Welcome to HNGN's weekly top picks, where we cull the best and brightest releases in music, fashion, beauty, tech and pop culture. Come back every other week for more of-the-moment goodness. -Editing by Michael Lello.
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By Michael Lello
Airborne Toxic Event: Dope Machines (Epic)
U2-influenced indie rockers Airborne Toxic Event are back this week with "Dope Machines," the band's fourth album. Led by vocalist Mikel Jollett, who is also a novelist, the band continues to give its fans a brand of intelligent, anthemic rock. You can hear the "Dope Machines" track "California" below:
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti: Deluxe Edition (Atlantic/Swan Song)
The reissues of Led Zeppelin's iconic catalog get another entry this week with a souped-up version of "Physical Graffiti," the double album which came out in 1975. Top to bottom, it's arguably the quartet's best album - or at least my favorite - with a treasure trove of influences from all over the world on everything from the blues-rock crunch of "Custard Pie" to the swagger of "The Rover" and the Eastern mysticism of "Kashmir."
Big Sean: Dark Sky Paradise (GOOD Music/ Def Jam)
Former Kanye West protégé Big Sean - known also for dating pop star Ariana Grande - has a star-studded guest list on "Dark Sky Paradise," his third full-length record, with John Legend, Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, as well as West and Grande, all making appearances.
Scorpions: Return To Forever (Sony)
It's hard to believe members of German hard rock act Scorpions are in their mid 60s when you hear the aggression in "Return To Forever," their whopping 20th album. Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, the band behind smash hits like "Rock Like You Like A Hurricane," "No One Like You" and "Wind Of Change" display a grittier side on the new album in favor of the arena rock bombast that was their stock in trade for decades. They still have a knack for the power ballad, though, as you can hear for yourself below in "Eye Of The Storm."
By Amanda Bernocco
Neck and Back Cradle ($24.95)
This neck and back cradle is perfect for traveling because it brings a lot of support to your back while being compact enough to fit in carry-on luggage or a purse. The pillow gives the user the option to make the support feel soft, medium or firm. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, train, or any other method, this is among the most reliable pillows to keep you comfortable.
Get it here.
USB Universal Travel Adapter Pro ($60)
No matter where you are traveling this adapter will come in handy. This nifty device comes with a three-prong adapter that allows international devices to work in more than 150 countries. Pop the adapter into the wall, and all you'll need is a USB cord to charge all of your must-have devices!
Get it here.
Jelly Stick Pad ($5.99)
There's nothing more annoying than losing your phone or keys in the car. That's why every road-tripper should invest in at least one of these pads. The stick pad, which adheres to the dashboard, can hold keys and phones among other objects commonly lost in the cracks between the seats in the car.
Get it here.
Travelon Independence Bag Toiletry Kit ($59.99)
This compact toiletry bag is perfect for travel because it has compartments for everything from your razors, to your makeup brushes, full size bottles, toothbrush, mini hairdryer and anything else you may need in the bathroom during your trip. The bag, while large, fits everything into one place, making your packing experience much more organized.
Get it here.
Commuter First Aid Kit ($16.77)
It's nothing new to be told to have a first aid kit handy during your travels, but not every kit has everything you may need. This first aid kit comes with 85 pieces, giving travelers the comfort of knowing that they will have a remedy on hand for a large number of possible emergencies that could occur during their trip. Although it comes with a large number of pieces, the kit is actually very light and compact - so much so that it can even be carried on your belt loop!
Get it here.
FASHION & BEAUTY
By Oulimata Ba
Henri Bendel Charge Me Up Solar Charger
I was born with a hawk eye for accessories with flair - whether it's a phone case embossed with jewels or gloves with a dangling charm or bow. So I was beside myself when I stumbled upon Henri Bendel's all-purpose solar charger. It's an adorable, brown and white-striped gadget designed to charge iPhones 4 to the 6 plus in just one hour.
The pocket-sized charger, also suitable for USB port electronics, retails at $38.
A blazer can be one of the best things to happen to your wardrobe. You can dress them up, down, pair them with a dress and flats, jeans and stilettos, flow-y shirts and pencil skirts (depending on the length of the blazer). With spring approaching - according to the fashion world it's already here - I'm on the prowl for a classy blazer for daily use, like this new black one from Guess with golden accents around the waist and a pleated back.
