back in prison. While he makes enough money to support himself, he needs the amount of money Colin is offering to eventually step away. Violet (Sara Paxton) is very withdrawn, but reasonably so. She's the beautiful woman who has already gotten everything she's ever wanted. So what could possibly satisfy her?

When these four actors get together on-screen, something special happens. Conversations between Craig and Vince fluctuate between pure determination, utter desperation, and frightening intensity while Colin is the puppet master pulling the strings with his lovely assistant Violet doing everything she possibly can from behind the curtain.

What makes "Cheap Thrills" so fascinating is its dissection of the human spirit. What lengths would one person go through for expendable income? Would it be any different for a large enough amount of money that could change your lifestyle? Friendships dissolve and morals are thrown out the window. All that matters is walking away with that prize money even if you find yourself doing the most humiliating or disgusting thing imaginable. Greed is certainly a factor, but providing for those you love is absolutely a part of that as well.

"Cheap Thrills" has this dark atmosphere that is undeniably reminiscent of a horrific film like "Saw," but there's more meaning behind "Cheap Thrills." It's about pushing the limits of how ugly human nature can really get when it's taken to its limits. This is more like a deranged version of "Fear Factor" where you get rewarded for disfigurement and bloodshed yet questions how far one individual is willing to go for expendable currency. Preying on the desperate results in molding one's actions into anything anyone desires and in this case it's something sadistically meaningful. "Cheap Thrills" takes pride in being the devil's advocate to human desires and playing its pawns like the sweet antique ivory keys of a piano.

In Fear
In Fear
DVD ~ Iain De Caestecker
Price: $9.96
11 used & new from $5.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A white knuckled letdown, March 7, 2014
This review is from: In Fear (DVD)
"In Fear" immediately introduces its audience to the fact that Tom and Lucy are about to be screwed no matter what they do. They lose their GPS signal, they decide to stay in the middle of nowhere, they're practically lead down their own downward spiral, and the finishing blow is losing their cell phone reception. You can see and feel the common threads of similar films in "In Fear" and yet it's still able to make its mark as far as atmosphere goes. The woods are a creepy place, especially at night, and "In Fear" capitalizes on that. The majority of the film takes place in Tom's car much like most of "Saw" took place in that one bathroom more than anything else. Not knowing what's out there is what causes the most tension; the rustling of leaves right before darkness hits, Lucy's hair being pulled, and Tom's car alarm going off for seemingly no reason. Tom and Lucy find themselves weaving down these winding and disorienting country roads while there is this impending sense of unknown perfectly established in the first half hour of the film, but naturally the film falls apart when it attempts to reveal its secluded horror.

The film begins to wobble around the time tree branches begin scratching the car as Tom takes one too many swigs of alcohol while driving. A tree almost falls on them and a scarecrow spooks Lucy before someone in a mask lurks in the shadows while watching Tom urinate. You expect to get some answers by the time Max (Allen Leech) is introduced, but the character only makes things more confusing. It's very obvious where the Max character is going but his actions are just baffling, especially the entire fumbling around in the mud scene. You're given a face to who is causing everything, but nothing is ever really explained. It's as if it all comes back to the spilled drink at the pub at the beginning of the film. Did the other guy spill it? Did Tom spill it? Who bought who a round of drinks to keep the peace? The point of the matter is you don't really care.

There are traces of films such as "The Hitcher," "House of 1000 Corpses," "Joy Ride," and "Hush" wrapped up in the DNA of "In Fear," but unfortunately that DNA is more of a clone than its own identity. There's no story and no purpose, so naturally it doesn't feel very gratifying. The ending leaves you on the verge of being infuriated since it's basically a one-sided game of cat and mouse with the cat obviously having the upper hand and the mouse not having any sort of chance whatsoever. "In Fear" is a promising thriller early on, but buckles under the tension it creates and leaves the viewer in a haze.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2014 2:22 PM PST

300: Rise of an Empire (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)
300: Rise of an Empire (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)
DVD ~ Sullivan Stapleton
Price: $24.96

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The drunken stupor of warfare, March 7, 2014
The most impressive aspect of the fantasy action sequel directed by Israeli director Noam Murro is that all of the water in the film was digitally added in post-production. There are moments when the water looks halfway decent, but even as the strongest element in the film it's still fairly weak overall since you can still tell that everything you're looking at is computer generated. There's also one really fantastic sense of perspective that utilizes the 3D element incredibly well when Xerxes is standing over the masses at the beginning of the film.

