Kathleen
I discovered the amazing 1994 miniseries The Stand and have slowly been working my way through it. I love the slow pace, the dystopian yet hopeful world, the themes of good vs. evil, and the wonderfully diverse characters, especially Nick - I'm still broken over his death and Tom. Stu is my favorite, and I love how he's just an ordinary man, nothing special or chosen like the worn out trope nowadays, and yet such a good, decent guy you can't help loving him. He had me worried quite a bit near the end but I'm so happy he pulled through and got his happy ending with Frannie and the baby.

I also saw the Polish miniseries version of Quo Vadis and while the start took me a bit to catch my interest I grew to love it. The characters were all intriguing and the film had a realistic edge to the historical details. I loved how Marcus changed over the story and grew into a kind, decent person, and I was happy to see Lygia and he get their happy ending.

I went to see the new Cinderella in theatres and it was absolutely beautiful. As much as I enjoy re-imagined fairytales, there's nothing as flawless as the true story told faithfully. The actors were all perfect, and I adored Cinderella, Kit, the Captain, and all the wonderful animals, especially the dear little mice. The Fairy Godmother was delightful, and the special effects were stunning, the perfect balance of real and CGI, and the costumes, especially the dress for the ball were breathtaking. I loved the gentle added touches like Kit and his father and the Stepmother discovering the glass slipper, and the ending was beyond wonderful.

I've heard about The Matrix since it was popular when I was a kid so I finally caved in and watched it. It took a few minutes to grab me but once I did I fell in love with it. As much as I get tired of the main character being "the One", I adored Neo, for his skills, confusion, and incredible fashion sense - I seriously want to steal those coats. I loved his relationship with Trinity, too, and Morpheus with his unwavering faith in him. The action scenes were amazing; I loved the slow motion photography of the bullets and the awesome fight scenes, and I couldn't stop laughing during the scene when Neo goes through the metal detector and shows how many guns he has. Next was The Matrix Reloaded which I enjoyed as much as the first one. I loved the parallels with Neo saving Trinity's life to when she saved his, and Neo's new skills, especially his ability to see all the coding and to fly, were awesome. Last was The Matrix Revolutions, a flawed but poignant finale to the trilogy. I was saddened by Trinity's senseless death, and Neo's ambiguous fate but I loved how the story was tied up in a bittersweet ending, and the last scene, with the Oracle and other characters, was beautiful.

The next Flowers In the Attic movie, If There Be Thorns, aired, and I loved it, far more than the last and a little bit more than the first. I liked seeing Cathy and Chris as adults, hiding their secrets while still deeply in love, even as the tragedy of their pasts continues to impact their children. I liked some resolution and even redemption for their mother in the end, and how Jory accepted and defended his parents after all. The little girl was precious, too. Next was the final movie, Seeds Of Yesterday which crushed me. I liked that the second generation was finally able to break free of the past and find their happy endings, especially Jory who more than deserved it, but I secretly wanted Bart to get what he deserved. Cathy and Chris made my heart ache, and it broke me that they weren't able to be happy in the end, with Chris's death, and Cathy never free of the shadow of the attic. The comments about yellow and the flowers were poignant, and the ending with Cathy finally seeing the paper flowers made me tear up.

Out of curiosity I gave a try to one of the older Anne Of Green Gables movies, starting with the sequel 1940's Anne Of Windy Poplars and was delighted by it. While it took me a bit to adjust to the new cast, I grew to love the sweet yet spunky version of Anne, the gentle, steady Gilbert, and dear little Betty. I adored that Gilbert and Anne took her in at the ending, and the setting, especially the picnic was beautifully idyllic. I also loved the side characters, like Jabez, and Matey, as well as Katherine and Tony's romance. The story was perfectly done, too, and I loved every minute. After that I went back and watched the 1934 Anne Of Green Gables and while it wasn't as good as the sequel it had some intriguing twists on the story that I enjoyed. I was a bit puzzled by how they switched the backstory and had Gilbert's mother jilt Matthew instead of his father jilting Marilla, but I liked the forbidden romance Anne and Gilbert had, especially the adorable scene where he gives her a locket. Likewise it was strange to have Diana be Rachel's daughter - I suppose the movie, being short, felt it easier to simply combine the characters of Mrs. Berry and Rachel. Gilbert was super adorable, though, even as different as he was, and Anne was even more overly imaginative than usual. I loved the ending, too, especially since they had Matthew live and Marilla accept Gilbert.

In other new films I saw The Lovely Bones which was beautiful and haunting. I adore odd, poignant films and it put a lump in my throat as well as dazzling me with some gorgeous scenery and nostalgia for the '70s. Every character was fascinating and I wanted to spend more time with all of them, but I loved the way the story tied up with a bittersweet, perfect ending. Next was The Kingdom Of Heaven, a gorgeous and often poignant epic. I loved the characters, especially King Baldwin and Balian, and was fascinated by the history I knew very little about. The filming was stunning, and so many scenes made me cry, especially Saladin letting everyone go and then even pausing to right the cross on the altar. Next was Dorian Gray and despite a slow start and straying from the book it ended up being an incredible adaptation. Ben Barnes was stunning as Dorian, capturing the grief, wildness, and insanity of the character while still making me feel sorry for him. I loved the style and effects of the painting, and the filming and scenery was gorgeous. Next was Lorenzo's Oil, a heartbreaking but inspiring story that brought tears to my eyes. I loved the slow pace, gentle, but amazing acting, especially from the little child who played Lorenzo, and the couple's devotion and dedication to trying to save their son. The end was deeply poignant but beautiful. Next was the heartbreaking and thought-provoking My Sister's Keeper which explored a difficult concept and featured stunning acting and realistic characters. I cried so much throughout but the ending was beautifully poignant and moving. Next was the strange and gorgeous La Jetée. I could clearly see the inspiration for my beloved 12 Monkeys, and the style, all in still photographs, was surprisingly non-off-putting, with the narration and images drawing me in instantly and keeping me fascinated to the end. I loved the stark feel of the story, the commentary on small details and sensations, and the poignant ending. After that I saw the beautiful and poignant I Am Sam. The actors, especially little Dakota Fanning, were amazing, and the characters stole my heart. It made me cry and laugh throughout and I loved the ending. Next was the beautiful and heartbreaking La Rafle. I sobbed at the ending and throughout, and was deeply moved by the story.

I'd always meant to see a Rudolph Valentino movie and I finally watched a few of his films this week, starting with The Sheik. While it was a bit over the top I loved the adventure of the plot, and the setting, as well as the characters. He isn't the best silent film actor but he's likeable and his films are very enjoyable.

In new animated films I saw The Lego Movie which was surprisingly good and hilarious, especially Batman's song and line about "only working in black". I loved how it didn't take itself seriously, and the concept was creative and a lot of fun.

I've spent the past week watching the new series Daredevil and it's been a treat, to finally have my superhero get such a good adaptation. I adore the characters, especially Matt, Foggy, and Claire, and Ben and Elena's deaths broke my heart. The writing was amazing, reminded me of all that's missing in most shows of the genre, and I loved that Matt never killed anyone. There were so many beautiful touches: the theme and intro, Matt's Catholic past and conversations with his priest, Karen's realistic reaction to killing someone, and Matt's fiery image of the world.

I've started watching the new Poldark show and it's lovely so far. Aidan Turner pulls off the broody, gothic antihero type nicely, and Demelza is adorable. I'm intrigued by the rivalry and fortunes within the family, as well as the social classes.

Along the same lines, I discovered the glorious Italian romance Elisa Di Rivombrosa and despite my pickiness of period drama I was instantly captivated. The actors and characters grabbed me right away, and the gorgeous setting and lyrical Italian just adds to the feel. Elisa is likeable, and Fabrizio, while not always likeable, is compelling - and on a shallow note has mesmerizing blue eyes - and it's easy to see why they would be drawn to each other and swept off their feet and out of their worlds. The parallels between them and the tragedy of the doctor and his wife make me worried, but I'm intrigued. I also like the other characters, like Fabrizio's mother and dear little neice.

I'm on season two of The Musketeers and despite a bit of a shaky start to the season compared to last, it seems to be finding it's feet. Aramis is taking center stage for the most part, which I don't mind, and I love how he tries to be there for his son, even if he can't be a real father to him. I'm relieved that the Cardinal is gone, but detest his replacement even more than I hated the Cardinal. "Through a Glass Darkly", the best so far, does a perfect job of giving scenes to all the characters, backed against a compelling, nail-biting plot. I'm thrilled D'Artagnan and Constance are back together, and intrigued by the twist in Athos and Milady's relationship. The two part finale, especially "Trial and Punishment" was stunning and the season's best, restoring much of what's been missing since season one. I loved the character growth in the episode, especially Milady saving Aramis and offering to have Athos leave with her, and I liked how their relationship changed even if they're now separated. D'Artagnan saving and marrying Constance made me incredibly happy, even if I'm sad Aramis didn't attend the wedding. I also wish LeMay had survived, since I liked him, and he was so kind to Constance. As sad as it was, I'm grateful the story arc of Aramis and Anne and their son is now resolved, and I'm looking forward to seeing them as the child grows up. Ryan Gage's acting was amazing, as the King is usually a difficult role, and in this episode more than usual. I also liked that they went with the route of Aramis becoming a monk, even though I know it won't last. I'm very intrigued by the war storyline for next season, too.

