I've always felt there's something a bit too self-conscious about movies that are explicitly about the magic of storytelling. Really, the best way to pay tribute to storytelling is to simply tell a good story, not rattle on and on about how timeless stories are. That may explain why I felt both mildly charmed and a little worn out by the new movie Three Thousand Years of Longing.
It's adapted from a short story by the English writer A.S. Byatt, and much of it unfolds in an Istanbul hotel room where Idris Elba, taking a page from Scheherazade and her One Thousand and One Nights, regales Tilda Swinton with one fantastical tale after another. Some of these tales are vivid and involving, but what they add up to is less than the sum of its many shimmering parts.