Welcome to HNGN's biweekly top picks, where we gather the best and brightest releases in music, fashion, beauty, tech and pop culture. Come back every other week for more of-the-moment goodness. - Edited by Michael Lello.
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By Michael Lello
Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night (Island)
Sir Elton is back with his 32nd album and the first to feature the Elton John Band since 2006's "The Captain & The Kid." Working as usual with lyricist Bernie Taupin (their partnership will turn 50 next year), John has said he wanted to write a "jingly-jangly" and "happy" album this time around. You can hear that energy in this live take on the title track:
Joey + Rory: Hymns That Are Important To Us (Gaither Music Group)
Husband-and-wife country and bluegrass duo Joey and Rory Feek bid a sad farewell to their fans with "Hymns That Are Important To Us," which will be the group's last hurrah due to Joey's battle with terminal cancer. Joey has called the album her "dream project," as it features a dozen classic religious hymns as well as a new version of the duo's "When I'm Gone," which obviously takes on a deeper meaning considering the circumstances.
Animal Collective: Painting With (Domino)
Experimental indie act Animal Collective might not be the flavor of the month anymore, but there's something to be said for consistency, as Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Avey Tare (David Portner) and Geologist (Brian Weitz) gear up to release their 10th studio album, "Painting With," on Feb. 19. Gone is Deakin (Josh Dibb), who rejoined the group in 2011, but there are guest appearances by John Cale of Velvet Underground Fame and Colin Stetson.
Check out the video for the expectedly psychedelic and danceable "FloriDada" below:
Lake Street Dive: Side Pony (Nonesuch)
Anyone who thought the latest roots rock revival had reached its saturation point with Mumford & Sons should not have counted out Lake Street Dive. The Boston-born pop group's not-so-secret weapon is lead singer Rachael Price, who studied jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Have a listen to the soulful and electric Lake Street Dive, and you'll quickly get the drift that this band goes beyond the overwrought foot stomps-and-suspenders clichés of its peers.
By Cal Setar
Deadpool (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
The Merc with a Mouth comes to the big screen in the adaptation that everyone, including star Ryan Reynolds, has been waiting much too long for. Come break the fourth wall with Wade Wilson as the former Special Forces operative who subjects himself to an experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and a strange, twisted sense of humor. Stick around as Deadpool/Wilson works to hunt down the man who tried to destroy his life.
Zoolander No. 2 (Paramount Pictures)
Derek Zoolander, Hansel and Mugatu are all back, and, hopefully, better than ever. Derek and Hansel have returned to the cutthroat world of male modeling, but not everyone is happy to see them out on the runway. And when a rival company tries to take them out, killing the world's greatest pop stars in the process, Derek discovers that Blue Steel may not be enough to keep his loved ones safe.
Hail, Caesar (Universal Pictures)
The Coen brothers are back along with a plethora of Coen vets (George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Ralph Fiennes) and a handful of new faces (Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill) to bring this story of a Hollywood "fixer," pressed into action when a superstar actor suddenly goes missing, to life. When Brolin's Eddie Mannix finds out that Baird Whitlock (Clooney) has been kidnapped while filming a prestige picture, Mannix has to deal with more than just getting Whitlock back and working.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
Po's world is turned upside-down when his long-lost panda father returns, whisking Po away to a secret panda land where Po suddenly is no longer the black sheep – or panda. Everything's dumplings and noodles until Kai, a villain with supernatural powers, begins a march across China defeating every Kung Fu master in his path. Po and his bumbling, perpetually hungry brethren must band together, and with Po's training, defeat Kai.
PETS AND PET LOVERS
By Kimberly M. Aquilina
Glass Hermit Crab Shell ($15-$35)
Wish you had a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your pet? Or how about just being able to see the dang thing? Hermit crabs are cool little guys to have around who you don't get to see much of since they live in shells, but Glass Shell is a company that makes hand-blown glass shells that protect your hermit crab while also giving you a view of your buddy. You can even order a custom shell that will fit your hermit crab perfectly or a pretty shell with colors.
Hey, if it's good enough for NatGeo Wild's "Fish Tank Kings," it's good enough for us!
With a glass shell, you can watch your hermit crab change shells and settle into his new digs.
Check out the selection on the website.
