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.

21. The Amazing Spider-Man [trailer]

500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb (seriously) reboots the webslinger to a version more consistent with his comic book origins (read: mechanical webshooters), only with more angst and conspiracy (read: all the weird quasi-canon spy stuff with Peter Parker's parents). The Social Network's Andrew Garfield taps in for Spidey, with Emma Stone in place as Gwen Stacy, the webhead's original girlfriend. Attendance is mandatory.

Release date: July 3 Geekend rating: Full Price 22. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift [trailer]

The same basic Ice Age formula, only this time the Mammoth-Sabretooth-Sloth trio is set adrift on an iceberg to battle prehistoric pirates. More importantly, the proto-squirrel is still chasing its Sisyphean acorn. If you liked the last three, you'll like this one.

Release date: July 13 Geekend rating: TV 23. Ted [NSFW trailer]

Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane directs Mark Wahlberg as a guy whose boyhood wish was for his teddy bear to come to life, but now has to live with that decision as an adult courting Mila Kunis. Imagine if Stepbrothers was somehow horribly crossed with Winnie The Pooh. If you dig MacFarlane's animated work, you'll probably get a mildly shameful kick out of his live-action debut.

Release date: July 13 Geekend rating: TV 24. The Dark Knight Rises [trailer]

The epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan's mature, topical, and challenging take on Batman. This time around, Christian Bale's Dark Knight must face off with Tom Hardy's Bane, the supervillain who broke his spine and nearly destroyed Gotham — with Anne Hathaway's Catwoman along for the ride. Whereas the last film was a meditation on the post-9/11 anti-terror state, Nolan's endpiece tackles the dark underpinnings of post-financial crisis civil unrest — only with flying cars and spandex kung-fu fights. Very likely the geek movie of the year, if not the decade. See you there.

Release date: July 20 Geekend rating: Full Price 25. Neighborhood Watch [trailer]

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg penned this send-up of alien invasion films, which sees Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill form a bumbling neighborhood watch group that stumbles on an otherworldly plot to wipe out humankind. The Trayvon Martin case may force the studio to delay the release, but if and when it premieres, expect Attack the Block by way of Superbad.

Release date: July 27 Geekend rating: TV 26. The Bourne Legacy [trailer]

The fourth installment of the Bourne franchise has Jeremy Renner step in for Matt Damon as the brainwashed CIA superspy gone rogue. Edward Norton tries to ride herd on Renner's Bourne 2.0, with Rachel Weisz as the requisite female lead. Awesome stunts are guaranteed, and the cast is so sterling that even a mediocre script will likely deliver.

Release date: Aug. 3 Geekend rating: Matinee 27. Total Recall [trailer]

Colin Farrell stars in and Die Hard 4's Len Wiseman directs a from-the-ground-up remake of the classic Philip K. Dick story of a man whose storebought memories cause him to lose contact with reality, or perhaps finally clue him in to the conspiracy he may have helped create. Unfortunately, they've dumped all the space opera elements that made the 1990 Paul Verhoeven/Schwarzenneger version a quasi-campy classic.

Release date: Aug. 3 Geekend rating: Rental 28. The Odd Life of Timothy Green [trailer]

It's not often you see someone try to remix the old Monkey's Paw premise as a heartwarming family film, but that's Disney for you. (It can't be harder than making an upbeat kid-friendly Hunchback of Notre Dame.) A childless couple bury a box of wishes for a perfect son, only to have a boy apparently spring forth in answer to their prayers — with some magical baggage, of course.

Release date: Aug. 15 Geekend rating: TV 29. ParaNorman [trailer]

Imagine The Sixth Sense as a knockoff Tim Burton claymation horror-comedy. A nerdy, misunderstood kid who can speak with the dead must somehow save his hometown from a zombie uprising. If you liked Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, you'll like this.

Release date: Aug. 17 Geekend rating: Rental 30. The Apparition [no trailer yet]

Carter from Gossip Girl (Sebastian Stan), Alice from Twilight (Ashley Greene), and Draco from Harry Potter (Tom Felton) cash in on their emo-teen street cred for a half-hearted ripoff of Flatliners. Three college kids are hunted by a poltergeist they summoned during a college experiment. The absence of a trailer and the fact this film is dumped unpromoted at the end of August are all bad, bad signs.

Release date: Aug. 24 Geekend rating: Never 31. The Possession [no trailer yet]

Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan cash paychecks in this low-budget horror flick about a girl who buys a puzzle box containing an evil spirit. If that sounds like the plot of every third direct-to-video scare film from the 1980s, then your expectations are properly set. Stop me if you've heard this one: The absence of a trailer and the fact this film is dumped unpromoted at the end of August are all bad, bad signs.

Release date: Aug. 31 Geekend rating: Never 32. 7500 [trailer]

Remember that old Twilight Zone episode where William Shatner (or, for you film fans, John Lithgow) saw a demon on the wing of an airplane? What if the demon was a Japanese-horror-style monster, and it was inside the plane? That's 7500, as directed by the guy who gave us The Grudge. More simply, it's Snakes on a Plane meets The Ring. Yikes.

Release date: Aug. 31 Geekend rating: TV 33. Argo [no trailer yet]

Ben Affleck directs and stars in the true story of a group of CIA agents who rescue six Americans held during the Iranian Hostage crisis — by pretending to film a sci-fi movie in Tehran. Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, and John Goodman anchor a top-to-bottom stellar cast, though whether Affleck has the chops to pull this off is up for debate. It's worth finding out.

Release date: Sept. 14 Geekend rating: Rental 34. Resident Evil: Retribution [trailer]

Five movies in and Milla Jovovich is still waging a plot-free eye-candy global war against the Umbrella Corporation and the mutant zombie plague it unleashed. If you liked the last four, you'll like this one — though at this point, we're really starting to judge you.

Release date: Sept. 14 Geekend rating: Never 35. Dredd [no trailer yet]

Karl Urban stars in this decidedly less campy adaptation of the classic British comic book antihero future-cop. For those unfamiliar, Dredd is a law enforcer in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where the police are judge, jury, and executioner. This time around, he faces off with Lena Headey as a druglord peddling reality-altering intoxicants. You had me at "there's no Rob Schneider."

Release date: Sept. 21 Geekend rating: Matinee 36. Hotel Transylvania [trailer]

Apparently, Dracula decided to make a little extra scratch running a hotel where classic movie monsters can get relief from the torches and pitchforks crowd. The good news is that animation genius Genndy Tartakovsky is behind the wheel. The bad news is Adam Sandler is voicing the lord of vampires, with Kevin James tagging along as Frankenstein's monster.

Release date: Sept. 21 Geekend rating: TV 37. House at the End of the Street [trailer]

Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence are the mother-daughter duo who make the mistake of moving next door to a family where a teenage boy was the sole survivor of his sister's family killing spree. The usual supernatural creepiness ensues. The film's release date was pushed twice, though whether that's a sign of poor quality or just the marketing department's desire to cash in on Lawrence's Hunger Games cachet is unclear. Either way, there's nothing new to see here.

Release date: Sept. 21 Geekend rating: Never 38. Looper [trailer]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a futuristic mob enforcer who assassinates victims shunted into the past. Unfortunately, his latest target is his future self, played by Bruce Willis. Trippy time paradox chase sequences ensue. Think The Professional by way of Primer and Inception. Could be awesome, could be Timecop.

Release date: Sept. 28 Geekend rating: Matinee

Which movie most whets your appetite, and which films are certain stink-bombs (though the two categories are not mutually exclusive)? Sound off in the comments section.

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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