Kathleen
24 August 2015 @ 12:38 am
There's been some pilots for upcoming shows that have come out early, so I've gotten to try a few I was interested in. The first was Minority Report which I was a little skeptical of because I loved the movie, but fortunately it's a sequel rather than a remake. It also focuses on one of the characters I felt the movie failed to do much with: the precog Dash, ten years older than the end of the film. Here he's on his own, trying to help the people he sees in his visions, and he's a likeable mix of innocent and cute - I loved his little asides and warnings to people as he walks around. It wasn't the strongest pilot but it showed promise, both in its relationships and its set up storyline of Dash's search to find his missing twin. The other pilot was Lucifer which in all honestly I expected nothing from and watched out of boredom, but ended up loving best of all. It's fabulous to see Tom Ellis in something again, and he brings a dark charm to the role. I love how the show never seems to take itself seriously, and thus far strikes a perfect balance between sinister moments and humor. I also love the banter between Chloe and Lucifer, and how she's the only one he's unable to influence. Trixie is precious and I hope to see more of her, too.

Season two of The Flash has begun, with a cast shakeup and a somewhat different feel, while still being enjoyable so far. With his father thankfully freed but moved on, Barry is less driven and sadly more cynical than last season, with a lot of his innocence and faith gone after Wells's betrayal and the loss of two of his friends. I miss Eddie terribly, since he brought a lot of life to the show, and I loved his friendships with Joe and Barry. Iris seems to have moved on completely, more so than Barry, which is odd, but I do love that her friendship - and maybe more - is back with Barry, and Joe and Barry's relationship is as heart-warming as ever. Ronnie's death seemed needless and odd, but I'm glad Martin Stein has been getting more scenes as his friendship with Cisco, as well as having a supportive older adult around Star Labs, is a treat. New this season is Earth 2's Flash, Jay, and he seems nice enough so far, even if his retro helmet is more exciting than his personality. I'm not pleased by Caitlin practically drooling over him, though, considering Ronnie's only been dead a short time. Also new is Patty, who seems sweet but is so overtly a love interest and annoyingly over-eager and peppy I can't seem to warm to her character, and Jax who I actually loved and look forward to seeing more of.

Also current is season two of Z Nation which is enjoyable, although lacking some of the carefree fun of last season. While even more creative, unique, and often hilarious in it's plots, zombie kills, and settings - my personal favorite being the giant cheese wheel so far - there's more tragedy as well, highlighted by the loss of several characters, notably Serena, who was delightfully fierce and sadly under-used, Cassandra, who I expected but still held out hope that after a season and more being used by one person after another, she might finally get a break and become an interesting character, and worst of all Mack, who was not only my favorite in the whole show, but also the sweetest, most flawless character. To fill the gap there's Vasquez, and his sad backstory, dubious loyalties, and chemistry with Warren have endeared me to him quickly.

I discovered the short-lived series John Doe and fell in love with it and it's intriguing and sweet protagonist. It's the kind of show that's right up my alley - quirky, addictive, and offbeat, and I love John's extensive knowledge, mysterious past, and the oddity that he sees a few random things in color and everything else in black and white.

I've working my way through the brilliant but short-lived Miracles and it's amazing, a perfect mix of poignant character sketches and compelling, even chilling fantasy. Most of the episodes are moving, and some, like the scene where a husband discovers his disabled wife has been trying to tell him how much she loves him, or when Paul finally lays a little girl ghost to rest, leave me in tears. Paul, the protagonist, played by the extremely talented actor Skeet Ulrich, is a different sort of character than is usually found in these sort of shows - instead of the quirky nerd modern sci-fi seems so fond of, he's a gentle and kind person who cares deeply about helping the people he meets. The guest actors are always superb, beginning with the nuanced performance of the little boy who plays Tommy, the child healer who sacrifices his life to save a dying Paul's, and reoccurs as a troubled ghost from time to time.

I stumbled across the intriguing time travel series Seven Days, and while it took a bit, I ended up loving Parker, as well as the concept and style of the show.

