Kathleen
I'm on the eighth and final season of Rawhide and as expected so much has changed. The intro is odd, and I miss the "head 'em up, move 'em out" endings, but the plots are as good as ever. Rowdy is finally trail boss with Gil gone, and despite my reservations and his somewhat less carefree, more "grown up" personality, I'm adoring both the change and the chance to see Rowdy finally step into the role properly. Unlike Gil's hostile, often cruel attitude, Rowdy makes for a warmer, kinder boss who, unlike Gil, values the men more than the herd, and the entire feel of the series as well as the trail boss to drovers relationship seems more relaxed without Gil's abrasiveness. His selflessness is obvious throughout the season, with countless contrasts to Gil, especially when he lets another drover, falsely accused of murder, escape, and gets himself arrested in his place to investigate the brutality of the lawman. Also, while he puts the herd before himself, he's instantly willing to risk the herd and time for the men, something Gil would never have considered. Of the original cast only Wishbone and Jim Quince, now serving as ramrod, remain, and despite my happiness in still having them I miss the others, especially Mushy, terribly. The always solid John Ireland steps in as drover Jed Colby, and the sweet, British-accented greenhorn Ian stole my heart from his intro. I love Rowdy's protectiveness of him unlike the more equal relationship he shares with the others. Simon Blake fills the position of trusted drover and he's fabulous, fitting perfectly with the cast and having a simple yet lovely friendship with Rowdy and the other men.

Outlander has just started and it's gorgeous so far with a flawless intro/theme and the very beautiful Jamie Fraser whose face keeps looking like a young Jamie Bamber so much i just want to cuddle and protect him from harm. I finally have all the kilts and Scottish accents my heart could desire. The show continues to get better with twists and turns, gorgeous scenery, including an ancient castle, a beautifully interwoven fairytales, and Jamie's sweetness. I can't say how many years I've longed to hear "Dinna fash" come out of a tv character's mouth. Dougal bothers me, though, between his treatment of Claire and his eyes on his brother's position, even at the cost of killing Jamie. Geillis annoys me dreadfully, and I'm completely convinced she's going to turn evil, if she isn't already. I do adore Mrs. Fitz, though, and the Laird, despite my first impressions, is proving to be intriguing character.

Way late but I've just discovered the fabulous Hell On Wheels and I'm rolling in the gorgeous intro, authenticity, classic western feel, and excellent writing. It's a real treat, and I already love Bohannon, Naomi, and their little baby. Doc and Eva's relationship is sad and touching, and I quite like Psalms.

I've been enjoying Extant, and despite a slow start it has my full interest now, thanks to a likeable protagonist, and a genuinely creepy, without being gruesome alien being. The idea of it being able to create the image of a lost loved one is superbly disturbing, even if I'd yet to completely figure out the plots. Harmon is an intriguing character, and I love little Ethan, the so very human robot child, and only hope he stays good.

I've finally started sticking with a season of Teen Wolf and genuinely enjoyed season four, despite some plot holes, due to an intriguing storyline. I loved the concept and mystery of the Deadpool list - and was completely shocked at who the Benefactor turned out to be, and loved seeing each character come into their own. Malia was a pleasant surprise, proving to be pretty cute and adorable, and I giggled through her scene of being so proud over her low grade at school. Braeden was another surprise, as I assumed the character would either die or turn evil, and instead found myself enjoying her story arc and romance with Derek which I'd never guessed I'd end up shipping. I loved how Argent came to terms with Allison's death as well as the Pack, and was okay with Peter's fitting fate. Kate's open ending was frustrating, though, and I can't help wishing they'd just killed her off. Derek was the best part, as usual. I loved seeing him come full circle and to terms with his heart and past, smiling more and forming relationships. While he had me terrified much of the season, I enjoyed seeing both child and human sides of him, but especially the beautiful transition into full and gorgeous wolf, my favorite twist of the season.

I finished season three of The Mod Squad and it was fabulous. I shriek a little inwardly every time Pete calls Julie "angel" and the two kissed in an episode - although sadly just as part of their cover. The trio's friendship is beautiful, as is their relationship with Captain Greer; I loved when he called Pete and Linc "his boys".

I discovered the amusing '80s sitcom Bosom Buddies and am loving it so far. The premise is outrageous but the guys's friendship and colorful side characters make it all works, and I love the theme and situations they manage to get themselves into.

I finished season two of Maverick and am still loving Bart best, as well as lamenting the fact that I seem to be the only one who prefers him to Bret. Bart, always the more serious and warmer in personality, gets all the best episodes, including the stunning "Prey Of The Cat" in which Bart gets put through the mental and physical wringer when a conniving woman falls for him, kills her own husband, and eventually winds up getting Bart nearly lynched for two murders. I found Raquel a fascinating, although tragic character in it, and Jack Kelly did an incredible job on the role, especially with Bart's tangible fear in the scene where he's locked in the cell as the mob comes into the jail. On a happier note, there's a new recurring character this season: the adorable scoundrel 'Gentleman' Jack Darby played by the always fabulous Richard Long, and he's both hilarious and completely perfect, gleefully playing off Bart with every quip.

I'm watching season two of The Courtship Of Eddie's Father now and it's every bit as adorable as last season. Tom and Eddie have the sweetest, most realistic father-son relationship ever, and I love all the other characters and the way they all relate.

I got a chance to watch the pilot of Young Hercules and loved it. As much as I love Ryan Gosling's Hercules Ian Bohen was even better, a perfect mixture of uncertainty and skill. Iolaus was flawless as usual, and I loved Jason's role. The plot was fun and unexpectedly poignant in places, especially due to a couple character deaths and Jason's fatal injury and healing with the golden fleece.

