“This Is It” (PG): This behind-the-scenes glimpse of Michael Jackson rehearsing for his planned London comeback concerts focuses on Jackson’s still-potent charisma and musical legacy, serving up tantalizing samples of what might have been — and poignant reminders of what was.
Elsewhere on the recent-release front, “Surrogates” (PG-13) takes us to a future where most humans live vicariously through robot avatars — and FBI agents (Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell) are trying to figure out who’s murdering the cyber-surrogates. Drew Barrymore makes an on-track directorial debut with “Whip It” (PG-13), about a high school misfit (“Juno’s” Ellen Page) who finds a new identity as “Babe Ruthless,” speed queen of a doormat roller derby team. When tragedy strikes, a divorced sportswriter (Clive Owen) struggles to deal with single parenthood in “The Boys Are Back” (PG-13). Oscar-winning “Piano” filmmaker Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” (PG) details the 19th-century romance between tubercular poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his muse Fannie Brawne (Abbie Cornish). In “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” (R), a bad-boy writer (“Gilmore Girls’ ” Matt Czuchry) tries to patch things up with his soon-to-be-married pal (Geoff Stults) after a disastrous bachelor party. And Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) returns yet again in “Saw VI” (R).
Turning to titles that never played local theaters, “Twilight’s” Robert Pattinson stars as Salvador Dali in “Little Ashes” (R), which also details the early lives and loves of filmmaker Luis Buñuel (Matthew McNulty) and writer Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran). Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes and Damian Lewis headline the prison-break drama “The Escapist” (not rated). Thomas Jane plays a hard-boiled detective in “Give ’em Hell, Malone” (R), while the British comedy “St. Trinians” (PG-13) focuses on the rebellious students of the title school, who team up to save their alma mater from bankruptcy. Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Russell Brand co-star. Brothers (Adam Rothenberg, Ethan Peck) hit the road to “Tennessee” (R) in a melodrama featuring Mariah Carey. And a deadly virus infects a small Canadian town in the zombie chiller “Pontypool” (not rated).
Leading today’s documentary lineup: “Prom Night in Mississippi” (not rated), which focuses on preparations for the first integrated prom in Morgan Freeman’s Mississippi hometown; “Soul Power” (PG-13), about a 1974 concert staged in Zaire, featuring James Brown, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba and the Spinners; and the IMAX adventure “Wild Ocean 3D” (not rated). Among today’s oldies-but-goodies: the Criterion Collection’s “Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy” of “Open City,” “Paisan” and “Germany: Year Zero” (not rated), plus Blu-Ray Disc debuts of “Paris, Texas” (R) and the original 1980 “Fame” (R).
Making the jump from TV to DVD (all unrated unless noted otherwise): Las Vegas’ own “Pawn Stars: The Complete Season One” (PG), plus Alistair Cooke’s “Omnibus” featuring Leonard Bernstein, “World War II in HD,” the six-title “The Waltons Movie Collection,” “Southland: The Complete First Season,” “The Whitest Kids U’ Know: The Complete Second Season,” “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: The Complete Second Season,” “MI-5, Volume Seven,” “The Red Green Show: The Infantile Years — Seasons 1991-1993,” “Dirty Jobs: Collection Five” and “I Heart Jonas” (G).
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “IRM”: The devil’s not in the details, he’s in “IRM,” the latest from French chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Inspired in part by her acting work on Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist,” the disc sees Gainsbourg collaborating with Beck, who co-wrote all the songs here.
Intimate, seductive and invigorated, the disc comes in the wake of Gainsbourg suffering a brain hemorrhage and sees her mining new vitality from near death.
Also in stores: Arj Barker, “LYAO (CD/DVD)”; Blue Rodeo, “The Things We Left Behind”; Patty Griffin, “Downtown Church”; Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”; The Magnetic Fields, “Realism”; Barry Manilow, “The Greatest Love Songs of All Time”; Pat Metheny, “Orchestrion”; David Sanborn, “Only Everything”; Neil Sedaka, “The Music of My Life”; and 7dayBinge, “7dayBinge.”
“Blood Ties” by Kay Hooper: Led by Noah Bishop, the members of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit use their psychic powers to hunt the worst killers imaginable.
This time a deadly sniper has his sights trained on the unit. As a trail of murders lead the investigators through three states, even more grisly slayings lead the team into what could be a trap. While time runs out, more bodies turn up, and as Bishop and the others work to uncover the identity of the sniper, they have no idea that the truth will hit close to home.
Tim Dorsey, best-selling author of “Nuclear Jellyfish” and “Triggerfish Twist,” has a new book out featuring his thrill killer Serge A. Storms, who decides to join Florida’s spring break partyers in “Gator A-Go-Go.”
Also hitting shelves: “The Bricklayer” by Noah Boyd; “The Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles” by Robin Hobb; “Eternity Soup: Inside the Quest to End Aging” by Greg Critser; “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” by Seth Godin; “The Pickup Artist: The New and Improved Art of Seduction” by Mystery; “The Power of Many: A New Blueprint for Success in Business and Life” by Meg Whitman; “The Power of Soul: The Way to Heal, Rejuvenate, Transform, and Enlighten All Life” by Zhi Gang Sha; “The Road from Ruin: Reviving Capitalism for Renewed Prosperity” by Matthew Bishop; “Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies Table, Our Journey Through the Middle East” by Ted Dekker; “Three Days Before the Shooting …” by Ralph Ellison; and “Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour” by Gayle Haggard.