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 suggestions, we put together a collection of some of the best stuff out there right now. And we all have exceptional taste!

Movies and TV

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

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Recommended by Zac Bowden, senior editor, and Richard Devine, reviews editor

This week I finally watched the new Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not much of a fan of Marvel movies, but I do enjoy the GotG movies a fair bit. I didn't catch the new one in cinemas, so now that it's available on the Windows Store, I thought it was a great time to rent it. — Zac Bowden

I'm actually enjoying the GotG Vol. 2 this week on my Xbox One S thanks to the wonders of 4K UHD Blu-Ray. As a fan of the franchise in general, I've been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy, and without spoilers, it's definitely something for the fans to enjoy. And who doesn't think Baby Groot is cute as hell? — Richard Devine

See at Microsoft Store

Mad Max: Fury Road

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action movies in recent memory. It's slick, violently beautiful, and aggressively to the point, featuring some of the genre's most memorable moments and quotable scenes.

If you're a fan of action movies, particularly of the explosively post-apocalyptic kind, you have probably already seen this movie. If you haven't, fix your life.

See at Microsoft Store

Everybody Wants Some

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is, in my opinion, the seminal coming-of-age high school flick of the past few decades. And what the director did in that movie to capture the U.S. 1970s and high school adolescence, he marvelously mimicked in Everybody Wants Some, but for the '80s and college.

It's hard for me to say Everybody Wants Some is a better film, because Dazed holds some serious sentimental value for me. But I just went back and watched the newer film for the second time, and it's seriously growing on me. The cast (most of whom you've never seen in another movie) is spectacular and memorable. The writing and dialogue are stiletto sharp, and the music fits the movie like a pink 80s tube top — that's tight.

If you enjoyed Dazed and Confused but haven't seen Everybody Wants Some, what are you waiting for? Even if you haven't seen Dazed, I strongly recommended the newer movie. But they kind of feel like parts one and two of the same story and should probably be viewed that way for the best experience.

See Everybody Wants Some at Microsoft Store See Dazed and Confused at Microsoft Store

Party Down

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Featuring a bunch of actors and comedians you've no doubt seen in a bunch of other stuff since their time here, this TV show is all about a crew of caterers who are all looking for a serious Hollywood gig, and, if not, some serious love.

Each episode, there's some other party that needs their services, and they often come in contact with already-famous actors, which then leads to some of the caterers making fools of themselves as they try to worm their way into a role.

If you like the idea of a comedy that doesn't make you think too hard, this is definitely one you should put on your list.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

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

Trans Am — VHS Dreams

Trans Am — VHS Dreams

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

Another pick from my retro synthwave 80s playlist is Trans AM from VHS Dreams. To say these 10 tracks are catchy is an understatement.

I find myself humming away when making a cup of tea and really ruining my vocal cords in the car with the windows down.

See at Microsoft Store


Sleep Well Beast (2017) — The National

Sleep Well Beast (2017) — The National

Recommended by Daniel Rubino, executive editor

My musical tastes usually veer towards punk and hardcore, but I have a soft spot for folk and mellow music as well. I first heard The National on the soundtrack for the movie Warrior (2011), which I also highly recommend. Since then, I've fallen for the band big time, as the mostly dark, moody music just hits the spot on some nights (usually accompanied by some fine Scotch).

Sleep Well Beast (2017) is the band's seventh studio album, and sonically it moves in a slightly new direction for some songs with more complexity, while retaining the familiar vibe with brooding, melancholy lyrics sung by Matt Berninger.

I find The National to be one of the most exciting bands around these days.

See at Microsoft Store


b'lieve i'm goin down… — Kurt Vile

b'lieve i'm goin down… — Kurt Vile

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

American musician Kurt Vile was once the lead guitarist of the band 'The War on Drugs' before setting out on a solo career that has so far been successful.

His sixth studio album, called b'lieve i'm going down… was released back in 2015, and has been a favorite amongst his fans ever since. Tracks like I'm an Outlaw, Pretty Pimpin, and Stand Inside all offer something different. How to classify this music? It's rock at times, it's folk at times, and it's psychedelic at times; no matter what you call it, call it great listening.

See at Microsoft Store


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week.

The Force — Don Winslow

The Force — Don Winslow

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

The Force is the cop novel of all cop novels — at least that I've read. (It dethroned my previous favorite, Kent Anderson's Night Dogs, which is saying something because that is an amazing book.) As Stephen King wrote of the novel, 'Think The Godfather only with cops.' That about sums it up.

Don Winslow is known for writing epic (and often very long) tales about criminals and the underworld, with an eerie level of detail and authenticity. In The Force, he tackles corruption in the New York Police Department (NYPD). The story is Shakespearean in its scale, and it's positively disturbing at times, heartwarming at others. You can't help but like, respect, hate and fear the main character, Denny Malone, known in the novel as the 'king' of the elite NYPD Manhattan North Taskforce, or just The Force. Malone's stomping ground is mostly Harlem, and his life mission is to make the neighborhood safe for all of its residence, including all the people packed into towering project buildings and the wealthy newcomers riding the gentrification wave into what was once one of the city's most dangerous areas.

I could not put this book down. When I reached the final pages, I was truly upset that it was over. For me, that's the measure of a great book. The Force is just that, and it's one that's bound to stick with you for a long time. I read A LOT of books, and this might be my favorite read of 2017.

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


Imperium — Christian Kracht

Imperium — Christian Kracht

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I was gifted Imperium by a German friend of mine, with the promise that this is her second-favorite book of all time. After reading it, I can see why.

The story follows protagonist and radical vegetarian and nudist August Engelhardt as he gets fed up with life in Germany 1902 (politics, you know?) and leaves to seek a new life on the island of Kabakon.

He plans on starting a colony based on the love of coconuts (that's all he allows himself to eat) and, of course, the sun. This is an odd book, but one I couldn't put down after starting it.

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