In new miniseries I watched Empire which for whatever historical embellishment more than makes up for it in beautiful scenes, intriguing people, and the stunning good looks of a super young and dark-eyed Santiago Cabrera. I was fascinated by Shakespeare's Julius Caesar so I got a little thrill during the Ides Of March prophesies near the beginning, then haunted by the tragedy of Caesar's death in the senate which plunged Rome into chaos. The only one to hear Caesar's dying wish, freed gladiator Tyrannus flees Rome with Octavius, Caesar's heir over the assumed successor Marc Antony. Hunted by assassins and betrayed by friends, Tyrannus attempts to teach Octavius all he knows in order to keep him alive and mold him into a great ruler, protecting him at the risk of his own life. I'm always drawn to the gladiators so it was no surprise that I loved Tyrannus, and the actor underplays the role wonderfully with most of his acting coming from his eyes and movements. Octavius is young and flawed but spirited and troubled enough that I cared about his journey, believable as the uncertain boy who suddenly finds himself growing up overnight. Brutus is a intriguing and conflicted traitor, and Julius Caesar, a deeply kind leader, has far too short a role.

I finally saw the 2013 miniseries of Anna Karenina and it was gorgeous, by far the best version over the other two I've tried. Everyone was perfectly cast, and the haunting feel of desperation over-shadowing Anna finally came out on the screen. Santiago Cabrera was gorgeous as usual, and I was very impressed by the actress who played Anna. I also loved that the film used the other characters more, and the setting and tone was beautiful. Also I gave a try to the '48 film and it was quite lovely, a well done version with beautiful, misty photography, and while I don't usually care for Vivien Leigh, her fragile looks and helpless style captured Anna well. I got chills when she describes her dream of how she'll die, and the recurring image of the old man by the train was incredibly powerful. The children were very believable, too, and little Sergei was adorable.

I finally saw Legion, which I'd been meaning to watch since I started Dominion, and while it initially took me a bit to warm up, I grew to love it. Paul Bettany was a wonderful Michael, very much like Tom Wisdom's portrayal, but with a bit less of a hardened edge, which is logical since he hasn't yet seen so much horror. The scene where he fights Gabriel and dies by his hand was haunting, and I loved his resurrection and beautiful, restored wings. Audrey was a sweet character, and I was saddened that she didn't survive the film, and I loved Jeep's quiet love for Charlie. Baby Alex was absolutely adorable, too.

I tried two Charles Dickens starting with the complex and lovely 1998 miniseries Our Mutual Friend. I've completely fallen in love with the wonderful Eugene Wrayburn who alternately made me smile, put stars in my eyes when he kissed Lizzie's hand, broke my heart, and put it back together again. He and Lizzie were beautiful together and while I loved the whole film their story was my favorite. The historical accuracy of BBC films never fails to impress me, and it felt like a time capsule of the 1860s, gorgeously filmed and acted. I also saw the lovely Martin Chuzzlewit which has some of my favorite Dickens characters including optimistic and cheerful Mark, sweet and caring Tom, kind-hearted and gentlemanly John, and impish waif Bailey. It was a perfect blend of hilarious comedy with Augustus's scenes and darker moments with Jonas, one of the few Dickens villains who makes my skin crawl. Everything had the wonderful, period feel; the only things I wish is that there was more of John and Ruth's and Mark and Mrs. Lupin's romances, as well as scenes instead of just a letter describing Martin's change of heart when he's ill in America and later has to care for Mark when he, too, becomes sick. But the actors were all perfect for their roles, and I adored seeing Peter Wingfield as John...such a different but just as heart-tugging role as the Sin Eater.

In theatres I saw The Giver and it far exceeded my expectations, making me both smile and cry several times. The world-building was fantastic, especially the unique choice of having the world and part of the film without color. The actors were all fabulous, and several scenes deeply moving, especially Giver's poignant speech toward the end, and Jonas's interactions with little Gabriel. I loved the gentle, slow-moving feel of the plot, even during action scenes, and the contrast of emotions Jonas learned to feel.

I discovered one more Charles Farrell film, the talkie After Tomorrow which impressed me a lot more than I'd been expecting. The story was realistic, brushed with a mix of adorable and tragic moments, and topped off with a very happy and unexpected ending. Charles Farrell was, as usual, wonderfully sweet, playing the innocent, faithful character he was so good and loveable as, and the whole cast was quite talented. Lacking more of his films I'm now watching the adorable series My Little Margie and loving it. Charles Farrell is wonderful as Margie's father, and Gale Storm is perfect as the ever mischievous Margie. In other new silent films I've discovered a love for Charlie Chaplin. I watched The Kid which was adorable, and fell in love with his character as well as his adorable father-son relationship with little John. Their scenes together were wonderful, and I loved the happy ending. After that was the flawless City Lights, a perfect mesh of hilarious comedy and bittersweet romance which made me completely adore Charlie Chaplin. The story was poignant and deeply touching and I wished it'd been a bit longer to ensure a completely happy ending.

