Viva La Coldplay

Coldplay – Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends

On Coldplay’s lastest album Viva La Vida, the band sounds for the first time as if their reaching outside of their comfort zone and not falling back on their effortless ability to create pop-friendly singalongs. And though Viva La Vida isn’t necessarily a complete departure for Coldplay, they certainly live up to their position as one of the biggest bands on the planet.

Their last album X&Y had a few songs that saw Coldplay branching out with some unique ideas, but for me the album was somewhat bogged down in bland love songs, which seems to be Coldplay’s weakness as a band. Most of the lyrics have themes of war and death, such as the lead single “Violet Hill” and the title track. However, with such bleak subject matter Chris Martin and co. are somehow able to give these songs a vibrant stadium-bound sound that Coldplay fans will no doubt fall in love with, even if they may seem a little strange at first. Istrumentally, the band shows an interest in more complex rhythms on “Cemetaries of London”, and “Lost”, and they also experiment with a unique use of strings on “42” and “Viva La Vida.

Coldplay’s experimentation with new sounds I’m sure has more than something to with the inclusion of producer Brian Eno, whose impressive resume includes includes working with Talking Heads, David Bowie and the band Coldplay is most often compared to, U2. Eno’s production definitely adds a bit of a world music sound to songs like the Middle Eastern sounding “Yes” or “Life in Technicolor”, which begins the album with the sound of a Persian santur, an instrument more commonly used in the traditional music of Iraq and Iran. It’s also the structure of the songs on Viva La Vida that make the album a departure for Coldplay. Many of the songs are composed of medley’s of at least two different songs and the majority of them don’t have your typical verse-chorus-verse arrangement. Most notably, the songs “42” and “Death and All of His Friends” share the same structure of “Fix You” in that they are composed of three different movements before building to a very catchy vocal climax.
I would say that Viva La Vida is without a doubt Coldplay’s least accesible album to date, it does kind of feel at times that their trying to make their songs less catchy than their songs are expected to be. However, Coldplay could have easily made a much less adventerous album and it still would have sold a bazillion copies, so I respect the fact that they took the approach that they did to this album.
Favorite Tracks: “42”, “Viva La Vida”, “Death And All His Friends”

Get Away

Get Smart

Steve Carell charms his way through his third lead roll in Get Smart, the adaptation of an old television show that I have only seen once. While not a real success, I can’t call this film a failure either.

Carell is Maxwell Smart, a brilliant analyst for CONTROL, a top-secret spy agency for the U.S. government. When the identities of all the CONTROL agents are revealed, Smart is promoted and sent to foil KAOS, the super villains threatening the world.

His partner, Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway, is the straight man character. She doesn’t really deliver any laughs, but she’s strong, confident and competent. CONTROL’s chief is played by Alan Arkin, The Rock is Agent 23, and several other celebrities appear. The cast is fairly strong and the performances acceptable.

Get Smart delivers exactly what we would want it to; laughter and action. Unfortunatley, there just isn’t enough of either to warrant its nearly two hour running time. There were long stretches without any laughter, which is just not OK. The satire here is not clever at all, many of the jokes are real duds. It’s Carell’s considerable charm that keeps the film going.

Does anyone else think it’s a little weird that this would come out the same week as a Mike Meyers film? I mean, Austin Powers is the most well-known spy movie parody to modern audiences. I think it’s a little weird. Get Smart does not have any of the Austin Powers satire or zaniness, though.

I absolutely cannot recomend seeing this movie, it is not worth your money. Longtime fans of the show may enjoy it, as will big Steve Carell fans. Everyone will probably find it a little too boring to really enjoy.

Abandon Every Hope All You Who Enter

For those who don’t recognize that famous quote I used for the title, it is the inscription written on the gates of Hell from the epic poem “The Divine Comedy”. Yes, comedy, if only this film had some of that. It’s certainly been awhile since anyone has seen Mike Myers in the flesh but now I see why. The Love Guru is a mess of immature profanity, low-brow vulgarity, and disrespect for Indians (or people of any race). The Love Guru can’t help but come off as depressing, confusing, and ultimately disturbing. You’ve heard of movies where you’re told to “Leave your brain at the door” well for The Love Guru make sure you leave your soul as well because this film certainly has none to speak of.

