Kathleen
The Musketeers is on now and it's absolutely wonderful, capturing not only the time period but the characters's personalities perfectly. D'Artagnan is wonderfully sassy, Aramis is stunning, and my heart bleeds for Athos already. I love the characters' friendship, and Milady is already an intriguing villain. I love how the series retains the flavor of the books, not shying away from ships between married characters. Constance is wonderful, the first version of the character I've liked, and she and D'Artagnan are perfect together. Thankfully, I absolutely detest her husband which makes the shipping easy. "Sleight of Hand" was even better than the pilot with an intriguing spy plot and plenty of explosions. Aramis and Anne were surprisingly adorable, and even if I know it's doomed I can't help shipping it. I loved that she gave him the necklace, and that he kissed it after the bomb failed to explode. Still it saddened me to think Aramis believes Adele abandoned him when her last thoughts were of how much she loved him. I assumed the Cardinal would be plotting against Aramis by now but it hasn't come up yet. D'Artagnan was fabulous as a spy, getting whumped and yet still saving the day. "Commodities" was excellent, deftly handling the Athos/Milady backstory and allowing Athos to discover she survived. I love how dangerous Milady is compared to some versions, and Athos continues to be more and more tragic. Aramis was hilarious, especially with how proud he was of his stitching, and he even got to speak some Spanish. The scene of him reverting to the role of priest was touching. Porthos got a chance to shine, lending a haunting touch to the scene where he derides a slave trader. I love the way the show uses social issues. "The Good Soldier" gave a glimpse of Aramis's past, focusing on a tragic massacre that only he and his friend, now an assassin and wanted man, survived. While the episode was somewhat weaker than the others it was wonderful to see Aramis featured as well as the attention to past details such as him wearing the cross Anne gave him. "The Homecoming" gave Porthos a chance to shine, as well as give a glimpse of his past. I found the Court Of Miracles fascinating, as well as the insight into his character. "The Exiles" was the best episode so far, perhaps because I went into it only expecting baby!fluff and was pleasantly surprised to find so much more. The plot was perfect, featuring political intrigue with the royals - a hidden twin, a plot to usurp the king, a scheming Queen, and a baby being used as a pawn - alongside the Musketeers and Constance trying to protect the infant and his mother. Constance was back to being fabulous again, helping rescue the child and even sword-fighting to protect Aramis and he. Aramis was wonderful - I think I fell in love with him even more than before - with a poignant lost love revealed, as well as his protection of Agnes and her son. He was adorable with the baby and even got to sing to him, something I never knew how badly I wanted. "A Rebellious Woman" played into my fascination with the 1600s' witch trials while presenting more reasons for me to adore Aramis. I loved all his lines, and the comment about him "cherishing women". Athos's explosion at seeing his wife was stunning, with Tom Burke pulling every emotion possible out of that scene and even scaring me a little in the process. Also the scene of Aramis fighting with books was epic. "The Confession" was a weak plot but made up for a lot of it by enough shiny sword fighting to make even me content. I loved seeing the tournament, especially Athos training D'Artagnan, who showed so much growth in this episode, by finally rejecting MiLady and seemingly growing up. The moment where he finally becomes a musketeer was beautiful, and I loved his hugs with Aramis and Porthos. D'Artagnan and Constance's romance was adorable followed by heartbreaking and while I can see her husband's point of view, I can't help but loathe him for hurting her and threatening to kill D'Artagnan. Aramis was strangely out of character, and the writing seemed shaky, but I enjoyed the continuation of the characters's story arcs and the new twists. "Knight Takes Queen" finally explores the tale of Aramis's lost love and brings him closure, even if I was quite disappointed with who she turned out to be. Aramis/Anne are finally canon, but I feel worried to be shipping it, since it can't go smoothly. Still they're lovely and sweet together, and I liked the parallel of Aramis's lost child to Anne's. King Louis got to show the two different sides of his often childish personality, and the Cardinal continues to grow more evil. The nuns were fabulous, especially Mother Superior, and I loved them defending the convent. "Musketeers Don't Die Easily" was a wonderful finale, neatly tying things up while leaving me looking forward to next season. The romantic relationships were the best: Athos finally got closure over Milady, Constance and D'Artagnan have found each other again but in a bittersweet move, Constance chooses to remain with her husband, and most poignantly, it's heavily implied that Anne's expected child is Aramis's. I loved their final scene together when Aramis pledges to protect the child for the rest of his life, a beautifully acted and touching moment as his eyes show barely constrained happiness mixed with sadness. D'Artagnan was wonderful, pulling off the scheme brilliantly, and I adored the group hug and the "one for all and all for one" finally being spoken.

In brand new shows there's Star Crossed which is lovely so far, a sci-fi reimagining of Romeo and Juliet which will hopefully have a less tragic future. Roman is a wonderful character with a perfect blend of sweetness and snark, and I really like Julia so far. I love the first meeting between Roman and Emery and how most of the aliens seem more human than the humans. The ending of the pilot with Roman saving Julia and his father dying was deeply poignant.

