Leadership

The 38 geek movies of spring, summer, and early fall 2012

Our annual tradition of previewing the geek-centric theatrical movie releases of the year rounds up the 38 sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and generally geek-related flicks that will hit U.S. cinemas between April and September of 2012.

Movies are rated on the following scale, best to worst: Full Price, Matinee, Rental, TV, or Never.

1. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope [trailer]

Super Size Me documentarian Morgan Spurlock teams up with Joss Whedon to capture the essence of Comic-Con International in San Diego, which is to say they follow Stan Lee and Kevin Smith around the world's biggest nerd-fest as they create and crush the dreams of artists, designers, and collectors desperate for validation. Can't be worse than Fanboys.

Release date: April 6 Geekend rating: Rental 2. The Cabin in the Woods [trailer]

Joss Whedon's long-delayed deconstruction of the horror genre, as written by Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard and Whedon, wherein a group of attractive 20-somethings are trapped in a mysterious cabin that adapts to torment and murder them. Think Scream meets Cube by way of Dollhouse. (That means "good.")

Release date: April 13 Geekend rating: Matinee 3. Lockout [trailer]

Guy Pearce collects a paycheck as the sociopathic superspy with a heart of gold sent to rescue the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) held hostage during a prison riot in space. Yes, that does read exactly like Diehard retold by a sucrose-overdosed five-year-old, which is pretty much what the trailer promises.

Release date: April 13 Geekend rating: Never 4. The Moth Diaries [trailer]

The writer/director of American Psycho cashes in on the teen vampire craze with the story of a boarding school orphan whose weirdly erotic friend might be undead, or simply a manipulative psychopath. Think Lost & Delirious meets Let The Right One In, only creepier and more exploitative.

Release date: April 20 Geekend rating: Rental 5. The Raven [trailer]

John Cusack plays Edgar Allen Poe as the author tracks down a serial killer inspired by his writings -- as directed by V For Vendetta's James McTeigue. The studio bumped it from early March to late April because early screenings did well, so it may not be as awful as it sounds.

Release date: April 27 Geekend rating: TV 6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits [trailer]

Another March release bumped into April because the feedback was positive, though it's unclear how anyone could have doubted the studio behind Wallace & Gromit doing a claymation version of Gideon Defoe's cleverly fun The Pirates! children's book series. Goofball swashbucklers battle rivals for the Pirate of the Year award, defeating Queen Victoria and teaming up with Charles Darwin along the way. Yes, please.

Release date: April 27 Geekend rating: Matinee 7. The Avengers [trailer]

The culmination of Marvel Studios' years-in-the-making superhero meta-franchise, wherein Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, and Samuel L. Jackson (disguised as Nick Fury) agree to let Joss Whedon direct their first big-budget big-screen team up. Pinch yourself, comics geeks, 'cause you ain't dreaming.

Release date: May 4 Geekend rating: Full Price 8. Dark Shadows [trailer]

Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and a surprisingly solid supporting cast team up for a campy big-screen remake of the 1970s quasi-horror soap opera of the same name. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, an 18th century English lord cursed with undeath and revived in 1972 -- with all that it implies. (It implies goofiness. Lots of goofiness.)

Release date: May 11 Geekend rating: Rental 9. Battleship [trailer]

Peter Berg (the guy who directed Hancock) somehow gets a few hundred million dollars to turn the old Hasbro board game into a giant Transformers-style brain-dead plot-optional action-fest (they have a budget for four hyphenated terms). Yes, Hollywood is officially out of ideas.

Release date: May 18 Geekend rating: Never 10. Chernobyl Diaries [trailer]

A classic horror premise in a mildly novel setting. Six tourists hire an unethical guide to show them around the irradiated remains of Chernobyl, only to discover they're being stalked through the abandoned ruins. Don't let the Oren Peli producer credit fool you (he made Paranormal Activity); this one is low-budget and run by first-timers, so it could be either genius or garbage.

Release date: May 25 Geekend rating: TV 11. Men in Black III [trailer]

A completely unnecessary sequel, which sees Will Smith sent back in time to the 1960s where he encounters Josh Brolin doing an uncanny Tommy Lee Jones impression. Also, there may be some awkward racial jokes, because those worked out so well in Wild Wild West. You've been warned.

