Monday, November 2, 2009

Green Lantern Crash Course Part 1:

Needless to say, as of this writing (8/14/13), the following information is woefully out-of-date (it makes mention of certain aspects of continuity prior to establishment of the New 52 which are no longer considered canon, for instance).

Hal Jordan: The Silver Age Green Lantern, and arguably the greatest of them all. He was off on ceremonial duties for his superiors when his home city - basically the DC Universe equivalent of San Francisco - was completely obliterated by Hank Henshaw (a.k.a. the Cyborg Superman). In his despair, he fell prey to a parasite called Parallax - a sentient entity comprised of the sum total of fear that's ever been felt in the universe - and slew most of the Corps (although some that he felt were insignificant, threat-level wise, he left for dead) and all but one of his superiors, the Guardians. He later redeemed himself via self-sacrifice to re-ignite Earth's dying sun. For a time, he became the Spectre - the embodiment of the full force of God's wrath on Earth - before being brought back to life a few years ago (in Green Lantern: Rebirth - essential reading, that)...

Kyle Rayner: The Green Lantern of Earth in the intervening years after Hal went insane/was joined with the Spectre. Was chosen at random by a dying Guardian to receive the last remaining power ring (Jordan, as the villain Parallax, had absorbed all the others). Became the hero Ion when that symbiont - the green equivalent of Parallax, albeit embodying willpower instead - bonded with him; subsequently resurrected Kilowog (who trains all the rookie corps members) and the deceased Guardians, and began to build up an entirely new Corps of fresh recruits and old retirees. Ion was forcibly removed from Kyle's body by Sinestro, and subsequently assigned by the Guardians to another Green Lantern who is said to potentially be a great hero in the forthcoming prophecy of the Blackest Night. Kyle is now one of the two Green Lanterns tasked with protecting the Guardian's home planet of Oa.

Guy Gardner: Guy was originally the back-up choice to receive Hal's ring if, for some reason, Jordan had been unable to do so. Personality-wise, he's an often angry, sometimes sarcastic, wisecracking windbag - but he is perhaps the Lantern's most tireless and relentless fighter, he tries to do what's right and is absolutely the one Lantern you'd want backing you in a fight. For a time, he used Sinestro's confiscated yellow Qwuardian power ring; then his DNA was re-written by aliens (turning his body into a living weapon), and he was known simply as Warrior. These alterations were later purged from his system by the villain Parallax; he was eventually issued a new green ring from the restored Green Lantern Corps. Now, along with Kyle Rayner, he serves as an honor guard - tasked with protecting Green Lantern headquarters on Oa.

John Stewart: John was perhaps most famously the Green Lantern featured in the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series. Unlike on that show, however, John never had a relationship with Hawkgirl (instead, his wife was the now-deceased Katma Tui: a member of Sinestro's race, and that villain's immediate successor in the Corps following his expulsion from the same). Interestingly enough, John was a paraplegic in the comics when the television series first aired. Due to renewed interest in the character and his then new-found popularity, however, the writers gave him back his mobility. John inadvertently allowed an entire planet, Xanshi, to be destroyed during his watch. The sole survivor among that world's indigenous peoples - the planet's princess who, at that time, was undergoing off-world combat training - subsequently became the villainess Fatality.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Children of the Corn (2009). Starring Dee from Battlestar Gallactica (modern version), and my all-time least favorite character from NBC's Heroes!

It sucked - it suuuuuuucked!!!

"But Kit," I hear you asking, "did it suck?" Why, yes - yes, as a matter of fact, it did!

The little kid they got to play Isaac wasn't a good enough actor to carry this movie, he wasn't scary... heck, he wasn't even the least little bit creepy-looking! And I know that He Who Walks Behind the Rows was represented by some truly laughable animation in the original - but at least in that version they actually bothered to show him...

And what was up with that ending? Dude, they totally should've ended it with the line, "Scarecrow!"