Mike Myers plays a famous Guru hired by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) to fix the relationship of their star player (Romany Malco) who’s wife has fallen for an arrogant goalie (Justin Timberlake). Alright, sounds simple enough. Yet somehow this film manages to find ways to wander in a sea of failure for a tiring 88 minutes. The jokes here are downright pitiful and more of something you might be prone to hearing from a mentally challenged child. I apologize for that last remark, but I honestly wonder if Mike has suffered brain damage because he’s lost his touch in this medium. Scenes unmercifully

Scenes drag with the impression that the makers of this film are wondering “Do you think they’ll get this? How about now? Make it longer until everyone gets the joke than cram it down their throats over and over again.” That’s the impression I got and it makes me pity the state of society…. Or at least pity the people behind this travestiy.

Can we think of anything positive here? Hmm, it’s a colorful film. I mean the sets and the costumes are all competently designed. Though when I find myself searching for pros like that, I wonder why I bother. You could argue that not all of the jokes are complete misfires.

Mike Myers various acronyms and wordplay (which make up 60% of the jokes) are worth a chuckle sometimes but that isn’t saying much. With character names like as Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Yes, it’s pronounced Le Cock) you wonder if they’re even trying to be remotely clever. Of course, the addition of dwarf actor Verne Troyer leads to plenty of short people jokes (as if they didn’t make enough in two Austin Power films) which along with the frequent use of sexual/fecal0themed humor makes for bad cinema.

More than often I found myself searching for the punchline in a collection of bathroom humor. “Hey look, the Love Guru gets all turned on when his assistant makes food that looks like testicles!” Is he supposed to be gay or something? What century is this? “Oh, he just got punched in the nuts!” Tacking on fart jokes or sexual entendres to almost every scene they seem desperate to try anything to get audiences to laugh. The performances are basically what you’d expect from a lackluster comedy. No one is particularly interesting and Myer’s latest character “Pitka” doesn’t have a single likable quality.

Cat Fancy contributors Colin Wessman and myself saw this so you don’t have to. It’s true that we occasionally see bad films to fill out “Best/Worst film” lists at the end of the year, but also to warn others so that we can better our world. I’ll leave you with the thought of a key scene in The Love Guru where two elephants have sexual intercourse during the Stanley Cup… Is that kind of world you want to live in?

Rock Bandits

The title’s stupid, ignore it. It’s that time of the… couple of months… again. That’s right, it’s time to discuss Rock Band and the music that we all love to play.

We got some boring music this week, most interestingly some Offspring song. But the big news is that we’ll be getting more than The Pixies’ Doolittle next week, we’ll also get a 3-pack from Weezer’s Red Album. Those tracks are “Dreamin’,” “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” and “Troublemaker.” “Troublemaker” is like perfect for Rock Band, and “TGMTEL” should be a total trip. It’s a shame we got “Dreamin'” over “Pork and Beans.” Look’s like an expensive week!

Now for an update on some of the rumored tracks. It sounds like Who’s Next is stuck in limbo, due to missing masters, wuh-oh! A list from OXM hinted that we would be getting more from Sabbath, Maiden and Metallica as well as Bad Company and The Haunted. Three Greatful Dead songs, “Touch of Grey,” “Alabama Getaway” and “Uncle John’s Band” are supposed to show up at some point.

Several bands have hinted that they have Rock Band tracks coming. Who? The B-52s, Bad Religion, Devo, as well as some other jerks. Offspring says these songs are coming “Come Out And Play [Keep ‘Em Separated],” “Self Esteem,” “Gone Away,” “All I Want,” “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy),” and “The Kids Aren‘t Alright.” Also, the song “USS Zydecoldsmobile” by Jimmy Buffet was played in Rock Band at one of his concerts.

MTV2 messed up an released a list of potential songs, including “Aesthetics of Hate” by Machine Head, “Burn” by Nine Inch Nails and “Breed” by Nirvana. Supposedly another Rush pack, or perhaps an album, is in the works.

These are just some of the many rumors sorrounding future DLC for Rock Band. As you can see, we have a lot to look forward to. Making Guitar Hero World Tour that much more difficult a sell. Which is too bad, cause they are doing some really interesting things. You might want to read this article. Most interesting part? “Everlong” by Foo Fighters and “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol.

