'Exodus,' new 'Battlefield' title among new releases
Son of a Gun (2014) - Ewan McGregor, Brenton Thwaites, Alicia Vikander
JR busts out of prison with Brendan Lynch, Australia's most notorious criminal, and joins Lynch's gang for a gold heist that soon pits the two men against one another (IMDb).
Song of the Sea (2014) - Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan
Saoirse is a child who is the last of the selkies, men in Irish and Scottish legends who transform from seals into people. She escapes from her grandmother's home to journey to the sea and free fairy creatures trapped in the modern world (IMDb). These foreign animation films can surprise and delight, and this one looks like it will do just that. The animation style is unique, and with talent like Gleeson the story must be strong.
Top Five (2014) - Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove
A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality TV star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show (IMDb). Reviews are all over the place - they either laughed the entire time or hated it. Chris Rock wrote and directed it, so fans of his comedy will find it familiar.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) - Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul
The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues (IMDb). Ridley Scott's take on the tale of Moses isn't one meant for historical accuracy, nor does it come close to his previous work, like Gladiator. Christian Bale does deliver a very strong performance, however.
Annie (2014) - Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne
A foster kid who lives with her mean foster mom sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stackes makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in (IMDb).
Battlefield: Hardline (XONE, PS4, X360, PS3, PC)
The next game in DICE's "Battlefield" series features the same first-person shooter mechanics most gamers know and love, but steps away from its military roots to have gamers play as police fighting criminals. Players can choose which side they wish to play on and can engage in heists, hostage situations, and more. DICE has a great reputation with the "Battlefield" series, and this new take on it should attract gamers who've missed the past few.
Mario Party 10 (Wii U)
There are few games out there competitive enough that losing can end friendships. This is one of those games. The "Mario Party" series is effectively a four-player board game, where Nintendo characters run the map collecting stars through mini-games. The mini-games pit 4v4, 1v3, and 2v2, often employing a simple yet insanely competitive gameplay mechanic. This console generation's outing introduces a five-player mode, where the player with the GamePad can control Bowser and try to stop all the other players.
NYPD Red 3 - James Patterson & Marshall Karp (384 pages)
Zach and Kylie's New Year's Celebrations are cut short when they're called to the home of billionaire businessman Hunter Alden Jr. after he makes a grisly discovery in his townhouse garage. When Alden's teenage son goes missing soon afterward, and his father seems oddly reluctant to find him, Zach and Kylie find themselves in the middle of a chilling conspiracy that threatens everyone in its wake (Goodreads.com). This is James Patterson's 135th book, and his third book this year.
A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs No. 11) - Jacqueline Winspear (352 pages)
Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit and danger (Goodreads.com).
The Burning Room (Harry Bosch No. 19) - Michael Connelly (388 pages)
In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Det. Harry Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually nonexistent (Goodreads.com).
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives - Gretchen Rubin (320 pages)
Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.
So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits? (Goodreads.com).
Rubin's previous books, including "The Happiness Project," feel more intuitive and practical than most of the self-help books out there. She enjoys using herself "as a guinea pig," and by doing so her writing becomes that much more personal and relatable.