Movies, music, and books we're into 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 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.

Lost Highway

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

David Lynch is renowned for his unique brand of warped storytelling, but few of his films are as hauntingly nightmarish as Lost Highway.

Lost Highway follows the trials of popular Jazz musician, Fred Madison. As he struggles both professionally and personally, Lost Highway explores humanity from its most ugly angles. Lost Highway is structured like a nightmare you can't wake up from and is often even more surreal.

With a star-studded cast and musical lineup, Lost Highway will leave a lasting impression.

See at Microsoft Store

Short Circuit

Recommended by Jason Ward, writer

Short Circuit is by far one of my favorite movies. I watched it for the first time while in middle school and have loved it since. The story of a robot that becomes sentient isn't an original sci-fi idea, but Johnny 5's journey to be recognized as alive while being pursued by those who would see him destroyed is a timeless tale of the value of life, friendship, and survival. The humor intertwined with the adventure as Johnny 5 explores life through a child's eyes endears you to the character and propels the story forward.

And seeing the gentleness of a metal-and-circuitry construct built as a war machine eschew those beginnings as he gently interacts with something as fragile as a butterfly in one scene conveys the strong message that no one has to stay in the box others put them in. Anybody can change for the better. Short Circuit is a great family movie. "No disassemble Johnny 5!"

See at Microsoft Store


Recommended by Zac Bowden, senior editor

This week I rented Split, a movie about a man with different personalities. It's a gripping thriller that I enjoyed throughout, I and definitely recommend watching it. It's not for children, though!

See at Microsoft Store

Game of Thrones

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

A few years back, when the Game of Thrones (GoT) rage was first taking hold, I sat down and started to watch the initial season. And I hated it. Well, that may be a bit strong. But I definitely didn't like it. Of course, I was often preoccupied — and may have been partaking in a few libations — and I found it hard to concentrate on the show, which in turn, made it really hard to follow. I watched a handful of episodes and then just stopped.

Today, I can't seem to escape GoT. It's everywhere. And it's been driving me mad, trying to understand why seemingly everyone loves it so much. So I made myself start the series over again on a very long flight last week, where I had little choice but to pay attention. And you know what? I kind of get it now. Sort of.

The first season is packed with excessive violence and gratuitous nudity, which reminds me of some classic '80s horror flicks, which I love. And its Shakespearean storyline is packed with betrayals and plot twists. I'm still not completely sold on GoT. I'm still completely confused as to why it's soooo popular. But I'm going to stick it out for a while longer and at least finish the first season. After all, winter really is coming … at least in my hometown of Boston, where we often get snow in October.

See at Microsoft Store

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Recommended by Mark Guim, video editor

I was expecting to be disappointed because of the poor reviews, but I'm glad I watched King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It's not the same story I read as a kid.

Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film is a different take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur's journey from the streets to the throne. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down.

See at Microsoft Store

Baby Driver

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

For some reason, in my head I had the idea of an animated baby driving people around and getting into wacky situations. I was no doubt getting Boss Baby and this movie mixed up. When I saw the cover for this movie, I wondered why there was another movie called Baby Driver that had Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, and Jon Hamm in it.

After realizing my mistake, I sat down and watched the one and only Baby Driver. It's the story of a young man, nicknamed Baby, who's in deep with the wrong people. He's the best getaway driver they know, and they want to use his talent for their own gains.

This movie has one of the best soundtracks of recent memory, and the usual cringefest action movie tropes aren't forced down your throat. There's a bit of romance, some warming of the heart, and a ton of action and gunplay. Oh, and there are no animated babies.

See at Microsoft Store


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

Outrage! Is Now — Death From Above

Recommended by Daniel Rubino, executive editor

Confession: Until recently, I never listened to Death From Above although I had heard of them. With a name like that, it's hard not to remember. I now understand why this Canadian punk duo was so critically acclaimed. The distorted guitars, punching drums and howling singing results in a very catchy new album. While the reviews are not as gushing as their 2004 debut You're A Woman, I'm A Machine, I feel like Outrage! Is Now! is one of those sneaky albums that gets stuck in your head. I fully expect to hear many of these songs on movie and TV soundtracks as the album just has that montage-scene feel to it.

See at Microsoft Store

The Poison — Bullet For My Valentine

The Poison — Bullet For My Valentine

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

Taking myself back to my younger years, BFMV's The Poison album was a massive hit within a group of friends, and it shouldn't come as a surprise when you play through all 15 tracks, as all of them are catchy, heavy and awesome.

See at Microsoft Store

The Party — Andy Shauf

The Party — Andy Shauf

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Released in 2016, Andy Shauf's album The Party is something to behold. Shauf is one of those magician musicians who plays most of the instruments on an album, truly making it his own.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, Shauf grew up with musical parents who owned a music store, which no doubt led to his interest in playing everything he could get his hands on. The Party is at times slow, brooding, and at other times it's upbeat and snappy; just like a real party, which is what Shauf tries to capture.

Recurring characters, drug abuse, breakups, and magicians inhabit this album, which you should listen to from start to finish for full effect.

See at Microsoft Store


Here are the books we're reading this week!

Jaws — Peter Benchley

Jaws — Peter Benchley

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

The film Jaws is very likely my single favorite movie of all time. It's everything a big Hollywood flick should be. It also doesn't hurt that it was shot on Massachusetts beaches, not far from where I spent my summers as a kid, which makes the film feel that much more real to me.

The book "Jaws" is, well … not as good as the movie. It's actually quite different, but it's clear why Steven Spielberg, the director, saw so much potential in the source material. The book isn't as scary, because it portrays the man-eating shark as more of an innocent animal that's simply following its instincts instead of an under-sea monster hooked on human blood. There is also a very long and very awkward romantic scene in the novel that really should have been removed. (Where are all the good editors, when you need 'em?)

But if you're a fan of the movie, the novel Jaws is worth a read. It's well written, relatively fast paced, and it's short, so it doesn't require much of a time investment.

Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914 — Malcolm Brown & Shirley Seaton

Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914 — Malcolm Brown & Shirley Seaton

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

In the first year of the first World War, sentiments on both sides of the battle were still geared toward a gentlemanly battle that would soon be finished, win or loss. After just a few months of hard fighting, Christmas approached, and many yearned to be with their families and friends instead on in flooded, diseased trenches where death was a second away at all times.

Christmas Truce examines closely the genesis of the truce that ultimately saw British, French, Indian, Saxon, and Prussian men meet in the No Man's Land to exchange gifts and pictures, have joint burial sessions, and talk about home.

It's almost unbelievable, but plenty of included images, recorded diary entries, and notes home make it a reality. Two sides who would have rather been friends fighting against each other. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

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

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