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Babylon 5.1
by 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. Visit his web site at

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.

For more information, you can try the following sites:
Rick Norwood's Website
Worldwide TV Schedule
The Official Babylon 5 Website
The X-Files
Pocket Books: Star Trek
Paramount Star Trek
Babylon 5.1 Columns

| 2012-2013 | 2010-2011 | 2008-2009 | 2006-2007 | 2004-2005  | 2002-2003 | 2000-2001 | 1998-1999 |
| Movie and TV Reviews (Page 1) | More Movie and TV Reviews (Page 2) | More Movie and TV Reviews (Page 3) |

Movie and TV Reviews
The Matrix Reloaded The Matrix Reloaded
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Our story opens when young Jedi Knight Neo is instructed by Obi Wan Morpheus to forget logic and reason and trust in the Source. Neo kicks ass until he meets his maker, and they talk. Thereupon, Neo leaves his creator and flies to rescue Lois Lane, who is falling from a tall building at the time.

Holes Holes
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This is the most intelligent, original, and entertaining movie so far this year. In a non-linear but compelling narrative, it tells how two curses, uttered more than a hundred years ago and half a world apart, work themselves out in a hole-studded desert in the present day.

X2: X-Men United X2: X-Men United
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The three greatest fantasy novels of the 20th Century (not counting children's fantasy) are The Lord of the Rings, Gormenghast, and The Once and Future King. Director Brian Singer pays tribute to the latter -- we see both the villain Magneto and the hero Professor X reading that book. Easily the best movie so far this year, this is a long way from making the best of the century list. However, it is a lot of fun, full of clever bits, skillfully told.

The Core The Core
a movie review by Rick Norwood
If you thought space travel was boring, try burrowing through the earth. Beginning well, the movie acknowledges how far away the core of the earth is, especially compared with the few miles humans have ever drilled, and how hot it is, at what terrific pressure.

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Since you'll be buying a ticket to watch the Animatrix short, you'll be glad to know that staying for the movie is not a total waste of time. The opening scenes are quite good, the horror is about as horrible as it gets. Then, two-thirds of the way through, the movie changes genres, and the ending is not horror at all...

Daredevil Daredevil
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Marvel is three for three with this new movie. It's deeply imbued with the spirit of superhero comics, where plot consistency and the laws of physics do not count for much, as long as the characters are cool and the action fast, and where nobody in a costume ever stays dead except Bucky.

The Two Towers The Two Towers
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The Two Towers takes far greater liberties with J.R.R. Tolkien than did The Fellowship of the Ring. They reduce Gimli to comic relief. His friendship with Legolas should be a major theme in the story. That only works if Gimli and Legolas meet as equals. Here, Gimli is reduced to the role of side-kick.

Star Trek: Nemesis Star Trek: Nemesis
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick is a Trekie from way back, so he enjoyed the movie. All they have to do is play the music from the original Trek and he's hooked. But if you are neither a Trekie or a Trekker, but one of the vast untrekked, then all the movie has to offer you is a pretty good space battle at the end. Among current films, it is not as bad as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, not as good as 8 Mile.

Solaris Solaris
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This movie is intelligent and technically excellent, but empty and ultimately boring. It is full of visual and musical quotes from 2001 - A Space Odyssey, but to what point? 2001 was a new visual experience. Everything here we have seen before.

Treasure Planet Treasure Planet
a movie review by Rick Norwood
There are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon than watching the new Disney animated feature. But there hasn't been a great Disney animated classic since Tarzan (****) and this offering is not even up to last year's Lilo and Stich (***). The key choices that sink this space-faring galleon are so bad they must have been made by someone with an MBA from a Midwestern university.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is not quite as good as the first Harry Potter film, but it is still filled with charm and excitement. The director, Chris Columbus, noted for letting his actors go too far in hamming it up, kept everyone well under control in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Signs Signs
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The plot is as old as Job, but M. Night Shyamalan tries to answer the unanswerable. The movie is a powerful entertainment and you do want to see it. Go. Read this when you get back.