Onto part two of season four of Once Upon A Time and as much as I miss the last story arc I'm slowly starting to appreciate this one. I love Ursula, especially her backstory, and I loved that she was the first to get her happy ending. My favorite thing is August being back, though, and even if it isn't forever I'm just so happy to have him brightening my screen again, since he was one of the first characters I adored in the show and the one I missed the most. Killian's storyline continues to make me smile and cry, and I've fallen in love with shipping Emma and he - how can I resist when he views her as his happy ending? I'm bitter over what the writers have done to Belle, though, since she seems so OOC, and I hate how they've paired her up with the Knave and destroyed two of my OTPs at once. Rumplestiltskin, even evil, still never fails to break my heart, and I can't help hoping for Belle and he to reunite. "Best Laid Plans" finally reveals the Author, and despite my sadness at it not being August - or even a character we knew - I love the concept of it being a title that passes down (as well as the cute little nod to Walt Disney). August continues to be a treasure, even though his illness worried me, and I love his friendship with Emma. The revelation of Maleficent's daughter wasn't a surprise but it was heartbreaking to see her lose her due to a horrible choice made by Snow and Charming, who continue to corrupt themselves. Rumplestiltskin finally got a scene with Belle, even if she was asleep, and managed to reduce me to tears in only a few lines (I'm still bitter over what she did to him since, even if he was doing something wrong his intentions made sense after all he'd suffered being controlled and losing his son). Onto "Heart Of Gold", and I don't think I've been so disappointed by an ep since the Neverland arc. As much as I loved the glimpse of Oz, there was no need to bring Zelena back. I hated her, hated her storyline, and it was long resolved. She serves no point other than to bring Rumplestiltskin more pain, and provide the writers with the laziest way ever of bringing Robin and Regina back together. Marion deserved better, certainly in regards to the original story, and definitely in regards to Robin himself who the show continues to ruin for me, even if his giving Knave the bottle and deleting Regina from his phone shows that he's improving and slowly becoming a better person. Still Roland remains adorable, and Rumplestiltskin's storyline regarding the damage to his heart from all the evil he's done is intriguing. While "Sympathy for the De Vil" failed to make me feel anything for Cruella and I disliked most of the plot, I liked seeing a better side of the Author and a fascinating 1920s world. Rumplestiltskin and Belle's scene together was heartbreaking, even as wonderful as it was to see them together again, and I'm fascinated by the storyline of Rumplestiltskin's blackening heart. "Lily" was an odd but enjoyable ep, showing Emma's continuing journey to darkness, but it's best scene was Rumplestiltskin and the Knave working together to restore Belle's heart, and Rumplestiltskin giving up Belle to keep her safe and happy. I still hope they can find a way back to each other, but I love that he was willing to leave her alone, instead of harming the Knave. "Operation Mongoose", one of the very best episodes of the series so far, was stunning, giving me what I've longed for but had never hoped would happen: a glimpse into an upside down version of fairytale land. I adored the subtle twists on the characters: Charming's "I'll always find you" even as Snow controls his heart, Snow and Regina's storylines flipped and twisted, and especially Killian, even as a coward with no fighting skills or memory of Emma, dying to save her. I cried when they finally reunited with an adorable hug, and I was so happy Emma finally told him she loved him. I was sad there wasn't a true love's kiss between Belle and Rumplestiltskin, but it thrilled me to hear Belle say she still loves him, and to finally have Rumplestiltskin free of the darkness and the dagger.

I'm on season five of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and Hercules being separated from Iolaus is killing me. I'm intrigued and heart-broken by the glimpses we get of who Hercules could become without Iolaus - bitter, violent, and dangerous, and even when he starts to care about and help people again, he still seems so different and sad. I enjoy Iolaus II, but he makes me miss Iolaus terribly. But he's very sweet, and I love that he got his happy ending and even found true love. Still the plots are superb this season, and it's great fun to see the show expand it's mythology into other countries, including Celtic and Norse. I especially loved seeing the myth of Baldr come to life. The final episode was beautiful, and I even cried a little when Iolaus learns he can stay alive with Hercules.

I gave a try to Nikita and am quite enjoying it so far. Aaron Stanford is wonderful as Birkhoff, and his friendship with Nikita is adorable. Michael is my favorite, and I ship Nikita and he. I love the gradual growth of his character across season one until he breaks away from Division and joins with Nikita. I'm up to the end of season three now and saddened by the direction the show took. Without the plot of taking down Division the story fails to find its footing and I think it would have been so much better if they'd kept the original storyline all the way to the end since Percy's death would have been the perfect finale. I much preferred Percy as the bad guy with his subtle and creepy manipulation instead of Amanda who comes across as showy, annoying, and over-acting instead of frightening. The worst changes are to the characters, though. Gone is the united, makeshift family of the first two seasons as even the relationships are affected: Nikita and Alex are at each others' throats, and Michael and Nikita have half the scenes together they used to. Michael seems cold and distant, unable to come to terms with the loss of his hand, Sonya, forever annoying, gets far too much screentime, Ryan has gone from a sweetheart to hardened boss, and Nikita is violent, harsh, and much like the people she once fought. Only Birkhoff, the sunshine of the show, seems himself. Sean was never one of my favorites but his death seemed cruel and only to cause Alex, who's already lost too much, more pain. And while the characters come back together by season's end, Owen's storyarc ends tragically when he becomes who he used to be, a hardened killer. I adored Owen, and while it helped that he retains the slightest glimmer of Owen, it's horrible to see him disappear into Sam. Still I'm glad he got so much screentime this season and his snark was the highlight of the episodes.

In other new shows I finally got a chance to see the '60s series It's A Man's World with it's fabulous cast (Randy! Michael Burns! Glenn Corbett! and more), and it was lovely, a gentle and often poignant story.

Also new is The Messengers, and while it's a bit cheesy at times and some of the characters (Vera and Rose) have yet to grow on me, I'm enjoying it. I love Joshua, so far, who seems like a decent, nice guy trying to do the right thing, and Erin and Amy are adorable. Raul is my absolute favorite, and I love his interactions with Erin and Amy. I'm curious as to why only Joshua and Raul's gifts hurt them when the other's, not even Erin's healing, seems to affect her, and looking forward to seeing who the seventh angel will be.

I've started watching IZombie and while it's not perfect I love it's quirky, offbeat humor and loveable characters. Ravi is adorable, Liv is so easy to relate to, and Lowell is a gift that keeps on giving - plus it's wonderful to see Bradley James on my screen again.

Season two of Turn has started and as much as I enjoyed the first season, I'm delighted to see they've fixed the problems that annoyed me before and made it 100% better. Ben is still his adorable, lovely self (and there was even a few scenes of him with his hair down!), Caleb remains flawless, and Abe, free of the dreadful Anna/Abe romance, has finally settled into a somewhat likeable character. I love the greater emphasis on spying, along with some 1700s gadgets, and the interaction between the spies, things that were all very lacking before. Andre's character growth is a treat, and I've learned to enjoy him, and feel deeply for him - his reaction after realizing he's lost Peggy made me tear up. The new character, Benedict Arnold and Peggy, especially, are interesting, and I love how the personal drama has taken a backseat to the war. I'm fascinated and heartbroken by Hewlett's journey from a dreamer to a broken fugitive, and surprised by how much I've grown to love and root for him.

When Calls the Heart has also begun season two, and as happy as I am to see Jack again, I'm a little disappointed by the many changes, especially the costume and hairstyle updates that give a strangely modern feel. I do like seeing more of Elizabeth and Jack's families, though, as well as the effect that the changes, including the new name, will have on the town. I loved DeWitt and Mary's wedding, but miss the other characters, and am sad by how much Elizabeth has changed and become less likeable. The new characters are a mixed bag as well: I despise Charles, and Elizabeth's other sister, am ambivalent toward Julie, enjoy Tom but only when he's with Jack - the brothers give me so many feels - and surprisingly adore Rosemary whose hilarious antics cheer me up. I'm also rooting for her love story, and I hope Abigail ends up with the pastor and ditches her current, dreadful love interest.

I've been keeping up with Olympus and it's promising so far, growing slowly into the type of mythological drama tv hasn't had in many years, a little cheesy, a little dark, and a lot of fun. I like the main character and the mystery regarding the curse on his name, as well as his relationship with the Oracle. I like it's different approach to the myths, as well as the riddle inside the mercenary.

While I'm far from a fan of Agents Of SHIELD, I've been keeping up with it in case there are tie-ins with the rest of MCU, and it's given me at least one treat in the form of Luke Mitchell. It's so lovely to see him again and his character, Lincoln, is great fun with his electric powers.

Officially the last person to do so, I've fallen in love with the short-lived series Firefly and it's brilliant, a perfect fusion of thrown together family, fantastic one-liners, and flawless blend of sci-fi spaceships and western music and gun-twirling. I adore the characters, especially Mal, Simon, and River, and all the relationships are heart-warming, especially Simon and River's.

I finally finished watching the complete series of Tour Of Duty and I'd forgotten how much I loved the show and how it handled complex issues, as well as how human it made it's characters. Anderson remains a sweetheart, Goldman never fails to make me cry - especially the episodes with his father, and Purcell breaks my heart time and again. But in watching the last two seasons for the first time I discovered an unexpected treat in Johnny McKay. He's the sort of character I seem to fall for instantly - cocky, brash, always smiling, and a heart of gold, and I knew I'd adore him the instant he blasted rock and roll out of the speakers of his chopper. He's a delight and has quickly become my favorite character.

The second season of Girl Meets World has started and it's brought with it even more old faces from Boy Meets World, the best of which is Eric. Eric was always my favorite and he's as hilarious and loveable as ever, and it make me so nostalgic and happy to see him again.

I'm working my way through season three of Teen Wolf and it's my favorite so far. The show has finally found it's feet with it's division of screentime between characters, and, as is the case with every supernatural show I enjoy, the more characters who know, the better the show is. Without having to waste time hiding the truth the characters get to work together and the plot flows so much better. I also love the bits of humor this season, and the writing has improved so much. Scott continues to be a sweetheart, Derek is still wonderful and makes me cry (I sobbed at his backstory episode), the adults are fabulous, and I'm learning to love Stiles. Also there's Kira, one of my favorite characters in the show, and after two and a half seasons of annoying Allison drama I love that Scott finally has a sweet, kind girlfriend. I'm also glad it's Allison's final season, but I'm sad it's also Isaac's, since I like him. Braeden is awesome, and I actually like Malia and find her backstory fascinating.

I've started watching the later seasons of ER and completely fallen in love with Luka. It's wonderful to see Goran Visnjic in something else, and I adore Luka's relationship with Abby, and watching as he slowly finds happiness. His backstory breaks my heart, and I sobbed my way through the stunning episode "The Lost", especially when he starts praying.

I've completely fallen in love with the soundtrack of La Légende du Roi Arthur, especially the gorgeous "Auprès d'un Autre" and it's music video.
 
 
calliope tune: "Do You Believe In Magic"-Lovin Spoonful
feeling: ditzy
 
 
Kathleen
26 March 2014 @ 12:10 pm
I just got back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was brilliant, a perfect meshing of spy games and history which catered to every one of my favorite things. The technology was more amazing than ever with the holograms, the face change, the "living" computer, and the spooky ways of Hydra. Steve, happily, was his usual noble, good self, and my heart broke for him as he struggles to come to terms with the current world, his disillusionment with SHIELD, the betrayals all around him,and the loss of Bucky. I loved the subtle touches to his character: the 40s music on record in his apartment, the fact that he carries Peggy's picture, and more, and his gymnastics and shield-flinging were even more awesome than in earlier films. I sobbed when he visits the now elderly Peggy and she finally recognizes him. Natasha was wonderful, a flawless contrast and comparison to Steve and I loved their friendship and her constant match-making. I grew to love Sam almost instantly, both for his kind heart as well as his fantastic suit and wings, and I love that Steve now has a friend and ally. The curly-haired Shield agent was also wonderful; I wish he'd had a larger part because I loved how heroic and ordinary he was. Bucky destroyed me. I loved him in the first film and seeing what became of him, and how mutely accepting he was of the cruelty from the people who brainwashed him hurt horribly. Steve and his fight was brutal but showed the best of them - Steve going down, even badly wounded to unpin Bucky from the beam, and the poignant moment when Bucky dragged Steve out of the lake. I adored the final sequence of him seeing his old photo, giving me some glimmer of hope for his future.

