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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2013

‘Fat Kid Rules the World,’ ‘Nobody Walks,’ ‘Pina,’ worth checking out

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Some recent releases that flew under the radar:

‘Fat Kid Rules the World’

A suicidal fat kid finds something to live for when he is befriended by a grandiose and troubled drug-addicted popular kid. It's not bad, but the movie feels both stretched and truncated — ending just as it's beginning to get good. Rated R. 100 minutes. — Mick LaSalle

‘Hara-Kiri: Deathof a Samurai’

Takashi Miike, the outrageous bad boy of Japanese cinema, has made an elegant, feeling, brutal film that is a remake of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 classic, Harakiri. Set in 1630, Miike's movie opens with a wandering ronin asking a lord permission to commit ritual suicide at his compound. The lord suspects him of bluffing. Half the time this sumptuous film is a battle of wits, the other half a moving melodrama about the ronin's family. Not rated. 135 minutes. — G. Allen Johnson

‘Nobody Walks’

The relationship of a comfortable Los Angeles couple is stress-tested by the arrival of a young woman artist in this film incubated at the Sundance Institute. There are compelling moments and performances as the story details the effects of the erotic charge carried by the visitor, but the point is finally elusive. Directed by Ry Russo-Young, co-written by Russo-Young and Lena Dunham and starring John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby and Rosemarie DeWitt. Rated R. 83 minutes. — Walter Addiego

‘Pina’

Wim Wenders' worthwhile documentary, shot in 3-D, about his friend, choreographer Pina Bausch, re-creates some of her famous dances. Rated PG. 104 minutes. — M.L.

‘Searching for Sugar Man’

Malik Bendjelloul's superb documentary covers the 1990s investigation by fans to reveal the fate of rock footnote Sixto Rodriguez. Searching has emotional valleys and zeniths, and gasp-inducing turns, as old friends, fans and Rodriguez's grown daughters are interviewed. But there's still a meditative quality. Rated PG-13. 86 minutes. — Peter Hartlaub



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