‘Hubie Halloween’: Adam Sandler’s latest gag-filled Netflix romp

‘Hubie Halloween’: Adam Sandler’s latest gag-filled Netflix romp
‘Hubie Halloween’ features jump scares and plenty of silliness. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 October 2020

‘Hubie Halloween’: Adam Sandler’s latest gag-filled Netflix romp

‘Hubie Halloween’: Adam Sandler’s latest gag-filled Netflix romp

CHENNAI: Once an exclusively American celebration, Halloween, in all its spooky glory, has spread beyond the US and is now seen as a light-hearted night of unadulterated fun for kids and adults alike. The ghoulish season already has a host of popular cult films which movie lovers settle in to watch every year — from the Bette Midler-led “Hocus Pocus” to “Beetlejuice” — and now Netflix has jumped on the bandwagon with “Hubie Halloween,” directed by Steven Brill.

And what better lead could they have found than Adam Sandler, who is back to being, well, Adam Sandler, after essaying a very different kind of character in the gritty “Uncut Gems.”

It’s Halloween in Hubie’s (Sandler) home town of Salem, Massachusetts, and he is the resident good Samaritan equipped with a “flask” that would put Bond’s gadgets to shame. This little contraption has everything— an umbrella, a torchlight and even a spray to ward off bullies — and Hubie has plenty of them.

Hubie’s mother schemes in a bid to put an end to the bullying from teens and adults alike, while Hubie pines away for sweet-natured Violet (Julie Bowen). However, our less-than-heroic lead isn’t gutsy enough to profess his love and suspense hinges on the old will-they-won’t-they plot line.

Written by Sandler, along with longtime collaborator Tim Herlihy, “Hubie Halloween” makes its hero the butt of all jokes, some positively distasteful. Woven into all this are production house Happy Madison regulars, including Kevin James as policeman Steve Downey and Steve Buscemi, who plays Hubie’s creepy neighbor Walter Lambert. Oh, and there’s also a mental asylum escapee thrown in for the scare factor.  

It’s a comedic take on Halloween, with plenty of raucous jump scares and a rather silly protagonist. However, Sandler is remarkable as a bumbling fool, who takes bullying in his stride and Bowen stands out in a small, pleasing, appearance.

There’s no doubt that execs over at Netflix see Sandler as viewing gold — this is his sixth original feature for Netflix since 2015 and 2019 saw the Sandler-starring “Murder Mystery” come out on top as the most viewed film on the platform for that year — and “Hubie Halloween” is just another example of the star doing what he does best.


Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend
Updated 20 September 2021

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

LONDON: Michael Schumacher will always be an iconic figure in Formula 1 — widely regarded as one of the most gifted racers of all time, with a work ethic hitherto unseen in the sport, and a drive for perfection that left his rivals staggered by his laser focus. And while this documentary, created with the blessing and cooperation of the Schumacher family, offers an incredible look at the personal and private life of the German driver, it does little to expand on what most people already know about the seven-times world champion.

Now streaming on Netflix, a procession of famous faces from the world of F1 — Ross Brawn, Flavio Briatore, Jean Todt, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and many others — offer their recollections of Michael, and those interviews are expertly combined with archival material from Schumacher himself, home videos released by the family, and interviews with his wife and children.

Michael Schumacher’s documentary offers a look at the personal and private life of the German driver. (Motorsport Images)

But while directors Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker and Michael Wech do a skilled job of stitching everything together, they rarely take the chance to take “Schumacher” into new territory. Subjects such as Schumacher’s aggression-fueled lapses in racing judgement, or his insistence that he simply couldn’t be in the wrong in any crash, get little more than lip service — perhaps understandably, given that the film was created in such close cooperation with his family. But it does beg the question of what “Schumacher” hopes to achieve. Anyone who follows F1 knows that his was a generation-defining talent, and hearing that same sentiment reflected by a series of notable interviewees simply rings a little hollow.

What’s more, the movie steers clear of offering up any glimpse of Schumacher today. At the end of 2013, Michael suffered a significant brain injury during a skiing trip and hasn’t been seen since. He is, his family insists, continuing to live his life as privately as possible. And while that privacy is important, and absolutely his right, it makes for a strange juxtaposition with a film billed as offering such an intimate portrait of a racing legend.


Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 
Updated 20 September 2021

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming heist action drama “Jigsaw” alongside US actor Giancarlo Esposito, she revealed this week. 

The series centers around a large heist that is loosely based on the $70 billion in bonds that went missing in New York’s downtown Manhattan when Hurricane Sandy struck the city in 2012.

Elbay, who is also a writer, will play the role of Judy Goodwin, the crew’s demolitions specialist who is clever, talented and independent.

