Media Picks of the Week: Django Unchained, Applause, Dune and more

Lady Gaga

Each week iMore's editors round up the books, movies, TV shows and music we've found on the iTunes Store and iBookstore that we think are noteworthy. They don't have to be the newest releases, just stuff we think is great. And we're here to share them with you. This week we've got Tarantino's latest, Lady Gaga's new album, some vintage sci-fi and more.

Django Unchained - Richard Devine

Django Unchained

I love Tarantino movies, and honestly I don't know what took me so long to watch Django Unchained, but I'm so glad that I made the effort. Starring Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave freed by a German bounty hunter, Django soon gets into the business himself. His long term goal; to find his wife, still a slave owned by a plantation owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. And, the token appearance by Tarantino himself is also there.

In the past I've been wary of movies with DiCaprio in, mainly because of Titanic, but he, like Foxx, knocks it out of the park with a stunning performance. It's a different theme to some of Tarantino's previous movies, but just as violent at times, with just as much bad language, but it's such a good movie. My wife isn't into Tarantino flicks and she loved Django Unchained, and that says a lot to me about how good it really is.

Gattaca - Joseph Keller

Gattaca

Gattaca is one of those movies that I could watch over and over. It follows Vincent Freeman, a man of disadvantaged birth in a future where genetic manipulation has become the normal method of bringing children into the world, causing people born through what we would consider normal means to become an underclass. Vincent struggles against this society in an effort to achieve his dream of flying in space. Gattaca, starring Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman, is a very well-made film that explores issues like class and the potential consequences genetic engineering on society. If you're looking for some great science fiction, you owe it to yourself to check out Gattaca.

Applause, Lady Gaga - Ally Kazmucha

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's new cd ARTPOP is due out this November but for iTunes users, you can download the first single, Applause, from iTunes now as well as pre-order then entire album. You will only be charged for $1.29 for Applause right now with the rest being charged when ARTPOP becomes available on November 11 of this year.

If you've been waiting anxiously for the next album, at least you can get a little preview of it now with the first single off of it. If you happen to check it out, let us know what you think about it!

Torchwood - Chris Parsons

I dunno what it is about British TV shows but there's a ton of them that I enjoy. Doctor Who, Merlin, Sherlock and I present to you one that might not be on your radar due to its last filming having been two years ago - Torchwood. The series itself is basically a spin-off of Doctor Who that follows Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) to Earth where he heads up the 'Torchwood Institute'. An organization dedicated to tracking down aliens and defending the planet from alien and nefarious human threats. The show itself has been praised and criticized for it's often times sexually racy and controversial topics. Overall, it's a stunning show and a shame its been put on indefinite hiatus but alas, that allows you to get caught up without the worry of it starting up again.

Dune - Rene Ritchie

Ad hoc 5: Dune

This week on Ad hoc, Guy English, Don Melton, and I discussed Dune, both the novel by Frank Herbert and the movie by David Lynch. The book is one of my all-time favorites. It's science fiction, super-hero, and messianic mythology all rolled into one. It's written large, but includes an intimacy of though that makes the characters even more compelling. Thee are shades of gray upon shades of gray, and plans and machinations within plans and machinations. The movie is fun in that crazy 1980s David Lynch-style, both more accessible and less powerful. I highly recommend both. There was a mini-series remake, but while it had more in it than the movie, it bewilderingly missed out on some of the best parts. I don't recommend that.

You should be able to find the Dune movie streaming on most services, including Netflix. You can also buy it, and the book, on iTunes.

Partygoing, Future Bible Heroes - Peter Cohen

Partygoing

Indie darling Stephin Merritt is the creator of The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, The Gothic Archies and the synthpop project Future Bible Heroes. The man who even the famously dour Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü fame considers to be "the most depressed man in rock" has a penchant for songwriting that's somber, ironic, witty and bizarrely comforting. That's evident in abundance in the thirteen tracks on Future Bible Heroes' newest release, Partygoing.

Collaborating with Magnetic Fields co-conspirator Claudia Gonson and former Figures On a Beach keyboardist (and DJ) Chris Ewen, Merritt mixes his trademark irony and lugubrious, almost sepulchral delivery with bouncy melodies and Vince Clark-inspired arrangements that would sound at home on early Erasure records. Tracks include a wry ode to suicide, "Let's Go to Sleep (and Never Come Back)," parenting advice ("Keep Your Children in a Coma") and a paean to the devil ("Satan, Your Way is a Hard One"). Partygoing isn't for everyone, but if you like your synthpop bittersweet like dark chocolate, this is a special treat.

If you're a Future Bible Heroes completist, it's worth noting that Partygoing is bundled on a special 55-track collection (also offered in brick and mortar music stores, where they still exist, as a four-CD box set) called Memories of Love, Eternal Youth and Partygoing. Many of the tracks on that collection have been long out of print, so it's a great way to fill out your Future Bible Heroes library with gems like "She-Devils of the Deep," "Blond Adonis" and "I'm a Vampire."

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Media Picks of the Week: Django Unchained, Applause, Dune and more

3 Comments

Richard, I held Titanic against DiCaprio for years but i think now that he’s one of the finest actors out there with a legitimate range. Lots of great performances including Blood Diamond, The Aviator and so on. In fact he was the best part of that bejeweled turd that was the Great Gatsby.

re: "In the past I've been wary of movies with DiCaprio in..."

Me to. I regret watching Shutter Island on Netflix. And I avoid Tarantino's films too. He's far too self-conscious as a director, and he's nowhere near as "original" as some people think. And his cameos are always show-stoppingly bad.

re: "...Dune, both the novel by Frank Herbert and the movie by David Lynch."

Great book. Not so sure about the sequels though. But the movie is an odd mash-up of beautiful production design, Lynchian weirdness, and dated '80s rock-n-roll musical cues. Time for a reboot. Speaking of which, IMDb shows a Dune movie listed as "in development."

I thought the Dune miniseries was pretty good but I still love Lynch's version as well. Its just plain weird. Plus, it's got Sting. When he was still UberSting.