56 geek movies of 2011

Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class, Cowboys & Aliens, Captain America: The First Avenger, and the alien buddy picture Paul are just five of the more than 50 geeky films coming out this year. Find out which movies this Geekend contributor plans to see opening night.

Geeky movies are my obsession. I'll watch almost any superhero, science-fiction, fantasy, or even pseudo-science film. Maybe that's why I'm excited and a little afraid of this year's movie line-up.

I'm excited because one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, Thor, is coming to the big screen. When you add in another Pirates movie and Cowboys & Aliens, I'm like a three-year old waiting for Christmas.

There is some trepidation as well. Many of this year's releases are clustered around the same opening dates. Given the current state of the economy, I'm worried that a number of the films won't do very well. If that happens, it's quite likely that some knucklehead in Hollywood will decide that geek movies don't make money, so they'll cut back on those types of films -- at least until someone strikes box office gold, and the cycle will start all over again.

Here is a list of the 2011 movies that might interest geeks of all ages. My rating scale (Opening night, Matinee, DVD, Cable, or Never) is a slightly modified version of Jay Garmon's rating scale. (Disclaimer: This list is not written in stone; movies' release dates sometimes change.) 1. Season of the Witch A hold-over from my 2010 list of geek movies. A group of knights transports a suspected witch to a monastery to stand trail with disastrous results. [trailer] Release date: January 7 Rating: Matinee 2. The Green Hornet Another hold-over from last year. Britt Reid and Kato fight crime in this classic comic turned movie. [trailer] Release date: January 14 Rating: Opening night 3. The Rite A priest from the United States studies at a school specializing in exorcisms. [trailer] Release date: January 28 Rating: Cable 4. Sanctum A cave diving team experiences a crisis in a remote unexplored cave. [trailer] Release date: February 4 Rating: DVD 5. The Eagle A young Roman soldier attempts to recover his father's lost legion emblem, a golden eagle. Release date: February 11 Rating: DVD 6. I Am Number Four A high school student with a secret identity seeks to escape a hunter who has destroyed three others like him. [trailer] Release date: February 18 Rating: DVD 7. Beastly A 21st century version of Beauty and the Beast. [trailer] Release date: March 4 Rating: Never 8. Battle: Los Angeles The story of a group of Marines defending Los Angeles from an alien invasion. [trailer] Release date: March 11 Rating: Matinee 9. Red Riding Hood A live action update of the classic fairytale -- with a werewolf. [trailer] Release date: March 11 Rating: Matinee 10. Mars Needs Moms A boy embarks on an interplanetary adventure in an effort to recover his mother who has been abducted by Martians. [trailer] Release date: March 11 Rating: Never 11. Limitless An aspiring author takes a secret drug that gives him extraordinary mental abilities. Unfortunately, he attracts unwanted attention. [trailer] Release date: March 18 Rating: DVD 12. Paul Two geeks from the United Kingdom befriend an alien and attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities. [trailer] Release date: March 18 Rating: Opening night 13. Sucker Punch A girl is institutionalized by her family and escapes into fantasy with the help of four other girls. [trailer] Release date: March 25 Rating: Opening night 14. Source Code A soldier whose mission is to find the bomber of a commuter train awakes in the body of another man. [trailer] Release date: April 1 Rating: DVD 15. Hop A bad driver fills in after running over the Easter Bunny. [trailer] Release date: April 1 Rating: Never 16. Your Highness A prince's intended is kidnapped, and he must rescue her with the assistance of his lazy brother. [trailer] Release date: April 8 Rating: Matinee 17. Scream 4 The fourth installment in this horror series. [trailer] Release date: April 15 Rating: Never 18. Apollo 18 A video about the canceled Apollo mission surfaces that seems to indicate the mission wasn't actually canceled. Release date: April 22 Rating: DVD 19. Thor In an effort to teach his son humility, Odin casts out Thor to live among the humans in Midgard. [trailer] Release date: May 6 Rating: Opening night 20. Priest When vampires kidnap his niece, a priest ignores church law to hunt them down. [trailer] Release date: May 13 Rating: DVD 21. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are among several groups of pirates hunting the fountain of youth. [trailer] Release date: May 20 Rating: Opening night 22. X-Men: First Class The story of two men, Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, who discover that they are not like the rest of the human race. Release date: June 3 Rating: Matinee 23. Super 8 A mysterious new film by J.J. Abrams. [trailer] Release date: June 10 Rating: Matinee 24. Green Lantern A test pilot is given a ring by a dying alien that grants membership in a intergalactic peacekeeping organization. [trailer] Release date: June 17 Rating: Matinee 25. Cars 2 The sequel to Pixar's/Disney's 2006 Cars. [trailer] Release date: June 24 Rating: Cable (if I'm the only one home) 26. Transformers: Dark of the Moon Both the Autobots and Decepticons learn of a derelict Cybertronian spacecraft on Earth's Moon. [trailer] Release date: July 1 Rating: DVD 27. Zookeeper The animals of a zoo break their code of silence to help a zookeeper. [trailer] Release date: July 8 Rating: Cable 28. