Movies, music, and books we're into this week

It's almost the weekend and time to relax! Here are the movies, music, and books the Windows Central team is enjoying this week.

The weekend is just around the corner, and you're probably keen to put your feet up and enjoy some downtime. What better way to relax than with some great tunes, a great movie, or a real page turner? If you're looking for some suggestions, we put together a collection of some of the best stuff out there right now.

TV and movies

Here are some of the movies and TV shows Windows Central is enjoying this week.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Recommended by Zac Bowden, senior editor

I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the latest season recently became available in the Windows Store. As someone in the UK, this is the only way I'm able to watch the show as it airs because it doesn't air on broadcast TV for weeks after it's aired in the U.S.!

See at Microsoft Store

Sing

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I'm a sucker for a good animated or computer generated imagery (CGI) flick. And Sing is just that.

It's light and funny, and easy to follow. And it's set in a world populated only by animals, which doesn't sound so bad these days … Anyway, Sing is the story of a conniving koala bear who owns a theater that's on the brink of ruin. To save it, the koala holds a singing contest that promises prize money to the winner but is really designed to save the koala's hide.

That's about it, but it's not the story that makes Sing, well, sing. It's the cast that does the voices, which includes a seemingly endless list of actors and superstars, such as Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, and Jennifer Hudson, among many others.

Quite simply, Sing left me smiling, and if it's some levity you're looking for, this one won't disappoint.

See at Microsoft Store

Alien: Covenant

Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer

I know, I'm a little late to this one — not to mention copping a little of Cale's thunder from a couple of week's back. Still, I was a big fan of Prometheus, so I was stoked to dive into Alien: Covenant this week.

And boy, was it a treat. I know Ridley Scott's recent efforts in the Alien universe have drawn their fair share of criticism, which I can understand from the perspective of die-hard fans. That said, just getting a peek into the history of the Alien mythos is a fun ride for me.

If you're even marginally interested in the Alien universe, or just want to sit down for a solidly suspenseful sci-fi flick, give Alien: Covenant a shot. Just one note on casting: Danny McBride does a solid job as a serious actor here, but you'll probably still have a hard time getting his usual brand of comedic machismo out of your head — at least initially.

See at Microsoft Store

Apocalypse Triple Feature

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

For not being noted as a big fan of war, I sure do love war movies. After reading The Things They Carried (my last-week book recommendation), I felt like going back and watching Apocalypse Now, which is arguably the best war movie of all time.

Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 masterpiece is an adaptation of the classic Heart of Darkness book by Joseph Conrad. The movie follows Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) up a river into Cambodia on a classified mission to assassinate rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando).

If you haven't seen Apocalypse Now but enjoy war movies, you're seriously missing out. This Triple Feature includes the original Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, which includes a bunch of extra scenes, and Hearts of Darkness, a documentary about the pitfalls experienced by the crew while filming.

See at Microsoft Store

Inception

Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox writer

After seeing Dunkirk earlier this week (If you haven't watched it yet, you're seriously missing out), I've started to look back at some of the best movies from Christopher Nolan. To this day, Nolan's Inception still stands out as one of my all-time favorites, with its unique premise, groundbreaking visuals, and generally smooth execution.

Inception follows Dom Cobb — a thief who has harnessed the technology to hook into other people's dreams. Using this ability to steal information from their subconscious, this sets the scene for several intense heists, which blur the lines between both dreams and reality.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.

Coming Home — Visitor

Coming Home — Visitor

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, PC editor

Two excellent tracks are included on the Coming Home album by Visitor. Should you be a fan of light EDM and progressive synth, you should absolutely tune into RNB and Coming Home with the speakers on maximum. I've enjoyed many hours of Visitor while driving, and I nod back to the 80s.

See at Microsoft Store


130 Mood : TRBL – Dean

Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox writer

130 Mood : TRBL is the first full album from Dean, an alternative R&B singer based out of South Korea. Despite initially debuting in the U.S., the singer has once again returned to his roots with a jazz and R&B combination of the two languages. Pairing together his vocals with other renowned artists of the eastern scene, the album holds up as one of my favorites months after release. Dean is also expected to make a comeback in the weeks ahead, making now a better time than ever to revisit previous releases.

See at Microsoft Store

Fear Fun — Father John Misty

Fear Fun — Father John Misty

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Once the drummer for the Fleet Foxes, Josh Tillman created an alter-ego for himself while in the desert, high on mushrooms. His brand of folk rock is a sarcastic yet genuine look at the world around us, as well as the music industry as a whole. His song "Prius Commercial Demo 1" is an example of how he views most folk music these days.

Fear Fun, Tillman's first album as Father John Misty, is a mix of songs about arriving in Hollywood, Hollywood trying to take his soul, and eventually finding love. It's a nice mix of singalong campfire songs, ballads, and funky jams.

See at Microsoft Store

Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

IQ — Joe Ide

IQ — Joe Ide

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing Editor

Isaiah Quintabe, a.k.a., "IQ," is one of the most exciting additions to the detective fiction genre in a very long time. Dubbed "part Quentin Tarantino, part Sherlock Holmes," IQ resists the various temptations and bad influences that surround him in his native South Central LA (well, most of them), and he uses his wits and impressive IQ — get it? — to help people around him who either can't afford to help themselves (elderly neighbors) or, on the flip side, can pay a pretty penny for his first-class gumshoe services (spoiled and drugged-out hip hop moguls).

Joe Ide's first novel is authentic, intelligent, gritty, funny and creative as hell. It features a cast of quirky characters you won't soon forget. And though it's dark at times, it's also uplifting — and it ends with cliffhanger that has me itching for the sequel, which is due this fall.

If my recommendation isn't enough to pique your interest, I'm not the only one who really liked this book; both The New York Times and The Washington Post called it one of the best books of 2017. And it was nominated for the Edgar and the Anthony awards for best first novel. That's truly impressive, and Mr. Ide deserves all the acclaim he and his protagonist have received to date.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle — Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle — Haruki Murakami

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

In classic Murakami style, we have a missing person, a dry well, a young girl with an obsession with death, a WWII veteran who can't stop reliving the past, and, of course, plenty of cats.

As protagonist Toru Okada searches for his wife and cat, he begins to uncover some of the less-than-reputable undertakings in Tokyo's underworld. This main plot is interwoven with a subplot concerning the atrocities against the Chinese during WWII; if it sounds far-fetched, it is. And it isn't.

Murakami is a master of magical realism, a genre that blends the fantastic with the real in a way that makes sense to the reader. Translated by Jay Rubin, this is a novel that's at once calming and thrilling. Weird, right?

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon

Your favorites?

What have you been watching, reading, and listening to this week? We want to know, so drop a comment and share your recommendations.

If none of these recommendations strike your fancy, check out a list of all of our past recommendations. We promise you'll find something you'll like:

Tons more recommendations from Team Windows Central