Repeaters (2010): Groundhog Day Hell

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What would you do if you had a chance to relive just one day over and over? Try to change your destiny? Change the world? Change your life? In a 24 hour rewind you wouldn’t think that there would be a huge opportunity to change very much. Three “twenty-somethings” find out just how life changing a repeated second chance is in this brilliant little film from Canada.

Written by Arne Olsen (Relic Hunter, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie)  and directed by Carl Bessai (Severed, Normal) Repeaters is the story of three inmates of a drug rehabilitation centre in Mission City. Kyle Halstead (Dustin Milligan), Sonia Logan (Amanda Crew) and Michael Weeks (Richard De Clerk) all hang out together and one event filled day they become caught in a time warp that results in them re-living that day repeatedly.

The combination of great story-line and great performances by the lead actors made this spontaneous purchase of an 8 pound DVD turn into a real gem of a film.

Richard De Clert, Amanda Crew and
Richard De Clert, Amanda Crew and Dustin Milligan.

The publicity/marketing for the film states that the film is like Taken meets Groundhog Day. Now that sounds good, but in my humble opinion the film is more like Groundhog Day meets Flatliners.

My only real problem with the film was the lead actors resemblance’s to other actors and (in one case) to one of my first cousins. The most obvious one was Amanda Crew who looked so much like Jennifer Love Hewitt that I kept wondering how she’d managed to look so young. Obviously the film makers saw this resemblance as they never lost an opportunity to put a knit hat on her head that enhanced the likeness.

Still, resemblances aside, the actors did a magnificent job in the film. The three of them interacted with each other and other characters in the film, brilliantly.

The best thing about the film, was their evolving feelings about the repetitious day. Denial, acceptance, enjoyment, disillusionment. and realisation. Unfortunately, the two male characters had more of a story arch than the female lead, but despite the slight annoyance of this fact the film still delivered a pretty impressive punch.

There is not a whole lot of information available on this 2010 Canadian independent film, but they do still have a website: Repeaters.

If you get a chance, check this film out. This is the third Canadian film to completely blow me away and it’s left me with a growing admiration for my “first cousins” and their creative ability.

A real 5 star film about a supernatural event that will blow you away.

Watch this film.

Director Carl Bessai.
Director Carl Bessai.

A Simple Plan by Scott Smith: Not so Simple

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A Simple Plan is Scott Smith’s first book. It caused a lot of fuss when it hit the book stands and after reading it, I can see why. I’ve actually reversed into this debut novel of Smith’s because I read The Ruins first and fell in love with his story telling abilities based on that novel.

The book has been called “A compulsive thriller which also happens to be a beautifully written and original work of art” Robert Harris. I believe him. It’s such an accurate description of Smith’s writing style and of the story itself that the publishers have pasted it across the front of the paperback version of the book.

If you look at the Wikipedia plot description, it is a bit too simple, straightforward and a little misleading. From Wikipedia: Three men find an airplane crashed in a forest. The pilot is dead and the cockpit contains a gym bag with $4.4 million in one-hundred-dollar notes. They decide to keep the money, dividing it equally, but their plans go wrong when others come close to discovering their secret, resulting in multiple murders.

Now that description would catch my interest, but it is not what the book is really about.

Hank Mitchell lives in a rural area of America. He is married and his wife Sarah is expecting their first baby. His brother Jacob, a behemoth of a man, is one of life’s under achievers. Jacob’s best friend is drunken wastrel Lou. Lou doesn’t like Hank and the feeling is mutual.

Hank and Jacob’s parents commit suicide when the farm that their father owned got into financial difficulties. The two brothers have little in common and don’t even like each other very much. Hank is an accountant and the only bright spark in his life is his pregnant wife.

Hank, Jacob and Lou make an uneasy trio of men thrown together by familial ties, circumstance and financial similarities. Hank, despite being the only employed member of this little group is basically easily led and taken advantage of. He is not strong enough morally or physically to make a stand for himself.

Then one snowy morning all three men are in a pickup truck when Jacob’s dog (a male named Mary Beth) jumps out of the truck to chase a fox. Both fox and dog disappear into the woods and the men go to find Mary Beth. Once in the woods they find a small crashed aircraft. They also find a dead pilot and duffel bag stuffed with money.

Hank takes control of the situation and decides that if they hold onto the money for six months it will then be safe for them to split the cash and no one will be the wiser. With explicit instructions to not tell anyone about what they’ve found, Hank becomes the “keeper” of the money.

Stress, dire financial situations, lack of secrecy and trust all begin to take their toll on the three men and as events snowball out of control, things turn murderous.

This story had me gripped from the first page. Smith paints a brilliant picture of small town life and the people who inhabit it. His painting of the three (four counting Sarah) main characters made them so real and complete I felt badly for them when things got so out of hand.

Hank was the main protagonist and it doesn’t take long to see that he really is not up to the task at hand. Sarah becomes a big player in the action by first acting as his sounding board and then later taking a more active role in events.

This tale of greed, fear and mass murder was made into a film in 1998 by Sam Raimi, starring Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda, if it is one-quarter as good as the book, I have to see it.

This was a brilliant book. A real 5 out of 5 stars for originality and for characters that leapt off the page at you, they seemed so real. If you don’t read any thing else this year, read this book.

While the title may be A Simple Plan, the story itself is not so simple.

Author Scott Smith.
Author Scott Smith.

Outrage (2010)

After a long absence from the Yakuza films that made his name, Beat Takeshi, aka Takeshi Kitano is back on form in this violent Yakuza film. Enjoy!

Black Swan (2010)

My take on Black Swan and I highly recommend you folks see the film! This was made back in February 2011. Enjoy!

Jackie Chan & Jayden Smith The New Karate Kid

I uploaded this video in 2010 and it was a spur of the moment thing after buying the video (on sale) in the store. Enjoy!