I went to see X Men: Days Of Future Past in theatres and it was flawless, exceeding all of my hopes and expectations. Quicksilver was wonderful, hilarious and perfect in every way, and I loved the new characters, especially Warpath. Charles completely broke my heart, as did his lost friendship with Magneto. I loved seeing Magneto waver between hero and bad guy, and seeing Mystique get a second chance. The time travel was done surprisingly well, with the past and present aligned in a poignant, non-intrusive way. The ending made me tear up, especially seeing Scott alive again, and I was so happy that everything was fixed and made hopeful from the darkness of the prior films.

I also saw Maleficent in theatres and it was gorgeous, a lovely reimagining of the fairytale. I was surprised to find how much I could sympathize with and like Maleficent, both as a hero and as a bad character, and I adored her slow-growing love and caring as she watches over little Aurora. Calling her "beastie" was precious, too. Aurora was a darling, and Elle Fanning did a perfect job portraying her sweetness and innocence. Phillip, too, was quite adorable despite his small role, and I loved the hopeful ending for both of them. The Moor creatures were fabulous, all very imaginative and beautiful. I loved Diaval who infused both humor and sympathy into the role, and I ended up shipping him with Maleficent by the ending which was flawless as both of them flew off together.

I finally got to see The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and, while still nothing compared to Lord Of The Rings it seems to have found it's footing after the last film, thankfully dropping the annoying comedy and weak characterizations in favor of solid drama and a broader focus. Kili remains the brightest spot, a sweet and brave little dwarf I can't help adoring, and his crush on Tauriel was precious and bittersweet. Despite my reservations at adding a new character, Tauriel proved to be quite fascinating, both for her care for Kili, as well as her backstory with Legolas. Legolas was fabulous, using his super-human fighting skills to full advantage. I loved the subtle moment where he's injured in battle - probably for the first time in his long life - and stares at the blood on his fingers. Bard and his family were lovely, showing the heroism and life of the humans in Middle Earth, and I enjoyed the brief bit of the skinwalker. The threads to LOTRs were better connected this time, too, with the ring's evil grip already starting to show, and the Necromancer being Sauron amassing his army of orcs. Sadly, Thorin, the heroic and admirable king of the first film, has changed completely, with poor explanation for the sudden change, and the respect he had for Bilbo in the first film is completely lost, as is most of his caring for his company.

I'm working my way through the '90s show Young Hercules and it's flawless, with hilarious moments, a wonderful friendship trio, and old effects against a mythological background. Hercules, despite looking nothing like how I imagine - more muscles would be nice - is growing on me, and Iolaus is adorable; I'm completely in love with his hair and sass.

I've started watching the fascinating new series Dominion, and I love the plot and world so far. The wings are impressive, Michael is an intriguing character, and I adore Alex and Bixby's relationship.

I'm onto the second half of season three of Once Upon A Time with "New York City Serenade", an episode that focuses entirely too much on Emma but manages to redeem itself by the seemingly unintentionally hilarious plotpoint of having her dating a flying monkey. But Killian is fabulous as usual; I giggled like mad at the "bologna" comment, and Belle and Robin's reunion scene and hug was so beautiful. I was a little sad that Storybrooke came back so quickly, though, since, although I knew eventually the writers would bring it back, I was hoping for more time than just flashbacks in the Enchanted Forest, since it and the Land Without Color are my favorite locations in the series. "Witch Hunt", despite my continuing annoyance by the writers making Regina so utterly dependent upon Henry for happiness, was an excellent episode, recapturing much of the first season feel that's been lacking. Dr. Whale is back and I'm thrilled to see both him and Storybrooke's hospital again. Robin Hood and his men have made it to modern Storybrooke, and, at least in the past, he and Regina have bonded, a pairing I find surprisingly appealing despite my early reservations. Little Roland is as adorable as ever, and Regina is quite cute with him. Henry, unsurprisingly, is even more of a pain without his memories and optimism to give him some appeal, but Snow White reading about baby care was hilariously adorable. I'm not the least bit shocked by the revelation that the Wicked Witch is Regina's half sister, even if I rolled my eyes at the writers's fondness for making everyone related or married to everyone else. Happiest of all, Rumplestiltskin is alive, although held prisoner by the Witch and acting like the crazy past version of himself which worries me. But still I couldn't stop smiling the instant I heard his voice. "The Tower" was frustrating and largely disappointing, seeming like a feeble excuse to cast Charming as the Cowardly Lion. Rapunzel was pretty and sweet but horribly underused, serving little purpose but to encourage Charming to face his fear, and not even getting a proper story or prince of her own. Likewise the creepy ghost witch was much of a letdown. On the bright side Rumplestiltskin continues to make my heart hurt, with Robert Carlyle bringing the much needed acting talented to the series even in such a limited role. "Quiet Minds", the best episode so far, was a fascinating step forward in the series as much is revealed and explained. Belle finally got center stage and a chance to shine in the flashbacks as she attempts to bring back Rumplestiltskin. I loved that, realizing the price and what the Witch wanted, she was willing to let things stand as they were and not bring him back. Lumiere was a treat; I'd love to see more of him and the tale of his past, and I enjoyed seeing Belle's library again, as well as the moment that Rumplestiltskin comes back to life and sees Belle. Finally Rumplestiltskin's madness is explained as it's revealed that he took Bae into his own mind and body to save his life. As much as I've always disliked Bae due to his selfishness and unwillingness to forgive Rumplestiltskin - after all the only reason he even wants to bring him back is to get to Emma, and not because he loves him unlike Belle - he was much better than usual in the episode. I enjoyed the closure to Killian and his story, and their hug was poignant. His death hurt, more so for Rumplestiltskin who has finally and truly lost his son, than for Bae himself, since it makes sense to write him out by now. Robert Carlyle broke my heart as usual as he's forced back to his cage by the Witch, looking worn and helpless and broken. On the brighter side, Regina finally learned Robin Hood's identity as her perfect match, and I loved seeing little Roland again, even briefly, as Robin played with him. "It's Not Easy Being Green" finally shows Oz, and I adored the way the wizard was shown, as well as the slippers being silver, even if I was a little disappointed by the fake look of the Emerald City. Rumplestiltskin broke my heart again as we see the extent of Zelena's hold over him, and his fear of hurting Belle. I was thrilled he and Belle shared at least one scene together, and when he reaches for her hand I couldn't help tearing up. Also his face as he felt Bae's funeral was poignant. Despite my dislike for Henry, I loved seeing Killian teaching him and spending time with him, mostly for the wistfulness on Killian's face as he remembers Bae. I've always adored Killian-centric episodes and "The Jolly Roger" is a treat, even if slightly marred by the appearance of poorly cast Ariel and Eric, the most underused and pointless inclusion of fairytale characters in the series. I loved seeing the series take on Blackbeard, especially with Killian getting to battle him, and Killian's guilt over his choice shows even more how much he's changed, even if him being cursed seems overly cruel. "Bleeding Through" is the misery of a Cora episode, and even an intriguing ghostly encounter and the final mending of Regina and Snow's relationship did little to make it bearable. Roland was precious as ever, though - I love his little hat. But the ever-twisting family tree has reached disturbing heights now as it's revealed Cora was originally engaged to Snow's father/Regina's husband. Still I was grateful Zelena wasn't Rumplestiltskin's daughter as I'd feared. "A Curious Thing" was a weaker episode, with far too many loose threads tied up much too quickly. I can't say I'm happy with Henry getting his memories back, since he was more out of the way and bearable without them, but I'm glad Killian came clean about the curse, even if it caused everyone to turn on him. The Charmings, once enjoyable, have become insufferable, and Snow willingly crushing Charming's heart just to get to Emma only sealed my disgust. The heart shared between them was annoyingly trite, and I'm tired of the baby drama. The one bright spot was Rumplestiltskin and Belle's brief interaction and the fabulous scene that revealed Killian was telling the truth as Bae splits himself from his father just long enough to send him the memory potion. "Kansas" felt a bit rushed and packed but was overall quite good and their Dorothy was thankfully quite cute and non-annoying, even if, as usual, the actress was too old for the part. It was quite epic to see everyone united around protecting the baby - who turned out to be adorable and I was so happy that my guess of it being a boy was correct - even if I couldn't stop laughing at Dr. Whale's dramatic faint. It was wonderful to see him again, though. Charming was precious with the baby. As much as I dislike Emma I was thrilled that she gave up her magic to save Killian; and his heartbroken smile and eyes completely destroyed me. I teared up when Rumplestiltskin, finally free, asked Belle to marry him, even if I'm a little sad that he lied to her about the dagger. Still I'm grateful to see Zelena gone after all she'd done. The season's finale "Snow Drifts"/"There's No Place Like Home" was happily quite good for a Emma-centric episode. I loved the playing with history and the way the book became rewritten. Rumplestiltskin was hilarious and very much his old self, and I loved his interactions with Belle and Killian. Except for Rumplestiltskin's reaction I didn't like that the Charmings named their baby Neal since it seemed strange and a little awkward. Rumplestiltskin and Belle's long-awaited wedding was beautiful, with their vows deeply moving; I couldn't hold back the tears to see them together at all. Little Roland and his ice cream was precious. I loved seeing Marion return and be reunited with Robin and Roland, but was disappointed by Elsa being next season's villain.

Onto season seven of Rawhide now and much to my delight Pete is back in the second half. While there's little to no meaning to his random reappearance I'm so happy to see that familiar checked shirt again and hear that beautiful accent, even if only for a few episodes. Rowdy has grown up so much, even from last season, and I miss the awkward, gentle cowhand, even if he's still twice the trail boss Gil is in the episodes where he takes over. Still flashes of his old personality shine through when he's teasing Wishbone or romancing a girl, and it's as lovely as always.

