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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In new animated films I watched the adorable and clever Monsters Inc. and Monsters University. I loved the characters, especially Sulley with little Boo, and the hilarious moments. In theatres I saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 and while it felt somewhat crammed and overwhelming it was a lovely step forward in the world-building with some very funny and extremely touching moments. I loved seeing the kids growing up but still retaining what made them loveable. Hiccup and Astrid were sweet together, and Snotlout and Fishlegs fighting over Ruffnut kept me giggling. I adored Ruffnut's crush on Eret who was a fabulous new addition, growing on me throughout the movie, especially when Stormfly saved him and he freed her in return. Hiccup and Toothless's relationship was beautiful, and I loved how Hiccup won him back and forgave him. Despite the oddity of her backstory I liked Hiccup's mother and only wish there'd been more sweet family scenes before Stoic's death. I hadn't expected that and even though he wasn't one of my favorite characters I was saddened to have him die, even more so that Toothless was the one who caused it, even without meaning to, and I wish the writers hadn't gone that route. The scenery and animation was as detailed and gorgeous as always, the dragons were all unique and amazing, and I loved the recap of the games at the ending and Hiccup becoming the new chief.
 
 
calliope tune: "26 Miles"-Four Preps
feeling: listless
 
 
Kathleen
After a long wait, the third and final season of Hardy Boys is finally out on DVD, and it's glorious fun as Frank's eyes and sneakers get more blue and Joe's shirts get tighter by the episode. The boys, more grown up now, work for the Justice Department and globe-trot instead of remaining in Bayport. Traveling seems to have an interesting effect upon their hair which keeps getting bigger, but the brotherly caring is firmly in place, even more so than before. I love how Frank punches the guy in "The Last Kiss Of Summer" "for Joe", and Joe saving Frank from getting shot in "Life On The Line". Then there's also a wonderful hurt/comfort scene in "Search For Atlantis" where Joe gets buried in a collapsed hole and Frank goes tearing over and digs and lifts him out with his bare hands. Joe is fantastic this season, as usual; as much as I love Frank, Joe is my boy, and the episodes only prove why: he's so very kind and sweet, gently holding the disturbed girl who just tried to kill his brother, or defending a girl he's never met which leads the bad guy to remark that "chivalry isn't dead", even if he doesn't get a chance to sing this season. The guest stars are wonderful, including Robert Loggia in a fun episode where Frank mimics T.H.E. Cat complete with black clothes and a grappling hook, Jack Kelly as their boss, and the fabulous David Gates and Bread who play all of my favorite songs and get involved in a mystery the boys are working on.

I finally got to see the webisodes of Primeval and loved the intro to the characters. I giggled insanely over Matt commenting on his "unexpressive" face - I adore Matt but he could crack a smile every now and then - as well as his comment on Becker "really liking guns". I completely fell in love with him more than I already had when he talked about Connor, Abby, and Danny, and how he wasn't giving up on them. One of my favorite things about Matt and why I grew to adore him, when I thought I'd always hate any replacement for Cutter, was his caring and devotion to his team, determined to save them all no matter how much the risk. His early antagonism with Becker was an interesting touch, and I loved the respect on Becker's face by the end, and knowing they'll be good friends soon. I wanted to hug poor Becker, though, when he looks so heartbroken over losing Connor, Abby, and Danny, and then Sarah's death, too. In a way, I was glad if they had to write Sarah out, at least I didn't have to see her death since I liked her and there was enough sadness over Cutter's and Stephen's.

I watched the GWTW ep of the Carol Burnett Show and it was a hilarious and flawless spoof, especially the curtains dress.