I'm on season two of Once Upon A Time now. The way the characters are all related and the constant recasting of the same character in many roles - crocodile!Rumplestiltskin being the worst - continues to make my head spin, and sadly there's even more focus on the female characters to the expense of the much better written male characters, but there are bright spots in the mess. New this season is Killian, and I love him even better after getting to see his introduction, while Emma's betrayal of him only serves to make me hate her more. Her constant whining and complaining about being an orphan when she's found her family and her son gets old quickly and her personality flips between annoyingly aggressive and so bland she sets my teeth on edge. New also is Phillip, and he's lovely, a perfect mix of sweetness and bravery that makes me only wish the writers would use him more often, and preferably without Aurora, definitely the most useless princess in the series so far, and Mulan who keeps looking like she'll betray everyone and never does - a pity since it might actually make her interesting. I adore the backstory of Phillip being cursed and Belle saving him, and I hope the writers explore that curse more in the future. I was looking forward to Lancelot and was sadly disappointed as this version lacks much of the nobility and depth of the character and seems like more than a means to an end for the writers to correct a short-lived twist for Snow White that might have been more interesting if they'd only explored it further. Regina's lost love Daniel returns in one of the saddest episodes of the series as her relationship with him is the few times I feel pity for Regina. I teared up when she was forced to kill him. Jefferson is back for a few episodes and I couldn't stop smiling when he finally is reunited with his daughter; their relationship is my favorite on the series and it made me so happy that he finally found her again. Dr. Whale finally gets backstory, and despite my original skepticism at how the show would handle a non-fairytale and difficult, iconic character, I was thrilled to see they did a beautiful job. The idea of the Land Without Color, and Rumplestiltskin appearing in color in it is brilliant, and Frankenstein's monster being his brother adds a poignant layer, making me tear up when his brother seemingly begs for death after finally speaking Viktor's name. I loved the parallel of Dr. Whale saving the stranger and finding some atonement for his actions. I was far less pleased with the writers's handling of Jack and the Beanstalk, though, reducing Jack to a girl - who annoyed me every bit as much as I'd suspected she would - and making Charming's brother evil. I did like the giants being good and the humans evil but the story lacked heart. I loved seeing Rumplestiltskin leaving Storybrooke to find his son, along with his endearing confusion at the outside world. His injury and phone call to Belle were heartwrenching, and Belle losing her memory and breaking the little cup broke my heart completely. The origin of Rumplestiltskin's injury was revealed in a way I hadn't expected, as well as how he attained the ability to see the future. The seer was an interesting character that I'd love more background on, and I adored seeing Rumplestiltskin with baby Bae. Neal annoys me, and I find it nearly impossible to consider he and little Bae the same person. Cora is dreadful, unquestionably the most horrible character on the show yet, and the flashback romance with her and Rumplestiltskin makes me both cringe and gag. I've never been so grateful to see a character killed off, and for the first time Snow White gets some depth with the twist of her heart being blackened by killing Cora, even it makes little sense seeing as how evil Cora was and how killing her saved more than just Rumplestiltskin's life. "Welcome To Storybrooke" was fascinating, showing the endless timeloop of the 28 years along with bringing Graham back for the episode. I was so thrilled to see him again, if only in the flashbacks. August's story finally gets an ending after being dreadfully underused and all but forgotten by the writers. Eoin Bailey is one of the most talented actors in the series and I adore August, for his deeply human flaws and attempts to do right. He made my heart hurt in the scene where he lays in the alley, and the poignancy of him turning to wood and finally giving his life to try to save the others had me in tears. I was thankful the fairy brought him back to life but heartbroken that he became a child again, seemingly having forgotten being August and thereby erasing all those beautiful flaws that made his character so wonderfully complex. "Lacey" broke my heart as Rumplestiltskin falls back into evil and Belle ends up with cursed memories, but I adored Robin Hood and his magical bow, even if his role was all too brief. I enjoyed the storyline of the curse failsafe and the beans even if it felt rushed, and I loved seeing Belle finally get her memories back, and Killian showing his good side by returning to help the others and finally giving up his revenge. As evil as Greg is his grief over finally finding his father's fate was poignant. "Second Star to the Right" was lovely, and surprisingly, as much as I usually dislike Neal, I actually liked Bae in his interactions with Wendy, an adorable and wonderful version of the character. I loved the whole Darling family, them taking Bae in, and the twist on the shadow coming to the nursery, as well as Bae ending up with Killian. It saddened me to see them turn against each other in the end, though.

