Book Review: “Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol”

“Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol”
Author: Steve Jones
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 308 pages

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol” recounts the life and times of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Through the nihilistic songs, amphetamine-fueled music, and influential fashion that turned a one-time street urchin into a founding member of a genre-defining band “Lonely Boy” offers a truly in-depth portrait of one of punk’s founding fathers.

For anyone with even the smallest bit of knowledge related to Steve Jones and his band The Sex Pistols I don’t have to tell you what to expect from “Lonely Boy”. Sex, drugs and rock and roll it’s all here told directly from the man who lived and breathed it. Throughout the books 308 pages Jones takes the reader on a cringe worthy ride that starts off with detailed accounts of Jones traumatic childhood which was rout with abuse and neglect. As the book progresses the reader is treated to firsthand accounts of the early incarnation of The Sex Pistols and how it morphed into what the world would see as the band were made into the poster boys of punk rock for generations to come.

Not just your everyday run of the mill biography. “Lonely Boy” delves much deeper than other books in the genre. Jones forges straight on into rough waters as he recounts the events that would shape who he has become today. From the ups and downs his band The Sex Pistols created to his struggles with severe drug addiction this book is not for the queasy as it probably as real as one can get. At times I found the stories to wander and be a bit lengthy however pushing through there was always light at the end of the tunnel as each chapter blended nicely into the next. Also worth noting are the photos which are included in the book. Many of them were ones I had not seen before only adding to the books unique story and making “Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol” is a must read for any and all music fans.

Film Review “Little Boy”

Starring: Jakob Salvati, David Henrie, and Emily Watson
Directed By: Alejandro Gomez
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes
Open Road Films

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Good intentions, on a movie’s end, can only mean something if the message is delivered in a clear and concise manner. There’s an awkward juggling act going on in “Little Boy” between one too many themes and one too many outlandish characters. All of them eventually get whittled down to blunt stereotypes. There’s a sentimental message in “Little Boy”, but it’s packaged in so many weird and different ways, it ultimately becomes a turn off by the film’s end. The movie’s good intentions can easily be seen as insensitive manipulation.

“Little Boy” has its heart in the right place, but it goes about showing it’s tenderness in the wrong way. Pepper (Salvati) is an adorable little lad, that has stunted growth, or at the most, a growth spurt that is literally waiting around the corner. His best friend, and only friend, is his dad, James (Michael Rapaport). They play together, they imagine together, and they dream together. Their scenes together are thoughtful, but hammy. When Pepper’s obnoxious brother London (Henrie), can’t go overseas to protect our freedom during WWII, because he’s too much of a flat footed doofus, the government instead hand picks James.

“Little Boy” could be have been complacent with this set-up and followed the story of a boy trying to land back on his feet after the departure, and loss, of his best friend. But instead there’s an exhausting list of confusing story arcs and plot points. There’s the town priest that shamelessly ties in the boys confusion and misery with a path towards spiritual enlightenment. There’s a Japanese immigrant in town that draws the ire of the boy, as well as some wince inducing scenes of a young child using derogatory slurs in a vicious manner. There’s the boy’s comic book hero that, through a live performance of the comic book material, convinces Pepper that he’s magical. Then there’s the shoehorned role of Kevin James as a doctor who does nothing in his scenes but eat and flirt with Pepper’s heartbroken mom.

It’s a confusing mess with no steady focus or fluid plot path. There are also some scenes that seem really inconsiderate to the material it’s handling. One scene that comes to mind involves the moving attempting to draw parallels between Pepper being bullied and his father being captured by the enemy to be forced into a POW work camp for torture and starvation. “Little Boy” treats delicate topics similarly to how Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” pets a rabbit.

This isn’t an outright disaster. Some steady and impressive performances by Tom Wilkinson, Emma Watson, and Cary-Hiroyuk Tagawa keep the movie from completely derailing and their presence adds a nice level of believability to an otherwise silly concept. And maybe it’s because so much is happening without a clear future, but there is a level of uncertainty as the movie progresses. Even if you think you know what will happen, it does manage to throw a few curves, even though they’re very sappy.

“Little Boy” is shot on 35mm film stock, which may be a turn off for some who expect crystal clear clarity, but it does somehow add to the general nostalgia of this WWII era film (although I did spot a 21st century currency being used). The movie may have worked best as a flick about tolerance towards other people and the misconceptions our society still has. Or, as I said earlier, it could be about the trials and tribulations of a boy attempting to grow up while his father fights for our freedom. At the end of the day though, the acting skills of Salvati represent the childish direction of a director who clearly hasn’t grasped the concept of mature, thematic content that is the basis for strong dramas.

