(Photo by 20th Century Fox.)

All Alien Movies Ranked

Ever since 1979, when Ridley Scott blasted the haunted house formula into deep space, the Alien franchise has been synonymous with brooding atmosphere, strong female leads, eye-covering gore, grotesquely magnificent set design (as originally envisioned by H.R. Giger), and films that just overall ooze with style, along with whatever else that drips out of a Xenomorph’s mouth. In 1986, James Cameron turned the series into an action epic; subsequently, any sequel that tries the same route now gets called the Aliens of whatever franchise. David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet had their controversial and trouble moment in the series, and then two Rotten Predator-related spinoffs convinced Scott to return with mythological prequel Prometheus and back-to-basics Covenant. See how they all stack as we rank all Alien movies by Tomatomter!

#8
Adjusted Score: 13685%
Critics Consensus: The increased gore and violence over the first Alien vs. Predator can't excuse Requiem's disorientating editing, excessively murky lighting, and lack of new ideas.
Synopsis: Residents (Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz) of Gunnison, Colorado, are caught up in the crossfire when two deadly extraterrestrial... [More]

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 25118%
Critics Consensus: Gore without scares and cardboard cut-out characters make this clash of the monsters a dull sit.
Synopsis: When the wealthy and ambitious Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) funds an expedition to Antarctica, he hopes to find a... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#6

Alien 3 (1992)
45%

#6
Adjusted Score: 49814%
Critics Consensus: Alien3 takes admirable risks with franchise mythology, but far too few pay off in a thinly scripted sequel whose stylish visuals aren't enough to enliven a lack of genuine thrills.
Synopsis: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the only survivor when she crash lands on Fiorina 161, a bleak wasteland inhabited by... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 59056%
Critics Consensus: Alien Resurrection marks a slight improvement over its predecessor, but still lacks the emotional stakes that helped make the franchise's first two entries sci-fi/horror classics.
Synopsis: Two hundred years have passed since Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) died on Fiorina 161. Aboard the medical research vessel USM... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#4

Alien: Covenant (2017)
65%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95877%
Critics Consensus: Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions.
Synopsis: Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#3

Prometheus (2012)
73%

#3
Adjusted Score: 86513%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott's ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but it's redeemed by its haunting visual grandeur and compelling performances -- particularly Michael Fassbender as a fastidious android.
Synopsis: The discovery of a clue to mankind's origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#2

Aliens (1986)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104458%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#1

Alien (1979)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108927%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

We bet those pesky xenomorphs are getting smug now that their last two movies, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, have gone Certified Fresh.

Enough with the space jockeys, unqualified cartographers, and people who run in straight lines: How about terrorizing someone who can put up a real fight? Vote on our 10 suggestions below or leave your dream Alien deathmatch in the comments!

Time flies when you’re watching a franchise spiral into the crazy nebula: We are now approaching the sixth Resident Evil movie, mercifully dubbed The Final Chapter, none of which have ever been fully embraced by critics. But, hey, just because a franchise is long in the tooth doesn’t mean it’s rotten at the root! There’s plenty of Fresh movies in this week’s gallery: 24 best and worst Part 6s in movie history!

Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner attempt to communicate through an intergalactic language barrier with aliens in this week’s Arrival. Are the visitors hostile? Curious? Come bearing presents and gift cards? Those questions answered in this week’s gallery: 24 best and worst movie alien visitors!

There has yet to be a Fresh-rated entry in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise (whose latest installment, Out of the Shadows, is out Friday), not that it matters much considering how deep “Ninja Rap” runs in our nostalgia veins. The Turtles, in fact, are in fine company as comic adaptations have walked a long, ignominious road in Hollywood, inspiring this week’s gallery: the 24 worst-reviewed comic book movies by Tomatometer!

Let’s forget about that whole Egyptian gods thing — Gerry Butler’s got another action movie for you this week. He reprises his role as a head Secret Service agent in London Has Fallen, sequel to Olympus Has Fallen which got a 48% rating from critics back in 2013. The Fallen movies inspire this week’s 24 Frames: best and worst action sequels by Tomatometer!

It’s almost time to hand out some golden popcorn — the nominations for the 2008 MTV Movie Awards have been announced!

