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2004 Universal 2/2


Only a couple of 2004 upcoming studio movie previews remain, and today was UNIVERSAL's turn to give us the skinny on their slate, a slate which, in my opinion, only looks about "so-so" up to this point. In fact, if it wasn't for THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and VAN HELSING, I'm not sure that I could name too many of their films that interest me. Then again, a few of them haven't even started shooting yet, like MEET THE FOCKERS, so maybe I'll get more "into" them as time passes. You can get more info on each film by clicking on their pics, which will also lead you to higher-resolution pictures, or just visit our newly refurbished UPCOMING MOVIES section. Enjoy!



Director: Sydney Pollack

Starring: Nicole Kidman

Plot: Kidman stars as South African U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome, who inadvertently overhears a hushed, after-hours conversation in the General Assembly Hall. And what she hears could topple a government…if she can just survive long enough to get someone to believe her. In the right hallway, at the right time, all it takes is a whisper to tip the balance of power.


Director: Jay Roach

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo

Plot: The makers and stars behind the runaway hit of 2000, Meet the Parents, are re-united in the follow-up comedy, Meet the Fockers. Now that Greg Focker (Stiller) is “in” with his soon-to-be in-laws, Jack (De Niro) and Dina Byrnes, it looks like smooth sailing for him and his fiancée, Pam (Polo). But that’s before Pam’s parents meet Greg’s parents, the Fockers. The hyper-relaxed Fockers and the tightly-wound Byrneses are woefully mismatched from the start, and no matter how hard Greg and Pam try, there is just no bringing their families together—which all adds up to a disastrously funny time of “getting to know you."


Director: Paul Weitz

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson

Plot: Dan Foreman (played by Dennis Quaid) is headed for a shakeup. He is demoted from head of ad sales for a major magazine when the company he works for is acquired in a corporate takeover. His new boss, Tom (played by Topher Grace) is half his age—a business school prodigy who preaches corporate Synergy. While Dan develops clients through handshake deals and relationships, Tom cross-promotes the magazine with the cell phone division and “Krispity Krunch,” an indeterminate snack food under the same corporate umbrella.

Both men are going through turmoil at home. Dan has two daughters—Alex, age 18, and Jana, age 16—and is shocked when his wife tells him she’s pregnant with a new child. Between college tuition, the mortgage and a new baby, Dan can’t afford to lose his job in the wave of corporate layoffs. Tom, in the meanwhile, is dumped by his wife of seven months just as he gets his promotion. Dan and Tom’s uneasy friendship is thrown into jeopardy when Tom falls for, and begins an affair with, Dan’s daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson). Weitz’s examination of life’s surprises, ironies and coincidences combine to form Synergy.


Director: Jonathan Frakes

Starring: Bill Paxton, Anthony Edwards, Sophia Myles, Brady Corbet, Soren Fulton, Vanessa Hudgens, Ben Kingsley

Plot: When dangerous situations exceed the limitations of ordinary military and international security forces, the world calls upon the high-tech assistance of International Rescue—a mysterious band of fearless adventurers and their fleet of awesome, imaginatively engineered vehicles known as: Thunderbirds! Hidden from the world, Tracy Island, a lush patch of land situated in the remote waters of the South Pacific, is home to brilliant entrepreneur and former astronaut Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton) and his five sons. It is also the headquarters of Tracy’s top-secret organization, International Rescue – and it is under siege. Master criminal The Hood (Ben Kingsley) has breached island security, intent on commandeering International Rescue’s fleet of five highly advanced rescue vehicles, each designed to accomplish a specific task. Deploying Jeff and his four eldest sons on a mission, The Hood finds his plans obstructed by Jeff’s youngest son Alan (Brady Corbet), who will do anything to save the Tracy family and the Thunderbirds.


Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Starring: Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu

Plot: Set not so long ago in a distant land, Two Brothers is the story of twin tiger cubs—one shy and gentle, the other, bold and fierce—who are born among the temple ruins of an exotic jungle, but are one day separated by fate. The bold brother is sold off to a circus, where homesickness and living in a cage rob him of his spirit. The shy cub becomes the beloved companion for the governor’s lonely young son, until an accident forces the family to give him away to a man who resolves to break his gentle nature and turn him into a fighter for sport. When they are fully grown, the brothers find themselves reunited—but as forced enemies pitted against each other.


Director: Stephen Sommers

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Will Kemp, Kevin J. O’Connor

Plot: Deep in the mountains of Carpathia lies the mysterious and mythic land of Transylvania—a world where evil is ever-present, where danger rises as the sun sets and where the monsters that inhabit man’s deepest nightmares take form. Innovative filmmaker Stephen Sommers—who so imaginatively re-envisioned Universal’s classic Mummy character in the worldwide blockbusters The Mummy and The Mummy Returns—now widens his cinematic scope and multiplies his creative inspiration by breathing new life into the most time-honored pantheon of classic Universal monsters and setting them in a stunning new world of fantastical reality. Sommer’s all-encompassing vision for a world as tangible, real and visceral as any caught in the stranglehold of inescapable evil blends the recognizable and the unimaginable into a vivid, epic backdrop for his tale of ultimate evil against a lone force of good: Van Helsing.

Audiences will be drawn into a visionary, supernatural but seemingly all-too-real world of Sommers’ singular creation—set in 19th Century London, Rome, Paris and Transylvania—where mankind is in constant danger from incarnate evil in a multitude of forms: monsters that outlive generations, defying repeated attacks from the doomed brave souls that challenge them in their never-ending war upon the human race. In Sommers’ hands, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man and others are effectively reborn as dynamic heirs to the traditions handed down by the filmmakers of the classic Universal monster pictures. Honoring their legacy while propelling them into the next generation of cinema, Sommers turns what was once classic into cutting edge.

Into this world, brought to life and played out on massive sets and sweeping locations, Sommers brings Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman), the legendary monster hunter born in the pages of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In his ongoing battle to rid the world of its fiendish creatures, Van Helsing, on order of a secret society, travels to Transylvania to bring down the lethally seductive, enigmatically powerful Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) and joins forces with the fearless Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), out to rid her family of a generations-old curse by defeating the vampire. Also populating Sommers’ dense canvas are: Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Dr. Frankenstein’s misunderstood monster; former Matthew Bourne company leading dancer Will Kemp as Velkan, Anna’s stalwart brother who transforms under the full moon into the Wolf Man; Kevin J. O’Connor as Dr. Frankenstein’s loyal yet treacherous assistant, Igor; David Wenham as Carl, a friar entrusted with ensuring Van Helsing’s safe return; and Elena Anaya, Silvia Colloca and Josie Maran as Dracula’s three bloodthirsty brides who will stop at nothing to help their master in his plan to subvert human civilization and rule over a world of havoc, fear and darkness.


Director: Richard Loncraine

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Sam Neill, John Favreau

Plot: Peter Colt (Bettany) is an unlucky guy, scoring “love” both professionally and personally. Seeded near the bottom of the world tennis ranks, he manages to score a wild card, allowing him to play in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. There, he meets and falls in love with American tennis star Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst). Fueled by a mixture of his newfound luck, love and on-court prowess, Peter works his way up the ranks of the tournament players and actually stands a chance of fulfilling his lifelong dream of winning the men’s singles title—if his luck can just hold out.

< click here to see Warner Bros' 2004 preview >
< click here to see Paramount's 2004 preview >
< click here to see
20th Century Fox's 2004 preview >
< Click here to see Sony/Columbia's 2004 preview >
< Click here to see Dreamworks' 2004 preview >
< click here to see Lions Gate's 2004 preview >
< click here to see Fox Searchlight's 2004 preview >
< click here to see MGM/UA's 2004 preview >

Tags: Hollywood



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