I gave a try to Girl Meets World, the second generation spin-off from Boy Meets World and it was a mix of the cringe-worthy modern and the warmly nostalgic. It was wonderful seeing Cory and Topanga again, grown up and parents themselves, and even Mr. Feeny if only for a moment. The sets reminded me so much of the orginal series. Auggie is quite cute so far, and Farkle is amusing. The kids channel their parents to the extent that I'm torn between being impressed at how well they're pulling off the mannerisms of the original actors to being frustrated that the writers didn't just create all new characters since not every child is a copycat of their parents.

I'm working my way through season one of Sugarfoot now that it's finally on DVD, and it's a treat. Tom is an endearing character, one of the sweetest in westerns, and I love the contrasts of his character - the gentle boy who seems to know nothing about the west and yet has such keen insight, as well as the man who doesn't believe in guns and yet is a superb shot. He's also one of the characters who make my heart hurt when he's forced to kill someone, since it seems such a horrible contrast to his sunny personality. One of my favorite things is all the WB westerns take place in the same universe so there's always crossover potential - Bronco and Sugarfoot teamed up was always my favorite - and in this case there was a hilarious and adorable cameo by Bret Maverick at the end of an episode.

There's also some new episodes of 77 Sunset Strip and Surfside 6 up and I'm falling in love with both series all over again. I adore Van Williams's accent, and just seeing Rex again puts a smile on my face.

I finally managed to view an episode of the Civil War era series The Americans and it was quite good, presenting a refreshingly unbiased view of the war with corrupt Northern soldiers and an honorable Confederate. Robert Culp, always at his best when playing the emotionally tortured, wounded character, was superb as a soldier panged by conscience.

I also got to see some of the sadly short-lived but wonderful The Phoenix. Bennu was a lovely and sweet character, completely stealing my heart in his interactions with children and animals, and the actor was incredibly convincing as the gentle alien.

I've been casually watching the new version of The Tomorrow People and while I haven't exactly bonded with it I do completely adore John who makes my heart ache with every sad look and the way he tries to get himself hurt to atone for the past.

I've started watching the new series Believe and it's beautiful and touching and nothing like any other show currently on which makes me adore it. Despite the prickly edges I like Tate, and Bo is intriguing, as is the mystery of her gifts and why people want to kill her. I loved the twists and turns in the plot, especially the Senga bit, as well as Bo's bringing hope to everyone she meets. The plot was a perfect blend of humor and sadness, and there's been very few pilots I've loved so much.

Resurrection is new and incredibly fascinating so far taking a nearly disturbing premise and managing to craft an often deeply touching series. I have so many questions and theories but for now I'm just enjoying the beauty of the show, it's music, and the potential.

There's also The 100 which seems promising so far. I adore Finn and his acrobatics and '80s hair, and he and Clarke seem potentially cute together. "Earth Skills" continues to world build, revealing only a glimpse of the Grounders. Jasper is, happily, alive and rescued, and Finn continues to be sweet and wonderful, protecting Clarke from having her bracelet removed, and ensuring she has food. Octavia is fascinating so far, and I loved the scene of her with the glowing butterflies. I adored that Clarke's mother figured out what was happening with the kids on earth, and has bought a little more time for everyone.

I've started watching Turn and it's amazing so far. I'd never even dreamed of getting a Revolutionary War series and I'm beyond happy with how it's set up, with the spy intrigue and appealing characters, beautiful scenery and a talented cast.

I'm also watching Salem which veers between the disturbingly strange and utterly fascinating fast enough to give me whiplash. John Alden is an intriguing character, and despite my reservations about using the Salem Witch Trials as the setting for a show abut real witches its all handled in a creepy, quite interesting manner.

I discovered the hilarious '90s short-lived series You Wish and completely fell in love with it. I have a soft spot for genies, and this one is sweet and completely random. I love the premise and characters and the events never fail to make me laugh.

I'm working my way through the adorable The Second Hundred Years and Monte Markham is a completely underrated gift, both hilarious and heartwarming as Luke. He even, to my delight, got to sing in a few episodes.

In new films I saw the intriguing I Am Number Four, and adored the premise as well as how it was portrayed. John/Four was a likeable protagonist, and I liked his romance with Sarah and friendship with Sam who was endearing. His gifts, especially the light-up hands were fabulous. I was saddened that Henri died, since I loved John and his relationship, but glad Bernie survived, even if the ending left so much open for a sequel. Next was the 1998 version of The Man In The Iron Mask, always my favorite of the Three Musketeers series, and it was the best adaptation I've seen yet, despite a slow start. Leonardo DiCaprio was wonderful at the dual role, and I adored and ached for Philippe. The scene where they put him back in the mask hurt, but I loved that he didn't let it destroy him and clung to the hope that the others would rescue him. Also, on a shallow note c.1998 Leonardo DiCaprio was absurdly beautiful. I loved the ending especially. After that was the beautiful and poignant Copperhead. I adored the focus on the Civil War homefront and little known elements of history, as well as the amazing detail to authenticity, and gorgeous, old-fashioned filming, acting, scenery, and music. Next was The Redemption Of Henry Myers, a surprisingly good and heart-warming western with easy to love characters and an unexpected happy ending. Then was the stunning World War Z which I adored, despite it making me jump multiple times. Brad Pitt was superb as Gerry, and I loved his devotion to his family, and friendship with Segen. After that was the lovely April Love, a gorgeously 1950s period drama. Pat Boone was wonderful, the storyline was sweet, and I adored the scenery, especially the country fair, and the music. Next was Prom. I watched it mainly for the cast but it won me over in moments with it's sweetness. Thomas McDonell was absolutely lovely as Jesse - I have even more appreciation for his hair now - and I loved how my first impressions of him were wrong. His scenes with his little brother were very cute, and I loved that Nova learned to see through the bad boy shell to his gentle heart. Next was the poignant but beautifully filmed Pompeii. I loved the characters and wished there had been more before the disaster, and the ending was haunting and deeply moving. Next was the strangely good Interview With the Vampire. The plot was unusually poignant, and I couldn't help but feel sympathy for the characters: tormented Louis, monster child Claudia, and even Lestat to see what he became, shrinking from Louis beneath the graveyard. The ending was a little strange, but I loved the feel of the film, the music, and the passage of time with the characters. After loving the classic radio drama for years I finally got to see the film version of The Night Has A Thousand Eyes and it was lovely and moody, a perfect and haunting story. I finally watched the 1997 Titanic and while it could never compare to my beloved 1996 miniseries, I enjoyed quite a bit of the film. The more modern feel was a little off-putting, but I adored Jack's free spirit and devotion to Rose, giving everything, and ultimately his life to ensure her survival and happiness. Leonardo DiCaprio was, as usual, painfully beautiful and perfectly cast. There was the unexpected treat of a very excellent, although minor, performance by Ioan Gruffudd, too, and the ship itself was gorgeous. Next was Push, a surprisingly good superhero film with a twisting plot. I loved the characters, especially Nick and Cassie, and the fabulous world-building. After that was the heartbreaking and touching Flowers In The Attic, the more modern version. Chris and Cathy's relationship was beautiful, as was their caring for the little twins, and Cory's death as well as the children's loss of innocence was wrenchingly painful. I loved that the husband let them go at the end, and the sense of hope that they'd make it on their own. Next was the hauntingly poignant Rabbit Proof Fence. I find the Stolen Generations a fascinating and tragic part of history, and the film told a true story in a moving, almost documentary style with stunning acting, especially from the children.

I finally found more Mary Pickford films I hadn't yet seen, and I started with some versions of books/films I love. The first was A Little Princess, a unique version, and while not my favorite by any means - that will forever be the brilliant 1986 version - I enjoyed some moments very much such as Sara's stories coming to life, and the vision of her parents at the end. Next was the gorgeous Pollyanna which ended up tying my beloved 1960 Disney as my favorite version. Mary Pickford was adorable as Pollyanna, and while the story was short it rarely felt rushed. Jimmy was wonderful, and I was happily surprised to find him closer to Pollyanna's age, a romantic interest for her, and the cute glimpse of their future and many children together. Aunt Polly was quite good, as was Nancy, despite having a smaller part, and I loved how faithful to the book it was. it's now tied with Amarilly Of Clothes-Line Alley as my favorite Mary Pickford film, and ahead of my second favorite My Best Girl.

In new animated films I watched the adorable and clever Monsters Inc. and Monsters University. I loved the characters, especially Sulley with little Boo, and the hilarious moments. In theatres I saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 and while it felt somewhat crammed and overwhelming it was a lovely step forward in the world-building with some very funny and extremely touching moments. I loved seeing the kids growing up but still retaining what made them loveable. Hiccup and Astrid were sweet together, and Snotlout and Fishlegs fighting over Ruffnut kept me giggling. I adored Ruffnut's crush on Eret who was a fabulous new addition, growing on me throughout the movie, especially when Stormfly saved him and he freed her in return. Hiccup and Toothless's relationship was beautiful, and I loved how Hiccup won him back and forgave him. Despite the oddity of her backstory I liked Hiccup's mother and only wish there'd been more sweet family scenes before Stoic's death. I hadn't expected that and even though he wasn't one of my favorite characters I was saddened to have him die, even more so that Toothless was the one who caused it, even without meaning to, and I wish the writers hadn't gone that route. The scenery and animation was as detailed and gorgeous as always, the dragons were all unique and amazing, and I loved the recap of the games at the ending and Hiccup becoming the new chief.
 
 
feeling: listless
calliope tune: "26 Miles"-Four Preps
 
 
Kathleen
I went to see Oz the Great and Powerful and it was amazing, the perfect Oz film I've always hoped for. James Franco was absolutely wonderful at the role and I fangirled so much over the 1904 carnival opening, both in awe over the sight of it as well as having it in black and white. The themesong was gorgeous and the opening and closing credits were lovely and old-fashioned. Oz was incredible, with just the right balance of CGI and real things, and I adored the music of the various plants and animals as Oscar sailed down the river as well as the butterfly trees, yellow brick road, and Emerald City. I wish the film had shown something of China Town before it was destroyed since it looked like such a sweet, fairytale place, but China Girl was the cutest thing ever! I loved her father-daughter-like relationship with Oscar and how gentle he was with her, and Finley was hilarious. I suppose I should have picked up on the clues but I was completely surprised when Theodora turned into the Wicked Witch. It seemed incredibly tragic, and I've never thought of the Witch that way before. The battle against the witches was amazing, with steampunk and carnival tricks, and I couldn't stop grinning ear to ear at the ending. I also saw Return To Oz and was pleasantly surprised to find it more sweet than scary, and very much capturing the feel of the books. Dorothy, a child as she should be, has an adorable innocence while still having a lot of spunk, and is quite the good little actress for a first role, and her wonderfully fairytale-like companions, especially the cute Jack Pumpkinhead, my favorite in the books, are fantastic and fit perfectly with Dorothy. Ozma is sweet and lovely, exactly as I imagined, and the special effect of her stepping through the mirror was my favorite among the rest, all very well done. While the Emerald City lies in ruins for much of the film, there's still plenty of magic and wonder in Oz, and I loved the creative and whimsical lunchpail tree as well as the glowing effect of the ruby slippers. Then I watched all of the silent Oz films and His Majesty The Scarecrow of Oz, actually written and directed by L. Frank Baum, was my favorite. Tiny and adorable Violet MacMillan was the perfect Dorothy and despite the film pairing up Pon with the Princess who does nothing except be bewitched and have characters fall in love with her, Dorothy and Pon were too cute together, making me want to rewrite the ending and have Pon/Dorothy be canon. Refreshingly, the Wizard wasn't just a "man behind the curtain" and truly had magic, helping the characters, restoring Pon from his enchantment, and making "preserved witch". There was also a quirky and adorable scene which I loved that had a mermaid swimming with an parasol in her hand.