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is also back from hiatus with 90% more Cyrus and "Nothing To Fear', a tale that finds the Knave rescued from his bottle by Lizard. As much as I ship Will/Anastasia, they're cute together, and Lizard's unrequited crush on him is all the more poignant when he transforms her into a beautiful woman whose dress is suspiciously like the last one he saw Anastasia in before she became the Red Queen. In any event, Lizard didn't deserve her fate, and my heart broke for the Knave, trapped, and unable to do anything but feel the pain of her last wish. Cyrus and Alice are as adorable as always, and the marriage proposal scene, complete was fireworks, had me grinning ear to ear. Alice seemed somewhat out of character, and a tad selfish, but understandable, and I loved that she came around in the end and realized Wonderland needed them. The Red Queen's story arc and Emma Rigby's acting continues to impress me, and I teared up when she realized no one would pay her ransom, then cheered when Cyrus and Alice came to her rescue. The Jabberwocky is creepy but nothing like what I'd imagined and I'm still not sure what to make of her, as much as I enjoy Jafar being intimidated for once by someone more powerful than himself. "Dirty Little Secrets" finally reveals Cyrus's origins, and I was both pleased and disappointed with the backstory. By the summary, I was braced for an evil version of Cyrus and was happily surprised to find him just as charming and good at heart, just more reckless and a bit of a card shark. I liked seeing his brothers, who oddly enough had no names but were every bit as handsome as Cyrus, and Peter Gadiot got a chance to shine - on a shallow note he cries very beautifully. However, I was a little disappointed that his crime was so minor. I suppose I was expecting something larger than simply stealing water to save his mother, even though the guardian of the well was delightfully mythological and creepy. I'm not quite sure what to think of Amara being Cyrus's mother. I'd guessed she was going to be someone we'd already seen in the series but I was sort of hoping for Jafar's mother, since I thought it would have been a poignant and fascinating twist to have Jafar and Cyrus be half brothers. Also considering Amara was involved with Jafar - a little squicky in itself considering she raised him - it's even a little icky. On the bright side I loved Cyrus and Alice finally having a heart to heart talk about their pasts and separation from each other, and I loved Cyrus's doubts - he's still so doubtful that anyone could accept and love him, poor baby - as well as Alice's beautiful reassurances and promises to "be his bottle" and keep him good. The torture scenes of Anastasia broke my heart, and I was glad that at least the Tweedle came to comfort her and help her, I never fully appreciated him before, and now I love him. "Heart Of The Matter" was flawless, finally exploring why the Knave has no heart in a poignant backstory. Cyrus was adorable and hilarious at the beginning, and I adored him in Storybrooke, fascinated by the light switches while Alice was hilariously intrigued by the ice maker. She finally said her "curiouser and curiouser" line, too! I loved the return of the Lost and Found, and Cyrus finally figuring out the fate of his mother, as well as Amara fighting back when Jafar tried to use the staff to kill Cyrus. Anastasia was wonderful, surprising me once again how talented Emma Rigby is - the contrast between the three versions from innocent sweet girl to Red Queen to broken and defeated woman was stunning - and my heart broke when she was so grateful to Cyrus and Alice for returning. The Tweedle was as fabulous as last week, and the White Rabbit was more endearing than usual. Michael Socha had the hardest role, from heartbroken young thief to his usual sarcastic self and everywhere in between, and he nailed it beautifully, making me ache for the Knave when he finally got his heart again. The scene where he finally sees Anastasia and says her name before kissing her brought tears to my eyes followed by complete heartbreak as she's murdered in front of him. "To Catch A Thief" finally reveals Alice and the Knave's first meeting, and it was wonderful and perfect. I adored the funny bits with Alice controlling his heart and him trying to politely murder her, and their friendship was lovely. The fact that she reminds him of his lost sister was touching, and I adored their last flashback scene, taking her right up to the moment she finds Cyrus's bottle. I loved how, even desperate to bring back Anastasia, he couldn't hurt Alice, even jumping into the water to save her. His short scene with Cyrus where he offers to let him get a free punch was amusing, making me wish again the two had more scenes together. I loved the Sultan standing up for the Knave and knowing instinctively who Alice was - I'm so happy they finally met - and since I have no sympathy whatsoever for Jafar I adore his character. The ending tore me up, though, with Cyrus killed and Alice feeling his pain as he died. "And They Lived" was a packed but gorgeous finale, giving me everything I'd hoped and more, all tied up into a beautiful, fitting package. The Knave and Anastasia's love story finally finds their happy ending, and I loved that they became the White King and Queen and ruled Wonderland. Anastasia never seemed to stop smiling once she found him again, and the Knave's love speech and true love's kiss as well as the "sleeping beauty" comment were adorable. He's even more loveable with a heart, and the smile he gives Alice after their last, bittersweet hug was the first genuine, non-pained one in the series, making me grin back in response. The White Rabbit, always a delight, was more fabulous than ever, making me laugh with his comments about Cyrus and Alice and what they'd done to his house, as well as making me tear up a bit at his parting with Alice and his spying on her years later in England. I never could warm to Amara, despite a nice scene where she properly meets and accepts Alice, and a nice cameo by the Flying Carpet, so I wasn't saddened by seeing her make the sacrifice for her sons. I loved that Cyrus's brothers were freed, and I wish there would have been a little more of them, or at least what became of them in the ending. Surprisingly, I was a little sad about the Jabberwocky's uncertain fate, since, despite my first thoughts, she'd become an intriguing character, and I was very sad about the Sultan. Maybe it's my hatred for Jafar, but I've loved the Sultan since the beginning and he was always so kind to Cyrus, so it broke my heart to see his ultimate and somewhat unexpected fate. Jafar showed a rare flash of humanity here and there, but not enough to make me stop cheering when, true to my theory, he became a genie himself, a perfect finish on his story. The dear Tweedle happily got a cameo, and I loved seeing his adorable interactions with little Millie, as well as his happiness at the wedding. Cyrus, thankfully, was brought back, and happily through healing magic rather than the spell, and his scenes with Alice, especially when he lifts her up at the well, were as adorable as usual. Alice and he finally get their much deserved and long-awaited happy ending, and their wedding was gorgeous. I adored everything about it, especially the Rabbit's words, and Alice's stunning dress. I loved that her father finally believed in her, and that she and Cyrus stayed in Victorian England. The ending with them having a tea party with their own daughter - an absolutely adorable little child - made me tear up from happiness, and the inclusion of the book was the perfect cherry on top of the wonderful treat that was this series.

I finally got to see more episodes of The Ponderosa and even more than before it saddens me how quickly the show fell apart. In many ways, as much as I love Bonanza, it had the potential to become better, especially with it's brilliant versions of Hop Sing and Adam who were given far more depth than in the original series. But the townspeople, who I grew to love, were quickly shoved aside, killed off, or sent out of the series, most horribly Carlos, but even dear Frenchy. The brothers's relationships remain the one truly beautiful thing about the series.

I'm up to the episode "Saturday" in Coronet Blue and it's a gorgeous and haunting story of a little boy forced to grow up too quickly. I loved the way he changed Michael's views, and how Michael helped him. More than ever I think it's such a shame how there was no proper conclusion for the series.

In other new/old shows I've been rewatching Emily of New Moon, a childhood favorite. I always shipped Perry/Emily, but I'm warming to Teddy.

I gave a try to the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica and by considering it a different show instead of a remake I'm managing to enjoy it quite a lot. I love their names being call signals instead of just names, which lets me think the names are passed and these are different people instead of just a different version of the same character. Apollo, never my favorite in the original, is strangely more appealing here, helped along by Jamie Bamber's portrayal of him. As much as I hate Starbuck being a girl she has awesome chemistry with Lee; I adore how she saves him in the miniseries. Boomer, despite being a girl, is a likeable character so far, and Boxey is cute.

