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IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S ROBERT DOWNEY JR!

 

IRON MAN: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow (Directed by Jon Favreau; Written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway; Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment) What’s this? A special-effects-fueled action flick in which the superhero, Tony Stark, is a hard-drinking, womanizing zillionaire who beefs up his wealth by peddling lethal weapons to the wrong folks in the War on Terror? Not to worry--Tony will eventually get smart, if not exactly clean and sober. Insiders are predicting that the Afghanistan-based spoof will be the blockbuster that turns critics’ darling Robert Downey Jr., as sexy Tony Stark, into a steady box-office champ (just wait till you see the mercurial Downey morph into a lethal flying machine). Gwyneth Paltrow plays the double-lifed tycoon’s smitten assistant; Terrence Howard is his nice-guy sidekick; and a boldly bald and scene-stealing Jeff Bridges is Stark’s very-bad-guy business partner. Now Playing

THE INCREDIBLE HULK: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, Lou Ferrigno, Ty Burrell, Christina Cabot, Peter Mensah (Directed by Louis Leterrier; Written by Zak Penn; Universal) As Marvel Comics junkies know, obsessive physicist Bruce Banner suffered a setback when his laboratory experiment went sour, leaving him with a severely split personality. Sometimes he’s sturdy, reliable Bruce and then, without warning, he is the Incredible--and incredibly dangerous--Hulk. Can Bruce (Edward Norton) shuck his hulk and return to being a straight-arrow scientist? That’s a goal he hopes to achieve, though he certainly can’t count on the support of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a KGB agent who holds Bruce responsible for an overdose of radiation that reduced him to a hideous mess widely known as The Abomination. Nor will the malevolent General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) be of any assistance to Bruce, though his radiant daughter Betsy (Liv Tyler) might lend a helping hand and heart. A special bonus: Robert Downey Jr. slips into his Tony Stark/Iron Man character during the elaborate end credits. Opens 6/13/08

TROPIC THUNDER: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, Brandon Jackson, Steve Coogan, Justin Theroux, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Jay Baruchel, Matt Levin, Andrea De Oliveira, Tom Cruise (Directed by Ben Stiller; Written by Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen; DreamWorks) What would you do if you were lucky enough to be cast in a gritty war movie, went on the shoot--and got shot at because a real-life (and death) war was taking root? Director/star Ben Stiller and his zany crew will help you ponder this question. Let's hope their slapstick war doesn't turn out to be a big bomb. You'd probably be safe in betting that Tom Cruise's cameo as a slimy, foul-mouthed Hollywood producer will remind moviegoers that the mostly serious actor can, on occasion, be one classy comic. To read about more new movie comedies, click here. Opens 7/11/08