Despite being the last person on earth to do so, I've finally seen Harry Potter, starting with the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I instantly fell in love with the world and the characters and the richness of imagination of it all, especially the living paintings and talking telegrams. Everyone and everything is fairytale-like and perfectly fantasy-like, and all fabulous. Then Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets, which while not quite as good as the first, was still fun and clever, even with a somewhat darker feel. I love the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione and it was even more evident in the second film. Then Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban and I adored Sirius, definitely my favorite minor character so far, such a wonderful and unusual character, and kind, too. My favorite part was the time travel, always fun and even more so here, and the happy ending for everyone. Next was Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire, probably my favorite plot so far, and I loved the concept of the contests, especially the one in the water. Cedric's death was shocking and horrible, and I was actually surprised by how much I loved his character considering I'm not a fan of the actor. Daniel Radcliffe, as well as the others, keeps getting better and better at his role, and even the tiny parts are brilliantly cast. I especially am learning to adore Fred and George, and David Tennant was deliciously wicked as Barty Crouch Jr. Next was Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix, and while loving the character development, I was saddened by the gloomy tone. I hated the new professor, but loved the students forming their own school with Harry as the teacher. Severus Snape became more interesting to me with the glimpses into his past, as well as a surprising look at Harry's father when he was young. I adored the new character, Luna, a lovely mix of sadness and sweetness, as well as her touching friendship with Harry. I sobbed over Sirius's death which felt completely unnecessary and horribly tragic, but cheered when Harry was able to overcome Voldemort's possession. Still there was a lot of fun such as Christmas with the Weasleys, and Fred and George - growing more beloved to me by the film - gleefully destroying the school exams with fireworks and flying broomsticks. Next was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the children are growing up so much, falling in love and everything! While I would have preferred Harry/Hermione or even Harry/Luna, Harry and Ginny are quite cute together, and Hermione and Ron seem sweet enough for now. The Weasleys are as wonderful as ever - I especially love Fred and George's shop - and I was sad when their lovely little house got destroyed. Ron scared to me death in the scene where he nearly gets killed, which made me realize how much I love his character. I was saddened by Dumbledore's death, as much as I half expected it, but I found the concept of the horcruxes fascinating. Then was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 and I loved Bill and Fleur, so sweet and wonderful together. Harry's owl getting killed was too sad, as was George's ear, but I loved the way everyone rallied around to defeat Voldemort and protect Harry from him. I sobbed over poor Dobby, such a wonderful and brave little elf and one of favorite side characters, and it felt like one loss too many. On the fun side of things I loved Hermione's bottomless bag, and Ron/Hermione is growing more on me..they're actually quite adorable together. Last was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, an incredible and powerful finale. The destroying of his horcrux was powerful, showing the emotional effect upon not only Voldemort but Harry as well, and I loved the bits of mercy and closure such as Harry saving Draco from the fire after all he'd done. Snape's death was haunting and deeply sad, even if I could never quite grasp whose side he was on until the end, and I teared up over Lupin and Tonks lying dead side by side with their hands almost touching. Fred's death was the worst, though, since I adored the twins, and I couldn't stop sobbing with Ron when the scene showed him lying there. The flashback of Snape and Lily as children was poignant and deeply sad, but lovely in a bittersweet way, and finally made me understand Snape as well as providing insight into Harry's mother. Snape emerged as a deeply tragic hero, surprising me by how much I grew to love his character in those few short minutes. Harry being the last horcrux was stunning and haunting, as well as neatly tying everything together, and I could feel the weight on him having to go to his death. The epilogue was beautiful, though, very much what I'd hoped for and happily adorable. I loved their children and was impressed by how much older they made everyone look, very believable. All in all I adored the series and am very sad to be finished with it, even if I have rewatches to look forward to. The world was magical, the characters dearly beloved, and the cast were all amazing. Daniel Radcliffe impressed me the most - I was familiar with him and impressed by his performance in the incredible The Woman In Black but otherwise didn't know him - growing from adorable and innocent little boy to amazing young man.

I love and consider M. Night Shyamalan a genius with story and direction and I always adore his films, especially the ones I watched recently. The first was Lady In The Water, a lovely, unusual, and visually gorgeous fairytale with easy to love characters. I loved the mermaid-like air about Story as well as the world within the Cove with all the people's lives. The film was also refreshingly slow-moving and I adored how all the people banded together to help Story return home. I followed that with another one of his films, the unusual and creative Unbreakable. I loved the contrasts between Elijah and David, as well as the fascinating illusions to superheroes and comic books in plot and style. The twists in the plot were quite incredible, too, and the stunning final revelation took my breath away. Next was his chilling but amazing The Sixth Sense. Haley Joel Osment was stunning as the troubled yet deeply insightful little Cole, and my heart bled for him and all he could see and hear when no one else could. The final twist was jaw-dropping and deeply poignant. Last was the spooky but beautiful Signs which gave me everything I love in a sci-fi: aliens, family togetherness, stunning acting, and an amazing string of coincidences that added up in the finale.

I discovered the lovely pairing of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee who were perfect together with That Funny Feeling, an adorable and gently humorously silly romance. I loved the zaniness of the premise, as well as the happy ending. Then I had to see another film of their's, which turned out to be the cute and in many ways even more adorable If A Man Answers. They were fabulous together, and even played husband and wife instead of love interests, and the plot was just as zany and loveable as the first film.

In other new films I watched the 1980s gorgeous fantasy Starman, mostly because of my love for the spin-off tv series, and was impressed by the beauty of it, such a lovely, moving fairytale. Jeff Bridges was wonderfully sweet and innocent as the alien, and I loved his slow-growing and perfect romance with Jenny. Their moments were the best even as much as I loved the story, and I adored when he showed her the star that was his world and told her what their son will be like, definitely my favorite scene. The theme was lovely, too, very fitting. Then I saw the adorable The Water Horse, an incredibly cute and poignant fantasy. Crusoe was precious, and Angus was a wonderful character, as were all the others, especially Mobley, each richly detailed and easy to love or dislike. I had tears in my eyes by the ending but I loved it dearly. Next was Far and Away, a surprisingly lovely historical romance. Despite the slow-moving opening and originally somewhat unlikeable characters, I quickly fell in love with Shannon and Joseph and their story as they struggled in America and grew to care about each other. The scene where they pretend to be a married couple in a beautiful abandoned house was touching and the turning point in their building relationship. I loved the fascinating ending, like Joseph looking down on himself and then coming back through Shannon's love, and the beautiful way they claimed their land together. Following that I saw Beastly, the updated and changed version of Beauty and the Beast that still manages to capture the beauty and magic of the fairytale. Alex Pettyfer was superb as egotistical Kyle who is transformed by a witch into a scarred and disfigured man with one year to find someone to love him. I loved his slow internal transformation as well as his sweet romance with Lindy. The mixture of modern and faithfulness to the tale such as the roses and Kyle's fascinating and ever-changing tattoo was beautifully done, and as a big fan of the book I was thrilled with it's adaptation. Next was A Knight's Tale, an entertaining and curious mix of the Middle Ages and modern day that managed to fulfill my void of jousting, one of my favorite "knightly" things and so often overlooked or underappreciated in films. William was easy to love and root for, Chauncer was hilarious, and I loved all the other characters, too. Then was the beautiful Soul Surfer which I found deeply moving and inspiring. AnnaSophia Robb, always excellent, was superb as Bethany, and knowing it was a true story made it all the more powerful. Next was the '90s version of The Borrowers which, while not faithful to the books, was quite cute and fun. I loved the addition of a little brother, Peagreen, to the Clock family, and Spinner and Arrietty's friendship - I even found myself shipping them when they grow up - as well as the magical glimpses into the world of the borrowers. After that was the fun Van Helsing. I adored Hugh Jackman as the title character - and he looked very swoon-worthy with that long hair - and his high-speed adventures battling monsters. The finale, with Anna dying to save him and Frankenstein's Monster sailing out to sea, was poignant, and I wish there'd be more about Van Helsing's past as I was hoping for some flashbacks, but I enjoyed it, especially the steampunk feel and the amusing Carl. Next was the unusual The Others. The concept was fascinating right from the beginning, with the light sensitive children and moody, foggy English manor house, and I loved the inclusion of mourning photography as part of the themes, a rare thing I've always had something of an interest in. The ending twists were shocking but fascinating, and despite a few chills up my spine I liked the conclusion. After that was the gorgeous and heartwrenching Doctor Zhivago, 2002 remake, which I loved, surprisingly so since I've always disliked the original. Hans Matheson was stunning and shattered my heart as Yuri, the idealistic poet-doctor, and his poignant romances with both Tonya and Lara were heartbreaking. I loved the scenes with Yuri and the children, though, which were adorable, and I sobbed at the ending with little Yuri running, even with the voice-over telling me their child at least survived. The history, especially the newsreel footage, was fascinating, too, and I learned a lot from this beautiful, deeply moving film. I followed that with another Hans Matheson film, the somewhat fictional but stunningly beautiful Imperium: Nero with him as the title character, a sensitive, slowly twisting young man driven to madness. His relationships were poignant and tragic, and the ending made me tear up a little, mostly due to his powerful acting in managing to make Nero pitiable.

