After Hours

The 53 geek movies of 2009: Here's a rundown

In this economy, movies are a luxury you'll have to save up for. Thus, The Trivia Geek preemptively rates every single movie scheduled for release this year that might possibly be aimed at the Geekend demographic. Plan your popcorn outings accordingly.

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Folks seemed to like me breaking down the geek summer movies of 2008, and since my predictions proved almost invariably true last time, I thought I'd vainly push my luck and take a crack at all 50 or so of the geek movies scheduled for 2009.

Based on early data — which for some films is sparse — I've arrogantly rated each movie on the only scale that matters: What point in the film's life cycle I'll make an effort to see it. The categories are: Opening Night, Opening Weekend, Full Price, Matinee, Rental, TV, or Never.

All ratings are subject to change once I find out more about the films in question. This being a fairly long list, my synopses will be short. I'll break down each months' movies in more detail as their premiere dates approach — assuming the dates ever come (I'm looking at you, Watchmen).

  1. Outlander

    Limited release sci-fi actioner sees Jim (The Passion of the Christ) Caviezel as an alien bounty hunter who crash lands in Viking-age Norway and must help the locals fend off an alien monster. Vikings vs. aliens? Yes, please. [Trailer]

    Release date: Jan. 23 Rating: Rental
  2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

    Ever wonder why it was that the vampires and werewolves were fighting each other in the first two Underworld movies? Yeah, me neither. [Trailer]

    Release date: Jan. 23 Rating: Rental
  3. Inkheart

    Brendan Frasier plays a dad who can bring literary characters to life by reading their books aloud. Because Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D didn't do enough damage to his career. [Trailer]

    Release date: Jan. 23 Rating: Never
  4. The Objective

    A U.S. Special Ops team pursues terrorists in Afghanistan, only to accidentally awaken a supernatural evil. Blair Witch meets Predator (in a good way). [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 4 Rating: Rental
  5. Coraline

    Stop-motion kid-friendly horror/fantasy based on the book by Neil (Stardust) Gaiman. Aimed squarely at The Nightmare Before Christmas crowd but in 3D. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Matinee
  6. Echelon Conspiracy

    Martin Sheen takes a paycheck as the bad guy in a quasi-science fiction technothriller that smells an awful lot like last year's middling Eagle Eye. Only this time it stars an iPhone. Seriously. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: TV
  7. Fanboys

    The long-in-limbo road trip comedy about geeks trying to get their dying friend onto Skywalker Ranch is finally being released — now that Star Wars isn't cool anymore. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Full Price
  8. Push

    A flick about teens with psychokinetic powers who are forced to flee government exploitation. Desperately trying to be the sci-fi Harry Potter only with more sass and explosions. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Matinee
  9. Franklyn

    Ryan Phillippe stars as Preest, a masked vigilante fighting oppression in a futuristic theocracy run amok — all of which could be a dream, or our world might be a dream of his. Could be a cult classic or an anti-religious vanity screed, but it's got loads of talent and positive buzz. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 20 Rating: Matinee
  10. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

    Kristin (Smallville) Kreuk tries to serious-up the (rightfully) stalled and forgotten video game movie franchise. Lipstick, meet pig. [Trailer]

    Release date: Feb. 27 Rating: Never
  11. Big Man Japan

    A tongue-in-cheek play off the kaiju genre. 2007 release in Japan finally makes it stateside, with much goofy anticipation. [Trailer]

    Release date: March (sometime) Rating: TV
  12. Hunter Prey

    Feature-length indie flick about warring alien bounty hunters from Sandy Collora, perhaps the most talented and controversial fan-filmmaker ever. The backstory of Hunter Prey may be better than the movie, but both are worth noticing. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: March (sometime) Rating: Rental
  13. Watchmen

    Zack (300) Snyder recreates the most highly rated comic book ever written — almost panel for panel — on the big screen. If it ever comes out, it could blow the doors off the genre. [Trailer]

    Release date: Mar. 6 (Pending a lawsuit) Rating: Opening Night
  14. Race to Witch Mountain

    Family sci-fi adventure sequel to the 1970s Disney franchise, which sees Carla Gugino and The Rock trying to help two alien kids escape to their homeworld. More purgatory for tweeners' parents. [Trailer]

    Release date: Mar. 13 Rating: Never
  15. Knowing

    Alex (The Crow) Proyas directs Nic Cage as a guy who finds a time capsule that can predict future disasters — including one involving his family. Back to the Future meets The Number 23 only more noir. [Trailer]

