August 12, 2010

MRQE Rewind: Cinema's Dueling "Versus" Movies

With a mighty punch, and a couple of 1-ups, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World enters theaters this weekend looking to take on audiences with stunning visuals and captivating effects that blends the worlds of manga, video games, and graphic novels. If you haven't seen the interactive trailer, then hit the pause button and click this link right now . . . we'll wait. Cool, right?

The title "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" sums the movie up perfectly, as the word "Versus" leads us to think of fights of epic proportions. As Scott Pilgrim takes on bumbling cops and sci-fi noir in the box office, we'll verse you in all the movies that employed "Versus" in its title. There's aliens taking on predators, monsters battling aliens, and let's not forget the fearless fight between Ted and Joanna Kramer! Below we highlight the Top 5, but click on over to MRQE to see the full list!

5. Versus (2001)
MRQE Metric: 63

In Versus, a prisoner goes up against his own personal demons and a group of mobsters. Those mobsters, and the prisoner, then battle zombies. All this culminates in a final clash between good and evil. The Japanese flick certainly has everything you would want in a good "versus" movie including a healthy blend of Samurai sword fights and zombie re-deaths! As Mike McGinnis of sums up, "imagine all the cool zombie scenes from Day Of The Dead, The Beyond, Gates Of Hell, Braindead etc. Meets the cool camera work of Evil Dead and minced with some incredible fight scenes and all the best bloody shootouts of The Killer and Hard Boiled with touches of Ninja Scroll and you have Versus!!!"

4. Monsters vs Aliens (2009)
MRQE Metric: 64

2009's epic battle from DreamWorks blends sci-fi and horror, as The 50 Foot Woman, The Fly (er . . . cockroach) and Mothra come together to thwart an impending alien invasion. Monsters vs Aliens--starring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, and Kiefer Sutherland--pays homage to several classic monster and alien movies, including: The Blob, King Kong, and War of the Worlds. James Verniere of the Boston Herald, says the real gem of the film is in one of it's stars: "That the result is such a winner is owed in large part to a petite force of nature known as Reese Witherspoon."

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3. The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)
MRQE Metric: 68

Back in the '60s, if you were a teenage girl, you were most likely in love with the Beatles--same can be said if you were a teenage boy. But, towards the end of the decade, if you were part of the U.S. Government, you were out to get him. This documentary explores the transformation from John Lennon: mega music star, to John Lennon: outspoken anti-war activist, and how the U.S. feared that his words might lead to greater dissent. For a "versus" movie, there couldn't be a more provocative fight. As Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel says, "We're reminded of how important 'Give Peace a Chance' became, and how quick Lennon was with quip."

2. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
MRQE Metric: 76

This might not be the "versus" movie you'd expect on this list, but for a courtroom battle, Kramer vs. Kramer sure packs some emotional punches. Adapted from a best-selling novel, the film is about a workaholic husband who turns himself around as he raises his boy after his wife leaves him. The film not only solidified the careers of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep--each winning Oscars for their roles--but it also went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Kramer vs. Kramer is a character study that doesn't take sides, and as Roger Ebert says in his review, "we get the feeling at times that personalities are changing and decisions are being made even as we watch them."

1. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
MRQE Metric: 81

What better movie to make the top of this list than The People vs. Larry Flynt? The film explores the rise of Larry Flynt as publisher of Hustler Magazine, and his many battles over free speech in court, leading to his landmark case in front of the Supreme Court. Played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, the role of Flynt garnered him an Academy Award for Best Actor. As Own Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says, "The People vs. Larry Flyntis an exultant comedy of American repression and revolt. It invites us to root for Larry Flynt by asking us to recognize that in a country as free as America, there's something vital -- indeed, essential -- about a man who's willing to go too far."

See the rest of the list, and get versed in Cinema's Dueling "Versus" Movies!

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