I saw The Host, which I'd been looking forward to, and was thrilled to discover it was every bit as good as the book which I loved. Saoirse Ronan was brilliant as Wanderer and Melanie, keeping the two characters very distinct and equally fascinating. Jared, a character I didn't care for in the book, was surprisingly good, and I adored Ian, my favorite in the book, who was exactly as I'd imagined. Little Jamie was adorable and quite a talented actor and I loved how closely the film followed the book, even including the end with the other good alien, one of my favorite scenes. Everything was beautifully filmed, too, and very lovely and hopeful. Other new films this week included the unusual The Prestige, an incredibly odd but interesting film tinged with a bit of steampunk and sci-fi against a richly detailed Victorian era town. I found it somewhat hard to follow at times and I'll have to see it again to truly understand it, but I loved the concept and the magic acts, as well as the jaw-dropping final twist. Next was Australia, an absolutely gorgeous film. I knew nothing about the history or setting so I actually learned a lot as well as being entertained, and I loved the characters, especially Drover and how he changed through the film, and adorable little Nullah. The scenery and music were beautiful, too, and the film had lovely direction and acting. I'm starting to really love Hugh Jackman's films; he's incredibly talented and so good at every role I've seen him in so far. After that was Red Riding Hood, a well done spin on the fairytale. Valerie was a likeable heroine, and I loved both Peter and Henry. I was saddened by Peter being turned at the end but glad Valerie stuck by him. The mood and filming was lovely, too, and made me love the story more than before. Next was 10,000 BC, a fun adventure. D'Leh was a likeable character, the story was entertaining, and I adored the prehistoric world and settings as well as the amazing special effects and the happy ending. My favorite scene was D'Leh and the tiger, a very beautiful and touching moment. Then was the touching The Ghosts Of Dickens' Past, a beautiful imagining of what might have inspired A Christmas Carol. It presented a very different, but easy to love Charles Dickens than I imagine, and Victorian London was vividly alive. Next was the amusing Who Gets The House?, a fun family adventure with some adorable moments. I discovered Return To The Secret Garden, a sequel of sorts to The Secret Garden that imagines modern day children - the great grandchildren of Mary and their friend - discovering the garden. It was a bittersweet film since as much as I loved Timothy, Margaret, and Katherine, I was saddened to find out what became of the original children, and as a Dickon/Mary shipper it made me sad to have Mary marry Colin and then having him be killed in the war, and Mary dying in the garden. I loved the garden coming back to life, though, and Dickon, so much older, coming back to lay flowers on Mary's grave. I watched George Of The Jungle 2, not expecting much, and ended up laughing just as much as at the first. Christopher Showerman doesn't quite fill Brendan Fraser's shoes - and sometimes he's a bit too over the top - but he's animated and George's inherent sweetness shines through. He's adorable with Junior, and hilarious with the animals. The new Ursula is more ditzy than the original but with the zany plot it seemed to fit. The narrator was even funnier than in the first film and I loved all the jokes about Brendan Fraser vs. Christopher Showerman. In my goal to see every version, I watched 2010's Robin Hood, and while it took a little while to grow on me with it's vastly different take on the legends, I grew to really enjoy it. Russell Crowe was a surprisingly good Robin once I got used to him, more soldier/freedom fighter than outlaw, and the thievery element along with his almost supernaturally accurate aim has been removed, giving him a more human, down to earth feel than any other Robin I've seen. Likewise Marian is more realistic, a strong woman who's equally at ease fighting alongside Robin as she is tending her home. There was far too little of the Merry Men - in fact, I was never quite sure who was who even by the end - but Alan-A-Dale was included which always makes me happy, and going along with the more accurate feel King John is a tyrant. The soundtrack was lovely, and the closing credits with their living painting like feel were mesmerizing and stunning. Next was The Christmas Card, a sweet, although not perfect holiday film. The plot was lovely, though, and I giggled at the ending.

I've always disliked the Sherlock Holmes stories and adaptations, but I like Robert Downey Jr. so I gave a try to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film. I was amazed to find how much I loved it. Unlike the stuffy, annoying character of usual, this Holmes was funny, quirky, and oh so easy to love with both a brilliant mind and fast fists. Watson, usually reduced to an older, homebound partner, got to something of an action hero, and his brotherly friendship with Holmes was touching and adorable. I teared up during the explosion and hospital scenes, and giggled at their banter. I loved the Victorian, slightly steampunk-tinged world, and the fast-moving adventure of the plot. I followed that with the sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and loved it just as much as the first. Holmes was brilliant in his "chess-like" game against Moriarty, and his friendship with Watson was more wonderful than in the last film. I teared up when Watson tries to save Holmes after his heart stops, and again when Holmes closes his eyes before falling into the water. All the slow-motion work was lovely, and I adored the whimsy and humor of the ending.

I gave a try to The Mummy trilogy, and despite the fact that it took a bit to grow on me I soon fell in love with Rick, Evy, and their fabulous adventures. The films got better and better as they went along, and I loved the old setting as well as the passage of years from their first meeting until an adventure with their adult son. I adored the humor, action, and whump of the series. I loved the other characters, especially the fabulous Ardeth who I desperately missed in the third film but I was so happy when he survived the first two. The ending of the trilogy was hilarious and just perfect. I also saw the two The Scorpion King films and enjoyed them both, along with all their characters, especially Ari, and their adventure to the Underworld.