I re-watched the pilot for the failed remake of The Time Tunnel since I hadn't seen it since I bought my DVDs of the original show years ago. The last time I watched it I was too distracted by paperwork to do more than fume a bit over Tony being a woman and everything being modern, but this time I gave it an honest try and was pleasantly surprised. It's a little rough, as many pilots are, but despite all the changes I was impressed by how well they actually captured the characters. Despite making Tony a woman, a lot of her character traits were familiar: her quickly formed bond with Doug, determination to save and help everyone even if it means bending the rules like letting the boy stay with the woman who cared about him, and her loss of a family she loved, all things essentially a part of the original Tony's character. Likewise the controllers at the Time Tunnel are the original blend of would be savior with slight hints of mad scientist over-reaching where they shouldn't and maybe even willing to sacrifice the travelers if necessary. Happily Doug was the best part. Ironically, although Tony is my favorite, I adore Doug, usually taking his POV in my fanfic, and relate to him in many ways, so one of the lines struck me; when Doug is told by his dying friend who he no longer remembers that he was "the loneliest guy" he knew. That was so perfectly original Doug. Underneath the knowledge and determination there's just this incredibly deep loneliness that always made me think that if he didn't have or lost Tony he'd have no one at all, since odds are he'll never get back to Ann. I would have loved to see a glimpse of the other new Doug, the one who didn't have the family, to see if he was the way I imagine, but it definitely gave me so many plotbunnies of an AU version. But still I adored his little family - his wife and cute kids - and was thrilled when they remained at the end, even when time was set back, even though I was sad that that meant Tony didn't regain her lost family, too. I loved David Conrad as Doug, too, since he was very believable as a modern day version of the original character.

I've been working my way through The Legend of William Tell this week, which I'd been meaning to see more of for ages, and once I got past the first two or three shaky episodes it settled into a comfortable, entertaining show. I love William. He's a unique sort of hero, young, impetuous, occasionally bratty, and not above making the wrong choice. He can be annoying at times, extremely easy to relate to at others, and I adore his constant impatience with Kalen. His team is likewise imperfectly yet easy to love: bossy yet good-hearted Vara who's friendship with William is one of my favorite things in the series, cute and wolfish child Drogo whose desire to grow up often causes the band trouble, hot-tempered, cat-like Aruna who commonly disobeys orders and is both a equal match for and romantic interest of William's. Only Leon, good and kind to a fault, seems a typical hero. The world building is quite fantastic, with an assortment of peoples all backed by the ever gorgeous scenery of New Zealand, and the one shot characters are easy to become invested in. Although it only ran a season the story tied up beautifully in the end in a satisfying, and adorable finale. I couldn't help grinning as Vara takes the throne with Leon and Drogo by her side, and William gets his little farm (it always broke my heart that all he really wanted was his home, not wealth or fame). But best of all, he marries Aruna who gets adorably assigned as his protector by Vara, a role she's basically played since the beginning.

I gave a try to the movie Lost In Space and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone claims, and even included some fascinating elements. For one, I loved that Dr. Smith was completely evil instead of goofy - something I always loathed in the show - and his transformation into monster and near control of Will was fascinating. I loved the simple but effective sci-fi tech, especially Don's awesome helmet, the unusual medical bay, and the creepy spiders. While Maureen still had little to do, I liked John being more responsible for his family, and I loved the more tight-knit family unit - Don included - that formed during their adventures. I loved all the nods to the original show like the cameos, and the faithfulness of the characters - Penny's love for animals, Robot's catch phrase, and more. I also liked the enhancement of some elements, such as glimpses of Penny's crush on Don with a cute scene between them - I always shipped them far more than Don/Judy - and Judy being a much more intelligent, likeable character than in the show. Don, too, is a delight, capturing the cute mannerisms of show!Don - the wink was so much like him - and the intense hatred for Smith - I cheered when he punched him - while getting more of an action hero role and relationship with the characters other than Judy. I also enjoyed the time travel aspect, and the emotion when adult Will sees his family together again.

I finally saw the movie version of Dark Shadows and despite my dread it was surprisingly fun. It's far from a perfect version, to be sure, but it's a quirky, funny, and often clever spoof of and tribute to the original series. The house was amazing, and the characters intriguing and offbeat, making up for weaknesses in the plot, and the special effects were nicely done without being over the top.

