Remembering Sydney Pollack

GreenCine Daily compiles the tributes.

What’s your favorite Pollack film?

Over-praising Coldplay

What appears to be the first review of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida has appeared in The Sun.

It’s a review by Gordon Smart.

Now, I’m somewhat curious about the album. I’ve always found Coldplay moderately entertaining, but never truly inspiring, and nowhere near riveting. But I am very curious about the vast popularity of the band, and I keep going back and listening again, wondering what I’m missing. I like Parachutes best, because it’s the least radio-ready. It sounds the least like an album carefully calculated to sell a bazillion copies. I’m especially befuddled by some of the superlatives that are written about the band. And Smart’s review is no exception.
Smart calls Viva la Vida:

the biggest album of the year … possibly the decade…

A bold statement. But he’s not finished yet.

[Coldplay have] pushed the boundaries of what we expect from an album…

Really? Is that overstating it a bit, perhaps?

Well, wait, no… let us not forget that Paste magazine ran a review for Coldplay’s underwhelming X&Y that said this:

Exhibiting a level of ambition rarely encountered these days, Coldplay‚Äôs third opus takes on the reigning champ U2, and doesn’t so much dismantle Atomic Bomb as blast right through it, like a mile-wide meteor, hurtling across the heavens toward The Beatles themselves.

Whew! With that, the bar for overstating Coldplay’s importance has been set impossibly high.

But wait…


The Sun‘s Gordon Smart has that look in his eye…

He’s going for a new record…

He runs…

He jumps…

This latest album — much of which was recorded in churches in Spain and and Latin America — is full of religious references. It’s as heavy-going as the Bible but as ultimately as rewarding….

OH MY!!! We have a new champion!!!

Sam Phillips’s “Little Plastic Life”…

… is featured on today’s “Single Minded” at Rolling Stone.

Springsteen’s gospel classic

Andy Whitman celebrates what he calls “the best damn gospel song of the ’90s.

Pop go the Christians in culture

Jennifer Harris and I had a long conversation about Christians and pop culture, and lo… a bit of it ended up in her article at The Baptist Standard.

Notes from Through a Screen Darkly – The Lecture

Thanks to Stephen Lamb for taking notes at my Through a Screen Darkly presentation at Calvin College’s 2008 Festival of Faith and Writing. I’m grateful for his kind words here. Rumor has it that Calvin might eventually make the lecture available as a free download.


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