In other new shows I've started Teen Wolf, a surprisingly entertaining series. Scott is an appealing protagonist, and strangely enough I love Derek. I also really like Jackson, even if I already know he's the Whitney Fordman of this series, aka the character everyone hates who leaves the show early and I develop an attachment too and mourn him for the rest of the series. I also love the visuals of the werewolves, both their look and their powers, and I'm curious to see where the series goes.

In new movies I saw the 2005 version of War Of The Worlds. I'm usually not fond of remakes and was less than impressed with the original so I was shocked to discover how much I adored it. The filming, acting, and photography were stunning, moving me to tears countless times, and the character growth was amazing. It not only improved on the original film but also the book, making something fresh, believable, and heart-wrenching. I grew to love the characters despite my first impressions and the ending was beautiful and perfect. Next was Saving Mr. Banks, which, while it failed to live up to my hopes and I had many issues with the portrayal of Walt Disney - not the least of which that he looked and sounded nothing like him - I enjoyed. The story behind the making of Mary Poppins was both fascinating and poignant as was the recreation of Disneyland back in the day as well as the premiere of the film. My favorite part was when they finally get her dancing. Colin Farrell was excellent as the writer's loving but troubled father, and I cried at the scene where she drops the pears and goes in after his death. Next was the flawless The Sorcerer's Apprentice which managed to be both hilarious and deeply poignant with equal parts romance, magic, and friendship. I loved every moment, helped along by the fabulous cast, and adored the ending. Then was the intriguing and both fun and poignant Season Of The Witch, a fantasy-drenched look at the days of the Black Plague. Behmen was a tragic hero, and I loved Kay and how by saving him Behmen found his redemption, as sad as the ending was. After that was the haunting and heart-wrenching A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The acting was stunning, and I sobbed at the poignant ending. Jude Law was fabulous as Gigolo Joe, I loved his character and his friendship with David. The parallel between the fairytale and David's quest to be real was heartbreaking, too. Next was the 2009 live-action Mulan which I tried out of curiosity due to my love for the Disney film and was blown away by. It was hauntingly beautiful and achingly sad, and I cried over Wentai and Mulan's tragic romance. Next was the lovely and unusual Winter's Tale, a surprisingly poignant and beautiful story with more than a few unexpected twists. The settings were gorgeous, the acting flawless, and the plot was deeply moving in a bittersweet fairytale-like way. After that was the hauntingly sad true story Changeling which was often brutal but deeply moving, reducing me to tears multiple times. Next was Civil Love, a lovely Civil War era romance between a widow and the wounded soldier she finds in her barn. Daniel was wonderful, sweet and gentle, and I fell in love with him instantly. I liked that Rachel and his love came slowly instead of love at first sight, and how she ended up saving him. My running a little low on new films has led me to giving a try to remakes which I don't usually do, and which has been a combination of the surprising good and unfortunately annoying. I started with the 1999 version of Great Expectations, one of the few films I watch every version of, even though the 1940s one remains my favorite. Miss Havisham was sadly the weakest spot, lacking the madness or invoking the pity of other versions but giving a strangely flat performance. Estella, by contrast, was flawless, both as a haughty child and as a twisted woman incapable of love. The casting, too, was perfect; I had no difficulty whatsoever believing the child and adult were different versions of the same person. Little Pip was a more jaded, world-weary version of the character than I'm used to; fitting, perhaps, but surprising. The child was an excellent actor, though, and I loved how he starts to skip when Miss Havisham tells him to play instead of automatically wanting to play with Estella. Ioan Gruffudd was a very different Pip than I'm used to, but his performance was fascinating and layered, not always likeable but always intriguing. His final scene with Miss Havisham gave me chills as it was the closest I'd imagined to the book. The tune running through the film was poignantly lovely, and I liked the beautiful location shots as well as the bittersweet, more realistic ending. Next was 3:10 To Yuma, which, while failing to live up to the beauty and depth of the original benefited greatly from it's actors. Christian Bale was, in many ways, far more appealing than Van Heflin as Dan, with a tragic backstory and determination to be a hero for his son. The twist at the end by having him die shocked and saddened me. Russell Crowe did a fine job as Ben, but lacked the gentleness that made me fall in love with Glenn Ford, and although I loved the music it wasn't the hauntingly lovely tune from the original. Still the man alone theme found in so many westerns such as High Noon and Sitting Bull and always portrayed best here managed to shine through despite the years, and the characters were still as fascinating as in the original. Next was the intriguing The Invasion which surprisingly manages to be as good as the original with appealing characters, a new twist of certain people being immune, and more than a few creepy moments. Carol attempting to blend in with fascinating, and I loved her relationships with both Ben and Oliver and was grateful that they all got their happy ending. Then was The Lone Ranger, a peculiar mix of the surprisingly good and the terrible. The film seemed to be unable to decide if it was a comedy-parody, a western drama, or a steampunk action flick, and veered so quickly between the genres I got mental whiplash. Red was a quirky and appealing character who was poorly underused, Tonto was given a tragic and fascinating backstory ruined by the clownish and sometimes mean-spirited actions (the worst being hitting John in the head when he realizes he's not dead yet, only badly wounded) and always dreadful "acting" of Johnny Depp. Despite my dislike of Armie Hammer, he managed to do fairly well with what he was given, especially toward the end when he gets to actually be a hero. The story within a story format was well done, and I found a few of the nods amusing. Still the gruesomeness of Cavendish and the squirmingly obvious racism made it far less pleasant than the original series, despite the few flashes of brilliance. Next was Return to Treasure Island which was cute and a nicely done sequel. Dean O'Gorman made a perfect older Jim.