Valentine's Day Night Camp ($14)
Want to enjoy a romantic dinner without having to worry about the kid? Send your pup to Valentine's Day Night Camp at PetSmart on Feb. 13 or 14 from 5 p.m. to store close. "Available with a day or overnight stay at PetsHotel or Doggie Day Camp stores only," the website specifies. Find a Doggie Day Camp near you via this link. You get a night alone with your date, and your dog gets a play date and a doggie ice cream treat!
Pet Adoption (varies)
Have you and your sweetheart been considering getting a pet? Provided you've done all your homework and you're ready for the responsibility, Valentine's Day is a great time to adopt. What better way to celebrate your love than to share it with a new family member? Check out pet adoption options at your local PetSmart or any of your local shelters this weekend – Feb. 12-14 is National Pet Adoption Weekend – and get a free adoption kit from PetSmart.
Some sanctuaries and rescues offer an adopt-two-for-the-price-of-one deal during Valentine's Day, like Bun Bun Brigade does. Check out our Rescue Pets of the Week for Feb. 8-14, Johanna and Megara, a bonded pair of Angora rabbits, and consider opening your home to another couple on Cupid's day.
FASHION & BEAUTY
By Gina Masilotti
MAC Flamingo Park Collection ($12-40)
MAC's latest Spring 2016 collection features several different makeup products in the prettiest of pinks. "Plunge into the punchy pleasures of pink in a freshly made batch of scrumptious colours that let you have your cake, and wear it too," the collection's slogan reads.
The Flamingo Park Collection includes the Eye Shadow X 9 Palette; Haute & Naughty Lash mascara; Technakohl Liner in Brown Purple and Intense Aubergine; Beauty Powder blush in 11 different shades; Studio Nail Lacquer in Spoonful of Sugar and Miami; Pigment powder in three different shades; Lipstick in nine different shades; Lip Pencil in three different shades; Cremesheen Glass in five different shades; and a 129SH Powder/Blush Brush.
Revlon Ultimate All-In-One Mascara ($5.99)
Revlon's newest mascara does it all. This mascara is life-changing, as it volumizes, lengthens, defines, lifts and intensifies colors in just one swipe. The mascara is unique and stands out from the rest because it has a mini-oval-shaped brush that makes application easy while still covering every single lash for the ultimate look. The innovative, high-impact formula is what delivers the five transforming benefits, and you'll never have to choose between mascaras again. This mascara is available in black, blackened brown and blackest black.
OPI New Orleans Nail Lacquer Collection ($10 each)
OPI is known for putting out beautiful nail polish colors, and its latest collection came out just in time for Mardi Gras. These 12 Carnival-worthy shades range from metallic silver, to shimmery periwinkle, to pale pink, to bright green and everything in between. As always, OPI even has clever Mardi Gras-themed names like "Show Us Your Tips!," "Crawfishin' For A Compliment" and "Take A Right On Bourbon."
Drunk Elephant Lippe ($22)
This anti-aging, protective lip treatment is just what your lips need this time of year. The balm, which is made from avocados, mongongo, cranberry and marula oils, moisturizes, volumizes, nourishes and rejuvenates lips to not only give them a youthful look but also hydrate and replenish even the roughest and most parched lips. While the moisturizing effect is perfect for dry winter months, the unique combination of this balm also helps restore collagen to add volume and give lips better definition to help them look smooth and plump.
By John Nassivera
MiPow Playbulb Sphere ($49.99)
The MiPow Playbulb Sphere is available now for anyone looking for a unique portable smart lamp. The device is designed to be used both indoors and outside, as it is waterproof and wireless. The Sphere can produce 230 lumens of brightness and provides bold and authentic colors, which could look especially cool at night. The gadget doesn't need a hub, and it only takes three hours to fully charge, which will let it work for eight hours, but being on its charging base allows it to stay on as long as you want.
