Kathleen
Supernatural, the one show that never fails me, is back with season eleven, and its wonderful so far with a welcome return to its roots. The Darkness, a truly creepy villain in the vein of Lilith or Eve, is intriguing, even if I'm half disturbed and half interested in the strange relationship between her and Dean. I especially enjoyed the spooky zombie humans in the first episode, and loved seeing Dean with a baby, even if she was evil. It's also hilarious to see Crowley dealing with a kid or teenager. Sam, bless him, is finally back to the Sam I loved, the sweetheart who wanted to save people and still prays and has faith after all they've been through. I also love that, despite a few secrets, Sam and Dean are being a bit more honest to each other, and their relationship feels like what it used to again. Their relationship with Castiel is also a delight, with both of them making helping him a priority, risking a lot to help him, Dean and he accepting how they've hurt each other and learning to live with it, and finally letting him stay at the Bunker with them. I also squealed a bit over Castiel with his blanket, and him watching tv and learning about Netflix. "Baby", one of my favorites of the season, highlights the best of the show - the beloved car, the brothers's relationship, and the old music, jokes, and name calling that's been missing too long. "Just My Imagination" is also a delight and very much a season one styled storyline. I adored the entire concept of imaginary friends being a real, mythical race who aids children, and Sully was precious, making me wish he could be a regular. I loved how he related to the Winchesters, and was so proud of them. "The Devil In the Details" is somewhat overstuffed but filled with excellent moments, including Team Free Will and brotherly bonding - I loved Sam's salute to Castiel and seeing the flashbacks of season five's finale - but was broken by Castiel saying yes to Lucifer, even if it was unnerving yet fun to see his expressions on Castiel's face. It was also Rowena's final episode, and even as much as she's annoyed me her final scene with Crowley put a lump in my throat. I only wish we'd gotten more scenes like that, as their feelings toward each other were the most fascinating part of her story arc. "Into the Mystic" is a superb episode, with the tone of the earlier seasons, Sam and Dean talking about their regrets and moving past them, and a touching scene showing Sam's box of treasures. It also strikes a perfect balance between emotion and humor, and featured absolutely fabulous guest characters. I adored Mildred and Eileen, and was delighted at seeing an elderly character and a deaf hunter, neither of whom were fringed or killed off, and both of whom ended up defeating the monster and saving Dean. I only wish other shows would have more characters like them. "The Vessel" is quite good, revealing Castiel's possession to the brothers - I'm absolutely delighted by Dean's determination to save him - and featuring time travel to the unique and fascinating world of a WWII submarine. "Red Meat" is a superb monster of the week ep, with Dean and Sam's relationship forefront. Dean's desperation to bring back Sam was heartbreaking, and I loved Sam managing, even bleeding out and nearly dead, to save Dean. "Hell's Angel" resurrects Rowena, something I wasn't expecting at all, as well as having the twist of Lucifer and the Hand of God being unable to stop Amara. I loved seeing Dean trying to reach Castiel, as well as getting to see some of the other angels and Heaven again. Everything I think the show has run out of new monsters, they surprise me, as evidenced by the delightfully creepy and offbeat human cicadas of "The Chitters", which also gave what I've always wanted, hunters who finally get out of the life alive. "Don't Call Me Shurley" was a surprise delight, and despite how I disbelieved and disliked the "Chuck is God" theory, I actually enjoyed it. I was also surprised by how much I adored Metatron in it, a character I've always despised. The scene where he was crying and trying to convince Chuck humanity was worth saving put a lump in my throat, as did Dean refusing to leave Sam, and trying futilely to breathe in the fog so he could be infected, too. On the brighter side, Sam was so precious with the little baby girl, and the ending, with everyone saved, was gorgeous. "All in the Family" gives closure for Kevin, finally, and introduces a new prophet, Donatello. I loved his confusion, and its wonderful to his a much older character in such a role. "We Happy Few" gives me what I've always wanted: a team up between the angels, demons, and the Winchesters, with the witches and Chuck in the mix. And while their plans backfire horribly, I adored seeing them all working together for once. "Alpha and Omega" was a delight, with the villain redeemed instead of killed for a change. I loved Castiel being back, and cried when Dean finally told him they thought of him like a brother and as the best friend they'd ever had. I also adored Sam understanding and letting Dean go, showing how much character growth both brothers have undergone this season. Season eleven was my very favorite so far for so many reasons and I'm so incredibly excited for twelve.