In new animated films I finally saw Wall-E which was very cute and actually somewhat inspiring. Wall-E and Eve's relationship was adorable, especially their dancing in space scene, and I also loved the two humans who found each other in the ship. Next was The Road To El Dorado, a greatly entertaining and random adventure with lovable characters. Next was Finding Nemo and I adored both the title character and the richly detailed world, as well as Nemo and his father's relationship. Next was Rio, a cute and colorful story with an adorably quirky romance between the human characters. Then was The Nightmare Before Christmas which was imaginative and far cuter than I'd imagined, with both towns a lot of fun. ext was the darling Oliver and Company with the cutest animated cat ever and some lovely moments and catchy tunes. Next was Kung Fu Panda which was random but enjoyable. Next was Big Hero 6 which was a little strange and sad but featured the most precious and unique robot ever. Next was the Ice Age series which I laughed my way through and completely fell in love with. Next was Quest For Camelot which was sweet but also featured the first disabled hero I've seen in an animated film which delighted me. Last was a childhood favorite, the beautiful and heartwarming The Snowman.
 
 
feeling: depressed
calliope tune: "I Started A Joke"-Bee Gees
 
 
Kathleen
Catching Fire was stunning, everything I'd hoped for and more, transforming my least favorite book of the trilogy into a film I loved even more than the first. It was extremely faithful, too, retaining all the scenes I liked while still being a gorgeous film, even if the action felt more visceral than the last film. The costumes were beautiful, especially Katniss's mockingjay dress, the arena was impressive, and everything seemed more vivid and realistic than before. The rebellion scenes were done extremely well, disturbing enough to be affective, and I couldn't help crying during the part when Katniss talks to Thresh's and Rue's families. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. I was very unhappy with the casting choice, did my best to tolerate her for most of the first film, but she's finally won me over, turning in a performance that gave me chills, most so in the final scene as well as the part where she shoots the arrow into the sky's force field. Peeta was wonderful, still my forever favorite, quietly loving Katniss from a distance and trying to save her at any cost. I teared up during the scene where he holds the morphling girl as she dies and distracts her by getting her to look at the sunrise. Despite the amount of Gale/Katniss moments, there were so many moments of Peeta/Katniss. I loved Katniss and Peeta's scene on the beach, the pearl scene, and the part on the train where they talk about their favorite colors. Peeta's locket hit me the hardest, though, because as much as he loves Katniss he included Gale. Everyone, especially Effie got more depth in this film, and I choked up when she actually cried about Peeta and Katniss going back in the arena, as well as the scene where she was trying to unite the team. I've grown to love movie Haymitch in a way I never bonded with the book character, and I loved his anger at the capitol when they announce the Quarter Quell as well as him standing up to the Peacekeepers. Cinna's death was as horrific as I'd imagined. He was always one of my favorites and it hurt to see it happen, even though I was prepared for it. Mags was lovely, as tragic as little Rue, but so courageous, and both Wiress and Beetee were fascinating. My only disappointment was the lack of Gloss and Cashmere. They're my favorite one book characters, and I ship them to pieces, but they sadly had no character development, hardly any screen time, and a single line between the two of them. President Snow's granddaughter was surprisingly delightful, quite unlike her grandfather and such a little Peeta/Katniss shipper! Joanna surprised me the most. She was my least favorite character in the series, and while she's still loud-mouthed and even annoying the flashes of humanity, especially the scene where she urges Katniss to "make them pay" made me see her in a different, much better light. Finnick, too, who I always found annoying and unnecessary, was much better than I'd expected, and while he still isn't my favorite I appreciate him a lot more now. The actor wouldn't have been my choice but he impressed me, especially during Mag's death and his face as he watches Katniss after he saved Peeta. I was so glad the force field/CPR scene was left in after they cut out most of the whump from the last film - I can't help it, I need my guilty pleasure. While I have a lot of issues with Gale I thought the actor did a good job with the role, actually getting to do something this film, and I liked, in a way, that Gale's whipping was the result of trying to save someone instead of just stealing. Prim was wonderful, so much more grown up and yet still so innocent, and she made my heart ache as much as in the last film. The ending was as painful as I'd dreaded - I barely survived the wait between the Catching Fire and Mockingjay books - but I adored how the pin turned into the mockingjay at the end.

I've been working my way through Christian Bale's films, starting with the stunning Reign Of Fire. Christian Bale was incredible as Quinn, reducing me to tears during the scene where his friend gets killed, and making me smile during his adorable moments play-acting for the children. I loved his relationships with Alex and Jared, and that the three got their happy ending, although I was saddened by Creedy's death; I loved him and his beautiful Scottish accent. The scenery of dystopian England was amazing, and there were so many moments I loved. Next was the true story Rescue Dawn. Christian Bale, as expected, was stunning and everything about the film was stunningly authentic to the point of being painful and difficult to watch while also being an inspiring story of survival. Next was Terminator Salvation and despite not knowing the prior films I became fascinated by the dark and strange world of it. Marcus was a haunting character, deeply tragic and ultimately human, and the significance of him giving his heart - his most human part - in sacrifice to save John's life was poignant. I teared up when little Star took his hand. Kyle, too, was a fascinating character. Next was Captain Corelli's Mandolin, an intriguing and beautiful love story against some unfamiliar history which caught my interest. The twists and turns in the plot were excellent, the ending lovely but sad, and I liked Antonio, but I still wish Pelagia had chosen Mandras. Christian Bale was wonderful as Mandras, a gentle and ultimately deeply selfless character. After that was the stunning Equilibrium which was both thought-provoking and fascinating, with a richly detailed futuristic world. I loved Christian Bale's role - and whoa, what an acting job - as Preston slowly learns to feel. The scene where he listens to the music was incredibly touching, and I teared up when he breaks down after failing to save Mary. The ending was perfect, the right balance of hope and loss.