DVD Review “Marine Boy: The Complete Second Season”

Voices of: Corinne Orr, Jack Grimes, Peter Fernandez and Jack Curtis
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 637 minutes
Format: Made To Order DVD

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

After revisit “Marine Boy” with the first season recently, I was very excited to dive into the second season. This 3-Disc set includes the next 26 Episodes in this classic anime series, which airs from 1966-67. I warn you as cheesy as this show feels today, it is still entertaining and that damn theme song will definitely get stuck in your head. With 52 episodes in the bag, so far we still have another 26 to go, so I expect the third season to hit DVD later this year completing this series.

Official Premise: Marine Boy returns for a second volume of classic ‘American anime’ adventures! Operating out of the Ocean Patrol Marine Headquarters, super-scientist Dr. Mariner outfits his stalwart son with all the aquatic accouterments needed to keep the seas safe for all mankind. From Oxy-Gum and bulletproof wet suit, to flying subs and propeller shoes, Marine Boy has what it takes to face a variety of fearsome foes above and below the ocean’s surface.

Dive deep into the deep with villains like Skwid, Stormbrane, Count Shark, Professor Beelzebub and Captain Wraithand more who must learn to beware the boomerang of Marine Boy as he cruises the sea aboard the submarine P-1 alongside little Clicli, Professor Fumble, mermaid Neptina, dolphin best friend Splasher, and Ocean Patrol agents Bullton and Piper.

Thanks to Warner Archive Collection, this series is continuing to be available to its fans. It is available MOD (manufacture on demand), so if you want it buy it now before it stops being made. These episodes are not flawless but I expect these episodes to have a certain rugged feel to it. These haven’t been restored but have been taken from the best prints available. There are no additional special features available on this release just like the first season.

Blu-ray Review “A Boy and His Dog”

Starring: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Jason Robards, Tim McIntire (I), Helene Winston, Charles McGraw
Director: L.Q. Jones
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“A Boy and His Dog” (aka Apocalypse 2024) is one crazy movie, based on a 1969 short science fiction story by author Harlan Ellison. My wife, in fact, was was taken back by the tagline on the cover “an R rated, rather kinky tale of survival”. From right there, I am immediately interested in watching this.  In fact the film has developed quite the cult following over the years, but I have to admit I have never seen it prior to this release. Did I mention it stars Don Johnson? That’s right Sonny from “Miami Vice”! This film is very unique (to put it nicely) and is definitely not for everyone but it will certainly keep you entertained for it’s 90 minutes, that’s for sure. What a trip!

Official Premise: World War IV lasted only five days but has ravaged Earth, leaving its survivors to battle for food, shelter and companionship in a post-atomic wasteland. This celebrated sci-fi tale follows the exploits of a young man, Vic (Don Johnson), and his sardonic telepathic dog, Blood, as they struggle through the barren wilderness in search of food and women. In the midst of their meager existence, Vic and Blood encounter Quilla June (Susanne Benton), a dubious young woman who lures them into a surreal city deep beneath the earth’s surface. Initially elated to find a colony of survivors, Vic and Blood quickly learn this city is not what it seems.

Shout Factory has released this film with a fantastic brand new 1080p widescreen transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.  The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono though is not the greatest. The dialogue is a little muted but overall it does the job.  The Collector’s Edition comes with a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD. It also features a reversible wrap with collectible key art.  The special features are good but nothing special. Hardcore fans will enjoy the brand new featurette “In Conversation: Harlan Ellison And L.Q. Jones”.  There is a commentary By Director L.Q. Jones, Director of Photography John Arthur Morrill and critic Charles Champlin and lastly there are some Vintage Radio Spots.

DVD Review “This Boy Can Fight Aliens”

Directed by: Soubi Yamamoto
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Section 23
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Running Time: 28 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

With a title like “This Boy Can Fight Aliens”, sounds strange but completely intrigued. After three back-to-back viewings of this film, I am still not quite sure I completely understand what I watched. I am not stranger to anime at all. Sentai Filmworks is a great contributor to the genre. I also wish the film was incredibly longer. The running time of 30 minutes only seems to be a jumping off point for this film. I also feel like it can see a series as well. For big anime fans, this is definitely something I would recommend.