To cast your vote for each category’s winner — and to choose your favorite of the fan-created movie spoofs in the, um, “Best Movie Spoof” category — head to MovieAwards.MTV.com (link below). A complete list of the nominees follows:

Best Movie:
Juno
Transformers
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
I Am Legend
Superbad
National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Best Male Performance:
Will Smith, I Am Legend
Shia LaBeouf, Transformers
Denzel Washington, American Gangster

Matt Damon, The Bourne Ultimatum
Michael Cera, Juno

Best Female Performance:
Ellen Page, Juno
Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up
Amy Adams, Enchanted
Jessica Biel, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Best Villain:
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Angelina Jolie, Beowulf
Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men

Best Comedic Performance:
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Adam Sandler, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Jonah Hill, Superbad
Seth Rogen, Knocked Up
Amy Adams, Enchanted

Best Fight:
Matt Damon vs. Joey Ansah, The Bourne Ultimatum

Tobey Maguire vs. James Franco, Spider-Man 3
Hayden Christensen vs. Jamie Bell, Jumper
Sean Faris vs. Cam Gigandet, Never Back Down
Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan vs. Sun Ming Ming, Rush Hour 3

Alien vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator Requiem

Best Kiss:
Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer, Disturbia
Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted
Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Ellen Page and Michael Cera, Juno
Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, Step Up 2 The Streets

Breakthrough Performance:
Zac Efron, Hairspray
Seth Rogen, Knocked Up
Jonah Hill, Superbad
Michael Cera, Superbad
Chris Brown, This Christmas
Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Megan Fox, Transformers
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad

Best Summer Movie So Far:
Iron Man
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Sex and the City: The Movie
Speed Racer
The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Source: MTV Movie Awards

If you’re not sick of hearing Diablo Cody this, hamburger phone that, then this week’s bonus-packed release of Juno should be numero uno on your list, home skillet. Otherwise, there’s plenty else to keep you company — bring home your very own Predalien, a guy with a blow-up doll, Uwe Boll’s latest, and Tila Tequila.


Juno


Tomatometer:
93%

Diablo Cody‘s Oscar-winning screenplay had all the zippy earmarks of a trailblazing hipster film — yes, Cody herself was a stripper (get over it, world!) who blogged her zany life and lip balm reviews all the way to fame, crafting her story of a wry teen protagonist named Juno into Oscar gold while single-handedly reviving the market for Sunny D and telephones shaped like hamburgers.

Bonus Features:

Juno‘s standard release is surprisingly well packed with goodies for all the home skillets out there craving more. Peep the commentary with director Jason Reitman and Cody, a “Cast and Crew Jam,” and 11 deleted scenes, including the “Café Triste” scene in which Juno performs a hilariously direct song about getting knocked up, then talks about her 8-minute song about Danny Trejo.


Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem


Tomatometer: 15%

Speaking of the miracle of life, after four Aliens, two Predators and one cross-over flick, we’ve now got the heretofore unthinkable: a Predalien! This time a whole new cast of relative unknowns and B-listers are caught between warring extraterrestrial races, in a gore-filled effects extravaganza that earned not one, but two Razzie nominations last year.

Bonus Features:

If you’re going to go for AVP:R, you might as well go big: pick up the unrated 2-disc release, which includes an additional seven minute runtime, commentary by special effects experts/former music video specialists-turned-directors the Brothers Strause, and a digital download copy of the film.




Lars and the Real Girl


Tomatometer: 80%

Now here’s a movie for all of you guys out there who dragged feet to The Notebook, or refused to see it at all — a Ryan Gosling flick in which he’s not some hunky romantic, but instead a socially-withdrawn, borderline-creepy romantic! Performances all around in this festival charmer garnered raves, but more importantly, Lars struck a chord with critics for its story of unconditional love and acceptance.

Bonus Features:

One deleted scene, a making-of video, and a gimmicky cast and crew featurette (in which everyone talks about Lars’ doll, Bianca, as if she is real) does not a fantastic DVD make…good thing the movie itself is why you’ll be picking up the disc.


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead



Tomatometer: 88%

One of last year’s best thrillers came from one of America’s best living directors, Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico), which should be reason enough to watch Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. A violent, tragic tale of two brothers (Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman) who scheme to rob their parents’ jewelry store goes awry, the pic earned a place on no less than twenty critics’ top ten lists.

