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Tale Of Tales (Blu-ray Review)

Tale-of-Tales

Discover a grim, gorgeous, grown-up fairytale full of princes and princesses, sorcerers and fairies, and monsters and ogres, in the epic fantasy horror filmTale of Tales. Based on three spellbinding stories of magic and the macabre by 17th-century folklorist Giambattista Basile, Tale of Tales unleashes a barrage of mind-bogglingly exquisite and fantastical imagery as it brings to life the misadventures of three kings.  Starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reilly, Toby Jones and Shirley Henderson, this captivating film makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut on September 6, 2016 from Shout! Factory and Sundance Selects. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  This critically acclaimed film from celebrated director Matteo Garrone also includes the featurette The Making of Tale of Tales and the theatrical trailer as bonus features.

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Film 

In the kingdom of Longtrellis, the King and his Queen attempt to conceive a child through very unusual means. Meanwhile, in Highhills, the none-too-bright monarch marries his daughter off to a brutal ogre while developing a strange obsession with breeding a giant flea. At the same time, the sex-obsessed ruler of Strongcliff is in for a shock when the woman with whom he falls in love is not quite what she seems.

Tale of Tales provides a Grimm Fairytale kind of a horror anthology.  Instead of one by one, the stories are all told intermittently, taking breaks between one another and ultimately all catching up with one another by the end for a final segment.  The film features a cast of some notable face like John C Reilly, Salma Hayek, Toby Jones and Vincent Cassel.  Its a bit more dark and twisted with its agenda, which is in full spirit of the works of the Grimm Fairytales, but man some of this can get dark.

Along with the territory come some terrific assets in the details.  The film features some outstanding make-up work as well as gore effects and creature work.  There is a good reliance on practical, but the CG effects are wonderfully married to it, making them balance out as one and you can’t really tell at all where the CG work was placed (The best kind).  The film also likes to hit the lewd sexual ground in its exploitation as well.  They never really mix the two, but each story kinda revolves around some sort of sexual nature with things.

Tale of Tales is a gorgeously film, imaginative journey into a dark Grimm fairytale world.  Pretty as it was, I found it hard to engage.  Everything was on the table for me to enjoy it, it just seemed to be lacking a slight bit of lightheartedness that would have gone a long way for it.  Nonetheless, there is a lot of promise on the table and execution of effects, costuming and cinematography are quite outstanding.  If you’re curious, give it a look, as I’m sure this one will find itself a healthy fanbase.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  Tale of Tales comes to Blu-ray in a stunning, beautiful transfer from Shout! Factory.  The image is razor sharp.  Its also loaded with gorgeous detail.  Clothing texture and patterns are seen as if through a window.  The surfaces show every bit of polishes and deterioration.  Hair in this transfer picks through each an every follicle as if they could be counted.  The make-up effects looks especially gruesome and lifelike under this transfer’s image. 

Depth:  Very terrific spacing with smooth movements in this transfer.  Distances and clarity of the foreground/background relationships prove strong in both interior and exterior scene in the film.

Black Levels:  Blacks are inky and come with some fine shading work.  Detail is still readily abundant in black hair, surfaces and clothing.  No crushing witnessed. 

Color Reproduction:  Colors are beautifully displayed here with the perfect sense of restraint.  This transfer never goes vivid at all, but the colors are strong and quite bold in their appearance.  With a good palette on display, the film is a very full, colorful experience without looking like someone vomited a rainbow all over the place.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones have a natural appearance to them and continue on scene to scene throughout the whole movies.  Details like make-up, lip texture, stubble, dried blood, wrinkles and such all look crystal clear from pretty much any medium and close shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  This 5.1 track is a nice, loose and balanced effort when it comes to weaving the score, effects and vocals without stepping on one another.  The mix has its own bit of restraint and is able to be huge and impactful during action/suspense beats and pulls it back on the quiet ones quite well.  

Low Frequency Extension:  Score beats as well as physical altercations grant thyne thump the thee ole subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Front channels accurately follow the action as well as the distance and placement of it.  Rear speaker promote mainly ambiance and scoring, but also have some interesting moments to their own at intermittent times.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is set to an ideal level and spouts out with good clarity and diction throughout.

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Extras 

Making of Tale of Tales (HD, 56:22) – An almost hour’s worth of on-set footage and interviews throughout the filming of the movie.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:59)

TV Spots (HD, :50)

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Summary 

Tale of Tales makes its US debut on Blu-ray from IFC Midnight and Shout! Factory.  Though its deemed horror/fantasy, it doesn’t carry the Scream Factory label.  No Matter, the film comes with an hour “Making Of” to accompany outstanding video quality and an awesome 5.1 audio track.  Though the price point is good, one might want to dip in on a rental before the full out purchase.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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