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

It's mid-March and we're taking some time out of our schedules to relax this weekend. As always, we're enjoying great media in the form of killer tunes, quality movies, and some real page turners. Here are our suggestions for you.

TV and movies

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

The Shape of Water

Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer

I began my jump down the rabbit hole of Oscar winners last week with Coco, so I figured I'd continue the trend this week with another: The Shape of Water.

The Shape of Water is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, and it's a monster movie and love story wrapped all into one. Taking place in 1962 America with the Cold War as a backdrop, the movie follows a woman named Elisa who works in an isolated secret government laboratory. There, she and a co-worker discover a classified experiment, a fish-man, with whom Elisa falls in love. Yeah, it's weird.

Guillermo del Toro is generally a fantastic filmmaker who has an eye for aesthetics and The Shape of Water looks like another beautiful entry in his stable of films. I plan to dive into the movie this weekend, so here's to hoping it lives up to the hype!

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

The original Evangelion TV series is widely regarded as essential anime viewing, for its record-breaking legacy and impact on the way anime is perceived, particularly in the West.

Simply put, Evangelion is seriously crazy. It tells the story of a small group of teenagers, effectively conscripted to pilot gigantic cyborgs in battle against huge alien creatures, known as Angels. Sounds simple enough, right? As you delve further into the show, you'll begin to realize that practically nothing is what it seems in Eva.

The show is drowning in religious themes, but perhaps even more notable than that is its portrayal of adolescence, wrapped in a deconstructed mecha anime filled with betrayal, supremely well-animated action, and some of the most infamous scenes in anime history. What would happen when you entrust the fate of humanity to a bunch of kids? Well ... watch and find out. This is one show you won't soon forget, for better or worse.

Dark Passage

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I watch a lot of movies. And when you watch a lot of movies, a rigid truth about today's film landscape becomes sorrowfully obvious: There just aren't that many new movies worth watching. In fact, most of the movies that come out today suck. So I've been going way back in the film vaults, trying to find good stuff that I haven't seen. Dark Passage is a Hitchcockian thriller made in 1947 that fit that bill perfectly.

Set in and around San Francisco, this black and white flick is as cool looking as it is unique. It's mostly filmed from the first-person perspective of the protagonist (Humphrey Bogart) so you never actually see him until about three-quarters of the way through the film. Bogart breaks out of The Big House, where he's apparently been sent on a bad-wrap, and as soon as he does, he is picked up on the roads outside the prison by a mysterious, throaty blond (Lauren Bacall) who proceeds to try to help him hide in the hills and alleyways of San Fran.

That's about it, and by today's standards, the action is bit slow. But the movie drips with style, and the backdrop of San Francisco, the quintessential city o' noir, works perfectly. It's more than worth a watch if you're looking something fresh this weekend. And the facelift scene is downright creepy …

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Recommended by Mark Guim, video editor

The original Jumanji starring Robin Williams was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, and the refresh with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson looks fun. Four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they've never heard of, called Jumanji. They are immediately drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose. What they discover is that you don't just play the game; you must survive it. The movie received high audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, so I look forward to watching it this weekend.

Holy Motors

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Years ago, before watching Holy Motors in its entirety, I saw a few GIFs online that made me stop and search out their origin. Their weirdness is what gave me pause, and I can assure you that the same weirdness can be found throughout the entire film.

It's centered around the main character "Monsieur Oscar" (played by Denis Lavant) as he's chauffeured around Paris to complete appointments. Each time he emerges from his limousine, he's someone completely different, transformed by makeup and his own incredible acting abilities.

If you're sick of superhero movies and poorly written rom-coms, this one will no doubt cleanse your palate.

Music

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

In Rainbows — Radiohead

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Radiohead has made a lot of great music, but for me, In Rainbows stands out as some of the band's best tunes. It's kind of hard to describe because, like many Radiohead releases, the album covers many different sounds and even genres (alternative, electronic, rock, and indie). But it's an album I constantly return to and rarely get sick of it.

When I recommend music in these weekly roundups, I always try to spotlight my favorite tracks on an album. But with In Rainbows, I can't; I love every song equally. One thing that sticks out in my mind about the album is the way the band released it in 2007: It was completely free for download. Radiohead just decided to skirt the record companies and middlemen and release it for no cost on its own website, and then ask for a donation. I'm embarrassed to admit that I downloaded it and skipped the donation at the time … but I've since made up for it by buying quite a bit more Radiohead music.

If you're not familiar with the band, this album is a great place to start. And even if you know Radiohead well, you could do much worse than 'In Rainbows' for some good listening this weekend.


Both Sides of the Sky — Jimi Hendrix

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Does Jimi Hendrix really need any introduction? Nah. He's pretty much synonymous with rock and roll guitar at this point, and though he died waaaaay back in 1970, we're still getting new, never-before-heard music.

Both Sides of the Sky includes songs recorded between 1968 and 1970, and from the start you can immediately tell it's going to be good. Whether or not you're fond of studios releasing tracks after the death of an artist, this albums's here to stay and it's a treat for any fans of Hendrix.


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

The Tobacconist — Robert Seethaler

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I've been on a bit of a foreign book tear lately, no doubt influenced by a few close friends with ties to overseas. The Tobacconist, written by Austrian Robert Seethaler, involves Sigmund Freud, a young Viennese man who leaves home to become an apprentice tobacconist, and the friendship they strike up while undoubtedly smoking a ton of leaf. Freud didn't die from jaw cancer by fluke.

The young apprentice meets a young woman, Austria is annexed by Germany, and Nazis arrive, adding a bit of suspense to the story. If you like fiction with a touch of truth, check this one out.

Download Kindle book 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

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