Then there's Free People's sleek ruffled military jacket, which technically isn't a blazer but might as well be because Free People is infallible.
Daisy Sorbet Marc Jacobs Fragrance
Marc Jacobs' original Daisy has always been one of those perfumes that to me might smell a little off from the bottle but once you put it on, you're hooked. This delightful new edition, sure to be a hit this spring, adds a bit of fruity essence to the original flower-based scent. The pale violet-colored liquid has notes of apple blossom, jasmine, mandarin and grapefruit with a musk base.
Available in a 1.7 ounce bottle for $76.
High-slit Runway Trend
Though I love fashion, I've never been one to follow every runway trend sent down from the designer gods above. But I'm stoked about this 2015 trend because I actually like skirts and dresses with a little leg action going on (Angelina Jolie's famous 2012 red carpet moment comes to mind). I'm lusting after this striking Nicole Miller high-slit skirt with a satin lining on sale for $192.50. For a more dramatic slit, opt for this curve-hugging blue maxi dress from Bebe.
By Jordan Webb
Focus (Warner Bros.)
Will Smith returns to the big screen as a seasoned con man who takes a beautiful amateur (Margot Robbie) under his wing. The two become romantically involved and eventually break up, only for her to reappear in his life years later as he's planning his next con.
The Lazarus Effect (Relativity Studios)
A group of researchers make a scientific breakthrough when they bring a deceased animal back to life. The breakthrough was unsanctioned, though, and results in the project being shut down. Undeterred, they try the experiment on a human. It appears to be a success, but they soon learn something isn't right...
Everly (Dimension Films)
Salma Hayek stars as a woman who betrays a powerful mob boss. She survives the boss' first attempt on her life and ends up holed up in her apartment, where she must fight for her life against a bevy of hit men.
By John Nassivera
Sense Sleep Sensing Monitor
The sleep monitor dubbed Sense will soon be available to anyone who's looking for a better night's sleep. The device, created by Hello, keeps track of factors in the user's room like heat, humidity, noise and ambient light. Users will also receive advice on things they can do to get higher quality sleep. After raising close to $2.5 million through its Kickstarter campaign, Sense is being shipped to backers now for $129.
Pebble Time Smartwatch
Smartwatch maker Pebble is now making its new device, called Pebble Time, available on Kickstarter. The new watch is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, with features including a new color e-paper display, microphone, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass lens and a curved design. The device syncs with smartphones from Apple and Android running the latest iPhone 4s and Android 4.0, respectively. Pebble is making the Time available exclusively from Kickstarter now for $159, and shipping will begin in May.
Moto E Smartphone
Motorola's second-generation Moto E smartphone is available now with improved 4G LTE networking in 40 markets around the world. Features of the new device include a 4.5-inch 540x960 screen, Android 5.0 Lollipop, a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor and 8GB of storage. The gadget also comes with support for a removable micro SD card, a VGA camera on the front and a 5MP camera on the back. The new Moto E is available to Motorola fans now for $149.
Photo Source: Creative Commons
By Emily Morgan
The awards chatter started early for this indie darling that premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The movie earned five Oscar nominations, one for Best Picture, and won three awards including Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons.
Miles Teller stars as a young and determined jazz drummer who enrolls at a prestigious music conservatory. Simmons plays his intense and abusive instructor who goes as far as to hurl chairs at the students to encourage them to perform their best.
Damien Chazelle adapted the feature from his short film of the same name, also starring Simmons in the same role. The 30-year-old director shot the entire film in 19 days and edited the work for its submission into Sundance in 10 weeks.
The film also stars Melissa Benoist and Paul Reiser.
Special features on the Blu-ray/DVD include audio commentary with Chazelle and Simmons, a deleted scene with optional commentary, interviews with professional drummers and the original "Whiplash" short film. The DVD also includes the Toronto Film Festival panel with Teller, Simmons and Chazelle.
Dumb and Dumber To (Universal Studios)
Not much has changed for Lloyd and Harry in 20 years. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their roles as the two dimwits who hit the road to find Harry's newly discovered daughter who was adopted.
The Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, also returned to direct the comedy sequel along with stars Laurie Holden and Kathleen Turner. The movie almost didn't get made due to financing and Carrey temporarily dropped out of the project in 2012.