In new films this week I watched the wonderful Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events which was a perfect blend of bittersweet and hilarious, all with a zany, quirky, turn of the century feel that instantly made me adore it. I loved how imaginative the story was, with dry humor, poignant and lovely moments, and loveable characters, such as little biting Sunny or the hilarious Aunt Josephine and her fears of everything. Violet and Klaus were easy to root for, and I loved the three children's relationship and how they looked after each other. Next I saw the gorgeous Bridge To Terabithia, a flawless, heartbreaking story with a very familiar cast: Josh Hutcherson as bullied little loner Jess, Annasophia Robb from Samantha as the imaginative Leslie, adorable little Bailee Madison from Saving Sarah Cain as Jess's darling sister May Belle, and Robert Patrick from The X-Files as Jess's strict yet not unloving father. The plot was beautifully sad, rich in imagination, and I loved the world Jess and Leslie created, even if I've never cried so hard during a film. The ending was poignant yet lovely, with May Belle entering Terabithia as their new princess, and I adored her relationship with Jess, as well as the twists and turns in the plot such as the bully finally standing up for Jess against the other bullies. Josh Hutcherson was wonderful as Jess, with just the right amount of childish awe and world-weary sadness to make me love him. Following that I watched the clever and imaginative Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, a modern twist on Greek mythology with a likeable bunch of heroes, especially the funny satyr Grover. I loved the way it tied the myths to what was happening in the teen's lives, and the unusual aspects such as Percy's dyslexia being the fact that he can read ancient Greek. Then I saw Becoming Jane, a gorgeous and poignant biography of Jane Austen's early years and her first and only love. Anne Hathaway was perfect as Jane, and James McAvoy was wonderful as Tom, a bit of a rogue but loveable. It was beautifully filmed and directed, and I teared up at the ending, so sad yet lovely. Next was The Spiderwick Chronicles, an enchantingly imaginative fantasy with fairies and an adorable little brownie that made me feel like a kid. The story was fun, I teared up at the bittersweet ending with Lucinda and her father, and I loved the talented cast, especially the children. Then I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and loved how much it was like Alias Smith and Jones with their banter, the safecracking, Etta reminding me so much of Clementine, and just the feel of the film in general. Butch and Sundance had a wonderful close, yet easy friendship, and the humor is gently underplayed beneath a feel of dread; you can actually feel the time running out, driving them to toward the ending which gives the film a bittersweet feel. I loved the attention to detail and use of sepiatone filming and pictures within the film, as well as the theme, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head", which I've always loved. The ending completely broke me, though, not that I wasn't expecting it, but it was heartbreaking to actually see it, even though it was beautifully, poignantly filmed. Next was the gorgeous The Eagle, a flawless and beautiful film with loads of friendship, whump, and all other elements I love, as well as being set in the time period of Hadrian's Wall which made me giddy from the beginning. I loved Marcus saving Esca in the arena by yelling at the people to turn their thumbs down into thumbs up, a selfless act that turns into an enduring friendship of equals instead of simply master and slave. I loved how Esca saves him in the end, and him being set free yet still remaining with him in the end. It was a wonderful story, too, and I loved every moment of it. Following that was The Patriot, a guilty pleasure since I love the Revolutionary War, and it was both stunning and completely heartbreaking, with lovely photography and superb acting, making me cry and yet giving me moments that were heartwarming, such as little Susan speaking, or the soldier naming his son after Gabriel. The film reminded me a lot of Shenandoah though, which both made me happy and intrigued me. Then I saw the 2004 version of The Phantom Of The Opera, a utterly gorgeous and breathtakingly haunting film that made me cry. I loved both Raoul for his selflessness and determination to save Christine as well as the tragic Phantom for his deep love and sadness, and frankly would have been happy for Christine to end up with either. Still the ending made me burst into tears I'd been holding back the whole film. The music was glorious, especially "Music Of The Night", always my favorite, and the acting and direction were simply stunning. Next was the surprisingly excellent Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, a stunningly poignant and thought-provoking film that was also deeply moving. I wasn't expecting much and was completely blown away by it. James Franco continues to impress me with the sensitivity of his acting, and his relationship with Caesar was beautifully done. The scenes where Caesar spoke were powerful and I loved the message of the film as well as all the nods to the original. Then I saw Tron: Legacy, an incredibly imaginative and fabulous sci-fi with a richly detailed cyborg world all inside a computer. I loved Sam - a perfectly cast Garrett Hedlund - and the jaw-dropping special effects. I discovered Heidi's wonderful sequel Courage Mountain and completely fell in love with it. While this Heidi took a while to grow on me I instantly took to Peter, mostly because he's quite close to what I imagine the child Peter looking like and acting like grown up. I loved the parallels between the films, such as Heidi having to save Peter from falling off the cliff, and the lovely new additions like Peter giving Heidi his panpipes to remember him while she's away. The best part of all, though, was seeing a pairing I've loved since I was seven truly and really become canon. Peter and Heidi were perfect together, even kissing, hugging, and promising to wait until Peter returns from the war, and I was melting with happiness through every moment. Next was The Last King Of Scotland, a gritty but fascinating historical drama. Nicholas was a very human protagonist, and the events surrounding and involving him were both disturbing and very interesting, opening my eyes to a part of history I'd never heard of. After that was Atonement, and while it didn't impress me as much as I'd hoped it was still a gorgeously filmed movie, especially the breathtaking and heartwrenching war scenes such as Dunkirk or Robbie discovering the dead girls. I never felt like I got to know the characters very well, but I still cared enough about them, especially the tragic Bryony, to be interested in their fate. The final twist stunned me, leaving the film with a bittersweet and haunting conclusion. Next was the 1990 version of Treasure Island, a remarkably faithful adaptation with the always wonderful Christian Bale as Jim. I liked that Jim was more of a fighter and saved everyone unlike the more childish Jim from the Disney version, but I missed the warm relationship between the Doctor and he which was considerably toned down. While I felt it needed a little more fun in the plot, it was still a well-done film, and I loved the period details and sea-faring adventure. Next was September Dawn, a heartbreaking and beautifully old-fashioned film about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It's a historical event I've been interested in for a long time and I liked the feel and style of the film, capturing the tragedy in a star-crossed romance and a mixture of people I grew to love or hate. Jonathan was especially fascinating and played by a very talented actor, and the nearly black-and-white contrast between the two groups was refreshing and unusual, more like an old film. Then was Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, a fantastic and ridiculously fun movie with shades of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights which I've loved all my life. I'm not familiar with the actor but he was amazing as Dastan, the street orphan turned prince, and both he and the boy who played him as a child would be perfect in a live-action version of Aladdin. I loved the concept of the time-turning-back dagger and sand, and there were more than enough acrobatics to keep me entertained. I was a little sad that Tamina didn't remember him in the end, but the fact that she was alive and that they were together made me too happy to worry about it. Next was Noah which was gorgeous, with a fascinating, fresh look at the story while sticking close enough for comfort. The scene of the animals coming to the ark was breath-taking, and the cinematography was stunning throughout. I loved the idea of the evil character being seen by Noah as the snake, and the flood's start was exactly as I imagine. I loved Shem and Ila's story, how they met, their love for each other and their children, and they being the ones to start the world over. Noah was quite different than I imagine, and there were times I didn't exactly like him, even if I understood his motives, but he was quite human and easy to relate to. Naamah was excellent, given the depth she always lacks, and little Japheth was precious. Only Ham felt miscast, despite Logan Lerman doing a good job at the role. After hearing about it for so many years I finally saw Kiss Of Death and surprisingly loved it. Film noir has never been my favorite genre but this film more than makes up for it by crafting an easy to follow plot with good characters that are easy to warm to. Victor Mature is excellent as always as the anti-hero, and I adored getting to see him play a husband and father with two adorable little girls, for a change. Richard Widmark was creepy and good as always, although I was expecting more from his role due to the hype I've always heard surrounding his performance. I loved the hopeful ending, and setting of the movie. After that was a rare Glenn Ford film I hadn't yet seen: A Stolen Life. Bette Davis was surprisingly excellent at the dual role, portraying both sisters as so unique she had me easily convinced she was two different people. Glenn Ford was lovely, even if his character was a bit naive, and it was a treat to see him so young. Next was Priest, a film of gorgeous cinematography and amazing world-building with a superb twist on vampires. I loved the gadget-filled, 1800s like world, the distinct cross markings on their faces, and the bikes. All the characters, from Priest himself, to Hicks, to Lucy were fabulous, and I was saddened to not find a sequel resolving Priest and Priestess's unrequited love, as well as seeing Priest getting to know his daughter. I'm starting to love Karl Urban's roles so I watched Pathfinder, a unique tale of a Viking child taken in by an Indian tribe who grows to be an adult to defend them against a second invasion. Karl Urban was wonderful as Ghost, and I loved his relationships with his adoptive mother and sister - their deaths broke me - as well as Starfire. The ending was lovely. After that was The Pianist, an utterly heartbreaking and gorgeous true story of a Holocaust survivor. Adrien Brody was absolutely stunning - he certainly deserved that oscar - and the story made me tear up so many times. Next was the delightful Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I loved the world and visuals, as well as the romance. Next was the offbeat but intriguing Suddenly Last Summer. Next was I Confess, an excellent and interesting Hitchcock. Next was the delightfully shippy Children of Dune and its awesome world-building and glowy eyes. Next was On the Waterfront, always excellent, and the iconic The Wild One. Next was the visually lovely City of Ember. Next was the surprisingly enjoyable Alexander. Next was The Legend of Hercules, a flawed but highly enjoyable version of the myth. Next was the fun and random fairytale adventure Ella Enchanted. Next was the Pirates of the Caribbean which despite a slow start quickly won me over. Next was the enjoyable and lovely The Story of Alexander Graham Bell. Last was the Kiwi adventure Doom Runners which I enjoyed greatly, despite it definitely being a kids' movie, probably because of Dean O'Gorman.

