Robin’s Underrated Gems: Nightwatch (1994)

It’s almost redundant to say that one of today’s biggest complaints about Hollywood is too many damn remakes. I have a particular aversion to remakes which are nothing more than lazy rehashes of the original film and do not even attempt to try anything different with the material. If the original film was so good to begin with, what’s the point of sitting through an inferior carbon copy? However, sometimes, I try to put myself in the shoes of a viewer who might not have seen the original film. Would they consider the remake to be a solid film if they have nothing to compare it to? Well, such a situation actually occurred with me when I sat through the 1998 horror-thriller, Nightwatch. The movie was directed by Ole Bornedal and was an English-language remake of his own Danish film from four years earlier. The remake had a first-rate cast consisting of Ewan McGregor, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Patricia Arquette, Lauren Graham, John C. Reilly and Brad Dourif. I thought the film was a very well-made and enjoyable thriller when I saw it during its initial release and could not figure out why it got mostly negative reviews and bombed at the box office. I knew it was a remake of a Danish film, but at the time, the original version of Nightwatch had never been officially released in North America and could only be viewed via the miracle of VHS bootlegs. Years later, I finally acquired a copy of the original Nightwatch and saw that the Hollywood remake was practically the EXACT same movie, scene-for-scene. Needless to say, the remake is now a distant memory.

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Before They Were Stars: Mark Margolis Does Porn

I know what you’re thinking… Breaking Bad‘s Tio Salamanca did porn?! Was this some sort of weird fetish porn involving old guys in wheelchairs who ring a bell during intercourse? Actually, don’t worry, it’s a purely non-sexual role. Character actor Mark Margolis has over 140 credits in his filmography, but the very first one is a small bit part as “Unhappy Man on Plane” in the 1976 adult film, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, playing an airline passenger who orders a couple of blowjobs from the stewardess. The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an X-rated version of Pygmalion and is considered by many to be one of the finest adult films ever made. You know they were going for quality when they cast noted character actors in bit parts.

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Last Link of the Day: Ferret Jump

You can do it!

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JUPITER : Le Destin de L’Univers

Speaking of insane movies, they don’t get much more insane than Jupiter Ascending, the long-awaited film from the Wachowski Starship that was delayed for half a year because it looks so crazy. At this point, I don’t even know if this will be good or bad, but I’ve become so obsessed with its weirdness that you can bet I’ll be lining up on opening night. Also, Mila Kunis appears to want to make out with a dog? So strange.

Jupiter Ascending comes out February 6, 2015.

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Welcome to Jurassic World

In what is quickly becoming the norm, the trailer for Jurassic World dropped online early due to someone leaking a bootleg version of it. In this age of the internet, it’s pretty clear to me that if you tease something that is obviously already made (such as a movie trailer), people are going to find a way to watch it before you intend for them to. So studios, take note: if you have a trailer, just release the damn thing.

Now, with that out of the way, here are my thoughts on this trailer for Jurassic World. First the good. The park looks great. I love how they’ve updated it to look like a more modern theme park, and I even dig some of the sillier things, like the gyro-bubbles. I’m calling it now: one of those spheres will results in a call-back to the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Jurassic Seaworld is also a stroke of genius, and is one of the highlights of the trailer for me. It looks like the filmmakers are doing all the right things for this belated sequel – namely going batshit insane with everything. Hybrid-o-saurus! Chris Pratt on a motorcycle with a team of trained raptors! It’s all so out there that I bet it’s going to be hella fun, even if the movie is dumb. But hey, I can already tell that it won’t be dumber than Jurassic Park III.

Now the bad. The characters already come off as flat and uninteresting. I don’t give a crap about the two kids, Bryce Dallas Howard appears to be in this just to look good while delivering pseudo-scientific dialogue, and Chris Pratt, though I love the guy, is just a dulled-down rehash of three characters from the first movie: Alan Grant. Ian Malcolm and Robert Muldoon. And it’s entirely possible that this will be an enormous mess.

All of that being said, I still think my version is better. Jurassic World comes out June 12, 2015.

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Before They Were Stars: Michael Keaton Does Stand-Up at Gotham Comedy Club

I wish I could tell you this is footage from a deleted subplot in Tim Burton’s Batman where Bruce Wayne decides to give up being the Caped Crusader to pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. But, no, this is footage from 1980 of a young Michael Keaton performing at a New York City venue which is actually called Gotham Comedy Club. Keaton briefly flirted with a career in stand-up comedy before he decided to make acting his full-time profession, but with foreshadowing like that, how could he not?

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Last Link of the Day: Autocomplete Song

No worse than most pop music, really.

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A Brief History of Video Game Graphics

You may be somewhat bummed out by the lack of content from me these days, but don’t fret: Stuart Brown’s got what you need to fill your time. Check out this awesome series of videos detailing the history of video game graphics – it’s fun AND educational!

More under the cut!

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Before They Were Stars: Tony Danza as a Professional Boxer

Tony Danza may not be the first actor to come to mind when you’re picturing badasses, but the guy was a pretty good professional boxer, garnering a 9-3 win-loss record with all of his victories ending via knockout. In this bout, “Tough” Tony Danza knocks out his opponent in only 44 seconds. Tony might have built up a successful career for himself, but after a casting director saw him working out in a gymnasium and thought he’d be good for a role on Taxi, acting became his full-time gig.

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Last Link of the Day: The Pay Phone Repairmen of New York

This gets my nomination for Best Documentary Short.

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