Below is a list of the geek-centric movies opening in U.S. theaters during the month of February. 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. For a complete list of this year's geek flicks, check out my full rundown.
- The Objective
An indie sci-fi-horror flick that falls into the nascent Mideast-war-horror subgenre, this film tracks a U.S. Special Ops team pursuing terrorists in Afghanistan, only to accidentally awaken a supernatural evil. It has a Blair Witch meets Predator vibe to it (in a good way) but with a timely twist. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 4 Rating: Rental
Stop-motion kid-friendly horror/fantasy based on the book by Neil (Stardust) Gaiman and directed by Henry Selick, who gave us James and the Giant Peach. Aimed squarely at The Nightmare Before Christmas crowd but in 3D, Coraline has that creepy-sweet shine that makes you love it, and there's an underground buzz that Gaiman — who just won the Newbery Medal for his Graveyard Book — may have built a darkhorse contender for both an animated Oscar and the most profitable pre-summer blockbuster of 2009. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Opening Weekend
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. There was a long-running feud between Fox and the filmmakers about whether to leave in the dying-friend motivation (which is sort of central to the plot) and exactly how they've hacked together the final edit will make or break the film. Either way, it may have the greatest William Shatner cameo of all time, and that's saying something. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Full Price
A flick about teens with psychokinetic powers who are forced to flee government exploitation. Desperately trying to be Harry Potter crossed with X-Men. Unfortunately, there's a very clear Jumper vibe coming off this picture, and nobody wants another braindead teenager-with-superpowers film. Dakota Fanning should be creepy-awesome as the girl who can predict the future, while Chris Evans — Johnny Storm from the childish Fantastic Fours 1 and 2 — may sink the movie as the telekinetic rebel who protects her. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: Matinee
- 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. Random dude gets a smartphone that can hack any device, and the government will stop at nothing to get it back. Oh, and the phone might be intelligent and refuses to be recaptured, even if it kills the random dude. Replace "phone" with "girl" and you've got a million also-ran spy flicks, but apparently knock-off iPhones are sexier than she-spies these days. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 6 Rating: TV
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. Think of it as Donnie Darko meets V for Vendetta — just in time to cash in on the pre-Watchmen buzz. [Trailer]Release date: Feb. 20 Rating: Rental
- 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
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 also follow him on his personal blog.