T3: Nintendo 64 Games

Not trying too hard this week. Gotta work in just a few hours; need my rest.

The Nintendo 64 signified Nintendo’s slip on control of the video game industry. Plus, its controller was fucked up. So people treat it like garbage. Well people suck. Sure, the PlayStation may have been huge, but that doesn’t mean the N64 didn’t have more than its fair share of classic games.

Here’s my top 10 best Nintendo 64 games. Same rules apply as the SuperNES list, only one entry per franchise. Now that you’ve had enough time to guess the results; my list:

10. Perfect Dark
Rare’s final great FPS came out late into the N64’s lifetime. It is arguably the best of their Nintendo 64 games, and holds up pretty well today, if you can get used to using that funked up controller again. Perfect Dark had an awesome story, sweet weapons and incredible multiplayer. If you’re for some reason just now getting into the N64, this is a game to play.

9. Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer
I decided to count the Star Wars games as all in the same franchise, so it was a toss-up between Rogue Squadron and this title. I decided the RS series really came into its own on the Gamecube, so I give this one to Racer. Racer was a very unexpected title, who knew racing would be so important to Star Wars? You get a bunch of awesome alien racers, tons of planets to compete on, and all that jazz. It’s probably even better on the Dreamcast.

8. Donkey Kong 64
This game was so badass it came with the expansion pak thinger, because the N64 wasn’t powerful enough on its own. After reinventing Donkey Kong franchise on the SuperNES, Rare did it again on the N64. This time, by infusing a bunch of elements from the new 3D platformer genre. You get coconut guns, a huge cast of playable characters, and the DK Rap. Too bad the game was so damn long.
7. Pokemon Snap
Why? Because it’s awesome. You ride around in a cart, you take pictures of Pokemon in the natural habitat, which is around the cart tracks. You can throw apples and rage-inducing balls. This is what interactive entertainment is all about. This was the peak of the Pokemon phenomenon. See also: Pokemon Stadium and all the other shitty console Pokemon games.

6. Mario Party
Let’s face it, if you owned a N64, it was for the multiplayer. Games like this show us why. The game is never over in Mario Party, sometimes being the best isn’t even enough to take 1st. Mario Party may have been extremely painful if you play the wrong minigames too frequently, and it may have destroyed friendships, and it may have become a yearly cash-in for Nintendo, but its great.
5. Star Fox 64
This is the game that sold me on the system. This game is perhaps most remembered for introducing rumble to gaming. Good old rumble. Awesome on-rails shooting, funny voice acting, and tons of replayabilty make this game neat. Fairly lousy multiplayer doesn’t. Oh well. Fly those arwings, ride in those tanks! Look at those graphics! AUGH!!

4. Super Mario 64
The game that pretty much invented the 3D platformer. You know this is great, they all know this is great. So, what’s your problem. Why are you making such a big deal about this? Just leave me alone, I’m pretty goddamn tired.

3. Super Smash Bros.
After GoldenEye got old, Super Smash Bros. became the multiplayer game of choice for N64 players. It was totally mind blowing at the time; Mario vs. Metroid? No, you idiot, her name is Samus! Yes, her! She’s a lady. Woah-oh-oh.

2. GoldenEye 007
Remember when I last mentioned GoldenEye? That wasn’t that long ago, really. GoldenEye was the absolute shit back then. Like some sort of Call of Duty/Halo/Team Fortress 2 sandwich. It kicked so much as people still play it. I don’t though, I suck at it now…

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Probably the best game ever made. Everything from the music to the boss fights, it’s pretty much perfect. You’d have to be a psychopath to not enjoy this game. I’m so serious. One of the few singleplayer games I’ve beaten more than once. I think I’m at 3 times now, in fact. It’s that good. It still holds up as quality entertainment today. YEAH!

So I’m done, I’m going to bed. Oh wait, I gotta go get images for these. Shit!

Gangsters and Wizards and Cowboys Oh My!

