MAY 2008

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 box-office champ (and wait till you see him morph into a snazzy, invincible one-man flying machine). Gwyneth Paltrow plays the double-lifed tycoon’s smitten assistant; Terrence Howard is his nice-guy sidekick; and a boldly bald Jeff Bridges is Stark’s very-bad-guy business partner. Now Playing

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, Karen Allen, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent (Directed by Steven Spielberg; Written by David Koepp and Jeff Nathanson; Paramount) Starting with “Sugarland Express” in 1974 and surging through “Jaws” (1975) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), Steven Spielberg established himself as the fastest-rising director of the late seventies. Then, in 1979, a loser of a war-comedy called “1941” ripped a hole in Spielberg’s rep as an auteur, threatening to dump him into oblivion. The rude shock of that dud did eventually fade and, two years later, mega-blockbuster “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” starring Harrison Ford as two-fisted, whip-snapping archeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones, turned Spielberg into the Comeback Kid. And he’s been back ever since--think “E.T.,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “A.I.,” “Minority Report,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “Munich” (but do not think “The Color Purple,” “Always,” “Hook,” “Jurassic Park,” “Amistad” and “Terminal”). Now, demonstrating loyalty to the bigger-than-life character who put his career back on track, Spielberg spins a fourth chapter in the saga of Indiana Jones. And Harrison Ford will of course be the guy who wields a whip, cracks skulls and takes hissingly villainous Cate Blanchett down a peg or two. Now Playing

WAR, INC.: John Cusack, Hilary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Ben Cross, Montel Williams (Directed by Joshua Seftel; Written by John Cusack, Mark Leyner and Jeremy Pikser; First Look International) Something’s rotten in Turaqistan, and that something is Brand Hauser (John Cusack), the hit man dispatched to the war-ravaged Middle East nation by the former U.S. vice president. What is Brand’s mission? To bump off the CEO of a company that’s competing with the VP’s company for a spectacular outsourcing military contract. Cusack, in a twist on his memorable portrait of a professional terminator in “Grosse Pointe Blank” (1997), is joined by sibling Joan Cusack, also doing a “Pointe Blank” encore, this time playing the assassin’s nutty assistant. Marisa Tomei is a relentlessly snoopy journalist and Hilary Duff’s a shallow celeb who comes to wed it wealthily in Turaqistan. To read about other new war movies, click here. Now Playing

SEX AND THE CITY: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, Jason Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, Evan Handler, Willie Garson, David Eigenberg, Mario Cantone, Lynn Cohen, Julie Halston, Michael Bloomberg (Written and directed by Michael Patrick King; New Line Cinema) Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte--played, naturally, by Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis--will soon be sashaying onto the big screen and you can be sure they’ll still be residing in Manhattan and still fixating on the opposite sex. Among the borough’s hottest dudes: David Eigenberg, Evan Handler and Jason Lewis--all fixtures from the TV series--and, of course, Chris Noth as the macho Mr. Big. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg plays his macho self in the film. Now Playing