Another month has come and gone, and you're no doubt getting ready to enjoy some me-time. Spring has likely shown it sunshine-face at this point, but that doesn't mean you don't need some great tunes, a quality movie, or a real page turner to get you through the weekend. We can help.
Here are some of the movies team Windows Central is enjoying this week.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor
Atlantis is a strange movie when you consider it was made by Disney, save for the fact it retains Disney's expressive animated art style. This movie has no songs, in a departure from traditional Disney offerings, and no anthropomorphized animals. Instead, Atlantis is a surprisingly "mature" Disney animated feature which gave it a relatively confused identity, complete with light sexual themes, grey-area morality, and gun violence. Revisiting the movie recently made me appreciate it for what it is.
Atlantis tells the tale of a wannabe explorer, Milo, in the early 1900s, hunting for the eponymous lost city. Along the way, Milo enlists a huge expedition comprised of shady mercenaries equipped with steampunk tech and World War 1 weaponry. What was supposed to be the greatest archaeological find in history turns into something else entirely as the band discovers the true fate of Atlantis.
Guardians of the Galaxy series
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer
Currently on sale due to Marvel turning 10, Guardians of the Galaxy is an ideal movie for late spring to welcome in the great weather with a joyful journey. What I enjoy about GotG most are the characters and how the humor breaks up the rather more serious storyline. They're all silly and the dialogue is just as wacky. If you haven't seen the first installment, that too is available at a discount!
- See Guardians of the Galaxy at Microsoft
- See Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at Microsoft
- See Guardians of the Galaxy at Amazon
- See Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at Amazon
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
It's hard to describe just how special Boyhood really is. It's unlike any other film, in its scope and vision. The cast and performances are stellar. And it's just really, really good. So good that it was nominated for six Academy Awards in 2015, though it only won one (Patricia Arquette, best supporting actress).
Boyhood is the story of an American boy growing up. That's it. But it's shot over the span of more than a decade, and it shows the actors actually grow and age along with the characters they portray. The film is dark and sad, upbeat and optimistic, realistic and ugly, dreamy and beautiful, all at the same time. This is one complex movie.
It's made by Richard Linklater of Dazed and Confused fame, and it has elements of that classic and some of this other movies. So it's not all serious. But the epic scale and directorial ambition are truly unique. It's a long film, at about three hours, but I've watched it multiple times and so far, it never feels too long or gets old.
Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.
Parc Avenue — Plants and Animals
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, news writer
Montreal rockers Plants and Animals have been a favorite of mine for some time, but the one album I always come back to is 2008's Parc Avenue.
Many of the tracks oscillate from chill to energetic, meandering subtly in ways that make it hard to pin them into any specific rock subgenre. Don't get me wrong, Parc Avenue is still very much a rock record, filled with drums, bass, and guitar. But there's quite a bit of folk flavor sprinkled in here as well, and I always find something new to love in the sheer construction of each track.
If you've never given Plants and Animals a listen, I highly recommend starting right here.
Interstate 8 — Modest Mouse
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
Modest Mouse may be my single favorite band. The quirky, eccentric collection of musicians makes smart music that seems to often perfectly capture my mood. And that's pretty much exactly what I want from my tunes.
Interstate 8 is one of my favorite Modest Mouse albums because it features a couple of its best songs (Sleepwalking, and Edit the Sad Parts) but also because it features live versions of some great songs along with the studio cuts.
The band's music has changed a lot over the years, but in my mind, it was in its prime when it released this set of songs in 2004. For my money, it doesn't get much better.
Here are the books we're reading this week.
The Things They Carried — Tim 'O Brien
Recommended by Brendan Lowry, contributing writer
The Things They Carried is a harrowing, impactful war novel set in the thick of the Vietnam War. Through a series of short stories that show the experiences of various different American soldiers during the conflict, the book delivers a haunting and vivid depiction of one of humanity's bloodiest conflicts. The piece can be described as "semi-fictional"; some of the stories in it are true while others are fictional, though they're all so believable that it's impossible to tell the difference.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels — Jason Schreier
Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor
Jason Schreier is best known for his day-to-day job on Kotaku, but Blood Sweat and Pixels is his first actual book about video games. And honestly, it's something every gamer should read. This tells the behind the scenes tale of how some of today's most popular games got made. Or rather, how they nearly didn't. It might make you think, too, next time you complain about something being delayed.
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.
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