Top Picks: 'Rostam: Half-Light,' the SkySafari 5 app, and more

Critically acclaimed superhero box-office hit 'Wonder Woman' is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, the iHandy Carpenter app is a valuable companion if you’re looking to take care of some home improvement projects, and more top picks.

Rich and varied pop

As a founding member of the New York band Vampire Weekend, Rostam Batmanglij played a huge role in the group’s great success. But he soon began working on other projects with artists such as Solange and Frank Ocean and has left the band. All of those experiences seem to inform his spectacularly beautiful debut solo album, Rostam: Half-Light. From the Beatlesque, sitar- and tabla-driven “Wood” to the swirly, layered pop of “Half-Light” and “Bike Dream,” “Rostam” captivates and pulls you into the artist’s rich and varied dreamworld. It’s an album for music lovers with open ears and minds.

Carpentry helper

The iHandy Carpenter app is a valuable companion if you’re looking to take care of some home improvement projects. It includes a surface level, a plumb line, and a virtual ruler, among other tools, making it easy to make measurements and ensure that your picture is straight. It’s $1.99 for iOS and Android.


Sky past and future

Check out the SkySafari 5 app to learn more about what you’re seeing in the sky. In addition to showing you what the sky looked like 10,000 years ago or what it may look like in the future, the app features photos from NASA missions and will help you figure out which planet or star you’re gazing at. It’s $2.99 for iOS and Android.

Story of a life

A Woman’s Life stars Judith Chemla as Jeanne, who lives in 19th-century France and marries a man (Swann Arlaud) who turns out to be adulterous. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer notes that Jeanne’s story is not all tragedy: Jeanne “may be stripped of her innocence in an indifferent universe, but the film provides, in its way, a happy ending of sorts.” The movie is available on DVD and Blu-ray.   


Popular superhero

Critically acclaimed superhero box-office hit Wonder Woman is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. It tells the origin story of Diana (Gal Gadot), daughter of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, who encounters American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Together, they travel to England during World War I to help stop the war. The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action and some suggestive content.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Top Picks: 'Rostam: Half-Light,' the SkySafari 5 app, and more
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today