Bonus Features:

A film this good doesn’t really need a huge bonus menu to bolster its appeal; the DVD offers a full-length commentary by Lumet, Hawke, and Hoffman, a making-of documentary and the theatrical trailer. But it was also shot in high definition, and watching Devil on DVD allows for repeat viewings of Marisa Tomei’s steamy love scenes.


I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With



Tomatometer: 74%

Second City comedian Jeff Garlin wrote, starred in and directed this indie rom-com about a food-addicted comedian living with his mother and looking for love in Chicago. Sarah Silverman appears in an amusing turn as a bawdy, ice cream scooping “chubby-chaser.” Part of IFC’s First Take, IWStECW was released simultaneously on pay cable and in theaters.

Bonus Features:

Check out the director’s commentary for insights on how Garlin reportedly shot the entire feature over 18 days spread over a two-year span.


A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila



Tomatometer: N/A

Those crazy folks at MTV really outdid themselves when they gave Tila Tequila, MySpace’s most Friend Requested “musician,” her own dating show…in which both men and women compete for her bisexual affections! Even those of us who watched along during the nail-biting first season (spoiler alert: there will be a second season) will want to re-watch every scantily clad minute over again. Unrated and with more swearing!

Bonus Features:

Really, all ten episodes (plus the all-important reunion show) are their own reward, but owning A Shot At Love on DVD will give you the benefit of extended scenes, deleted scenes, and the ability to watch Brandi and Vanessa’s surprise double-elimination lesbian cat fight whenever you need it. By which I mean, daily.


In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale



Tomatometer: 2%

Yes, we saved the best for last. Uwe Boll‘s latest endeavor nabbed the likes of Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Perlman, and Burt Reynolds for a hokey medieval adventure unlike any other you’ve seen before. Statham plays a farmer called to fight evil orc-like creatures being controlled by…heck, all you need to know is that it garnered a two percent rating on the Tomatometer. Two percent. That’s out of 100.

Bonus Features:

Did you really expect any great bonus features on a release like this? Take it from someone who may have seen Dungeon Siege at midnight on opening day (for camp factor alone, of course): hammy performances from otherwise respectable actors abound, Liotta pins Statham in a fight with magical books, and ninjas inexplicably fall from the trees in this Middle Earth adventure rip-off. In twenty years, this will be a cult classic.

2004’s Alien vs. Predator earned a 22 percent Tomatometer rating. 2007’s Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem topped out at 15 percent. Would a third installment end up with single digits?

According to ShockTillYouDrop, we’ll all find out soon enough. Following up on earlier comments from AvP2 directors the Brothers Strause, who said Fox was taking a “wait and see” approach to another sequel, the site reports that the ever-popular “anonymous source” has labeled a third Alien vs. Predator film “a certainty.”

According to the Strauses, a third AvP “would have to continue in space” — but, as ShockTillYouDrop is quick to point out, the Strauses’ involvement is as yet undetermined. Despite near-universal critical pans, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem earned $128.8 million in worldwide theatrical grosses, a total that can only grow when the sequel reaches DVD on April 15.

Source: ShockTillYouDrop

No awards season — even a strike-tainted one — would be complete without the Razzies, right? Of course not. And that’s why we’ve thoughtfully assembled all of this year’s nominees in one convenient location.

The Razzies, now entering their 28th year, have been celebrating the worst in film since 1980, when John Wilson took a raspberry trophy, spray-painted it gold, and stuck it to Can’t Stop the Music. This year’s nominees are suitably distinguished, and they all follow below (with Tomatometers in parentheses). ‘Fess up, Vineketeers — how many of these have you seen? And enjoyed?

Worst Picture:
Bratz (7 percent)
Daddy Day Camp (1 percent)

I Know Who Killed Me (8 percent)
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (14 percent)
Norbit (9 percent)

Worst Actor:
Nicolas Cage, for Ghost Rider (27 percent), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (32 percent), and Next (30 percent)
Jim Carrey, for The Number 23 (8 percent)
Cuba Gooding, Jr., for Daddy Day Camp and Norbit
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Adam Sandler, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Worst Actress:
Jessica Alba, for Awake (21 percent), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (35 percent), and Good Luck Chuck (3 percent)
Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos & Skyler Shaye, for Bratz
Elisha Cuthbert, for Captivity (7 percent)
Diane Keaton, for Because I Said So (5 percent)
Lindsay Lohan (as Aubrey), for I Know Who Killed Me
Lindsay Lohan (as Dakota), for I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Supporting Actor:
Orlando Bloom, for Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End (45 percent)
Kevin James, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Rob Schneider, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Jon Voight, for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn (13 percent), and Transformers (57 percent)

