Top Picks: Ray LaMontagne’s 'Part of the Light,' the podcast 'Giants of History,' and more top picks

Podcast fans will find it easier to indulge in their favorite pastime with the Downcast app, one of the most acclaimed movie musicals of all time, West Side Story, is returning to theaters on June 24 and 27, and more top picks.

Courtesy of Saban Films

Letting his muse run free

Can a person be grounded and restless at the same time? Folk/pop singer Ray LaMontagne’s latest, Part of the Light, feels dreamy and bucolic but with one large boot planted in the unmoored psychedelia of Pink Floyd and 1960s Los Angeles cult heroes Love. Early Joni Mitchell and late-period Beatles vibes swirl about as well. LaMontagne letting his muse run free makes for a rich and surprising listening experience. “Such a Simple Thing” is a standout.

Che Guevara

Towering giants

The podcast Giants of History looks at a range of historical figures, from Cleopatra (the podcast’s recent subject) to John D. Rockefeller to Che Guevara. Many are the subject of multiple episodes, giving more scope for a deep dive into their lives and the influence they had on society. You can find the podcast at

Podcast fun

Podcast fans will find it easier to indulge in their favorite pastime with the Downcast app, which is available for $2.99 for iOS. It can download episodes automatically and sync your podcast subscriptions and playlists with other iOS devices, and it has the ability to stream episodes without requiring the episode to download.

Return to the West Side

One of the most acclaimed movie musicals of all time, West Side Story, is returning to theaters on June 24 and 27. The 1961 film, an adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name, was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and won multiple Academy Awards. Cast members include Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, and Russ Tamblyn. Find showtimes near you at

True forgiveness

Director Roland Joffé’s film The Forgiven, which is available on DVD and Blu-ray, depicts the relationship between Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker) and Piet Blomfeld (Eric Bana), a white separatist who persuades Tutu to meet with him. The movie is based on a true story, and Monitor film critic Peter Rainer writes that the most moving section of the film involves a mother whose daughter was likely murdered. “Her blinding rage and sorrow come pouring through, and you ask yourself how this woman will ever find it in herself to forgive,” he writes. “And yet she does, and in a way that most of us could never believe ourselves capable of.”

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