Once Upon A Time has finished part one of season five and it was a mixed bag, disappointing in some ways while delightfully creative in others. Despite my original thoughts, I ended up loving the Dark Swan story arc. Of all the characters, Emma has taken the longest to win me over, originally my least favorites and now one of my top five, and this arc gave her a chance to shine as well as showcase more depth than she's had in all seasons combined. I loved seeing a more vulnerable side to her strength, as her love for Killian helps her overcome challenges - like not destroying Merlin - and a happy, optimistic Emma who can finally see a future and happy ending for herself. She also had so much more emotion, showing how far she's come and how much her walls have come down, and her tenderness with Killian was the most gentle I've ever seen her. I've wanted Dark One!Killian or at least magic!Killian since the beginning so it was a gift to get to see it on screen, even if he did occasionally make me sad or angry. But I've missed that edge since he went completely good and it was fun to see it again for a few episodes. I loved seeing baby!Killian - so adorable! - and finally his father and that story. My heart broke at his death - honestly I was expecting Emma to be the one they would bring back from the Underworld - and I hated that Emma was the one to kill him, but I'm thrilled that it will now be Emma's turn to go the "ends of the earth or time" for him. I actually enjoyed Robin and Regina's romance this arc, and I loved seeing Regina get to be the savior. I'm relieved the Zelena baby plot is finally over, and seeing Robin with the baby was adorable, even if I'm bitter that they separated Zelena from her child instead of a redemption arc or some sort of joint custody like they'd originally planned. Rumplestiltskin and Belle's storyline this season was both frustrating and delightful by turns. I loved seeing him fully human and finally a hero, but was annoyed when he regained his magic. I also loved Belle and he come back together, but hated the pointless drama of their breakup and makeup. Merida was a surprise delight, fiesty and fun, and her backstory episode was one of the best of the season. The Arthurian aspects of the story were less of a focus than I'd hoped but I enjoyed what there was. Merlin was fabulous, with a tragic but intriguing past love and story of how he got his magic, and I'm still sad they killed him off. Guinevere was lovely, and her romance with Lancelot was beautiful and far too brief. I'm still undecided about Arthur - while I liked the twist of him being the bad guy, he didn't have a good enough motive and came across as a little bland. I loved Camelot, though, especially the idea that it was all a magic illusion on top of a crumbling kingdom, as well as Excalibur and the dagger being the same blade that had been broken.

IZombie is back for it's second season and it's as delightful as ever, with highlights of Liv's personalities including a magician and a fraternity boy. Blaine gets a bit of depth and some great lines, Peyton and Liv's friendship is finally back, and Ravi continues to be a complete sweetheart. I love that Clive seems to be edging towards learning the truth, as well as finally getting a life outside the office. The biggest change this season is Major's story arc. Originally not a favorite of mine, he won me over last season with his good heart and kindness toward the kids he was trying to help. Now, newly returned to human, and adrift without his old job, he's a much sadder, more tragic character, especially in the ironic and poignant scene where he, now addicted, ends up buying drugs from a teen he once tried to keep off them. Worse yet, with Liv's life in danger, he's turned into a zombie bounty hunter for Max Wager, whose secret experiments have my interest. While I'm not sure the show will ever do a full-blown zombie outbreak, I can definitely see this as a potential start for it. But, I do love that Major and Liv are finally back together, and Major's dog - adorably named Minor - is super cute.

Reign is on season three, and after the dreadful mess that was season two I had guarded hopes that it might improve. In some ways it has, while in others not so much, and it still fails to recapture the fun and escapism of season one. Finally back to her senses and free of the dreadful story arc of last year, Mary is more toned down and likeable, and while they only have a few happy moments together, it's a joy to see her and Francis back together. I've been expecting and dreading Francis's death all season, and while I'm very sad to lose him from the show I appreciate that the writers let him be happy at the end and have a good and honorable death. He was the character who surprised me the most, starting out uninteresting and annoying to me and ultimately becoming one of my favorites and the show isn't the same without him, since he brought a lot of light to it. Charles now has a larger role and a new actor, and I'm not sure what to make of either, even if some flashes of a good heart pop up beneath the spoiled, childish exterior and he seems to care deeply about his siblings. The show's weaknesses have always been burning up both plot and romances far too fast for its own good, and unfortunately it's worse than ever this season, even with Kenna thankfully gone. Lola and Narcisse, two characters I despise, are married, and it's even more of a mess than her last one and far more annoying. Thankfully it isn't for long, and Lola makes the one sensible decision of the show and leaves for England. Narcisse, unfortunately, remains, undermining everyone and setting my teeth on edge. My favorite pairing, Leith/Greer, is long gone, but they still remain interesting characters, and their new romances, while not my favorites, still provide interesting or even cute moments such as Leith dancing with Claude. Bash's story arcs have always been my favorite, and while I'm still puzzled as to why he's excluded from court scenes and the main plot and characters for the most part, I'm still intrigued by Delphine's powers and bond to him, even if it could be better. With part of the show set in England now there's new characters, including Dudley, handsome but weak and useless, and Elizabeth, even more insufferable and infuriating than most portrayals of my least favorite queen in history and saddled with an absurd pregnancy storyline. Between her over the top pouting and her scheming to steal Dudley from his wife I end up gritting my teeth through most of her scenes. But with the superb "In A Clearing", the season moves closer to what it used to be, equal parts mystery, supernatural, romance, and tragedy, all with beautiful moments including flashbacks. But best of all it allows Bash and Catherine, Catherine and Mary, and Bash and Mary, some of the most fascinating relationships in the past, to finally share scenes together after so long. "The Hound and the Hare" is another delight, and further hope that the show is returning to its roots with more screentime for Catherine and Bash, and Bash even getting to share a scene with Greer, something I've wanted since the beginning. Leith and Greer's scene together was touching, and the surprise twist of Greer's pregnancy has me hooked. I also loved finally getting to meet one of her sisters in a later episode. As iffy as I am about Delphine I do find her powers intriguing, and the Jack the Ripperish murders are the storyline I'm most interested in right now, if for nothing else than it invokes the pagan and supernatural storylines I loved and miss desperately. The final scenes with Carlos, Mary, and Catherine were an absolute gift that left me in stitches - the show is always at its best when its not taking itself seriously and is just over the top, outrageous fun and antics - and I love that Mary and Catherine are working together again. "No Way Out" introduces the Red Knights storyline which brings back some of the pagan/mysterious elements I've missed so long. I don't mind Mary and Gideon too much, and I do enjoy Mary's scenes with his daughter. "To the Death" is a surprisingly excellent ep. As sad as I'll always be over Leith/Greer, I always loved Castleroy and having Greer end up happy with him and getting to keep her baby was a delightfully happy ending for her. I adored seeing Lola reunited with little John, and some true character growth in Elizabeth, particularly that she showed mercy and resolved not to be like her father. Bash and Mary's scenes (even a hug!) were a treat after so long, rekindling my love for the ship long after I'd thought they'd never share another scene together. Even Narcisse was more likeable than usual, and the storylines fit together perfectly. "Spiders in a Jar" was a dizzying packed episode, filled with wonderful and heartbreaking moments alike. Moving to Scotland has done wonders for Mary's character, and her epic speeches and posing against gorgeous scenery, with the added benefit of tartan cloaks and Highland dances, is a delight to behold. I also enjoy seeing Mary's brother and a bit of her relationship with him. Lola's death was a tragic shock - despite my initial dislike for her, she had grown on me so much since her arrival in England, and it's doubly poignant to think little John is now an orphan. While I'm sad Bash is leaving the show I loved that he made it out alive, and is revealed to be a seer. I've been hoping for magical!Bash since the beginning, and I love that the writers took that route, as well as letting him spend a few lovely shippy moments with Mary in the last few episodes. I'm devastated about Leith, though, even if I'm trying to hold onto hope for his survival.