Worst Supporting Actress:
Jessica Biel, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Next
Carmen Electra, for Epic Movie (2 percent)
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Julia Ormond, for I Know Who Killed Me
Nicolette Sheridan, for Code Name: The Cleaner (4 percent)

Worst Screen Couple:
Jessica Alba with Dane Cook (for Good Luck Chuck), Hayden Christensen (for Awake), and Ioan Gruffudd (for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Any combination of two totally air-headed characters in Bratz
Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan, for I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Remake or Ripoff:
Are We Done Yet? (8 percent, remake/ripoff of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House)
Bratz (a ripoff if ever there was one)
Epic Movie (ripoff of every movie it rips off)
I Know Who Killed Me (ripoff of Hostel, Saw, and The Patty Duke Show)
Who’s Your Caddy? (7 percent, ripoff of Caddyshack)

Worst Prequel or Sequel:
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (16 percent)
Daddy Day Camp
Evan Almighty (24 percent)
Hannibal Rising, (15 percent)
Hostel: Part II (44 percent)

Worst Director:
Dennis Dugan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Roland Joffe, Captivity
Brian Robbins, Norbit
Fred Savage, Daddy Day Camp
Chris Sivertson, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Screenplay:
Geoff Rodkey and David J. Stem & David N. Weiss, Daddy Day Camp

Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Epic Movie
Jeffrey Hammond, I Know Who Killed Me
Barry Fanaro and Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Eddie Murphy & Charles Murphy, Jay Sherick & David Ronn, Norbit

Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie:
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
Captivity
Hannibal Rising

Hostel: Part II
I Know Who Killed Me

Source: Razzies

With the holidays making every day a Saturday at the multiplexes, studios are
enjoying brisk business at the box office with the marketplace getting even more
competitive thanks to three new releases that opened wide on Tuesday, Christmas
Day. Action fans get the sci-fi sequel Alien vs Predator: Requiem,
those looking for drama have Denzel Washington‘s
The Great Debaters,
and family audiences in the mood for fantasy adventure get
The Water Horse
. Overall, the final weekend of 2007 should be a busy
one thanks to an abundance of product.

Three and a half years after the first monster battle grossed $80.3M, Fox brings
back the sci-fi action with Alien vs Predator: Requiem.
Some changes have been made with this release, though. Upping the violence, the
PG-13 rating of the first has been replaced by an R. The summer launch has been
changed to a Christmas Day opening and the sequel blasted off in 832 fewer
theaters. Requiem tapped into its built-in audience of genre fans by
generating a strong $9.5M gross and $3,707 average in its first day of release
on Tuesday. It should be a downhill road from there as most fans will want to
see the flick sooner rather than later. The studio is targeting the marketing at
its core audience of older teen and young adult males. Crossover appeal to new
fans is unlikely. With most other films playing to younger kids or to more
mature adults, AVPR does have an opportunity to score some bucks, though
it will be a short-lived run. Playing in 2,563 locations, Aliens vs.
Predator: Requiem
could go on to gross $13M over the Friday-to-Sunday
period.


Those who want their battles done verbally in a language indigenous to Earth
will get to see Denzel Washington‘s
latest film
The Great Debaters
in which the star acts and directs. Produced by The Weinstein Company and
distributed by MGM, the PG-13 film about a 1930s college debate team in the
segregated South bowed on Tuesday with a solid $3.6M from only 1,164 locations
for a sturdy $3,096 per theater. Add in Oscar winner
Forest
Whitaker
and producer
Oprah Winfrey
and Debaters boasts a good amount of starpower to help market the period
film. African American audiences are the driving factor here as evidenced by
studio research that shows 60% of the opening day crowd coming from this
powerful group. The marketplace can certainly use a pic like Debaters
right now as most of the films in the top ten boast all-white casts.


