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It looks like a done deal that Brett Ratner will be remaking The Incredible Shrinking Man. And thus an already fragile world comes one step closer to Armageddon.

Don’t get us wrong. What has us up in arms isn’t Hollywood’s propensity for clumsily remaking beloved classics. It’s letting Brett Ratner make them. We’re not just being glib; we know there may be worse retread artists in the business. Tony Scott’s upcoming rendition of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, for example, sounds like a ticket to all sorts of inappropriate bedlam. But at least Scott’s abominations are entertaining. They’re like brutal muggings that, while traumatizing at the time, give the survivor an exciting story to tell for years on end. Ratner’s little follies are merely wrong with a lower-case “w” – cheap, lazy and delineative of nothing save the fact that he possesses (as Harlan Ellison once said of Dino De Laurentiis) “the artistic sensitivity of a piano bench.”

The worst part is knowing that we may have helped. Not too long ago, we stupidly gave the guy a full four stars for his Red Dragon – which wasn’t just a remake, but a remake of an adaptation. Maybe the Buddha was right: You get the movies you deserve. But how many times do you have to get them?


Opening Friday, May 2

Iron Man The closest thing to a sure bet this summer appears to be director Jon Favreau’s take on Marvel’s armored avenger, which by most advance reports successfully serves the twin masters of art and commerce. If you like what you’ve seen so far, it should be smooth sailing ahead, as most of the movie’s “good stuff” has allegedly been represented (or at least suggested) in the numerous trailers and TV spots. Our only real concern is how much Favreau has allowed star Robert Downey Jr. to chew the scenery … and snort it, and break into its home for a nap. (Paramount Pictures; PG-13)

Made of Honor This is what they call counterprogramming. Sony Pictures is banking that ladies who only like Downey when he’s not wearing half of a True Value hardware store will instead flock to see Patrick Dempsey try to sabotage a wedding in order to nab the bride for himself. Personally, we’re usually content to spirit some hors d’oeuvres home in a napkin. (Sony Pictures; PG-13)

The Visitor See full review here. (Overture Films; PG-13)


Available Tuesday, May 6

A Collection of 2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Films Five live-action narratives and three animated shorts, including the Oscar-winning “The Mozart of Pickpockets” and “Peter & the Wolf,” respectively. (Magnolia Home Entertainment)

I’m Not There: Two-Disc Collector’s Edition Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin and Ben Whishaw all assume the persona of Bob Dylan. Hey, why not? He isn’t using it for much. (The Weinstein Company)

Serial Mom Collector’s Edition DVD We’ve been meaning to pick up Kathleen Turner’s new autobiography, which has already gotten her sued for falsely claiming that Nicolas Cage racked up multiple DUIs and kidnapped a dog. Maybe we can wash it down with this memento of the salad days when she was tricking the neighbors into saying “pussy” over the telephone – now in digitally remastered 5.1 surround, no less. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Teeth Painter Roy Lichtenstein’s son Mitchell directed this controversial feature about a teenage celibacy advocate who discovers that her vagina packs a mean pair of choppers. Yeah, whatever did happen to Kathleen Turner, anyway? (Roadside Attractions)


Available Tuesday, May 6

Standard Operating Procedure Danny Elfman provides the musical accompaniment to documentarian Errol Morris’ exposé of Abu Ghraib atrocities. Looks like Mariah Carey may lose her standing as the true sound of torture. (Varèse Sarabande)

Sudden Impact Available for the first time on CD is Lalo Schifrin’s score to the last Dirty Harry exploit, complete with an alternate main-title theme. You feelin’ completist, punk? (Aleph Records)


Available Tuesday, May 6

The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones Newly “recovered” from the files of the KGB, this memoir details the brilliant adventuring career of Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr., from his victories against the Nazis to his losing battle with osteoporosis. (Pocket Books)


Available Friday, May 2

Iron Man Featuring the voices of Downey and co-star Terrence Howard – who seems to drop the “Dashon” pretty quickly when he’s helping gamers locate ol’ shellhead’s “unlockable suits.” (Marvel)

Available Tuesday, May 6

Speed Racer: The Videogame The home-play version of the Wachowski brothers’ frenetically digitized Japanimation reboot is coming to consoles three days in advance of the actual movie – thereby giving you a full 72 hours in which to be the master of your own epileptic seizure. (Warner Bros. Games)

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