Morgan

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Vampire Owl: I thought that this title was Morgue.

Vampire Bat: From how you usually think, I am not surprised at all. You could have even thought “Graveyard”.

Vampire Owl: Well, I am the one who found this as the movie to watch.

Vampire Bat: You just made a random guess about it, nothing more.

Vampire Owl: I guess well, and I also do choose well.

Vampire Bat: What you need is a better choice of words.

Vampire Owl: I think that you could be the protagonist of this movie.

Vampire Bat: I am not even going to comment on that.

Vampire Owl: Well, after watching this movie, you will comment.

Vampire Bat: Lets see. I am in need of a science fiction movie right now.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) works as a risk management specialist for a genetic engineering company. Firm in her actions and thoughts, she is given a new assignment, which she is expected to complete without giving any chance for errors. It is concerning the company’s latest experiment, with a genetically engineering human called Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who has displayed acts of aggression all of a sudden due to which injuries have happened. This person is a lot smarter than humans, and has an advanced growth rate, looking like an adult, but is only five years old in reality. This girl had suddenly become violent and stabbed a scientist Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the left eye. It is revealed that there was another incident earlier at Helsinki which the main scientists Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh) and Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones) acknowledges.

So, what happens next? :: It is Amy Menser (Rose Leslie) who is considered to be closest to Morgan, as she used to take her outside. Morgan also considers her as her best friend, and the one whom she loves the most in the world. After the psychologist Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti) has an evaluation of Morgan and pushes her to the limits, she attacks and kills him, which leads to Lee taking the decision that Morgan as well as the whole experiment is a threat and need to be terminated. But most of the scientists don’t approve of the same due to their emotional attachment to the subject, and Morgan is certainly not keen to get killed by the humans who are both intellectually and physically inferior to her. Lee reasserts that it is her job to make sure that the subject is terminated, but others feel that she is fighting an unnecessary, lone battle. The question remains about what Morgan thinks about the same with her superior intellect.

The defence of Morgan :: There is one nice twist awaiting you at the end of Morgan, and it can also make way to bring another movie to follow this one – something which could be even better as a sequel, keeping that core idea alive to be explored further. Morgan does make sure that there is a lot of action in there too, as we see the close combat scenes to be very interesting, making it the science fiction action movie that a good number of people had missed. The second half of the movie is more intense, and we are left with a number of questions about being human – and it might be the emotions that make one more human, but what kind of emotions will make one really human? There is also that twist in the end which works well, and that also provides an answer which many people would have wanted while going through the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The most possible comparisons of this movie would be to Ex Machina, which will certainly leave Morgan at a disadvantage. As this one goes for action instead of developing its interesting core ideas into something amazing, the audience does doubt what all it could have achieved otherwise – maybe even with some scares, this could have gone through another path. More fights and less dialogues might be the key for more than one character here, and it is surely more than many people would have liked. There could have been more interesting moments in the beginning stages too, and the predictability in between should have also been shown the door to the outside. When the opportunity to be complex is there, I would say that all science fiction movies should take it, but Morgan just hesitates in doing so.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Mara looks really good as the determined character, and there are moments when you feel that things get even better – the hairstyle as well as the clothing supports the effectiveness of the character a lot. She has been one of my favourite actresses on a list which goes long, along with Rooney Mara too. Anya Taylor-Joy comes up with another impressive performance after The Witch, and here, we see her getting right into a character that shares not much in common with her work in that special horror movie. There is a certain amount of balance in her character, as we love this particular creation as well as hate it, and see it with sympathetic eyes while seeing the same thing as creepy and dangerous. Rose Leslie is there in a role that does her not much justice, but it is good to see her again.

How it finishes :: Morgan is directed by the son of Ridley Scott, Luke Scott. He has worked as the second unit director on Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Martian, both directed by his father. Even though he has directed a science fiction short film Loom, this is his directorial debut with a full-length movie, and it works very nicely indeed. There is even scope for a possible sequel with this one, as we look at how things finish. Morgan is the kind of movie which is thrilling, and at the same time delivers a message, despite not being fully an idea which is not seen before. With the twist right where it needs to be, Morgan might be the flick that most of you haven’t heard about much, but will need to give a try because it is smart science fiction, and there is more to it for thinking about; more than what immediately meets the eye. When you need more of smart entertainment, choose Morgan.

