Tale of Tales is one oddball movie. Imagine if David Lynch had made The Princess Bride instead of Rob Reiner.
Italian director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality) adapts three fairy tales and sort of mixes them together, creating one semi-consistent and relatively cohesive narrative.
In one of the stories, John C. Reilly plays a king (he actually looks like the Burger King) who must stalk a sea monster and get its heart so that his queen (Salma Hayek) can devour it and become pregnant. In another, Toby Jones plays another king who becomes fascinated with a flea, feeding it blood and steak until it grows to the size of a large sow. In yet another, Vincent Cassel is a king who falls in love with the voice of what he thinks is a fair maiden, but it turns out to be an old lady.
All of these characters share the same universe. There are times when the film becomes a little lifeless, but the visuals are always remarkable, and some of the performances (especially those by Hayek and Jones) are great. Garrone knows how to put a film together on the visual side. He can use a little tightening up with the verbal part.
The overall experience is a good, albeit bizarre. Lovers of fantasy films should indulge.
Tale of Tales is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.