Insomnia (2002)

Remakes are generally for people with no creative imagination.

That said, this Christopher Nolan-helmed redo on a superb Norwegian thriller pays homage to the original, while adding new stylistic touches.

Foremost is Robin Williams, shedding his manic funny guy image, sinking into the role of a devious killer.

Big-city cop Al Pacino, facing an internal investigation back home, arrives on a remote patch of frozen tundra already worn down.

Toss in a fatal shooting early into his new case, an inability to sleep, and Williams taunting, and things are headed downhill fast.

Proof positive remake isn’t always a bad word.

Popeye

I yam what I yam.

Rockin’ pumped-up biceps, a squint, and a corn cob pipe, Robin Williams mumbles and bumbles his way through a musical comedy which, despite what you think you remember, was NOT a box office dud.

It actually made back more than double its budget.

Robert Altman’s slightly-twisted take on the cartoon icon is the kind of film which attracts a small band of super-enthusiastic fans, including me.

Not everything works, but what does is often inspired, with Shelly Duvall a particular delight as Olive Oyl.

Take a second look – it’s better than you might remember.

 

Aladdin

Action up the yin-yang.

During its creative rebirth in the ’90s, Disney animation scored with soaring songs, memorable characters, and some tear-inducing imagery.

But nothing, not The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, or anything in between, matches Aladdin for pure old-fashioned excitement.

The camera flies like it has wings, tracking our favorite hood rat as he risks life and limb, staying one step ahead of evil, scheming Jafar, and various ancient curses running amuck.

Robin Williams forever redefined what voice-over work could be, but this is Indiana Jones-level escapades, and I love every frantic second.