So was there anything good in this movie? Well, the two adults were all right, I suppose. I did like the Vietnam flashbacks - but that alone wasn't enough to save this miserable piece of garbage...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Gamer (2009). Starring King Leonidis, and Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. With bit parts for Q and Peter Petrelli.

There's a whole host of stuff in this movie that's confusing, makes no logical sense from a storyline standpoint, is never explained, or all three at once!

Big, loud and dumb is one thing. Leaving out whole swaths of information that's vital to the audience's comprehension of what's happening on-screen - whilst also failing to abide by any determinable set of rules as set forth by the film itself - is another.

For instance: [SPOILERS!]What was the deal with that guy who was killed three or four times, at least - yet somehow, by all appearances, kept coming back to life?

And what was up with the non-player characters (for instance, the woman dressed in traditional Islamic garb)? From what I could gather, a prisoner could earn their freedom if they survived just one day as an NPC... but even so, why did they turn John Leguizamo's character into one? As some form of punishment - simply for asking the guard for a little help?[/end SPOILERS!]

There's probably more that I'm forgetting... but suffice it to say: G'ah! This film made my brain hurt!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Open Water 2: Adrift (2006). Starring people forced to act like complete idiots by a lame script.

What was that ending supposed to mean, anyway? Seriously, I haven't a clue...

This is a prime example of the sort of film in which characters are much more stupid than most people in real life would ever be. I'm talking about just general common sense here - not from the vantage point of the audience being given more information to go on than the characters themselves are...

I mistook the only visible part of a life jacket - inexplicably colored purple (likely in the hopes that people would make just that kind of mistake) - from the DVD's cover as being a tentacle of some kind. You can see where this is going - oh, how disappointed I was...

This one was allegedly supposed to be truer to the "real story" than the first film was. In the end, though, it actually managed to be even less realistic than the original! Tons of blood in the water in this one - and yet somehow, nary a nibble from any (entirely non-existent, according to this film) aquatic lifeforms...

This is one film that's better off avoided altogether, folks...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Magic: The Gathering cards I happen to own

These are just some of cards that I'm lucky to own. I'm always tickled to pull good cards from the packs I buy, because I typically only buy six or less boosters per set. In the near future (it's 8/14/13 as of this writing), I'm hoping to both update and condense (removing the less impressive cards I included from every consecutive just for completion's sake) this list. Again, if you were brought to this site while searching for any of the cards listed herein, and were hoping for something more substantial, I do apologize.

Updated 10/5/09

Revised: Black Vise (Uncommon)
Fourth Edition: Hypnotic Specter (Uncommon)
Fifth Edition: Armageddon (Rare)
Sixth Edition: Archangel (Rare)
Magic 2010: Shivan Dragon (Rare, foil)
Portal I: Personal Tutor (Uncommon)
Fallen Empires: Hymn to Tourach (Common, x4 – all four illustrations)
Ice Age: Pox (Rare)
Alliances: Lake of the Dead (Rare)
Mirage: Flash (Rare, x2)
Visions: Tithe (Rare)
Weatherlight: Lotus Vale (Rare)
Tempest: Humility (Rare)
Stronghold: Mox Diamond (Rare)
Exodus: Curiosity (Uncommon)
Urza’s Saga: Tie – Opal Archangel (Rare), Wildfire (Rare)
Urza’s Legacy: Tie – Delusions of Mediocrity (Rare, foil), Mother of Runes (Uncommon)
Urza’s Destiny: Academy Rector (Rare)
Mercadian Masques: Charisma (Rare, Chinese text)
Nemesis: Tie – Parallax Wave (Rare), Daze (Common, x4)
Prophecy: Tie – Veteran Brawlers (Rare, foil), Avatar of Hope (Rare)
Invasion: Coalition Victory (Rare, foil)
Planeshift: Skyship Weatherlight (Rare, foil)
Apocalypse: Spectral Lynx (Rare)
Odyssey: Tie – Braids, Cabal Minion (Rare), Nantuko Mentor (Rare, foil)
Torment: Cabal Coffers (Uncommon, x2)
Judgment: Silver Seraph (Rare)
Onslaught: Polluted Delta (Rare)
Legions: Akroma, Angel of Wrath (Rare)
Scourge: Goblin Warchief (Uncommon, x3)
Mirrodin: Solemn Simulacrum (Rare)
Darksteel: Tie – Chromescale Drake (Rare, foil), Pulse of the Fields (Rare)
Fifth Dawn: Veldalken Shackles (Rare)
Champions of Kamigawa: Isamaru, Hound of Konda (Rare)
Betrayers of Kamigawa: Umezawa’s Jitte (Rare)
Saviors of Kamigawa: Choice of Damnations (Rare)
Time Spiral: Tie - Shadowmage Infiltrator (“Time-shifted” Rare), Flagstones of Trokair (Rare)
Planar Chaos: Tie – Life and Limb (Rare, foil), Gaea’s Anthem (Rare)
Future Sight: Pyromancer’s Swath (Rare)
Shadowmoor: Sunken Ruins (Rare)
Eventide: Balefire Liege (Rare)
Planechase: Grave Pact (Rare)
Unglued: Blacker Lotus (Rare)
Unhinged: Swamp (foil)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Magic: The Gathering - The Basics, Part 1:

