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Aaaaghhh! I am so addicted to this series!!!!! I'm only five episodes in, but still.

Granted, Brutus isn't exactly my Brutus, but he's still cool. And I haven't even showed up yet, but the whole thing is . . . awesome. Oh, and Antony's `I'm a soldier, not a peacekeeper,' was just perfect for me, having just finished my run through all of TOS (a project I started last summer). :D

Eh, right. I'll be off watching episode six now.

Empire, Part Two

Apparently my brain has had its opportunity to reassemble itself. The portions deemed worthy of noting from the second part (or, in terms of the original broadcast, parts 4--6, as I gather) are as follows.

Flippant Antony is amusing: `windbag toga brigade' FTW!

Whoops! Octavius just slipped and fell on his temporally misplaced asp. [Well, technically it was Antony's, and yeah, that pun was probably worse than the entire series :P .] And Antony picks up the villain ball.

Morbid snarky Brutus is <3 . Of course, that's also the moment when Antony decides to toss us out of Rome, and apparently our final appearance in the series.

Agrippa is . . . vaguely cute, or something. And while I'm a fan of Agrippa, `cute, or something' is not one of the qualities for which I like him. Needless to say, this Agrippa doesn't evince any of those.

can haz roman battl taktics? o. mebbe not. (Fighting in the middle of a forest with absolutely no opportunity or regard for a nice line of battle? Srsly.)


So . . . apparently Brutus and I get to live out our lives in exile?

The problem with this series is that, at least in retrospect, with regard to history, it has a way of seeming so bad it's good. Which I'm pretty damn certain it wasn't while I was watching it.

Empire, Part One


I mean, it's nice to see some decisiveness for a change (given that most of 44 apparently passed in a haze of `Wut'), and I get to upstage Brutus for once (though he has his moment, too, as, of all things, pontifex maximus), but I've gotten Villain Upgrade just a level short of Dante, and have become an evil mastermind, complete with all the stupidity attendant thereto. [facepalm]

And Octavius, the reluctant hero?

And Cicero, what about your Philippics?

And Mordor as a gladiator training camp?!?

AND ME AND SERVILLIA?!?!? Why oh why does this fascinate people so?

/self-as-Cassius rant

Don't know when I'll get around to Part Two. Probably once my brain has had a chance to reassemble itself.

The Black Hole

Or, wut

A 1979 Disney movie that comes with a hefty serving of Everyone is Jesus in Purgatory . . . I think; TV Tropes of course has a fuller list which ate yet another afternoon of my life. My father recommended (or maybe un-recommended) the film to me as a really bad movie worth(?) seeing if I could do so for free. Well, that's what the public library is for. It, er, lived down to his description of it.

And I mean downCollapse )

tl;dr - wut; need brain (or maybe eye) bleach; more wut

Sapphire and Steel

I have just recently discovered Sapphire and Steel, a British TV series than ran for about three years circa 1980, and have become very enchanted with it. It has a rather eerie supernatural type theme (said eeriness often being somehow associated with Time), was made on a minuscule budget and is often (deliberately) oblique as all Hades about what is really happening.

`We have been told that certain people are experimenting with time. People from the not too distant past or the not too distant future. Am I right?'

`That's right, yes.'

`And consequently, as nobody should mess around with time---'

`Except us.'

`Except us . . . that these people are in danger. And, not only them, Time itself is in danger.'
--Assignment 3

The series extended for six arcs (or Assignments) in which the eponymous Sapphire and Steel show up to fix Time (sometimes with the assistance of others of their ilk), typically in the best interests of Time and the greater good, which do not always coincide with the personal good of all the bystanders. I came to the series because David Collings (Cassius in the 1979 Julius Caesar) shows up in a couple of the arcs as the character Silver, who turns out to be absolutely adorable and full of squee and I so want his costume from assignment six. Sapphire and Steel, however, are pretty damn cool themselves, with adventures ranging from Mostly Harmless to Really Disturbingly Creepy. In honor of this, I have produced a list of rules for avoiding many of the Nasty Things That Can Happen. (Located behind the cut, because, while they aren't exactly direct end-of-assignment spoilers, some are kind of mid-adventure spoilers; others are just generalizations or else fairly obvious from the outset.)