In new superhero films I watched The Amazing Spiderman 2 but despite some excellent moments and early humor it seemed disconnected and over-filled. This Peter isn't easy for me to relate to but he seemed better last film, more human and awkward instead of annoying and never serious. Gwen and his breakup seemed random and simply to add more heartbreak, and Harry, the character I was most looking forward to was completely ruined, turned into a whining, strange kid whose transformation into the green Goblin made little sense, even if his appearance was creepy and fascinating. Gwen's death was tragic and completely heart-wrenching, making the best scene, sadly, in the entire film. The ending seemed abrupt and out of place, with Peter reverting too quickly to his joking persona without giving another thought to Gwen and too much was left hanging.

I finally saw Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and surprisingly loved it, both for the music as well as the plot. The sadness of the ending was a shock but I liked the origin of the bad guy feel to the story, even if the last moments left it hanging for a sequel.
 
 
feeling: mischievous
calliope tune: "Lover's Cross"-Jim Croce
 
 
Kathleen
Continuing with my superhero obsession I watched Daredevil, a visually gorgeous and superb adaptation of one my favorite and first beloved superheroes, rich in colors with a recurring theme of red. Rex Smith's sensitive and ninja take on the role will always be my favorite but Ben Affleck did a brilliant job as Matt, capturing the subtle nuances and inner struggles of the character. The story was more tragic and thought-provoking than most of the genre, and I loved the beauty of it, like how Matt can "see" with the rain, how he watches people's hearts, and the contrasting imagery of the church vs. his devil costume and darker side of his personality. I was surprised but a little glad that the film didn't take an easy way out and bring Electra back to life, even as sad as it made the ending. After that I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it was stunning, an awesome and quite in character exploration of Logan's tragic past. I loved his early backstory with the idea of him going from one war to the next along with the ill-fated relationship with his half brother, even if I'm not quite sure how his brother fits with the same character in the first film. The idea of Wolverine having claws before the experiment was fascinating and unexpected to me, but I loved the idea as well as how he used his steel claws to free all the mutants on the island. I teared up at the brief inclusion of Xavier, as well as little!Scott and his first set of sunglasses. After that was X-Men First Class, and I loved seeing the beginning of everything. James McAvoy made a perfect Xavier, capturing the deep caring of the later version while including a uniquely youthful spirit, and for the first time I felt for Mystique - or Raven here - as well as the tragedy of what will become of her, even as shocked as I was that she choose Magneto over Charles in the end. Her early friendship with Charles was sweet, though, and surprising since I wasn't expecting it. Charles becoming paralyzed was incredibly haunting, as was his friendship with Erik and how he tries so hard to prevent Erik from turning evil. I loved the other characters, too, especially Sean/Banshee and his fascinating and fun gift.

