Posted by cirvine on October 26, 2015
With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it only fitting to review something a little creepier than normal. The Gift is just that—creepy. It won’t make you jump out of your seat much, but it will leave you with an eerie feeling that sticks with you even after the credits have rolled.
It begins with Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) viewing a house they might purchase in sunny California. They are ready to start a new life in a beautiful new home, with a successful career for him and the hopes to start a family. While shopping for furniture one day they run into Gordo, an old high school acquaintance of Simon. From the get-go, something feels off about the man, and his clingy, Cable Guy-esque behavior is pitiable to Rebecca and downright repulsing to Simon.
Gordo begins to leave increasingly extravagant housewarming gifts for them, ranging from a bottle of window cleaner to koi carp, and has a habit of showing up out of the blue, coincidentally whenever Simon isn’t home. Simon tries his best to push Gordo out of their lives, first by a lack of interest and then a harsh talk, but Gordo is not so easily gotten rid of. You soon realize there’s more to the story that neither Simon nor Gordo will reveal. As Simon shows increasing anger and frustration with Gordo’s presence, we, like Rebecca, begin questioning just who the good guy is and who is the bad.
The subtleties are what make this movie great. For instance, in the furniture store scene you can actually spot Gordo in the background staring at them through the window (he does this a lot in the movie) even before his character is introduced. Every line and action seems deliberate, and upon looking back you realize that the ending, although completely surprising, was completely inevitable in hindsight.
This movie also boasts some poignant and believable performances, including a surprising serious role for Jason Bateman, known mainly for his comedic roles. He does a great job of staying right on the borderline between protagonist and antagonist, and fuels much of the confusion and mystery that grows throughout the film. Gordo is actually played by the director, Joel Edgerton, who mirrors Simon’s duplicitous character. Rebecca Hall does a great job being the innocent wife stuck in between, although she too has a shady past that we must weave into the mix—drugs and depression make us wonder how much is in her mind and how much is real.
The ending of The Gift is strong and the perfect culmination of everything that happened throughout. You will be at once satisfied, in shock, and thoroughly creeped out by this movie. If you want to get some serious heebie-jeebies this Halloween, give yourself The Gift.
You can watch The Gift on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch. 100) from October 27th, 2015 to February 26th.
Posted by cirvine on October 23, 2015
So you’re all done your trick or treating, you’ve gorged yourself on Halloween candy, and now it’s time to sit back, relax, and watch your favourite Halloween flick. There’s a lot of choices out there but only so many that are good for the whole family-- so we’ve come up with a few of our favourites to help you.
Hocus Pocus is a classic kids movie that you can keep coming back to years later and still love as an adult. Brimming with magic, music, adventure, and hilarity, it’s a movie that every member of the family can agree on.
Nightmare Before Christmas
Personally, I consider The Nightmare Before Christmas one of the best movies ever, Halloween themed or otherwise. From the addictive and catchy songs to the incredible stop-animation characters and imaginative settings, this is truly Tim Burton and Danny Elfman at their finest.
Beetlejuice is one of those movies that just never gets old. It’s also a movie that you can sit and watch with your kids and be entertained just as much as they are! Although there are a couple parts you might want to plug your kids ears for, Beetlejuice is that classic Halloween flick your whole family can enjoy again and again.
I loved Monster House when it came out and found it to be rather underrated. With a story and screenplay written by Dan Harmon (creator of TV shows Community and Rick and Morty), Monster House has all the humour and humanity that we expect of his projects. It’s fun and visually entertaining as well, and with characters that are believable and relatable, it’s easy to love.
If you’re worried at all about your little ones watching anything too scary or raunchy, Casper is a good choice—it’s very little-kid friendly. That being said, adults will get some entertainment out of this one as well. The evil uncles will get you chuckling and Casper’s mournful story will tug at your heartstrings.
Alright so I’ll admit, Coraline freaked me out a bit even as an adult so I wouldn’t recommend it for your younger kiddies. It does have some ultra-creepy and disturbing imagery (buttons for eyes… eek!), so ye have been warned. But, Coraline is on this list because it’s just a really cool, entertaining and visually stunning story. Coraline is like Alice in Wonderland’s creepy, messed up sister. Enjoy!
Need I say more? Ghostbusters is a classic that is a must-watch for all people, end of story. Plus, you just can’t go wrong with a Bill Murray movie.
Another classic movie that everyone should watch at least once, Spielberg’s Gremlins is a little bit of humour and a little bit of horror combined into one raucous adventure. Fall in love with cute little Gizmo all over again.
We’ve talked a lot about classic Halloween flicks (because let’s admit it, they’re the best), but sometimes kids want to watch something made within the past ten years. If your kids are picky about watching stuff from their own generation, Hotel Transylvania is a good choice. This feel-good flick takes all your favourite Halloween baddies like vampires, werewolves and monsters and puts them all in one locale to shake it up and enjoy themselves.