Men in Black II Men in Black II
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick always walks into a movie with high hopes, even when other reviewers have all panned it. And sometimes his hopes are realized: he loved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Not this time. There are some hints that there was once a clever script by Galaxy Quest co-author Robert Gordon, but the current version by Barry Fanaro is stupid almost beyond belief.

Minority Report Minority Report
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is intelligent, witty science fiction. There is a fifteen-minute action sequence that is original, spectacular, and thrilling. There is a murder mystery -- how do you commit the perfect murder in a society where precogs foresee murder before it happens -- with a clever solution. There are a lot of deft predictions about the near future that are both convincing and original.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Most action films have three big action set-pieces, one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end. This movie has six or seven really big action sequences, and when it comes to action directors, George Lucas is one of the best.

Spider-man Spider-man
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The film is true to the spirit of the original comic book. Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker is the John Romita version, a sweet, intelligent kid, picked on by jocks because he has brains instead of muscles. Steve Ditko's Peter Parker was a skinny dweeb who got picked on by jocks because he wore a sign on his back that said, "Pick on me." The look of the film owes at least as much to Romita as it does to Ditko.

The Time Machine The Time Machine
a movie review by Rick Norwood
How does this film compare with the 1960 version? Quite well. It gives screen credit to David Duncan, writer of the earlier film, which it resembles more than it does the Wells' novel. It replaces the cheesy special effects with some very nice music and visuals, while retaining some of the period charm. The time machine itself will never become the major icon of SF cinema that the George Pal Time Machine model has become, but it's not bad.

To Live and Die in Starlight To Live and Die in Starlight
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick remembers reading an interview somewhere in which Joe Straczynski talks about calling up Harlan Ellison (before they had met) and saying, "Nobody will buy my stuff." And Harlan, ever the straight shooter, said, "That's because your stuff is shit." And the story goes that J. Michael Straczynski then redoubled his efforts to not only write, but write stuff that was really good, and that's when he broke into television. Rick wishes he had remembered that lesson.

Dr. Who: The Five Doctors Dr. Who: The Five Doctors
a DVD review by Rick Norwood
They are a guilty pleasure, but the three stories where the Doctors meet one another are especially fun. This DVD has more Doctors and more Companions than any other. The series follows the adventures of a Time Lord, never named but called simply "The Doctor". Because the show ran for time out of mind, actors came and went, and the internal explanation for these changes of appearance is that a Time Lord can regenerate, gaining a new face and a personality to fit. Then you add time travel to the mix, and the Doctor can meet himself coming and going.

The Fellowship of the Ring The Fellowship of the Ring
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Visually, this movie is a dream come true. New Zealand was the perfect place to film, with exactly the right mix of the familiar and the exotic. The action is exciting, the landscapes grand, the recreations of Hobbiton and Rivendell as good as anything this side of our imaginations could be. The acting is near perfection. There is never a moment when you doubt the reality of the characters, despite the fact that they are very different heights from the actors who play them.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This movie is about wishes that come true, and both the book and the film are better than we had any right to hope. There is enough plot here for 10 films, and it would have been easy to rush scenes or to leave them out entirely, but we are always allowed a few moments to gape in awe at the wonder and beauty of this wholly magical world. The attention to detail is delightful; this is a magical world that looks lived in, more real than reality.

a movie review by Rick Norwood
The first third of the film is the story of an alien who comes to earth and, for reasons never explained, chooses to spend much of his stay hanging around a mental hospital. The alien really is an alien. There is ample evidence. To mention just a few pieces of evidence, any one of which would be conclusive: he can see ultraviolet, he knew many years ago about an extra-solar planet only recently discovered, he can enter and leave the hospital undetected...

Dr Who: Spearhead from Space Dr Who: Spearhead from Space
a DVD review by Rick Norwood
The pleasures of Dr. Who are real but elusive. A lot depends on how you watch. For example, it would be a mistake to try to watch a complete story all the way through. The silly story and laughable special effects would overwhelm any appreciation of the clever bits. But if you watch, say, one episode a day, that's about right, and you are always glad when the end-title theme music comes on. In fact, the great Dr. Who theme music is one of the show's chief pleasures.

