Fantasia Film Festival 2021: King Knight (2021)

King Knight (2021)

Director (and writer): Richard Bates Jr.

Cast: Matthew Gray Gubler, Angela Sarafyan, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Nelson Franklin, Emily Chang, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, Barbara Crampton, Ray Wise, Aubrey Plaza (voice), AnnaLynne McCord (voice)

The High Priest of a modern-day coven finds his life thrown into turmoil and ventures out on a journey of self-discovery. – IMDB

King Knight is a 2021 comedy about a man living in a coven who confesses his past truth about his high school days to his coven family when he receives an invitation to a high school reunion that brings him to his self-discovery about being true to himself.

Comedy is a tricky thing. King Knight delivers this through a quirky humor and using a serious dramatic tones and reactions to some ridiculous bits that make the humor land because of this. The film is odd right from the start when the coven is introduced right down to its cast portraying a variety of different characters each with their own charm. The witch coven are filled with a group of people who have their everyday issues and they look towards their leader Thorn to help them solve it. As they go through different rituals, the coven becomes a little more clear that as much as witches usually are portrayed as scary, these modern-day witches are anything but. They live in their own little world with their own rules and rituals alongside this coven family who promotes honesty, acceptance and positivity in general.

King Knight does feel like a simple film about self-discovery and yet this one is very focused on its different characters. Matthew Gray Gubler carries the film rather well as the leading role Thorn. From his reluctance to face his past including his mother to his opening up to his high school past and facing up to its consequences in the first part to his journey to the reunion which leads him to many funny moments like hallucinating conversations with talking pine cones and rocks and his encounter with Merlin (yes, the powerful wizard). His role is colorful and adventurous even if it all sounds a little weird. Playing his companion is Willow played by Angela Sarafyan who is absolutely fantastic and perhaps in her seriousness of how she faces these rather silly revelations about Thorn, her interpretation is so animated that it carries a lot of humor especially with her reaction to his high school popularity that many titles of being prom king and playing lacrosse which puts her in an overreaction that is completely out of proportions and yet is amazingly entertaining to watch.

Much like the other supporting characters who also bring in different people of the society that all group up to be this coven family that promotes their diversity and acceptance to anyone. They each have their own little revelations throughout that come into play as they also need to embrace their world with and without their leader as they discuss a topic of being hypocrites, in some ways. The with coven creates this endearing ragtag family that sticks together as they start to accept Thorn. Much like the other side of the spectrum shows a smaller role for indie horror film favorite Barbara Crampton who pulls a small but stellar role as Thorn’s mother who emphasizes on her disapproval of his life choices as she mocks him a little when he finally reaches out to her.

King Knight also brings in some pop culture into its script. In some ways, it uses these different clever dialogues and metaphors to talk about the reality of people and society. As it all comes to a very fun little ending where Thorn finally embraces being true to himself which is reminiscent of Little Miss Sunshine to some extent. Sure, the film has some oddities to it and the pacing sometimes feels a little funky but when you think back to it, the clever scripts and some of the performances by this cast does work out for the better. It might not all feel like its balanced very well and maybe some might feel this journey a little too weird to be fun but comedy doesn’t land the same for everyone. What does make King Knight unique and worth watching is the different outlook on how witches are normally portrayed on film and for the most part, this one promotes a wonderful message of positive vibes and acceptance.

*King Knight had its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival on August 8th, 2021.*

Fantasia Film Festival & My Line-up!

Fantasia Film Festival starts this week in Montreal. It runs from July 17th to August 6th.

Last year, I lost track of when it started and ended up catching 2 movies.  Sad and pathetic, yeah, I know.  In my defense, I was super sick and was on antibiotics.

This year, I amended my old ways and tracked the event and waited for the schedule to go up and then chose my movies and was ready to pounce at those tickets the first moment they went online.

My plan is to see 10 movies and as this goes up, I’m still hoping that one of them will open up because I don’t quite understand what “restricted availability” is but I have a few backups, I that I can choose from. I’ll tell you which one in a little bit.