Garmin Edge 520 Bicycle Computer ($299.99)
Garmin has a new bicycle computer that can help competitive cyclists set and achieve goals. The Edge 520 will provide time and distance data from your workouts, and it lets you look at your heart rate and the amount of calories burned by pairing with your heart monitor. The device comes with a 2.3-inch color display, is water-resistant for up to 3.28 feet underwater and can be paired with your smartphone so that other people can follow your progress. The Edge 520 is available now at Best Buy for $299.99
UPRIGHT Posture Trainer ($129.95)
Those looking for a way to improve their posture can now use UPRIGHT, which is designed to understand your back and train you to stand and sit better. The device works by attaching to your lower back and vibrating whenever your slouch. The Upright App, which works for both iOS and Android, stores your personal training program, and you only need to wear the gadget for 15 minutes to an hour a day based on your profile. The app will show posture analytics and statistics while also providing real-time feedback on how well you're doing. UPRIGHT is available now at Amazon for $129.95.
By Emily Morgan
Spectre (20th Century Fox)
Daniel Craig utters the immortal words "Bond. James Bond" in his fourth and final 007 movie.
In the 24th official James Bond film, the MI6 agent looks to expose the global criminal organization Spectre. In his pursuits, he uncovers a surprising connection between his past and the group's leader.
Special features on the Blu-ray DVD include a making of the opening sequence and video blogs featuring an interview with director Sam Mendes.
Bryan Cranston plays the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted for his ties to the Communist Party of the USA.
Dalton Trumbo was one of many talents working in the business who were added to the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950s. His place on the list forced him to write screenplays under a pseudonym or have other writers claim his projects for a cut of the money.
Special features on the Blu-ray DVD include featurettes on how Cranston became Trumbo and discovering the real Trumbo.
The Leftovers: Season 2 (HBO Home Video)
The HBO series moved its action from upstate New York to Texas and set its story in the town of Jarden, which had no disappearances during The Sudden Departure. Critics praised the second season for tightening up the story but still leaving audiences questioning the cause of the Departure.
The DVD includes no special features.
Other movies and TV shows available on Blu-ray and DVD include:
- Crimson Peak (Universal Studios); Love the Coopers (Lionsgate); Grandma (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); 99 Homes (Broad Green Pictures); Freaks of Nature (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); MI-5 (Lionsgate); Black Mass (Warner Home Video); Steve Jobs (Universal); The 33 (Warner Home Video); Criminal Activities (Image Entertainment); Girls: Season 4 (HBO Studios); Peaky Blinders: Season 2 (BBC Home Entertainment); Togetherness: Season 1 (HBO Studios)
Movies and TV Streaming Online
Hannibal Burress: Comedy Camisado
Hannibal Burress takes center stage in his first Netflix comedy special, "Comedy Camisado."
Netflix has the stand-up comedy special available for streaming now.
Aaron Sorkin focuses on three product launches from the Apple co-founder (Michael Fassbender) while weaving in the difficult relationship Jobs shared with his daughter Lisa. The film also features the relationships between Jobs and his right-hand woman Joanna Huffman (Kate Winslet), Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and John Sculley (Jeff Daniels).
iTunes has the film available for purchase.
The Americans: Season 3
Catch up on the FX series before its fourth season on March 16. Things get even more personal for the secret KGB spies posing as Americans when the Soviet Union's security agency wants to recruit their daughter.
Amazon has the first season available for streaming.
Check out our complete list of movies available for streaming on Netflix this month and see below for more options on Amazon Prime and for purchase at iTunes.
• A Brilliant Young Mind
• Africa Unite
• American Dad: Season 11
• Ash vs Evil Dead: Season 1
• The Assassin
• Black Mountain Side
• Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland
• Bridge of Spies
• Crimson Peak
• The Dog Wedding
• Edge of Seventeen
• Fight to the Finish
• The Four Year Plan
• Freaks of Nature
• Ghost Adventures, Vol. 15
• Grease Live!
• Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
• Into the Night
• Jack's Back
• The Leftovers: Season 2
• Little Savages
• Love the Coopers
• The Man in the Orange Jacket
• Man Up
• Mountain Men
• My All American
• Naz & Maalik
• The Night Before
• Nurse Betty
• The Price of a Broken Heart
• The Rise of the Krays
• Rock the Kasbah
• The Secret in Their Eyes
• Second Coming
• Sex & Mrs. X
• Somm: Into the Bottle
• The Wonders
• Zombie Fight Club
• The 33
• 99 Homes
• Girls: Season 2
• The Newsroom: Season 3
• Solomon Kane
• Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby