5 Things About The Poltergeist Remake

I had the "Privilege" seeing the Poltergeist remake this weekend.  As a general rule, I hate horror movies and do everything in my power to avoid them.  However, my wife ADORES them, although I'm not sure which she enjoys more: watching the movie or watching ME watch the movie.  Regardless, the original Poltergeist was one of her favorites growing up, so as soon as I heard that there was a remake, I knew that I was doomed to see it.  Having now seen it, I have some thoughts, which I will now share with you, relatively spoiler free.

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D&D Review: Against the Slave Lords Reprint (OCDtv#28)

I take a look at Wizards of the Coast's recent reprint of "Against the Slave Lords" - a series of D&D first edition adventures that were designed for tournament play D&D at GenCon years ago.

**Disclaimer: Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for providing me with a review copy of this book to look at**

5 People That Should Not See World War Z

After the different approach that I took to the Man of Steel review, I thought I would continue that trend by talking about other movies as I see them. This review is a little late, but after the break we will talk about World War Z, the recent movie based off of the book by Max Brooks.

1) People who hate Zombies

This one is obvious, but I felt like we should go ahead and get this out of the way: World War Z is a zombie movie. In it, Brad Pitt's character and his family suddenly find themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak. They have to fight their way to survival, and then Brad Pitt gets tasked by the governments remaining to figure out what the heck is going on. If that bit alone turns you off, you might want to skip the rest of the review and the movie as well.

2) People upset that the movie is different than the book

Disclaimer: I have not read the book. My wife has read most of it so any comparisons are based on what she has read.

When this movie first came out, all I heard on the Internet were people talking about how the movie didnt match the book. This is true, but from what I've been told, it would have been hard to make a mass-market movie based on the content in the book. If you were one of the people ticked off at this notion, don't bother seeing the movie. One way or another, your pre-determined mind will find a way to hate it. Now, if you have read the book and are fairly open minded, go see the movie. You'll be pretty well entertained and will spot tons of references that the oblivious person next to you won't get. It's like watching a comic book movie: it's not always the same story you read, but there will be tidbits and Easter eggs that only you will pick up.

3) People that couldn't stomach The Walking Dead (also, small children)

This movie is intense. It's rated PG-13, but there some R rated horror movies that are not as freaky as this movie. Unlike the walking dead, there isn't as much graphic detail shown, but what is shown and the shots used will scare the pants off of people who aren't as tolerant of horror movies (i.e. me). Do not bring small children to this movie, as you won't be able to get them to sleep anytime soon. Shoot, I'm 27 and I wanted to wait a couple of hours before going to bed to put some space between myself and the movie.

4) People that don't want to rethink their zombie escape plans

On long car rides, or anytime that we want to kill a few minutes, my wife and I will talk about our plans for surviving the zombie apocalypse. We've thought up scenarios to protect our house, places to avoid if we get caught away from home, etc. Part of the reason I was creeped out was the way they shot the zombies and tried to scare the audience. The other reason was because I knew my wife and I were going to have scrap most of those plans and start over. The way that the movie presents the zombie apocalypse makes you realize more that in an outbreak, you have 2 things to fend off: zombies and other people trying to survive. It brings a whole new perspective to the zombie genre.

5) People that hate a good movie

Hey what do you know? The same people that were on my Man of Steel review. I really liked this movie. As I said above, it brings something new to the zombie genre and I really appreciated that. It is definitely a movie that I will be thinking about for awhile.

Are you one of these people? If not, go check out the movie and let me know what you think.

5 People That Should Not See Man of Steel

This weekend, the latest movie entry into the Superman mythos, Man of Steel, opens in theaters. I was fortunate enough to see an early sneak preview of the movie last Sunday. Among other things, I came away from the movie thinking that there are going to be certain people who don't like this movie. Read onwards to find out which people those are.

1) People Expecting This To Be The Christopher Reeves Superman movies

For me, when I get to thinking about what Batman is, I always think of the Batman portrayed in "Batman: The Animated Series". That was "my" Batman - what I base all other portrayals of Batman against. For some people, probably a good many people, the Christopher Reeves movies are "their" Superman. Therefore, I would imagine that there is a decent number of people that are going to see this movie hoping that it will be like the Superman movies that they remember. Those people will probably be disappointed. Times have changed, and Man of Steel reflects that change. While the core character and what he stands for are similar in both movies, the overall tone and feel of the movies is very different than the tone of the 70s movies.

2) People Expecting This To Be The Dark Knight

Having directed The Dark Knight trilogy, many people seeing Christopher Nolan's name on the Man of Steel movie poster may be concerned that this movie attempts to "Batman-ify" Superman. I can see how someone could think that - Superman movies havent done very well recently, but the Batman movies have, so lets just put some of those appealing Batman aspects into this Superman movie. However, Christopher Nolan and Zack Synder did not do that. The tone and universe may have a similar feel to The Dark Knight, which is the way it should be since both movies take place in the same universe, but Superman shines like a beacon, being the man of hope when the world plunges into darkness. What you end up with is a movie that shows how a man like Superman can exist in the same world as Christain Bale's Batman (by the way, in one of the space shots, look at a nearby satellite for a small Easter egg).

3) People Taking Small Children

Typically, for big comic book movies, Ashley and I are of the belief that we should watch the movie first, then take Chloe to it later. This way, we know what's coming and we can shield her from any scenes we feel are too young for her. Most of these movies she really wants to see, yet most are rated PG-13, and this way she can still see the movie with me still holding on to some sense of "good parenting". For Man of Steel, we thought about bringing her along with us for this one time - I mean it's Superman, how bad could it be? I'm glad we decided not to bring her, because I don't know if she's ready to see the movie. As I alluded to above, this movie gets pretty dark. In order to bring out the best traits in a character, you need a villain who is really good at the opposite. In Man of Steel, General Zod is a dark, evil man who will stomp on anyone who gets in his way or who he deems "inferior". This works in the sense that it lets Superman's goodness shine, but the result is a few intense scenes that I believe might be rough for some small kids watching the film.