In other new films I saw the stunning The Island, a fast-paced dystopian story with Ewan McGregor doing a superb job as the somewhat innocent and yet heroic Lincoln. I loved the concept and plot, as well as the surprisingly happy ending. Next was Moulin Rouge, a gorgeous and heartbreaking musical. Ewan McGregor was fabulous as the idealistic, tragic Christian; I'm truly learning to appreciate his roles, and I adored the love story as well as the riches colors and sets of the film. The songs were lovely, too, as was the dancing, and the ending reduced me to tears. After that was the live-action '90s adaptation of The Jungle Book, a lovely and wonderful version. I loved Mowgli, especially his friendships with the animals and him learning human ways, and the happy ending as well as the filming was beautiful. Next was Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, the next film in the series and as much a treat as the first one. I adored Tyson, such a sweet character, and was so glad to see him survive and be accepted by the others. Percy's skills with water were as impressive as ever, and the friendship between the half-bloods and Grover was lovely. As in the last film the re-imagining of myths was cleverly done - I especially loved the chariot and Hermes running a Fed-Ex store - with plenty of heroics and amusing moments. Then was the bizarre Inception with it's richly detailed world and complex plot which fascinated me. Leonard DiCaprio was excellent as Dom and I loved the recurring theme of the spinning top as well as the open, yet happy final scene. Next was the whimsical Big Fish. Ewan McGregor was charming in as Edward, the settings and characters were lovely, and the bittersweet ending was perfect. After that was the amusing and often hilarious spoof Austenland. I giggled at the in-jokes and loved most of the over-the-top characters. Next was 2000's Arabian Nights, a fascinating and beautifully done adaptation with magical characters and a richly detailed world. I especially loved the "Three Brothers" story, as well as the story within a story within a story format but it was all amazing. Next was the visually gorgeous The Illusionist, an unusual and fascinating peek into the magical world of a stage magician during the turn of the century. The historical accuracy was impressive, the ending was jaw-dropping, and I loved how beautiful everything was. After that was the haunting The Book Thief, a gorgeous and slow-moving WWII drama. I fell in love with the characters, especially Max and Liesel and was so glad to see them both survive and reunite..I found myself shipping them as the story went on. Having Death as the narrator added a poignant feel to the story, and the ending was beautiful. Next was the gorgeously filmed and unusual Oblivion. Jack - all of them - fascinated me, as did his poignant retained and shared memories and ultimate sacrifice. The ending was beautiful and hopeful. Then was the surprisingly good Real Steel. I was expecting little and instead fell in love with the story and characters, even choking up at the end when Charlie hugged Max. Their relationship, as well as Charlie and Bailey's were beautiful, and I loved Atom. Charlie was a wonderful mixture of gruff and gentle, and it ended up being one of my very favorite of Hugh Jackman's roles. Next was Ender's Game, a haunting and visually stunning film with a stunning, poignant ending. I sobbed when the alien wiped away Ender's tears, and during the bittersweet ending, and I loved Ender's closeness with his sister and team. After that was the adorable Kate & Leopold. Hugh Jackman was adorable and quite dreamy as the time traveler, and I loved the romance, as well as the other characters. Next was The Alamo, a moving account of the history. Juan Seguin was a fascinating character, and I loved the poignancy of the events as well as the beautiful filming. I tried the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet which was a mixture of lovely and disappointing. The score and filming was gorgeous, and the added moments such as a glimpse of what a happy ending would have been like or the final scene when their hands are placed together were hauntingly poignant. Benvolio was precious and Tybalt and Mercutio were the best versions I've seen. Douglas Booth was surprisingly good as Romeo, despite a weak start, fusing emotion and passion into the role and excelling best in his scenes away from Juliet such as the part where he learns of her death. The beginning of the film felt rushed, with not enough time given to learn the characters or be invested in them, and Romeo and Juliet's relationship was far too fast. Hailee Steinfeld, sadly, was the worst part of the film, rushing and barely forming her lines, and emotionally flat in nearly every scene, and I couldn't care about her character in the least. After that was the haunting The Help, a poignant and deeply moving look at a tough issue, with stunning acting and beautiful period detail. Next I saw Nanny McPhee and it's sequel Nanny McPhee Returns which I ended up loving more than the first. The first was very cute, though, and I loved the happy ending and the lovely wedding, especially the snowy wedding dress. The sequel was perfect, though, with it's wonderful WWII setting, gentle humor, loveable characters, and an unexpected and poignant final tie-in to the first film. The children were quite talented, and despite him having only a tiny role I adored Ewan McGregor as their father. The final scene made me tear up, as did the part where Norman and Cyril visit Cyril's father. Then was The Impossible, a gorgeous and beautifully filmed true story which made me sob and fall in love with the family and their closeness as they went through their ordeal. I'm starting to adore Ewan McGregor and he, like the rest of the cast, did a stunning job. Next was Cowboys & Aliens a fun smash-up of two genres that managed to pack in some poignant moments and a touch of steampunk. Jake was a unique mix of violent anti-hero and gentleness, and I loved following his journey. Then was Valkyrie, an excellent and poignant true story.The period details were impressive, even if I wished the cast had German accents, and Tom Cruise even resembled the real man quite a bit. The final scene telling the history was very moving. Next was the lovely Under the Greenwood Tree with a lovely cast and sweet romance and setting. Then was The Secret of Roan Inish, one of the first movies I ever saw and my introduction to selkies. I appreciate it so much more as an adult, and its so beautiful and unique. Next was the strange but gorgeous film The Piano. I adored the theme and imagery and the ending was beautiful. Next was the tragic but gripping Agora which fascinated and moved me. Then was the lovely and strange Ondine. Colin Farrell was excellent as always and I loved the fairytale feel.