I finally got to see The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and despite my very low expectations I ended up genuinely enjoying it. It's not the best Marvel film by any stretch, but it's definitely not the worst, and ultimately I view it as a good film whose writers made a few very regrettable decisions. The first of these was Natasha's horribly OOC character. Gone is the "love is for children" and the carefully guarded heart of gold beneath a seemingly emotionless exterior, with the writers having given her a personality change in the form of practically throwing herself at Bruce even when it's obvious that he's not ready to jump into a relationship. While I love romances in movies and could even buy Natasha having grown more comfortable and warmed up to the idea of love, Bruce comes out of left field as her love interest. The two barely interacted last movie - the main scene together being him in Hulk form attempting to kill her - and seem awkward and unconvincing around each other. Honestly, even as much of a Clint/Natasha shipper as I am I would have been fine with - loved even! - a Steve/Natasha romance which would have made far more sense. Or even Sam/Natasha who at least had potential last movie together. Even worse than reducing Natasha to a flirting love interest is the way the writers base her feeling of self worth on her inability to have children, leaving me wincing and appalled at her comparing herself to a monster just because she was sterilized against her will. To me this completely degraded her character by having the writers portray her as nothing since she can't have kids, and tearing down the strong yet caring woman of the previous films who easily held her own as the only woman on the team. Also there's Bruce. I'm obviously biased as I dislike both the actor who portrays him and basically any version that isn't Bill Bixby, but there was a lot of inconsistency in his portrayal, with one scene where the Hulk is seemingly unable to understand anything and then his last scenes where he's calm enough to rescue Natasha and even understand how to pilot the craft while in Hulk form. As Bruce, he's tragic but gets zero character growth, even losing the little confidence he seemed to gain last movie and then runs out on everybody at the end. And other than Tony he seems to barely interact or even fit with the other Avengers, leaving him the weak link in the group. In other low spots Pepper and Jane's absences are clumsily explained, the plot has jarring jumps that make little sense - like Ultron's escape after his introduction or the doctor doing experiments who is conveniently killed off - new characters given little introduction - Helen Cho - or technology - Tony wanting to create artificial intelligence when he already has Jarvis or the machine that makes Ultron his body. Still the movie shines with it's new characters: the creepy, twisted Ultron who, despite the lack of a convincing reason for his actions, still manages to be one of the scariest and most fascinating of Marvel villains, the complex yet seemingly benevolent Vision, and the twins with their close bond and fun powers. I adored them all, and look forward to seeing more of Wanda and Vision, as well as hoping that Pietro might be brought back to life in a future film - they've done it before for Coulson, after all. I also loved Tony, as always my favorite of the Avengers, even though he makes my heart hurt through most of his scenes, making bad choices but meaning so well. Clint finally gets to speak more than a few words, even some snark, finds some new allies, and despite my dislike of his insta-family - I think I could accept it better if they'd bother to even mention them before or give any indication he even had a family or home since it makes no sense that he could spend time with them and nobody would know about it accept Natasha - I liked Laura and his adorable little kids, and teared up when they revealed the baby's name. I did love that his bond with Natasha, even if only portrayed as friendship, was just as strong as the first film. The brightest spots of the movie are it's most emotional and personal - Tony's vision of his friends dead and him surviving alone or Wanda sensing Pietro's death and later killing Ultron.

I saw the second film of The Maze Runner series and despite some good points it was a disappointment, trading in the creative freshness and emotional core for the action and explosions typical of the genre. The overall tone took a sharp turn from sci-fi into horror with the zombie-like Cranks and the first third to half of the film was so different from the first film it didn't even feel like the same series. The flood of new characters mostly muddled an already confusing plot, and most of them, especially Brenda, didn't appeal to me at all. Still there were some excellent moments, especially the last third of the film when the pace slowed and some of the character study came back. I liked the glimpse into Teresa's past, and could sympathize with her betrayal, even as sad and wrong as it was. Thomas is growing into his role as leader and I liked seeing the flashback of him as a child. Aris was sweet enough, and I loved Vince who added a bit of spice and adventure to balance out the mostly teenage characters. The ending was haunting, and drew me back to the story enough to look forward to the next film.

