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Showing posts from December, 2014

Movie Review: Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods is Disney's cinematic take on a Broadway musical from the eighties. It's a camp-tastic extravaganza with over-the-top performances that had me clapping like a sea lion. It starts out lighthearted and cheery and then transforms into a somber lesson about wishes, stories, and children. For the most part, it stays true to the original musical, although the movie is so laden with CGI that I wonder how a stage production managed all the story's explosive numbers.

The plot revolves around the Baker (James Corden) and the Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt), who are sent on a quest by The Witch (Meryl Streep) to lift their curse of childlessness. Their journey into the woods sends them on a collision course with the most popular Grimm fairy tale characters: Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). Along the way, the characters screw each other over, learn lessons and change accordingly, and …

Ho Ho Ho! Happy Holidays!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE FRAGRANT FAMILY! That's totally me in the photo, yessiree!
A toast to 2014, a year of firsts!

There's been a lot of terrible news this year--MH370, Ebola, Boko Haram, Ferguson, to name just a few--but I think there are also a lot of good people doing good work out there that balances it all out. Malala's still campaigning for girls' education, Obama is all "GREY HAIR, DON'T CARE", Tina and Amy are hosting the Golden Globes again, and Kosuke Fujishima finished his Oh! My Goddess (ああっ女神さまっ) series after only 26 years! Yes, it only took almost my entire lifetime for Keiichi and Belldandy to get married!

But back to the post opener...our little family got a tiny expansion this year, causing Fragrant Husband's beard to go even more salt-and-pepper. We are now parents to one of our own species, homo sapien nerdus, rather than to a pair of senior felis catus. The demands are...different.

As an older and wiser Fragrant Elephant, I can…

Baby's First Three Months in Five Minutes!

Game Review: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception continues the adventures of wisecracking, ledge-jumping, bullet-absorbing Nathan Drake. This game reveals two keys to Drake's character: how he and his mentor Sully first meet, and the significance of the ring he always wears around his neck. The game begins in a pub in London, opening with a bang and also introducing newbies to the controls. As the story unfolds, players are taken to the streets of Colombia, a forest in France, a citadel in Syria, and the Rub' al Khali desert in the Arabian peninsula. The end of the journey is the "Atlantis of the Sands," a mystical city that holds a potential weapon sought by the game's villains.

Drake's Deception continues the many fine elements of the previous games. It's beautiful--easily the most visually stunning entry in the Uncharted series, with well-rendered character movements and locations. There are instances when the camera pulls back to show Drake as a tiny figure struggli…

Movie Review: Snowpiercer (2013)

Strap yourselves in for a brutal ride! Snowpiercer is a gritty vision of dystopia by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. The film opens with scientists launching a product in the air intended to stop global warming. Instead, earth freezes over. The last of humanity's survivors are now on a train that goes around the world, punching through accumulated ice and snow.

The train is segregated: the front cars have all the luxuries, the middle ones help run the train, and the overcrowded tail end houses castoffs. You can tell they're oppressed and angry because they look like they wandered off the set of Les Miserables. Curtis (Chris Evans) is planning a revolt, and his fellow sub-economy passengers are ready. Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton) and a small army stand in their way. What follows is a march/rampage forward through cars that showcase our species' absurdities, insanities, and cold calculations.

Snowpiercer is heavy on the allegories, with the bad guys repeatedly giving s…