Looking for something good to watch, listen to or read this weekend? Yeah, us too. But we can help. This week, our writers and editors are into a movie about what the world would be like without The Beatles' music (and what would happen if one man introduced it all at once), a very amusing TV show about the afterlife, an album of upbeat electronic tunes, and a novel about people and how we all got to where we are today.
If nothing here rubs you the right way, we have more where those came from. Just hit the link below.
Bang bang Maxwell's Silver hammer
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
Danny Boyle is a director who is well known mostly for bleak, often disturbing, films like "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later." His latest movie, "Yesterday," breaks his mold a bit, and it's a mostly uplifting take on what would happen if some of the world's most famous music just didn't exist … and then all of a sudden, it did. All at once. Produced by one man.
I love The Beatles music, and a world without it is clearly a worse one, from my perspective. So I was sucked in by the concept alone. But even you prefer the Stones (you're wrong) or aren't familiar with The Beatles at all (what's wrong with you?), the movie is still worth watching. It's a refreshing take from a director that doesn't often leave you feeling hopeful.
Everything is fine
Recommended by Sean Endicott, news writer
The Good Place combines charming comedy with some serious moral questions. Mainly, the show asks, "can people get better?" Season 4 is the final season of the show, and the entire season is set up to answer that one question. The people from the good place get to try out an experiment to test if people can improve, but people from the bad place get to pick the subjects! I've followed this show since the beginning, and I'm genuinely curious how the writers will answer the show's main question and wrap up the series. Kristen Bell is the lead of the show, and her character's evolution from a sarcastic person with questionable morals to her current character has been quite the ride. I can't wait to see the rest of the show unfold.
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, news editor
It's been said a million times already, but Breaking Bad is probably as close as television has gotten to "perfect" in the last decade. With Netflix's El Camino, a movie sequel to the series, debuting this week, I'm doing a quick recap of the series to refresh my memory.
Without getting into too much detail, Breaking Bad follows a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, after he finds out he has cancer and starts producing meth to pay for his treatments. However, before long, Walter's ambitions grow beyond just paying for chemo, leading to his slow transformation from a meek doormat to a complicated anti-hero with some serious villain vibes.
If you haven't seen Breaking Bad yet, it's well worth running through its five seasons.
Thank you, Seattle
If I'm in mood to kick back and laugh, Frasier remains one of my favorite comedies. It's a unique blend of highbrow wordplay and unexpected payoffs that, unlike many comedies, actually sees its core cast evolve and grow as people over the eleven seasons, rather than having their worst traits exaggerated for stale jokes.
This spin-off of Cheers follows psychologist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) as he moves to Seattle. Events conspire that see his father Martin (John Mahoney) retire from the police force and move in. As Frasier pursues a successful career as a talk show host giving advice on mental health, he has to contend with the daily shenanigans of his fellow psychologist and brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and all the problems that come with being a member of the city's upper echelon.
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer
Chernobyl is a spectacular production that encapsulates the aftermath of a nuclear accident at a power plant in Ukraine. Following true events that occurred in 1986, this five-part miniseries dramatizes the story of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history. You'll see the accident, immediate efforts to contain the issue, as well as muddy politics and pride affecting response from officials.
Starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson, this series explores what went wrong in the lead up to the accident and how the collapsing USSR attempting to handle this nuclear incident that far outreached the nation's borders, affecting nearby countries with radiation. A chilling viewing for sure.
Sacrifice Your Ears
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer
I've beena fan of Tiësto for many years, ever since he rolled out Trance and classic gems like Adagio of Strings and Surburbian Train. With the eventual switch to more EDM tracks, I lost touch with the artist I once knew, until I heard Ritual come up in a recommended playlist. I was once again hooked on some sweet melodies, as well as Rita Ora's insane voice.
If you're a fan of summer tracks and EDM that gets you in the mood for a workout or other tasks, you'll need to add Ritual to the playlist right now. It's got the right amount of bass, the melody is addictive and it doesn't sound like your usual POP nonsense constantly played on the radio.
Loud and fast
Recommended by Richard Devine, Reviews Editor
Even if you don't know Dragonforce the chances are you know at least one song. Through the Fire and Flames is essentially a meme after the insane difficulty of completing it on expert on Guitar Hero back in the day.
Dragonforce is back with a new album, launched to coincide with TwitchCon (where the band played the opening ceremony), which was recorded in part on the streaming service by lead guitarist, Herman Li.
Extreme Power Metal is loud, fast and full of anthems, and about a thousand guitar solos. It's quickly become one of my favorite albums of 2019.
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
Harari's book is an interesting mix of history, philosophy, and opinion. It's not a fact-heavy tale and there are more than a few assertions that I disagree with, but it weaves a mostly coherent story of how Homo Sapiens have ended up where we are today. It reminds me a bit of Daniel Quinn's Ishmael with less talking ape; maybe the more serious tone of Sapiens is why a lot of people got their jimmies rustled when they found out how Sapiens rose to power.
You definitely don't have to agree with everything Harari puts forth. Give it a read and take what you want from it. I'm nearly finished and have, for the most part, enjoyed the easy readability you don't often find in these types of books.
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
I read a lot of crime fiction, and I'm always on the lookout for new authors creating original and engaging takes on a genre that's often repetitive and familiar. And in most cases, most authors I find fail to deliver anything truly engaging or unique. Stephen Mack Jones's protagonist, August Snow, the book's namesake, is one of my favorite leading characters in a while.
Snow is a former Detroit detective, who's been forced out of the department after exposing corrupt officials and basically burning all his bridges with the police. But he refuses to leave his home of Detroit, and his neighborhood, "Mexicantown," which, like the rest of Detroit, finally seems to be seeing some revitalization after decades of decay and disregard. And he conveniently finds himself in a sort of pseudo private-detective role, despite his ouster from the ranks of the real investigators.
The plot of the book is decent, but it's Mack's description of Detroit, a down-on-its-luck American city if ever there was one, through a loving and hopeful lens, that really grabbed my attention. He artfully weaves true stories of corruption within the Detroit mayor's office and police department into his narrative, while creating a layered tough-guy leading man who's hard not to like.
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