[The Week in Geek is a weekly Tuesday column that plunges headfirst into a deep pool of genre geekiness without ever coming up for air.]
2011 will feel like Christmas all year for genre fans. Before the year is through, we'll be treated to 'Green Lantern,' 'Thor,' 'Captain America,' 'X-Men: First Class,' and 'Ghost Rider 2.' And that's just the comic book stuff -- there's already a rolling boil of hype for 'Cowboys and Aliens,' 'Battle: Los Angeles,' and 'Sucker Punch' to name a few. Are there any surprises left in 2011? I certainly hope so, and here are seven films that seem to be flying under everyones' radars...at least right now.
7. 'I Am Number Four'
What Is It: A teenager with incredible powers is targeted by killers from another world.
Who's In It: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, and Diana Agron.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: Do the names Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay mean anything to you? They're both on board as producers of D.J. Caruso's adaptation of the popular young adult novel. Part of me can watch the trailer and think "that looks promising," but there's another part of me who thinks "that looks like 'Push' and 'Jumper.'"
6. 'Apollo 18'
What Is It: A "found footage" thriller about a mission to the moon in the 1970s that goes horribly wrong.
Who's Behind It: Producer Timur Bekmambetov ('Wanted') and director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: Will this film succeed where 'The Fourth Kind' failed? I sure hope so. Like 'The Fourth Kind' before it, 'Apollo 18' also purports to be based on a true story -- the canceled Apollo 18 mission. So far, they're taking a "less is more" approach to marketing, but that shouldn't be a huge issue as there's a lot of potential in the concept alone.
5. 'The Adjustment Bureau'
What Is It: A young politician alters the course of his own life and runs afoul of a shadow agency that controls the destiny of others.
Who's In It: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, and John Slattery.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: Promoted heavily during early Summer 2010, schedule changes have robbed the film of some of its initial heat. Does it mean that 'The Adjustment Bureau' is a weak film? The studio may be finding it hard to market, as it's primarily a love story, but consider this -- it's based on a story from Philip K. Dick and Damon usually has an eye for strong projects.
What Is It: Two sci-fi geeks pick up a fugitive alien being, right outside of Area 51.
Who's In It: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, and Bill Hader.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: It has a knock-out all-star comedy cast, and it's from director Greg Mottola ('Adventureland,' 'Superbad'). The film's got a little bit of buzz, but considering it comes out next month, it's still not receiving the kind of attention it deserves.
3. 'The Darkest Hour'
What Is It: A group of friends band together to survive an alien invasion in Russia.
Who's In It: Emile Hirsch, Rachael Taylor, and Olivia Thirlby
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: Coming in so soon after similar, high-profile invasion films 'Skyline' and 'Battle: Los Angeles' may hurt some of 'The Darkest Hour's' heat, but director Chris Gorak's previous film, 'Right At Your Door,' shows that the director can create a tense thriller with a keen eye for characterization.
What Is It: In a future where the common man dies in their mid-20s, time becomes a valuable currency that allows the rich to live as immortals.
Who's In It: Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried, and Justin Timberlake.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: While 'S1m0ne' didn't exactly set the world on fire, Andrew Niccol is still the man responsible for 'Gattaca' and 'Now' looks like a return to that type of thinking man's science-fiction (even if it sounds a heck of a lot like 'Logan's Run.')
What Is It: In ancient Greece, Zeus handpicks a hero named Theseus to defend mankind against the angry Titan Hyperion
Who's In It: Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt, and Freida Pinto.
Why It Should Be On Your Radar: Tarsem Singh meets 'Clash of the Titans.' Actually, I'm not sure what to expect from the visionary director Tarsem, as he's never worked on this kind of scale before ('Immortals' is rumored to have a budget of over $100 million). My hope is that the movie blows my mind (in a way that 'Clash of the Titans' didn't), and goes on to become one of the most insanely cool movies of 2011. Time will tell...