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Site of the Week: The Sci-Fi Movie Page

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How is it that a movie like Roger Ebert ? Fortunately for sci-fi film buffs, there are sites like Sci-Fi Movie Page, a website almost singularly devoted to delivering well-informed reviews of hundreds of films dating all the way back to the fifties.

“Unlike many mainstream critics who look down on the genre, we actually like science fiction,” says James O’Ehley, who launched the site in 1997 as a way to teach himself HTML programming. “We are very honest in our reviews and we like to think of them as intelligent.”

What drives Sci-Fi Movie Page even further is its dedicated, lively community. It was the community, O’Ehley says, that enabled him to get the site its own dot-com name in 2003. “Until then,” he says, “I had to keep moving it from one free hosting service to the next because we kept on exceeding our bandwidth limits, and one service actually shut down the site for 24 hours each time the amount of site visitors exceeded their daily limits. It got annoying as the site was more off-line than on.”

Another feature that distinguishes O’Ehley’s site is its enormous collection of downloadable screenplays. With an array of both produced and never-produced scripts, this offering has quickly become a most popular component. “Sci-Fi movies nowadays are such a visual medium that one would expect people wouldn’t bother reading the scripts too, but they do,” he explains.

But then again, O’Ehley has found that the magic of sci-fi has always happened on the page, rather than on the screen. “We like science fiction and we like movies, but we like written science fiction enough to know that a lot of the Hollywood sci-fi output is rubbish, and can be a whole lot better,” he says. “There are a lot of interesting and good science fiction books and stories out there just begging to be filmed.”

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