Gormenghast Gormenghast
a DVD review by Rick Norwood
This is the greatest gothic film ever made. It is fantastic without fantasy, opulent, decadent, baroque, bizarre, beautifully acted, gloriously filmed. The genius is in the characters; John Sessions as Prunesquallor deserves special mention, then there is Steerpike, the charming monster, who smiles and smiles and is yet a villain -- and why shouldn't he be, considering the way he is treated.

Planet of the Apes Planet of the Apes
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It upset Rick that Tim Burton assembled so much talent in the form of costumers, set designers, and choreographers and blew it all away on a deeply, deeply stupid script. William Broyles Jr. is a good writer -- he wrote Apollo 13 -- but Mark Rosenthal has written a dozen bad movies, including The Beverly Hillbillies and Superman IV. Why would anyone allow him to write again?

Jurassic Park III Jurassic Park III
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Joe Johnson is a yeoman director whose work is solidly in the middle ranks. Rick enjoyed Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and he liked The Rocketeer a lot. But, oh, what Stephen Spielberg could have done with this material!

A.I. A.I.
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Do not under any circumstances take a child to see this film. That's the most important thing you need to know. The next question is, do you want to see it yourself? It's very much worth seeing, but it isn't fun and it isn't easy. It does, however, treat science fiction ideas with the respect they deserve.

The Mummy Returns The Mummy Returns
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Start with the water rushing through tunnels from Indiana Jones, cut to the creatures crawling under the skin from The X-Files, then move on to Lara Croft's London mansion, and so on. Along the way, toss in the airship from Master of the World, the face in the water from The Abyss, and the creatures moving through tall grass from Jurassic Park II. Pretty soon, you've got a movie.

Dune Dune
a TV mini-series review by Rick Norwood
Dune, by Frank Herbert, first appeared in John W. Campbell's legendary Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Actually, by that time Astounding had changed its name to Analog, the Astounding gradually fading out, the Analog gradually fading in, over the space of the year.

The 6th Day The 6th Day
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This is the kind of film where any synopsis will inevitably give away most if not all of the plot. Rick has a few words about that and the movie's trailer.

Unbreakable Unbreakable
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This movie, like Demolition Man, is a different breed of cat. Both films have a lot of fun with ways in which the future is different from the present. Stallone knits a sweater. Schwarzenegger smokes an illegal cigar.

Red Planet Red Planet
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The best Rick can say about this movie is this: if you are really desperate for a sci-fi fix in a year without any first rate SF films, you won't be completely bored.

Hollow Man Hollow Man
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It says something about the movie that we never think of the invisible man as a character, only as Kevin Bacon in an invisibility suit. There are a lot of ideas in this movie, most of them visual. The movie shows you every invisibility special effect you can imagine, plus a few more you've never thought of. There is even a purely visual Shakespeare reference, involving a fly.

X-Men X-Men
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick bought the first issue of The X-Men new off the newsstand for 12 cents in 1963 and sold it twenty years later to help pay off his mortgage. He enjoyed the new X-Men film much more than he expected. The one good review he's read said it wasn't dumb like the comic book -- this from a reviewer who obviously never read a comic book.

Frequency Frequency
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is almost impossible to write a time travel story that does not contradict itself. Probably the closest is Larry Niven's "All the Myriad Ways." In a Hollywood that usually doesn't even try to make sense, this movie tries, and deserves points for making the effort. But that is not why you should see the film.

Mission to Mars Mission to Mars
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This is an entertaining science fiction film that strives to be scientifically accurate. The audience may not even notice that it takes radio messages many minutes to reach Earth (at the speed of light), that gravity in space is supplied by centrifugal force, and that the alien clock is counting down in binary. But Brian DePalma does not rub our noses in the science. He just gets it right.

Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove and Battlestar Galactica
DVD reviews by Rick Norwood
Want to get movie fans arguing? Mention your preference for the wide-screen or for the full-screen format. It has caused more words to be flung than almost anything else since Steven Seagal emerged as a movie star. Rick is a fan of wide-screen movies. Without it, he's likely to give the film a pass. But that changed when he watched DVD versions of Dr. Strangelove and Battlestar Galactica.

