Posts Tagged ‘Vincent Cassel’

Salma Hayek and sea serpent

Salma Hayek and sea serpent

“TALE OF TALES”  My rating: C

133 minutes | No MPAA rating

From a technical perspective, “Tale of Tales” is one gorgeous films, a visual masterpiece of art design and cinematography.

It’s also dramatically stillborn. Sort of like the least engaging Terry Gilliam movie ever.

Directed by Matteo Garrone (who made a big splash a few years back with his lacerating Neapolitan crime drama “Gomorrah”) and adapted from the 17th century fairy tales of Giambattista Basile (the creator of “Cinderella”), this big production interweaves three of Basile’s stories. There’s an emphasis on sex and violence. The kiddies are not invited.

In one story the King and Queen of Longtrellis (John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek) are so desperate to produce an heir that they take advice from a mysterious sorcerer. The King must kill a sea monster (he dies in the quest), the Queen must eat the great beast’s heart.

It works. Her Highness has a high-speed pregnancy that lasts all of 24 hours and produces a son.  Weirdly, the cook who prepares the heart also gives birth overnight to a baby boy who is a dead ringer for the young Prince. (As adolescents the Prince and the Pauper — both albinos, by the way — are played by real-life twins Christian and Jonah Lees).

The boys have a spiritual connection which the Queen tries to break by sending the Pauper off to a foreign land. But the Prince runs away to find him.

Meanwhile the incredibly horny King of nearby Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) has fallen for one of two sisters (Hayley Carmichael, Shirley Henderson) he has espied from afar. He doesn’t realize that the object of his lust is an old crone, and the sisters wisely conduct all the negotiations for the loss of sister Dora’s virginity through a closed door.


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Trance 1“TRANCE”  My rating: C- (Opening wide on April 12)

101 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Danny Boyle is like that little girl with the curl.  When’s he’s good (“Trainspotting,” “Shallow Grave,” “28 Days Later,” “`127 Hours”) he’s very good.

And when he screws up – as with “A Life Less Ordinary” and now “Trance” – he’s awful.

“Trance” is a crime thriller so overthought and overwrought  that it no longer makes any sense.

It begins with London auction house underling Simon (James McAvoy) attempting to save a precious Goya painting from a gang of crooks who have taken over the premises. In the process he gets banged on the noggin and awakens with no memory of what he’s done with the painting.

This is particularly galling to Frank (Vincent Cassel), the creepily threatening chief robber. You see, Simon was in on the caper and was to have delivered the painting for a fat cut of the proceeds. And now we’re supposed to believe he forgot where he put the goods?

After yanking out all of Simon’s fingernails, Frank is forced to admit that this may be a genuine case of amnesia. He sends Simon to hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson), hoping that she can unlock the secrets in her patients’ skull.


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