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Showing posts from February, 2014

Movie Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

The frenziedly cheerful Lego Movie has stomped on the domestic competition for three weeks in a row now, and with excellent reason. The script, voice acting, and effects come together in a wildly energetic story about character, creativity, and resilience. It's a spectacular movie for kids and adults who fondly remember being kids!

The Lego Movie follows Emmett (voice of Chris Pratt), a construction Lego so ordinary that even his coworkers can't really describe (or recall) him. By some twist of fate, Emmett becomes ensnared in a prophecy wherein "The Special" will save the world. With hyper-competent Master Builder Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and the godlike Vitruvios (Morgan Freeman) by his side, Emmett travels across the various Lego Lands to gather the exiled Master Builders and end President Business' (Will Ferrell) reign of micromanaging terror.

The movie upends classic themes and tropes with gleeful enthusiasm. Conformity and complacency are mocked merciles…

Movie Review: Knights of Badassdom (2014)

Yearning for some Peter Dinklage before the new Game of Thrones season starts? Missing Summer Glau because Firefly was cancelled? Interested in the learning to identify doom metal and power ballads? Then check out Knights of Badassdom, a low-budget cheeseball of a movie that affectionately pokes fun at LARPers (Live Acting Role Players, you know, the people who dress up like old-timey knights or fantasy creatures and go in-character for funsies)! Best to go in with no expectations and an open mind; this movie plays well only to a particular type of audience.

Knights of Badassdom covers the misadventures of a trio of best friends who go to a LARP event and accidentally summon an actual demon. Their nerd cred is firmly established by then. Viewers unfamiliar with the rules of LARPing get some of the basics through the other characters' teaching Joe (Ryan Kwanten), who is only there because he was drugged and brought along by his well-meaning friends. Speaking of drugs, Hung (Dinklag…

Game Review: Tales of Xillia (PS3)

True to all games in the Tales series, Tales of Xillia is light snack of an RPG that distinguishes itself with its ridiculously fun, over-the-top combat system; strong female lead; and mandatory plot twists, one of which is genuinely surprising.

Without further ado, here is the Fragrant Elephant review:

Story: 7 out of 10
The theme of human technology versus the natural world is the whoopee cushion that Tales of Xillia will repeatedly slap across players' faces. In this game, humans have "mana lobes" that allow them to summon spirits to cast artes (magic) such as lighting street lamps, building large structures, sailing ships, etc. Meanwhile, "spyrixes" are high-tech inventions that are typically made for offensive purposes (e.g. giant guns)...and they kill spirits to boot. Spyrixes are B-A-D.

The story gets plus points for feminism because Milla is the main driver of the plot (although, as she herself says, the concept of gender technically doesn't apply t…

Sheba: A Eulogy

Sheba was sunshine who spread love and happiness wherever she went. She was a gentle soul who was adored by every human she encountered. This post is a celebration of her wonderful existence.

Sheba was a tiny weirdo. She got her name by stalking like a queen of the jungle when she was first adopted. Then she returned to her default mode of clumsy kitty. She once hit her head trying to jump out from under the coffee table. Many's a time when she failed in her leap to the couch, scoring the leather in her frantic attempts to hold on to it and to her dignity.

Despite that, she was a surprisingly excellent hunter. She killed two mice living behind a fridge. One she left in her human's shoe, and the other she played with for a little while. Only fish were safe from her claws, although she did try to improve access to the ichthyoid by drinking out of its fishbowl.

She also preferred drinking out of human glasses. If a glass of water were left out, chances were she'd already slu…

Being "That Girl"

We all know That Girl. She walks in and we're all like, "Oh/Ugh, it's That Girl." That Girl comes in different varieties, depending on the setting. She is an object of delight, dismay, contempt, or murderous hatred. I know this because I have been That Girl. If you have ovaries, it's quite possible you have, too!

Here is a fond/cringing look back at the That Girl that I have seen and/or been:

1. At the Club

That Girl who takes her shirt off. In my defense, I was switching from a Luigi costume to a Mario costume. It was for art.

That Girl in an entire group of composed of That Girl: loud, sloshing with liquid courage, and out of control. Will get hit on throughout the night.

That Girl who swoops in like an eagle to rescue you from a dude who keeps following you around. Bonus if she is a Trini.

That Girl who you came in with, teleported around the dance floor all night, then barfed in your car when you gave her a ride home. Also known as Hot Mess.

That Girl who doesn…

very polar such vortex wow

Hello. This is Fragrant Elephant reporting from the Northeast, where we got a lovely 10 inches of snow today. The storm started around the same time as the crushing of my hopes for a late office opening. No, we here in Boston are far too stoic to be stopped by piffling frozen condensation. And so we dress in layers, strap ourselves into our hats and boots, and trudge to our paychecks.

This latest storm was special in that the sidewalks hadn't seen a shovel by the time I hit them with my mom's fluffy and possibly witchcraft-enhanced waterproof winter boots. I could feel the burn in my calves as I slogged up the streets to the train station, and from my stop to the office.

This season, comfort may be found by wearing two winter coats: a windproof layer followed by your main coat of choice. I dress in red so that I stand out like a raw, open wound upon the frozen streets. This decreases my risk of getting run over by Boston drivers, who admittedly do slow down and act less (M)as…