Bicentennial Man/Galaxy Quest Bicentennial Man and The Galaxy Quest
movie reviews by Rick Norwood
You will want to see Bicentennial Man, it is not is good as you hoped, but it is certainly not as bad as you've heard. As for the second movie, remember Spaceballs? Everything that movie did wrong Galaxy Quest does right.

Top 10 SF/Fantasy Films of 1999 Top 10 SF/ Fantasy Films of 1999
compiled by Rick Norwood
Here are Rick's top 10 choices. They are rated entirely on the degree of pleasure he felt while watching them. He doesn't discriminate between movies or TV shows. To him, they're all "film."

Star Trek on DVD Star Trek on DVD
reviewed by Rick Norwood
Star Trek is out on DVD, an ideal way for those too young to have seen the original to watch it, and for those of us so old we haven't watched it in years to relive it. Rick has watched "The Corbomite Maneuver" written by Jerry Sohl and gives us his thoughts.

Animal Farm Animal Farm
a TV movie review by Rick Norwood
The idea of an Animal Farm that is not shocking is a shocking idea. This version is mildly amusing. The animatronics by Jim Henson's creature shop is entertaining. Amusing! Entertaining! Eric Blair wrote his novel to shock England's intellectuals out of their romanticized illusions about Stalin's communism. He would be deeply offended by a version of his work that is designed to amuse and entertain. His wildcat has been declawed, his skunk de-perfumed, to make suitable drawing room pets.

Final Destination Final Destination
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Timing is everything in a film like this, and exaggeration is essential. You know someone is going to die, but it has to come at the moment you least expect it. Then, in retrospect, the moment has to seem exactly right. The director and screenwriter are just over-the-top enough, while keeping the characters sensible and sympathetic.

Star Trek on DVD Star Trek on DVD
compiled by Rick Norwood
Star Trek is out on DVD, an ideal way for those too young to have seen the original to watch it, and for those of us so old we haven't watched it in years to relive it. There are two disks so far, with two more coming in October and two more in November.

The Haunting The Haunting
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Don't let the critics scare you away. This is a good, old fashioned, "things that go bump in the night," horror movie. It's not art house horror; it's a Hollywood special effects movie -- with some very impressive effects.

The Blair Witch Project The Blair Witch Project
a movie review by Rick Norwood
You've heard the buzz. You know it is a low budget horror film that is now the cover story in Time magazine, a real rags-to-riches tale. With no clear supernatural element, Rick places it in the "lost in the woods with rednecks lurking" genre of horror, like Deliverance.

Wild Wild West Wild Wild West
reviewed by Rick Norwood
Our Babylon 5.1 columnist gives us his view on this remake of the TV series. It is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, written by Brent Maddock & S. S. Wilson and Jeffrey Price & Peter S. Seaman, has excellent actors, good dialogue, and spectacular special effects. Yet Rick found himself wondering, "Why am I not enjoying this more?"

Tarzan Tarzan A Walt Disney Animated Film
reviewed by Rick Norwood
Our Babylon 5.1 columnist gives us his take on the new Tarzan movie. He found that in spite of some liberties with the text, this movie is actually much closer to the original book than any previous adaptation. It succeeds in capturing Burroughs' mythic hero, fantasy setting, and larger than life romance, and is true to Burroughs' main theme of noble beasts and brutal men.

The Phantom Menace The Phantom Menace written & directed by George Lucas
reviewed by Rick Norwood
Our Babylon 5.1 columnist gives us his take on the new Star Wars movie. In The Phantom Menace you will see wonders you have never seen before.

| 2012-2013 | 2010-2011 | 2008-2009 | 2006-2007 | 2004-2005 | 2002-2003 | 2000-2001 | 1998-1999 |
| Movie and TV Reviews (Page 1) | More Movie and TV Reviews (Page 2) | More Movie and TV Reviews (Page 3) |

Copyright © 1998-2004 by Rick Norwood

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