In Magic: The Gathering, players take on the roles of opposing Planeswalkers: god-like beings who can, under their own power, travel between worlds and - as their name implies - other planes of reality. As a Planeswalker, you tap into the land itself to summon little dudes - called "creatures" (and yes, human is just one of many creature sub-types) - to fight your opponent. Creatures also serve the dual role of blocking your opponent's creatures when they attack you, in return.

Both players start the game with a sixty-card deck; a seven-card opening hand; and twenty life points (which, as you might well expect, can go either up or down during the match). When one player's life points are reduced to zero (or any of the other victory conditions - albeit rare [such as running out of cards to draw] - are met), they lose the game!

The most basic resources in the game are land cards. Roughly one-third (and sometimes more!) of any good Magic: The Gathering deck is made up of lands. In this regard, deck design is somewhat easier than it is in other collectible card games...

Players "tap" (turn sideways, in order to show that it's been used this turn) land for one of five different colors of "mana" (a term you're undoubtedly familiar with if you've ever played the Diablo video games) - which is magical energy that's required to cast spells (comprised of all the other non-land card types). There are five different basic land types (although of course, there's plenty of other non-basic lands, too) - each with its own associated color of mana. Naturally, certain colors work better together than others - and while I've listed enemy colors, they are not in fact impossible to play in tandem (just more difficult).

The colors are, in order:

White mana
Basic land type: Plains
Allied colors: Blue and green
Enemy colors: Black and red
Largest creature type: Angels. Every set has at least one angel in it (and sometimes more) - most of them rare.
Most ubiquitous creature type: Human.
Strengths: Healing, damage prevention and redirection; lots of small creatures that are fast to bring into play (which have been nicknamed "weenies" by players)
Weaknesses: White has trouble, both with being able to deal much damage, and to deal it fast enough.

Blue mana
Basic land type: Islands
Allied colors: White and black
Enemy colors: Red and green
Largest creature type: Pretty much non-applicable, since it's a built-in counter-balance to blue's overall power in other aspects of the game. While blue does have a few large creatures, most of them have severe built-in drawbacks to their use.
Most ubiquitous creature type: Wizard (be they Merfolk, Faerie, etc.)
Streghths: Countering opponents' spells entirely; drawing lots of extra cards. Blue is often considered to be Magic's most powerful color.
Weaknesses: It is also the slowest. It takes longer to get the ball rolling with blue than it does with any other color.

