Movie Review: Odd Thomas

I’m not odd. Sure, I’m strange but I’ve never been called “odd”. Oh, you’re talking about a different Thomas. OK then…

A man with supernatural powers tries to solve a murder and save the town from the forces of evil.

First of all, I haven’t read the series. I should be thankful that Odd was able to give us some narration throughout the entire film. Otherwise, I would be more lost than I was during the viewing in understanding how the world works.

After spending some time with Odd, it becomes apparent that he will straddle the line between emulating Buffy’s quips (one of the people I was with during the viewing referenced the Hellmouth) and trying to be suave, all at once. I couldn’t get a firm grasp on his personality or his dynamic between him and Stormy.

The use of CGI was mixed. The animation of the bodachs was very smooth and composited well. However, the green screen in the belfry was obvious, complete with a green halo around Stormy’s hair. If you look closely when Odd is doing his job, the cucumber slices are CG.

The plot does manage to get some surprises in, even if you called the climax in the second act. I hesitate to mention how there are some devices that are borrowed from another supernatural thriller, especially since Odd handwaves one quote from said film. I didn’t mind much.

Towards the end, one guy pointed out something about the bodachs that escaped the film’s established logic. Within the film, these creatures seemingly cannot be harmed anything within the physical world. And yet, the leader bodach (I guess, judging by the number of limbs) is destroyed in a fire. We talked about it and couldn’t figure out where or how it was justified, aside from a large explosion.

In the end, the film is an uneven blend of elements. It’s one that can keep your interest through the running time but in the end, it’s not one I’d watch again any time soon.


#AutismSpeaks10 Takeover

Hey there. At this time, I’d like to talk to you about something that’s been brewing over the past few days that, odds are, you haven’t heard about. It’s a social media revolution that regards A$ and those who are actually autistic.

Last week, the company announced that it would celebrate it’s tenth birthday and created the hashtag #AutismSpeaks10. The intent was for supporters and families to talk about how great the organization is. Word spread quickly through the autism community and it created a backlash. Now, I’ve talked about how the organization has affected me, so it should be no surprise how I feel about the matter.

I’ve taken to Twitter to do my part and have provided some of the tweets below. (To those who do follow me, it’s something that needs to be done.) You won’t find it in the “autism” tag on WordPress (believe me, I checked).

day 5 5

This is recent as of this morning. I’ve seen the video and it’s as one-sided as you can get.


day 5 2

It’s a play on words, especially within the autism community.



With this tweet, I got the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) to favorite it. That says something.

Since I started, I’ve picked up some new followers. I’m not sure when this will end but I don’t expect it will any time soon, especially with April around the corner. The only positive news source that reported on this was BuzzFeed.

I’m still a bit new to this autism advocacy thing, but it’s something I need to do for the rest of my life. There’ll be more in April but for now, it’s a start.

And the Winner Is… (2015)

wes anderson tweet

Yes, I stayed up for the Oscars (and am regretting the decision after five hours of sleep). There were some high points, like Graham Moore’s acceptance speech, and low points. I’m sure Neil Patrick Harris just had an off-night; happens to everyone. Winner: (my pick)

Best Picture: Birdman (Birdman)

Best Director: Birdman (Boyhood)

Best Actor – Leading: Eddie Redmayne: The Theory of Everything (Michael Keaton: Birdman)

Best Actress – Leading: Julianne Moore: Still Alice (Felicity Jones: The Theory of Everything)

Best Actor – Supporting: J.K. Simmons: Whiplash (Ethan Hawke: Boyhood)

Best Actress – Supporting: Patricia Arquette: Boyhood (Kiera Knightly: The Imitation Game)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida (Ida)

Best Animated Feature Film: Big Hero 6 (Song of the Sea/HTTYD2)

Best Documentary Feature: CitizenFour (Finding Vivian Maier)

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki: Birdman (Robert Yeoma: The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Colleen Atwood: Into the Woods)

Best Film Editing: Tom Cross: Whiplash (Sandra Adair: Boyhood)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier: The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Music – Original Score: Alexandre Desplat: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Hans Zimmer: Interstellar)

Best Music – Original Song: “Glory” from Selma (“Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie)

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash (American Sniper)

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar (Interstellar)

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game (Inherent Vice)

Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Birdman (Foxcatcher)

Best Documentary Short Subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (The Reaper (La Parka))

Best Animated Short: Feast (Feast or The Dam Keeper)

Best Live Action Short: The Phone Call (Aya)

Final tally: 6/24

I’m astonished how much I missed. I forgot to look before the ceremony and I thought I had made more correct picks. Maybe I’ll wait a bit after the nominees are announced before I make my picks. There’s always next year.

Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending

I knew only part of what I was getting myself into when a mutual friend and I made plans for Valentine’s Day to see this movie. We both admitted that we wanted to see it because of how allegedly bad it was. The best way to describe is Jupiter Ascending; interest plummeting.

A cleaning woman finds out that she’s some sort of space princess who has to save the Earth from being destroyed.

I admit that my interest had piqued when I saw the trailer; however, the level of interest rested at “I’ll catch it on DVD when my library gets it”. When the reviews came out, panning the Wachowski’s latest film, I had misguided hope that maybe the critics were wrong. If worse came to worse, it would be a fun popcorn movie that would keep the patrons out from the cold for two hours.