The story revolves around Kakashi, a boy with no memory of his past.  He lives in a world where aliens come everyday to fight. Kakashi is the one who can take on the aliens. Though with losing his memory also forgot the knowledge of how to actually use his powers. It is up to his friends to help him regain his powers and remember who he is in order to save them from the aliens.

The special features are not the greatest but still worth checking out. There is a few early work shorts from director Soubi Yamamoto. They are three really cool mini-features but I would have liked to see more. There is also a brief interview with Soubi Yamamoto as well. Overall the film is visually super cool and very interesting. Would have loved to review this on Blu-ray since it probably looks mega-cool.

Film Review “That’s My Boy”

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Tony Orlando
Directed by: Sean Anders
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 54 mins

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I must admit at the start that I had a major crush on one of my teachers in high school. I’m not going to name her (she knows who she is) but it appears to be something that everyone goes through at one time or another. It happened to Donny Berger (Justin Weaver) when he was in 8th grade. In an attempt to show off for some classmates Donny gets fresh with the very beautiful Miss McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino) and ends up in detention. While there the teacher scolds him for his actions. She continues to scold him through the school year until they are discovered. She is sentenced to 30 years in prison and, on her way to the big house reveals that she is pregnant. Donny’s parents are given custody of the baby and, upon turning 18, Donny is given the responsibility of raising it. Bad move.

Pretty much a “Hangover” – lite, “That’s My Boy” is Sandlers return to the raunchy side of his career, where films like “Little Nicky” are found. After 20 years as a talk show staple and the subject of a movie of the week starring “90210’s” Ian Ziering as Donny, Donny Berger (now played by Sandler) is now nothing more than a punch line. He’s just been informed that he’s never paid income taxes on the money he made and now faces prison unless he can come up with an initial payment. To get the money he tries to get a spot on a Jerry Springer/Maury Povich type show hosted by Randall Morgan (the getting-funnier-each-time-I-see-him-in-an-Adam-Sandler-movie Dan Patrick). Morgan offers Donny $50,000 if he can reunite with Miss McGarricle at the woman’s prison she’s in. And he needs to bring his son with him. If only he could find him.

Mildly amusing (and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, “That’s My Boy” gets it’s good grades not from its stars but from the supporting cast. Hilarious turns by Tony Orlando (!), Vanilla Ice and the adult Miss McGarricle (don’t want to give away a bit of classic casting) keep the laughs coming. For those of you familiar with Sandler’s comedy CDs, he has decided to use his “Toll Booth Willie” voice for Donny, which is like a high pitched, intoxicated JFK. As Donny’ son, Todd (which he changed when he became an adult because he didn’t like his birth name – Han Solo), Samberg is adequate. He’s very funny in short bursts on “Saturday Night Live,” but the shtick gets old quickly as the film goes on. The film is also stocked with many SNL veterans in cameo roles, including Will Forte, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer. Also look for Sandler vets Nick Swardson, Colin Quinn, Dennis Dugan and others to fill the minor roles.

I took a lot of heat earlier this year when I became one of only three critics in the world to recommend Sandler’s “Jack and Jill.” But as a 15 year old boy in a 51 year old man’s body I make no apologies. “That’s My Boy” is much funnier than “Jack and Jill.” And, as I finish this, I see that no fewer than SIX critics have already been positive on Rotten Tomatoes so please don’t flame our site this time!

DVD Review “The Fat Boy Chronicles”

Directed by: Jason Winn
Starring: Ron Lester, Cole Carson, Kelly Lynn Washington, Christopher Rivera
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Studio: Phase 4 Films
Run Time: 78 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Obesity is a very serious issue especially amongst young children. If you match that with the subject of bullying and this film really aims to deliver a very important message. The movie definitely packed some really emotional content into its short 78 minute run time. Christopher Rivera delivers a fantastic performance and really grabs hold of the audiences attention from the start. It is inspiring and also very educational for kids and adults.

The film itself is inspired by a true story, which makes it feel even more real and important. It follows Jimmy Winterpock, who is an overweight student starting his first year in high school and dealing with being bullied by his classmates. The film follows Jimmy’s efforts to overcome his bullies and win the girl of his dreams.

The special features are decent and include a preview of the eBook and information on Bully Prevention. Also included is an audio commentary track from the director and some interesting interviews from the cast, all worth checking out for sure. The only issue I had with the film itself was the teenage murder subplot. I thought it was a little out of place and didn’t really fit into the films message. In the end I feel that the film succeeds in delivering its important message and hopefully people will see this film and take its issues seriously.