Release date: 2nd September 2016
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Luke Scott
Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti, Michael Yare, Chris Sullivan, Vinette Robinson, Crispian Belfrage, Luke Whoriskey, Jonathan Aris, Brian Cox, Courtney Caldwell, Amybeth McNulty

morgan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kill Command

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Vampire Owl :: I remember having made such a command.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I totally understand. To your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: No, to the Frankenstein Monster.

Vampire Bat :: No wonder nobody gets killed by that command.

Vampire Owl :: My question is about why nobody has told me anything about this movie yet.

Vampire Bat :: Nobody I know have heard about this movie either.

Vampire Owl :: But I have a feeling that we will like this one. The poster is so nice.

Vampire Bat :: A science fiction action thriller will only do good at this time. We never really get much of such movies.

Vampire Owl :: We are going to make Dr. Victor Frankenstein proud by watching such movies.

Vampire Bat :: And we have Vanessa Kirby as the central character.

[Gets three cups of tea with bananachips].

What is it about? :: The story set a long way into the future, as technology has gone beyond human expectations, transforming lives as well as combat. Captain Bukes (Thure Lindhardt) and his team of marines are off to a training facility in a remote island. They are joined by Mills (Vanessa Kirby), a human who is genetically enhanced by robotic technology, being part of one of the many types of machines and hybrids who are supposed to replace the human soldiers later. The idea is simple, to finish off the machines which were designed by Mills and get out of the facility, as she herself will observe the whole thing. The soldiers don’t really trust Mills, and hesitate to consider her as one of them. But they trust themselves to go through this training with ease, as the opponents are just mindless machines who have always been there as part of the programme.

So what happens next? :: Even though things seem easy in the beginning, soon they find out that the machines are copying their battle style, and are learning how to counter the human soldiers, using the human idea against themselves, and steadily becoming the superior force with better skill acquired through the experience of fighting with the marines. This no longer remains a training programme, but a battle for survival, as there are more effective killing machines on the island than they had imagined. So, with marines getting killed one after the other, what are the chances of them completing the training or at least getting out of the island? What role does Mills play in this newly declared war, and on which side does her loyalties lie? Where did this simple training programme go wrong and how can the marines make their last stand with machines everywhere?

The defence of Kill Command :: The movie has great CGI; it was rather unexpected for a lesser known movie which seems to be made from a lower budget. It is the kind of movie that you can watch instead of all those high budget movies which keep coming for you, with almost nothing inside them other than the repetition of what we have been seeing for many years. The machines look really good and environment including the surroundings and the insides of the buildings are all nicely designed. There is also a lot of action going on here. There are some nice thrilling moments with the machines around, and you can look forward to a big adventure. This is also a short movie and things go on smoothly throughout its run, leaving no boring moments behind. The acting is also good, and there is something special about how it turns out on the screen – you see even a few nice scares to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: There will be similarities to be found when in comparison with other movies, with its central idea. A better treatment of the same subject could have been done with more entertainment and further twists. This one often takes its progression straight, taking things for granted, and not making the best use of everything. There is also a certain amount of predictability that comes in, and it hesitates to go as the movie progresses towards the end – a better finish would have also been nice, as everything seemed to be moving towards the big final moments, but that never really happens. There are the nicely designed machines, there is the partially machine character, there is a special environment which can bring mystery and horror, and also a lot of action, but all these are not used to create the maximum impact, which would have raised the level of this flick.

Performers of the soul :: The best of this movie are its machines; we will get to love how they look and work. This whole thing can be compared to one big video game that you might have played during your childhood – there is that kind of a feel throughout this flick. The cast includes mostly unknown names as far as people in this part of the world are concerned. The best among them, and the one who leads the way as the protagonist, is great to watch – Vanessa Kirby who has played Estella Havisham in the BBC version of Great Expectations, makes her half-human, half-machine character work with ease. Genetically enhanced characters or cyborgs are not really the best characters had to be that good, and I would consider this particular one to be another memorable mixed existence. The rest are there in support, which they manage well.