In new animated films I found How To Train Your Dragon and promptly fell in love with it. Hiccup was quirky and perfect, Toothless was adorable, and I loved the imagination of the story, as well as the setting. Next was the Arthurian adventure Quest For Camelot which, while far from perfect, was entertaining. I loved Garrett, a uniquely blind knight, and the hilarious chicken, and the ending was lovely. After that was the precious, heartwarming, and utterly adorable Arthur Christmas. I loved James McAvoy's voice work as the sweet and clumsy Arthur, and I laughed through all of the hilarious moments as everyone scrambled to deliver Gwen's gift. I loved how clever and imaginative everything was, as well as the touching, beautiful finale. Then was the humorous spoof of horror films Hotel Transylvania, and I loved Johnny and Mavis, their relationship, the amusing other characters, and the perfect ending. Next I saw The Prince Of Egypt, a stunningly animated film with gorgeous music, especially the beautiful "When You Believe", and a lovely, unusual take on the story with the focus on the tragedy of Moses and Ramses's journey from brothers to enemies, and an incredible nightmare scene in which hieroglyphics came to life.

I'm watching the eighth season of The Virginian and there's few changes this season with the exception of seven's David vanishing, and a new ranch hand, Jim Horn, played by an impossibly young and always completely wonderful Tim Matheson who brings some much-needed prettiness to the cast. He gets to shine in "Family Man", and he's incredibly sweet, especially with the baby. He even gets to sing later in the season! "A Flash Of Darkness" is an unusual episode, despite using the tired trope of blinding a character, if for nothing else than the Virginian finally expressing emotion, even fear, when he calls for Trampas after his injury, and suffers nightmares, cowering in terror from shots. I jolted and got a lump in my throat when he grabbed and hugged Trampas with a quiver in his voice, so unlike him and yet highlighting the friendship between the two that's so often hinted at and spoken of and rarely overtly seen. The season's best is the beautifully poignant "A Woman Of Stone" which takes the usual "white woman returns from Indians" plotline, and makes it believable, acknowledging the span of time and how the characters have changed while still presenting a hopeful, although not idyllic ending.

I'm on season six of Rawhide now, and after seasons of changing and worsening shows it's like finding an old friend back. Except for Clay's disappearance - no great loss - nothing has changed, giving the season a comfortable yet still fresh feel as the good stories keep coming. I like the new theme's look with the silhouettes, giving the show an even older feel. Excellent episodes include the spooky twist ending of "Incident Of The Prophecy", the haunting and poignant episode "Incident At Two Graves", the tragic and unusual "Incident Of The Peyote Cup", and the delightfully light-hearted "Incident Of The Pied Piper" which gives Wishbone a chance to shine as well as providing some adorable moments.

I've discovered the delightful Pushing Daisies, an utterly hilarious and completely adorable show. Ned is cute and precious, and I love his relationship with Chuck, and Emerson and his knitting never fails to make me giggle. Everything is so bright and colorful it looks like something out of the 1970s, and the sets, especially the Pie Hole, are lovely. Plus the narrator is just perfect. In the second season Ned's magician twin half-brothers get introduced and they're wonderful. I've been working through the whole series and have fallen entirely in love with it and it's characters.

I learned of and watched The Lone Gunmen this week, the fabulous spin-off series from The X-Files. Byers, Frohike, and Langly are wonderful as usual, and they're joined by a fourth member, the overly-eager and somewhat dorky but loveable Jimmy Bond. He quickly shot to my favorite as the heart of the group, even as much as I adore the trio. Yves, the other new character, is fascinating, a mix of friend and foe. My favorite episode was the powerful and unusually poignant "Maximum Byers" in which Byers and Jimmy go undercover at a prison to free an innocent man. The surprise twists and bittersweet ending made it just perfect. Other great episode include "Three Men and a Smoking Diaper" is a fun episode that let's the guys show their softer sides while taking care of an infant. Langly especially was adorable with the baby. Also "The Cap'n Tobey Show" which is equal parts who done it and humor with Langly the focal point. I loved the plot, the hilarious ending, and Jimmy and Yves's relationship in it.

In new shows I've discovered the fantastic Primeval and am loving the imagination and glorious fun of it all, as well as it's wonderfully geeky characters and adorable Rex. Cutter and Connor are my favorites, but I have a soft spot for Abby (all these characters and their dimples!) since I ship Connor and her. The whole team works beautifully together, though, and I'm loving the flavor of the series. I finished up season two now and am slowly learning to enjoy the new format, with the help of fun episodes that include raptors in a shopping mall. Claudia has turned into Jenny which is something of a slight improvement, but the annoying Leek and Caroline aren't welcome additions by any means. Still the team is wonderful and Connor and Abby get a beautiful and extremely shippy set of scenes in the episode with the merpeople. Stephen's death was completely horrible and heartbreaking, though, and I wish the writers had killed Helen off instead, since I can't stand her and I liked Stephen. Then season three, off to a great start with a spooky old house and decade old mystery, and Connor imitating Cutter's Scottish accent is the most adorable thing ever. New character Becker doesn't fill Stephen's shoes by any means but he's different and he grows on me more with each episode. But Cutter's death..I'm never getting over that. Stephen's hurt horribly. Cutter's completely shattered me. He was my tied second favorite with Connor and I loved him so much. I can't seem to warm to Danny, either, he's got a cold edge Cutter never had and for all his heroics something just rubs me the wrong way. Sarah, so far, is a lot of fun, though, and I'm grateful to see her replace Jenny. But Abby kissing Connor and their beautiful moment there more than makes up for everything else, and best of all Helen finally gets what she deserved - I've never been so grateful to see a character killed off! Onto season four then, with many format changes. New character Matt is the first intriguing leader since Cutter's death, and Jess is sweet enough, even if she'll never replace Sarah. Still Becker is there and Connor and Abby are back and shippier than ever. Season five was fantastic with an amazing storyline that kept me excited as well as sad that it was the last season. I grew to love Matt, especially when he returned to 1860s London in a steampunk explanation for Spring Heeled Jack, and he made a wonderful leader. Emily made for an interesting character, and I loved her romance with Matt and it having a happy ending against all odds. I grew to adore Lester, always a character I disliked, and he was awesome in the finale, finally leaving his office and standing up to the creatures. He almost never shows it but he loves his team, and I kept grinning ear to ear when he came back to work in the end. Despite the attempt to redeem him at the end, I just couldn't make myself feel anything for Phillip after the way he used and abandoned Connor. Connor broke my heart all season long with his naivety and doubting Abby, but he turned out to be the real hero at last. I loved watching his character grow across the seasons and see Cutter's faith in him rewarded, even if Connor always doubted it himself. His relationship with Abby became so beautiful. I loved how she pulled him back emotionally when he was ready to give up in the finale, and the fabulous proposal scene. Abby was wonderful all season, but especially so in the finale, saving Connor over and over. The ending was perfect except for the hanging thread of a storyline that never got resolved, but I felt happy with it overall, since otherwise it was a fitting last story for everyone.

I discovered and watched the odd and short-lived series Harsh Realm this week. It's an underrated little gem from the creator of The X-Files with a richly detailed, darkly dystopian virtual world that threatens to destroy the real world due to the plans of an evil dictator. The protagonist is Tom, a soldier forced into and trapped inside the world who has to stay alive and take out the corrupt leader to save everyone. I love his little team, and the unusual characters, some good, some bad, who surround him, and the episodes are often intriguing and always fun. "Reunion" is a fascinating and touching story with the focus on Tom and Pinocchio's friendship as well as Tom's with his mother. The scene with Sophie and Tom seeing each other through her eyes was amazing. The series' best is the stunning "Manus Domini", a breathtaking and haunting portrayal of faith and loss which made Pinocchio my favorite character. The ending is deeply moving and tragic, and Tom's voiceovers are especially poignant. While waiting for season nine of The X-Files I watched I Want To Believe. While I didn't enjoy it as much as the first film I still liked the secondary storyline, much better, in fact, than the main one which was a little too gruesome and disturbing for my taste. Scully's attempts to save little Christian were a poignant parallel with William. Mulder seemed a little off at first but fell back into character fairly quickly, and I adored that Scully finally said she loved him and that they kissed. His final line was beautiful and made me grin ear to ear. Also I liked the little bit of Mulder and Skinner friendship included, even if Skinner had a strangely small part.

Feeling nostalgic I watched an episode of Boy Meets World, the wonderful "Can I Help to Cheer You" which was a perfect mix of zany and hilarious humor and poignant sadness. I loved the storyline with Eric, since he was always my favorite - I loved his sweetness and quite amazing hair - and he was adorable with little Tommy. I wish he'd adopted him, but I loved that the two remained friends at the end, such a cute and perfect episode. In new tv series I discovered the Ray Bradbury Theater, adaptations of his stories that I've always loved. My favorite so far is the hauntingly beautiful "The Lake" about a man drawn back to the summer place where a tragedy happened when he was ten. The conclusion was poignant, and the episode was perfectly underplayed and acted, giving it a dream-like quality. I also found the '90s series Roswell this week, a fun story of aliens who survived the 1949 crash and pass themselves off as humans, undiscovered until one of them, teenager Max, heals the human girl, Liz, he has a crush on, when she's shot in the restaurant where she works. Max is a sweet character, with just a dash of mystery to make him seem alien, and I was shipping Max/Liz before the end of the pilot. Then, feeling nostalgic, I started watching season one of Highlander and found it as awesome as I remembered. It's quite a fascinating and often poignant series, and I love Duncan MacLeod and the glimpses that are given of his mostly tragic past.

I borrowed one of the early film "Treasures" from the library, too, and there was an amazing documentary on San Pietro, filmed during WWII with all the battle explained clearly. I've been fascinated by that battle since my obsession with The Gallant Men began, and now I finally understand it. I loved seeing so much of the once beautiful village, too, and the children who could still smile and laugh despite all they'd suffered.
 
 
feeling: nostalgic
calliope tune: "Here Comes The Star"-Herman's Hermits
 
 
Kathleen
Recovering from the claustrophobia of being jammed into a theatre with too many people, I just got back from The Hunger Games! I had very high expectations for the film and it filled them all and still blew me away, especially the bread scene even if it missed the dandelion moment. Peeta was incredible. I expected as much from the other films I've seen with the actor but he pulled every emotion possible out of every scene and was even better than I'd imagined, and so vulnerable I kept wanting to hug him. Prim was sweet, Gale was surprisingly sympathetic, I actually felt for him, and Haymitch made me love him even though I didn't like the book character. The other Tributes were very much as I'd pictured, especially little Rue. The scene where she died hurt, and then when the district saluted Katniss I don't think there was a dry eye in the theatre. My favorite scenes were the chariots, Katniss finding Peeta by the river, and that final hug when they think the Games are over. I was slightly disappointed that Peeta healed up so quickly after the medicine arrived, since I wanted the scene where Katniss is pounding on the glass screaming, but the whole film was beyond perfection, especially this line: "I think about it all the time. How I tossed you that bread, I should have gone to you, I should have gone out in the rain. I remember when I first saw you. Your hair was in two braids instead of one, and in music assembly when they asked who knew the valley song and your hand shot straight up. After that I watched you walk home everyday...every day."