Galavant is back with season two and even better than the first. I love Richard being a good guy, and his friendship with Galavant is a delight. I also love Roberta and ship Richard and she. Madalena gets some depth in a surprisingly emotional flashback to her childhood, followed by a love interest in Gareth, a pairing that shouldn't work but is surprisingly adorable. I'm a bit sad that Galavant and Isabella spend nearly the whole season apart, but they do get some cute dream duets. Galavant and the zombies coming back to life for love was perfect, and I never knew how much I wanted zombies on this show before. I love Isabella's friendship with the Jester, too, and her parents are hilarious. The guest characters remain a constant treat, including the hilarious healer Neo of Sporin, and the music is always catchy and flawless, especially Sid's fabulous spoof of "Can You Hear the People Sing". The season finale was beyond perfection, with Galavant and Isabella's wedding, Richard and Roberta reunited, and the adorable Tad Cooper a real dragon.

When Calls the Heart aired its New Years special and it was a delight, giving me hope for season three after the disappointment of last season. Judging from the special it seems the show has returned to its roots, returning to focus on Hope Valley instead of the random bouncing back and forth as before, and Elizabeth's diary narration is back, one thing I very much missed. Also back, happily, is the focus on the school and children, my favorite thing in season one and very missed last season. Unfortunately the costuming still leaves much to be desired, but its a small quibble compared to all they've fixed. The characters are also greatly improved, with Jack and Elizabeth back together and Elizabeth making attempts to improve their relationship - I loved the scene where Jack opens up about his past and Elizabeth supports him, and Charles and the rest thankfully gone. Rip, always a scene-stealer, got a whole storyline in the episode and it was adorable. Abigail is wonderful as always, and I loved her with the new children and hope she keeps them.The pastor is growing on me somewhat, and Bill is surprisingly far more tolerable and interesting when he's sharing a scene with Jack. Lee and Rosemary remain hilarious and adorable together.

In new shows I've fallen in love with The Frankenstein Chronicles, a flawless and fascinating re-imagining of the classic. The historical setting, against the Anatomy Act, is intriguing, and I adore all the period details and authentic feel of the times. Marlott is a sad, but decent character, and the complex mysteries and turns of the plot continue to catch me off guard. I also love the sad but touching relationships Flora has with both Marlott and Nightingale, and how the show portrays Mary Shelley. The final twist as Marlott took the role of the Monster was shocking but fascinating.

Also new is Chicago Med, and it's a delight to have two medical shows at once. I'm enjoying learning the new characters, and love Connor so far, and the stories are always interesting.

I've also been working my way through Miami Medical. I have a weakness for doctor shows and its an enjoyable one with layered characters whose pasts slowly are revealed throughout the episodes, shippy and friendship goodness, and emotional as well as light-hearted moments.

I've been working my way through Spartacus and loving it. The writing might not be flawless but the characters more than make up for it. I love Spartacus, such a kind and decent leader, Gannicus, the delightfully rock star gladiator with the fabulous hair, the haunting and lovely Naevia, and my very favorites, Agron and Nasir whose relationship is a complete delight. The show makes me emotional more often that not, yet remains inspiring despite all the tragedy.

I'm working through the short-lived Eleventh Hour and its enjoyable, a nice, solid science series with just the right touch of poignancy and emotion. I love Hood, a sweet yet quirky character, and with my weakness for bodyguard stories his relationship with Rachel - a gentle friendship with hints of more - is a delight and the highlight of the show.

I discovered the short-lived 2000s remake of my beloved Kolchak the Night Stalker, Night Stalker, and started watching. It's surprisingly good, and this version of Carl, while much younger, has the good heart of the later character, with more sweetness and less fear. I enjoy his relationship with Perri, too, and the storyline and intriguing backstory for Carl has my interest.

I discovered the series Empress Ki with subtitles and have been binge-watching it this week. I've never seen a Korean show before and know nothing about its history, but its excellent and ridiculously addictive. I like the characters a lot, too, and the music is gorgeous.

