Category Archives: Reviews

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

expoWith an estimated 60,000 in attendance at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo between April 26 and 28, fans were excited to attend a variety of thrilling panels, photo ops, autograph sessions, and a market featuring almost every bit of movie, television, and comic memorabilia you can think of.

The panels offered fans an opportunity to chat (as much as one can in a crowd of 10,000) with stars including Carrie Fisher, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Stan Lee and Gillian Anderson, just to name a few. Our team was lucky enough to be able to go to a handful of the panels over the weekend. Here are some highlights!

Carrie Fisher:

Although she’ll forever be known as Princess Leia in from Star Wars, 56-year-old Carrie expo15Fisher now makes a living as a screenwriter, novelist and lecturer, and is an outspoken advocate for mental health.

Fisher made no bones about her own struggle with bipolar disorder.

“It takes a lot of balls to be mentally ill,” she said. “It takes a certain kind of heroism. I only have bipolar, I don’t even think that’s one of the ones that requires the most chutzpah.”

The former heroine of Star Wars reminisced about her favourite moments in the saga, with special focus on getting the opportunity to slay Jabba The Hut.

“You know, they ridiculously asked me if I wanted a stunt double to kill [him],” Fisher said with a laugh. “Can you imagine? I got to saw that neck off. It was really, really fun and one of the highlights of my career.”

On the topic of Disney’s recent purchase of Lucas Films, she half-joked that she hoped it would help her get to the front of the line at Disneyworld.

While it has been confirmed that Fisher will be reprising her role in the upcoming Star Wars movie, no details have been released as to what can be expected beyond this.

The X Files:

expo16The panel for The X Files featured Robert Patrick (John Doggett), Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), and Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner).

Agent Scully’s legacy of being a strong, female role model is what 44-year-old Anderson said she is most proud of. At only 5’3”, she had to stand on an apple box to shoot many scenes in the sci-fi series.

Patrick started his career as T-1000 in Terminator 2 in 1991, and said he was typecast for about a year and a half afterwards, stating that he had to completely change his looks in order to land a different (non-android) role. Now 54, has since been featured in Last Resort, True Blood, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, among other titles.

After his role as Skinner, Pileggi, now 60, has moved on to titles such as Grey’s Anatomy, and Sons of Anarchy, and has now been signed to continue his role in the third season of the remake of Dallas.

The trio ended their panel by auctioning off a signed X Files script for $800 and a kiss from Anderson.

Game of Thrones:

Featuring Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) of the expo20novel-triology-turned-hit-series, the Game of Thrones panel was packed with diehard fans.

Headey, who reprised the role of Sarah Connors in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles recently had the chance to meet the original.

“How can you not love Linda Hamilton?” said the 39-year-old actress when asked about the experience.

Headey spoke lovingly of the rest of the cast of Game of Thrones, referring to them as “this crazy, joyous, dysfunctional big family.”

When asked whether they were surprised by the widespread success of the series, Dinklage, 43, stated that he really wasn’t.

“I enter into everything I do with the idea that it will be a phenomenon,” he said.

It has been confirmed that Dinklage will be featured in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, yet his exact role has yet to be announced by director Bryan Singer.

Walking Dead:

expo23Despite a last-minute change in the lineup removing Norman Reedus, fans were beyond thrilled to have a chance to hear from Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee) and Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) about the hit series The Walking Dead.

“We all knew we were working on something really special,” said 47-year-old former commercial casting director McBride.

Playing a survivor of more than just the zombie apocalypse, McBride turned briefly serious to discuss the impact that domestic abuse has, and is happy to have seen the growth of the character.

“It was very important to me to see [Carol] live long enough to become strong.”

When speaking about his character, Glenn, Yeun described him as a “hard-headed kid with a lot of gumption.”

Although sometimes a point of contention among fans, Yeun stated that he was a huge fan of the plot differences between the comics and the series.

Stay tuned for an article about Canadian actress Lexa Doig.

