Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, David Attenborough!

David Attenborough quote
David Attenborough was born on this day in 1926.

He has been an extraordinary natural historian for over half a century and his name is synonymous with several pathbreaking documentaries.

From critically endangered Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains to Lemurs in Madagascar to the largest animal ever on the planet, Blue Whale, David has seen and studied them all. A living legend, in every sense of the word.

David Attenborough bird quote

Wishing him many happy returns of the day and a long and healthy life ahead!

To learn more about David, please visit his website.

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Image Source: PBS Nature

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 Movie Review Robert Downey Jr.

This review contains minor spoilers. Readers who wish to avoid any kind of plot related details/information are recommended to skip this review.

The planet saving heroics of Avengers has left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) a broken man. Tortured and paranoid, Tony is hell bent on building the best possible weapons and suit. Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bettany) advises Tony to allocate more time for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian 
Pepper finds herself the object of attention of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Aldrich has been working on Extremis technology and is trying to strike a deal with Stark Industries, now that Pepper is the CEO. Previously, Tony had rejected his proposal.

The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is issuing terrorist threats to the US President Ellis (William Sadler) and masterminding some deadly explosions. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is left seriously injured in one such incident. This makes things personal for Tony and he issues a direct challenge to the Mandarin.

Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3
Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin
Tony's Malibu residence comes under heavy attack by Mandarin's henchmen. Jarvis pilots Tony out of the scene of action to Tennessee. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) becomes Iron Patriot and is on the Mandarin's trail.

Tony befriends a youngster, Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) and starts his campaign against the Mandarin. The enemy is not slagging off either. Couple of Mandarin's agents, Savin (James Badge Dale) and Brandt (Stephanie Szostak) attack Tony. Separated from his Iron Man armor, Tony turns to his brains and outsmarts his pursuers.

Tony tracks down the Mandarin and is in for a major surprise. Revealing any more details will be spoiling the fun.

Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes Iron Patriot in Iron Man 3
Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes/Iron Patriot
Pepper gets kidnapped and the Mandarin is gunning for the President's life. Tony has to save his girl and the President and teams up with his buddy, Rhodes for an all-out climactic confrontation.

Robert Downey Jr. returns in the role that turned around his acting career and made him a bonafide movie star. RDJ spends a considerable amount of time in the movie outside the Iron Man suit. Interestingly, RDJ looked bored and his zingers lacked the usual verve. Doing the same role in 4 movies in 5 years (5 movies, if his cameo in The Incredible Hulk is also considered) seems to have sapped his passion. I am curious to see his performance in the Avengers sequel slated to be released in 2015.

Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce walk away with the acting honors. Both of them have a blast playing the baddies.

Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3
Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen
Rebecca Hall is criminally underused as Maya Hansen, Tony's old flame and presently working for Aldrich. With minor changes to the script, her character could have been totally written out and the movie would not have been impacted in the least.

Don Cheadle, Stephanie Szostak and James Badge Dale make good use of their screentime. I have never taken to Gwyneth's performance as Pepper and this movie does not help her case either.

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There are a number of action sequences in the movie and almost all of them deliver the goods. I especially enjoyed the helicopter attack on Tony Stark's residence and an indoor action sequence with Tony acquiring the Iron Man armor in bits and pieces as the fight goes along. 

Mandarin's attack on Iron Man/Tony Stark's Malibu residence in Iron Man 3
Iron Man confronts Mandarin's henchmen
Shane Black has done a solid job with the writing. There are a number of twists and turns that will delight the audience. Dialogues are his forte and Iron Man 3 is no exception.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Recommended to Marvel and RDJ fans, who will undoubtedly enjoy this movie.

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Image Sources: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, Screencrush

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