I finally got to see The Man From the 25th Century, an Irwin Allen pilot that sadly never got picked up for a series but had a fascinating premise and awesome cast. James Darren stars as a man taken as an infant and raised in a technically advanced but emotionally bankrupt alien world with the sole purpose of turning him into a destroyer of earth. His target is a top secret base - The Time Tunnel! which made me desperately want a crossover - but he gets a change of heart - evidenced at the beginning when he protests the killing of an alien - and winds up helping protect the base which sends the aliens toward earth to kill him before his information can be revealed to earth. Unfortunately his most intriguing skill - telekenesis - was only briefly explored, and we never get to see what sort of character he'd become in his further adventures of helping earth and fighting aliens. Still it was a fun show and rich ground for crossovers and ideas.

I finally watched I Dream Of Jeannie: Fifteen Years Later and it was a mix of the surprisingly good and very disappointing. Roger and Dr. Bellows, both played by the original actors, were flawless, effortlessly slipping back into character and providing the vast majority of the few laughs in an otherwise strangely serious reunion. Barbara Eden took a while to fall back into the role, and never quite captured the bubbly personality or even some parts of Jeannie II's scheming personality, but it was wonderful to see her in the role again, and her being older gave me ideas of whether Jeannie would have traded her immortality for a normal, more human existence with Tony. Despite ignoring the twin children implied in one of the episodes, T.J. was quite good and believable as a mixture of Tony and Jeannie. I loved him slowly discovering his genie powers across the show while still retaining the realistic behavior of an '80s teen. The weakest part of the show was Tony, a different actor who lacks both the talent to pull off the part as well as the chemistry Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden had. Still the plot had some fun moments - my favorite was the hilarious scene in which Jeannie accidentally blinks everyone's clothes off in a restaurant and Dr. Bellows, upon arriving, assumes it's the thing to do and starts taking off his suit, and the final plot was surprisingly poignant, despite my confusion over why she simply didn't blink Tony home or in a different direction. Still her trading Tony's memories of their life together in return for his life was haunting, and I loved the hopeful, adorable finale when she bumps into him again, magically fixes his tie, and walks away with him following her.

