Making harmony

I recently watched a 2000 movie directed by Bruce Paltrow, Gwyneth Paltrow’s father.  The movie is called Duets and the tagline is “Six lost souls in search of a little harmony.”  It is similar to movies like Love Actually or Valentine’s Day because there are a number of co-stars but not necessarily one main star.  Some of the people in it are Gwyneth Paltrow (a little nepotism, eh?), Huey Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Scott Speedman, and Andre Braugher.

The “lost souls” in the movie all end up involved in karaoke.  The interesting thing is that Gwyneth Paltrow, Huey Lewis, and Paul Giamatti perform songs.  And they do it well.  In fact, it’s worth watching the movie for Paul Giamatti singing “Try a Little Tenderness” alone, in my opinion.

Duets is an interesting movie about how people search for hope, and where they find it (or don’t).  It’s worth watching, even if you don’t like karaoke.

Sartorial savvy, part two

Time for the women to be judged.  Well, two of them, anyway.

Gwyneth Paltrow:


Cate Blanchett:

Perhaps that is not fair to Gwynnie, since Cate Blanchett could wear sackcloth and ashes and still look like a glamazon.


Since Iron Man was such a hit, Iron Man 2 is bound to be initially popular because it brings back the same main characters.

Many sequels don’t have much to sell, so they jam them full of action and ignore plot holes.  Iron Man 2, however, takes an interesting, contemplative turn.  Of course there’s action!  It wouldn’t be a story about Iron Man without it.  The action and special effects are superbly done.  And of course, Tony Stark still hides his true feelings under his ironically charming glib, narcissistic facade.  Robert Downey, Jr. is again able to bring such a paradox to life.

Also returning in Iron Man 2 is Gwyneth Paltrow as the long-suffering Pepper Potts and, the director Jon Favreau as Hogan, and the voice of Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis.  I wish I could say that Terrence Howard returned as Lt. Col. Rhodes, but he was replaced with Don Cheadle.  By the end of the movie, I was reconciled (mostly) to Cheadle as Rhodey, but at first it was rather dissonant.

And then were the new characters, particularly Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman, and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer.  For me, the only one that seemed out of place was Rourke.  Are we really supposed to believe that he’s Russian?  I didn’t buy it.  Rockwell was much more believable as a second-class entrepreneur desperate to prove himself.  But I digress.

Anyone and everyone who enjoyed Iron Man should enjoy Iron Man 2.  It has the same type of witty dialog, excellent action scenes, and interesting (if muddled) relationships.  I certainly enjoyed it!  And yes, they did leave it sufficiently open for another movie…