I discovered Return To Mayberry, the Andy Griffith Show reunion movie I never knew existed, and it was a treat. Despite being so long after the show, it managed to bring back a large part of the cast, even some of my recurring favorites like the Darlings. I adored the lives of the characters now, especially Otis sober and working as an ice cream man and Opie with a family, but my delight was seeing Barney and Thelma Lou finally reunite and marry. I teared up during the wedding, since I'd always been so sad that they never married on the show, and Thelma Lou's final episode on the series had always broken my heart.

I enjoyed The Mortal Instruments movie very much, so I've been looking forward to the Shadowhunters tv show. Unfortunately, while I liked the expansion of the world and seeing all the other creatures, especially the Seelie, it was extremely disappointing, containing virtually everything I hate in YA fiction magnified by a hundred. Unlike the slightly more realistic and definitely more likable characters of the film, the characters here are largely flat and wooden, with especially the male characters seemingly incapable of any emotion except glowering or sulking. Isabelle, whose occasional flashes of cleverness and an endearing relationship with her brother are hints of how much better she could be written, is reduced to little more than a distraction to gain information with no personality beyond flirting. Alec, too, has potential, especially with his bond with Jace and his cute moments with Isabelle, that is frustratingly lost behind jealousy and scowling. Most disappointing is Jace. Lacking Jamie Campbell Bower's acting ability and stripped of the tragic, nearly self-loathing personality behind the snarky mask, this Jace comes across as boring and self-centered, falling for Clary seconds after meeting her for no reason whatsoever. Clary, the very worst character, is a Mary Sue, perfect at everything, wanted by all the guys, and accepting of the supernatural and her powers instantly, and flirting with Jace while Simon is in danger in a cringe-worthy scene. Making it even worse is the actress' complete inability to act, and incredibly forced chemistry with Jace. Valentine is an over the top classic villain, lacking the scary edge of the movie version. The one bright spot in the cast is Alberto Rosende, who manages to make Simon endearing and believable, even carrying his scenes with Clary enough to make me feel emotion for him. The dialogue is appallingly bad, even by teen show standards, the weapons and props are cheesy - the swords have a weird nightlight glow and the characters move a stone crypt lid effortlessly - and adults are few and far between, let alone someone elderly. Also, with the plot dragged out across episodes, the weak spots and plot holes have nowhere to hide, making the experience even more painful.

I saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 in theatres and it was superb, a flawless adaptation. In many ways it was my favorite book of the series and the film is definitely my favorite of the four. Despite the heavy action, the plot struck an excellent balance between more fast-paced and slower, emotional moments. Peeta completely broke my heart, with Josh Hutcherson's performance managing to pull off both the dangerous and vulnerable sides of the character perfectly. While I often find Katniss's character prickly and somewhat unlikeable, I finally understood her in this film, and I cried during the scene with Buttercup and her even more than I did during the book. I would have liked more scenes with Prim, but the few included were poignant, and I liked seeing her interact with Peeta, even if the scene was heartwrenching. I was glad that Katniss's mother leaving was skimmed over, though. Finnick and Annie's wedding was lovely, and I loved him looking after Peeta. I was grateful his death was less traumatic than in the book, but sad that Katniss seeing through his eyes wasn't included, even if that would have made the scene even more painful. I loved that Annie and his son was mentioned, and Annie was wonderful in her few scenes, making me wish she'd had a larger role. Haymitch and Effie, both surprise delights of the series, finally got a kiss which had me grinning ear to ear. I loved hearing all of my favorite lines (even the final "always"!) exactly like the book, the music was lovely, and the scenes after Coin's death were gorgeous, exactly as I'd hoped, since that was my favorite part of the series. The ending, with Peeta and Katniss and their children, was beautiful, and the kids were absolutely adorable.

In new animated films I finally saw The Peanuts Movie and while the odd animation style took a bit to grow on me, I adored the delightful whimsy of the plot and how it felt like the comics with a series of daily adventures bound together by the background story of Charlie's pining for the Little Red Haired Girl. I loved that the movie didn't update the story, keeping the vintage feel as well as the comic style such as hearts above the characters. Snoopy in particular was a delight, and I loved his Red Baron adventures. The voices were all great and some sweet moments, like Snoopy and Charlie's hug, Sally and Charlie, and the ending, made me emotional.

In new fairytale films I saw Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot, a lovely adaptation of the story. I loved the relationships, especially the sisters, and also their romances with their loves, even the brief but hilarious bit at the end where Rosenrot finds true love and adventure all at once. The magical roses and dance scenes were adorable, too. Next was Der Teufel Mit Den Drei Goldenen Haaren, a strange but very enjoyable story. I loved the characters and the ending was delightful. Next was Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, a beautiful and poignant adaptation. I loved how it managed to strike a balance between the tragedy of the original story and the more gentle, upbeat feel of the movie series, while still remaining faithful. The characters were lovely - I especially adored the Stranger - and the ending perfectly bittersweet.

In other new films I watched My Name is Nobody, a quirky and delightful spoof with characters I grew to love and some hilarious moments. I loved Jack and Nobody's friendship, and the resolution was adorable and perfect. Next was The Nine Lives of Christmas. I watched it solely for Brandon Routh and ended up adoring it with its delightfully sweet and quirky story and adorable cats. The romance was super cute, too. Next was Avenging Angelo, which was nothing like what I'd expected, but was a complete delight, a perfect blend of high-paced action and adorable romance with some zany and comedic moments thrown in. I have a weakness for bodyguard stories and Frankie and Jennifer's romance was too cute for words. It was also a joy to have Frankie go against typical stereotypes by being so gentle and a good cook, and I laughed through the entire scene of him teaching her how to walk right. The ending was perfect, too. Next was City of Angels, a gorgeously filmed and heartbreaking story. I loved the mythology the film created regarding angels, and the soundtrack was lovely. Next was Catch Me If You Can, a surprisingly fun and fast-paced true story. Frank's cons were entertaining, and I loved the poignancy of Frank's estrangement from his family and his friendship with Carl. Next was Just Like Heaven, a flawless mix of hilarious comedy and poignant drama, all wrapped up in a delightful fantasy romance. I adored the characters, including the minor ones, and David and Elizabeth's love story was sweet and believable. The ending made me super happy and teary, too.

I discovered the miniseries remake of Spartacus and completely fell in love with it. As much as I love the original, I loved this version better, for its expansion and deeper emotions. The cast was excellent, and all the characters richly drawn and fascinating, especially David. I loved the hope of the ending, too.
 
 
feeling: grumpy
calliope tune: "Hurt So Bad"-Lettermen
 
 
Kathleen
14 November 2014 @ 03:02 pm
I watched The Hobbit: Batlle Of the Five Armies and on the last film of the series, the director finally gets it right, finding the perfect balance between nostalgia and a compelling new story. While there are still a few flaws - Tauriel remains unnecessary, Fili gets far too little screentime, Kili is obviously pushed to the viewers as the favorite, and we still never get to "know" many of the characters like in LOTRs, the good points far outweigh the bad. Most notably, unlike the others, this film never feels padded or stretched, the pace remains steady, and the removal of comedy elements give it a good solid feel the other films lacked. Bilbo, more likeable now that his acting is toned down, shows the noble heart that's always endeared me to the hobbits, and the highly likeable Bard gets to be the hero in taking down the dragon and leading the army of men. His moments with his children are beautiful, and I was grateful they all got their happy ending. Thorin's tragic spiral into madness is brilliantly acted and compelling, and his, Fili, and Kili's deaths reduced me to tears, even though I was saddened that Kili and Fili didn't get to die side by side as in the book. Legolas, the one addition to the trilogy I've loved since the beginning, was at his very best, showing off his fighting skills as well as hinting at his past - his strained relationship with his father, unrequited love for Tauriel, and, most intriguingly, the loss of his mother. The scene where his father finally tells him that his mother loved him made me sob, and I teared up at the mention of Aragorn as Legolas sets off to find him in the end. The links to LOTRs were skillfully done and never forced as before, and I loved how the ending drifted seamlessly into the first LOTRs. The closing theme was gorgeous - I'm so happy they used Billy Boyd's lovely voice again - and the credits were beautiful.

I went to see Night At The Museum 3: Secret Of the Tomb in theatres, and it was wonderful, a poignant, touching, and funny finale to a wonderful trilogy. Larry was perfect as always, and his friendship with the museum characters never fails to warm my heart. Teddy remains my favorite of the characters, and it made me tear up a little to see his last scenes. Jed and Octavius were hilarious as usual, and I couldn't stop laughing at them watching videos, taking selfies, and using a computer. The new characters, especially Lancelot, were treats, and I loved how many of the old characters they packed in, as well as Ahkmenrah having so much more screentime than in the other films, and even getting a backstory and happy ending after all the nights he spent locked in the coffin. Hugh Jackman's cameo was an unexpected delight, and I couldn't stop laughing all through his scene.

I also saw Mockingjay in theatres and it was painfully excellent, a more grim film than the others but so faithful to the books I couldn't help be delighted. My heart broke for Finnick, a character I never bonded with in the books but have learned to love in the movies, and my favorite part was his speech, including the creepy but fascinating aspect of Snow's poison and roses. His scene with Annie was beautiful and I only wish they shared more, especially flashbacks. While I was disappointed by the Hanging Tree's melody, and didn't care for her voice at all, I loved the other music as well as the beautiful direction style. Peeta was excellent, shattering my heart, especially when enough breaks through the brain-washing that he's able to warn Katniss, and the ending left me broken. Prim was a sweetheart as always, and I loved actually seeing more of Buttercup.