You can expect to pack your bags and head back home after that since "300: Rise of an Empire" offers nothing you haven't already seen before. The action scenes are swift at times, but also incorporate those weird moments of slow-motion to highlight the film's gore with blood as thick as mud. The extremely filtered and sharp use of colors such as browns, reds, and blacks also return along with drastic lighting and heavy shadows. Extended fight sequences seem somewhat impressive at first until you realize that it's all computer generated and you're basically watching a glorified video game on the big screen. Every action sequence is the same series of movements and events repeated over and over again for nearly two hours; shields clang together, blades slice, men grunt loudly, and blood splatters everywhere in slow-motion. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the unrealistic amounts of blood that tend to explode and geyser out of mere slices of flesh. It's to the extent of squirting blood all over the wall from a paper cut; it's that ridiculous. Queen Gorgo repeats the same, "This is Sparta," line while Themistocles offers up the same kick Leonidas gave to Xerxes' messenger in the first film. That overflowing sense of stubborn Greek and Spartan pride is also still quite apparent as no one seems to listen to reason. Not only is there a lot of yelling, but there are nearly half a dozen motivational speeches to get the troops prepared to die horribly in battle. Why in the world would you go into battle wearing nothing but briefs and a pectoral buckle anyway? Is showcasing your beefcake manliness really that important? Do you really want to end up wearing your chiseled six pack of greatness as a hat by the end of the day?

The acting is very rigid since everyone in the film is portraying that determined warrior hellbent on glory for their people and they all say their lines very dramatically while screaming certain words to make a point like, "FOR SPARTA!" and "EEEYAAAAHHHHRRRNNNGGHHH!!!" But Eva Green seems to take it to this entirely different area of atrociousness. Her voice is very crusty as if she smoked seven packs of cigarettes a day to prepare for her role. Then she has the nastiest and most disturbing sex scene of 2014 that involves choking, hair pulling, slapping, squawking and grunting noises a hippopotamus might make when it's trying to defecate, and distorted facial expressions that look to be caused by pain or constipation. Not to mention Artemesia has some of the worst technicians any war could possibly ask for.

All of Greece seems to either be dusty or on fire since particles are constantly floating around in "300: Rise of an Empire." You get so sick of dismembered limbs, severed heads, and thick blood spouting out of the screen to try to stir up excitement. Abs jiggle, computerized gore is overdone, speeches lifted straight out of "Braveheart" nearly put you to sleep and push the definition of redundancy, and the acting makes you cringe in a contender for one of the worst films of the year. "300: Rise of an Empire" is so bad it nearly destroys what little hope "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" had of actually being worthwhile.

Non-Stop (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
Non-Stop (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Julianne Moore
Price: $24.99

11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Non-Stop' review: Freedom costs a briefcase full of cocaine, February 28, 2014
Saying Bill Marks is a grizzled man is a bit of an understatement. The blurry opening of "Non-Stop" reveals a scraggly Liam Neeson with sloppy hair and a scruffy beard. Bill looks like he's pulled six all-nighters in a row as he takes another swig of liquid courage from a coffee mug in his attempt to drown out the world around him. You also notice him admiring couples and seemingly hating technology; cell phones in particular. He glares at cell phones with such discontent that you can't help but think that about the character. After retrieving the bear of a little girl flying solo for the first time and revealing his fear of flying to the peculiar woman sitting next to him named Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), Bill makes his way to the restroom, slaps duct tape over the smoke detector, lays his weapon and everything in his pockets neatly on the table, and calms his nerves with some nicotine. It's at this point where it's revealed Bill is actually an air marshal. You have to plow through the film to hear the rest of Bill's story, but in actuality it's all a gigantic waste of time.

Things don't really get too ridiculous until Austin Reilly (Corey Stoll), a passenger who is also an NYPD officer, opens his mouth. Not only is he the epitome of New York stereotypes, but he also shares the key scene in which the action thriller takes a turn for the worst. Reilly says something along the lines of, "What are you gonna do?" Bill, with his gun crammed in Reilly's neck, replies, "From one cop to another, you know." What's disappointing is that even the action scenes aren't impressive. There's a fist fight in the bathroom that is the closest thing to anything remotely rewarding in the film, but you honestly just find yourself trying to choke back jokes regarding Liam Neeson joining the mile high club. On a slight upside, the way the film utilizes a broken phone into the texts that are shown on-screen is slightly amusing.