I watched the incredibly fun Spy Kids and fell in love with it. Carmen, Juni, and their parents were easy to love, and I adored how they worked together as a team. Everything was wild and imaginative and I giggled through most of the film while being impressed by all the gadgets. The ending was cute and just perfect. After that was Spy Kids 2, a fun and imaginative team effort with Juni and Carmen closer than last film but still teasing each other like real siblings. I loved the miniature zoos and the twist ending about the animals. Next was Spy Kids 3D Game over, and it was still a fun film, despite being the weakest of the series and almost entirely focused on Juni. I loved the clever concept of the virtual reality game crossing over into the real world and the huge group of people who came together at the end with all the wonderful cameos from characters in the first two films. I was quite sad about Demetra, though, as she was one of the few characters I truly cared about in the film and it seemed harsh to make her nothing more than a bad program in the end. Then was Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World and while I was a little sad to have Carmen and Juni grown up, I was glad they grew close again and stayed on to head the program. All the new characters were quite fun, though, with Rebecca and Cecil nicely stepping into Carmen and Juni's shoes to head the next generation of young spies and the bonus of Cecil being hearing impaired which beautifully uses a special needs character as a superhero. Argonaut was hilarious and I wish he'd been in all the films.

In new superhero films I watched The Hulk, and while Bill Bixby will always be my favorite, Eric Bana was an excellent, sensitive Bruce Banner, capturing all sides of the character. I didn't like how violent the Hulk was, but I loved the transitions, especially when Betty appears in the street and he changes back into Bruce. The ending was perfect, giving a nod to the tv show while putting a new spin on Bruce's future. I found the very different backstory quite interesting, too, even as much as I disliked Bruce's father. After that I tried the more recent The Incredible Hulk film, and as pleased as I was with all the nods to the tv show from the "don't make me 'hungry'" line that made me giggle to the clip of Bill Bixby on the tv, I was still disappointed with the lack of heart and over the top CGI. While the idea of a second, evil Hulk was intriguing, both actors were too flat to carry the roles, and the plot dragged, only looking up during the action scenes which were let down by the unrealistic, huge Hulk and the fact that he seems to have nearly no weaknesses. I was given little time to warm to Bruce, and as he barely speaks through the first part of the film, I felt I never got to really know him, unlike all the other Hulks. Still, Tony Stark's cameo made me absurdly happy at the end. I finally got to see Iron Man 3 and adored it; a perfect end to the trilogy. Harley was a fabulous character and I loved his friendship with Tony and the adorable scene where he sees all the gifts Tony left him. I was a little sad that Tony and Pepper didn't share as much time together as in the other films but the scenes they did have more than made up for it - they were shippier than ever and finally canon. I teared up so many times, especially when Tony thinks he's lost Pepper, and especially at the beautiful ending with Pepper wearing the shrapnel in a necklace, and Tony throwing the arc reactor into the ocean. I loved that he and Pepper had their happy ending, though, and I wish there was more to see whether Tony stays a superhero of a different kind or gives it up. I was content with Tony blowing up the suits and having the surgery, even as bittersweet as it was to have him become a different sort of Iron Man. Because of my love for the films I tried Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. but was disappointed by it. Despite a few interesting moments the characters failed to grab me the way the others do, partly because, unlike the fandom, I dislike Phil. Also the question of how he survived slightly creeps me out. The plot was alright, so I suppose with a different cast I would have enjoyed it. I did love the mention of Natasha, though.

In new animated films I saw the lovely Up, a bittersweet adventure. I loved the uniqueness of the story, characters, and their relationship, and it made me both smile and tear up. Next was the charming Despicable Me. I loved the adorable children and how they won Gru over, and the hilarious Minions. The story was very creative and so cute. Despicable Me 2 was just as hilarious, and I loved that Gru got his happy ending. Next was Meet The Robinsons, a sweet and touching story. I loved the colorful characters and the lovely quote from Walt Disney, along with the happy ending. Then I saw A Bug's Life, a completely adorable story with cute characters who I instantly loved. Everything was clever and their world was precious. After that was the charming Bee Movie. I loved Barry, one of my very favorite animated characters ever, and the funny, quirky plot. The bees' world was richly imagined and I kept grinning through the whole film. Then I watched Hoodwinked and Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil which, while not my favorite animated films by any means, were amusing twists on classic fairytales. Wolf, ever sarcastic, was my favorite character, and the singing goat was hilarious. After that was the delightfully creative Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and I adored Flint, such a sweet and wonderfully geeky character. His friendship/romance with Sam was too cute, and I giggled so much over the jello house and everything in it, as well as loving the jellybean rainbow. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 was quite adorable, although I liked the original better, and I loved the food animals, especially dear little Berry and the cute marshmellows. Then I saw the heartwarming The Croods which was surprisingly fun. I loved Eep and Guy's relationship, and the humor kept me giggling with my favorite being the "rock photographs". I also loved the setting and creative ideas. Belt was completely adorable, too, and the ending was too precious, especially with the big cat and all the other animals being rescued and becoming part of their family in their new paradise. Next was the amusing spoof of 1950s sci-fi Planet 51. I loved how everything was in reverse, as well as the alien world, and there were countless adorable moments with Lem, Chuck, and especially dear little Rover. I finished Dragons: Riders Of Berk and while it took a bit to grow on me I'm loving it now, as Hiccup, Toothless, and the others have all sorts of fun adventures. Now I'm onto Dragons: Defenders Of Berk, and I'm loving the character growth, as well as the other characters. Next to Hiccup and Toothless, Fishlegs and Meatlug are my favorites; they have an adorable relationship, and Fishlegs is very sweet. Tuffnut and Ruffnut are hilarious, too, and even Snotlout isn't as bad as I thought. The dragons get more and more creative, too, as does the backstories for Berk, and I love how they're growing the story in preparation for the next film.

