(In theaters, January 1999) As my first movie of 1999, I wanted a baseline. A not-too-good film against which to compare the others I’ll see this year. I certainly got that with Virus. Neither astonishingly bad or particularly good, Virus is about the most generic movie you could imagine about an energy life-form taking over a boat. As a representative of the “there’s-something-evil-on-this-ship-and-we’re-stuck-with-it!” subgenre, Virus does the job without distinction but also without being too tiresome. Joanna Pacula is as lovely as ever, and Donald Sutherland’s deliciously bad performance as the ship captain is a hoot to watch. The direction is promising, but hampered by jumpy editing. The special effects aren’t all that special (the CGI sequences are unfortunately easy to spot) and some lines of dialogue are hilariously bad. (Lighting coming out of the computer: “Something’s accessing the computer!” “Impossible! Only I have the access codes!”) Might be a good choice in a few years on late-night TV. Until then, it will join Mimic, Screamers, Species and other undistinguished not-too-bad-not-too-good SF movies on the shelves of your local video store.