Universal’s 2005 Slate Preview: PART TWO

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If you have yet to check out our look at the first ten films of the year from Universal Pictures click here to do so, otherwise continue your preview below.

SERENITY (April 22, 2005)

“Firefly” may have suffered cancellation on television, but that isn’t stopping Universal from bring the story to the big screen as Joss Whedon helms Serenity, the futuristic actioner set for an April 22nd release.

The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

For the rest of the story and a look at some early pics click here.

GEORGE A. ROMERO’S LAND OF THE DEAD
(October 21, 2005)

Finally some horror, and not only is this horror, this is horror from the master as George A. Romero brings his Dead series back to the big screen with Land of the Dead set for an October 21st release date.

Starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper the new tale creates a harrowing vision of a modern-day world where the walking dead roam an uninhabited wasteland and the living try to lead “normal” lives behind the walls of a fortified city. A new society has been built by a handful of enterprising, ruthless opportunists, who live in the towers of a skyscraper, high above the hard-scrabble existence on the streets below. But outside the city walls, an army of the dead is evolving. Inside, anarchy is on the rise. With the very survival of the city at stake, a group of hardened mercenaries is called into action to protect the living from an army of the dead.

We have even received a couple of early images from the flick, so click here to check those out.

JARHEAD (November 11, 2005)

Unfortunately we don’t have any early pics of this one as Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black and Chris Cooper all find themselves wound up in the Sam Mendes directed film Jarhead.

Jarhead follows “Swoff” (Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper’s rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don’t understand against an enemy they can’t see for a cause they don’t fully fathom.

This irreverent and true account of a war that was antiseptically packaged a decade ago is laced with dark wit, honest inquisition and episodes that are at once surreal and poignant, tragic and absurd.

THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN (November 23, 2005)

40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carrell) has done quite a few things in his life. He’s got a cushy job stamping invoices at an electronics superstore, a nice apartment with a proud collection of action figures and comic books, good friends, a nice attitude. But there’s just one little thing he hasn’t quite gotten around to doing yet–something most people have done by his age. Done a lot. Andy’s never, ever, ever had sex–not even by accident. So is that such a big deal?

The 40 Year Old Virgin is a comedy brought to auds by writer and producer Judd Apatow (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Kicking & Screaming) in his feature film debut with a November 23rd release date.

KING KONG (December 14, 2005)

What could be an absolute failure or an utter success is Peter Jackson‘s post-Lord of the Rings effort King Kong.

Already being celebrated by Internet readers web-wide the film is Jackson’s dream as he sets out to employ the latest motion picture technology to cinematically portray the timeless tale of the beast and his beauty. Expanding on the chapters of the tale that take place in the mysterious and dangerous jungles of Skull Island, Jackson’s Kong promises to be a unique and breathtaking creation.

I am extremely hesitant about this one, but Jackson certainly has put everything in place with a stellar cast, which includes Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks and Kyle Chandler.

Set for a December 14th release date Kong looks to dominate the December timeline like LOTR did. For an early look at three images click here.

THE PRODUCERS (December 21, 2005)

Don’t think I have to explain this one much as the musical returns to the big screen as Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Will Ferrell bring back to life The Producers.

Two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their celebrated roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, a scheming theatrical producer and his mousy CPA who hit upon the perfect plan to embezzle a fortune: raise far more money than you need to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop and then (since no one will expect anything back), Max and Leo can pocket the difference. To do this, they need the ultimate bad play, which they find in the musical Springtime for Hitler. Their plans come to naught and the duo are taken completely by surprise when their new production is hailed as a toast-of-the-town hit. Will Ferrell also brings his spot-on comic talents to the role of Franz Liebkind, the neo-Nazi playwright (and pigeon fancier) responsible for penning the “worst play ever written.”

Unfortunately there weren’t any images provided for this title but hopefully we will get a look soon.

NANNY MCPHEE (TBA 2005)

Based on the “Nurse Matilda” Books by Christianna Brand, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury are ready to bring to life a family comedy described as a dark and witty fable, Nanny McPhee.

The screenplay was written by Thompson herself, whose first screenplay won the 1995 Oscar® for Sense and Sensibility. The film finds Thompson portraying a person of unsettling appearance and magical powers who enters the household of the recently widowed Mr. Brown (Firth) and attempts to tame his seven exceedingly ill-behaved children. The children, led by the oldest boy Simon (Love Actually‘s Thomas Sangster), have managed to drive away 17 previous nannies and are certain that they will have no trouble with this one. But as Nanny McPhee takes control, they begin to notice that their vile behavior now leads swiftly and magically to rather startling consequences.

Her influence also extends to the family’s deeper problems, including Mr. Brown’s sudden and seemingly inexplicable attempts to find a new wife; an announcement by the domineering Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury) that she intends to take one of the children away; and the sad and secret longings of their scullery maid, Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald). As the children’s behavior begins to change, Nanny McPhee’s arresting face and frame appear to change as well, creating even more questions about this mysterious stranger whom the children and their father have come to love.

PRIME (TBA 2005)

Now we find Uma Thurman in her second post “Bride” role. Uma took the place of Sandra Bullock for Prime giving her the opportunity to play alongside one of acting’s gems Meryl Streep in a sophisticated, character comedy set in New York City about Rafi (Thurman), a recently divorced 37-year-old career woman from Manhattan, and what happens when Dave (Bryan Greenberg), a talented 23-year-old painter from Brooklyn, falls in love with her.

We were able to score a couple of images for the film, you can check them out here.

TWO FOR THE MONEY (TBA 2005)

Here comes an Al Pacino flick I was yet to hear of as he stars alongside Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Jeremy Piven and Armand Assante in Two for the Money a drama of high stakes set in the adrenalized world of wheeler-dealers whose fortunes are won and lost betting on sports. Matthew McConaughey stars as Brandon Lane, a former college football star whose uncanny ability to predict the outcome of a game introduces him to an unexpected new career when his gridiron glory is sidelined by a crushing injury.

For the rest of the story as well as a couple of early pics click here.

UNTITLED “CARLITO’S WAY” PROJECT (TBA 2005)

Finally we come to our last film, a film that may be a tragic mistake that takes a little something away from the original as Jay Hernandez, Mario Van Peebles and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs star in the prequel to the 1993 Al Pacino hit Carlito’s Way.

Currently without an official title the film finds Jay Hernandez taking the role of Carlito Brigante, who from an early age is seduced by the power and excitement of the New York underworld. Assisted by his two “brothers” in crime, Rocco (Michael Kelly, Dawn of the Dead) and Earl (Mario Van Peebles, Ali), Carlito is on the fast-track to becoming Spanish Harlem’s ultimate kingpin. But when he is challenged, Carlito has just one thing on his mind…survival. Co-starring Sean Combs (Monster’s Ball), the Carlito’s Way prequel is a non-stop action thriller that reveals the ferocious beginnings of an underworld legend.

We do have some early pics from the film, so click here to check those out.

If you haven’t checked out our other previews be sure to do so as we have already previewed the upcoming slates for Lions Gate Films, New Line, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks.

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Weekend: Sep. 20, 2018, Sep. 23, 2018

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