This 'Iron Man' doesn't pull any punches

"Iron Man 3" seems designed less as an art object or visual entertainment than a full-body assault on the senses.

A frantic, occasionally funny, finally enervating barrage of special effects, explosive set pieces, sardonic one-liners and notional human emotions, this branch of the Marvel franchise tree feels brittle and overextended enough to snap off entirely.

From its anxious protagonist and the battered metal sheaths he dons to save the world to the clattering, fiery mayhem that ensues with metronomic predictability, "Iron Man 3" is less a movie than a final war whoop let loose before utter exhaustion sets in. Which isn't to say that this installment doesn't have its moments.

Taking the reins from series director Jon Favreau, Shane Black has enlisted a fine ensemble to bring a beloved chapter of Tony Stark's saga to life, including a crafty Ben Kingsley as villain du jour the Mandarin. "Iron Man 3" ends with a tone of finality that feels like a well-earned respite.

The DVD and Blu-ray (Disney, $30-$50) include ­commentary and deleted scenes.

Washington Post

Colin Covert says: "Iron Man 3" races on a high-octane mix of spectacle, sarcasm and smarts. It balances massive, show-offy effects with hip knowingness and quirky human touches.

Also out Tuesday

Movies: "I Spit on Your Grave 2," "The Kings of Summer," "Redemption."

TV: "Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts," "Doctor Who" (Series 7), "Family Guy" (Vol. 11), "Foyle's War" (Set 7), "Hannibal" (Season 1), "Hawaii Five-O" (Season 3), "Law & Order: SVU" (Season 14), "Modern Family" (Season 4), "The Neighbors" (Season 1), "South Park" (Season 16), "Two and a Half Men" (Season 10), "2 Broke Girls" (Season 2).

Blu-ray debuts: "Halloween" (special edition), "Prince of Darkness," "Psycho II/III."


Make to-do lists a snap with

There are dozens of to-do-list apps out there, but (free for Android and iOS) stands out for hitting the delicate balance between clean and robust so that it's easy to set up lists organized the way you want without too much clutter.

The app lets you set up lists for "today," "tomorrow," "upcoming" and "someday" that you can see at a glance and collapse or expand as you wish. You can also view your tasks by category — personal, work, etc. syncs signed-in users' lists with an online account in the Chrome browser, or it can connect to a Facebook account.

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Quirky comes up with two handy gizmos

The Upwrite Stylus and Kickstand ($28, from Quirky combines what the name implies: a rubber stylus on one end and a key-chain lock on the other end, doubling as a kickstand for a smartphone or tablet. It's only 3¼ inches long with a polished-zinc finish to make it look as cool as it works.

The Quirky Core Dock and Display ($50) takes your charging cables and turns them into a desktop charging station. Just plug your cable into one of the two USB ports on the bottom and wrap your cord around the Core's cable management grooves to form artwork. The 3-inch cubed device lets you plug a second cord into the other port for charging.

All Quirky devices work because they are designed by users. Pretty simple and pretty great products.

McClatchy News Service