I'm watching season five of Merlin now, and wondering what happened to my beloved, silly little show. Merlin has, in his own words, "grown up", and it's heartbreaking to see how jaded and even callous he's become. Merlin was once my favorite, until Lancelot took his place, Arthur grew on me, and I adored Gaius, but up until this season I still had a fondness for him, even in fourth place. Now I find myself annoyed and angry at him most of the time, and saddened at what the writers did to him, turning him into a twisted, dangerous person who won't even give Mordred a chance and has no one to blame but himself when everything falls apart. Almost everything he does is only for Arthur, with no thought to anyone else, and he's more than willing to kill for him, all of which gives the series a desperate yet hopeless feeling as Merlin struggles against the prophecy of Arthur's encroaching death, Gwen worries, and Arthur runs headlong into one danger after another. There's a new and older Mordred this season, and despite my reservations Alexander Vlahos completely won me over. He still seems too old to convincingly play opposite Arthur and Merlin, but he's a superb match for little Asa Butterfield, complete with the same vividly blue eyes and a disconcerting smile that flashes on and off so quickly I almost miss it. Yet he's softer and more endearing than little!Mordred who always send chills up my spine, and despite the fact that I thought I'd never love any Mordred except Hans Matheson in The Mists Of Avalon, I love his take on the character. The writers did a somewhat better job shifting him from good to evil, but his complete acceptance - with only one brief scene of hesitation - of the girl's evil seemed out of character. Despite that the scene where he yelled and his magic threw down the door sent chills up my spine. Alexander Vlahos was incredible in the episode. Merlin's betrayal of Mordred shocked me, and showed how very much he's changed from the days when he saved Freya, an almost parallel to "The Drawing Of The Dark". Bradley James is still excellent as Arthur, proving himself a just and honorable king who cares deeply for all his people, and even goes as far as to spare the life of a woman sentenced to die for sorcery. As the creepy "Death Song Of Uther Pendragon" shows, Arthur is about as far as his father as it's possible to be, and all for the best. Strangely enough I found myself disliking Gwen this season, both for the completely evil and murderous enchanted Gwen in the mid-season story arc, as well as the almost harsh way she rules. Also the writers, despite some promising hints in past seasons, have completely failed to convince me of Arthur and Gwen's romance which seems more tepid by the episode. Arthur says he loves her, but they behave more like two people sharing a kingdom instead of friends or family, and hardly husband and wife. The knights are a little underused, but still the best part of the season, and even Gwaine who I dismissed as a replacement Lancelot has finally won me over. However Elyan's senseless death gives me one more reason to hate how the writers use, or rather misuse, the knights. Elyan never got much of a role or chance to shine, but I liked him, and it seems pointless and cruel to kill him off just so the writers can try to infuse some life into their Arthur/Gwen ship. The Round Table is gorgeous, though, exactly as I imagine it should be. My favorite episode of the season is the superb opener "Arthur's Bane" which manages to craft a perfect blend of gently funny moments with tragedy and strong character building, reintroducing Mordred and even giving a dash of humanity to Morgana's twisted and usually over the top personality. There's a gloomy feel cast across the whole season, marked with disturbing, almost gruesome concepts such as the tragic crippling of the little dragon Aithusa, and the relentless torture and cruelty inflicted on the characters, making five an anti-climatic and sad end to what began as a fun and clever twist on the legends, and I can't help thinking the writers lost their way or rushed to the end without giving enough time for the important part. It's supposed to be the Golden Age of Camelot but it only crumbles more and grows darker by the episode, and I can only shake my head at all the wasted potential if the writers had given more time to plotting and pacing the series instead of falling back on the tiring and nearly sickening trope of Morgana vs. Camelot with some enchanted object and much throwing of people up against walls and trees. The problem, I think, was rushing everything instead of giving the series time to grow and fill the shoes of the legends. The first two years were perfect, three still had promise, and even four had some excellent moments and even whole episodes. Five sadly doesn't measure up, and only the season's opener and finale held my interest. "The Diamond Of The Day" was very good...not perfect, but close, breathing a little life and nostalgia into the series. Merlin seemed more his old self, the inclusion of him trapped in the cave was cleverly done, and Arthur's last "for Camelot" put tears in my eyes. I've grown to love Arthur over five seasons, warming to him as he grew from a hated bully to a prince with a good heart and finally the once and future king, but I was prepared for the heartbreak. The battle was epic, far more than the usual scene which focuses entirely on Arthur and Mordred, exactly as Camlann should be. Mordred stabbing Arthur and killing him was quietly underplayed, and I couldn't help tearing up for both of them, especially when Mordred gives that last smile before he falls. Gwen putting the pieces together and realizing Merlin has magic was beautifully done, subtle yet perfectly acted, and Gwen finally seems to be the sweet and kind character she used to be. Surprisingly I found myself shipping Leon/Gwen, mostly because of the talk about their childhood and the way he looks at her. It's adorable and I like to think after Gwen had mourned for Arthur that she eventually grew to love Leon, too. Avalon was beautiful, and I got a thrill when it first appeared, one thing I'd been looking forward to in the finale. I loved the magic reveal, somewhat anti-climatic - I'd hoped for a full season of Arthur coming to terms with it and magic returning to Camelot - but it was moving, and superbly acted by both Colin Morgan and Bradley James. I loved how Arthur gradually gains respect for Merlin and all he's done, eventually accepting him and not wanting him to change. Percival had a slightly larger part than usual, which I enjoyed, but I hated that Gwaine had to die. If he had to die I wish it had at least been a noble death like Lancelot, instead of the senseless and horribly cruel death he got. I must say I've never been more grateful to the writers for killing a character as I was when Morgana died. Five seasons late, but still good. Arthur's death was heartbreaking, perfectly filmed and acted, and if I wasn't crying before that I would have broken down and sobbed when Freya's hand came out of the lake for Excalibur, not to mention Merlin - the real Merlin and not the cruel one that's been here most of the season - crying; I can never have dry eyes when Colin Morgan cries. I liked the open ending somewhat - leaving room for imagination and fanfiction - but was saddened by all that wasn't shown - Merlin returning to Gaius, Gwen's acceptance, Gwen's reign, Leon/Gwen, and so on. But immortal!Merlin was tragically beautiful...if only the series had shown Arthur's return in the future. To cheer myself up I watched a different Arthurian film, The Last Legion, a unique and fascinating spin on the legends. Thomas Brodie Sangster was superb as young Caesar Romulus Augustulus, a child caught between killers and a small but loyal band willing to die for him. I found Aurelius the most fascinating of all..at first glimpse he seems a cruel, hardened warrior, but his friendship and loyalty to the child quickly won me over, as did the tinge of sadness around him. Mira was quite interesting, too, both warrior and woman with a caring for Aurelius. And Ambrosinus(Merlin) being Uther's teacher as well as Arthur's was unusual and an intriguing thought. The film was beautifully done, too.

