This slight and uneven coming-of-age story from New Zealand tells of an 11-year-old Maori youngster (James Rolleston) and his unexpected reunion with his absentee father. However, the boy — who dreams of exotic adventures and attending Michael Jackson concerts — finds that the man falls short of the heroic vision he had conjured in his active imagination, especially when he discovers the motives behind his visit. The film seems too concerned with character quirks and cheap nostalgia. Yet there are some modest charms in the script by director Taika Waititi (who also plays the father), and the performance by Rolleston has a precocious authenticity. (Not rated, 87 minutes).
Let the Bullets Fly
An enjoyable if silly action-comedy from China that stars Chow Yun-fat in a dual role, this saga follows a pair of thieves with different motives who descend on the same small provincial town in the 1920s following a botched train robbery. They decide instead to pull a political scam involving the corrupt purchase of power, only to find the scheme goes awry. The stylish direction of Wen Jiang helps to overcome some flaws in his convoluted screenplay, which is loaded with ridiculous plot twists. It’s more fun to count the influences of everything from period Westerns to screwball comedies and just check your brain at the door. (Not rated, 132 minutes).
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Those who aren’t familiar with the quirky comedy team of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and their eponymous sketch-comedy show on cable television shouldn’t bother with their subversive first feature, which has the duo fleeing from Hollywood after a failed movie deal in favor of operating a dilapidated suburban shopping mall. The film is strictly for Tim and Eric fans only, and even they might get tired of the lazy, sophomoric humor that becomes more haphazard as the film progresses. There are some inspired sketches sprinkled throughout, but the experience is more creepy and off-putting than hilarious. Cameos include Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis. (Rated R, 93 minutes).