No rambling on today.  We’re going straight to business.  This is my line up in order of when I’ll see them.

1) JULY 18: OPEN WINDOWS/SPAIN/USA/2014

Open Windows is one I’m not completely sure about.  Sasha Grey isn’t all that convincing to me but then I’m guessing she’ll strip so there’s a appeal to people who like that but my reason is that Elijah Wood has been on a crazy streak of horror movies and they’ve all been received well.  I haven’t seen Maniac or Grand Piano yet but the trailers for those looked good as does this one.  I’ll try to squeeze in Maniac before I go, just to get an idea of Elijah Wood in horror movies, but no guarantees 😉

2) JULY 19: I ORIGINS/USA/2014

I Origins is probably one of the most anticipated movies in 2014 for me.  Brit Marling has been doing amazing movies with Another Earth and The East. She is unstoppable and this one is loaded with cast that I love.  This one was squeezed on a not very good day with another one that I’ll talk about in the end that I had to miss because of my friend’s wedding.  This one cuts into hers just a little but I’ll only be 20 minutes late max.  It should be okay, right? I just couldn’t give it up…what else can I say?

3) JULY 20: CYBERNATURAL/USA/2014

http://www.fantasiafestival.com/2014/en/films-schedule/250/cybernatural

Somehow Youtube didn’t have a trailer for this one but they have a trailer if you follow the link the festival’s page 🙂

Cybernatural is one of the last decisions that I made when compiling this list.  I gave my boyfriend a few choices since he’s going to see some of the weekend movies with me (especially horror).  This one was the final choice.  It looks like it has a pretty intriguing setup and seems to touch on various social issues in the process.

4) JULY 26: JACK ET LA MECANIQUE DU COEUR/FRANCE/2013

In English, the title is called Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart.

Last year, I saw a few animated movies from France and the style just charmed me so much that when I saw this one and the trailer, I knew I had to see it.  I like the whole dark Gothic style and the original idea of having a boy with a cuckoo clock as his heart.  I’m really excited for this one.

5) JULY 27: HAL/JAPAN/2013

Back to back days of animation.  How can I go to Fantasia and not see something from Japan? I almost wanted to choose a Korean one but it didn’t really work for me other than the cute characters and this one seems to have a more intriguing storyline whether its love or maybe something more. Plus, its only 60 minutes and the animation looks really nice.

6) JULY 28: INTO THE STORM/USA/2014

I already had Into the Storm in my anticipated movies for 2014 but seeing as this showed up in Fantasia Film Festival, I’m guessing it might not make it to the theatre near me.  Plus, I get advance viewing from everyone else in Montreal whose not seeing this on July 28th? Who needs perks anyways? I just want to see Richard Armitage in a leading role and I love disaster movies.  This one could hit the over the top area but sometimes, it works well 🙂 I’m staying optimistic for this one!

7) AUGUST 1: DYS-/QUEBEC/2014

I’m usually not running towards Quebec productions and no, that should say Canada because as much as Quebec wants to believe its unique and not part of Canada, it is.  Just so no one bans me from the movie for saying that, I’m going to shut up about that part.  This movie is weirdly in English (take that, Quebec :P) and its shot in my friend’s condo building.  I recognized the hallways.  Plus, it has a creepy vibe to it.  Its the only horror that I will be going to see by myself, unless some friend decides to join me.

8) AUGUST 2: THE DROWNSMAN/CANADA/2014

Last year, I wanted to check out Antisocial, which looked mad gory but it had some messed up time where I was always at work.  I know a few of you of reviewed it.   The Drownsman is done by the same team, I believe I read that somewhere.  Confession time: I can’t make it through the trailer? My boyfriend watched it for me and gave it a thumbs up for scary and potentially awesome and he laughed because he doesn’t know how I’ll get through the movie if I can’t get through the trailer.  I don’t know either but I’ll figure it out when I’m sitting in the theatre…

9) AUGUST 2: TIME LAPSE/USA/2013

Thats right! August 2nd is a double feature for us.  We have back to back movies with a little time slot in the middle to eat dinner (hopefully). I wasn’t so sure about Time Lapse until I saw the trailer and then I was sold.  Time Lapse looks intense and pretty intense.  The question with these sci-fi time travel-esque movies is whether it makes sense.  I’m confident that it will but I’m also curious to see how this pans out 🙂

Thats what I’ve bought so far!