    Release date: Mar. 20 Rating: Rental
  16. Monsters vs. Aliens

    Goofball animated mashup of 1950s B-movies pits giant monsters vs. flying saucers. From the guys who gave us Shrek 2 and Shark Tale. [Trailer]

    Release date: Mar. 27 Rating: Rental
  17. Dragonball Evolution

    A live-action version of the dumbest, most poorly Americanized anime idiot-fest ever made. The stink of this is already traveling backwards in time. [Trailer]

    Release date: April 8 Rating: Never
  18. Crank 2: High Voltage Brain-dead sequel to the brain-dead action fest showcasing Jason Statham's English Jackie Chan routine. This time see him chasing a Chinese mobster that literally stole his indestructible heart. [Trailervery not safe for work] Release date: April 17 Rating: TV
  19. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan, this time squaring off in WWII and the present against Liev Shreiber's Sabretooth. Tons of Marvel character cameos, which may wreck it. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 1 Rating: Opening Weekend
  20. Star Trek

    The guy who created Lost and Alias tries to make Trek cool again by rebooting the franchise and recasting Kirk and Spock. Here's hoping the hubris pays off. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 8 Rating: Opening Night
  21. Angels & Demons

    Ron Howard directs The Da Vinci Code prequel and hopes it doesn't suck as bad as the last time. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 15 Rating: TV
  22. Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian

    You ever notice how sometimes the sequel is just the same movie filmed over again, only the jokes aren't as funny the second time? Case in point. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 22 Rating: TV
  23. Terminator: Salvation

    The guy who directed Charlie's Angels teams with the guy who most recently played Batman to quasi-reboot The Terminator franchise  — without Arnold. Can't be worse than T3. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 22 Rating: Full Price
  24. Up

    Ed Asner voices a grumpy old man who decides to finally see the world by building a  flying house. It sounds lame until you realize this is a Pixar film. [Trailer]

    Release date: May 29 Rating: Matinee
  25. Land of the Lost

    Will Ferrell remakes the beloved and bizarre Krofft TV series about lizard people and dinosaurs as a screwball buddy comedy. Smells like fail. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: June 5 Rating: Rental
  26. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

    Michael Bay directs the sequel to 2007's live-action spectacle about everyone's favorite 1980s robots-as-cars cartoon. Tasty mindless eye candy. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: June 26 Rating: Opening Weekend
  27. 2012

    The brainiacs behind The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC let John Cusack explain how, when the Mayan Calendar runs out of digits in 2012, the world ends. [Trailer]

    Release date: July 10 Rating: TV
  28. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    The same guy who directed the previous (and the next two) Harry Potter movies gives us the one where (spoiler) the most beloved character in the franchise gets killed. If you liked the others, you'll like this one. [Trailer]

    Release date: July 17 Rating: Matinee
  29. They Came from Upstairs

    Tweener family comedy about kids who protect their vacation home from an alien invasion. Parents of grade schoolers, brace for impact. [Trailer]

    Release date: July 31 Rating: Never
  30. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

    Stephen (The Mummy) Sommers has turned "A Real American Hero" into an international anti-terrorism team, but fan response was so negative that the script has endured multiple rewrites. Bad omens all around. [No trailer yet.]

    Release date: Aug. 7 Rating: Rental
  31. District 9

    Peter (Lord of the Rings) Jackson is producing this secretively produced movie about aliens living as refugees on Earth. Unfortunately, the director is a rookie, and Smallville is his main previous credit. No thanks. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Aug. 14 Rating: Rental
  32. Pandorum

    Indie film about two astronauts who awaken aboard a spaceship with amnesia and must discover their identities and mission before it's too late. Could be Hitchcock, could be Hancock. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Sept. 4 Rating: Matinee
  33. Game

    Gerard Butler is forced to play a real-life version of a first-person shooter video game in a premise that almost every sci-fi TV show has already beaten to death. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Sept. 4 Rating: Never
  34. 9

    Not to be confused with Nine, 9 is a Tim Burton-produced animated adventure about nine rag dolls that must restart humanity after a machine uprising wipes us out. Burton does sci-fi? OK, sure. [Trailer]

    Release date: Sept. 9 Rating: Full Price
  35. Whiteout

    Kate Beckinsale stars as a U.S. marshal trapped with a murderer at an Antarctic research lab. Based on the awesome graphic novel by Greg Rucka. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Sept. 11 Rating: Full Price
  36. Surrogates