I've been working my way through the Hornblower films and they're amazing, everything I didn't know I wanted with sailors and ships and gorgeous period detail. The characters are all fascinating, the world richly filled, and everything is so beautiful it's a treat. I love Horatio; he's fabulous, both hot-tempered and kind at heart. Archie is also lovely, such a sweet, tragic character, and I love his friendship with Horatio. As I expected "Retribution" destroyed me emotionally. I adored Archie, and his death was heartbreaking, more so in that he died giving up his good name, the only thing he had left, to save Horatio, and no one can ever know. The way his death was shown with him vanishing was poignantly beautiful and haunting. I was glad Bush survived his injuries, though. Sadly, though, Horatio becomes a much harder character without Archie's sweet spirit to temper him, and I miss the optimistic young sailor I loved so much in the early films. Maria is a sweet character, though, and I wish they'd continued the films to show Horatio as a father and hopefully learning to love Maria.

I'm working my way through Band Of Brothers and the authenticity is impressive to the point of being painful to watch, especially with it's raw mix of horror and beauty. My favorite character is Eugene Roe, a sad and easy to love medic, and I adore his soft Cajun accent. I also really like Winters and his friendship with Nixon.

I saw the short film Heartless, a backstory for the Tin Man of Oz and was impressed by it's faithfulness and poignancy. I loved the more steampunk look of the Tin Man, leaving the human eyes, and the ending where he's humming the song while rusted in place was heartbreaking.

I'm watching the fifth and final season of Stargate Atlantis, a show I'm going to miss terribly, and despite some changes it's as excellent as always. The replicators storyline as well as Elizabeth's character mercifully finally end with an episode that almost manages to make me feel sorry for her. I think the new actress helps considerably. Instead the focus transfers and continues with Teyla and her son against Michael's ever-horrific experiments. I'm still not sold on the baby storyline, which felt forced, rushed, and out of character, something that could have been greatly improved if the baby's father had been introduced before the storyline, since I don't really mind him although I don't know anything about him, or better yet, making the father one of the regular characters. I gave a little shriek when Elizabeth questioned whether Sheppard could be the father, and with Teyla giving him the middle name of John I'd love to see someone do an AU of it. But, anyway, everyone, especially Sheppard and McKay are adorable with the baby, and I loved that Sheppard was able to somewhat make his peace over the people he's lost by managing to save Teyla and the baby, even so badly injured. Like Sheppard, McKay gets even more depth, and it stuns me to look back and see how much I disliked the egotistical character I first met in episode one compared to how much I love him now, giggling when he talks or complains, and tearing up when he gets hurt. "The Shrine" was an amazing acting job for David Hewlett, too, filled with h/c and some deeply poignant moments between the whole team. Samantha has sadly been removed from command, appearing only in the pilot, to be replaced with Woolsey, and while far from my favorite, he's not as bad as I'd feared and even occasionally shows a human, even amusing side. To my delight, Carson is cured and awake, appearing in several episodes, and clone or not, it warms my heart to hear that lovely Scottish accent again and watch him saving lives, even making it more bearable to tolerate Jennifer. I'm definitely not enjoying the McKay/Jennifer shipping of the season, though, even if it's nice to see McKay happy. I'm glad, after all that happened to the first Carson, that this one got a hopeful, even happy ending. "The Daedalus Variations" is an intriguing concept with a hilarious moment when Sheppard highly praises his alternate reality self. Other excellent episodes include the painful but incredible "Broken Ties" in which Ronon is captured and tortured by the wraith into an addiction to the enzyme. Watching him go through withdrawal put a lump in my throat, but I loved how the team stuck by him and got him through. "Tracker" forms an intriguing bookend to Ronon's story as another runner, this one traveling with a little girl, kidnaps Jennifer to treat the sick child. I liked the concept that runner's trackers had become more advanced since Ronon, as well as the poignant open ending - I like to think he got away from the wraith. Carson turned back up in "Outsiders", a nice closure to the Hoffa drug storyline, and I loved him going all action hero. It was nice to see McKay and he finally get that day off together, too, and it made me so happy to see him again, being all adorable with the village children. "The Prodigal" finalizes Michael's storyline, ending with his death at Teyla's hand, a dark but somehow fitting close for a tragic but evil character. "Remnants" is another strange episode but one that gives an interesting look at Sheppard's fears. The season's best is the stunning "Vegas", an unusually filmed story set in a parallel world. Parallel!Sheppard is fascinating, and so many moments, from the wraith passing as human to McKay discussing the little details that changed this Sheppard's life from the Atlantis one's gave me chills. The ending was haunting and poignant, with the song indicating Sheppard's character as he dies. "Enemy At The Gate" was a fitting finale, tying up the remaining threads to close out the stories of each person. Carson was back, although in a minor role, as was Sam. I didn't care for the handling of Todd's character, usually so sympathetic, as well as Sheppard's treatment of him, and the plot was somewhat rushed and filled, lacking in many more human moments, but the ending made it all worth while as Atlantis returns to earth, bringing the team home and leaving them looking at the Golden Gate Bridge. Ronon's death was shocking and horrible, but thankfully he's brought back to life - a shame the implications weren't explored more later - and I love everything about the scene from Teyla's and McKay's grief to Sheppard going back for him to find him alive; I found it a fascinating insight into Sheppard's character how, even being told Ronon is dead, he still goes back for him as if he won't believe it until he sees it or he's just that determined to not leave someone behind. Also Jason Momoa's acting was beyond incredible.

I've discovered and started watching the adorable '90s series Little Men which is happily set as something of a sequel rather than a remake of the film which I love, and while the Professor's death saddens me I love Nick and the color he brings to the show with his sea-faring past. The kids are all quite talented and appealing, especially Dan, Nan, and Nat, and little Rob is precious. Laurie, Meg, and Amy all make appearances and seem very much in character and believable as older versions. I also like this Jo, a perfect mix of motherly love and spirit who has a bit of June Allyson's Jo about her, and the old Canadian feel of the episodes is heartwarming. I also ship Nick and Jo and love the direction their relationship is slowly going.

