Zade Rosenthal
Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark in "Iron Man." The film is the No. 1 movie of the year and is well on its way to $300 million.

OK, it's time to be positive. More positive at least ...

In last week's column I complained about not "getting" a couple of movies, such as the Adam Sandler comedy "You Don't Mess With the Zohan."

I still think I had a point, but I'm thinking the column may have come off as a little too negative — as if I don't really enjoy movies or enjoy my job.

So this week, I'd like to discuss a couple of things I do get. Chief among them is the continuing success of the movie "Iron Man." The Marvel Studios/Paramount co-production is currently the No. 1 movie of the year. The film is well on its way to $300 million and looks like it may be tough for any other movie to surpass.

(Disney/Pixar's "WALL*E," the Will Smith vehicle "Hancock" and "The Dark Knight" look like they stand the best chance — at least until the big Thanksgiving and Christmas releases.)

Getting back to "Iron Man," I've been a fan of actor Robert Downey Jr. for a long time. And since his stellar performance in 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," I've been hoping he would get the kind of vehicle that would prove he has real star power. This is definitely that movie.

Also, I've been hoping for similar things from director Jon Favreau. His 2005 adventure "Zathura" was goofy fun, and 2003's Will Ferrell vehicle "Elf" was a surprisingly charming comedy that has become a Yule tradition in many households.

With "Iron Man," Favreau proved he can make a big summer blockbuster as well.

Similarly, I can get why "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has become a huge hit, even though I'll admit that I thought the final third of the movie is a little weak and that the film is basically a greatest-hits compilation of the three earlier Indiana Jones movie adventures.

Yet it's fun nostalgia — witness the pokes at '50s-era styles, fashion and Cold War paranoia. And those who are complaining about the plot clearly haven't watched the first three movies lately (only "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is really a great film).

· · · · ·

It's a new "Muppet Movie!" Yay? It's been nearly 10 years since the last Muppets theatrical movie (1999's poorly received "Muppets in Space"). But it appears the beloved Jim Henson creations are finally returning to the big screen.

According to several trade reports, there's a new Muppets theatrical feature in the works. Disney has enlisted director Nick Stoller and screenwriter Jason Segel.

It's an unexpected choice, to put it mildly. Most recently the two men teamed for the raunchy, R-rated romantic comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

However, that film did contain snippets from its own puppet musical — a sequence featuring a Dracula rock opera that was pretty hilarious, if also a little crude.

But apparently Stoller and Segel are big Muppets fans, and told the IESB Web site (www.iesb.net) that they're planning to make something similar to the better Muppets features, namely 1979's "The Muppet Movie" and 1981's "The Great Muppet Caper."

They also hinted cryptically about a possible "Pigs in Space" appearance. Those skits were one of the original "Muppet Show" highlights.


E-MAIL: [email protected]