Black mana
Basic land type: Swamps
Allied colors: Blue and red
Enemy colors: White and green
Largest creature type: Demons, Vampires and Djinns. Those three are among the rarest creature types in the game, though - sometimes years go by without new instances of the same!
Most ubiquitous creature type: Zombies, Skeletons etc.
Strengths: Forcing opponents to discard from their hands; bringing their own stuff back from the discard pile
Weaknesses: Black is the only color to have no way to deal with two powerful card types - Artifacts and Enchantments.

Red mana
Basic land type: Mountains
Allied colors: Black and green
Enemy colors: White and blue
Largest creature type: Dragons
Most ubiquitous creature type: Goblins
Strengths: Dealing damage directly to an opponent (bypassing blocking creatures entirely); destroying cards that are already in play
Weaknesses: Red often sacrifices caution for speed - many of its spells damage their players as much (sometimes more) as they do their opponents!

Green mana
Basic land type: Forests
Allied colors: White and red
Enemy colors: Blue and black
Largest creature type: Too numerous to list! Green is the color that's known for its big creatures.
Most ubiquitous creature type: Elves
Strengths: Fast mana production; lots of extra mana production; big creatures
Weaknesses: Green is the most average of Magic's five colors - but what it might lack in flashiness, when compared to the others, it more than makes up for by having no real glaring weaknesses...

There are also multi-colored/"gold" (the color of their card borders) spells. These require at least two, and possibly as many as five different colors of mana to cast! They typically combine the strengths of their respective colors, albeit usually not quite so powerful as in their uncombined forms. For example, a multi-colored black and blue spell might force your opponent to discard cards, while you yourself draw an equal amount of cards. Gold's largest creatures are the Elder Dragons.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Magic: The Gathering

As of this writing (8/14/13), the list which follows is terribly out-of-date. In addition to judging respective power levels of all the cardsI've obtained in the intervening years, I'm also considering nominating the best (or best few) cards that I own of each possible multi-colored combination. If you were brought to this site while searching for any of the cards listed herein, and were hoping for something more substantial, I do apologize.

Updated 10/5/09

The following is an ordered list of my best Magic: The Gathering cards (playability-wise) thus far, by color. For simplicity's sake, no Commons are included.

White: Armageddon (Fifth Edition, Rare); Akroma, Angel of Wrath (Legions, Rare); Parallax Wave (Nemesis, Rare); Serra Angel (Fourth Edition, Uncommon); Akroma's Vengeance (Planechase, Rare)

Blue: Evacuation (Stronghold, Rare); Equilibrium (Seventh Edition, Rare); Serra Sphinx (Planar Chaos, Rare); Azumi, Lady of Scrolls (Champions of Kamigawa, Rare); Fatespinner (Mirrodin, Rare)

Black: Braids, Cabal Minion (Odyssey, Rare); Infernal Tribute (Weatherlight, Rare); Hypnotic Specter (Fourth Edition, Uncommon); Grave Pact (Planechase, Rare); Sengir Vampire (Torment, Rare)

Red: Savage Beating (Darksteel, Rare); Relentless Assault (Eighth Edition, Rare); Shivan Dragon (Magic 2010, Rare); Flametongue Kavu (Planechase, Uncommon); Skullscorch (Torment, Rare)

Green: Sylvan Library (Fifth Edition, Rare); Gaea's Anthem (Planar Chaos, Rare); Azusa, Lost but Seeking (Champions of Kamigawa, Rare); Enshrined Memories (Betrayers of Kamigawa, Rare); Eternal Witness (Fifth Dawn, Uncommon)

Multi-colored/Gold: Shadowmage Infiltrator (Time Spiral, "Time-shifted" Rare); Void (Invasion, Rare); Eladamri's Call (Planeshift, Rare); Stormbind (Time Spiral, "Time-shifted" Rare); Fires of Yavimaya (Planechase, Uncommon)

Artifact: Mox Diamond (Stronghold, Rare); Umezawa's Jitte (Betrayers of Kamigawa, Rare); Cloud Key (Future Sight, Rare); Black Vise (Revised, Uncommon); Crucible of Worlds (Fifth Dawn, Rare)

Land: Lotus Vale (Weatherlight, Rare); Undiscovered Paradise (Visions, Rare); Gemstone Mine (Weatherlight, Uncommon); Sunken Ruins (Shadowmoor, Rare); Heart of Yavimaya (Alliances, Rare)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Orphan (2009). Starring a cast of mostly relative unknowns who, regardless of their relative inexperience, still manage to turn in some great performances!