The rest of the time is just devoted to Liam Neeson defying logic and saving the day solely because he's Liam Neeson. He leaves a trail of dead bodies on an airplane and none of the other passengers ever find any of the victims or stumble onto them. A good portion of the passengers left alive are beaten to a pulp thanks to Bill as he slams them around the plane and resorts to beating a teacher and a lawyer before suspecting the few people left who still trust him. He shoves Tom Bowen (Scott McNairy) around the plane with his arm pinned to his back and seems to use the poor guy as a ventriloquist dummy. The climax takes ludricousness to an entirely new level. It culminates with Neeson firing his weapon and hitting its mark in zero gravity in slow-motion with a plane missing half of its exterior as it dives to 8,000 feet.

"Non-Stop" is unbelievably bad, which is really unfortunate since Liam Neeson is perfectly capable of delivering the goods. When crashing the plane is the only answer to a hijacked plane, when piling all of your luggage onto a bomb is the only solution, and when a heart condition is used to explain why someone likes the window seat, then "Non-Stop" is the answer. Now if the theme song to "Team America: World Police" had just played over the end credits, then this might have been somewhat worthwhile. What you're left with is a film that is reminiscent of "Transporter 2," which is an action film everyone is very satisfied forgetting it actually exists.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2014 12:20 AM PDT

Almost Human (Watch While It's In Theatres) [HD]
Almost Human (Watch While It's In Theatres) [HD]
Price: $6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars 'Almost Human' review: Screech and suck to superiority, February 27, 2014
"Almost Human" is shorter than "Cloverfield" and has around an 8-minute end credit sequence solely to be long enough to be entered into the festival circuit. This may make it seem like the sci-fi horror film is rushed along, but its fast pace is actually fairly comfortable and it fits the film very well. The film draws influences from some of the most respectable cult classics. The opening credits and the film mostly taking place in the middle of the woods gives it a "Friday the 13th" atmosphere while the music seems like the forgotten score John Carpenter never released. As the film progresses, you're immediately reminded of "The Thing" and "Halloween" during the final act. The violent, murderous rampage also has some better than decent yet not quite great gore thanks to its practical makeup effects.

It's difficult to root for Seth though because he's so twitchy. While Jen seems to have forgotten everything that happened the night Mark disappeared, Seth just wants to wake her up to the nightmarish sights and sounds he does remember. He isn't heroic and he doesn't want to save anyone. He just wants his life to go back to normal after Jen told the media that he was behind everything and it ruined his life. In other words, Seth only cares about himself.

There's this entire sequence where Seth doesn't seem to understand anything anyone is telling him. He mutters the phrase, "What's that supposed to mean," several times in less than five minutes. Mark always seems to ask questions without giving anyone a chance to actually answer. He asks a man cutting firewood why he's living in his house before blasting him with a shotgun and thrusting a hatchet into the back of his skull before the poor guy can give an actual answer. Seth is trying to load a rifle while Jen is in trouble. He’s rushed and in a panic, but can’t seem to get any of the shells into the actual gun. So he just throws the entire supply on the floor. While the film has several positive influences, the other influences aren't so great. "Jason Goes to Hell" is passable since the acting in that sequel is some of the best in the "Friday the 13th" series, but "Almost Human" is a lot like "Dreamcatcher" at the end of the day and that's something no film should try to ride the coattails of.

"Almost Human" would be a decent first film for anyone, but its abrupt ending and familiarities hurt it more than anything else. Nothing is really explained by the end of the film and you're left wondering why aliens have a thing about turning our televisions on, making prank calls, turning the lights on and off, and possess impregnating elongated mouth funnels. While "Almost Human" pays homage to some truly great horror and sci-fi films of the past, it fails to really personify its own identity and it crumbles under the weight of paying too much homage without building its own foundation.

Adult World (Watch While It's In Theatres) [HD]
Adult World (Watch While It's In Theatres) [HD]
Price: $6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A morally satisfying message trapped in a garbage burrito, February 27, 2014
The opening to "Adult World" is enough to let you know what you're in for as you witness Amy attempt to commit suicide by sticking her head in the oven and putting a plastic bag over her head. After getting a job at Adult World, Amy's boss is a very down to earth guy named Alex (Evan Peters) who may work at an adult video store, but has no issue with that whatsoever and he doesn't let that affect his other interests. It's through Alex and Adult World that Amy meets a drag queen named Rubia (Armando Riesco) and even though they get off on the wrong foot they eventually become really good friends.