Release date: May 25 Geekend rating: TV 12. Piranha 3DD [trailer]

Sequel to the gratuitously bloody, puerile, and campy Piranha 3D. Somehow, the producers have amped the sex, violence, and irreverence up even more, which is to say this is a feature-length R-rated Robot Chicken sketch filmed in widescreen live-action 3D. Should be fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

Release date: June 1 Geekend rating: TV 13. Snow White and the Huntsman [trailer]

Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron emo up the classic fairy tale for the Twilight set, as overseen by a rookie director relying heavily on green screen technology. Think Immortals meets The Brothers Grimm, for better and for worse.

Release date: June 1 Geekend rating: Never 14. Prometheus [trailer]

Ridley Scott's three-decades-in-the-making prequel to Alien, with an all-star cast headlined by Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Guy Pearce teaming up to divine the origin of humankind, and possibly the xenomorphs, too. It looks every bit as awesome as you always hoped it would be.

Release date: June 8 Geekend rating: Full Price 15. Safety Not Guaranteed [trailer]

A group of journalism interns seek out the man who posted a classified ad looking for partners for a time travel expedition. An indie-licious cast anchored by Aubrey Plaza give this plenty of quirky street cred. Think K-PAX crossed with Little Miss Sunshine, only as a date movie.

Release date: June 8 Geekend rating: Rental 16. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [trailer]

No, seriously, what if the Great Emancipator had spent his pre-Presidential youth scouring the wilds of 19th century America for nosferatu? It's Hellboy meets The Patriot by way of Bubba Ho-Tep, with all the historical respect and gravitas you'd expect from that breed of cinema.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Rental 17. Brave [trailer]

Pixar's first feature starring a female protagonist chronicles a young Scottish highland princess's quest to prove herself a warrior. Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, and Kelly Macdonald round out a solid voice cast for another guaranteed heartwarming hit.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Matinee 18. Seeking A Friend for the End of the World [trailer]

When an impending asteroid strike threatens to wipe out all life on earth, Steve Carell decides to spend his last days on a road trip with Keira Knightley (there are worse coping mechanisms). I have no idea who thought Date Night needed to be mashed up with Deep Impact, but I admire the chutzpah.

Release date: June 22 Geekend rating: Rental 19. Beasts of the Southern Wild [director's featurette]

The story of a young Louisiana girl struggling to save her father from an environmental catastrophe she believes she caused, complete with revived prehistoric monsters. Why, yes, this was a Sundance Film Festival darling.

Release date: June 29 Geekend rating: Rental 20. G.I. Joe: Retaliation [trailer]

Adrianne Palicki, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Bruce Willis(!) headline the sequel to 2009's aggressively stupid G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The good news? Almost the entire cast of the last movie is killed in the first reel of this one (except Ray Park's Snake Eyes, of course). The bad news? The previous sentence included the word "almost."

Release date: June 29 Geekend rating: Never Read about geek flicks that will hit U.S. cinemas between July and September 2012.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

21 comments
AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

...and learn the difference between cache and cachet. Cache means to hide (in French) and in English is used to mean a hidden stash. Cachet means approval, or status. Jennifer Lawrence has a certain cachet because of the success of Hunger Games.

Slayer_
Slayer_

They would be much better if the camera guy was the first one shot in each scene, then the camera could tumble to the ground and sit still filming the rest of the fight scene. But instead we get constant shaking and super close ups so bad that we can't be sure there is any action at all.

david.shorr
david.shorr

Can't believe you left out Iron Sky. Come on. Nazis from space... I respectfully disagree with your geek rating for Safety Not Guaranteed - it was one of the best films we saw at this years SXSW. The "new improved" ending has all that a geek could ask for. And its full of quality acting, excellent dialog and good characters. See it in a theatre ASAP!

zyzygy
zyzygy

Nice to see the US on the wrong end of the release schedule for once.

RG Bargy
RG Bargy

What is the Hasbro board game of which you write? I remember when we used to play battleships using squared paper... And as for "Brave" is this another Brit-Bashing fest from Disney (the UK's bestest friend ever (not))??

