Top Picks: 'Aretha Franklin: A Brand New Me,' the app Solar Walk 2, and more

The Ski Tracks app could become your favorite skiing buddy, director Bertrand Tavernier’s documentary My Journey Through French Cinema celebrates those who work in film, and more top picks.

Reborn soul

Talk about a radical remix! Remember all those stellar soul hits by the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin? Think “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – they’re back, wrapped in a warm blanket of strings by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. With rich new orchestrations recorded at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios, Aretha Franklin: A Brand New Me is a sonic treat, with all the soul of Franklin at her peak intact, yet sounding positively reborn.

Explore space

Space comes to life with Solar Walk 2. The app features 3-D models of the moon, sun, various planets, satellites, and spacecraft; a space encyclopedia; and an astronomy calendar to keep you on top of what’s happening. The app is $2.99 for iOS and free for Android.

Courtesy of Journey Gong

True blue

Photographers know about “blue hour” – the time just before sunrise or just after sunset when objects take on a blue appearance. Artist Journey Gong took photos of sights including Grand Central Terminal during “blue hour,” and the resulting images are beautiful and sometimes eerie. You can find the work at

Track your skis

Heading out on the slopes? The Ski Tracks app could become your favorite skiing buddy. It allows you to set down the details of what you did that day, recording the number of runs, altitude, and more (no data is needed to do so). You can also see how your skiing experiences compare with those of your friends. Ski Tracks is $0.99 for iOS and Android.

Courtesy of Etienne George/Pathé Production

Rewarding ‘journey’

Director Bertrand Tavernier’s documentary My Journey Through French Cinema celebrates people with film jobs as varied as screenwriter Jacques Prévert, composer Joseph Kosma, and director Jacques Becker. The film “is a feast for everybody who loves classic Gallic movies...,” Monitor film critic Peter Rainer writes. “It’s also a movie for people who just plain love movies – from anywhere. Plus, it’s a great introduction to French cinema for all those who have yet to make its acquaintance.” “My Journey Through French Cinema” is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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