By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 28, 2002
Sandler's Hanukkah: The Movie
Eight Crazy Nights
Put on your yarmulke, it's time for Hanukkah. Well, not quite, but comedian Adam Sandler gets a jump on the Jewish holiday with Eight Crazy Nights (PG-13), an animated comedy springing from the popularity of his irreverent tune, The Chanukah Song. Sandler voices the role of Davey Stone, a 30ish party animal whose brush with the law leads to a community service stint. Davey's sentence has him working as a referee in a youth basketball league, where a twinkly old man named Whitey Duvall (also Sandler's voice) makes him reconsider his life, like Scrooge with a chip on his shoulder. Despite the animated format, this doesn't sound like a movie for small children, with the Motion Picture Association of America citing "frequent crude and sexual humor, (alcohol) drinking and brief drug references." What's left for Sandler to do the other seven nights? See a review on today's page 2B to find out.
Craven in name only
[Photo: Dimension Films]
They is coming. That isn't an example of bad grammar, just a dumb movie title. Horrormeister Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, ad nauseum) lends his bankable name but none of his writing or directing talents to this run-of-the-kill fright flick. Doing such favors for friends didn't help Quentin Tarantino's reputation when films Tarantino endorsed flopped. Craven may encounter the same response. They (PG-13) features Laura Regan (who?) as a psychology student whose childhood fears have come back to haunt her. The film wasn't previewed in time for Weekend. Craven previously "presented" Dracula 2000, Wishmaster and a remake of Carnival of Souls. Can They be as forgettable as those? We'll see about that.
Stunt casting, stunt movie
[Photo: Paramount Pictures]
Extreme Ops (PG-13) sounds like a video game waiting to happen. A film crew dispatched to the Austrian Alps to document the exploits of extreme sports enthusiasts stumbles upon the secret lair of a Serbian war criminal (Klaus Lowitsch). That kicks off a series of chilly chases with skis, whitewater rafts, motorcycles, helicopters, skydives, you name it. Devon Sawa, Rufus Sewell and Bridgette Wilson share star billing, but stunt performers appear to be doing the important work, judging by preview trailers. Extreme Ops screened too late for Weekend review, and I, for one, appreciate that.
More cinematic Saints and Sinners
Even the guys at Renegade Films were pleasantly surprised by the response to their first Saints and Sinners film festival in August. Hundreds of curious moviegoers crowded into St. Petersburg's State Theatre to view the works of independent filmmakers whose devotion to their art is often matched only by their lack of production funds. The second Saints and Sinners showcase will be Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. at State Theatre, 687 Central Ave. Like before, the lineup appears loaded with horror and suspense films with titles such as Weregrrl, Raven 2 and Where Shadows Lie Darkest. But there are also interesting documentaries with local flavor, including the carny chronicle Gibtown and We Believe, a portrait of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. The festival also presents a midnight screening of Shogun Assassin, a graphically violent martial arts adventure, and an appearance by B-movie scream queen Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead). Admission is $10 at the door. For complete information, visit the festival's Web site at www.renegadefilms.net/festival/program.html.
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