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

It's the heart of winter and we're just fine with staying inside. To help pass the time, we're enjoying some great tunes, some quality movies, and some real page turners? Check out our suggestions for some of the best (or at least most entertaining) stuff out there right now.

TV and movies

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

The Truman Show

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

I love The Truman Show, and when I heard a recent UK poll said Bruce Almighty was Jim Carrey's best movie, I was both outraged and then compelled to put on what is actually his best. First watching this as a youngster, I often wondered how I could tell if I was actually living in a TV show, just like Truman. I mean, I still don't know that I'm not.

See at Microsoft Store

Dunkirk

Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox editor

Dunkirk is the latest movie to come from renowned director Christopher Nolan, with a gripping telling of the battle that played a major role in the Second World War. Following Allied troops as they attempt to escape the French beaches, the film delivers a consistently tense experience that kept me fixed at all times. While I saw the film first at an IMAX showing (which was easily my top pick for 2017), its recent digital release already has me set to revisit once again.

See at Microsoft Store

L.A. Confidential

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I've been playing the game L.A. Noire on my Xbox One X, so it only seemed fit to re-watch the 1997 Academy Award winning flick, L.A. Confidential.

The movie feels like a blockbuster Hollywood film from the past, something that's often lost on today's big-budget special effects-laden thrillers and action movies — and that's a good thing. It feels like a film that's meant to be seen on the big screen. And the cast is simply spectacular.

It's the story of the LA Police Department's simultaneous struggles with organized crime and internal corruption, set around a holiday season in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Russell Crowe is great as the rough-around-the-edges tough guy cop. Kevin Spacey is memorable as the pretty-boy camera hound detective (despite all the deserved negativity surrounding that actor today). Danny DeVito plays a slimy reporter. And Kim Basinger is stunning as the troubled "dame."

I love noir fiction, and I'm a big fan of Raymond Chandler, who set much of his work in or around LA. 'L.A. Confidential' is a modern homage to the great pulp stories of the early Twentieth Century, and it captures Hollywood in its heyday masterfully. Unfortunately, it's not available via the Microsoft Store. But you can grab it on Amazon.

See at Amazon

The Devil's Advocate

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

The Devil's Advocate is a surprisingly spooky thriller featuring Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, and Charlize Theron. Reeves portrays a rookie lawyer who has a gift for winning cases despite insurmountable evidence against his clients. As he climbs up through the ranks of his law firm, the evils of his role begin to take its toll on him and his fiance, in more ways than one.

The Devil's Advocate is a must-see thriller with a supernatural twist, and it's available on Movies & TV for Windows 10 devices and Xbox.

See at Amazon

Chinatown

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway certainly look young in this 1974 mystery that's directed by Roman Polanski. It's a film that has to do with the California water wars and some of the shady deals that went on in the background.

Nicholson plays a private investigator who's hired to keep an eye on a wealthy woman's husband (who's also in charge of the LA department of power and water). This all unravels when the real wife confronts Nicholson's character, and from there you're treated to about two hours of neo-noir greatness.

If you love a gritty mystery, definitely give this one a watch.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

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

From The Screen To Your Stereo Part II — New Found Glory

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

From The Screen To Your Stereo Part II by New Found Glory is a full album of covers with songs ranging from "Iris" (Goo Goo Dolls) to "Kiss Me" (Sixpence None The Richer) via "It Ain't Me Babe" (Johnny Cash). All in all it's just a great pop punk take on some classic tracks all featured in movies.

See at Amazon See at iTunes


Midnite Vultures — Beck

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Every Beck album sounds different and unique. That's kind of what makes Beck such a great musician. Nobody could ever say Beck's albums are boring or repetitive, a common issue for bands that create a lot of music during a long period of time. Beck has been at it for decades, and he is still cranking out great music, as demonstrated by his latest album, Colors.

But it's Beck's 1999 release, Midnite Vultures, that's been on repeat for the past week in my home and in my car. It's a quirky and eclectic mishmash of all kinds of music, and nearly every track sounds different. There's "Debra," which sounds just like a comedic Flight of the Conchord's track. "Get Real Paid" sounds like a weird electronic tune gone wrong … and it oddly feel right. And my favorite song is probably, "Mixed Bizness," which is the definition of an earworm.

For some reason, this album kind of flew under the radar for me, even though I'm a Beck fan. But it's good listenin' all the way. Whether you're already familiar with Beck, or you've never heard of the guy, Midnite Vultures is worth a good look ... or listen.

See at Amazon See at iTunes


100 Must-Have Valentine's Day Love Song Classics — Various Artists

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

If you absolutely must tie yourself into the commercialized holiday that is Valentine's Day then you should serenade your loved one with some exquisite, romantic ambiance. This album does exactly what it says on the box, and it's only $0.99 which makes it a steal for creating a loving atmosphere. Heading to a hotel for a quick getaway? Be sure to load up some of these to set the mood just right.

See at Amazon

Naked — Talking Heads

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I have no recollection of how I stumbled on Talking Heads — probably heard them on the radio when I was young — but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for their quirky style of music. Naked is their eighth and final album, released the same year I was born.

While the entire album is great and is one of those treats that you can listen to all the way through, I definitely do specifically love "(Nothing But) Flowers." Who can't dig a lovely song about the post-apocalyptic world?

See at Amazon See at iTunes


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

The Eye of the World — Robert Jordan

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I received this book as a gift about 17 years ago, and haven't stopped loving it despite growing up quite a bit. It's actually the first in a 15-book fantasy series called The Wheel of Time.

The author, Robert Jordan, uses a lot of what Tolkien brought to the table, delivering an exciting first book that firmly sets a foundation for the rest of the story. If you love swords, magic, monsters, and a coming-of-age tale, you can definitely do worse that The Eye of the World. After reading the first, see if you can't keep reading the rest.

Download Kindle book at Amazon Download Audible audiobook at Amazon


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.

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.

Tons more recommendations from Team Windows Central