Oh, hey, it's summer! That means it's a great time to get some good outdoors time. But sometimes it's a bit too hot — can you say, HEATWAVE? — or you just need to stay in to cool off after a day on the beach or hiking in the woods. And what better way to unwind than with a good book, album, TV show or movies? Right? Right?!?!
We can help you there. Here's the latest batch of Team Windows Central's world-renowned (or at least, this-site renowned ...) weekly media recommendations. Hit the link below for our past recommendations, in case nothing grabs your fancy in this week's edition.
Recommended by Brendan Lowry, contributing Xbox writer
With Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom releasing at the end of last week, I decided to go back and revisit the film that kicked off the franchise. Jurassic Park's themes of scientific research and the debate of how far it should go are harrowing in the modern age, and the movie's excellent production quality makes it feel like it could have been released yesterday and nobody would guess that it's over 20 years old.
Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor
There's a new movie about dinosaurs hitting the big screen, so what better opportunity to jump back in with its predecessor.
There's much you could pick fault with in Jurassic World, just the same as the original trilogy, but the charm is still there. Chris Pratt was a great addition to the cast and the faux-terror of the Indominous Rex still takes me back to watching that T-Rex scene in the first movie all those years ago.
A Quiet Place
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
I've been on a bit of a horror movie kick lately. Unfortunately, that means I haven't seen too many good flicks, because today's scary movies pretty much suck. Or most of them do. 'A Quiet Place,' starring husband and wife duo Jim Krasinski and Emily Blunt, was a pleasant surprise, though.
The premise is simple: The world has come to an Apocalyptic standstill after some form of monster with supersonic hearing invades Earth and kills every human who makes any sort of loud noise. The mother and father then attempt to survive without making any noise at all, which is as difficult as it sounds. Suspense ensues.
The feeling of the movie is bleak and unique. And perhaps even more notable is the aesthetic, which is surprisingly light and airy compared to most movies of the type that feature dark, dim, shadowy and damp environments. It requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief. But what scary flick doesn't? And it's well worth a watch.
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, news writer
I've never been massively into the Marvel universe movies (there's far too much to keep up with). But I gave in to my nephews this week, who wanted nothing more than to watch Thor's latest epic adventure after the fireworks were over.
Man, I didn't know what I was missing out on.
Thor: Ragnarok sees the titular Avenger stranded on a planet where he's forced to compete in a fighting pit by none other than the wonderful Jeff Goldblum (well, his character, anyway) – without his trusty hammer. And it's not exactly a great time to be trapped in a strange land: Asgard is on the brink of destruction, and Thor desperately needs to find a way home to stop it. I won't spoil the rest of the story for those who haven't seen it, but the Hulk makes a surprising appearance and the whole movie is a heck of a ride from beginning to end.
If you haven't kept up with the onslaught of Marvel movies in recent years, Thor: Ragnarok is definitely one worth checking out. The action is great, and there's a healthy dose of humor throughout.
Share Feelings — Way Ched
Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox editor
Share Feelings is the debut release from hip-hop producer "Way Ched," collaborating with big names across six tracks. With little information on the guy online, he wasn't on my radar until fairly recently when the album was suggested by Spotify. Regardless, it's a great album spanning a variety of subgenres within the hip-hop space. Personal picks include "H&M Girl," "RnB Ting," and "Take Me High," all attached to collaborations with established rappers.
My Aim is True — Elvis Costello
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
From a media and pop-culture perspective, not a whole lot of good stuff came out of the U.S. in late 1970s and early 1980s — except for the music. If I'm honest, a lot bad music was made during that time, too. But one of my favorite musicians who cranked out some great stuff then was Elvis Costello.
My go-to Costello album is 'My Aim is True,' because it features most of my favorite songs by the man, including 'Watching the Detectives,' 'Alison,' and '(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes.' It's fun, easy-listening for the most part, but it's music that sticks with you, the kinds of tunes that'll have you humming for days.
Why not get a bit nostalgic this weekend? Or if you're too young for that, check out this album anyway. If you have any musical tastes whatsoever, chances are you'll dig it.
Neuromancer — William Gibson
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, review
Neuromancer is a 1984 science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson. The author's debut novel also happens to be one of the best-known in the cyberpunk genre and the first novel to win the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award. If that isn't enough to pique interest, it's a stellar resource to grow accustomed to the Cyberpunk atmosphere ahead of CDProjekt RED's next big game. Released in 1984, Neuromancer remains to this day a fantastic story following washed-up computer hacker Case.
Gears of War: Ashpho Fields — Karen Traviss
Recommended by Jez Corden, Xbox editor
Aspho Fields is the first in a series of novels that add greater context to the events of Microsoft's flagship third-person shooter series.
Gears of War is set on a violent planet known as Sera, which has been battered by decades of war. A previously unknown subterranean species emerges from deep within the planet's core, killing billions of people in a short space of time. In Aspho Fields, Gears soldiers of Delta Squad begin mopping up after a victorious mission at the end of Gears of War 1, originally launched on the Xbox 360, only to find new threats are stirring in the shadows.
The Secret Place — Tana French
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books are among my favorite recent crime novels. They're well written, and the author's Irish roots lend the books a unique flavor and flair that make the stories and the writing memorable.
'The Secret Place' is the fifth book in the six-novel series. And it's about a murder on the grounds of an all-girls private school in Ireland. It centers around two catty cliques of teenage girls, both of which clearly have some involvement in the slaying of a boy from the neighboring all-male school.
The story is twisty and turny, with likeable and amusing central characters. And it does a great job of capturing the universal feelings of teenage angst, first love, anger, jealousy and confusion, many (all?) people feel as they come of age, while tactfully avoid clichés. It's the second last book in this series, though, so you'll want to read the first four installments before you hit this one, starting with 'In the Woods.'
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