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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In new animated films I saw Hotel Transylvania 2 which was nearly as cute and offbeat as the original. I loved the new characters, especially Dennis and Winnie, and even though I secretly wanted Dennis to remain human the little curly-haired bat was adorable.
feeling: excited
calliope tune: "Faithfully"-Journey
14 November 2014 @ 03:02 pm
I watched The Hobbit: Batlle Of the Five Armies and on the last film of the series, the director finally gets it right, finding the perfect balance between nostalgia and a compelling new story. While there are still a few flaws - Tauriel remains unnecessary, Fili gets far too little screentime, Kili is obviously pushed to the viewers as the favorite, and we still never get to "know" many of the characters like in LOTRs, the good points far outweigh the bad. Most notably, unlike the others, this film never feels padded or stretched, the pace remains steady, and the removal of comedy elements give it a good solid feel the other films lacked. Bilbo, more likeable now that his acting is toned down, shows the noble heart that's always endeared me to the hobbits, and the highly likeable Bard gets to be the hero in taking down the dragon and leading the army of men. His moments with his children are beautiful, and I was grateful they all got their happy ending. Thorin's tragic spiral into madness is brilliantly acted and compelling, and his, Fili, and Kili's deaths reduced me to tears, even though I was saddened that Kili and Fili didn't get to die side by side as in the book. Legolas, the one addition to the trilogy I've loved since the beginning, was at his very best, showing off his fighting skills as well as hinting at his past - his strained relationship with his father, unrequited love for Tauriel, and, most intriguingly, the loss of his mother. The scene where his father finally tells him that his mother loved him made me sob, and I teared up at the mention of Aragorn as Legolas sets off to find him in the end. The links to LOTRs were skillfully done and never forced as before, and I loved how the ending drifted seamlessly into the first LOTRs. The closing theme was gorgeous - I'm so happy they used Billy Boyd's lovely voice again - and the credits were beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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