Big Brother Canada Launch Party and Premiere

This week, we’re happy to welcome one of our fantastic customers, Teresa S. (@NeedNewSpace on Twitter), as a guest blogger! She was able to attend the Big Brother Canada Launch Party and Premiere, and wrote about her time there.

bbcanlogoWhen most people hear the words “Big Brother” they immediately think conspiracy theory. Government and world dictators watching and listening to everything we say and do. Right? Well, a few years ago this is exactly what I would have thought. However, the Big Brother that everyone is currently talking about is a phenomenon of colossal proportions. Big Brother fans span the world and now Canada has a new reason to be excited.

If you haven’t yet heard about Big Brother you are either living in seclusion or you have chosen to have absolutely no connection to the media in its plentiful and diverse forms.

The Big Brother that I speak of is an extraordinarily successful television reality series that locks 15 complete strangers alone in a house with no connection to the outside world for 10 weeks and, one-by-one, each week, one “Houseguest” is “Evicted” from the house and the game. The Houseguests are competing to win more than $100,000 in prizes. To win, they must be the last remaining Houseguest. As we all know, living with your significant other can be trying at times but living with total strangers can be absolutely explosive and unpredictable!!

I’ve been a fan of Big Brother for quite a few years now and as a Canadian, our only real livefeedschoice has been Big Brother USA or Big Brother UK online. Finally though, Insight Productions brought the hugely successful franchise to Canada! I’ve been begging for a winter season of Big Brother USA for quite some time now. So, when I finally got my first BlackBerry, the first app I found was Twitter. And, my first priority? Follow everyone who tweets about Big Brother! To make a long story just a little bit shorter, I became obsessed with Tweeting and the need to know what was happening because I didn’t have access to the 24-hour Live Feeds that spy on the Houseguests.  (Here, in Canada, the Live Feeds are FREE!!! How awesome is that?!)

I’m not an official blogger, because I don’t publish a blog. I mostly discuss my favourite things, like Big Brother, on Twitter. The thing is, I do so at length. So, I guess you could say I’m more of a Twogger. And, in my Twoggings, I happened to meet another Big Brother fanatic and follower and, one of my favourite Tweeters, Lori Harito aka @BBConfessions. So, when Big Brother Canada came about, Lori contacted me and asked if I would be interested in participating in a Launch Event, my answer was an obvious and resounding “YES”!  Shortly thereafter, and I mean literally, within minutes, I received an email inviting me and a guest to the Exclusive and very Hush-Hush, Launch Party to the first ever Big Brother Canada!!!

bbcansignNow, I don’t think I have to tell you how excited I was as my eyes scanned the words and I scrolled down to see the actual invitation with a picture of none other than Big Brother USA alum and season 10 winner Dan “The Master” Gheesling! The nickname is my doing because he was just that amazing! He masterminded such an epic event in Season 14 that no other Houseguest could ever dream of replicating.  In a most astonishing move, Dan actually held his own Big Brother funeral as a way to save himself from eviction.  He was poised to be evicted but his machinations and scheming worked and he saved himself! Watch BB14 and see for yourself. Brilliant. Devious, but brilliant.

Anyhow, back to my invitation and the Big Brother Canada Launch Party! I received the email while at the doctor’s office and really had a hard time keeping calm. I reread it on the bus coming home with the stupidest grin on my face, but still keeping relatively calm. As I walked through my front door, I could contain myself no longer and a very awkward happy dance ensued. I have absolutely no rhythm. None. Nada. Zilch.

My daughter, Alexandra, was the lucky family member who was able to attend the Launch Party with me and she was as excited as I was.

Upon arrival at the “secret” location, we were met by the friendly staff of Shaw Media
and Slice TV. (We were instructed not to spill any details because, well let’s face facts here, fans would storm the building! No kidding. Big Brother Fans are a passionate bunch.) We were given a few directions as to what was where and told to have a great time and to enjoy ourselves! And that’s exactly what Alex and I did.

After grabbing our Big Brother Canada nametags, we made our way to the wait staff for a alexglass of courage. We were in a room full of bloggers, Big Brother fans, and within a matter of minutes, one of the greatest players to ever play Big Brother!  As we nervously waited for Dan to arrive, we made our way to the slop bar. Yes, a full assortment of toppings was provided to make this disgusting “oat-like” substance palatable. It really didn’t help.

