TV, music, and books we're into this week

There's no better time to spend some you time than on the weekend. What better way to relax than with some great tunes, a quality movie, or a real page turner? If you're sitting, staring at your TV or PC, wondering what to enjoy, we've put together a list of great suggestions.

TV and movies

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Recommended by Zac Bowden, senior editor

This week I watched the new Pirates of the Carribean. I've always loved these movies ever since the first, and was interested to see if Johnny Depp would be able to keep up his amazing performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. Overall, it's a great movie. Maybe not the best Pirates movie, though.

See at Microsoft Store

The Emperor's New Groove

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

Groove Music is dead, as the Emperor of Microsoft decides instead that we must all use Spotify, leaving UWP without a premium music service. Celebrate this wacky decision with a wacky Disney movie full of irony, whimsy, and incompetence-ridden hi-jinx.

The arrogant Emperor Kuzco has turned himself into a llama, and now must rely on a peasant he treated poorly to regain his lost throne. Will he learn to treat his subjects a little better along the way? Learn some humility, perhaps? Find out in this gorgeous and colorful Disney animation that is actually incredibly funny. Whew, that felt good.

See at Microsoft Store

Maximum Overdrive

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

While discussing the new IT movie with some friends, we inevitably arrived at Maximum Overdrive, one of the worst movies ever made. Written and directed by author Stephen King, it's clear that he's much better at writing than he is with anything on film.

A young Emilio Estevez takes the lead against a bunch of murderous, previously-inanimate objects that have been "turned on" by a comet passing close to earth. Yes, that's right. The movie eventually comes down to a truck with a goblin face on it against the survivors.

This movie is a very bad movie, and that's what makes it fun to watch. Gather some friends and poke fun at it, just like Mystery Science Theater 3000.

See at Microsoft Store


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

Wildflowers — Tom Petty

Wildflowers — Tom Petty

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

This week was a tough one, for obvious reasons. All Americans' hearts are heavy, following the horrific events in Las Vegas on Sunday. It seems sad and insensitive to spotlight the death of one man when so many other senselessly lost their lives within 24 hours. But Tom Petty, who passed away on Monday, was a truly unique musician who touched my life in countless ways. And his music can help heal this week's wounds.

Tom Petty's Wildflowers was the first album on CD that I ever owned. And to this day, it remains one of my favorites albums, of any artist. Every single track is a hit, and I've listened to the songs so many times, I know every lyric inside and out. It's nearly impossible to pick a best track, but "Crawling Back to You" is probably the one I listen to most, even after all these years.

You really can't go wrong with any music from Petty, and a whole lot of it is available on the Microsoft Store. But Wildflowers will always be my personal favorite, maybe even my "desert island album," if I had to pick just one. If you're not all that familiar with Petty and his band the Heartbreakers, what are you waiting for? There's never been a better time to catch up.

See at Microsoft Store

Jubilee — The Deep Dark Woods

Jubilee — The Deep Dark Woods

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

While we wait for the forthcoming Yarrow album from Canadian alt-country band The Deep Dark Woods, their last album, Jubilee, deserves another listen.

Led by Ryan Boldt on guitar and vocals, this brand of country is melodic, brooding, and a bit dark. You can almost feel the prairie nights come seeping through the music as you listen.

Still, not all is the same. Jubilee opens with a wordless, psychedelic jam that flows easily into "18th of December," which was the first single released from the album. From there we hear about heartache, drinking, and new love.

See at Microsoft Store


Here are the books we're reading this week!

Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1) — Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1) — Jeff VanderMeer

Recommended by Daniel Rubino, executive editor

Being into technology and science, reading novels on such topics, of course, is natural. Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1) is written by Jeff VanderMeer, and as the title implies, it is part one of a three-part series. Moreover, the book is so good that it's coming out as a movie early next year (see the new trailer) from Alex Garland, who made the super impressive film Ex Machina (2015), which I also highly recommend as a rental.

Annihilation is about a team of scientists who cross a mysterious border into Area X, where nature rules and humans are not welcome. The book is written from the female lead, whose name we never learn as if we found her record of the journey. What happens next, which involves transformation, conspiracy, and odd implications, is a fascinating read, albeit short (just over 200 pages).

I highly recommended Annihilation for a weekend read. I'm about to start Book 2, Authority: A Novel, this week.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West — Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West — Cormac McCarthy

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy could be argued as his best work, but ever since I read Blood Meridian years ago, I've come back again and again to reread it.

Each time, I've felt satisfied with what I was able to squeeze from it. This is an incredibly violent book, as it follows the Glanton gang back and forth across the Mexico/Texas border in the mid-1800s.

Blood Meridian is full of historical references, lacks most punctuation, and is absolutely rich in content. If you like reading in the Western genre and don't mind some unsettling scenes, this book will truly affect you.

Lie to Me — J.T. Ellison

Lie to Me — J.T. Elison

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Lie to Me is about a wealthy couple, both well-known novelists, with a LOT of secrets. When the wife up and disappears, the husband quickly becomes a suspect, as is often the case. But something sure ain't right, and therein lies the hook.

I read a lot of mysteries, as you may have noticed if you've seen any of Windows Central's past media recommendations. Lie to Me isn't the best one I've read this year, or even this month. But it might be the story with the most plot twists. That's a good thing, but it makes the narrative somewhat hard to follow at times. And for all those turns, the ending is predictable, at least if you're paying attention.

Still, the book is worth a read, if for nothing else than some memorable scenes that take place by the River Seine in a very romanticized version of Paris.

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.

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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.

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