I finished the third and final season of Millennium and despite my sadness at it being the last, I was pleased that it ended on such a high note as the best season of the series. Frank has left the group and rejoined the FBI, introducing a new character as his partner, Emma Hollis. Her story arc both entranced and saddened me as she grows from a kind, caring friend and antagonist of the group to a full-fledged member who betrays Frank. I hope if the series had continued her character would have come back around to the good side again. Meanwhile, Jordan comes to terms with both her mother's death and her own inherited gift, making for some interesting storylines. Peter, sadly, became more of the antagonist this season, only to find redemption in the finale by saving Frank and Jordan. His implied death was heartbreaking and a tragic end to a once wonderful character. "Closure", an unsettling episode, provides insight into Emma's past and ends with thought-provoking questions. "Skull and Bones" gives closure to Cheryl but started turning me against Peter, painting a sad anti-parallel to Emma's later change of heart. The unusual "The Sound of Snow" gives closure to Frank over Catherine's death as well as showcasing an intriguing concept of the tapes. Other excellent episodes include the superb tackling of a difficult subject with "Through A Glass Darkly", the touching Christmas fantasy "Omertà", and the haunting "Darwin's Eye". The season's best are the poignant tearjerker "Matryoshka" which is both stunning and incredibly thought-provoking, and the utterly gorgeous "Borrowed Time" which brought tears to my eyes and left me with so many questions. The finale leaves much hanging, making me wish even more for further episodes and leaving me wondering as to the direction the series would have taken. Over all, though, it was one of the most brilliant series I've seen in ages, heartwrenching and beautiful on so many levels.

I'm on season two of Laramie now, the last of the four seasons that I hadn't yet seen. Jonesy, who I'd learned to like, has left with only a passing mention, and Andy, who I never cared for, has thankfully been sent off to school and only appears in a few episodes. The actors have settled comfortably into their roles, and Jess and Slim's relationship teeters between employer-employee and friends, so while their caring for each other hasn't reached the brotherly feel of the last two years, it's quite close to a good, solid friendship. The new intro, coming in halfway through the season, only adds to that feel, and I like it so much better than the strange intro and theme used for the first half. The only downside to the season is the number of episodes which heavily feature either Jess or Slim while barely showing the other. Some work, like the Jess-lead mystery tale "Rimrock", the whumped Jess adventure "Bitter Glory", or the man on the run story "Run Of The Hunted" with Charles Bronson who's wonderful as always, but many feel awkward and leave me missing whoever is absent. "Trigger Point" is a well-paced survival yarn as Jess and a handful of passengers attempt to cross the desert after their horses and water are stolen. The many facets of Jess's personality come out, from his tenderness toward the women to the nearly chilling way he stalks and guns down the man responsible. The season's best is "Men In Shadows" in which a gunfighter who once spared Jess's life earns his help in escaping from the law, only to turn more and more violent as the episode progresses. It's also a rare glimpse into Jess's past this season which was more focused on his future and includes a wonderful scene between Slim and Jess where Slim attempts to keep Jess from returning to his past life.

I've started watching Stargate Atlantis and am loving it so far. I'm only partway into season one and it's already a whump fest, especially for the quite attractive John Sheppard who's quickly becoming my favorite character. I love the humor and adventure of the series, as well as their fun, danger-filled world. Carson is wonderful, and my close second favorite character, even if the writers treat him badly - I'm still tearing up over the "Poisoning The Well" episode with it's doomed romance and pain, and I adored Lt. Ford and the brotp between Sheppard and he. McKay was annoying at first but I'm getting used to him now, and he's certainly growing braver and more loyal as the season advances. Elizabeth Weir is the only character I haven't warmed to yet, but Teyla is awesome and I slightly ship her with Sheppard. The episodes are wonderful, with my favorites including the whumpish "Thirty-Eight Minutes", the intriguing "Childhood's End", and the deeply poignant "Letters From Pegasus".