Damn I knew I’d forget something this week, well last night on television (I can’t remember which channel) AFI announced their top-10 genre film lists. ThoughI missed the program, I decided I’d look up the results and post the AFI’s picks for your convienence


1) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
2) Pinocchio (1940)
3) Bambi (1942)
4) The Lion King (1994)
5) Fantasia (1940)
6) Toy Story (1995)
7) Beauty and the Beast (1991)
8) Shrek (2001)
9) Cinderella (1950)
10) Finding Nemo (2003)

Thoughts: I think most of us could’ve already guessed this list was going to be dominated by Disney films as Disney has pretty much ruled animation throughout the dawn of man. I’m not sure I like the addition of Shrek and Finding Nemo due to personal taste. I’d probably lean more towards either another Pixar film like The Incredibles or a couple other 80s/90s Disney films; The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, or Mulan… But I suppose Nemo and Shrek have been pretty popular so if it’s what the people want then it’s all good.


1) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
2) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
3) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
4) King Kong (1933)
5) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
6) Field of Dreams (1989)
7) Harvey (1950)
8) Groundhog Day (1993)
9) The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
10) Big (1988)

Thoughts: I like how broad this list which includes a handful of my favorites. Though as much as I like Field of Dreams I don’t know the 6th best fantasy film of all time? That’s pushing it, I’d more likely to give a spot to Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride a film that’s certainly lived on and made it’s impact in the world of children’s fantasy. I’d also say LOTR is a little too high. Sure I loved it, I saw it about three times in theaters, but I don’t think enough time has passed for it to earn such a high spot. You got to give it more time to seep into the minds and hearts of moviegoers, at least give it a few more years.


1) The Godfather (1972)
2) Goodfellas (1990)
3) The Godfather Part II (1974)
4) White Heat (1949)
5) Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
6) Scarface: The Shame of a Nation (1932)
7) Pulp Fiction (1994)
8) The Public Enemy (1931)
9) Little Caesar (1930)
10) Scarface (1983)

Thoughts: Everything here seems to be in order, I haven’t really seen a handful of these films so I wouldn’t be one to judge. I’m glad to see one my favorites, if not favorite film Pulp Fiction up there. I never really considered it a gangster film, but come to think of it, I’d say it makes sense.


1) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2) Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (1977)
3) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
4) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
5) The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
6) Blade Runner (1982)
7) Alien (1979)
8) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
9) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
10) Back to the Future (1985)

Thoughts: I’d say this is done pretty well as I love all of these films and I’m glad to see that the original Star Wars beats out Empire as it’s always been my favorite. It’s also funny to think that a movie called Terminator 2: Judgment Day would become as highly respected film as it is today, but I ain’t complaining… Remember when Arnold took that shotgun out of a box of flowers to fight Robert Patrick? That was awesome!


1) The Searchers (1956)
2) High Noon (1952)
3) Shane (1953)
4) Unforgiven (1992)
5) Red River (1948)
6) The Wild Bunch (1969)
7) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
8) McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
9) Stagecoach (1939)
10) Cat Ballou (1965)

Thoughts: I still don’t see what’s so great about Shane, it’s really not one the stronger performances I’ve seen from Alan Ladd and I just hate that kid. Though I did like Jack Palance. I’ve only seen six of these films thus far (Butch and the Kid is probably my favorite) but this is respectful. I just wish someone would make a really sweet western these days, they just don’t make em like they used to. The 90s had a couple nice entries such as Unforgiven or the fun action packed Tombstone but this decade hasn’t impressed me much.


1. Raging Bull (1980)
2. Rocky (1976)
3. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
4. Hoosiers (1986)
5. Bull Durham (1988)
6. The Hustler (1961)
7. Caddyshack (1980)
8. Breaking Away (1979)
9. National Velvet (1944)
10. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Thoughts: I’m itching to watch my copy of Pride of the Yankees that I bought last summer, but since no one ever wants to watch it perhaps I’ll half to end up watching it myself one of these days. This is list for the most part is fine, I mean it basically has all my favorites. If Jerry Maguire is considered a sports movie than so is Field of Dreams if you ask me, but I guess they’re trying to be a little more broad with their selections. Also I’m not sure if I’d consider “pool” a sport, it’s really more of just a game. Sure you have to have skill but you could say the same thing about foosball. I’ve never even heard of Breaking Away but it sounds interesting.