I gave a try to Pan and while I adore re-imaginings and origins stories, I found it a mix of clever and bad. Peter was cute and determined, but often came across as annoying and full of himself, further worsened by the teeth-gritting trope of him being a "chosen one". Tiger Lily was a surprise delight, as was her sparks of romance with Hook and friendship with Peter, but the character got little depth and no moments to shine. I love Hugh Jackman, but he seemed miscast and over the top as Blackbeard, and even when the character was supposed to be sinister I couldn't take him seriously. Hook, however, was fun, with Garrett Hedlund making the most of his screentime. His friendship with Peter, and Peter saving his life when he falls from the ship, was both the highlight of the film and poignantly foreshadowing what they're eventually become, leaving me longing for a Hook redemption story after a sequel would show him turning into the classic villain. I did love some of the plot points, especially Peter being the half mortal son of a fairy, thereby explaining his flying abilities. The special effects were also lovely, with the mermaids, the "memory" water, the flying ships, and Peter flying carrying Hook and Tiger Lily among the bright spots.

I gave a fair try to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie and much to my surprise ended up loving it. The sixties setting is fully meshed with the story, making it a delight to watch as well as filling in for the weaker spots of the plot. I loved the clothing, style, and most of the soundtrack. Gaby was a pleasant surprise, likeable as both the Innocent and a fellow spy, and her relationship with Illya was adorable, especially the height difference. Armie Hammer was wonderful as Illya, with the season oneish thick Russian accent and KGB background but with the added skills and tragic backstory that filled in the gaps in show!Illya's mysterious past. I loved the watch storyline, especially when Napoleon gave it back to him, and having him struggling with mental illness was an intriguing and well handled addition. Henry Cavill was my biggest challenge to overcome since I've always found him a tolerable actor but lacking in charm, especially for a character like Napoleon. But, while he doesn't have the charisma of Robert Vaughn he played extremely well off his co-stars and ended up being able to carry the role enough to make me love him. I loved the carried-over details like his suits and pinky ring, and adored the addition of him having been a thief, which actually fit in with the tv version's personality so well I could buy it without question. The origins of Napoleon and Illya's friendship was both hilarious and heart-warming, and I loved their files at the end. Mr. Waverly was too young but otherwise very much in character, and I couldn't stop grinning at the mention of UNCLE in the final scene.