In theatres this week I saw The Christmas Candle which was as good as I'd hoped for and better, a flawless, Dickens-inspired, touching story. Hans Matheson was amazing as usual as David, a pastor haunted by a tragedy and determined to do good in his new post, and the entire supporting cast was fabulous. I fell in love with the beautiful setting and characters, cried during the poignant moments, and grinned ear to ear at the gorgeous ending. It was perfect in every detail and Hans Matheson even got to sing in it! I also saw Frozen opening night, and while not perfect and very different than what I'd expected I enjoyed it. The animation, especially the snow and ice magic effects, was stunningly gorgeous, the music was catchy, and Anna was such a loveable heroine. Olaf was adorable and I was so happy that he didn't have to melt in the end, Sven was hilarious, and, unlike most people it seems, I was thrilled that Anna ended up with Kristoff instead of Hans. I loved him in the trailer and I was hoping it would turn out that way. I also liked that Elsa wasn't truly the evil character of the story, and even if I wish they'd followed the fairytale more closely - really, what I wanted more than anything was an animated version of the 2000's live-action The Snow Queen - I was pleased that the core elements, while heavily altered, were included in some way.

I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and am still divided on what I thought of it. On one hand there were so many feelings of nostalgia: seeing the Shire, Bag End, and Frodo, and the tie-ins to the party, Bilbo's sword, the eagles, the familiar music, and the fued between the elves and dwarves; but I never felt as close to the characters as the beloved fellowship, despite liking Thorin, Fili, and Kili, and I was saddened to see Radagast, a kind and caring wizard, played mostly for a fool. Also the humor felt overwhelming and annoying at times, not the quick breathers Pippin and Merry always provided, the hints of Gandalf/Galadriel made me squirm, and the tone was often too dark for what's mostly a much lighter tale than Lord Of The Rings, attempting to connect the threads between The Hobbit and the trilogy on too many levels. While he managed the humor well, I found Martin Freeman's acting desperately lacking emotion and feeling in the dramatic scenes, not up to the level of his costars who carried off their roles, however small, effortlessly, making me wish again that the director had chosen an unknown actor for the role of the same talent as the trilogy's stars. On good points the prologue was incredibly well done and powerful, the theme was gorgeous, and the way the Necromancer was portrayed was chilling and perfectly imagined. My favorite scene was near the end when Thorin finally accepts Bilbo and hugs him, a beautiful and touching moment. But the film often suffered from an overabundence of CGI and not enough heart beneath the action as well as trying too hard to impress. I broke down and finally watched BBC's production of The Silver Chair, a remarkably faithful adaptation with lovely opening credits and quite a bit to offer Chronicles Of Narnia fans. The film adds in the clever touch of having the enchanted Rillian hidden beneath heavy clothes, a beard, and a helmet that covers his hair and much of the top half of his face, disguising him from viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the story, and even the actor's mannerisms are superbly done, very different from his earlier and later scenes and whiplashing between host and tyrant in the span of seconds. While he's more threatening and overbearing than I imagined enchanted Rillian to be, and I wasn't entirely sold on his performance in the chair at first, by the end I was impressed. His final pleas, asking by the sky and by Aslan to be released, were beautifully done, dragging emotion into his eyes and voice so I could feel Rillian's helplessness. The children are good choices as well, especially Eustace, and the special effects crew makes careful and well done achievements in pre-CGI days, especially with the giants who actually appear to be carrying Puddleglum and the children around, and the sparks that fly out of the silver chair as Rillian smashes it. Regarding Puddleglum, I've never been a fan of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor so it was a pleasant surprise to discover him perfectly cast as the gloomy marshwiggle, even capturing his good heart and friendship with the children in a wonderful scene where he offers to die for Eustace when the enchanted prince threatens him. Glimfeather's voice is brilliant for his role, and many of the costumes are quite convincing, made so by the excellent movements and skills of the actors. On another note, for me, it's wonderful to get back to the old British series with the feel of classic!who, complete with the endearing mistakes - I especially love the part where Rillian breaks his obviously plastic helmet and can't manage to shake parts of it off his hand. I only wish the BBC had continued with the rest of the series as I imagine it would have gotten even better.
 
 
calliope tune: "Tracy"-Cufflinks
feeling: drained
 
 
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