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Rolling Stones film ‘Shine a Light’ a Can’t Miss

Martin Scorsese’s documentary captures the legendary band’s will to perform. Also hot this week are the “Battlestar Gallactica” season 4 premiere and a new Van Morrison album.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Movies

I believe that someday well into the future, the fossilized remains of the Rolling Stones will still be playing arenas long after the band members are officially gone. That’s how strong their will is to perform. They’ve been playing together on and off — with a membership change here or there — since the early 1960s. And yet, there’s still something special about watching Mick, Keith, Charlie and the boys take the stage and strut their way through their legendary catalog. “Shine A Light” is proof that no less a chronicler of human events than Martin Scorsese believes the Rolling Stones are still worth investing a lot of time in. The film is a documentary shot at two shows at New York’s Beacon Theater during the group’s “A Bigger Bang” tour in 2006. Someday the celluloid from Scorsese’s movie will decompose, but the Stones will play on. (Paramount Vantage, opens Friday)

Television

The recent writers strike disrupted a lot of lives in and around Hollywood, but it was particularly hard on the cast and crew of “Battlestar Galactica,” the latest addiction for the modern science-fiction buff. Imagine the actors having to remove all those freaky costumes and odd makeup and walking around Los Angeles with regular earthlings, getting back into audition mode. That’s what happened for several weeks, but now the show is back for its fourth and final season with this week’s premiere. At the dawn of this 20-episode arc, the human survivors of a nuclear attack are floating around space in the hopes of landing on the mythical 13th colony before the bad robots get them. “Battlestar” stars Edward James Olmos as Admiral William Adama and Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin, the president. They’re hoping to land safely in your living room, but with the Cylons on their tail, all bets are off. (Sci-Fi Channel, Friday, 8 p.m.)

Music

Van Morrison has been belting out soulful tunes since he was a youngster in Ireland. Now he’s 62, and he’s still at it. “Keep It Simple” is Morrison’s first album of new material since 2005, and the first time in many years that he composed all 11 songs specifically for one album. He’s still mixing all of his favorite ingredients — rock, folk, blues, country, gospel, jazz — into one feisty musical concoction. “Keep It Simple” does just that, eschewing the big string arrangements present on earlier works in favor of a pared-down, but still lush, sound. Some of the more notable cuts on the album include “Don’t Go to Nightclubs Anymore,” “Behind the Ritual” and “Lover Come Back.” This is for Van Morrison lovers who appreciated his foray into pure country and his other experimentations, but would rather listen to their hero get back to basics, where he — and they — are most comfortable. (Lost Highway)

DVD

Not too many men go to barbershops anymore. Typically they’ll either find a pricey hairstylist, or they’ll get their girlfriends or wives to cut their hair and save money. The neighborhood barber is an endangered species, and I have to think “Sweeney Todd” had something to do with that. Just the notion that the guy wielding the straight razor as you’re resting in his chair might be a bloodthirsty demon is enough to swear off barbers forever. “Sweeney Todd,” director Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the popular Stephen Sondheim musical, which stars Johnny Depp as the maniacal head-cutter, is out on DVD this week in a 2-Disc Special Edition with tufts of extras, including several making-of featurettes that cover the various aspects of the production, including rehearsals and recording sessions. If you’re thinking about getting a haircut, I’d advise you to do so before you watch this. You might not want one after. (DreamWorks Home Entertainment)

Books

April 11 will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Kurt Vonnegut. When he passed, the world lost one of the great visionaries of modern American literature. Fortunately, he left a few things behind, including 12 unpublished pieces, both fiction and non-fiction. Mark Vonnegut, Kurt’s son, put them together into a collection called “Armageddon in Retrospect.” There is an eye-opening essay about the destruction of Dresden during World War II, a short story about three soldiers imagining the meal they’d want to devour upon their return home and some of Kurt Vonnegut’s artwork, among other treasures. Vonnegut’s favorite themes — war and peace — are on display here as vividly as in his popular masterpiece, “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Kurt Vonnegut will never be forgotten, but fans of his work can always use a reminder like “Armageddon in Retrospect” of how much he meant to those who like to think and read. (Putnam Adult)