Robert Wise

Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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Drinking Games

It’s been 50 years since West Side Story made the big plié to the silver screen, destined to win ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Now, it’s getting its first ever Blu-ray release to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Yeah, it’s not the most realistic look at New York street gangs. Gang members are not that clean cut, and they do tend to carry more dangerous weapons than wrenches and belts. But this is a slice of American cinematic history. So pick a side – Jets or Sharks – and spend some time with one of the most famous musicals Hollywood ever made.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with Lucky McKee about his disturbing new horror film The Woman. Plus, we launch a new feature for the month of October where horror filmmakers discuss a favorite horror film. This week, A Horrible Way To Die and You’re Next writer Simon Barrett praises an obscure modern classic. As if that weren’t enough, FSR Associate Editor Rob Hunter goes mano a mano with Film.com‘s Eric D. Snider in a test of wits and movie news acumen. Download This Episode

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West Side Story is a beloved musical, but it also won a ridiculous 10 Oscars (including Best Picture). It was a dominating feature in its day and continues to be. It was the first directorial effort for Jerome Robbins who co-directed with icon Robert Wise (they shared the Best Director award), and it’s full of memorable lines, songs, and moments. Starring Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, a few sharks and a few jets – it was a massive New York City production that delayed the demolition of buildings in order to shoot its opening dance sequence (on a spot where the Lincoln Center now stands). It was a bold endeavor that yielded some equally bold results.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Of all the styles of marketing, the trailers from the 50s might be the best. With their out-of-context shots only aided by a few buzz-word-filled sentences scrawling across the screen (or popping up gigantically, filling the whole frame), there’s something brilliant about what they’re selling. It’s usually sex, intrigue, romance, thrills, chills and anything else that rhymes. In 1958, Robert Wise made a movie about a young woman who lived fast, got caught up in the court, and saw the gas chamber flash before her eyes. It’s a great movie, and it’s got that brilliant 50s style to its trailer. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Director Scott Derrickson’s remake of the 1951 science fiction classic, the latest in the long line of shiny, CG-heavy remakes, might be attractive at first, but in the end it reveals itself to be less than worthy of its name.

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Lady Terminator! F-in

This weekend, the mecca of geekdom was the Drexel Theater in Columbus, Ohio. More than 300 people gathered for 24 hours of science fiction movies. Several of the Rejects were in attendance to enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly that science fiction cinema had to offer.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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