Even though the summer blockbuster season is behind us at this point, there's still no shortage of films arriving in theaters over the next few weeks that hail from the geekier side of Hollywood. From limited-release sci-fi films and other genre fare to mainstream movies you'll want to get in line for now, the fall movie calendar is surprisingly packed with opportunities for a great time at the theater. And with many of this summer's biggest films hitting shelves on DVD and Blu-ray over the next few weeks, there are lots of opportunities for a great, geeky home theater experience, too.
Here's a preview of what you can look forward to seeing over the next weeks of the fall movie season:
The month of September kicks off with two of the summer's most anticipated movies making their debuts in the home-entertainment market. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be available on DVD and Blu-ray the second week of September (Tuesday, September 9), and even though it couldn't hold on to the lead as the highest grossing movie of 2014 (it was recently overtaken by Guardians of the Galaxy), it's almost certainly going to fly off the shelves faster than you can say “Hail Hydra!”
A week later, director Gareth Edwards' Godzilla smashes its way onto DVD and Blu-ray, offering everyone yet another chance to see the ol' King of the Monsters do what he does best. Given the film's attention to epic audio and visual sequences, this one is a must-have movie for anyone with a great home-theater setup.
One of the first big theater releases of the fall movie season arrives on September 19. The Maze Runner is director Wes Ball's adaptation of James Dashner's novel about a group of kids who find themselves trapped in the center of a massive labyrinth filled with sinister creatures and no memory of how they got there. If you've read the book, you know this story has all sorts of fantastic, terrifying potential on the big screen – particularly the monstrous inhabitants of the maze. (I'm a big fan of the book, so I'm keeping fingers crossed that this wild story makes a successful leap from page to screen.)
The weekend of September 19 is going to be a busy one, as The Maze Runner isn't the only film you might want to check out. The bizarre sci-fi spoof Space Station 76 will also have a limited release that week, and it's difficult not to be intrigued by the film's weird parody of '70s cinema and vintage space dramas. The film's cast – which includes Matt Bomer, Jerry O’Connell, Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson – is also pretty stellar.
But wait, that's not all that's hitting theaters that weekend. There's also the first installment of Kevin Smith's “True North Trilogy” series of films based on Canadian urban legends and folklore, Tusk. (Just watching the trailer for the film makes me a little nauseous, so consider yourself warned.)
And on the subject of filmmakers with lots of geek cred, Terry Gilliam's long-awaited film The Zero Theorem also has a limited release in theaters that begins September 19. The film stars Christoph Waltz as a computer genius tasked with discovering the meaning of life – or lack thereof. Expect the surreal, of course.
That crazy weekend is followed by a bit of a lull, with Transformers: Age of Extinction arriving on DVD and Blu-ray a few weeks later on September 30. Sure, the film had more than a few critics (and deservedly so), but it also had some fun moments – usually involving giant robots beating the cyber snot out of each other.
And though some might disagree with the inclusion of October 3's Left Behind in this preview of fall's geek-friendly movie fare, I would argue that the film's “Nicolas Cage vs. the Rapture” premise is so far beyond what we know to be geek cinema that it's evolved into some sort of next-level, super-saiyan nerdery. That's the power of Nicolas Cage, folks.
There's been a lot of buzz about Antonio Banderas' upcoming sci-fi film Automata after the first trailer for the film went viral shortly after its online debut. The movie looks like a less flashy, more thoughtful spin on I, Robot that still manages to offer up some great visual effects, so if you feel the urge to locate a theater screening the film when it begins a limited run on October 10, you're not alone.
The following week is another busy one, with X-Men: Days of Future Past receiving its official DVD and Blu-ray release, followed by a pair of films likely to appeal to two very different segments of the geeky movie-loving audience.
Michael Keaton's indie drama Birdman, in which he plays a washed-up former superhero actor trying to reclaim his celebrity, kicks off its limited run in theaters October 17. If you've seen the trailers, you know it's going to be a weird – but quite possibly wonderful – little movie. That same weekend, Dracula Untold offers an effects-driven reimagining of the famous vampire lord's origin with Luke Evans in the title role.
Just a few days later, everyone who didn't get to see Snowpiercer – which just might be one of this year's most frequently raved-about films – will get a chance to see for themselves whether director Bong Joon-ho's adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige was deserving of all the rave reviews. The story of a train carrying the last survivors of the human race on an endless loop around a frozen world received a criminally limited run in theaters, but it hits DVD and Blu-ray October 21.
Hey, remember The Blair Witch Project? Well, the film's director, Eduardo Sánchez, has a new found-footage horror movie hitting theaters in October titled Exists. This time, instead of a malevolent witch terrorizing campers in the wilderness, it's... wait for it... Bigfoot! Yup. You read that correctly. Sasquatch is the new zombie, folks. You heard it here first, and you can see the film October 24.
Finally, two huge films arrive in theaters November 7 that should be on every self-described geek's radar already: Disney's animated feature Big Hero 6 and Christopher Nolan's sci-fi drama Interstellar.
The first animated feature based on a Marvel Comics property to be produced by Disney, Big Hero 6 tells the story of a brilliant teenage boy who – with the assistance of his robot pal Baymax – must foil the diabolical machinations of a supervillain threatening the futuristic city of San Fransokyo. If the film does well, we're likely to see more films set within this animated universe inspired by Marvel Comics characters – and judging by the success of the live-action Marvel movies so far, we should all hope Big Hero 6 does well.
On the other side of the dramatic spectrum, Interstellar is the movie that The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan has been working on for the last few years, and like most of his movies, we know very little about it other than who's in it, a basic plot synopsis, and to expect some deep, philosophical exploration of man's relationship to Earth and the cosmos. The story involves a ship trying to travel through a wormhole in space, so maybe it will surprise us all and link up with Prometheus and become a crazy adventure with astronaut Matthew McConaughey fighting xenomorphs in deep space.
Okay, so – spoiler alert – that's definitely not what's going to happen in Interstellar. However, what does happen in the film will probably be just as cool as Matthew McConaughey fighting xenomorphs. I'm sure of it.
Oh, and though it doesn't have an official release date at this point yet, Harry Potter fans will want to keep an eye out for Mudbloods, a documentary about the real-world Quidditch competitions that are growing in popularity around the country. The film follows the UCLA team as they attempt to win their way to the Quidditch World Cup in New York City and convince the world that their favorite sport is more than just a passing, literary-fantasy fad. The film is expected to get a limited release in theaters in October and be available via on-demand services.
And that's what is on the horizon this fall. So what did I miss? Anything I should be keeping an eye out for that wasn't mentioned here?
Question of the Week: What geeky movies are you most looking forward to this fall?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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