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Think back to the science fiction cinema of the 1990s, and some of the decade's biggest box-office hits will immediately spring to mind: The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Men In Black, Armageddon and Terminator 2 were all in the top 20 most lucrative films of the era.
But what about the sci-fi films of the 1990s that failed to make even close to the same cultural and financial impact of those big hitters? These are the films this list is devoted to - the flops, the straight-to-video releases, the low-budget and critically-derided. We've picked 50 live-action films that fit these criteria, and dug them up to see whether they're still worth watching in the 21st century.
So here's a mix of everything from hidden classics to forgettable dreck, »
A new sci-fi classic Ex Machina: Ex Machina is perhaps one of the most challenging science fiction movies in recent years, not because it contains some kind of Primer-esque plot that's going to require charts and diagrams to figure out, but because so much of the movie is affected by what baggage and preconceived notions the audience brings to it. On the surface the directorial debut of Alex Garland (who wrote Dredd, Never Let Me Go, and Sunshine) is about a brilliant billionaire (Oscar Isaac) who invites one of his employees (Domnhall Gleeson) out to his gorgeous, secluded estate to test out a mystery technology that just so happens to be a robot (Alicia Vikander) with a high level of artificial intelligence. Below the...
- Peter Hall
Two guys and a robot girl. That's all you need to make a killer sci-fi movie. Oh, and the brain of Alex Garland, who cooked up the smart, engaging, often stunning Ex Machina as his directorial debut. If you haven't seen it yet, you can fix that now that the hit movie about two men testing an artificial intelligence is out on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD. We spoke to Garland, who also wrote The Beach, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, and Never Let Me Go, earlier this week for the Ex Machina home video release and couldn't help but bring up the last time we spoke, which happened to be on the eve of the release of Dredd, the last movie he wrote and produced. That movie has since found its following, but even he'd be the first to say that audiences just were not there for it...
- Peter Hall
If you want to discuss contemporary sci-fi touchstones of the last 15 years, probably somewhere near the epicenter of that conversation has to be writer/director Alex Garland. The writer behind “28 Days Later,” “Sunshine,” and “Never Let Me Go,” Garland has carved out a niche of intelligent thrillers with thoughtful yet visceral edges and made his directorial debut earlier this year with the well-received “Ex Machina.” One of the biggest indie hits of the year and A24’s highest grossing film to date, “Ex Machina” continues Garland’s moody exploration of dystopian ideas, and how they affect mankind. Featuring a trio of up-and-coming stars —Oscar Issac, Domnhall Gleeson (both of whom are in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Force Awakens") and Alicia Vikander— “Ex Machina” plays with the notions of empathy via artificial intelligence in a futuristic milieu (our review). More specifically, “Ex Machina” centers on a gifted computer programmer (Gleeson) who wins a. »
- Rodrigo Perez
“Isn’t it strange, to create something that hates you?”
It’s hard to find smart, thought-provoking science fiction stories these days, with current trends dictating bigger is better. Writer-Director Alex Garland’s Ex MacHina, released this past April, was small-scale, slow-paced, and breaks no new ground in terms of ideas. Yet thanks to a terrific script, exceptional characterizations, and one super-sexy robot, it was the best new science fiction film I’d seen since Under The Skin. Like Garland’s earlier scripts, which gave us fresh takes on the zombie genre (28 Days Later) and the space-flight-to-save-the-earth genre (Sunshine), Ex MacHina took a familiar sci-fi concept, in this case the replication of human presence via artificial means, and makes it new.
- Tom Stockman
Alex Garland is a beast when it comes to modern science fiction, and the great thing about his filmography is that no two of his movies are quite the same. The restart-the-sun spaceship thriller Sunshine is a much grander scale than the meditative clone drama Never Let Me Go, which is wildly different from the angry rage virus that is 28 Days Later, which is far more action-packed than his most recent sci-fi outing, the terrific Ex Machina, but also isn't anywhere near as weird and violent as Dredd. If you were afraid Garland's next movie would see him leaving the sci-fi genre, we're happy to report there is nothing to fear. He's sticking around science fiction for the foreseeable future. His next project is an adaptation of a recently published book called...
