Odd Thomas

Toni Servillo in THE GREAT BEAUTY

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Great Beauty (Criterion) Paolo Sorrentino’s almost plotless portrait of the glamorous nightlife of contemporary Rome may seem on the surface to be an obvious choice for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. After all, it quite deliberately follows the footsteps of La Dolce Vita as an ode not only to Rome’s vast history, but its history of cinematic glitz. Yet there’s a great deal going on below The Great Beauty’s exquisitely realized surface. Rather than a simple 21st century upgrade of Fellini’s Rome, The Great Beauty is an existential travelogue, a decadent and detailed portrayal of a place uncertain about how to realize its future as a definitive global city in the culture so content to rest its champagne-soaked laurels on its extensive reputation. We see Rome through the eyes of Toni Servillo’s Jep Gambardella, whose failure to produce a second novel after a monumental first success sets the stage for his engrossing tour of Rome’s beguiling but hollow surfaces. While it made nary an appearance on op-ed trendpieces on the topic, Sorrentino’s film belongs directly alongside 2013’s many portrayals of excess for an era of economic uncertainty. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautifully shot and edited exegesis on the sweet life. – Landon Palmer [Blu-ray/DVD extras:  Interviews with the director, lead actor, and screenwriter; deleted scenes; trailer; an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by Philip Lapote]

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Anton Yelchin in ODD THOMAS

If Edgar Wright had sex with an episode of Gilmore Girls and the happy couple gave birth to a child who was repeatedly dropped on its head during its formative years, that offspring just might grow up to become the new Stephen Sommers film, Odd Thomas. Please, allow me to explain. Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is a fry cook in the small Southwestern town of Pico Mundo, but while he likes to keep his life simple and free of clutter like motor vehicles, 401k accounts, and premarital sex, he actually has a fairly complicated secret. He sees dead people. That should be enough for any man, but on occasion Odd also sees fibrous phantoms he calls bodachs that appear in anticipation of pain, suffering, and bloodletting. He starts seeing swarms of them around town, and soon Odd’s investigating a stranger he fears may be planning a devastating attack on his friends and neighbors.

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Odd Thomas

The life of a man named Odd Thomas is bound to be anything but normal. Anton Yelchin, as the titular odd man, is just an average everyday diner cook who can seemingly see otherworldly creatures and conjure up gateways to hell. His paranormal powers get him, along with his trusty gal pal Stormy (Addison Timlin) mixed up in some spooky business in their quiet southwestern town — where apparently every surface is just crawling with ghosts and ghoulies. Based on the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, the supernatural comedy-action-thriller (supromedacthriller?) has been in the works for quite some time, but was delayed indefinitely in July 2013. The film is back for a February release in full force, meaning the clock is ticking to get a trailer up and out. While nearly anything featuring both Willem Dafoe and murderous ghost-demons interacting in the same vicinity usually gets a must-see stamp, based on the (fairly hefty at 2:27) trailer, this one might be getting a pass.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that will soon be shot almost exclusively in IMAX. What this means for you is that you’ll need to get a bigger monitor, as this column will only appear to those whose monitors are at least 70 feet tall. We feel that’s the only way to read it. We promise to make it worth your while. According to a handy press release from Warner Bros., we can now confirm that production has begun on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. For those who have not heard of this project, it’s the third in Nolan’s somewhat popular series of Batman movies. But wait, there’s more: “Christopher Nolan is utilizing IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on The Dark Knight, which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was partially shot with IMAX® cameras.” Oh yes!

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What is Movie News After Dark? If you have to ask, then you can’t afford to miss it. I’ll admit it, I’m excited about Mortal Kombat Legacy, the web series from Kevin Tancharoen, who put together that excellent Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short film not too long ago. It looks like a solid take on a franchise that is always towing the line between badass and sillidiculous. And the first look at Sub-Zero, as played by Kevan Ohtsji, leans toward the former. The web series premieres April 12 on Machinima’s YouTube Channel.

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The world is now one step closer to a legitimate Hollywood adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel. Of the fifteen or so that have reached the screen only two, Demon Seed and Phantoms, came from anything resembling a major studio/distributor. The rest have been a mixed bag of TV movies, mini-series, and direct-to-DVD releases. But there are currently two films in pre-production that hold great promise for fans of the author’s many novels screaming to be turned into feature films. Director Ole Bornedal is set to direct The Husband for Focus Features, but there’s been little movement there since the announcement two years ago. And Universal Pictures is planning on releasing Stephen Sommers’ film version of Odd Thomas. Bringing Odd Thomas closer to reality is the recent announcement that Anton Yelchin will be starring in the title role. Yelchin was last seen in 2009’s one-two punch of Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, and while he was out of sight throughout 2010 the next two years look to be even busier for the young actor. In addition to the recent Sundance hit Like Crazy and the remake of Fright Night, he’ll next be seen in Jodie Foster’s The Beaver. Per IMDB he has an additional three films lined up through 2012 as well, so we’ll have to wait and see where Odd Thomas fits into it all.

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Dean Koontz Odd Thomas

Bestselling author Dean Koontz was at Comic-Con over the weekend and made the first official announcement regarding an Odd Thomas movie.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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