Movies: The Trip to Spain, The Fencer, Birth of the Dragon

The Trip to Spain

This is the third “trip” for Director Michael Winterbottom’s travel franchise.  This time along the coast of Spain, again staring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.  If  you enjoyed the scenery, food and banter from either of the previous films, you will probably enjoy this film too.

The impersonations the two stars are famous for were sometimes funny but also sometimes annoying, borderline distracting.  That said, the food, wine and Spanish countryside were front and center.  There could have been more  focus on the travel aspect but we were satisfied just the same.

It is listed as a Drama (why not a drama/comedy?).  It is not rated and runs 1 hour, 55 minutes.


The Fencer 

This is a delightful film set in the 1950’s Estonia then occupied by the Soviet Union.  The wrinkle is during WWII, Germany forced the enlistment of Estonian civilians as German soldiers.  After the war, the Soviet Union hunted down these Estonians and sent them to Russian prisons.

The movie is a fascinating peek into a rare bit of history.  It is well acted, including lead roles by Mart Avanti as the fencing teacher and the young Ursula Ratasepp as his student.

The story is told in several languages, Estonian, Russian and Armenian (all with English subtitles).  You would expect a sad or depressing story line but we saw hope and resilience, commitment and endurance.

The genre is Drama/Sport and is not rated.  There are lots of young children in the film.  While the backdrop is quite serious, this film could be a great history lesson for young viewers.  The film runs 99 minutes.


Birth of the Dragon

This film is a gem for anyone interested in the history about Bruce Lee in the early years.  Since the movie is focused on his life in San Francisco in 1964, it was an easy draw for us.

Philip Ng does a good job of replicating the cocky demeanor of the young Bruce Lee.  Xia Yu does an even better job with his portrayal of Lee’s life long adversary Wong Jack Man.  The result is a film based on true events, action packed and intense.

It is rated PG-13 but as you might expect there is considerable fighting and some adult subject matter.  The genre is noted as Drama/Action with a running time of 1 hour, 43 minutes.



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