I've discovered another silent film actor to love: the wonderful, handsome, and talented Charles Farrell. I gave a try to the film Lucky Star and fell in love with it - and him - at the same time. He played such a sweet character that I couldn't help loving him, and Janet Gaynor was adorable as the girl he falls in love with, both making it a lovely film with a perfect ending. My favorite so far is the gorgeous 7th Heaven, a beautiful and poignant romance that made me smile and sob and love them both dearly. Chico and Diane's relationship was realistic and so lovely, and their "wedding" brought tears to my eyes, as did the incredible and moving ending. I'm also learning to love his films with other actresses, starting with City Girl, a movie with some beautiful scenery, lovely photography, and an adorable scene where he and his co-star run through the wheat field, pausing for him to pick her up and kiss her. He played a very sweet character, too, who was impossible not to love. After that I saw The River, a sadly fragmented film with part of it only able to be told through still photos and inter-titles, but still highly unusual and lovely. It's quote "The river, like love, cleanses all things" sums up the film in which the river stands as a character, much in the same way of Our Mutual Friend, washing away the past of one of the character and redeeming them through another, as well as a character nearly dying and surviving through love. While I wasn't as impressed by the actress, Charles Farrell did an excellent job with the role, a mix of awkward country boy and determined man who wins her over and breaks her out of her hard shell when he nearly freezes to death and she's nearly unable to save him. It had a happy ending, too, that part, like the beginning and two other scenes, lost and told only in a photograph. I wish they'd find a complete copy, but still the part that exists was well worth seeing, since I love his films. Last was Liliom, a delightfully non-musical version of the lovely musical Carousel, with Charles Farrell in the title role. It turned out to be a talkie, so for the first time I got to hear his voice. He didn't sound like I expected, but his voice grew on me and I loved his accent. He was great in the role, too, and I grinned ear to ear at the carnival scenes. Charles Farrell has a lovely, nearly frail vulnerability, and cute shyness about his acting, combined with a tendency to get whumped that is exactly what I love in acting and characters. And on a completely shallow note, he's very easy on the eyes, too. Catching up on my love of Shakespeare, I saw the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet and it was utterly gorgeous. Beautiful sets, lovely actors - Romeo especially - pretty dancing, and of course the glorious theme. I loved that it retained the original lines and setting, just a flawless film overall. After that I saw Flyboys, a gorgeous and sweepingly old-fashioned film about the men who fought in the skies of World War One. James Franco was wonderfully sweet as Blaine, and I adored his interactions with Lucienne and the children. Among other new films this week I saw the adorable Penelope and fell completely in love with it. James McAvoy was wonderful as Johnny, and stunning with those beautiful blue eyes. He had a perfect mix of sad sweetness and gentle humor, and my favorite scenes were the lovely ending in the park and the hilarious scene where he sings "You Are My Sunshine" out of key while attempting to play an assortment of instruments. Penelope was easy to like, too, and I loved that Penelope and Johnny got their happy ending. Then I saw the gorgeous and bittersweet fantasy The Odd Life Of Timothy Green which completely broke my heart and put it back together again. Timothy was adorable, and I loved how he touched each person and made them better. Next I watched Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to Clash Of The Titans, and surprisingly liked it even more than the first. Perseus, now a widower, has a young son, and finally Perseus/Andromeda became canon, much to my delight, even if I prefer the first actress who played her over this one. Hades finally got redemption in the end, and Zeus came across as a kinder and more loving god toward his son and grandson. Pegasus was back, too, just as beautiful as ever, and I found the plot easier to follow than the first. Next was The Crucible, a stunning, heartbreaking, and disturbing look at the motives of the Salem Witch Trials. Despite being somewhat fictionalized it was still a fascinating image of the events, both extremely well acted and directed, and incredibly powerful. By the end of it I loathed Abigail even more than I always have, since the film painted her as a scheming girl drunk on power and revenge, but the actress did a good job with a very difficult role. Little Betty, much more able to be pitied and sympathized with, was also quite good, and Daniel Day-Lewis did a superb job as John Proctor, one of the victims I've always had the most interest in. His scene of being accused as well as his moving final speech were stunning, tear-jerking, and should have won him an oscar. Joan Allen was also excellent as his caring wife, Elizabeth, and I sobbed at her final line. I happened to run across Daniel Day-Lewis again in my search for a good version of The Last Of The Mohicans, the 1992 version, and he had big shoes to fill as Hawkeye, since I love both the book and the tv series Hawkeye which remains my favorite version of the story. But he was excellent at the role, and as much as I adore Lee Horsley's more lighthearted and friendly approach to the role, Daniel Day-Lewis actually fit my image a little better - lighter and swifter on his feet, more woodman-ish, and a stronger, slightly rougher character while style having a kind and gentle tenderness beneath it all. Cora was also a great character, a strong match for Hawkeye, and I loved their relationship. The film seemed a little too short, but maybe that's just because I enjoyed it too much so it felt like it sped by, and Uncas wasn't shown as much as I would have liked but it was a beautifully filmed and acted adaptation, with the gorgeous backdrop of North Carolina against impressively accurate sets and costumes. Duncan's redemption was haunting, turning a character I disliked into one I admired in the ending. Alice was frail and lovely and I wish her hinted at romance with Uncas had been shown more, but still their tragic and earlier foreshadowed deaths broke my heart, as did the words of Chingachgook in the last scene. The theme was pretty, too, and familiar to me for some reason. On a shallow note, I also loved Hawkeye's hair...the tv version's got nothing on him there! I finally watched the film version of Highlander, and as I'd suspected from the pilot of the tv show, I quite enjoyed Christopher Lambert as Connor, a different, more world-weary, but still fascinating and easy to sympathize with hero. He's a unique, more unusual sort of handsome, too, with a little bit of Robert Lansing's eyes and forehead with an awful lot of Misha Collin's lower face and build thrown in. In fact, between his looks, expressions, and trenchcoat, I kept having flashes of some sort of awesome Supernatural crossover. But his looks make him appear more old-fashioned and non-1980s which helps make it more believeable. The flashback scene of him finding little Rachel and later, with her much older, were precious and made me wish for more scenes or fanfiction of him raising her. Likewise, the love story of Connor and Heather was heartbreakingly beautiful, against the song "Who Wants To Live Forever" that I've always had a weakness for, even though it makes me tear up. But the resolved, happy ending was perfect, exactly what I'd hoped for. In other new films this week I watched An Old-Fashioned Christmas, and despite the fact that it didn't measure up to the original, the very sweet An old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, it was still enjoyable, even if I kept wanting to shake some sense into both Tilly and her grandmother. Gad was still the same loveable character of the first film, and despite everything I felt a little sorry for Cameron. I wish he'd had some redemption in the end beyond his new-found ability to stand up to his mother, even as much as I appreciated that. His accent, despite attempting to be Irish, sounded a lot more English to me, no matter how hard he tried, which made me giggle everytime he spoke. I loved Tilly's grandfather, though, such a feisty and colorful character, and her relationship with him. I saw the cute fairytale Ever After, a perfect and beautiful version of Cinderella, and fell in love with it. The Prince had far more personality than he ever has, and I loved how headstrong and bold Danielle was, even saving him from the gypsies in a clever and hilarious way. Then I saw the underrated and fun The Last Airbender. The concept of bending the elements and fighting with them was original and fascinating, and I loved the characters, especially the believing and good-hearted Katara. Aang's tragedy of being alone in accepting his role as the avatar, and Yue's death were especially moving, and I felt for all the characters. Following that was The Indian In The Cupboard, a gentle and lovely adaptation of the book I loved as a kid. Little Bear and Boone were perfect, exactly as I imagined, and I loved the ending. Next was the fabulous Night At The Museum, a fest for a history and that sort of fantasy geek that I am and I loved every second of it and all the characters; followed by the even zanier and more hilarious Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian. I giggled through all the oldies songs, and loved the cupids, the octopus, and, of course, Jedediah and Octavius, even better than in the last film. After that was the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and was happily surprised to discover as much as I enjoy the original, I actually loved this version more. Keanu Reeves was more believable as Klaatu, alien yet learning to be human, and I loved how he changed slowly and with the most subtle moments over the course of the film. Helen also had more personality, even if the sparks of a romance were stripped away, and little Jacob was adorable and an incredibly good actor. Also the plot was more coherent than in the original, with a better conclusion, and I loved the idea of the "arks". Next was the wrenching and poignant The Flowers Of War, a deeply moving character study of a diverse group of people in China during the midst of the Second-Sino Japanese War. The historical setting drew me to the film but I fell in love with the violent beauty of it, and the incredible acting from everyone, especially the always amazing Christian Bale. The ending, along with many other moments, made me cry, and I loved how vividly realistic everything seemed, from the small moments such as John hugging Shu to the Chinese soldier's sacrifice. After that was The Confession, the sequel to The Shunning, and in some ways, although I really enjoyed the first film, I liked this one even better. Surprisingly the cast changes all seemed to be equal or for the better, and the story was intriguing and touching. I loved seeing more of Daniel than simply flashbacks, and the last scene gave me hope for his and Katie's relationship. I don't mind Justin, though. I loved that Katie finally got to meet her mother in the end, if only for a little while, and the ending left me waiting patiently for the final film, hopefully coming soon. Next was the haunting and offbeat Desire Me with the surprisingly delightful pairing of two of my favorites, Greer Garson, who I've adored since seeing Mrs. Miniver as a small child, and Robert Mitchum. Next was the excellent Bend of the River with an excellent cast and final twist. Next was two childhood favorites Miracle On 34th Street and Meet Me In St. Louis, both of which I loved. Then was the poignant Goodbye Mr. Chips Which I loved as a child and hadn't seen in years. Next was the fabulous and hilarious Christmas in Connecticut which I adored. Last was the beautifully sad Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, the theme of which I've loved for years.

