Every week, the fine folks from Windows Central share recommendations for movies, TV, music and books we're watching, listening to and reading at the moment. This week's roundup includes a surprisingly heartwarming film about a killer clown-monster, a good ol' gangsta flick, and book about spending some quality time with wolves in the Great White North.

If none of the picks recommended here hit your target, the link below contains many more recommendations from past weeks.

More media recommendations from Windows Central

Movies

Creepy clown-spider-uber-monster thingee

IT (2017)

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and I've read just about everything the man has written. As a general rule: Stephen King books = good; movies based on Stephen King books = bad. However, there are some exceptions, and the 2017 film adaptation of the novel "It" is one of them.

This movie actually captures a lot of what makes King's books so great — and what other movies seem to consistently miss. And that's the character development, specifically of children protagonists, and the relationships between the leading men and women (or boys and girls, in this case). "IT" isn't just a film about a crazy shape-shifting monster who eats kids; it's a coming-of-age story of the kids who are trying to manage impending adolescence and adulthood … while also trying to survive attacks from said monster. And it's surprisingly true to both the story and the feel of what may very well be King's best book.


Fuggedaboutit

Once Upon a Time in America

Recommended by Jez Corden, gaming editor

At E3 2019 I checked out the game Empire of Sin, which is a gangster strategy game set in the prohibition era. The game was so awesome that its put me in a gangster mood, and I'm going to be diving into Once Upon a time in America for the 100th time when I get back home.

Set in the seedy prohibition era in New York City, Once upon a time in America follows the story of a group of childhood friends into adulthood, and how they get caught up in a world of alcohol smuggling, speakeasies, protection rackets, and murder.

Spanning decades, Once upon a Time in America is not recommended for light viewing. It is long, gruelling, and gripping from start to finish, with few really likeable characters. This movie is truly dark, and if you like gangster movies, it'll leave a lasting impression.


Books

Fun with international espionage

The Expats — Chris Pavone

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Like a good spy novel? Well then, you'll appreciated "The Expats." I did.

It's the story of a husband and wife who aren't at all who they say they are. Or who they each think the other is. Because they're both super sneaky, conniving slicksters who lie to everybody to get what they want, even their spouse.

The wife is a CIA agent, and the husband is a cybercriminal. When they suddenly up and move away from the U.S. to Luxembourg to supposedly advance the husband's career, they're forced to confront their respective deceptions and decide whether they can maintain a relationship after the truth is revealed. It's a twisty, turn tale of intrigue that takes the reader through much of Europe on a quest for the truth … or at least that's what they want you to think.


A trip to the Canadian North

Never Cry Wolf — Farley Mowat

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Canadian author Farley Mowat's 1963 autobiography Never Cry Wolf is a first-hand account of time spent in northern Manitoba observing the wolf population. Sent by the Dominion Wildlife Service following the Second World War, Mowat's job was to identify the cause of plummeting caribou numbers — at the time believed to be caused by wolves — while living on limited rations and using limited gear.

Mowat's account of his time spent with wolves is funny, sad, and intriguing, as it quickly becomes clear that wolves are not the monsters they are made out to be. Though there's been a substantial amount of chatter about the book's veracity since its release, it's nevertheless a project that had an enormous impact on how humans view the majestic animals and their habitat.

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