Stepford Wives Looking Bright For Ms. M

Paramount Previews Movie Line-up
Tue, Mar 30, 2004, 07:03 PM PT
By Mike Szymanski

LOS ANGELES ( — On Tuesday, Paramount Pictures offered the press first glimpses of their upcoming movies for the rest of the year.

“The Stepford Wives” looks campily funny, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” looks darkly noirish and “Suspect Zero” looks horrifyingly scary. And Jude Law, well, he looks like a contract player for Paramount.

Law stars in “Sky Captain” as well as “What’s it All About, Alfie?” and is the voice of narrator “Lemony Snicket” in the film “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” which stars Jim Carrey.

The “Lemony Snicket” scenes got the most reaction from those assembled. The characters of the best-selling books come to the big screen with actors Emily Browning and Liam Aiken as the children sent to live with the wacky Count Olaf. Almost Grinch-like in his appearance, Carrey seems to be his unpredictable over-the-top self in another classic role. That movie is set to hit theaters on Friday, Dec. 17.

Meryl Streep also stars in “Lemony” as well as the studio’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate,” taking on the role Angela Lansbury made famous. Scheduled for Friday, July 30, “Manchurian Candidate” is being produced by Tina Sinatra, daughter of Frank, who starred in the 1962 classic. This time, Streep is with fellow Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Jon Voight in the film with Liev Schreiber as the aspiring politician. It looks like it could be another Oscar-nominated performance for Streep, just as it was for Lansbury.

Oscar winners are widely touted in the upcoming Paramount films, such as the yet-unscheduled “Weather Man” with winners Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine, and “Alfie” with past winners Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei. Then, there’s past winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, along with Law, in “Sky Captain,” which has a distinct WWII, dark cartoonish feel to it.

Paltrow portrays a reporter who links up with Law, an ace aviator, in the fight to stop an evil mastermind who’s kidnapping famous scientists. Airplanes fly under water, giant robots invade cities and jets flap their wings like birds in this futuristic sci fi pic. Jolie and Paltrow’s characters appear to have an intense rivalry going on, and both sport British accents.

Bette Midler steals the scenes shown for “Stepford Wives,” which also stars Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. Midler is shown transformed from a shrill shrew to a model robotic housewife while Kidman’s character becomes more suspicious of this new town of Stepford. Kidman is shown losing her job as a TV exec and looking up information on the Internet and then being confronted by her husband (Broderick) and the other men from town. Unlike the original, feminist cautionary tale, this version Tis purposefully being played for laughs and is scheduled for Friday, June 11.

“The Spongebob Squarepants Movie” set for Friday, Nov. 19 looks like it’s going to have the usual fishy humor from the popular Nickelodeon cartoon. Paramount is planning on playing off its promotion for their hit “South Park Movie” by touting it as “Bigger, Squarier and Spongey-er!” In a few of the scenes, Spongebob is shown folding his pants like a carton box before slipping them on and becoming a hero in Bikini Bottom by saving a fish at the Crabby Patty Diner.

“Suspect Zero” stars Ben Kingsley (Oscar winner), as a serial killer who preys on serial killers with Aaron Eckhart and Carrie-Anne Moss as the detectives trying to stop him. That’s not yet on the schedule, but will be released sometime before the end of the year, along with the Matthew McConaughey adventure film “Sahara,” the true-story, tough-teacher tale starring Samuel L. Jackson, “Coach Carter,” and “Without a Paddle,” a wacky comedy about three friends on a river trip that re-teams “Scooby-Doo 2” stars Seth Green and Matthew Lillard. In that one, Burt Reynolds plays a wild-haired mountain man who makes the expected “Deliverance” jokes when he comes across the guys in their underwear

Also coming up, Paramount has Julia Stiles’ romance “The Prince and Me” premiering this Friday (April 2) and Tina Fey’s first screenplay “Mean Girls” set for Friday, April 30 and a 2005 line-up including “Elizabethtown” with Orlando Bloom, “John Carter of Mars” directed by Robert Rodriguez, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in “The Longest Yard” remake and Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible 3.”

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