So apparently most Les Miserables fans hate Marius. I'm beginning to suspect somethings wrong with me when my favorite character is always the least popular with other fans, still this surprised me because I always assumed Marius would be a popular character. He's certainly a romantic and tragic revolutionary and, even though I adored him years before I ever saw the fantastic 1998 movie or any other version, he's pretty. I have a weakness for high cheekbones and he has the highest ever.

I'm working my way through the complete 1978 series Battlestar Galactica and I adore Starbuck with his hilarious womanizing, gambling, cigar-smoking, and gorgeous hair, even CORA, his computer, wants to flirt with him. On the flipside I feel sorry for poor Athena; she starts out as one of the leads and after a few episodes the writers seem to have no idea what to do with her, and she spends the rest of the series staring at a computer screen or eating dinner. I love how detailed the world is from the viper fights to the "space Las Vegas", and Apollo, Boomer, and Starbuck's friendship, as well as Apollo and Boxey's relationship, is heartwarming. Rick Springfield turned up in the pilot, which was a treat, even if he had a tiny and tragic role. Starbuck gets to show his caring side in the dream-like "War Of The Gods" when he offers his life to save dead Apollo, even in payment after Apollo has been brought back to life, and his crying shows how much he really does care about his friends. "Fire In Space" showcases Boomer as a hero, as well as showing the loyal heart of Starbuck when he jumps off the ship into outer space to grab onto Apollo who's lost his grip, and continues holding onto him, floating without ropes, until help arrives. Starbuck gets some nice whump in "Greetings From Earth" as well as "The Young Lords", both of which have cute scenes with him and kids. The beautiful and moving "Lost Warrior" features an incredible and fun western showdown between Apollo and a cylon, as well as a lovely backstory and star-gazing finale. While there's no real finale the last episode was superb, and I love the broadcast being the moon landing as well as the adorable "waggling the wings" part.

I'm up to "The Seige" in A Man Called Shenandoah and by now I see the writers enjoy tormenting him. Here he comes closer than ever with the hope of a family, a name, and a hometown only to have it all snatched away. On the bright side Charles Aidman was in it! I adore him, no matter what role he has he's excellent, and he got to have a cute little daughter in this one which is always a sweet bonus. I'm still not convinced on the ending, though. Since the doctor said in the pilot that some people with amnesia forget to read I think it's possible that his handwriting was forgotten and relearned (or at least I'd like to think so), not to mention the fact that little Nora sort of looked like him, enough to put a doubt in my mind. It would have made an excellent finale, too.

I'm infamous for ignoring special features on DVDs so it's taken me all this time to notice my The Time Tunnel set came with a bonus movie, Time Travelers, and watch it. Clint, a doctor desperate to find a cure for the outbreak of an extinct disease, and Jeff, a former astronaut, join forces to travel back to the 1800s and speak to the doctor who found a cure for the deadly virus but lost the records to the Chicago Fire. At the last moment something goes wrong and the men arrive a mere 29 hours before the fire, with Clint contracting the virus, leaving it up to Jeffrey to get them back in time to save both their lives. With Rod Serling's story of a doomed love and poignant endings and Irwin Allen's colorful touch to lend a bit of fun to it all, the two leads have a good and believeable friendship with strong similarities to Tony and Doug's friendship in The Time Tunnel. I would have loved to see Tony and Doug in the Great Chicago Fire but there's enough of both of them in Jeff's character to not feel too wistful. It's a shame they didn't make this into a series as it would have been interesting to see what other adventures Clint and Jeff could have had, and I really liked Jeff as well as the focus being on the travelers.

I saw "The Bounty Hunter", the Trackdown episode that spun-off into Wanted Dead Or Alive and it was interesting to see how much rougher Josh was compared to the series, quick to fight and shoot while later it shakes him up everytime he has to kill someone. He and Hoby worked well together and it would have been nice to see Hoby in Wanted Dead Or Alive. Along the same lines, I also saw a hilarious Boy Meets World episode with the Monkees, being different characters but with many in-jokes and an adorable ending, and the Make Room For Daddy that spun-off into Andy Griffith Show. Andy's character was more goofy, and Aunt Bee was an entirely different character, but it was cute and I can see the makings for the series, especially with Andy and Opie's relationship. While I was working on "Dust Off The Moon" I kept noticing the overlap between the real John Ringo and the tv version, especially the holes in John Ringo's life that could have been filled by someone like Cully. That eventually led to my considering the opposite: if Johnny would become like the real person if Cully was taken away. But I never thought about what would happen to Cully without Johnny. I saw The Rifleman episode "Mark's Rifle" where Mark Goddard played a character very much like Cully, a trick shot artist with a carny background and a likeable smile. But underneath all that is a world-weary, bitter thief, a dark mirror of Cully, or who Cully could have been if he'd shot Johnny or if Johnny had never met him. It would have been fascinating if Johnny Ringo had done an It's A Wonderful Life styled episode for each of them.

I saw an amazing Marcus Welby M.D. episode "A Matter Of Humanities" with Pete Duel as a man with aphasia. He only said one word over and over throughout the episode but it was an incredible acting job, one of the most impressive I've seen. I also discovered the excellent sci-fi series Journey To The Unknown and am working my way through it. I'm also binge-watching the fun sci-fi Gemini Man - I really want a watch like that - and it's clone, the '70s version of The Invisible Man, the catchy Fame, the jazzy detective series T.H.E. Cat, the quirky Jack of All Trades, and the excellent western Branded. I'm also enjoying the '90s sci-fi Roswell.

Heidi, the little Swiss dreamer, and Peter, the young goat-herder with issues have held my heart since I first saw the 1993 movie Heidi as a young child, and even then I knew they had to get married someday. They were so adorable together; Heidi needed someone to look after her, and Peter seemed to come out of his shell only with her help. The moment he saved her on the cliff I was in love with them forever. I recently heard of the not official but good enough for me sequels to the book: Heidi Grows Up and Heidi's Children, which find Heidi and Peter marrying and having twins.

I managed for almost the entire first season of The X-Files to not ship Mulder/Scully. It was "Beyond The Sea" that did me in, right at the scene where Mulder is on the ER table, dying, and Scully is standing there. She's not even crying but that look on her face, like her world is falling apart. And then when she lies for him in "Tooms", and the whole "only trusting him" and the way he panics when she's kidnapped and oh.

I'm watching S.W.A.T. season one. There's enough closeness among the team to make me happy and I love Luca; he's hilarious, adorable, and such a flirt. "Blind Man's Bluff" is my favorite episode so far, with a wound leaving Harrelson deskbound and a new, harsh officer in charge of the team, leading to sweet moments as Harrelson undergoes surgery to get back to his job, Hilda brings him a giant sandwich in the hospital, and Luca goes to his office to visit him.

I've been working through The Big Valley season two and I'd nearly forgotten my childhood love for this gloriously overdone western. It's a colorful soap opera packed with enough brothers h/c to make me squee like a teenager. And it has Richard Long. I don't know what it is about him but I adore him completely. All he has to do is make that amused, crooked smile of his and I'm instantly in love with whatever character he is. It must have started with Jarrod Barkley of the quirkily spelled name, noble character, and gorgeous blue eyes. Not that Jarrod's the only looker, as it has possibly the best looking cast a western ever flaunted. There's Heath, occasionally troubled by his past and constantly troubled by hair that can't decide what color it wants to be. It was bottle blond last season and now it's inching into the brown zone more by the episode. I'm assuming it will be black next season at the rate it's going. He has a crooked, meltable smile and that western accent that always endears me to a character as soon as he opens his mouth. Even Nick who unnerved me seems better now, even if he could use his big brother's ease at controlling his temper. He's such an incredibly different character from Black Saddle it's amazing, mark of a good actor, I guess. Poor Audra doesn't get to do much but be pampered by her brothers and lose the latest object of her affections but she cries nicely and has lots of bright clothing so I suppose she can't complain. In all seriousness, though, it's a fantastic show, surprisingly deep for such a pretty series, with lovely amnesia episodes. I've also been watching Green Acres and fallen in love with it's adorable way of breaking the fourth wall as well as it's homespun humor. I love how ditzy Lisa is, the fancy furniture and clothes against the rundown farm, and the telephone on top of their house. All of the townspeople are hilarious, too, such characters. I've also been rewatching a childhood favorite in Leave It To Beaver. I've been on a cop show spree too this week, watching all the series I used to and loving them all: the fantastic Baretta with Fred and Baretta's disguises, Patrick Swayze in The Renegades, Dan's ability to be anything in David Cassidy Man Undercover, Doyle's curls in The Professionals, David Janssen in Richard Diamond, Mark Goddard in The Detectives, and my favorite Kojak. I'm loving the spy/detective series Hawaiian Eye, and best of all, the jazz-flavored Johnny Staccato, too.

I'm working through Cheyenne and watched the excellent "The Long Winter". Cheyenne's comment about the "tame flowers" was adorable! It makes sense, too, if people call wildflowers "wild" why not call flowers tended in a flower bed "tame"? I saw Paul Brinegar playing a trail hand in another episode, "Lone Gun", about a cattle drive, and one of the other characters was named Rowdy, so he got to keep calling him by that name while I kept expecting to see Clint Eastwood answer. He didn't have his usual whiskers, though, so I recognized him by his voice alone. Then Sheb Wooley turns up two episodes later. This series is like Rawhide before it started. Speaking of which, I finished the new season of Rawhide including Pete's final episode "The Deserter's Patrol". I'm always a little worried when I know a character I like is leaving a series for fear they'll kill him or he'll disappear without a word, which is almost worse. Thankfully if he had to leave they gave him a good send-off; he takes a job as an Army scout and takes the son of his dead friend as his. I miss Pete terribly, though. Clay lacks the warmth and clarity of character, too many shades of grey. This season did give me an unexpected gift by having Pete in the episode "Reunion". It's wonderful to have him back, if only briefly. In the last episode "Devil and the Deep Blue". Teddy turned back up! I'd been wondering where he was this season. Poor Teddy, I rather like him and he never seems to get a main role in any episode. Also, be still, my childhood heart, I watched the adorable "Grandma's Money", and "The Pitchwagon", a feast of hilarious moments where the drivers stage an impromptu talent show, both of which made me remember yet again why I adore Rowdy from his drawstring hat to that sugar sweet and oh so gullible heart. Let's just say when he sings and the girls in the crowd shriek, I'm silently doing it, too. There must be something magical about tv cowboys...they can steal your heart again and again, no matter how old you think you've become.

