Top Picks: Real Estate's 'In Mind,' the PCalc Lite app, and more

The Duolingo app lets iPhone users test their conversational skills, the movie 'Come What May' focuses on French people who tried to leave as the Nazis invaded France in 1940, and more top picks.

John Nordell/TCSM/File

Mellow but stirring

Describing the music as mellow is usually the kiss of death for a rock album, but the music by the group Real Estate manages to be an exciting, stirring kind of mellow. While that may sound oxymoronic, the veteran New Jersey band sounds anything but boring. Their fourth long player, In Mind, features literate lyrics, shimmering guitar play, and a guileless sincerity that rewards repeated listening. Outstanding examples of the quintet’s art are the genial “Darling” and the semi-psychedelic “Two Arrows,” with the lyric, “The sky was wild with circumstance, the ground littered with chance.” These days, Real Estate’s good vibrations are a rare pleasure.

Calculation help

Are you a student or do you work in a profession that needs a calculator that’s a little more powerful than what the standard smartphone has to offer? The PCalc Lite apphas engineering and scientific notation and supports binary calculations, among other features. The app is free for iOS.


Language learning

Looking to learn a new language or brush up on what you already know? Check out the Duolingo app, which offers the opportunity to learn languages including Turkish, Ukrainian, and Polish. If you’re learning languages such as Spanish or German and are using an iPhone, you can talk with bots to practice your conversational skills. Duolingo is free for iOS and Android. 

Movie buffs

Are you a movie fan who loves to track which films you’ve seen or get inspiration for future viewings? With the app Letterboxd you can keep a list of the movies you’ve watched and check out which ones your friends have seen and whether they liked them. Cinephiles, unite! The app is free for iOS.

Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

War epic

August Diehl, Alice Isaaz, and Joshio Marlon star in the movie Come What May, which tells the story of the French people who tried to leave as the Nazis invaded France in 1940. Suzanne (Isaaz) helps young Max (Marlon), who has been separated from his father (Diehl). Monitor film critic Peter Rainer writes that the movie “has some of the solid narrative pleasures of a good, old-fashioned Hollywood war epic” and notes that the score, which he calls “marvelous,” is by the legendary Ennio Morricone. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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