Family issues are featured in this week’s new DVD offerings.
“Little Boy” Grade ☆☆: The film is guilty of trying too hard. Had it just focused on a youngster’s heartbreaking efforts to get his father home from World War II, it would have been a touching tale.
Sadly, the story gets bogged down by overly sentimental plot lines such as the bitter bigotry and hatred shown toward Japanese living in the United States during the war, a son’s guilt at not being able to serve his country, never-ending bullying, misguided attempts to woo a possible war widow and the importance of faith.
Hidden in all that clutter is a sweet faith-based story. You just have to patiently wade your way through all the rest to find it.
The “Little Boy” at the heart of the story is Pepper (Jakob Salvati ), an 8-year-old who isn’t growing at the same rate as other youngsters. School is tough, but Pepper can always find solace with his father, James (Michael Rapaport ), a local mechanic trying to do the right thing by his family and community.
Everyone’s life is thrown into turmoil when James goes off to war. Pepper is willing to do anything to help get his father home. That includes a list of “must-dos” given to him by a local priest (Tom Wilkinson).
“The Royals: The Complete First Season” Grade ☆☆☆: This is the cheesiest fun you can have while watching TV. It’s as if all the tabloid newspapers have come to life.
Set in modern-day England, “The Royals” follows the lives of a fictional British royal family trying to keep their private world private. It’s an impossible task as the younger royals love to party.
This is a world where Elizabeth Hurley is the queen. The rest of the cast includes Merritt Patterson (“Ravenswood”), Vincent Regan (“300”) and Alexandra Park.
The set includes all 10 episodes from the first season, as well as three behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Also new on DVD Aug. 18
“The Seventh Dwarf”: Peyton List is a voice talent for this tale set in Fantabularasa Castle.
“Vendetta”: Hardened detective will stop at nothing in his quest for vengeance.
“Mike & Molly: The Complete Fifth Season”: CBS comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell.
“Batman Unlimited; Monster Mayhem”: Dark Knight battles criminals on Halloween.
“The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season”: James Spader stars in this NBC series.
“NCIS: The Twelfth Season”: Mark Harmon stars in the top-rated TV series.
“Skin Trade”: Detective looks for person who killed his family.
“The Rebel: The Complete Series”: TV Western starring Nick Adams.
“Z Storm”: Story revolves around Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“It Happened Here”: Documentary on students who survive sexual assault only to be met with apathy.
“Preggoland”: Comedy about a woman who pretends to be pregnant. Sonja Bennett stars.
“NCIS: Los Angeles: Six Season Pack”: LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell star in the procedural series.
“Knifed Up: The Evolution of Cosmetic Surgery”: Examination of health risks that go along with plastic surgery.
“Nickelodeon Favorites: Celebrate Fall!”: Two hours of seasonal episodes are in this release.
“Final Girl”: Four boys plan to track and kill a young girl. Abigail Breslin stars.
“The D Train”: An ultimate bromance goes wrong.
“Catching Faith”: Woman who seems to have it all faces a test of her faith.
“The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”: Cable movie starring Bakersfield native Kelli Garner.
“NCIS: New Orleans: The First Season”: Investigations in the Big Easy are handled by Special Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula ) and his team.
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”: Based on the international best-seller of the same name by Jonas Jonasson.
“Blood Cells”: Man returns home after a self-imposed exile.
“Lambert & Stamp”: Two filmmakers end up managing The Who.
“Bottoms Up”: Documentary on the growing interest in bigger backsides.