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 quality 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.

Blade

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior editor

Blade is the anti-Twilight. A gloriously violent, devilishly slick, and surprisingly compelling action movie from the '90s of yore. My girlfriend recently punished me by forcing me to sit through every single Twilight movie, so I attempted to punish her by having her watch Blade. Unfortunately, she actually enjoyed the movie.

At its core, Blade is a dumb action movie, but as dumb action movies go, it's pretty sweet. It has vampires, swords, and gallons of blood, and it's cheap as chips in the Store.

See at Microsoft Store

Colossal

Recommended by Daniel Rubino, executive editor

As a big fan of kaijū (a.k.a. giant monsters that seemingly for no reason like to stomp on cities), the movie Colossal (2016) piques my interest. Much like the rise of the zombie-genre kaijū movies have seen some unique twists, e.g., The Host (2006), Cloverfield (2008), Monsters (2010), and Pacific Rim (2013) that have moved the category beyond just the typical Godzilla franchise.

Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis — two actors who are just super entertaining and hilarious — bring a comedic twist to the monster genre. In short, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), is having a rough time when she discovers she is mysteriously connected to a giant monster bringing havoc to South Korea.

The movie gets an 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and seems both quirky and endearing. It just looks a fun movie for a not so fun real year.

See at Microsoft Store

Back to the Future Trilogy

Recommended by Jason Ward, writer

This is an awesome, classic sci-fi time travel story. I can watch each installment in this series back to back at almost any time. It's fun, funny, the science and paradoxes are interesting, and the 1980s setting provides a welcome sense of nostalgia.

I love this series. Michael J. Fox was the perfect Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd was the perfect Doc Brown. Great Scott!!!

See at Microsoft Store

The Defenders

Recommended by George Ponder, app editor

I started watching Netflix's The Defenders a few days ago. It starts out a little slow, but it picks up nicely. If you're a fan of Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones (all also Netflix shows), this pulls everything together in a nice little package.

What started out slow is really turning into one of those series that you hate to see end. Here's to hoping for another season! This show is only available through Netflix, so consider signing up today — you can download the app through the Microsoft Store.

See at Microsoft Store

Vinyl

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

The Microsoft Store has an HBO sale going on right now, and I noticed that Vinyl, the one-and-done series about the record business in the '70s, can be had now for $20.

It's really a shame the show stopped after a season, and I think most people who watched Vinyl would agree with me. It follows a drug-addicted record executive named Richie Finestra as he tries to deal with a label that's just about sunk.

Produced by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Terence Winter, this show features some fake bands as well as some of the biggest bands ever, including New York Dolls and Led Zeppelin. Do I even need to mention how good the soundtrack is in this show?

See at Microsoft Store

Music

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

DOOM (Original Game Soundtrack)

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

The brilliance of listening to the Doom soundtrack, especially on the Xbox One, is that every game you play can sound like Doom. This is face-shredding metal and it never, ever gets old. Even without vocals, this is a tremendous metal album.

BTW, if you haven't played the latest DOOM, you're missing out. Seriously; you should buy it.

See at Microsoft Store

Good Company — The Dead South

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

The Dead South, a band from Regina, Saskatchewan, up here in Canada, is making a name for itself thanks to a snappy wardrobe, four ultra-talented members, and a style of music that leaves you yearning for the days when you could ride into town, have a few shots at a bar, get into a fistfight, and ride out again as the sun sets on the prairies.

Good Company is the first album I listened to by The Dead South, but it had me hooked. Scratchy vocals and fast banjo licks start off the first track, titled Long Gone, and things don't slow down from there.

This is one of those bands that sounds just as good — if not better — live, and what a show it is. If they're coming to an area near you and you love Bluegrass music, do yourself a favor and check them out.

See at Microsoft Store

Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

One Kick — Chelsea Cain

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing Editor

During a recent visit to Portland, Ore., I stopped by the famous Powell's City of Books bookstore, and I purposefully tracked down some mystery-crime fiction set in and around the city — something I frequently do while travelling. I had visited the Googles beforehand, and the name "Chelsea Cain" came up frequently. So I wandered directly to the massive store's crime fiction section, and went directly to the "C" author names. That was the first time I read a book by Ms. Cain, and in just over six months, I've read everything she's published.

I just finished one of her latest books, called One Kick. All of Cain's stuff is graphic, violent, dark and memorably creepy, which is what attracted me right away. But One Kick is perhaps her darkest work, which is saying something considering her Gretchen Lowell series is about a female serial killer who prides herself on creative kills. One Kick is the story of Kit "Kick" Lannigan, a kidnap survivor who was the victim of some disturbing child exploitation. Kick, never quite able to recover from her horrific past, has dedicated her future to stopping other child predators.

One of my favorite things about Cain's books is how she makes rainy, wet yet fertile and beautiful Portland a character in her novels. She also dreams up some seriously badass women, protagonists and antagonists. One Kick is NOT for the easily offended. But if you're looking for a good crime-thriller — especially if you have a soft spot for PDX or the U.S. Pacific Northwest — you'll get a kick out of Cain's revenge tale, which, by the way, is the first installment of an ongoing series.

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


The Map and the Territory — Michel Houellebecq

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Michel Houellebecq is a French writer who's had quite the career. Author of six celebrated novels and countless other bits of writing, he's not what you'd call a boring writer. His books usually look to the future (and can become quite detailed when it comes to science) and the problems that the human race will then be suffering from.

If it sounds depressing, it sort of is, but Houellebecq had always said that his work is simply an idea of what the world around him looks like. Arguably his least depressing book is The Map and the Territory, the story of artist Jed Martin.

The Map and the Territory follows Martin throughout his entire career, where he photographs people and their professions. It's a story of love and loss and an examination of human nature that Houellebecq is so known for. This novel was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 2010.

Download the Kindle 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