The movie I believe slipped out of my grasp is also the one I expected to also: the special screening of Guardians of the Galaxy.  I don’t really mind too much.  I’ll still end up seeing it opening weekend, I’m pretty sure.  One of my friends seem pretty hyped up about it.

BUT, that means to complete my 10 movie run, I need to choose one more.

I have to miss Suburban Gothic (and the chance to see Matthew Gray Gubler) because of my friend’s wedding but here’s the trailer:

This just looks so good.  But I had to make a choice and I have prior commitments.  Lets see other options…

There is one that made me laugh called 3D Naked Ambition, a Hong Kong movie at 11:55pm.  Red light flashing on it possibly being in the porn department since its like at midnight.  As I was trying to find the trailer, I actually found the full movie on Youtube so nope, especially since I won’t have public transport to go home either.

Honeymoon also looks pretty good, but I’m not too fond of watching too many horrors on my own.

As interesting as this is, its also a pass.

Now, I could go on because there’s a few action movies that looked decent as well but I came to the final conclusion that it doesn’t feel right to give up the chance to watch a Hong Kong movie on the big screen.  They have one, From Vegas to Macau which I actually bought when I went to Hong Kong earlier and I will review it during this festival time (if I find time for it).

The final choice goes to That Demon Within.  Its somewhat of a horror action flick, if that even exists.

Nick Cheung has been churning out hit after hit and he’s just been out of control.  Daniel Wu is also one of my favorite actors.  The more I watch this trailer, the more I’m convinced this is going to be epic.  On top of that, its a crime thriller and I just can’t resist them.

Thats it for Fantasia Film Festival for now! I’ll be back with reviews in a little bit 🙂 I’ll try to get them out as soon as possible but with the movies mostly at night, I might have a few days delay depending on my schedule.  Things will stay as normal as possible here.  For sure, the focus will be geared towards movie reviews but I still remember that I have the Hong Kong trip that I have a few posts to put up also at the very least.

What movies peak your interest? Have you been to the Fantasia Film Festival? If you are going, what are you seeing? 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)

First review (out of 2) before the August recommendation month officially starts 🙂 Watched this before I decided to do that!

I just realized that I hadn’t done a review of the 2nd Alvin yet but if you are interested, you could check out the review of Alvin and the Chipmunks HERE!  Honestly, after the second one didn’t really do too well for me, I’ve been hesitating to watch the third one: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  There’s only so much of chipmunk singing pop songs that I can take before it gets old.  But hey, it was on Netflix so means I technically am watching it for free since its in my first month of subscription! Why not, right?  Lets see how it was…

alvin 3 posterDirector: Mike Mitchell

Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate, Alan Tudyk

Dave (Jason Lee), Alvin (Justin Long) and the Chipmunks (Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theordore (Jesse McCartney)) and Chipettes: Brittany (Christina Applegate), Eleanor (Amy Poehler) and Jeanette (Anna Faris) are going on a cruise for some R&R before their performance at the International Music Awards. On the ship, Dave sees  Ian (David Cross), who is now a pelican mascot for the cruise ship, Ian vows to watch the chipmunks closely to plot revenge and get them kicked off the ship.  After some mischief with Alvin, they get banned to one area of the ship. When Dave falls asleep, the chipmunks crew accidentally end up flying off in a hang glider and ends up on a deserted island.  Due to this, as Dave was trying to save them, Ian gets involved and they also end up stranded in the ocean and eventually find the island. Determined that he will find the chipmunks on the island, he sets off with Ian to find them while the chipmunks are learning their own lessons and making acquaintance with a girl, Zoe (Jenny Slate) thats been trapped there for almost a decade.