Washington has been doing his fair share of press to promote Debaters
including a one-hour plug on Oprah’s chatfest. Reviews have been good and the
film even nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture – Drama. Denzel’s
second-ever directorial effort should hold up well as it rides into the weekend
period when more of its target audience will be available. Plus this is a great
time of year for feel-good and uplifting films. And the true civil rights story
should remain relevant through the Martin Luther King holiday frame in
mid-January. The moderate release, however, will hold back potential but keep
the average strong. For this weekend, The Great Debaters might collect
about $9M over three days.


Adding to the Christmas week feast is Sony with its Loch Ness Monster fantasy
The Water Horse
which will aim for family audiences. The PG-rated
film falls into the boy-and-his-pet genre and is being marketed as a spectacle
from the creators of

The Chronicles of Narnia
(Walden Media). Grosses are already in a much
smaller league as the film’s Christmas Day opening resulted in a lukewarm $2.4M
bow from 2,772 theaters for a mild $861 average. The marketplace has had a
shortage of family films this month, but Water Horse just isn’t strong
enough of a title to take advantage of these conditions. Most parents will be
taking their kids to see the PG flicks
National Treasure

and
Alvin
and the Chipmunks
so the seas will be rough. Water also has no starpower
and is based on subject matter that American children have never been too
excited about. A three-day weekend take of roughly $8M may result.


Three big films dominated last weekend’s box office and are likely to post
another session of solid sales. The New Year’s frame can often see grosses go up
versus the prior weekend while for some films the declines can be smaller than
normal.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets
will attempt to close out the
year on top which is appropriate given how sequels propelled the marketplace to
some major records this year. Midweek numbers have been exceptionally strong
with Monday delivering a cool $7M while Tuesday’s Christmas Day business brought
in an additional $13.7M for a five-day holiday launch of $65.4M for Disney. A
20% slide may result giving the
Nicolas Cage
adventure about $36M for the weekend and a stunning $124M in ten days.


Will Smith‘s
I Am Legend
has been powering its way up the actor’s all-time chart of blockbusters and
smashed the $150M mark on Tuesday in only its 12th day in theaters. Christmas
Eve saw $4.4M worth of stubs while the yuletide holiday more than doubled that
sum with a powerful $9.8M. The Warner Bros. smash may fall by 15% this weekend
and take in about $28M which would boost the total to a staggering $196M in 17
days. That could put Legend on course to join the $200M club on the first
day of the new year.



Alvin
and the Chipmunks
has been a surprise smash for Fox and the holiday
break has been very kind to the family comedy. The kidpic grossed $4.4M on
Monday plus $6M on Tuesday. The Water Horse should be the only new
competitor and that film is not likely to put too much of a dent into business.
A slim 10% dip could be in order for this weekend. That would give Alvin roughly
$25M for the frame and lift the 17-day cume to a spectacular $133M.


LAST YEAR: The final weekend of the year saw mostly the same faces from
Christmas fill up the charts.
Night at the
Museum
was tops again with $48.2M over four days pushing the 11-day cume
to a stunning $127.3M which would represent about half of its eventual total.
Will Smith’s
The Pursuit of Happyness
remained in second with $25.5M over four days.
The musical Dreamgirls
jumped up to third with $18.4M in its first full weekend of wide release and was
followed by the kidpic  Charlotte’s
Web
and CIA drama
The Good Shepherd

with $14.9M and $14.2M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week, we’re taking it to the screen with Alien vs.
Predator: Requiem
, the latest mash up of modern sci-fi’s two coolest franchises
in a winner-take-all battle royale. Why are they duking it out on Earth? Why not?
Just check out some of our eternal feuds. Boys versus girls. Cats versus dogs.
The left versus the right. Fresh versus rotten. Seeing how the world loves to
crash opposites against each other and watch the sparks fly, here’s a sample of
10 more memorable title fights, all taking place in the silver screen coliseum.
Get your tickets (and DVDs) now!

Wife Versus Secretary (1936)

The set-up: Clark Gable stars as Van Stanhope,
magazine industrialist with a godsend of a secretary named Whitey (Jean Harlow).
Talk slowly bubbles that a secretary that gorgeous can’t be without some special
talents not listed on her resume, which begins to influence Stanhope’s wife,
Linda (Myrna Loy). Stanhope digs himself deeper into trouble with wife through a
series of delightful misunderstandings in this prime example of old Hollywood
upscale comedy and sharp ratatat dialogue.

