Movie Review: Tale of Tales – An Enjoyable Movie with a Compelling Cast

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What a strange, but strangely good movie. That’s probably what you’ll think if you get a chance to see Tale of Tales, a genre blending movie with an all-star cast.

Tale of Tales is presented as three fables woven together through common themes of female desire and the ironic consequences of those desires. In the first, Salma Hayek plays a queen unable to bear a child. Crushed, she turns to a court mystic who tells her that the only way to become pregnant is for her husband, the king (John C. Reilly) to slay a giant sea beast and devour its still-beating heart. Next up is Toby Jones as a slightly daffy monarch who raises a tiny flea as a pet, feeding it his own blood until it grows into the size of a hippo. Meanwhile, his beautiful daughter yearns to be wed and finds herself paired off with a ghastly ogre. In the last, Vincent Cassel plays yet another royal whose unquenchable libido leads him to fall in love (or, at least in lust) with a wrinkled crone whose singing voice enchants him.

This is an utterly charming movie with some decent talent holding it together. It has a near whimsical air, despite the fact that its subject matter is decidedly adult. It’s almost the stuff of folklore, and in a way, made me thing of Arabian Nights, which is one of my favorites.

I will say that’s one thing it was missing was the cohesive feel that Arabian Nights had. Despite the fact that the stories had nothing to do with each other, they all tied together. They didn’t do that with these vignettes and as a result, lost something. Sure, they all paired together a broken king with an overbearing woman, but for the most part, they didn’t feel cohesive.

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Some of the scenes go a bit too far with the ‘be careful what you wish for’ and I wish they’d tried to go with a more unique direction in the underlying theme. But overall, I’d call this movie a fair B effort. They went a long way two create a classic, yet colorful set and it looks like what it’s supposed to be; a twisted fairy tale.

One thing I didn’t like was the intro to each tale starting with a funeral. Again, this was an attempt at cohesiveness that really didn’t tie the stories together, so much as they made them force in the intro in often clunky ways. That was a clumsy effort.

Once the stories get going, the magic happens, though not in equal levels. The problem is that at each peak, we’re switched back to a new story, making us forget what’s going on in one vignette and get drawn in to another.

But for the most part, it’s still an enjoyable movie with a compelling cast. Of course, this is not for kids, as there’s more than a few lewd and outright upsetting moments. But for adults, it has a quirky charm that you’re not going to find in standard movie fare.

WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

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Movie Review: Nymphomaniac (2014)

hr_Nymphomaniac_20No Climax despite it being a movie about Climaxes

2 Stars

It feels odd to go from reviewing a children’s movie to a movie about a sex addict, but whatever. Variety is the spice of life.

Nymphomaniac is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Joe is a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who has been seriously beaten and is found by older Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård). Think Black Snake Moan. That’s where the similarities end though. As Seiglemn tends to her wounds she tells the story of her erotic travels.

I’m going to be honest. This was a ‘did not finish’ for me, despite the fact that the movie was all about climaxes. I really felt like I was just watching depressing artistic pornography.  But it wasn’t just porn. It was overly smart self important porn. I know that I might be in the minority, but to me this was nothing more than a director making a movie called ‘this is a woman. Now watch how miserable she is because of sex.”

Joe is self destructive and damaged, but Seiglemn sees a hooker with a heart of gold. By the end, you get so sick of her self loathing and his mumblings about The Compleat Angler and the Fibonacci sequence that you won’t care anymore if people think you’re smart. You’ll just leave.

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The writing isn’t strong enough to overcome the overly explicit material. And it is overly explicit, even for a drama about a sex addict. I changed my mind. It doesn’t feel like porn. It feels like a snuff film.

I haven’t seen a snuff film this artsy since the Passion of the Christ.

The writing is juvenile and implausible. The first story in Joe’s stories of conquests is her and her friend on a train, having a contest as to who can hook up with the most men. Yes, I know that the world is crazy and stuff like that does happen, but the director makes it seem as though it is common place.

It seems that filmmaker Lars von Trier has a very bleak view of the world. In fact, I think he may be chronically depressed.

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The whole movie was bathed in grey and there was no spicing things up or making them more attractive. Everyone looks depressed and miserable most of the time. Even when they’re getting it on, most of them manage to look like they’re waiting for the bus on a rainy day.

The score feels pasted on and overly simplistic. “Born to be Wild” and “Burning down the House” are tossed in, while heavy metal music from Rammstein is inappropriately pasted over scenes in a way that is both distracting and irritating.

The movie is dirty, smug and self important. There are virtually no redeeming values to a weak script over actors with no charisma. The in your face symbolism does nothing to save the movie. When originally holding the press conference von Trier claimed he was making porn.

He was telling the truth in some ways. Watching this movie will make you feel dirty and ashamed of yourself. This sleazy drama is best skipped.

Here is the Official Movie Trailer….

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