Alex and I migrated to our newest blogger/Twitter Pals, and having only ever conversed via Twitter, it was remarkable how we all immediately felt like old friends.  Big Brother does that to people. You either become the best of friends or the nastiest enemies. As we chatted about our experiences getting to the Launch Party, the room suddenly starts buzzing.  “He’s here.  He’s here.  Look, there he is.  Oh. My. God. It’s Dan!”, is what is suddenly rumbling throughout the room.  Before we know it, Dan is there and talking to us about how he orchestrated the monumental funeral on Big Brother that almost won him the game for a second time. He came in second to Ian Terry in BB14.  Nevertheless, it was an honour and so much fun meeting Dan and, he is as gracious as a slightly crazy person can be. Thanks, Dan!


diaryroomAs we mingled and mixed, Big Brother Canada gave us all the chance to record our own Diary Room session!  I really have to say that the Houseguests make the Diary Room look easy.  It’s not! It’s quite nerve-racking and scary.  As one who is usually behind the camera, it was a frightening experience to be questioned. All of our Diary Room Confessions were uploaded by Slice TV to their YouTube channel.  Watch if you dare!

After we had a chance to mingle, meet, and chat with everyone a Head of Household competition was held. Three names were drawn and as the competitors engaged in a Slop Eating Competition; it was clear that only one would prevail.  The unmistakable winner, Jolene, won the best seat in the house to watch the first ever Big Brother Canada episode next to Dan Gheesling and her own Big Brother duffle bag.

The really fantastic part about watching the episode at the Launch Party was that you could feel the excitement in the room and it was completely uncensored! Something that Dan commented on as well as soon as the first expletive was uttered from the BBCAN Houseguests.  We still had to endure commercials, but as soon as Big Brother came back to air, the room fell into complete and utter silence.  The room full of people was there for one reason and one reason only, to be part of an amazing and historic event.  The first ever episode of the first Canadian Big Brother!  And we all enjoyed every last second.

This experience was one I will never forget.  And Slice TV, Shaw Media, and Big Brother Canada made sure that I would have a souvenir or two of this momentous occasion. Thank you to all those involved in organizing the Launch Party and for making it such a fabulous evening!  Cheers to a successful and increasingly explosive Big Brother Canada series!

Shaw Direct On Demand – Movie Reviews

As you likely already know, Shaw Direct On Demand has an amazing line-up of movies that have a wide variety ranging from family friendly movies, romantic comedies, suspense thrillers, and much more. In case you and your household are planning a movie night on the comfort of your couch, we’re here to help give you some ideas of what’s out there so you can make the best decision for your evening of leisure.

Are you in the mood for something thrilling and dramatic? Cleanskin (2012) might just be what you’re looking for. This movie is something unique in comparison to your regular “007” type movie. Not only do you get the chance to know the role of the secret service agent set out on his journey to eliminate a British-born suicide bomber – you also get a peek into the story of the terrorist himself, reflecting on what has brought him to make this decision. It’s fast-paced and entertaining while allowing viewers to experience a glimpse into the dark reasoning of terrorism.

Alternatively, if your household is looking for something more fun and witty, with the drama known to “slice of life” genre movies, we’ve got you covered with What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012). It covers several different perspectives of new parents trying in their own ways to adjust to not just having a baby, but the pre-baby jitters. Each couple comes from varying backgrounds and have started a family with either specific expectations in mind, or came across child rearing without any plans at all. The men of the family even create a support group where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. This comedy opens your mind and your heart to real-life facts and humours associated with becoming a first-time parent. The highs, lows, unexpected joys and totally expected pains of pregnancy get a comprehensive going over in this consistently funny, warm-hearted ensemble comedy.

Something with a lot of mystery, suspense and horror is also on the menu for our
customers. The Cabin in the Woods (2012) is a gore-filled, seat-clenching movie designed to keep you jumping while you continue questioning the mystery behind the many surprises in store. It starts off with a group of five friends who merely wanted to take a break and chose a remote cabin in the woods as their destination; however they got more than they bargained for in doing so. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. This movie was designed to keep viewers on edge all the way until the very startling end.