1. Vertigo (1958)
2. Chinatown (1974)
3. Rear Window (1954)
4. Laura (1944)
5. The Third Man (1949)
6. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
7. North By Northwest (1959)
8. Blue Velvet (1986)
9. Dial M for Murder (1954)
10. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Thoughts: I wonder if you’d consider Psycho a mystery? Perhaps it would be considered more of “Thriller” but they are trying to find out what happened to the central character. Seems to me to be just as much of a mystery as any of these other films. You find out who the killer is in Rear Windowfairly early in the film, not much of mystery there. I just think it’s weird to see these lists and see a classic like Psycho absent. Perhaps if they’d done a thriller or horror list I’d be okay.


1. City Lights (1931)
2. Annie Hall (1977)
3. It Happened One Night (1934)
4. Roman Holiday (1953)
5. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
6. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
7. Adam’s Rib (1949)
8. Moonstruck (1987)
9) Harold and Maude (1971)
10) Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Thoughts: I’m disappointed to see no Breakfast at Tiffany’s but with so many great romantic comedies to choose from I reckon this was one of the hardest lists to do. I understand there’s been a lot of wonderful vintage romantic comedies but this list somehow seems somewhat uneven to me. I like Sleepless in Seattle okay but I’d hardly declare it one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Then again I’ve only seen four of these movies.


1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
2. 12 Angry Men (1957)
3. Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979.
4. The Verdict (1982)
5. A Few Good Men (1992)
6. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
7. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
8. In Cold Blood (1967)
9. A Cry in the Dark (1988)
10. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Thoughts: Getting a little too narrow here but hey these are all memorable films. I’m all about 12 Angry Men it’s funny that the top three of these don’t spend the majority of the film in a courtroom. (12 Angry Men is entirely in the deliberating room) but that’s what you get for deciding on including this sub genre. Nothing immediately comes to mind regarding anything this list might have severely overlooked though I am a big fan of My Cousin Vinny, but that’s no drama. I look forward to seeing Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder some time in the future.


1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
2. Ben-Hur (1959)
3. Schindler’s List (1993)
4. Gone With the Wind (1939)
5. Spartacus (1960)
6. Titanic (1997)
7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
9. Reds (1981)
10. The Ten Commandments (1956)

Thoughts: Definitely got to get around to seeing more of these, if I could only set aside some days to watch four hour long moves then I’d be set for life. Chicka click click booyah!

Something I don’t understand about this list is where’s Horror? Where’s the respect for iconic films like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Exorcist? A genre just as important as “Courtroom Drama” or “Sports” which are more of sub-genres. I think a category for just “Film Noir” and even just plain “Drama” (You know for like Citizen Kane) would of worked because this seems like kind of a stretch to put together another list. Anyways I still look forward to seeing some of the films I have yet viewed. This list reminds me of the films I love and what I still need to see, so keep em coming AFI if you make it I will come, Otteni out…

C.A.T: Computer World

Kraftwerk – Computer World (1981)

Kraftwerk may not sound as revolutionary now as they did 30 years ago, but the influence of this German band is still evident in the most popular bands of today. Popular and inspirational acts such as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Elton John, all of electronic music, they all cite Kraftwerk as an influence.

While most fans debate whether Autobahn or Trans-Europe Express was the greatest album they released, the focus of this week’s CAT is Computer World, because of it’s ties to artist of the week Coldplay.

Just listen to the song “Computer Love.” Sounds a little familiar, don’t it? That’s right, that’s that riff from Coldplay’s “Talk.” Holy shit. And I thought it didn’t get any lower than Usher using Garageband loops I used late last year. Well, it doesn’t. Coldplay got permission for the usage of that riff.

Aside from the easy to like “Computer Love,” Computer World has six other tracks, which is business as usual for them. We get several catchy electronic songs that all go on a little longer than a typical song.

The tracks are exactly what you imagine when Kraftwerk is brought up. Catchy repetition, vocoders and computer-talking. The band deals with the rising importance of computers in our society, or the society of 1981. These guys knew what they were doing.

Kraftwerk experimented with some funky sounds, which went on to influence early hip hop. There work with “sequencing and electronic percussion are particularly innovative.” So, while not the most awesome album these Goliaths made, it’s still one of the greats. Unless you’re afraid of music from computers, check this shit out. It’s a link back to a very specific time.

Favorite Track: “Computer Love”