New releases this week include an aspiring ballerina with a lot of talent but little opportunity, and a martial artist who fights on his way to cultural stardom.
1. Leap! (The Weinstein Company, 2,575 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated PG for some impolite humor, and action, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 29% Fresh [28 Reviews]): This film might be a new release in the United States, but it has been playing around the world since late last year under the title, Ballerina. As a matter of fact, the US is the third to last market it is going to be released in (Hong Kong then Sweden are next).
The film takes place in 1880s France and centers on an orphan girl who enters a ballet academy under false pretenses. Her pluck and talent help her stay in the school, but when the real recipient of her spot come in looking for it back, sparks fly.
The film looks cheap and it is ($30 million budget) but it already made almost twice what it cost back. It doesn’t have much competition, so it should make some money here.
2. Birth of the Dragon (BH Tilt/WWE Films, 1,617 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence, language and thematic elements, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [Only 2 Reviews listed,, 1 Good, 1 Bad]): Bruce Lee was only on the world’s consciousness for a limited amount of time, but in that time, he became a legend. And being a legend, there have been stories of his life that have grown to epic proportions. This is one of them.
The film focuses on the time in the early 1960s when Bruce Lee was teaching martial arts in San Francisco. Legend has it that the Chinese community in the city did not like Lee teaching Caucasians in his dojo. Eventually, Lee had to fight a Chinese master in order to keep teaching whoever he wanted.
And like all legends, there have been many different versions of this story from people involved. We shall see which version ends up on the screen this time.
Next week, the new releases feature a love affair amongst the competitive tulip market. No, really.