    Bruce Willis is a cop in a future world where everyone is so paranoid they use robot duplicates to interact rather than leave the house. Preachy or prescient, it can't be both. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Sept. 25 Rating: Matinee
  37. Zombieland

    Woody Harrelson stars in this horror-comedy as a zombie-fighter in a world overrun by the undead. Like we needed a cheap American Shaun of the Dead knockoff. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Oct. 9 Rating: TV
  38. Where the Wild Things Are

    Spike Jonze takes a shot at adapting the award-winning Maurice Sendak children's book. Caution: This could be Being John Malkovich mixed with the live action Grinch. [Sample footage]

    Release date: Oct. 16 Rating: Rental
  39. Astro Boy

    Animated American remake of the beloved anime classic about a boy andoid who fights evil and loves life. Will probably be pretty good, but never live up to the original. [Trailer]

    Release date: Oct. 23 Rating: Matinee
  40. The Box

    The classic "Monkey's Paw" tale gets an update from the Donnie Darko director; a couple gets a box that when opened makes them wealthy but kills a stranger. Could be creepy fun. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Nov. 6 Rating: Rental
  41. The Wolf Man

    Benicio Del Toro is getting rave early reviews for his performance as the classic movie monster. Director Joe (Rocketeer) Johnston? Not so much. [Bootleg trailer]

    Release date: Nov. 6 Rating: Matinee
  42. Planet 51

    Animated yarn about an alien planet that's paranoid of invaders from space, and the alien kid who befriends an astronaut from Earth. Think ET in reverse, voiced by The Rock. Yeah, sorry. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Nov. 20 Rating: TV
  43. Sherlock Holmes

    Guy Ritchie directs Robert Downey, Jr. (Holmes) and Jude Law (Watson) in a story based on a cult comic book hit. Awesome or awful, no chance of mediocre. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Nov. 20 Rating: Opening Weekend
  44. New Moon

    Sequel to the designed-for-middle-school-girls horror/romance Twilight. Rushed into production so fast the director resigned, and the cast is already mocking it. Enjoy. [Trailer]

    Release date: Nov. 20 Rating: Never
  45. The Lovely Bones

    Peter Jackson directs this adaptation of the bestselling Alice Sebold novel about the ghost of a murdered little girl who must decide between haunting her killer or helping her family heal. Heartstrings and creepiness for the win. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Dec. 11 Rating: Full Price
  46. Timecrimes

    Insanely smart Spanish indie film about a man who travels back in time, and then starts wreaking paradoxes upon the world. [Trailer]

    Release date: Dec. 12 Rating: Full Price
  47. Avatar

    James (Terminator) Cameron spent the past 10 years perfecting the 3D digital tech necessary to film this sprawling epic about humans invading an alien planet. That's one hell of an apology for Titanic. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Dec. 18 Rating: Opening Night
  48. Nottingham

    Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott team up again to update the the Robin Hood legend, much like their Gladiator did for Spartacus. Sign me up! [No trailer yet]

    Release date: Jan. 10, 2010 (for now, but word is it'll be bumped back to Christmas this year) Rating: Opening Weekend
  49. Cirque du Freak

    This Something Wicked This Way Comes update from the screenwriter of A Knight's Tale sees John C. Reilly running a vampire circus that seduces a young boy. Possibly high-quality horror noir. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: 2009 (sometime) Rating: Rental
  50. Moon

    Sam Rockwell plays a helium miner who has spent three years alone on the moon and begins having disturbing visions. Is he insane, or is he making first contact? [No trailer yet]

    Release date: 2009 (sometime) Rating: Matinee
  51. Radio Free Albemuth

    An indie film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's quasi-autobiographical account of his infamous 1974 "alien vision" sounds great, until you realize pop singer Alanis Morissette has been cast in the lead. Isn't it ironic? [No trailer yet]

    Release date: 2009 (sometime) Rating: Rental
  52. The Road

    In a world where food no longer grows, a father does whatever it takes to keep himself and his son alive. Based on Cormac McCarthy's prize-winning and depressing novel. Oscar material, most likely. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: 2009 (sometime) Rating: Full Price
  53. The Time Traveler's Wife

    An intentional sci-fi chick flick based on the acclaimed novel of the same title, this film sees Eric Bana involuntarily time travel (think Journeyman), straining his romance with Rachel McAdams. [No trailer yet]

    Release date: 2009 (sometime) Rating: Rental

(With help from Pajiba, Wired, Sci-Fi Scanner, io9, more io9, Iconocritic Movies, and SF Signal.)

About Jay Garmon

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...

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