Looking for a recent remake of an old-time classic favorite? Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)puts a new perspective on old folklore we all knew growing up. With the same storyline of our childhood fairytale, this movie puts you in Snow White’s shoes from the beginning; the joy of a child in her youth, the sorrow of losing a father, and the horror of growing up under the rule of the wicked witch. Her many encounters with the characters along the way are given much greater depth than in the original story, as well as the shocking twist as to who her shining prince actually is.

These are just a few ideas of what’s in store with our Shaw Direct On Demand options. Our movie line-up is an ever-growing list of movies and series, so be sure to check them all out!


Big Brother Canada – Calgary Open Casting

The line at 7 a.m.

With a line that wrapped around the block, a man in a green lycra suit, and countless hopefuls bundled together in sweaters and blankets in the autumn chill, the Calgary open casting call for Big Brother Canada was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Hopefuls were already arriving at 6 a.m., although the line did not officially start until 7 a.m.; by that time, there were almost 400 waiting in the darkness outside of the Sheraton Eau Claire.

The excitement was palpable at 8:30 a.m. when the first 120 were let into the building to make their way up to the holding room. Pat, the man who wore the green lycra suit was enjoying the warmth there while waiting for his chance to audition.

“I wore it to make everyone laugh and wanted everyone to find me more interesting,” he said.

Melissa and Pat in the holding room.

Pat was discussing possible strategies with his fellow hopefuls when we found him.

“I’ll play it nice and cool, and all of a sudden, half-way through, boom! I’ll start knocking around everybody.”

Melissa was waiting with him, and mentioned that she would take a more organic approach if she made it to the final 14. “I think I would be good because I am me… I’m out-there, I’m crazy and fun, and I’m going to rock the Big Brother house.”

Sarah (far left) and Chris (far right) lament waiting.

Back outside, another group was being let in. The line stopped just before Sarah and Chris could make it through the doors. “It’s like coming in second playing ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippos,’” Chris said of the disappointment of having to wait longer.

Waiting was the theme of the day for Sarah, however. She and a friend left Edmonton for Calgary at 3 a.m., and had been waiting outside the hotel since about 6 a.m. As soon as she got close to the building, she’d tried to huddle close to the doors for any warmth that might escape.

Topics of conversation were as varied as the hopefuls in the line, but generally seemed to centre around Big Brother. One of the topics overheard was about who everyone’s Big Brother idol was.

For Dion, who wanted to try-out because it was a “chance to shine,” that idol was Dan.

“He pulled off the biggest moves in Big Brother history,” Dion said.

Chelsea, on the other hand, was rooting for Frank in the last house.

“I really liked Frank this last time because he was honest, and that’s how I’d want to play my game. He’s the one I wanted to win. I was devastated when he got back-stabbed.”

Dreaming about what could be done with the prize money – a cool $100,000 – was another hot topic.

For Dion, it was a chance to take care of his family. Chelsea thought of it as a chance to help those in need.

Chelsea coordinated with the cat on her shirt.

“I actually visited an orphanage [in Honduras] that’s run by an American couple. In Honduras, if you’re a baby born out of unfortunate circumstances, you’re not allowed to be adopted by the state, so they house unadoptable children. They have to do it all on their own, so I would go and donate some money to them.”

One thing that everyone did seem to agree on was that getting cast for Big Brother Canada would be a life-changing experience.

The line continued to grow later in the morning.

By the end of the day, 885 hopefuls auditioned for the Calgary casting call. Big Brother Canada is scheduled to start in winter 2013, and will airing exclusively on Slice (562 Classic, 278 Advanced).

There are three more casting calls – Halifax and Montreal on October 7, and Toronto on October 14. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be part of the first season of Big Brother Canada, make sure you go! And, as an extra bonus, we’re running a contest to give away VIP passes to get to the front of the line in any of those three cities.

Question of the week:

Who is your favourite Big Brother competitor, and why?