Special features on the Blu-ray/DVD include an alternate opening, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a five-part making-of featurette and a conversation with cast and crew on why dumb is funny.
Sons of Anarchy: Season 7 (20th Century Fox)
Jackson "Jax" Teller enters the final season of the FX series still reeling from the loss of his true love Tara and seeking vengeance for her death. His mother Gemma, responsible for Tara's death, must face her own demons in the wake of her actions.
The last season saw special guest appearances by Marilyn Manson, Lea Michelle, Charisma Carpenter and a recurring arc by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It also featured one of the most sexually explicit scenes ever aired on basic cable and finished with a shocking conclusion.
Special features on the Blu-Ray/DVD include deleted scenes, a gag reel and a look back on the final season as well as the entire series. It also has a spotlight on the motorcycles, stories behind the tattoos and most famous faces who guest starred over the years.
Other movies and TV shows available on Blu-ray and DVD include:
St. Vincent (Anchor Bay); The Interview (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); The Theory of Everything (Universal Studios); The Homesman (Lionsgate); V/H/S: Viral (Magnolia Home Entertainment); The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Universal Studios); Jake Squared (Freestyle Digital); Animal (Shout! Factory); Dying of the Light (Lionsgate); Game of Thrones: Season 4 (HBO Studios); Life Itself (Magnolia Home Entertainment); Skating to New York (Well Go USA); Survivor (XLRator); The Wahlburgers: Season 2 (Lionsgate); Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Studios); Horrible Bosses 2 (Warner Home Video); Beyond the Lights (20th Century Fox); Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse (Universal Studios); Mountain Men: Season 3 (Lionsgate)
Movies and TV Streaming Online
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) survived her second Hunger Games, but the consequences of her actions in the arena have plunged Panem into total war. She now finds herself in the lost underground district 13, but her partner in the games, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), has been captured by the Capitol.
The third "Hunger Games" installment adapts the first part of Suzanne Collins' third book in the trilogy series. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Katniss' mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields) all return.
The film also introduces Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin, the rebel leader in District 13, and Natalie Dormer as Cresside, the videographer who will help broadcast Katniss' message of rebellion to the Capitol.
iTunes has the movie available for purchase.
House of Cards: Season 3
Frank Underwood has literally killed to become President of the United States of America. Now that he's reached the pinnacle of the U.S. political system, what will he do next? Early reviews suggest the new Commander-in-Chief may not see the same success he did in Congress or as the Vice President.
His wife Claire, however, will take to her role quickly as she starts to make her mark as First Lady. Her ambitions may interfere with her husbands, causing tension in the East Wing.
Netflix will have the entire 13-episode season available for streaming on Feb. 27.
Author J.M. Barrie's friendship with the Davies family inspired him to write the story of "Peter Pan." The fatherless family included mother Sylvia and her five children, although the youngest is not portrayed in the movie.
Johnny Depp plays Barrie opposite Kate Winslet as Sylvia. The film also stars a young Freddie Highmore as Peter Davies and Dustin Hoffman as the producer Charles Frohman who agrees to mount the play of Peter Pan.
Screenwriter David Magee based the film on the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan" by Allan Knee. This spring, the story returns to the stage as a new Broadway musical starring Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer and Laura Michelle Kelly.
Amazon has the film available for streaming now; Netflix will have it on March 1.
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.
• Inherent Vice
• Barbie in Princess Power
• The Eagle Has Landed
• Dying of the Light
• The Last of Robin Hood
• Les Miserables (1928)
• Tosh.O: Vol. 9
• The Exterminating Angel
• Point and Shoot
• Digging Up the Marrow
• Sofia the First: Vol. 5
• Laughing Under the Clouds
• Lord Marksman and Vanadis
• Code Black
• My Mistress
• The Flintstones and WWE: Stonage Smackdown!
• The Intruders
• Maps to the Stars (available Feb. 27)
• Hounddog (available March 1)
• Orphan Black: Season 2
• Alpha and Omega
• Believe Me (available Feb. 26)
• Clerks II (available Feb. 27)
• Hannibal: Season 2 (available Feb. 28)
• Jamie Marks Is Dead (available Feb. 28)
• The Alamo (available March 1)
• Blue Lagoon (available March 1)
• Drunk History: Season 2 (available March 1)
• Nova: Vol. 11 & 12 (available March 1)