In other new movies I watched What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and despite my dislike of Johnny Depp, I surprisingly loved it. The story was beautiful, moving, and very realistic, and the small town setting gave it a vintage feel decades older than the movie. The acting was amazing, especially Leonardo DiCaprio who did a stunningly convincing job portraying Arnie. Next was the new miniseries Houdini, a uniquely filmed and incredibly entertaining account of Houdini's life and career. Adrien Brody was wonderful as Harry, and I adored Bess and his relationship, as well as his friendship with Jim. The tricks were fabulous to watch, and I liked the voice-overs looking into his thoughts as well as the bits of old footage toward the end. I saw the miniseries The Pillars Of the Earth and completely fell in love with it. The history, a time period I knew little about, was intriguing, the plot twists were fascinating, and I loved the characters, especially Jack and his relationship with Aliena. Many of the other characters, like Prior Phillip, Ellen, and Martha, were all interesting to see their stories, and I loved the happy endings for most of the good characters, and just desserts for the evil. The scenery and cinematography was lovely. I also watched the sequel miniseries World Without End, and it was fascinating, both for the history as well as the personal stories. I liked both of the romances, and was happy to see them both end up together and safe. The plot twists, especially with the Sir Thomas being the king were jaw-dropping, and the entire series was beautifully filmed and made. Then was If I Stay, a lovely and unusual film. I loved Adam and his relationship with Mia, and the ending was gorgeous. Next was L'Homme Qui Rit, a stunningly beautiful version of Victor's Hugo's heartbreaking book, and it was amazing, both for sets and filming as for the talented cast and intriguing characters. Next was Dracula Untold, a beautiful and heartwrenching version of the vampire's origins. I loved how he was shown as a good man who made a terrible choice to save his son, and his relationship with his little family was wonderful. After that was The Maze Runner. I adored the unique freshness of the plot, the oppressive setting, and mood, as well as how character driven it was. Dylan O'Brien was surprisingly good as Thomas - I never thought much of his acting before - and I felt for all the characters, which left me very intrigued for the next film. Next was the fascinating The Rite which I watched solely for Colin O'Donoghue - who was amazing - but ended up loving. The plot was straightforward but affective, and I liked how the story acknowledged true evil and true goodness. The scene where Michael remembers his mother giving him the card and finds the strength to defeat the demon was beautiful, and I felt the ending was largely satisfying. Next was the precious Christmas With Holly which was, like most Hallmarks, beautifully heartwarming and fun. I adored Mark and Holly's relationship, and all the characters were loveable in their own way. I teared up and laughed throughout and loved every moment. Next was the gorgeous miniseries The Red Tent. Dinah has long been one of the most fascinating Biblical characters to me, and I loved seeing her story come to life. Shalem and Benia were both wonderfully kind men, and I was glad Dinah found happiness a second time. I loved how her son came to love her and see her as his mother, and Joseph and Dinah's relationship was beautifully portrayed. Next was the intriguing and oddly beautiful Solomon Kane. I loved the title character - James Purefoy was fabulous and I completely adore his accent - both for his redemption arc as well as his friendship with Meredith. The scene where he pulls himself off the cross to save her was stunning, and I loved their beautiful reunion toward the end. I'm slowly growing to love zombie films and the latest was 28 Days Later. I loved seeing the genre from the British point of view, and the characters, especially the well-intentioned Jim, despite how little is revealed about their pasts, were all intriguing. I enjoyed Jim's relationship with Selena, and was extremely grateful that they went with the ending where Jim survived and the three were rescued. Next was the hilarious short film Incest!: The Musical which was adorable and needed to be so much longer. I couldn't stop laughing, and I loved Alex and Katie's determination to be together. Next was the hauntingly poignant I Am Dina. The story was intriguing, but it was the unusual characters, amazing acting, especially from the child who played little Dina, and stunning scenery that captivated me, along with the beautiful theme. The original version's ending was somehow more fitting, and I teared up at Dina trying to comfort her childish self. Hans Matheson was lovely as Tomas, and I wish he'd had a larger role, but I'm happy he at least got a happy ending, and - I assume - got to still be part of little Benjamin's life. Next was the adorable Sky High which made me laugh and love superheroes a little more than I already do. Will was loveably able to be related to, Layla was sweet, and I adored Warren and his fabulous hair. There were so many flawless in-jokes, too, and the gentle spoofing of the genre was perfect. Next was Mama, an effectively creepy story. The children, both the young actresses and the little girls who played the older versions, were incredible, and I loved Lucas and Annabelle and how they grew to love them. I was saddened by the ending, but it seemed fitting and was bittersweet. Next was the adorable Change Of Heart, the first talkie I'd seen Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor in together, and the first time I'd gotten to hear her voice. Despite the somewhat rushed end (and Madge getting a happy ending which I didn't want) I loved the story, especially the characters and warmly vintage feel I get from old movies. After that was After, an unusual and interesting story. I loved seeing Freddy and Ana's intertwined stories from childhood to present day, and how their escape required both of them. The ending was perfect. Next was the surprisingly beautiful Elizabethtown which had some wonderful messages along with some whimsical and loveable characters. Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst were both wonderful, and I adored their characters and relationship. The plot was a perfect blend of tears and laughter and I loved every minute. Then I saw the gorgeous Italian miniseries Romeo E Giulietta which has quickly become my favorite version. I fell in love with the characters and broke for them, especially Romeo and Mercutio, and I loved the small enhancements to the plot while remaining faithful, such as giving the nurse something of a backstory and more depth. The scenery and score was stunning, too, and I loved the wintery feel of the film. Then was Pearl Harbor, a gorgeous and beautifully moving movie. I loved the vintage feel, and surprisingly didn't mind the love triangle, probably because I loved all three characters. I was sad that Danny died, but I loved that he did so saving Rafe's life, and the ending, with Rafe and Evelyn together and raising Danny and Evelyn's little boy, made me tear up.

In new fairytale films I saw La Belle Et La Bete, and it was a beautiful and unique version of the fairytale. I would have liked more scenes between Belle and the Beast, as her sudden love for him didn't make much sense other than pity once learning his backstory, and Belle often came across as somewhat spoiled and childish, but the film was gorgeous, especially the details such as the weeping statue, the photography, and the costumes - Belle's green dress was stunning. I loved the unusual origin story of the curse, as well as the adorable dogs, and having the film be a story Belle told her children was an adorable touch. After that was another of the gorgeous Sechs auf einen Streich series, Aschenputtel, and it was beautiful. I loved that the version spent more time showing Viktor, the Prince, as well as the fact that he got to meet Cinderella twice before the ball, making his love for her more logical. Both Viktor and Cinderella were sweet characters and it was easy to root for their happiness, as it was to despise the stepmother and sister, who instead of the cartoonish characters they usually are, were despicable and cruel. I loved the birds helping Cinderella, and the magical tree, and Viktor's relationship with his father was adorable. I also discovered the Märchenperlen series and saw my first, the stunning Die sechs Schwäne. It's long been one of my favorite fairytales and it was adapted beautifully and faithfully, with just a few twists to the plot to make it unique and exciting. I loved the characters and the happy ending.