Lessons LearnedCollapse )

Much Ado About Nothing

Last night I attended the Houston Shakespeare Festival's production of Much Ado About Nothing. As it happens, this is only second version I have ever seen of the play---hitherto, I have only known Branagh's movie. That said, Much Ado is probably the first play that I knew well; I had certainly encountered Midsummer Night's Dream before Much Ado, and perhaps others, but since my mother had the video of Much Ado, we watched it many times from around the time when I was around eleven years old or so (she eventually added the Trevor Nunn Twelfth Night to our many-times-watching repertoire, but I digress).

Shakespeare in the ParkCollapse )

tl;dr - deception scenes v. good; sympathetic!Claudio?!?; diff. from expectations (i.e. Branagh); good to have met diff. interpretation

Homer on Google

So, just today I learned about the glorious delights (alternatively, the cheap laughs) of Google Search Stories. As a result, I have squandered my afternoon reducing two of the greatest epics of Western literature to 30 second videos, each based on seven terms the aspiring hero wishes to know more about through the aegis of Google. Fair warning: these will probably not help you pass your Greek mythology class. ;)

The Iliad, or How to be a Hero

The Odyssey, or Searching for the Way Home

Evil Under the Sun

Or, Brutus and Another Portia

Ok, so the Caesar connection here is a bit of a stretch, but Diana Rigg does happen to stand out in my memory as my favorite Portia, though that might be due to the fact that she was one of very few good parts in the generally dreadful 1970 Caesar. But I digress.

Evil Under the Sun is a film adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel (one I have not read) which features her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Diana Rigg is the victim, and naturally most everyone has some reason to want to kill her, including James Mason and Maggie Smith (in a much earlier film than any other I have seen her in).

I'm not an extremely major Christie fan, though I do enjoy her work when I happen to come across it, whether by way of screen, stage or print. Of late, my main exposure to her has been her plays, thanks to a theater in town that usually puts on one during the summer; in comparison to what I've come to expect from their productions, this film lacked a little vitality, though it had its moments. I'm not sure if this is me becoming a theatre over film snob (I dearly hope not), something lacking in the film, or just the inherent differences between a piece written for and performed on the stage versus a novel adapted to the screen (though I have read And Then There Were None and seen it both on film and stage and preferred the latter production to the former).

Given a liking of Christie, Evil Under the Sun was certainly worth watching once, though I have no compelling reason to do so again. All the actors in character parts were just that: in character parts. They were good to watch in their scenes, but did not have much screen time overall.

The Desert Fox

Or, Another Failed Assassination

Two years before and nearly two thousand years after a certain other assassination conspiracy, James Mason plays the Nazi general Erwin Rommel, who is somehow tangentially involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, only he ends up missing out on the fun. Actually, this whole assassination was even more of a failure since Hitler survives it, whereas Brutus et alii actually manage to kill Caesar, even though their cause goes piffle about two and a half years later.

To be honest, this movie didn't do that much for me. Rommel, through a series of events, decides he no longer has faith in Hitler as a leader around the time some other people happen to have an idea to assassinate him. Rommel and the conspiracy kind of cross paths but otherwise seem to have little to do with one another; enough, though, that the state can't let Rommel continue to live (saying this really doesn't spoil anything, since it's more or less explained about twenty minutes into the film).

So, as a story, it left me feeling very much `What's the point?' but there were some cool moments, mostly those involving Rommel being badass in Africa.

The Prisoner of Zenda

Or, Enemies, Before They Became Lovers

A year before Caesar, Brutus and Portia were on opposite sides of the line dividing good and evil as the villainous Rupert of Hentzau and the lovely Princess Flavia. To speak rather more plainly than this curious allusion to Ancient Romans wandering around in Ruritanian romance (which term I was pleased to know something about when it came up in my recent rereading of Have His Carcass), James Mason and Deborah Kerr appeared as said characters in the 1952 Prisoner of Zenda.

The whole story in fact begins back at a date inconveniently near the end of term, when I decided to find James Mason rather interesting. Home again, and with an entire county's worth of public library just two blocks down the way (give or take an inter-library loan request) I am more or less reprising my activities of two summers ago when I found Claude Rains rather interesting, viz., borrowing a long string of DVDs.

Sundry PrisonersCollapse )

tl;dr - PoZ 1952 w/ James Mason & Deborah Kerr (Brutus & Portia); decent film; good story (w/ slash potential); liked 1937 PoZ better