Winner: Secretary. Everybody gets their happy ending, but I
honestly never trusted Clark Gable, what with his pomade-doused hair and creepy
thin mustache. The secretary gets the better deal — she drives off into the
evening with her beau, played by a little known actor named James Stewart.

Gamera vs. Monster X (1970)

The set-up: Never mind the mindless lumbering and
random fire belching of Godzilla, give me Gamera the turtle any day. Gamera has
motivations. Feelings. Now if only the helpless citizens of Japan
could figure out what those were. In Gamera vs. Monster X, excavations on a
small island accidentally resurrect Gamera’s nemesis, a scaled lizard that can
microwave buildings with a heat ray and shoot pointy things from its horns. In
comes Gamera to save the day, never mind that Japanese army is constantly trying
to murderlize his hide. The movie hits its high point when Gamera gets injected with
Monster X larvae and two children (children always sympathize with the
misunderstood gentle giant) take a mini-sub into his lungs for some emergency
surgery.

Winner: The global community. May we always have
enormous rubber
monsters and bugs to admire!

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

The set-up: A box office success, now somewhat
unfairly marginalized as one of those Best Picture winners that
stole the award from clearly superior movies (in this case, Apocalypse Now).
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep star as Ted and Joanna Kramer, a New York couple
whose marriage is shaken when Joanna suddenly leaves Ted and their son, Billy.
Indeed, this is no Apocalypse Now. But it is a clean-cut melodrama with tense
domestic scenes as Ted and Billy slowly assemble a relationship. The title fight
refers to the third-act custody battle that ensues when Joanna returns as a more
whole woman and demands her child back.

Winner: Kramer.

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

The set-up: Tom Hanks made a lot of weird comedies
during his early "funny" period (The ‘burbs, Bonfire of the Vanities,
Splash), but none were weirder than Joe Versus the Volcano. After a
fantastically stylized intro depicting the daily grind of factory life, Tom
Hanks’ Joe goes to a Pacific island on a business trip where he meets Meg Ryan
(their first pairing), makes a raft out of steamer trunks (twice!), gets
married, and sacrifices himself to the volcano to appease island natives.

Winner: Tie. In a cute plot twist at the end, both
Joe and the volcano get their final comeuppance.

Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)

The set-up: Since only the most devoted geek can
keep track of all the Godzilla flicks since the 1954 debut, the franchise
reboots every several decades to renew interest and attract new fans. In the
final installment of this mini-series (which ran approximately from the mid-80s
to 90s), Godzilla faces one of his toughest (and most popular) enemies:
Destroyah, a crustacean mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer that defeated the
original Godzilla. Intriguing fact: 1995’s production values for monster movies
seem to be even less than in 1954.

Winner: In a rare TKO, Destroyah survives long enough to
witness Godzilla succumb to total nuclear meltdown. But then enters Godzilla
Junior…

The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

The set-up: After shedding his lovable buffoon image
with Natural Born Killers, Woody Harrelson continued his hot streak playing
sleazy weirdos in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Garnering his only Oscar
nomination in the process, Harrelson portrays Hustler magnate Flynt beginning
with his origins running strip joints to his rise to infamy, his marriage to
Althea Flynt (Courtney Love), the assassination attempt that has left him
wheelchair-bound, and his various run-ins with the law, culminating in a
mega-publicized court battle with Jerry Falwell. Harrelson plays Flynt that
elicits from the audience a canny mix of disgust and curious empathy.

Winner: Larry Flynt, on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. But
with immature smut still available on newsstands at low, low prices, couldn’t
you say everybody wins?

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

The set-up: Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu star as Ecks and
Sever, two agents manipulated into killing each other. After some slo-mo action
shots and an overused techno soundtrack, Ecks and Sever realize they’re better
off working together. And then cue a lot more slo-mo action shots and more
grating techno music. All this without a single coherent moment. Rotten Tomatoes
normally isn’t in the business of recommending crappy movies (even in the name
of irony), but an exception will be made for the Worst-Reviewed
Movie of All Time
.

Winner: Drinking game participants who need something new
to endure, having already done Commando, Street Fighter, and Master of the
Flying Guillotine
.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

The set-up: After years of setbacks and writer’s blocks
looking for a plot that could host both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, New
Line settled on a story about parents medicating their kids so they can’t dream
and fall prey to Krueger. The entire city? Without anybody knowing?
That’s the best they could come up with? Insane set-up aside, Freddy vs. Jason
gives exactly what horror fans want (decent kills, a bit of T & A) along with a
few surprises: the movie has some of the strongest characters in a Jason movie
since Crispin Glover‘s awkward loser in Friday the 13th: The Final
Chapter
.