Unfortunately Amy is blinded by selfishness and obsessed with a pessimistic hack. Amy makes a series of poor decisions to try and follow her dream of becoming a poet. She makes childish mistakes, but then becomes upset when someone calls her a child. She's irritating, has a nerve-grating voice, is naive, and extremely pompous as she seems to look down on everyone around her. Alex at least seems normal even though he works in what some would consider an uncomfortable environment, but the most interesting character is Rubia. The character really doesn't do much other than smoke pot, ride a stolen bicycle, and give other women makeovers, but Rubia never pretends to be anything that she isn't. Amy asks Rubia in one scene if she has ever felt invisible. Rubia's face distorts as she says, "Not really." It's as if Rubia has all the attention she's ever wanted while Amy continues to search for the big break she's always craved.

If you can persevere through Amy's temper tantrums and John Cusack acting like he has no interest in being in "Adult World," then there actually is something really positive and inspirational lying under layers within the film. Like "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Adult World" seems to speak to you if you've ever felt like a struggling artist. Along the way, Amy learns that it's not just about making a name for yourself, getting rich, or becoming famous. You can't make a carbon copy of the path your idol took or follow in anyone else's footsteps. Sometimes you have to take your own path and create your art just for you.

"Adult World" has this really exceptional message wrapped up in this unbelievably obnoxious package that almost makes the entire experience unbearable. It's like a really disgusting bag of garbage filled with rotting produce and decomposing meats; the type of garbage that creates that dirty, brown trash juice you always find bleeding out of dumpsters. Yet in the middle of that bag is something worthwhile like a forgotten treasure map or one of your favorite comic books magically still in mint condition. "Adult World" may have meaning, but you have to trudge through waist deep piles of unfiltered, prepubescent, overdramatic whimpering just to get to it.

Odd Thomas
Odd Thomas
DVD ~ Anton Yelchin
Price: $12.96
6 used & new from $12.96

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Odd Thomas' review: The tale of a narcissistic fry cook, February 27, 2014
This review is from: Odd Thomas (DVD)
Aside from "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns," director Stephen Sommers directed and contributed to the writing for films like "Van Helsing" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." The issue is that "Odd Thomas" feels extremely outdated like if "The Mummy" from 1999 was released today. Financial woes seemed to plague the film not only during production but while trying to get a potential release, as well. So depending on how long the film sat on the shelf (for example "The Cabin in the Woods" was on the shelf for three years before release and yet was still awesome), it very well could be more dated than it seems.

It should be apparent that Sommers is directing early on with the Arnold Vosloo cameo, nearly unbearable humor, and cheesy special effects. It isn't so much a bad thing that Sommers is still making films today, but it seems like the Indianapolis born director is completely blind to what audiences want these days and keeps making the types of films that may have been successful 15 years ago.

"Odd Thomas" suffers from a rambling narrative that adores the sound of its own voice. Odd narrates his own story, which is fine, but it honestly just seems like an excuse to hear the character that much more. Odd is constantly talking. He's very quirky and weird and he lives up to his name, but his speeches get on your nerves and just when you think you'll have a moment of peace and quiet he chimes in with a voiceover that lasts another three minutes to drive you insane. His relationship with Stormy is so lovey-dovey that it'll make you sick. The special effects look like something that would be found on a movie made specifically for SyFy. The Bodachs alone would be fine, but what is the purpose of computer generating a cucumber that Odd is slicing at work?

If Dean Koontz isn't ashamed of the film adaptation of his "Odd Thomas" series, then he either really doesn't care about the characters he creates or the books are just as awful as the film if not more so. "Odd Thomas" is a sloppy mixture of what could otherwise be a fun thriller. It's like a really lazy rip off of Peter Jackson's "The Frighteners" if it was made 18 years too late. With atrocious attempts at humor, force-fed romantic drivel shoved in your face whenever Odd and Stormy are on screen together, a main character who never knows when to shut up, and an ending you can see coming long before the climax hits, it's no wonder the film had financial problems. Now if we could just figure out how in the world the film landed respectable talent like Willem Dafoe and Patton Oswalt, then our faith in humanity might be restored.

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