The eight-episode series, which ranges from 24 years before the heist to one year after, also casts Spanish actress Paz Vega, British star Rufus Sewell, US actors Tati Gabrielle and Peter Mark Kendall, Australian talent Jai Courtney and Iranian actress Niousha Noor.

Elbay is famous for her role as Amani in Hulu’s award-winning series “Ramy,” which stars US-Egyptian Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef. 


Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival
Updated 20 September 2021

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

 

DUBAI: Lebanese director Mounia Akl this week won the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) award at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival for her feature “Costa Brava, Lebanon.”

Her impassioned debut is an eerie family drama set amid a raging climate crisis in near-future Lebanon.

The film stars actors Saleh Bakri and Nadine Labaki. 

Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri plays Walid and Lebanese star Nadine Labaki plays his wife, Souraya. (Supplied)

“Costa Brava, Lebanon – an exquisite intergenerational family story – is an ode to sustainable futures by visionary new talent, Mounia Akl from her precious and troubled country,” said the NETPAC jury, that included Spanish filmmaker Gemma Cubero del Barrio, Beijing based film producer Isabelle Glachant and BAFTA-nominated producer Elhum Shakerifar, in a statement published in Deadline.

The 32-year-old filmmaker’s haunting and upsetting feature was originally meant to depict a dystopian Lebanon in 2030 at its worst.

“I tried to imagine this dystopian future where none of our problems had been solved and the country was an extreme version of itself,” she told Arab News at the festival.

“It was somehow a way for me to imagine the worst for myself in the same way you sometimes want to explore your trauma in a cathartic way. It was a way for me to imagine the worst in my mind as a way of avoiding the worst happening in my mind and in life.”

The film follows a family who move out of Beirut. (Supplied)

But Lebanon’s crisis deepened as Akl and her team got closer to shooting the movie. “The reality of Lebanon became more tragic and more dystopian than even the dystopia that I imagined in 2030,” she said.

In the film, the now trash-filled surroundings of Lebanon’s “Costa Brava” had meant to be the free-spirited Badri family’s getaway utopia from the pollution and social unrest of Beirut. But their dreams were trashed when construction of a landfill site started next door to the family’s home.

Costa Brava is an actual landfill in Lebanon that opened in April 2016 as one of two sites advertised by the Lebanese government as a solution to the eight-month trash crisis the country had experienced the year before. However, within two weeks of its opening, residents and activists launched protests at the site demanding its closure.


Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli among line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony

Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli is among the line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony. (AFP)
Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli is among the line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2021

Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli among line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony

Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli is among the line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony. (AFP)

DUBAI: A stellar lineup of regional talent is set to perform at Expo 2020’s Opening Ceremony on Sept. 30, organizers have announced.

Among those slated to perform are world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli; Grammy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day; platinum selling British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding; famed pianist Lang Lang; and four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.

From the region, Saudi singing sensation Mohamed Abdo, as well as Emirati stars Ahlam Alshamsi and Hussain Al-Jassmi, will perform. Grammy-nominated Lebanese-American singer Mayssa Karaa will also hit the stage, among other talents. 

Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Event and Entertainment Officer of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As the global spotlight shines on the UAE, this incredible, unforgettable evening will celebrate the collaborative, creative and optimistic spirit of Expo 2020, demonstrating our commitment to hosting a mega-event that will delight the world.

“Combining some of the most sought-after names in the world of music, live events and entertainment with the awe-inspiring, world-first technologies of the iconic Al Wasl Plaza, this is the ‘big bang’ that sets the scene for 182 days of visually striking and emotionally inspiring experiences, as we invite visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world.”

 


Middle East Film & Comic Con heads to Abu Dhabi for 2022 edition

Cosplayers attend the Middle East Film & Comic Con on April 6 , 2018, in Dubai. (AFP)
Cosplayers attend the Middle East Film & Comic Con on April 6 , 2018, in Dubai. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2021

Middle East Film & Comic Con heads to Abu Dhabi for 2022 edition

Cosplayers attend the Middle East Film & Comic Con on April 6 , 2018, in Dubai. (AFP)

DUBAI: The organizers behind the Middle East Film & Comic Con have announced that the popular event is set to take place Abu Dhabi for the first time in March 2022.

The festival, which is dedicated toward film, comic book and video game fans, will run from March 3-5 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, as opposed to its traditional location in Dubai’s World Trace Center complex.

Now in its 10th year, the event will feature workshops, a theatre experience, an Artists' Alley and the ever popular cosplay competition.

“The event will no doubt provide awesome excitement to the well-established and loyal fan base, and will prove to be a great addition to Abu Dhabi’s ever-expanding line-up of exciting events for 2022," said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.