Don't believe those poor, joyless souls who tell you not to see this movie – it's a real slice of good old-fashioned, grade-A horror movie cheese!

Be that as it may... it is not, however, the kind of movie that you need to pay twenty dollars or more just to see in the theater! Try and do like I did instead: Hit the earliest possible matinee showing, scrimp on the concessions (you can sneak stuff in, if you feel you must), and check your brain at the door!

Seriously, though...there's a lot here that doesn't make much sense on that last count. But still! Mmm, cheese...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Starring Peter Cullen, Frank Welker (and it's about dang time on that count – considering, you know, how Michael Bay totally snubbed him with a non-inclusion in 2007's Transformers!), the Candyman and Henry Jones the Third. Also some bony, greasy, and pointless slow-motion T & A in the form of Megan Fox – and some horrific racial stereotypes in the form of, well... in the form of some new Transformers!

I have decided that I will buy this when it's released on DVD. Probably not immediately... but eventually.

I will then write "This Movie Is Wrong!" on a little scrap of paper, and then tape it over the film's given title in a rather obvious fashion...

Dinky Reviews!

Legion of Super-Heroes: Darkness Rising (2008). Starring... well, Jim Shooter, as far as I'm concerned! And some awesome, honest-to-goodness new characters, too, such as Gazelle and Voice!

If ever there was someone capable of undoing much of the damage wrought by Mark Waid's completely unnecessary "three-boot" of the Legion's on-going monthly, Jim Shooter was it! This is the first time that the comic series has actually felt like the Legion since DC inexplicably booted Abnett and Lanning off of the post-Zero Hour franchise – just because Waid claimed that he could make the series an instant "best seller" with his name affixed (but then, DC's loss was Marvel's gain – what with Abnett and Lanning's new take on Guardians of the Galaxy, and all)!

It's too bad that everything can't go back to the way it was, though – for instance, Karate Kid had already been established as a heterosexual in Waid's new continuity... Also, I'm guessing that the reason for Mon-El/Valor being absent from the current roster is because Waid brought in the modern-day Supergirl for his line-up – but oh well, what can ya do...

EDIT: Much to my chagrin, DC Comics has since done away with the Legion's ongoing title entirely.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

The Burrowers (2009). Starring Ethan from Lost, Kurgan from Highlander and Eugene Victor Tooms. Also some cool-looking monsters!

Look, I fully realize that not every movie has to have a happy-happy ending... especially when it comes to horror movies! But this one was just lazy. I mean, you know you've got a problem when I, myself – scarcely a Hollywood movie writer, at that! – can think up a better downer ending than the so-called professionals... and one that wouldn't waste the aforementioned cool-looking monsters, to boot!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Technical advice!

If you're willing to futz around with your television's picture settings for about a half an hour, I've found that you can actually make the 3D effects on Paramount's Friday the 13th, Part 3-D disc much more acceptable (although still pretty far from perfect)...

The stuff that works best? Lots of little things moving all at once (leaves blowing around, for example); movement in front of stationary backgrounds; folds in clothing; anything that's red (Vera's dress), blue (Chris' sweater) or green (Jason's shirt); inanimate objects, and anything shot at night/shrouded in darkness (which, thankfully, comprises a good chunk of the film)...

Also, it should be noted that the 3D glasses included with this release are much too small for the average adult's head! Consequently, one would do well to acquire a typical pair of red/blue 3D glasses from another source. And to that end, might I recommend Rhino's VHS release of Robot Monster? It includes two such pairs... and is a laughably terrible movie, to boot!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

The Happening (2008). Starring Marky Mark (sans the Funky Bunch), Cholo from Land of the Dead and the real-life sister of the actress who plays Dr. Temperance Brennan on TV's "Bones."