Well, there’s certainly more family-friendly Halloween movies out there to enjoy but these are some of our favourites. With great visual effects, lots of a laughs, and a few scares, you and yours are sure to have a great Halloween night with these spooky screenings.
Posted by cfeehan on October 19, 2015
“The future” is a term that may excite you, make you a little uncomfortable, or downright scare you. This is probably because you have no idea what it could hold, and this is an idea that the film Tomorrowland explores captivatingly.
The movie is about Casey, a teenager who is somewhat of a visionary in her town. Her and her classmates are constantly learning about what’s going wrong in the world, and all she wants to know is what she can do to fix it. One day, a mysterious pin finds its way into her hands and as soon as she touches it, she’s transported to an alternate reality with futuristic architecture, space crafts, and people flying around on jetpacks. It looks like something out of a pamphlet for “utopia” – clean, bright, and full of amazing technology. However, the pin soon runs out of power, and she needs to enlist the help of Frank Walker, a genius who may be her only hope of getting back to Tomorrowland.
The futuristic scenes in this movie are spectacular, to say the least. That aspect alone was enough to make me want to visit this fantastical land! And coupled with that, the technology showcased in Tomorrowland was really cool. The transportation systems, the robots…okay, I don’t want to give too much away. I’ll just say that seeing all of this awesome technology really opens up your imagination and makes you think of what YOU would invent in this perfect world if given the chance.
Speaking of imagination, I’d say that this movie is largely geared toward a younger audience. It has some kid-friendly jokes, one of the main characters is a child and the other is a teenager, and overall, the style of the movie is a bit juvenile. That being said, there are futuristic weapons in the movie which allows for a few battle scenes. Although there is no blood or gore on display, use your discretion when watching with your kids! And this isn’t to say that adults can’t enjoy it too – there were a lot of action-packed scenes after Frank shows up, and it’s tied together with a larger message that you’re likely to appreciate.
The casting for this movie was great, but I do wish that George Clooney appeared earlier in the movie because his character added a lot to the plot! Clooney played the cynical Frank Walker, the genius who has deep ties to Tomorrowland from his past. He did a good job in the role, and supported his younger co-workers well. The ambitious and assertive Casey Newton was played very well by Britt Robertson, who you may know as Sophia from The Longest Ride or as Angie from the TV series Under the Dome. Raffey Cassidy, who played Athena, did a great job in her role, especially since she was only 12 years old when filming the movie. Finally, it was fun to see Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) play the bad guy, and Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key both had a funny cameo in the movie that was sure to get a laugh or two, especially if you’re familiar with their other work.
Tomorrowland was an exciting family-friendly movie that had an inspiring message and was packed with action and imagination. It has something to offer kids as well as adults, and really encourages creativity and big ideas. I’d recommend it if you enjoy watching movies with your kids, but you just need a break from all of the animated films out there. Plus, you can’t go wrong with George Clooney.
You can find Tomorrowland on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Oct.13th to Jan 13th, 2015.
Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor
Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.
Posted by amustard on October 9, 2015
As the Toronto Blue Jays begin their ALCS series against the Kansas City Royals tonight, Blue Jay pride is at an all-time high. We thought we would take this opportunity to showcase 10 of our favourite Blue Jay Moments in 2015 (so far).
Donaldson flies into stands for catch
Potential American Leauge MVP Josh Donaldson has had a season full of great plays, but who can forget when he jumped into the first 3 rows of stands to make a catch.
Pillar climbs outfield wall to rob a homer
It’s been said that ¾ of the world is covered in water, the other ¼ is covered by Blue Jays Outfielder (and potential Gold Glove winner) Kevin Pillar. In this memorable play, Pillar climbs the left field wall to make the catch and rob Yankee Tim Beckham of a homerun.
Encarnacion hits 3 homeruns in one game
Canadian sports fans are very familiar with a hat trick – when a hockey player scores three goals. When Edwin Encarnacion hit three homeruns in one game, Toronto fans responded the way they would at a hockey game – by throwing hats on the field to celebrate the “hat trick”.
Smoak’s Grand Slam in Yankee Stadium
This hit was not only 1st baseman Justin Smoak’s first career grand slam, but it was also the first time a Blue Jay has hit a homerun with the bases loaded at Yankee Stadium.
Tulowitzki homers in Blue Jay Debut
Mid-season acquisition Troy Tulowitzki made an immediate impact on the team by homering in his first game as a Blue Jay. Sighs of relief were heard all over Toronto from baseball fans who weren’t 100% convinced giving up former Jay Jose Reyes was the right call.
