Universal’s 2005 Slate Preview: PART ONE

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As we move one week into 2005 our final preview kits are finally coming to the surface as we now have tons of new images and info for 20 new films from Universal Pictures.

We don’t want to waste any of your time so we will quickly dive into the goods.

WHITE NOISE (January 7, 2005)

First up is the film being released tomorrow, White Noise, starring Michael Keaton.

Taking its inspiration from the freak occurrences called Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) the film tells a chilling tale based on the process through which the dead communicate with the living through household recording devices. These extraordinary recordings–captured by people all over the world, in their homes, with a simple tape or video recorder–seem to confirm what many of us have dared to believe: it is possible for the dead to communicate with us.

We have already added several images for the film as well as our review, so click here to get all the goods.

IN GOOD COMPANY (January 14, 2005)

Next on our list is a film that was actually released in NY and LA last year for Oscar reasons. In Good Company is being hailed by critics and even our very own Steve Davis enjoyed the film thoroughly giving the film an “A-” in his review and gave it nothing but praise in his Contenders article.

Starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson the film delves into the life of 51-year-old Dan Foreman (Quaid), a long-term head of ad sales at the weekly Sports America, which has just celebrated their biggest year, thanks in large part to Dan’s warm, honest, handshake deal style and the departmental esprit de corps he fosters.

Things soon change for Dan when Carter Duryea (Grace) comes into the picture, and for the rest you will just have to see for yourself.

In Good Company will be released wide on January 14th, for more on the film including trailers, pictures and more click here.

THE WEDDING DATE (February 4, 2005)

Finally into some films you may not have heard of, film of which we had no prior images to give you.

The Wedding Date is first on the block as Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney spark this romantic comedy featuring a never-married New Yorker who is invited to her parents’ London home for her younger sister’s wedding not knowing that the best man will be none other than her ex-fiancé.

I don’t really have to go too much further into the story to let you know where this one is heading, but if you want to check out the poster, trailer and pics click here.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT (February 11, 2005)

Up next is our only documentary of the bunch as Brian Grazer and his gang step into the doc genre with INSIDE Deep Throat, a film centered around the unanticipated lasting cultural impact generated by Deep Throat, a sexually explicit film first shown in a midtown Manhattan adult theater in June 1972 that quickly became the flashpoint for an unprecedented social and political firestorm.

The film will be debuting at the Sundance Film Festival this month and is already rated NC-17, which spells a bit of nudity as the crew dives into the forbidden topic, which is sure to get the Bush camp up in arms.

For more on the film, including a couple of early pics click here.

THE INTERPRETER (April 22, 2005)

Now we come across the Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn thriller, The Interpreter, directed by Oscar® winner Sydney Pollack.

The story finds Kidman as an African-born U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome, who inadvertently overhears a death threat against an African head of state scheduled to address the United Nation’s General Assembly, which ends up putting here squarely in the assassins’ cross hairs. Penn plays Tobin Keller, the federal agent charged with protecting Silvia.

We have gained access to two pics from the film, which is set for an April 22nd opening, click here to check them out.

KICKING & SCREAMING (May 13, 2005)

Now for our first comedy as Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall and even Mike Ditka star in Kicking & Screaming.

Ferrell stars as Phil Weston, an average Joe who’s had to put up all his life with his overly competitive father, Buck (Robert Duvall). When Phil decides to coach his 10-year-old son’s soccer team, he goes head-to-head for the league championship against Buck, who coaches his own young son on the preeminent team of the league. Old scores come into play as Phil and Buck find themselves going to extreme measures to win the championship trophy.

To check out a couple of early pics along with the trailer click here.

Cinderella Man (June 3, 2005)

Now if there was ever an Oscar contender based on cast alone it would be our next film, Cinderella Man.

The film stars Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Bruce McGill and Paddy Considine in a film inspired by the life of legendary athlete Jim Braddock, a once-promising light heavyweight boxer forced into retirement after a string of losses in the ring. As the nation enters the darkest years of the Great Depression, Braddock accepts a string of dead-end jobs to support his wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), and their children, while never totally abandoning his dream of boxing again.

Thanks to a last minute cancellation, Braddock finds himself back in the ring against the second-ranked world contender–and to everyone’s amazement, Braddock wins in the third round. Despite being pounds lighter than his opponents and repeated injuries to his hands, Braddock continues to fight against challengers and win. Carrying on his shoulders the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised masses, Braddock, dubbed the “Cinderella Man,” faces his toughest challenger in Max Baer (Craig Bierko), the heavyweight champion of the world, renowned for having killed two men in the ring.

Sure to be an emotional roller coaster the story itself speaks volumes of its Oscar chances. For more on the film including an early look at a couple of pics as well as the trailer click here.

THE SKELETON KEY (July 8, 2005)

Okay, so Kate Hudson‘s first ever “movie of her own,” Raising Helen didn’t exactly raise the critics thumbs, but that doesn’t mean the Oscar nominated actress isn’t worth her salt, and she is back with the supernatural thriller, The Skeleton Key to prove it to us.

The film also stars Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard and John Hurt and was written by The Ring scribe, Ehren Kruger. Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans, Hudson stars as Caroline, a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman’s (Rowlands) ailing husband (Hurt) in their home…a foreboding and decrepit mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their mysterious and secretive ways and their rambling house, Caroline beings to explore the old mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. Peter Sarsgaard portrays Luke, the local attorney working on the couple’s estate, and Joy Bryant plays Jill, Caroline’s best friend.

For more on the film and our early pics click here.

DOOM (August 5, 2005)

If there had been pictures of this one I would have been blown away, unfortunately we are only left with hope as our next film is Doom, a futuristic action-adventure based on the popular video game and while The Rock has been rumored to be the star along with Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike, Universal Pictures still hasn’t officially made any announcements.

Set countless years in the future and told in the hyper-kinetic, kamikaze style that made its gaming predecessor a global phenomenon, the science fiction action adventure Doom takes the viewer to the far corners of the galaxy with a fully-realized vision of a dark and disturbing future.

While a cast list was not given a release date of August 5th was, so there is no telling just when we will be getting more info on this one.

THE PERFECT MAN (August 12, 2005)

Even though Raise Your Voice and A Cinderella Story tanked at the box-office last year studios are still banking on the box-office power of Hilary Duff as Universal is releasing The Perfect Man on August 12th.

Aside from Duff the film also stars Heather Locklear as teenager Holly Hamilton (Duff) is tired of moving every time her single mom Jean (Locklear) has another personal meltdown involving yet another second-rate guy. To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, Holly conceives the perfect plan for the perfect man… an imaginary secret admirer who will romance Jean and boost her shaky self-esteem. When the virtual relationship takes off, Holly finds herself having to produce the suitor, borrowing her friend’s charming and handsome Uncle Ben (Chris Noth) as the face behind the e-mails, notes and gifts. Holly must resort to increasingly desperate measures to keep the ruse alive and protect her mom’s newfound happiness. . . almost missing the real perfect man when he does come along.

We were able to score a couple of early looks at the film, so click here to check them out.

That ends Part One of our Universal Preview, for the final ten films of the year click here.

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