Director Stephen Sommers is known for works such as “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and “Van Helsing”; in the words of one U.S. critic, he makes “watchable trash.”

So “Odd Thomas” is a big surprise. It’s quirky and charming, with the occasional “Huh?” moment that will leave you scratching your head. Starring Anton Yelchin in the title role, it is a strange piece of storytelling.

Odd is his first name, by the way, and not a personality trait. Though it’s that too. He works as a short-order cook in a California town and has the distinction of being able to see dead people and to foresee those about to die, heralded by the presence of some creepy CGI monsters. “But by God, I’ll do something about it!” is Odd’s battle cry, as he strives to prevent too many deaths happening in his town. Too many deaths, it turns out, is exactly what’s in store.

Odd Thomas
Director Stephen Sommers
Language English
Opens Opens Jan. 10, 2014

Based on a Dean R. Koontz novel, the film does not have U.S. distribution, and in Japan it’s opening for just one week, at a handful of art-house theaters. It’s a shame, really. There’s a nostalgic, licorice-and-candy-corn flavor to “Odd Thomas” that will leave you wanting more. (K.S.)

To win Hayakawa Bunkokan’s Japanese edition of the novel, signed by Dean R. Koontz, visit http://jtimes.jp/film.

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