About the best thing that I can say about this movie is that it exists. That, and – in only the most literal of technical terms – it does, in fact, qualify as an actual movie (but only just barely). Never before (nor probably will I since) have I seen a film that just shows up, fails to engage the audience on any level (unless boredom counts), and then just as quickly leaves the screen... and all completely without explanation!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Mirrors (2008). Starring Jack Bauer, George Romero's Bruiser and the butt of Amy Smart from the Crank series!

A lot of people have said that they have a problem with the way this film ends. Not me, though... I thought it was neat!

Now I just wish that the thing had earned enough money to warrant a sequel. Oh well... I guess that's what my imagination is for!

EDIT: Yes, I am aware of the since-released direct-to-DVD sequel - but considering that it has about as much to do with the first film as Amityville Dollhouse had to do with its parent series? Well, somehow I think that I'll give it a miss.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Drag Me To Hell (2009). Starring Darry from Jeepers Creepers, and that one character actor who plays a nerdy guy in lots of things. Also an enchanting, heretofore unknown to me young actress, Alison Lohman.

First of all, I just wanted to go on record here: I, K. W. Snyder, love gypsies. Seriously, I love you guys... all you guys! I want to personally hug each and every one of you! (Note: For those of you who don't want and/or like hugs... would a firm handshake and a pat on the back do instead?)

That said (mild, vaguest SPOILERS)... the ending of this film? That took some serious chutzpah! Anti- animal cruelty people, however, would probably do well to steer clear of this one...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006): Starring Freddy Krueger - the real one (with apologies to Jackie Earl Haley, who was excellent as Rorschach in Watchmen). With a brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it wordless cameo by Jason - also the real one (a.k.a. Kane Hodder). And Zelda "This house... is clear!" Rubenstein! Plus some other random dudes and dudettes.

Perhaps one of the most important films to arrive on the horror movie scene in years. Seek this one out, and see it!

Dinky Reviews!

My Bloody Valentine (2009): Starring John Locke's father, and that dude from Night of the Creeps (albeit in regretfully small roles). The rest are virtual unknowns.

Disappointing. Just a pale imitation of the original. All those people who've been saying that, when compared to Friday the 13th (2009), this one's the better redux? Well, they're wrong. They had a chance to deviate from the source material (with regards to the killer), thereby giving this thing its own identity... but they did their best to avoid it. It's too bad, then, that this is the one that got a stellar 3D transfer, whilst the same cannot unfortunately be said of Paramount's recent Friday the 13th, Part 3-D disc...

And, perhaps worst of all: They did practically nothing with the Valentine's Day theme! In the original, it is inextricably interwoven within the film's plot. This thing, though, could've been named just about anything else with a few superficial changes! Guess then they would've lost the miner angle, though...

Monday, May 18, 2009


Apparently I'm supposed to be writing something especially witty here, so that this blog gets picked up and optioned as a possible screenplay!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dinky Reviews!

Sleepwalkers (1992). Starring the Borg Queen, that dude from Charmed and a girl who's first name is the German word for, well... for girl!

Really, really, aggressively bad. Stephen, dude, I hate to tell you this... but cars in real life? Probably wouldn't explode like that after only being shot one time! Never before have I seen a film that hit you so often about the head with its omnipresent cameos. And yet, I'm still not convinced that this mess was entirely the fault of poor directorial decision-making. I mean after all, at least Garris seemed to mostly frame his shots correctly! No, this particular waste of time was spectacularly poorly written...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Greetings! Mondo welcomes you to the Fight Palace!"

...and if you get that reference (it's from an old PC-DOS game called Tongue of the Fatman) you might be a dork like me! :-)

Well, anywho... I know that I'm such a perfectionist that, unless I go ahead and jump right into this thing, it'll never get started at all... so here goes!