The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz

Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz created the ultimate fanzine—in the form of a gorgeous coffee table book—with The Wes Anderson Collection, a richly detailed study and appreciation of the filmmaker’s work. (Anderson participated, via lengthy interviews.) Since that book came out, Anderson had his biggest box-office success ever with The Grand Budapest Hotel, and that movie’s insane attention to detail—insane even by Wes Anderson standards—is laid out in this companion book, which is almost as long as the original (though it only covers one movie). Zoller Seitz dedicates chapters to set design, costuming, and even reprints a bunch of writing by Stefan Zweig, the Austrian writer whose work inspired the film. [Josh Modell]

Gospel Gossip

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Despite having left the Twin Cities years ago, I continue to feel a strong affection for its music scene, still one of the most vibrant and supportive I’ve ever experienced. There are a ton of bands I will gladly stump for, but among the Minnesota artists to which I regularly listen, one has assumed a position of unchallenged dominance. Gospel Gossip, a band who I never had the pleasure of meeting but would gladly follow around the country, Deadhead-style, has become such a staple in my music library that I’ve started keeping its Bandcamp page in my browser’s bookmarks, just on the off chance the group might put up some new music and not notify anyone. A three-piece assemblage of fuzzed-out pop perfection, its songs meander through psychedelic and shoegaze elements before returning back to more classic pop-rock stylings. Its first EP is as good a record as I heard in the ’00s, Sarah Nienaber’s aching, simple voice alternating between heartfelt drawls and frantic yelps. The most recent self-titled album doubles down on the gorgeous melodies while tightening up the musicianship, a musical declaration that they’re ready for greatness. Hopefully I’ll get to see them again soon, maybe one last time in a little bar, before the rest of the world catches on and makes that impossible. [Alex McCown]

Star Wars Pinball

I’ll start with the obligatory disclaimer that every pinball fan prefers the feel of an actual machine to a video game simulation, but with that said, Zen Studios’ Star Wars Pinball is a great way to kill a couple of hours if you don’t have access to real tables. While Farsight Studio’s Pinball Arcade series offers more true-to-life simulations, the original “machines” in Star Wars Pinball use the video milieu to their advantage, with lightsabers, Force trickery, and other effects that would be impossible in the physical world. My biggest complaint with Zen Studios’ games is that I can never find a camera angle that feels 100 percent comfortable, but this is a problem that afflicts most pinball video games to some degree. The base Star Wars Pinball package comes with three virtual tables—Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Boba Fett—all of which are approachable for beginners but offer a deep rule-set for diehards. A Heroes Within expansion added four more games, and yet another expansion is due for release in late April or early May. They’re all available on a baffling number of platforms, including Android, Fire TV, iOS, Kindle, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox. Suffice to say that if you have any sort of computing device, you can give these games a shot. [John Teti]

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