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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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Ratings
Ratings are based on a four star system.
One star means that the commercials are more entertaining than the program.
Two stars watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars is good solid entertainment.
Four stars means you never dreamed television could be this good.

Aliens in the Attic Every year I predict the best movies, based on the writers, not the director or the stars. A month from now, I'll do that for 2010. Here's what I wrote in 2009.

I listed thirty genre films in 2009, not counting talking gerbil movies. One 2008 movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, wasn't released until 2009. One 2009 movie, The Illuminati: Out of Chaos Comes Order, won't be released until 2010. I saw 16 of the films I listed, plus Imaginarium. The most common genre was earthbound sf.

I summed up my predictions for 2009 by saying, "My picks, based entirely on the writers: They Came From Upstairs, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Wolf Man, Sherlock Holmes, Planet 51, and Avatar. And I'm very curious about District 9."

I don't think I did too badly. Planet 51 and The Wolf Man were disappointing, but enjoyable. They Came From Upstairs changed its title to Aliens in the Attic and never played anywhere I could watch it. I picked it because Mark Burton also worked on Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Madagascar. I've ordered the DVD from Netflix, and I'll review it when I've seen it. District 9, about which I had almost no information, turned out to be one of the best films of the year.

Watchmen
 
Up
 
Coraline
 
I did not pick Star Trek, because the writers' previous credits included Transformers and several other turkeys. My prediction was wrong. I loved the new Star Trek. Watchmen also turned out must better than I expected. I also enjoyed Where the Wild Things Are, a strange, interesting, unsatisfying movie based on a classic children's book less than 350 words long. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 2012 weren't too bad.

Genre films did well on Oscar night, with 13 films nominated and 3 that won Oscars:

Avatar leads the list, with nominations for Best Picture, Music, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, and wins for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

Up came next, with nominations for Sound Editing and Writing (original screenplay) and wins for Animated Feature Film and Music (original score).

Star Trek was nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, and won for Makeup.

District 9 didn't win an Oscar, but was nominated for Best Picture, Film Editing, Visual Effects, and Writing (adapted screenplay).

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was nominated for Art Direction and Costume Design.

Sherlock Holmes was nominated for Art Direction and Music

Fantastic Mr. Fox was nominated for Music and Animated Feature Film

The Princess and the Frog was nominated for Music (original song) and Animated Feature Film.

Coraline was nominated for Animated Feature Film

The Secret of Kells was nominated for Animated Feature Film

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was nominated for Cinematography

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was nominated for Sound Mixing.

Copyright © 2010 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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