I watched the fascinating Peter Pan prequel Neverland which offers an intriguing and poignant backstory for Peter, Hook, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys. The boy who played Peter was quite good, impressing me despite not looking exactly how I imagined, the orb was an unusual and interesting addition, and I liked the explanation for the Indians and pirates being in Neverland. Tiger Lily was wonderful, given much more personality than in most versions, and I ended up surprisingly shipping Peter and her. The origins of Hook and Peter's hatred for each other was also a fascinating twist, and I liked the ending with the tied-in elements to Peter Pan including the watch being swallowed and Peter leaving his shadow behind in England.

I've been on a roll of animated films lately, starting with the flawless The Emperor's New Groove this week, definitely the most zany and hilarious animated film I've seen yet. I couldn't stop laughing, and I loved the colorful characters, especially the endearing Kronk. The animation was perfectly done, especially the llama, and I loved the slightly steampunk design of Yzma's lab and the lever that drops into an alligator pit. Following that was the sequel, Kronk's New Groove, nearly as hilarious and just as adorable as the first. I loved all the clever nods to older Disneys, as well as the "Gollum moment", and the cute Disco sequence. The ending was wonderful, and I loved how Kuzco inserted himself into the story, I only wish he'd been in the film more. Next I saw Atlantis: Milo's Return, the fun sequel to the wonderful and underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire. While I missed the original Milo's voice, everyone else was the same, and the story, a series of three adventures, was a lot of fun. I loved the fairytale-like ending, too. Following that was the precious The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, a completely adorable version of the stories with a different twist here and there. I loved Tom and Thumbelina's relationship, as well as the side characters like Albertine and the mice, and the lovely ending. Then I watched the beautifully animated The Rescuers, a gorgeous and adorable film with loveable characters, especially the darling little mouse heroes of the title. Last was the delightfully French and utterly precious Ratatouille which made me giggle and restored my faith in modern animated films with it's big heart and loveable characters, especially the too cute for words Remy. After that was The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II, and despite the fact that it didn't rival the original, I still enjoyed it. It was sweet, and lovely, and Quasimodo finally found someone to love and be loved by. I also liked that Phoebus and Esmeralda had a son, cute little Zephyr, and his friendship with Quasi was precious. Then I saw Atlantis The Lost Empire, a fun, steampunk-filled adventure that has to be one of the most underrated Disney films ever. It was beautifully done, though, a perfect blend of humor and action with a loveable and geeky hero in Milo.

I've been binge-watching Gomer Pyle USMC, a childhood favorite, and loving it. The Sgt. and Bunny are always a treat, and the guest stars are delightful.
 
 
calliope tune: "Dream Weaver"-Gary Wright
feeling: sore