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

"[i]... but I refuse to sit through someone's attempt to program the audience into laying down to the inevitability of a ruling oligarchy.[/i]" MPAA and RIAA already have power far beyond their value to society. It's strange that Hollywood should keep reminding people of that. Hopefully "Prometheus" will be good.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

Not sure I understand the one world government comment above, but I loved the first 2 Alien movies. Came out of the theater with a gut ache from being so tense. If this can live up to them (forget about the last 2 Alien movies) then it could be great.

mgladish
mgladish

Great list, thanks! Not coming to the theatres, but premiering on Chiller Network on 4/13/12 is Brian Keene's "Ghoul". Got great reviews. Horror fans should like it. Check it out at: http://www.ghoulthemovie.com/.

sboverie
sboverie

There are a few movies on the list that might be interesting, but the rest sounds like the usual floundering for a good script. The remakes of successful movies has been rarely effective and sequels to good movies also rarely rise to the level of the first movie. There are exceptions but most remakes and sequels lack creativity or perhaps they lack the boldness to take a risk with something that isn't formulaic.

pgit
pgit

quote: "Hollywood had its Golden Age, back when well-written scripts reflected well-developed, multi-faceted characters. Today, Tinseltown is a monolithic, left-liberal automaton, marching in thematic unison and subjecting the viewer to the same impoverished, error-riddled, preachy themes. The evidence is in. Activism and abreaction have replaced acting, and sermons have supplanted stories in the repertoire of the pretty, pea-brained community. A giant digit wagging above a captive audience: that???s Hollywood." http://www.wnd.com/2012/04/the-tarts-and-tards-of-hollywood/

pgit
pgit

Prometheus, no thanks. I'd be noisily pointing out the world government Bilderburg-mandated propaganda and ruin it for everyone. I don't mind being entertained, but I refuse to sit through someone's attempt to program the audience into laying down to the inevitability of a ruling oligarchy. I'm insulted by the likes of Prometheus.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

The Dark Knight Rises The Amazing Spider-man The Avengers Prometheus What's yours?

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

April to September is what Hollywood calls "summer" -- a definition applied strictly for marketing purposes. April sees films designed to capitalize on the audience impatience for the first weekend of May, a date which semi-officially kicks off "summer" movies. The "season" then runs until Labor Day weekend, which is to say through the end of September, as Hollywood dumps the last of its action-centric popcorn flicks into the ninth month to play out the popcorn-fest marketing momentum set up during actual summer. You'll also see "summer" backloaded with so-so horror films that are being rushed through their theatrical window so they can be released on DVD in time for Halloween. Ironically, October -- the month Halloween is actually in -- kicks of so-called "Award Season," when studios pump out all the Oscar contender dramas late in the year to A) capture folks trapped indoors by cold weather and B) capture the attention of Oscar voters right before the year-end nominating deadline. And if you think Hollywood calendars are weird, you should see their math: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

judas
judas

Couldn't agree more, Iron Sky looks like a future cult classic and should certainly deserve inclusion on a list of this nature.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...I don't think the plot ever ventures south of Hadrian's Wall, at least from what is visible from the trailer.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...the authority figure in all the alien films was the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, a private entity. Part of the viral marketing for Prometheus is a fake TED talk from Mr. Weyland himself. If anything, it paints a picture of soulless business as the eventual tyrant of humankind.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...but it's only being released in Scandanavia. If/when it gets a US street date, I'll slot it in.

pgit
pgit

look it up

pgit
pgit

Whatever you're talking about your ad hominem is inapplicable both to me and my original point. I happen to know more about what really makes this world tick than most, having had a lot of personal access to the kinds of people that own senators and presidents. There are "powerful outside [enemies]" and they have you (meaning 'all' for the most part) right where they want you. And they routinely "pi$$ on your corpse" as I say, eg most of the "news" you consume is a narrative yet you (the same 'you') believe you are informed. Entertainment tends to be the most transparent golden shower. Like I said, I can handle mindless amusement (a-muse = "not think") but when they attempt to be clever-clever and get "deep" with the agenda I am insulted. I am anything but paranoid. I simply know what I know and there's no convincing you of anything absent your having walked the 18 years in my shoes I spent hobnobbing with the .0001%. GHW Bush and I discussed the use of food as a weapon in 1980. I alerted Al D'Amato to a scathing editorial that ran on the day he was to deliver a speech observers thought would be the end of his career. He followed my advice and the speech was seen as a stroke of genius. He was subsequently reelected. People going in and out of the white house discussing the matter told me the real reason your "powerful outside" >they< pushed for random "drug testing." I could go on. Prometheus, National Treasure, The Da Vinci code and that ilk are horrendously insulting if you know the truths behind that which they appear to "reveal." "Veil," "obfuscate" and "red herring" are more appropriate. Give me Blazing Saddles any day. Comforting delusion? Maybe you are aware of your own? Would be rare...

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...the comforting delusion that everything you don't like about the world is the work of some powerful outside enemy, and that not only are you important enough to thwart, but none of your failures are your fault.

Editor's Picks