In the comic books, poor clunky Iron Man is a B-list superhero at best. But in the hands of director Jon Favreau and actor Robert Downey Jr., the story of the jaded industrialist turned mechanical do-gooder soars to new heights, finally putting the rust bucket in league with marquee heroes like Spider-Man and Batman. The quick-witted Iron Man is a refreshing change of pace for the normally dreary superhero genre. In stores Tuesday.
"Little Britain USA":
Finally, a British import that hasn't been watered down. Seemingly more at ease dressed as freakish women, comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams reprise their brand of crazed character comedy for a six-episode run on HBO. Filmed before a live studio audience, Little Britain USA has a natural laugh track, but the ridiculous and raunchy show doesn't really need the help. Premieres at 10:30 tonight.
"The Marriage of Art,:
Science and Philosophy":
Known for its offbeat offerings, the American Visionary Art Museum sticks to its quirky guns this week as it rolls out its annual fall show. This exhibition features pieces such as a painted ant colony (and yes, they're alive). Among the self-taught artists with work on view is 112-year-old Frank Calloway, who hopes to travel by plane for the first time to attend the opening. Starts Saturday.
For more: avam.org
Bubbles Salon workers from across the region will have the chance to prove they're a cut above the rest today at the hairstyling competition. The stylists will show off their skills with trendy looks, but will also indulge their creative sides with fantasy dos. Project Runw ay's Christian Siriano (a one-time Bubbles shampoo boy) will act as a judge. The competition starts at 5:30 today at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt.
For more: bubblessalon.com
The wisecracking Canadian singer brings his stylish blend of retro standards and modern pop hits to the 1st Mariner Arena this week. With gags and monologues, Buble puts on a show that's equal parts singing and shtick. But his polished sound more than compensates for the Rat Pack-inspired shenanigans. He performs 8 p.m. Wednesday.
For more: balti morearena.com
"Nick and Norah's:
Juno's Michael Cera - the reigning king of sensitive teen cinema - is back with another story about hipsters in love. Nick (Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) are a mismatched, music-loving pair who are united by an all-night quest for a secret rock show. Although it's stocked with the usual gross-out humor (vomit looms large), Nick and Norah is a sweet and likable jaunt. In theaters Friday.
NBC's zippy spy comedy - one of my favorite new shows last fall - returns this week after a long absence. The good news is the computer geek (Zachary Levi) whose brain is filled with state secrets is making progress with his hot CIA handler (Yvonne Strahovski). The bad news? His government overlords still want him dead. Airs at 8 p.m. tomorrow on WBAL, Channel 11.
The impish band behind '90s alt-rock classics like "The Distance" returns to Baltimore to close out Pier Six's concert season. Expect plenty of radio hits but also songs from some of the band's more adventurous forays into hip-hop and country. Always game for new things, the band is working on a new album recorded entirely with solar energy. The show starts 8 p.m. Thursday.
For more: piersixpavilion.com
First Fridays at the Walters:
The Walters Art Museum is shifting gears with its Friday night entertainment, moving from a weekly schedule to a more potent once-a-month rotation. Showcasing its art from the ancient world, the museum will feature belly dancers and DJ Ben-Hur for what promises to be one of Baltimore's most cultured happy hours. Just be careful with that Persian punch. Starts 5 p.m. Friday.
For more: thewalters.org
Most people know Steve Martin as a wild and crazy guy of Saturday Night Live fame, but he's also an accomplished writer. Olney Theatre Center takes on his rocking if not sophisticated adaptation of a turn-of-the-century German sex farce. The Underpants follows a boring bureaucrat wife as she loses her panties but gains a lot of unwanted attention. Runs through Oct. 19.
For more: olneytheatre.org