Winner: Since the winking, ambiguous final shot puts into
question who wins, it boils down to a matter of opinion. People who like Freddy
think he won, while people who prefer (the far awesomer) Jason argue in his
favor.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)

The set-up: John Lennon‘s transformation from mischievous
musician/political activist to perceived national threat by the Nixon
administration is captured in this 96 minute cheer-a-thon for the former Beatle.
Though there’s little educational value in the documentary since few dissidents
are featured among the interviewees, this is an undeniably fun ride through pop
politics with rich archival footage and the image of a flustered Tricky Dick
frightened by a guy who stages bed-ins.

Winner: John. Books, albums, apparel and whatever else
Lennon merch Ono can farm out continue to sell. The best Nixon can hope for
nowadays is ripe Futurama caricatures.

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

The set-up: At an animal dress-up party, Jarrod, gussied up
as an eagle, and shark-sporting Lily hook up. What ensues is a back-and-forth
battle of twits as the two try to navigate a relationship amidst commitment
phobias and Jarrod’s half-baked plan to take revenge on a childhood bully. Popsters The Phoenix Foundation provides a well-used soundtrack and animated
interludes of a walking apple core flesh out the film. Eagle vs. Shark is often
cited as the virulent New Zealand strain of the Napoleon Dynamite epidemic,
which is a simplistic and rather lazy criticism. Sure, it’s quirky and full of
misfit characters, but framing the movie through the girl’s perspective gives
the movie unexpected poignancy that elevates it above indie genre fare.

Winner: A tie match. Even the apple gets its
sunset.

This week at the movies, we have galactic monsters (Alien vs Predator: Requiem), ol’ Nessie (The
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
), big talkers (The Great Debaters,
starring Denzel Washington), and preggered pubescents (Juno, starring
Ellen Page
and Michael Cera). What do the critics have to say?

The story of a youngster who befriends a mythical beast, The
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
makes for occasionally magical family
entertainment, critics say. Sorta like E.T but with a thicker brogue, The
Water Horse
tells the story of Angus (Alex Atel), who stumbles upon a
mysterious egg that contains a creature that grows up to be the Loch Ness
Monster. Pundits say that while it feels familiar and doesn’t stray too from
coming-of-age story conventions, The Water Horse is loaded with charm and
a sense of majesty, carried by strong CGI work. At 71 percent on the Tomatometer, this Water is safe to wade in for the whole family.

Denzel Washington directs and stars in
The Great Debaters, the based-on-truth
account of a group of African American college students from Texas that
challenged the status quo. While the film follows the inspirational drama
formula to a tee, critics were willing to forgive its conservative plot and be
inspired by the rousing performances and Washington’s unobtrusive direction. At
74 percent, Debaters is Great indeed.


Teen pregnancy is not generally a topic that lends itself to hilarity.
However, critics say Juno
is a touching, intelligent, and laugh-out-loud
exception to the rule. Juno stars
Ellen Page as
a smart, headstrong teenager who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand
with her best friend (Michael Cera) and tries to deal with the repercussions. The pundits say Juno
is full of quirk and heart, featuring fine performances from Page, Cera,
Jennifer Garner, and
Jason Bateman, as well as fine direction from
Jason Reitman
and a precociously smart script from first-time writer
Diablo Cody. At 94
percent on the Tomatometer, Juno is not only Certified Fresh, it’s one of the
best-reviewed films of the year. (Check out our interview with Page
here.)


The very presence of Alien vs Predator: Requiem in theaters this week
begs an important question: is there any better way to celebrate the holiday
season than with a cataclysmic throwdown between two of sci fi’s most iconic
monsters? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see, since this one wasn’t shown
to critics prior to release (probably a wise move, since the first
AVP

notched a lusty 22 percent on the Tomatometer). AVP:R finds the action has
moved from outer space to Colorado, where Predator and the aliens duke it out.
Kids, take time out from celebrating the fact that you received a Nintendo Wii
and guess that Tomatometer.



 

Also opening in limited release this week:

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