I adore Barney Sloane, the down-trodden character in Young At Heart, so I was thrilled to discover the film was a remake of another movie, 1938's Four Daughters, and that Frank Sinatra's role (called Mickey) was originally John Garfield's. With four sisters instead of three, the plots are still very similiar, of the women marrying men who they don't completely love yet. Into this walks a piano-player with neither self-confidence or hope compounded by a firm belief that his fates are out to destroy him. Almost the same until you reach Mickey's first scene and everything changes. Expecting the instant pull Barney had on me, I found myself recoiling from John Garfield's portrayal. Barney is such a tragic and emotionally-fragile character you bleed for him; Mickey comes across as sarcastic and bitter, enjoying feeling sorry for himself. It's the most subtle things that seem to change everything: the way they look, the tone of voice, and Frank Sinatra's unique, soulful eyes and world-weary delivery of the lines give a depth to Barney that Mickey doesn't have, and I never truly bonded with the character. It's a shame because it would have been fascinating to see John Garfield tackle the role the same way, including the final scene. Four Daughters has Mickey die shortly after in hospital, and the next scene finds Anne smiling, seemingly having forgotten all about him, and returning to the original man she loved. Young At Heart takes a far more hopeful and beautiful turn as Laurie's desperate attempts to convince Barney that she loves him and needs him finally gives him the strength to pull through surgery. The last scene finds the couple, now with a baby, Barney having finished the song that haunted him through the film. Despite a last cute moment Four Daughters left me saddened and confused, Mickey seeming like an out of place part that was worked in at the last moment and removed without anyone noticing. Young At Heart is so romantic and hopeful that I grin ear to ear at the ending. John Garfield, in his first role, has that brooding sarcasm that he'd use so well in later roles, but his approach is so opposite from Frank Sinatra's that I felt I was watching a different character completely, and the ending only confirmed that idea. The change of the character surviving, I understand, was Frank Sinatra's request that Barney be given a second chance, and I not only agree with his choice but adore him for it. More than Mickey, Barney is the backbone of the film, and the original ending would have defeated the point of the story.

I love sword-and-sandals films and among my favorites is The Robe. Victor Mature was an excellent actor when given a chance at a good role, like Demetrius, requiring an emotional depth pouring out of his eyes. It's always saddened me how there's no real ending for him, so it was with great excitement that I discovered the sequel Demetrius and the Gladiators. Picking up a while later, Demetrius is living with a potter and his daughter Lucia, a young woman he loves from afar, never guessing she also loves him. His world comes shattering around him when Caligula launches an empire-wide search for the robe, believing it will grant him immortality. When they arrive his attempts to protect Lucia from the soldiers sentence him to the gladiator fights, and near death, the conniving Messalina saves him and sets her eye on him at any cost. Demetrius forced to watch as the gladiators attack and appear to kill Lucia. Demetrius lashes out, turning his back on his religion, friends, and even pacifism. Freed and given a position as Tribune, he sets out to recapture the Robe when he discovers Lucia is still living and in possession of it. It's is a well done what if?, interesting in that it isn't a single event that sets him off but more the last straw, implied that it began when Marcellus died for him. I wondered how Demetrius would feel when it sunk in. He's been through torture to the brink of death, rescued moments before dying, and healed, even as his friends knew that bringing Peter there would cast suspicion on themselves, and then Marcellus turns back and gives himself up to allow the others to have a chance to escape with Demetrius. Surely all this would haunt Demetrius, and I would have liked the sequel to touch on this more. His loss of faith, violent anger, and later change of heart, are sudden but believable but I found it somewhat out of character for him to instantly rush into a relationship with Messalina the moment he thinks Lucia is dead. Victor Mature gets center stage in the sequel and he's wonderful, equally convincing as his usual kind-hearted character and the embittered transformation mid-way through the movie. The film ends on a hopeful note but another sequel would have been perfect although the loose ends are tied up. In other new films I watched the 2010 Clash of The Titans which was surprisingly better than the original, even if I was broken-hearted that Ixas and Eusebius were killed. Hans Matheson was wonderful as Ixas - saving Perseus's life and going around with fantastic bows and arrows - and the actor who played Eusebius looked so much like Krycek I couldn't believe my eyes. Perseus was an easy to sympathize with hero, and I liked his relationship with Io even if I was hoping he'd end up with Andromeda in the end. But the special effects were all amazing, and it was quite fun. Next was The Andersonville Trial, a fascinating and moving film of Henry Wirz's trial. The cast was amazing and I was intrigued by the fact that the entire film takes place in the courtroom. William Shatner was superb as Chipman, the prosecuter whose moral convictions and deep sense of caring for those who died drives him to prove Wirz's guilt, and Michael Burns had a achingly tragic role as a nineteen year old survivor of Andersonville who remains lost in the war in his mind. The film dug deeply into the implications of following or disobeying orders and ended with a sobering, thought-provoking comment. I finally saw Because They're Young, and it was superb. I love old "teen rebel" films and couldn't resist the fantastic cast. Dick Clark is an idealistic teacher at a rough school who believes any student can be reached if he tries hard enough, at odds with the hardened principal who wants to go by the rules, teach the good students, and throw away the bad ones. Both are put to the test when he gets Michael Callan in his class, a rough kid with a chip on his shoulder who gets involved in a robbery and finds himself caught against a switchblade. Even as a bad boy he still has that impish grin that makes me smile back. Roberta Shore and cute, towheaded Doug McClure were adorable high school sweethearts in the movie and made me remember how I used to ship Trampas/Betsy before Randy showed up. Throw in some radio music by Bobby Rydell, Duane Eddy at the dance, and James Darren with his million-dollar-smile and very glittery hair and eyes and I was in love. Next I saw the lovely film The Winning Team, a biography of a star baseball pitcher and his devoted wife whose strength helps him overcome a brain injury and gives him the courage to make not only a comeback but win the world series for his team. Then I discovered the film Stolen Women Captured Hearts. Anna is a new bride, married to a man she barely knows when the Lakota capture her, her life spared by the mysterious warrior Tokalah. Forced to adjust in order to survive, Anna finds her heart strangely warmed by Tokalah's kindness as well as confused by the way he seems to have met her before, as she finds herself falling in love for the first time. But her newfound happiness is threatened when Custer takes an interest in returning her, a simple task that quickly turns tragic. It's one of those lovely romantic films that are just pretty to look at, along with the benefits of a clever backstory of Tokalah having seen Anna in a vision, the Indians actually played by Indians, and a unique final choice. Next was Splendor In The Grass, a haunting film that's been on my "must watch list" for ages. Set in the '20s and quite accurate to the time period, the story centers on Bud and Deanie, two star-crossed teenagers deeply in love who only want to get married in their small Kansas town. But Deanie's out-of-touch parents and Bud's ambitious, harsh father threaten their relationship, and finally drive them apart: Bud to alcohol and other women and Deanie to the brink of insanity. With poignant photography, incredible acting (especially Bud's tormented, wild sister) and an aching study in social standards and heartbreak, it's a superb film. Second was Magnificent Obsession, about Bob Merrick, a playboy millionaire with no direction in life who recklessly crashes his motorboat and almost drowns, saved thanks to a resuscitator borrowed from the local doctor, who at the same time suffers a heart attack and dies. Guilt-ridden, Bob attempts to make amends to the widow, Helen, but his efforts result in a tragic accident that leaves her blinded. He begins joining her on the beach where she sits, befriending and falling in love with her. Not knowing who he is, she returns his feelings but fate intervenes when she disappears, leaving behind only a note breaking off the relationship. Flash forward to years later and he's now a talented neurosurgeon when word comes that she's been found, dying in a hospital. In a strange twist of fate he becomes the only person who can save her life and give them another chance at happiness together. It was a rich and lovely soap opera in the grand style only that era could do. The casting is unusual but grew on me, the theme is stunning, and it's a glorious movie to look at. Bob grows over the film and the transformation is fascinating as his conceited, devil-may-care ways turn into a man who gives everything of himself and asks for nothing. Next was All That Heaven Allows, a gorgeous and moving film that's one of the best happy-ending romances I've seen in a very long time. Cary is a lonely widow caught in an endless routine of country clubs, artificial friends, social standards, and the cold glitz of a wealthy, privileged life. Ron is her garderner who's starting his own tree farm, a genuine, loving man who refuses to let little things matter and lives life to the fullest. When a shared breakfast draws the two together they find themselves falling in love, a romance which tests Cary's relationships with her friends and her nearly-grown children as well as shaking the core of her orderly lifestyle. Unable to deal with social convention, she breaks their relationship off, and it takes a season of loneliness and a tragic accident before Cary discovers that what she's wanted all along isn't money or people to think well of her, only the kind of love Ron can give. It was a beautiful movie, both heartwarming and poignant, rich and gripping. Last was the quirky but fun musical The Pirate with Gene Kelly in all his swashbuckling glory as an actor who pretends to be a pirate in order to win the woman who has a crush on the pirate. More Victor Mature's films, too, and the past two were the best so far. The Egyptian tells the tragic story of a man who rises and falls through the ranks from an abandoned infant on the Nile to a wealthy doctor to Pharoh. Victor Mature played a soldier and childhood friend to the doctor who rises with him and changes as he does. The film had gorgeous scenery and sets, a haunting theme, and an incredible, heartbreaking scene where the soldiers kill the worshippers on the outskirts of Egypt. The best scene, I think, is the Doctor's inspiring speech toward the end. Million Dollar Mermaid was a sweet, wonderful film with Victor Mature being fabulous as the carny drifter with his head in the clouds, such a colorful character. I've never seen him play that sort of role and he pulled it off beautifully. The swimming scenes and the technicolor were glorious, and the setting was richly detailed with the silent movie sets, flying machines, and carnival. I've also been on a nostalgic kick and watched all the Ma & Pa Kettle films. I had a couple as a kid and saw them over and over but I hadn't thought of them again until recently. They're every bit as hilarious and fun as I remember.
 
 
feeling: stressed
calliope tune: "Together Forever"-Rick Astley