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

It's a long weekend! That means extra time for movies, books, and music!

The long holiday weekend is upon folks in the U.S., and there's no doubt a lot of kicking back going on. Whether you need something to listen to while you're prepping a meal or you need something to watch or read while relaxing with a full belly, here's what Team Windows Central is enjoying.

TV and movies

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

2001: A Space Odyssey

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

Do you like science fiction? Do you like having your mind thoroughly blown? Do you enjoy comically optimistic ideas about how 1960s society thought the future would pan out? 2001: A Space Odyssey might just be your ideal movie.

2001: A Space Odyssey is a wildly influential Stanley Kubrick movie from the late 60s, set in an alternative vision of what 2001 might be like. 2001 is regarded as a milestone film, and must be seen at least once by everyone.

See at Microsoft Store

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

Rogue One is the first of a planned array of standalone Star Wars movies, shining a light on key events and characters left unexplored by the mainline movies.

Critical reception of Rogue One was a bit mixed, but Star Wars fans will likely enjoy the film regardless, purely because more Star Wars. I know I did.

Set in the early Imperial era, a group of unlikely heroes band together to steal the plans for the Death Star. This action-packed Star Wars movie is by no means an instant classic, but it's a fun entry in the canon nonetheless. The murderous droid K-2SO thoroughly steals the show.

See at Microsoft Store

Star Wars: The Digital Six Film Collection

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

With The Last Jedi coming out mid-December, I'll be going back to watch the old Star Wars movies again; it's been awhile.

I might fast forward through most of the prequel trilogy, but there are still some great moments in each movie I'd like to see again. The original trilogy, well, those deserve to be watched through start to finish.

If you're looking to own all six movies, this collection chops about $30 off the total price if you were to buy them all separately. Not a bad way to get back to a galaxy far away.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

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

Perfect Velvet — Red Velvet

Perfect Velvet — Red Velvet

Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox editor

While Red Velvet is a group that I've listened to a fair amount in the past, its latest full album, Perfect Velvet, has remained on repeat throughout this week. Showing one of the biggest shifts in the group's style and themes since debut, the album packs a wide range of genres for almost any mood.

My personal highlight from the album is "I Just," a song produced by Hitchhiker, known for his creative and unusual approach to compositions. "Peek-A-Boo," "Look," and "Kingdom Come" are also all recommended, each bringing something unique to the feel of this album. I could sit here all day listing why I love this album's diversity, but seriously – just give it a listen for yourself.

See at Amazon See at iTunes


A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead

A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

Radiohead's latest album, called A Moon Shaped Pool and released in 2016, is hauntingly memorable. Honestly, I find the band's albums to be somewhat hit or miss; I love some of them, such as OK Computer and In Rainbows, but others just don't do it for me. A Moon Shaped Pool lands square in the center of the former camp.

The album is so laid back it'll almost lull you to sleep if you're tired or just spacing out. And that's one reason it's great. Some of Radiohead's more electronic-focused stuff can be somewhat grating, but A Moon Shaped Pool is pure audio butter.

Whether you're already a Radiohead fan, are only familiar with the radio hits, or are a complete newb, A Moon Shaped Pool is a great representation of the band's modern sound and feel.

See at Microsoft See at Amazon See at iTunes


Polygondwanaland — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Polygondwanaland — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I first heard King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard last summer, in a car with a friend heading to a music festival. It was a KEXP live session, and they certainly came to perform. What really attracted my attention was talk of a microtonal guitar that allows for far more intervals than what we usually hear.

Their music is classed as psychedelic rock, and it certainly lives up to the genre. Their latest album, Polygondwanaland, is a mix of a bunch of different styles, and the result is a high-energy offering with lengthy solos and soft melodic vocals.

See at Microsoft Store See at Amazon See at iTunes


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

The Quiet Game — Greg Iles

The Quiet Game — Greg Iles

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

The Quiet Game is the first in a lengthy series of novels by American author Greg Iles, who hails from the U.S. South — and who is clearly proud of that Southern heritage, as demonstrated in the settings and sensibilities of the books, which all feature protagonist/prosecutor/best-selling novelist/Southern gentlemen Penn Cage.

Cage returns to his hometown of Natchez, Miss., just a stone's throw from Louisiana, and New Orleans, to heal after the loss of his wife to cancer. But instead of healing, Cage is forced to face the city's sordid past and indeed the entire South's ugly history of racial injustice. Ultimately, The Quiet Game, is a shifty mystery that will keep you on your toes throughout its not insubstantial 436 pages. But it's notable because it does not hide from the U.S. South's history in the mid twentieth century, and in fact, it paints the often horrible picture through the eyes of a man who understand how wrong things were back then but still possesses extremely love and pride of his heritage.

The book is the first of six novels that feature Cage and Natchez. I just finished the fourth one, and I'm purposefully waiting to read the next two, because I don't want the series to be over. The writing can be a bit pedantic at times, but the stories are solid and I came away with a fresh perspective on race relations in the South, which is an important — if unfortunate — part of American history.

See Kindle book on Amazon See Audible audiobook at Amazon


The Master and Margarita — Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita — Mikhail Bulgakov

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

The Master and Margarita was written by Bulgakov during Stalin's reign over the Soviet Union, and was not published in an uncensored form until nearly thirty years after it was written. Why was it censored? The story is about Satan visiting the Soviet Union, which was atheistic.

This is a wild story that alternates between the '30s and the time of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. You can take the book at face value and be satisfied, but underlying themes of counter-atheism and resistance to evil are hard to ignore.

There's a lot to see hear; The Master and Margarita definitely deserves a second read-through to pick up most of what it is offering.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio 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