alvin 3 chipmunks chipettes

How would I describe this movie? There was a lot of chipmunks singing, for everything and everywhere.  In the first movie, it was not that much singing and it had more of a storyline.  We hit this third one and its all become a lot of chipmunk voices singing to lead through every sequence. I think that affected this flick a lot. I get that its for children and probably young children but there is also the fact that Alvin was known to the 20s-30s crowd or whatnot.  I’m not exactly sure of the time frame.  That really made this movie really boring and man, it was long.

alvin 3 survival

Plus, there isn’t much changes.  The only difference is that a different character learns the meaning of life in a different scenario.  The first one was about Dave learning to accept the chipmunks as families and learning to take responsibility and care for them as his kids.  Now this time, think parents teaching kids to grow up and the concept of responsibility and that the only way they learn is through making mistakes to learn to be grateful and more understanding for both Alvin and Dave.  Its also about learning to be courageous and at certain times, embrace being fearless for Simon.

alvin 3 zoe

This time around we bring in a new character called Zoe played by Jenny Slate who has been stranded on the island for eight to nine years. She’s not completely there and her friends are different types of sports balls and she names them with their brand.  Stealing ideas from Cast Away, right? “Wilson!!” Sorry, I’m having a moment right there.  She’s not a bad character though.  She just didn’t get a great script.

alvin 3 island

Overall, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was pretty disappointing even though  I didn’t have much expectations.  You know I find positives in even the worst movies if you’ve been following my reviews but really, this one didn’t have much.  I just didn’t really enjoy myself and felt I might have wasted my time and almost turned it off.  I did tough it out till the very end.  At least Theodore got enough parts to keep me “aww-ing” over his cuteness 😉 I can’t get enough of him in these.  Just way too adorable! Who I recommend this to? Kids might enjoy it…I don’t have kids so I don’ t know but young kids might get a little more enjoyment than I did. It has a lot of good values and lessons to learn just its not really set for a wide age range.

How do you feel about Alvin and the Chipmunks? Do you know if they will be doing a sequel after this?

Christmas Marathon: Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)

alvin_and_the_chipmunks_2007ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS

Directed by: Tim Hill

Cast: Jason Lee, David Cross, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney

Based on the tv show, this is a movie version of Alvin and the Chipmunks.  Dave Seville (Jason Lee) is a struggling songwriter who meets 3 talking chipmunks and by some chance, ends up bringing them to his house.  When he first discovers them, he tries to make them leave his house.  He then discovers that these chipmunks, Alvin “the awesomest one” (Justin Long), Simon “the smart one”(Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) can also sing.  He asks them to sing his songs in exchange for giving them a place to live.  Its then he brings them to his song producer, Ian Hawke (David Cross) who tries to separate them from Dave and use them as moneymaking machines.  However, the question is: can Dave and the chipmunks bond like a family?

This movie is also one thats set during the holiday season and we have Alvin and the Chipmunks “The Christmas song, (Christmas Is Here) is the name I believe.  Here is the video in case you don’t know it.

This is one that I have mixed feelings about.  It has some nice little singing that I like to listen to but as for the acting, it was not too good.  I realized that I winch at Jason Lee’s acting in this one.  He just has such exaggerated expressions.  It makes it all feel so fake.  However, I have this thing with hearing chipmunks singing.  They do a few songs like Bad Day and Only You.  Its a fun movie as Alvin just like a bunch of mischievous and clueless and know-it-all and these embodies the attitudes of certain kids when they want to experience and learn more about their surroundings.  Also, as much as the voices don’t sound like the actors voicing them, I was drawn to the fact that Matthew Gray Gubler does Simon.  He sure has the image especially since the plays the young and gifted Dr. Reid in Criminal Minds, one of my absolute favorite shows on TV.  Also, Theodore is just the most adorable little chipmunk ever!

This movie is good for children.  Its fun and musical and it has the theme of family: being committed and sticking together as a family.  That definitely is something we want in a Christmas movie. However, this shouldn’t be pegged as a Christmas movie to some as it just is set in the first half during Christmas and we hit Christmas day.

Anyone watch this during Christmas? How about the song, does it bring back some memories? Any Alvin and the chipmunk fans out there? Which one is your favorite?