Price’s Blue Jay Debut
Toronto’s post season dreams came closer to reality when the Jays picked up Pitcher (and Cy Young Winner) David Price. Similar to Tulowitzki, Price made an instant impact and gave his team (and the city of Toronto) the confidence to make the playoffs. Remember, the Jays were only 53-51 before the Price trade and ended the season at 93-69.
Goins Alomar-esque foul ball catch
2nd baseman Ryan Goins reminded Toronto fans of Hall-of-Fame Blue Jay Roberto Alomar, as he races into foul territory and makes a sliding catch.
Donaldson’s Walk Off Home Run in Regular Series Home Finale
Although the Blue Jays were all but guaranteed to return to the Rogers Centre in the post season, Josh Donaldson gives the fans one last memory with a walk off home run in the final Home Game in the #6ix.
Blue Jays clinch the AL East division title
The last time the Blue Jays were in the post season, the year was 1993 and I was eight years old. This is what made making the playoffs (and even more impressive – winning the AL East division title) so special. They did it in the first game of a double header in Baltimore – another game in 20 minutes didn’t stop the Jays from celebrating this amazing accomplishment.
Kawasaki Interview – Bush Party
During the celebrations, fan-favourite Munenori Kawasaki gave an interview to SportsNet’s Barry Davis indicating his desire to attend a Bush Party. This line became an instant Blue Jay classic line, and has been repeated by Canadians many times since.
Bautista’s 7th inning homerun in ALDS
Where were you during the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers? I was pacing back and forth in my living room
Easily one of the craziest innings in MLB play off history, the seventh inning was a roller coaster of emotion. After an arguably bad call, home base was stolen and the Rangers were up by one, much to the dismay of Blue Jays fans.
This set the stage for Jose Bautisita to hit the ‘home run heard around Canada’ complete with a flawless bat flip #swag. This gave the Jays the lead and they never looked back, winning the ALDS and sending them to the American Leauge Champioship Series. What a time to be alive.
Hopefully, the best is yet to come. Catch the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS starting tonight at 8:07 pm on Sportsnet (ch. 44).
Andrew Mustard, Marketing Coordinator
Devoted Leafs fan through the good and the bad - mostly bad. Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario - with more swag than Bieber. Success isn’t a maybe - it’s a must.
Posted by cirvine on October 9, 2015
Stumped about what to make this Thanksgiving? We got your back, with these popular and uber-useful apps for your tablet and phone. Whether you just want to try something new, or you need to find a substitute for butter for your vegan aunt, these apps will help you master your Thanksgiving meal and deliver up something scrumptious for your whole family.
iOS, Android, Windows
BigOven doesn’t use that name ironically—BigOven is big. They boast a database of over 350,000 recipes. But besides a variety of recipes, BigOven has many other practical cooking uses. You can download meal plans and even get a grocery list for that plan. You can search recipes based on time of day, season, dietary restrictions or kind of food type. One section that perked my interest in particular was the leftovers function: type in the random food you have in your fridge or pantry and BigOven will give you a variety of recipes that use all of those ingredients.
iOS, Android, Windows
Epicurious is like your own personal warehouse for recipes. It compiles them from all over the internet and lets you save them in one convenient spot. You can search for recipes based on categories like main ingredient, kid friendly, dish type and occasion (like Thanksgiving!). You can also find grocery lists for each recipe and save it to a master list that you can view at the grocery store or market. Some other convenient perks include the smart timer which can deliver a notification to your phone when you need to flip something or turn the heat down!
Your Thanksgiving meal can be a frustrating time if you have a lot of allergies or food preferences amongst your family and friends. The substitution tool allows you to choose from a list of allergies or preferences and presents suitable alternatives to those ingredients or dishes. It comes loaded with options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free guests, and more. You can also just substitute an ingredient if you don’t like it. For me, I’d say getting rid of all anchovies in recipes would be a good place to start.
EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry
If you’re like me, you probably haven’t had much time to think about what to prepare. If you’re running short on time this weekend, you might be tempted to just go out and get a bucket of KFC for Thanksgiving. Never fear, Healthy in a Hurry is here. Within the app there are loads of quick and healthy meals, which you don’t even need internet access to look at. It also lists their nutrition facts and benefits, like “good for a healthy heart” or “good for immune system”-- tips which might come in handy if you have any elderly or ill people at your table this year.
Food Network in the Kitchen
If you can’t get enough of the Food Network, you can now get it on your phone and tablet and easily access all those delicious recipes you see on your TV, but at the pace you want! There are thousands of awesome recipes, searchable by chef, course, food type and more. Other awesome perks include a unit converter to figure out volume or weight, and a multi-timer for meals with multiple dishes in them.
Although they can’t physically make the meal for you, they can sure help make you more organized and get you on your way. Hopefully the next generation of cooking apps will come with a set of hands that magically makes the whole meal for you. A girl can dream right?
Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer
I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?