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

The new year is just around the corner, and you might have some extra time off to enjoy yourself. In that case, you're probably looking for some great tunes, a quality movie, or a real page turner. Need a suggestion or two? Here's what Team Windows Central is watching.

TV and movies

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

IT (2017)

Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer

Now that I've binged on a week of Christmas classics, it's time to cleanse the palate a bit. And what better way to do that than with one of the year's best horror movies, IT.

Most people are probably familiar with elements of IT, but here's a primer. Set in a small town called Derry, the story follows a group of kids who are stalked by an ancient evil that (most often) takes the form of a terrifying clown named Pennywise. It turns out that Pennywise has been terrorizing Derry for centuries, occasionally surfacing to terrorize children with manifestations of their fears and, ultimately, feed on them.

I'm not a massive horror fan, but I was definitely looking forward to IT in the lead-up to its launch in theaters earlier this year. I haven't read the novel in ages (I should get on that), but Tim Curry's performance in the 1990 mini-series based on the novel left a definite impression on me. IT is a much more gruesome affair in 2017, and there's plenty of blood (that poor bathroom) and freakiness throughout. But peeking through that horrifying shell is a story of friendship and courage.

I'm glad this iteration focused solely on the events that occur when the protagonists are children, as it gives the movie room to breathe. Plus, now we can count on an eventual sequel, which is already starting to come together.

See at Microsoft Store

Four Rooms

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

If you're a fan of any of Quentin Tarantino's flicks, Four Rooms is THE New Year's Eve movie for you. (If you don't like Tarantino, move on because you're not going to like this … )

The movie is a series of intertwined stories from one masterfully messed-up hotel, where the main character Ted the Bellhop gets mixed up in a set of memorable (and hilarious) messes. Tim Roth plays the bellhop with a slapstick style that I think results in one of his best, if goofy, roles.

There's plenty of gratuitous nudity and violence, catchy tunes, and a fantastic cast featuring Bruce Willis, Antonio Banderas, Madonna, Billie Dee Williams, and Tarantino himself. It's funny and awkward and perfect for welcoming in the New Year.

See at Microsoft Store

Trading Places

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

It's not necessarily a movie centered around New Year's Eve, but Trading Places does have a good portion of the plot occur on the special night. There's also that one scene where Eddie Murphy enters a train compartment shouting "Merry New Year" before being quickly corrected.

The movie, in a broader sense, is about Murphy's character, Billy Ray Valentine, trading places with Dan Aykroyd's character, Louis Winthorpe III. One is a grifter, while the other is an exec at some firm, and both are being controlled by higher-ups who are bored.

This is a classic and you've probably already seen it, but check it out again, especially on New Year's Eve. It's even great to have on quietly in the background while your guests mingle.

See at Microsoft Store


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

I Get Wet — Andrew W.K.

 I Get Wet — Andrew W.K.

Recommended by Richard Devine, staff reviewer

I Get Wet is neither cleverly written or particularly well put together. It's 110 percent mindless headbanging, wall punching party rock you can't help but move to. If you like your NYE parties loud, stick on some Andrew W.K. and go wild.

200 Cigarettes – Music from the Motion Picture

200 Cigarettes – Music from the Motion Picture

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

The movie 200 Cigarettes is a fantastic New Year's Eve film. However, it's not available digitally for some reason, and it can be difficult to track down DVDs — though Amazon appears to have copies right now. So I'm recommending the movie's spectacular soundtrack, which is much easier to get.

200 Cigarettes is about New Year's Eve in the glorious (weird, silly, strange and also … odd) 1980s in New York City. It's packed with actors who would go on to become very popular, and it captures the '80s masterfully, in all its hair-spray-soaked glory. And its soundtrack is equally epic, at least if you like '80 music.

Songs from The Cure, Blondie, The Ramones and Dire Straits make this soundtrack stand out, as do tunes from Elvis Costello, who has a memorable cameo in the film. Add a bit of awesome '80s flair to your New Year's Eve with the 200 Cigarettes soundtrack.

Barenaked for the Holidays — Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked for the Holidays — Barenaked Ladies

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I know, I know, Christmas is technically over, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy some festive music from one of Canada's favorite bands while you prepare for New Year's Eve.

I got to see Barenaked Ladies in concert when they toured for this album back in 2004, and while they did play a lot of holiday-themed songs, they also played all their hits. This talented bunch isn't all still together, so I'm glad I got to see them when I did.


Here are the books we're reading this week!

The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I took the advice of my girlfriend and picked this book up on December 21, and I finished it in less than a week. I had a decent amount of time to relax, but it's also just that good.

The Goldfinch follows Theo Decker from a young age. As he matures and moves around, he's eventually caught up in some circles that have a penchant for stealing and selling valuable art on the black market.

If you enjoy a good page-turner that will call to you from its spot on the coffee table, definitely pick this one up. It's not a happy story, but it will stay in your head for a long time after you're finished.

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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