I gave a try to the BBC miniseries of Ben-Hur, and as I expected, there were quite a few changes from my beloved '50s version, but definitely not all of them bad. Being so much longer, this version had the ability to include things I've always wanted to see, like Judah and Messala's childhood friendship and the beginning of Esther and Judah's love story. Joseph Morgan, despite being a little young for the role, made a good Judah, especially the angry, almost unhinged version that returns for revenge. Messala, intriguingly, was more layered than the '50s pure evil version, and the tragedy of his father's disinterest in him was contrasted against the Ben-Hur's family's original love for him that he betrayed. I loved that the film had him survive the race long enough for Judah and he to make their peace. Esther was somewhat disappointing, coming across as immature and too quick to think badly of Judah, and I didn't warm to her, even by the ending. I loved the new character of Athene, though, and her last scene was fascinating.

In new animated films I saw the adorable Bolt. I loved the title character, Mittens, and Rhino, and the adventure and happy ending for all the characters was wonderful.

I also saw Exodus: Gods and Kings, and as I expected I couldn't help doing a compare and contrast to The Ten Commandments which has been one of my favorite movies since I was in preschool. On the good side I liked how the film portrayed Moses as more warrior and hot-tempered, and the sword's inclusion throughout was a nice touch, especially at the Red Sea scene. In both movies I love the elder Pharaoh's relationship with Moses and he was lovely here. Ramses had more of an edge than Yul Brynner's version, and yet a tenderness with his little son that brought tears to my eyes during the funeral scene. I appreciated the over-whelming feel of the plagues, and the larger scale of the swarms of insects and frogs. Zipporah was beautiful portrayed, with her and Moses's love a highlight of the film, and I adored Moses's scenes with his son. Joshua, despite much less screentime, was just as wonderful, and the actor's beautiful eyes were so expressive and fitting for the character. On the downside the film felt rushed, with not enough needed time spent on Moses's days at the palace, and the focus on war and violence sadly limited the character study which would have smoothed out the plot. It was a fine action movie, but not a powerful and inspiration epic like The Ten Commandments, and in the end I think a combination of the two would result in perfection.

I saw the trailer/spoof "Dr. Quinn Morphine Woman" and it was hilarious, spot on to the original show while poking fun at what it would be like today. I loved seeing nearly everyone again, however briefly, and Sully's horrible wig and hair flipping had me howling with laughter. His and Michaela's kiss, complete with over-dramatic Indian music and heartbeating and breathing, was an absolute treasure. The concept of Michaela as a druglord and the town as addicts was brilliant, and everyone was so perfectly in character I only wish it had been far longer. I also got to see a bit of the pilot California, which sadly never became a series. It was wonderful to see Hank get a chance to shine, and I adored his interactions with Zack. It was quite a sweet and touching episode, and I only wish it had been given a real chance.

I discovered the show The Legend Of William Tell by accident and watched the episode "The Tomb Of the Unknown Warrior". The series is unusual, with great world-building, and I love the clever twist on the original legend. The episode used one of my favorite tropes of body-swapping with a fascinating twist, of enemies exchanging bodies by accident, only to have one die, and the injured survivor on trial for killing himself. Dean O'Gorman was excellent at the role and I loved that it turned out so well.

I finally broke down and watched Dean O'Gorman's episodes of Xena Warrior Princess, and despite not being very fond of the show I really enjoyed "Athen's Academy Of the Performing Bards". He played Homer, and I loved the way the historical people were portrayed, as well as the old movie clips.

I've started watching Copper, a heart-breaking yet incredible series. I appreciate the often painfully accurate history, from the filth of Five Points to the past of little Annie, one of the most tragic characters I've seen on a tv show. I love how the show doesn't flinch from portraying difficult elements, and isn't afraid to make its characters morally complex. Corky is a fascinating, haunting character, and I love his friendship with Annie and how he treats her like his own daughter.

Season two of Resurrection is on now and it's even more jaw-dropping than season one, with twist upon twist against an intriguing story arc. The plot took a very different path than I'd expected but for the most part I'm glad. The concept of this being the second time the Returned came back and the storyline of the 1930s flashbacks and discovered bones are both chilling and fascinating, especially the "demon" story of episode four. Margaret is a disturbing character but I'm intrigued to see where her motives lie. I like seeing some character growth of Janine's part, as well as Fred, and it's lovely to see a bit more of Barbara, especially when she gets to share a scene with Maggie. On the reverse side I'm saddened by Marty betraying Maggie by reporting the bones as well as Lucille's troubling down-spiral and Jacob's oddly defiant behavior which seems so out of character for the sweet boy of last season. The mysterious virus is intriguing, sadly taking Marty's parents and my hope of their having a reunion, but thankfully sparing little Jenny, and Marty finally gets a scene with her. Janine's obsession with Rachael's baby, and apparent kidnapping of Rachael has me terrified, and I'm stunned by Tom's death. The finale was nicely done, even if so many questions were left unanswered - I'll forever be saddened the Government Lady's backstory wasn't explored and Tom never came back - it felt overall largely satisfying. Strangely enough I'm content with not knowing how and why the Returned came back, as across the series I've seen that the point was more focused on how they lived life to the fullest with their second chance. I was happy Rachael chose to stay, and her baby was precious - I'm presuming he's okay and Preacher James was just crazy - and I'm incredibly happy Marty got to keep Jenny. Best of all was Fred's character growth when he stops Henry from wanting to give up Rachael. Another happy treat was Marty and Maggie's relationship; I've shipped them from the start and I'm thrilled they ended up together.