In other films I discovered the unusual and hauntingly beautiful Swept From the Sea which had all the elements that have long been missing from modern period dramas: compelling characters, realistic emotions, and a believable love story, all of which today, sadly, seem to take a backseat to sweeping scenery and costumes, leaving the plot and characters weak and flat. Not so here, where Amy and Yanko are both poignant and instantly sympathetic, with their doomed, yet touching romance, and the secondary characters, from the doctor to his disabled patient, are all compelling, even with their hinted and half told backstories. The scenery is beautiful, but never in your face, merely enhancing the story like parts of the characters, drawing out Amy's wildness and Yanko's homesick strangeness. The movie also features one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen, the wordless and tear-jerking moment in which Amy tends Yanko in the barn, giving him bread, and watching silently as he kisses her hands. Next was the surprisingly excellent psychological study of morality in the midst of WWII with Hart's War. Colin Farrell, long a favorite of mine, was superb as the well-intentioned but over his head title character, and both the plot and score reduced me to tears several times. Next was the original Rambo: First Blood and despite my low expectations I was both impressed and completely enthralled. I love John, a good man who's been broken by the war, and I liked that the film didn't shy away from showing the affects of PTSD while still making John sympathetic instead of the typical villain, which was a breath of fresh air. The ending completely broke my heart, though. Next was the surprisingly fun Blood and Chocolate. I loved that it inverted the common tropes and took a more realistic view with the guy being the human and the girl the werewolf, him showing fear and questioning his safety with her, and how he used his intelligence rather than fighting skills to escape the hunt. I also enjoyed the setting and culture of the werewolves, and Hugh Dancy was so good at the role. Next was In Time, and I loved the world-building and plotbunny inspiring concept of the clocks and time being the currency. Will was a likeable protagonist, and I loved that he was able to save both himself and Sylvia in the end, as well as the stealing time concept. Next was the stunning and heart-rending Never Let Me Go which was without a doubt the saddest film I've ever seen, but also one of the most beautiful. With it's poignant, underrated performances from it's cast - I was especially impressed since I don't care for two of the actors - haunting storyline, and quiet questions of ethics and what makes someone human, it was a gorgeous film that more people should see. Next was Skammerens Datter. I loved how the fantasy aspect was only a small part, making the world seem more realistic and believable. Dina was endearing and refreshingly not pleased about or showy with her powers, and I loved her relationship with Nico who was a sweet and somewhat sad character. Rosa was also a surprise delight, and I enjoyed her friendship with Dina. I also loved the scenes with Dina's siblings and mother, showing how close they all were. Next was Byzantium, an unusual and beautiful vampire movie. I loved that the main relationship was a mother and daughter, and their backstory, while incredibly tragic, was fascinating. The unusual concept of how humans become vampires was intriguing, and the filming of the island scenes was stunning. Also interesting was Darvell's story, while secondary to the main storyline, and I loved that he followed them so many years and eventually ended up with Clara. The reappearance of the pearl was touching, tying the storylines together. Next was Das finstere Tal, one of the most gorgeously filmed and directed movies I've ever seen. The characters were a bit thin - although the cast definitely did the most with their characters, especially Sam Riley who conveyed emotions in his often silent character through subtle expressions and looks. The story was also straight-forward but never dull, with an offbeat premise and a '60s revenge western feel that came together flawlessly against stunning European scenery and buildings. Next was the earliest version of Snow White, a lovely silent adaptation. I adored seeing some of the inspiration for the Disney version, in the prince's clothes and the little birds, as well as brand new details, like the Huntsman's adorable little family, and the prince and Snow actually getting to know each other long before the usual version. The dwarves were also a delight, more distinctive from each other than in most versions, and the prince had far more personality than usual. Next was the short film 2081 which was superb and deeply moving. I found the strange world fascinating and the acting, direction, and music were all top notch, backing a simple but effective and poignant story. Next was Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, which I'd been meaning to check out for ages, and it was absolutely breathtaking, a beautiful masterpiece of emotion and rich details. Next was Gaslight, a gorgeous and nail-biting noir with an excellent mood and ending. Next was a rewatch of Luther, the first film I ever saw in theatres, and it was lovely and fascinating. Next was the breath-taking Black Narcissus, without a doubt the most beautifully directed film I've ever seen in my life, and a haunting story as well with wonderful moody atmosphere. Next was the gorgeous and haunting End of the Spear which was incredibly moving. I've loved Nate Saint since I was a kid, and it was wonderful to see his story come to life. Next was Drums Along the Mohawk, a lovely Revolutionary War drama. I adored the love story, as well as the history, and the technicolor gave it a beautiful warmth. Next was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, which was my very first Robin Hood movie, and still a favorite of mine, full of whimsy and sweetness. Next was a movie from my childhood, the darling '60s version of Doctor Dolittle. Next was the adorable and underrated Song of the South which I loved. Next was Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, a moving and lovely account of one of my favorite historical figures, followed by the delightfully steampunk and entertaining '50s Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

In new Arthurian movies I saw Arthur & Merlin which was a surprise treat. Despite it's small budget it managed to create an intriguing, fresh version of the legends, with a delightfully minimal amount of special effects. I loved the old world feel more rooted in reality, with the druids as the main antagonist, and a hinting of Merlin's backstory as the child of an unknown, otherworldly father. Merlin was a complicated mix of reluctant hero and gifted, slightly feral stranger, and Arthur was flawlessly perfect, loyal to the king and determined to save the kingdom, and noble to a fault. I loved the idea of Arthur as a child saving Merlin's life and later finding both Excalibur and Merlin again, but especially how the film toned down the "chosen one" aspects and presented much more ordinary people who became heroes.

In new animated films I saw Hotel Transylvania 2 which was nearly as cute and offbeat as the original. I loved the new characters, especially Dennis and Winnie, and even though I secretly wanted Dennis to remain human the little curly-haired bat was adorable.
 
 
calliope tune: "Faithfully"-Journey
feeling: excited
 
 
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.
 
 
calliope tune: "Here Comes The Star"-Herman's Hermits
feeling: nostalgic