4) People Who Hate Good 3D

I've heard it explained to me plenty of times that the best 3D is the kind that is not completely obvious to you. Our eyes see in 3D everyday, so if done correctly, good 3D movies would look very natural to us, adding depth to the experience. The preview of Man of Steel we saw was in 3D and this is exactly how I felt watching this movie. There were no cheap gimmicks of objects being thrown at the screen or other effects that other movies use because they are being shot/rendered in 3D. Overall, the 3D felt very natural and did not distract from the movie, which I believe qualifies it as a good usage of the technology.

And Finally....

5) People That Hate A Good Movie

I really liked this movie. Superman has never really been a huge character for me: i consider the other movies to be "alright", I did enjoy "Smallville", but I don't regularly read Superman comics either. While I still prefer the Batman movies, I had fun watching the movie and it did make me want to go to the comic store to look at Superman comics, which for any comic book movie is a good judge of how good it was.

Go see the movie, for most of you out there, you'll enjoy it. If not, comment below and let me know what you thought about it.

 

Review: "Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2"

Before I start on this post, I realize that a few weeks back I mentioned that I was trying to avoid doing written blog reviews.  What I meant to say was that I am trying to not constrain myself to just writing review posts, I want to make sure that the blog posts I write are constantly entertaining and not pigeon holed into one type of writing.  Having said that, I was recently sent copies of Parts 1 and 2 of The Secretist by Wizards of the Coast, written by Doug Beyer.  The Secretist is the story that accompanies the current Magic: The Gathering set, Return to Ravinca.  If you're a fan of Magic or a big lover of fantasy books, you will want to click past the break for more.

For those of you who may not be that familiar with Magic; it is a collectible card game where you and your opponent take the form of powerful mages called "Planeswalkers" who duel each other.  Each year, Wizards of the Coasts releases a "block" of Magic cards.  This block of cards consists of 3 different sets that are released throughout the year.  Each one of the sets within the same block of cards take place in the same location, sharing a common theme and background story that weaves its way into the various characters, abilities, and flavor text.  This background story is typically expanded upon by a series of novels that are released around the same time as the individual sets.  So each year, a block will contain 3 sets of cards and 3 novels; one to go with each set.  This year, Wizards is experimenting with this formula a bit; releasing 3 shorter novellas throughout the year as ebooks.
The first part, Return to Ravnica, The Secretist Part 1, stars Jace Belerin, a Planeswalker who specializes in mind magic.  Jace has discovered an ancient code within many of the structures located in the world of Ravnica, a world consisting of one giant city rules by ten various guilds.  The code that Jace has discovered is believed to lead to an "Implicit Maze," which at the end of it is rumored to contain some sort of weapon.  In February, the second ebook in the series, Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2, the discovery and subsequent exploration of the Implicit Maze has caused dissent between the ten guilds, causing their leaders to prepare for all out war.  Jace finds himself in the middle of the guilds' tensions and must find a way to discover what is really inside the Implicit Maze before war tears apart the entire world of Ravnica.
Up until this point, I had never read Magic's background novels.  Each year I see them, and am tempted to read them, but they always get placed low on my to-do list.  When I got the copies of "The Secretist", I was determined to finally get off of my butt and read these Magic stories.  I downloaded both parts for the Kindle app on my iPad and got to reading.  The availability of the stories as ebooks made it so much easier to obtain and read through the stories, and I really enjoyed that.  If Wizards of the Coast were to release all of their Magic stories as ebooks from now on, I could see myself reading more of them.  Especially because I loved this story so much.  The way that the author describes the various people and guilds, most of which are available as different cards in the Magic set, allowed me to get more immersed into the story and location.  The description of the different guilds battling it out is very vivid in its description; you can easily see in your mind the way that the characters cast their spells to attack and defend against their opponents.  I am more of a Science Fiction reader, but I have read a couple of different Fantasy books.  None of them have gone into as detail as these books on the magic and the way that the spells come into reality.  The fact that the card game is called "Magic: The Gathering" probably is a large reason why this is the case.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed these two books, and I am really excited for the final part of the story.  Not only that, but I am excited for the next time that I get to play the Magic card game, as I feel I will have more understanding as to why the cards are the way that they are and why certain mechanics behave in a particular way.  That, of course, is probably Wizards of the Coast's goal in publishing these Magic stories; and for this Magic Block, I feel that they have succeeded.
Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2, along with the first part of the tale, can be found for $1.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.  If you are a big Magic: The Gathering fan, or someone who wants a different sort of fantasy tale, then I highly recommend that you pick up this book.  If you do, let me know what you think and if you are as excited as I am for the final part!

Comic Review: Batman Earth One - OCDtv #21

On this week's episode, I actually review some comics!  Imagine that!  I take a look at Geoff John's "Batman Earth One" Trade Paperback from DC Comics and let you know what I think about this.  It's been out for awhile, but I had just recently been able to get my hands on it.  Let me know if you've read it!

Got any suggestions for other comic stories that I should be reading?  Leave them in the comments below!

Munchkin Zombies Review

The last in this set of Munchkin review videos, this week I take a look at Munchkin Zombies!  One of my favorite sets to play, this version of Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games has the Munchkins be zombies and do whatever it takes to get to level 10, using whatever they can find around them as equipment.  Check out the video, and if you want to purchase the game, click here to go to Amazon and order it.  I'll get a cut back, and you get a great game!