I'm on the eighth and final season of Wagon Train and it's back to the comfortable black & white, hour long format of the early years while still retaining all the cast except for Duke. Bill is oddly out of character and even cruel at times but Coop is as wonderful as always, and Wooster happily gets more storylines. Barnaby is almost all grown up now, serving as co-scout, wearing a gun, and courting girls, and while I miss the adorable little boy of before I love seeing him as an adult. Excellent episodes include the hauntingly sad "John Gillman Story" with Bobby Darin in a touching role, the multi-storyline "Those Who Stay Behind", the somewhat dark "Echo Pass Story" in which Coop talks a woman into murdering a man - an evil guy but still a little creepy. I loved Coop's friendship with Wooster and the relief on his face at the end when he discovers he's alive, and the lovely "Miss Mary Lee McIntosh Story". Much of the season has an unusual supernatural obsession featuring ghosts, vampire bats, and a girl who can see the future in the quite good "Wanda Snow Story". "Betsy Blee Smith Story" is an amusing and often hilarious misadventure as Coop finds himself posing as a girl's husband, as well as being adorable with a baby. There's also the lovely "Katy Piper Story" with one of the sweetest one-shot characters in Katy, as well as an intriguing bit of character growth for Barnaby. The season's best is the haunting "The Indian Girl Story" which poses moral questions and few answers within it's tragic tale, as well as providing another chance for Barnaby to shine.

Onto season three of Once Upon A Time and I'm already sick of Neverland while it's Peter Pan mythos makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Pan is creepy and annoying, Tinkerbell gives me a pain most of the time even if she does manage to redeem herself in some slightly shippy scenes with Killian, and the constant gripping makes me want to kill off half the characters en masse. Thankfully there is a few saving graces as Rumplestiltskin's tragic story continues to unfold, and Robin Hood is back, the second actor but still good. I loved Roland and how adorable daddy!Robin Hood was, even if the man with the lion mark storyline is odd. Bae annoys me most of the time, and I can't accept him as the same person as the adorable little child of season one. On the bright side Killian Jones, minus the ghastly Emma romance subplot - she's my least favorite character and I absolutely detest her - is a fascinating character, a mix of tragedy and bad guy, especially with the haunting backstory of how he lost his brother and became a pirate, and his sort of friendship with Charming is amusing. Ariel and Eric's story which I'd been looking forward to was sadly poorly handled and rushed, with Eric coming across as rather bland, and their first meeting already having taken place. Ariel herself was fairly good, though, if more than a little naive. "Going Home" was gut-wrenching, even if part of me refuses to accept Rumplestilskin's death. I'm grateful Peter Pan is gone, and was deeply moved by Rumplestiltskin's sacrifice and final words to Belle and Bae. Regina's character growth was poignant to watch, as was her relationship with Henry. As glad as I am to be done with Storybrooke I found the scene where it's erased heartbreaking, especially as everyone vanishes into the smoke.

Continuing in my quest to watch everything Arthurian I discovered and gave a try to new series starting with the 50s The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot which was adorable and included a catchy theme. William Russell has a lovely, soft voice and the fight scenes are always fun since he seems to give everything to the part. Next was Arthur Of The Britons an unusual and quiet series portraying Arthur as a Celtic warrior rather than a king and focusing heavily, much to my delight, on his sort-of friendship with Kay.

Out of boredom I gave a try to BBC's Sherlock and found it a weird mix of the horrible and strangely entertaining. SM's influence is obvious with the annoying humor, hitting of the reset button, "everybody lives", plot holes, and teeth-gritting fan pandering - if I hear him use the T-shirt gimmick one more time I'm going to scream. However there are a few flashes of brilliance such as the scene where a wounded Sherlock comes back to life with beautiful use of light as the surgery scene overlaps with him in his dream struggling up stairs, as well as the tragic moment where Mycroft sees Sherlock as a little boy after he shoots the bad guy. While I can't stand Martin Freeman and can say nothing good about his lifeless John Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch is surprisingly good as Sherlock, capturing many of the stranger aspects while still making him likeable and often amusing. Molly is a delightful character, as is Sherlock's landlady.

I got to see the pilot for Swingin' Together which was never picked up for a series and it was quite cute, with the always delightful Bobby Rydell as a traveling singer fronting a band. It's a shame it didn't continue, because it was fun and I loved the hints of family-like friendship between the guys, especially their Mr. Cunningham and them.

I've started watching When Calls The Heart, a tv series based upon a series of books I enjoyed as a kid and it's quite cute so far, bringing back that frontier period drama feel that's been seriously lacking since the 90s. The characters, especially the children, grow on me, and Jack is appealing, even if I wish they hadn't changed his name from the book. I also saw the film, and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the tv show there were some lovely moments, especially with Edward, a character I wish the series included. I can't figure out exactly where and how it fits with the show, though, since the characters are vastly different in personality and circumstances of their relationships and meetings.

I've started watching Arrow and while it hasn't completely won me over I find it's unusual version quite interesting. While I miss Oliver's humor and warmth, this scarred, troubled, and often violent Oliver is realistic seeing all he went through, and the family intrigue is a fun twist. I adore Barry Allen, such a cutie and a sweetheart, and I love finally seeing the origins of the Flash. I'm looking forward to the spin-off, too. My favorite character so far is the complex and tragic Roy Harper, and I'm fascinated by his journey from thief to superhero. There's a good heart underneath all the anger, and I loved seeing Oliver save him. "Three Ghosts", my favorite episode so far, was stunning, and delightfully whump-filled, continuing with the intriguing storyline of the Japanese miracle drug. I was saddened by Slade's turn into evil, though, since I liked both Shado and he.
 
 
calliope tune: "Harden My Heart"-Quarterflash
feeling: ecstatic
 
 
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.
 
 
feeling: sore
calliope tune: "Dream Weaver"-Gary Wright