Season two of The 100 is on now and it's not quite as amazing as last season, with so many changes. To my gratitude, Finn is alive, and still the light of the show. The twist of Mt. Weather and it's eerily welcoming people who may or may not be what they seem already has my attention, and as much as I'm saddened by how feral Clarke has been forced to become, I love that she seems to be the only one with any sense. Jasper, such a fun character at the start, only annoys me now, and I miss who he used to be. Monty, as usual is flawless and given far too little screentime since the show pushed Raven into his shoes. I still can't make myself care much about Raven, especially after her cruelty to Murphy. As much as he's a bad guy I've loved him since the start and I'm incredibly excited for the hope of a redemption arc for him. I love Lincoln and Octavia as characters but definitely not as a pairing, and I'm not fond of how their relationship keeps being pushed to the point that they're now going to his village rather than Octavia trying to find her brother and even care if he's alive. Kane's storyline is troubling so far, and he seems to have lost much of the growth of character he showed throughout season one. Bellamy's decency and changed personality have finally made me grow to like him, and I enjoy his friendship with Finn. Finn is breaking my heart, especially when he killed the Grounder, and I'm worried as to what will become of him. I finally made it to "Spacewalker" and in many ways the show is over for me. The Grounders were never innocent with all the kids they killed from the start - their first act is to spear Jasper - and I've wanted them wiped out since the beginning so I felt no pity for their village, only anger that they demand retaliation when they've done more and worse. But to actually kill Finn, the one bright spot of the show, by Clarke's hands was too cruel for words.

Season two of Atlantis has begun, and it's somewhat darker while still, thankfully, retaining some more light-hearted moments. Minos has sadly died; I grew to enjoy his character so I'll miss him, and Ariadne is now queen. Ariadne has never been one of my favorites, and more screentime for her does nothing to make me happier, and she seems worryingly willing to tip into darkness if necessary, even if her intentions toward Atlantis seem good. Jason and the Oracle's relationship remains my favorite on the show, and I'm already concerned by her warning that Jason will turn evil if he learns the truth about his mother. As sad as the vision makes me, I was thrilled to see confirmation, through the glimpse of the Argo, that Jason is THE Jason of mythology. "Telemon" returns to my favorite setting, the arena, with a fascinating story that raises more questions than answers regarding Ariadne's new suitor. "The Marriage of True Minds", the season's best so far, is beautiful and touching, featuring a gorgeous score and some much missed banter between the main trio. "The Day of the Dead", an odd, and somewhat plotless zombie fest, nevertheless features the first intriguing meeting between Jason and Medea, who seems to care in the scene where she heals Jason's leg, and yet ends by stabbing Ariadne.

Onto season ten of Supernatural and the demon!Dean storyline I've dreaded since last season. While I'm so grateful to see the writers have finally put Sam back in the character he used to be, and it's wonderful to see his determination to find and save Dean, I'm saddened by the disconnect between the characters. Dean isn't the scary demon I assumed he'd become but rather a strange, jerk version of himself, chasing women, getting into fights, and singing, and apart from his coldness toward Sam he seems more bitter than non human. Castiel and his steadily declining health has me terrified, even as I'm saddened at yet another season's storyline that distances him from the brothers. I miss Team Free Will together, and I've grown tired of the constant angels storyline, as Castiel is the only one of the angels I've ever enjoyed watching. "Reichenbach"'s revelation that some of Castiel's grace still exists makes me happy, yet I'm proud of Cas for refusing; he's come such a long way and learned so much. Demon!Dean is progressively spookier, and the final scene made me shudder. "Soul Survivor" was superb, and I'm so grateful to have caring!Sam, human!Dean, and healthy!Castiel back again, the way it should be. The twist that Sam forced a man to sell his soul to find Crowley and Dean was fascinating, and I'm intrigued to see if there will be further fallout. I'm also shocked by Crowley saving Castiel. "Ask Jeeves" is a delight, much like an early seasons' ghost hunting episode while still with a glimmer of worry regarding Dean and the Mark. "The Executioner's Song" was stunning, driving Dean closer to a dark ending, while showcasing Team Free Will, a recipe that always forms the best episodes. I teared up when Cain tells Dean he'll kill Cas and Sam, and cheered when Dean was strong enough to give up the blade to Castiel.

I gave a try to the new series Galavant, and despite a shaky pilot, fell in love with it in the second episode. It's hilarious, outrageous, and the characters, even the bad guys, are all loveable. I already ship Isabella and Galavant, and I can't wait to see what happens.

In other new shows I started watching the intriguing Eye Candy and I'm already hooked. The premise is interesting, the acting and emotions are excellent, and I can feel for the main character. I was incredibly sad they killed off Ben, though, since he was so sweet and I loved Lindy and he together. But I'm starting to love Tommy and even ship Lindy and he.

I also discovered the new series 12 Monkeys and I'm in love with it: a sci-fi show with an actual science basis, bound by laws that make sense for a refreshing change. Cole is a likeable and tragic protagonist, with shades of grey - I teared up during the scene where he says how much he wants forgiveness - and I already ship him with Cassandra. My favorite character, however, is Ramse, whose goodness shines through the dark future and friendship with Cole keeps me interested in learning about their pasts. I love the concept, too, and the jumping between time periods.
 
 
calliope tune: "You Belong To Me"-Duprees
feeling: discontent