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 The final chapter in the Harry Potter saga. Release date: July 15 Rating: DVD 29. Captain America: The First Avenger A man who is unfit for military service becomes a super soldier with the aid of science. Release date: July 22 Rating: DVD 30. Cowboys & Aliens In 1873 all that stands between aliens and the conquest of Earth is a posse of cowboys. [trailer] Release date: July 29 Rating: Opening night 31. The Smurfs Those annoying little blue creatures have hit the big screen and Manhattan. [trailer] Release date: August 3 Rating: Never 32. The Darkest Hour A group of Russian teenagers try to survive an alien invasion. Release date: August 5 Rating: Cable 33. Conan the Barbarian During the Hyborian Age, Conan seeks revenge for the destruction of his people. Release date: August 19 Rating: Matinee 34. Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World The fourth installment to Disney's young spy series. Release date: August 19 Rating: Never 35. Final Destination 5 The fifth in a series that shows you can't really cheat death. Release date: August 26 Rating: Never 36. The Apparition A college experiment results in a couple being haunted. Release date: September 9 Rating: Cable 37. Piranha 3DD The sequel to last year's fish story about prehistoric man-eaters. Release date: September 16 Rating: Never 38. Real Steel A vision of a future where humanoid robots battle in the boxing ring. [trailer] Release date: October 7 Rating: Matinee 39. The Thing The story of a group of Norwegian scientists in Antarctica who discover an alien spacecraft buried in the ice. Can you say, "Se til helvete og kom dere vekk. Det er ikke en bikkje, det er en slags ting! Det imiterer en bikkje, det er ikke virkelig! KOM DERE VEKK IDIOTER!!"? Release date: October 14 Rating: Opening night 40. The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas' novel returns to the big screen. Wine, swords, wenches, and muskets -- it sounds like a good way to spend a fall weekend afternoon. Release date: October 14 Rating: Matinee 41. Paranormal Activity 3 The third installment of the poltergeist-type tale. Release date: October 21 Rating: Never 42. Contagion All that stands between a disease and the human race is a group of international team of doctors. Release date: October 21 Rating: Cable 43. Dibbuk Box A girl purchases a box that contains an ancient evil. Release date: October 28 Rating: Cable 44. Now In a future where the genetic cause of aging is turned off, time has become currency. Release date: October 28 Rating: DVD 45. 11-11-11 On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an otherworldly entity arrives on Earth. Release date: November 11 Rating: Never 46. Immortals Chosen by Zeus, Theseus must battle the legendary Titans to save the human race. Release date: November 11 Rating: DVD 47. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 The first part of the last of Stephenie Meyer's cutesy vampire books. Release date: November 18 Rating: Never 48. The Muppets The Muppets team up to save their old theatre. Release date: November 21 Rating: Matinee (with a disguise) 49. Rise of the Apes Genetic experiments create intelligent apes and cause a war for supremacy. Release date: November 23 Rating: Matinee 50. Untitled Sherlock Holmes sequel Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson match wits with Professor Moriarty. Need I say more? Release date: December 16 Rating: Opening night 51. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol The fourth in this classic spy series. Release date: December 16 Rating: DVD 52. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo A girl hacker aids a journalist in the search for a woman 40 years missing, or dead. Release date: December 21 Rating: Matinee 53. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn The young reporter from the Belgian comic finally comes to the big screen in this Spielberg directed motion picture. Release date: December 28 Rating: Matinee 54. Cloud Atlas Six interconnected stories each set in a different time and place. Stars Halle Berry, Natalie Portman, James McAvoy, and Tom Hanks. Release date: 2011 (no specific release date yet) Rating: Opening night 55. The Cabin in the Woods A horror movie penned by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. [trailer] Release date: 2011 (no specific release date yet) Rating: Cable 56. Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope A behind the scenes look at San Diego's Comic Con written by Joss Whedon and directed by Morgan Spurlock. Release date: 2011 (no specific release date yet) Rating: DVD

What movies are on your must-see list this year? Let us know in the discussion.