I’m down for a film that has a great adventure and some fantastic world-building, but I shouldn’t need to ask for the characters to wear nametags (yes, it was one of those films). It reminded me of when I watched Dune for the first time, except that this is an original property. I’m sure the actors had some idea of how this universe worked but if the script was really as long as is reported (600 pages), I would’ve been lost. It’s clear that some scenes were left on the cutting room floor, if only to keep a reasonable runtime, but they probably had some explanatory elements.

Visually speaking, it’s a mixed bag. The sets are spectacular and immersive but there’s no consistency in style. There was a lot of care in the modeling of the ships and visual effects, that much is certain. The make-up at times was a cross between How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Rat King from The Nutcracker in 3D. The lighting is an uninspired teal and orange combination that has run rampant on movie posters in particular as of late (see for yourself).

The acting is okay, I guess. Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum tried their best but they look uninterested in what’s going on. Now that I think about it, Mila Kunis didn’t look happy at any point in the film. Eddie Redmayne’s performance is more about the chewing the scenery; at first you don’t believe it but then it persists.

There are some unintentionally laughable moments because of what is on the screen. Sure, the roller-blade motion of the gravity boots is cool but when you do it in the middle of a corn field, it’s ridiculous. Same goes for the bees. I leaned over and quoted the remake of Wicker Man (among other things throughout the film) as it happened because of how it looked. It’s one thing to utilize visual elements for aesthetic reasons with reasoning to back it up. It’s another when they fail to work together as a whole.

It’s set up to be a franchise but there’s no need. If it does indeed continue, I hope that there are more people on hand to monitor the writing. When I rewatch the film in a year or so, you’ll know there’ll be an alternate soundtrack. Save yourself the trouble and wait for it come on DVD, if you do plan to see it.


Sync or Swim: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Cake

moulin rouge sync

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time for another love-themed sync (click here for last year’s) with a film that talks about love quite a bit: Moulin Rouge! It’s a reverse sync with a difference of a few months.

Take the 2001 version of Moulin Rouge! and Cake’s “Comfort Eagle” and start both at 0:00. Play the album once. Discovered by me in March 2014.

Opera Singer

  • The orchestra tunes up as the song begins.
  • “I call my co-stars name.” The opening credits play.
  • “Some people, they call me saint.” Christian’s face appears.
  • “I sing in foreign lands.” Here, it’s France.
  • The ending music fits with the montage of the Moulin Rouge.

Meanwhile, Rick James…

  • “…all full of desire.” A brief clip of the dancers plays.
  • “Meanwhile, Rick James takes anew.” Christian starts his new life in Paris.
  • “…and there’s nothing I can do.” We learn about the narcoleptic Argentinian.

Shadow Stabbing

  • “Adjectives on a typewriter, he moves his words like a prizefighter.” This is Christian’s character.
  • “The frenzied pace…” The editing style in the first third of the film.
  • “I know this can’t last.” The bliss and ecstasy of the Bohemian revolution is brief.

Short Skirt/Long Jacket

  • The entire song fits the formal introduction to all of the dancers, describing different aspects of taste. This song is the highlight of the sync.
  • “I want a girl with a mind like a diamond.” Zidler’s girls are briefly referred to as “Diamond Dogs”.
  • Everyone dances to the beat.

Commissioning a Symphony in C

  • “So you’ll be an Austrian nobleman, commissioning a symphony in C.” Christian has to pose as the Duke when he talks to Satine.
  • “…you can give it as a present.” Satine sings about giving diamond gifts during “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
  • “They are transfixed, they are forgetting just to breathe.” The gentlemen throw money at Satine, admiring her beauty.
  • “…seldom breathing life, but mostly death.” Foreshadowing about Satine’s fate.

Arco Arena

  • The brief instrumental occurs during Satine’s undressing.

Comfort Eagle

  • The crowd dances to the beat of the song.
  • “To resist is useless.” Satine drags Christian to the dance floor.
  • “But you better come with cash.” How else do you expect to pay for the girls at the Moulin Rouge?
  • “You can dress up like a sultan…” A reference to the third act of the film.
  • The music changes mood as Satine falls off.

Long Line of Cars

  • “We’ve got to keep this traffic flowing and accept a little sin.” This is how life at the Moulin Rouge works.

Love You Madly

  • “Love” is said 143 times throughout the film.
  • Satine tries to make Christian love her but has difficulty.
  • “…when the elephants arrive.” The two of them are in the Elephant room.
  • “The ornaments look pretty but they are pulling down the branches of the tree.” A one-sentence viewpoint of what the film is for some people.

Pretty Pink Ribbon

  • Some previous packaging for the film featured the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. This can be revealed if you access the disc in Windows Media Player.
  • This plays during the Elephant Love Medley.
  • “Your cancer would eat through the bone.” While Satine may not have cancer, she does have a devastating illness.

World of Two

  • The Duke’s “world of two” would be him and Satine.
  • “I don’t like to hang around you.” Christian begins to leave as Satine tries to seduce the Duke.

I tried it before with having the album play through the entire movie but it gets exhausting. It’s better to just leave it at one play. It’s pretty decent as far as reverse syncs go but it’s more about the mood.

Sync grade: B