- Peter Hall
Alex Garland, a hell of a writer behind terrific contemporary genre and sci-fi films like 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd, recently made his feature debut with Ex Machina, which introduced a hell of a director as well. The thoughtful, sleek and unsettling tale of A.I. has wowed many since spring release and anticipation is high…
- Samuel Zimmerman
With both “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” gone, “The Walking Dead” is AMC’s default flagship show. This year not only finds the popular zombie series in its sixth season, it will also bring a spin-off from the cash cow. Because it’s San Diego Comic-Con weekend and there is such a huge overlap between attendees and fans of the show, the basic cable channel has released a pair of trailers for both the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” and its spin-off, “Fear the Walking Dead.” First up, let’s talk about that spin-off. Originally announced two years ago with no details, now we know that “Fear the Walking Dead” is set in Los Angeles during the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. It stars Kim Dickens (“Gone Girl” and “Treme”), Cliff Curtis (“Whale Rider” and “Sunshine”), Rubén Blades, and Elizabeth Rodriguez (“Orange Is The New Black”), among others. The »
- Cain Rodriguez
The migration of filmmakers from the big screen to the small one is not a new phenomenon, but another team was formally inducted this weekend, with the Wachowskis’ Netflix series Sense8 making its debut. The duo join the ranks of others such as Steven Soderbergh, and they are far from the last ones, as Steve McQueen, Baz Luhrmann, and Amy Seimetz are among those who are poised to make the creative leap as well. There are some filmmakers, however, who have displayed a set of talents that make the idea of them moving to television an exciting one. Here are ten filmmakers who would be a great fit on the small screen in charge of a tv show.
1) Alex Garland
- Deepayan Sengupta
Never mind little green men, there's only one man we need to worry about in "The Martian": Matt Damon's astronaut Mark Watney. During a manned mission to Mars, he's left behind and presumed dead. But he's not dead. He's just stuck there. So he's forced to use Bourne-level smarts to survive and signal home that he's still alive.
20th Century Fox just released the first 3-minute, 17-second trailer for "The Martian" and -- prepare to cringe at this, but dammit it's still true -- it's out of this world. Just watch:
"The Martian" is directed by Ridley Scott, so it's already off to a great start, and it's based on the novel by Andy Weir. Matt Damon is the headliner, but he's joined by A-listers Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, and ... Kristen Wiig? Yeah, she's branching away from just comedies, »
- Gina Carbone
Writer/Director Alex Garland, coming off the success of "Ex Machina," is not a major fan of sequels. Yet one of his earliest writing efforts, Danny Boyle's acclaimed zombie drama "28 Days Later," may be getting another one it would seem.
Garland was not involved in the first sequel "28 Weeks Later" and had no interest in a third for several years. However, he now tells The Playlist that a third film is moving forward with producer Andrew McDonald and it came about due to a random idea:
"The rights to '28 Days' were frozen, effectively, because they were shared between Danny [Boyle], [producer] Andrew [McDonald], myself, and Fox. After the second one, none of us really wanted to do another. Fox may or may not have, I don't know.
[Then] about two years ago, Danny [Boyle] started collaborating on the potential to make 'Trainspotting 2,' another sequel. In that conversation, an idea for '28 Months' arrived. »
- Garth Franklin
AMC has announced that production has begun on The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead. The show takes place in Los Angeles during the initial days of the outbreak. “We're going to show people all the insanity of civilization crumbling that Rick Grimes slept through,” says creator Robert Kirkman. “Buckle up.” At least that’s a moderately interesting distance from The Walking Dead, and they’re not just showing what’s going on with another small group struggling to survive in a rural area. Filming in underway in Vancouver, and I’m curious if the spinoff will stick to cities as a way to mark its distinct personality, or if, like The Walking Dead, it will eventually try to move away from urban landscapes. Click here to watch the creators talk about the new series, and check out the press release below. Fear the Walking Dead premieres this summer, »
- Matt Goldberg
For film enthusiasts, there are few people working in the medium today more interesting than either Edgar Wright or Alex Garland. So when the auteur of the Cornetto Trilogy told us he wanted a place to interview his friend, the director of the just-released "Ex Machina", we were thrilled to give him a home. You can hear the pair's conversation in the video above. It's a fascinating, free-flowing discussion of filmmaking, the craft of the screenplay, technology, the themes in Garland's film as well as the surprising pick of the writer/director who has had an outsized influence on them both. A stunning amount of the great film work of the past decade has emerged from the minds of the two participants in this conversation – "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz," "The World's End" and "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" are among Wright's credits. In his writer's garb, prior to »
- Richard Rushfield
Still on the fence about seeing Alex Garland's Ex Machina? If so, then the film's new red band trailer, our exclusive Ex Machina TV spots, and writer/director Garland's Reddit Ama should help make up your mind.
Ex Machina will spread to over 2,000 theaters this weekend and to mark the occasion, Alex Garland is participating in a Reddit Ama today from 4:00pm - 5:30pm Est along with artificial intelligence experts Dr. Adam Rutherford and Murray Shanahan.
"Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller, Ex MacHina. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).
Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing »
- Derek Anderson
As a screenwriter, Alex Garland has been doing impressive work for years on films like 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Never Let Me Go. He recently made his directorial debut on a character-driven sci-fi film called Ex Machina which, if you haven’t heard already, is the best movie of 2015 so far. As a result, many have been curious to see what Garland will do next, and it appears that his adaptation of the excellent Jeff VanderMeer novel Annihilation is shaping up to be the winning candidate, with an Oscar winner circling the lead role. Per Variety, Natalie Portman is in early talks to star in the Paramount Pictures film, which is best described as a chilling enviro-horror thriller. The story follows the expedition of four women who are sent into the mysterious “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity. »
- Adam Chitwood
Alex Garland’s break into mainstream filmmaking was on the cards for some time before the arrival of his excellent and cerebral sci-fi, Ex Machina. As the screenwriter behind 28 Days Later, Sunshine and the beloved Dredd reboot, Garland had been honing his skills from behind the camera for quite a while, and his talent is apparent in every frame of his critically-acclaimed debut.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the British director is already eyeing up potential candidates for his next project, and one that has risen to the top of the pack is an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, Annihilation. Remaining in the genre of science fiction, Garland’s latest is currently in the embryonic stages at Paramount; nevertheless, the filmmaker was able to share a few tidbits about VanderMeer’s concept in an interview with Deadline.
“This group of women enter a sealed park to see what is going on inside, »
- Michael Briers
The lines between man and machine are blurred in the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina. Starring Oscar Isaac,Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander, the film explores the notion of the Turing Test, pitting programmer Caleb (Gleeson) against Nathan’s (Isaac) machine Ava (Vikander) in an attempt to prove – or disprove – her artificial intelligence.
Ex Machina has steadily been gaining buzz as one of the year’s must-see sci-fi films since it debuted at the SXSW Film Festival. A familiar face is behind not only the script, but the camera. Alex Garland, author of The Beach and its subsequent screenplay, as well as the screenplays for 28 Days Later… and Sunshine made his directorial debut with Ex Machina.
Cineplex sat down with the affable writer-director to find out more about machines, the collaborative world of filmmaking, and working with some of the biggest up-and-comers in Hollywood (and future Star Wars: The Force »
- Rachel West
Alex Garland’s résumé reads like a laundry list of recent sci-fi and horror cult hits, with screenplay credits including 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007), and Dredd (2012). His latest, Ex Machina, may stand to follow that same path of cult adoration – although hopefully for Garland, its box office will follow more in the footsteps of 28 Days Later than those of Dredd. The sparse, character-driven sci-fi film follows Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), an office drone at a major tech company who wins the opportunity to spend a week at the secluded home of his employer, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Caleb discovers Nathan has recruited him to test the behavior of an android, Ava (Alicia Vikander), that Nathan has developed. As Nathan begins to display a more megalomaniacal side and Ava proves even more emotionally developed than expected, Caleb’s big week with the boss starts to slide unsettlingly south.
Director Garland made his first big »
- Patrick Dunn
Ex Machina, 2015.
Written and Directed by Alex Garland.
A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
Desire, lust, and love are undoubtedly some of the strongest emotions that humans come equipped with, but can artificial intelligence become so sentient that it can experience those feelings too? Ex Machina (the directorial debut from Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine) asks this and many more bold questions that raise so many provocative thoughts about the society we live in today, that it is hard not to call this one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking sci-fi thrillers of the current generation. You could probably go one step further and argue that it is one of the most original films ever made.
- Robert Kojder
It’s hard to find smart, thought-provoking science fiction stories these days, with current trends dictating bigger is better. Writer-Director Alex Garland’s Ex MacHina is small-scale, slow-paced, and breaks no new ground in terms of ideas. Yet thanks to a terrific script, exceptional characterizations, and one super-sexy robot, it’s the best new science fiction film I’ve seen since Under The Skin. Like Garland’s earlier scripts, which gave us fresh takes on the zombie genre (28 Days Later) and the space-flight-to-save-the-earth genre (Sunshine), Ex MacHina takes a familiar sci-fi concept, in this case the replication of human presence via artificial means, and makes it new.
Ex MacHina tells the story of Caleb (geeky Domhnall Gleeson from Unbreakable), a low-ranking worker bee at Bluebook, the world’s “biggest internet search engine”. The film opens with him winning an in-company competition for the opportunity to spend a week at the »
- Tom Stockman
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