How it finishes :: Kill Command is that kind of a movie which can create a great video game out of itself – it is like a perfect setting for a First Person Shooter, especially one featuring some arena battles following games like Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. As a sci-fi action thriller, it makes a nice impact, even without trying too hard. With the kind of material that exists here, I would want to have a sequel, and I am pretty sure that it can surpass this one. Kill Command provides you with that feeling that some nice sci-fi movies can be made without the big names and those huge action sequences that destroy everything around. Just a few machines, some people and a remote location is enough to make the whole experience better with some nice CGI and performances, as long as the resources are used nicely. I would consider this movie to be a fine addition to those simple, but effective sci-fi movies – this is no Ex Machina, but still a fine work.

***This is the 300th movie review on this blog!!!

Release date: 13th May 2016
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Steven Gomez
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Thure Lindhardt, David Ajala, Bentley Kalu, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough, Deborah Rosan

killcommand

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RoboCop

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A hybrid in black :: A long time after the release of the 1987 version, here is a reboot which was much talked about. There are times when remakes and reboots do work, like in the case of Dredd, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, but there are times when they don’t. RoboCop might have also wondered about the same, and no wonder they wanted to make this hero black too, and remains so through most of the movie. It has released here two days after the original release in the United States and seems to have attracted less audience even as the title character is rather famous among the masses and the posters are pretty much impressive. The original movie re-telecasted on television might have brought better audience, even as this one might have just managed to keep itself together, but not throughout the whole movie, that is for sure. As the original movie was rather ahead of its times, one would wonder where this one will stand as bigger robots have come and gone in the form of Transformers and Pacific Rim.

What is it about? :: The world has gone on to 2028. OmniCorp is the organization that supplies mechanized soldiers to the United States Army which are used abroad. They wish to use the same inside the United States, but the same doesn’t happen due to Dreyfus Act which prevents it. The CEO of the organization asks a leading scientist to create a soldier who is a combination of man and machine, so that the public will like him and support more machines. As they look for a human who can be merged with the machine, one of the cops Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb blast. As his wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish) approves the same to see him live, he is chosen as the RoboCop. The control of the human side is kept to the minimum so that his decisions are more accurate and without being shadowed by human emotions which could weaken his reliability. The question remains if the man or the machine wins in the end, and whether he can have revenge on the people who tried to kill him as well as those who wishes to control him.

The defence of RoboCop :: So RoboCop rides on the fame of a movie which was more popular than even those movies which had big stars in 1987. Being Alexander James Murphy and newest model from OCP Crime Prevention Unit of Detroit Police Department, this guy has been a popular hero for quite a long time. The idea of a cyborg, half-man and half-machine was a crowd favourite. This movie works on that solid grounds, and therefore this movie does starts with certain good score. There are lots of action sequences in store for such a character, and this movie also has the same, but mostly about shooting people. Along with the cyborg, the other robots are also nicely done. The robot versus drones training fight remains the best shooting sequence in the movie. The movie tries again and again to bring more and more thoughts into the process, including humanity, machines and souls, and it makes more and more efforts to keep the emotional side powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie can’t really use this emotional side to its advantage, as it is so much caught between it’s confusion about the major character being a man or robot, and in the process, often forgets that the viewers are human, or mostly belonging to that particular species which is supposed to be intellectually superior. RoboCop tries to live on the hype of the original, and in the process, ends up being too less of an entity which can be something which belongs to this age. To add to it, some fight sequences are horribly uninteresting. Then Iran seems to be occupied by the United States and RoboCop is made in China. There is also a television programme which is rather boring for the common viewer. Whenever there is too much deviation from the core of a movie like this, which should have been action, there was to be struggle, and RoboCop is caught in that problem which it has brought upon itself with repetition of the “emotion” stuff, as it gets overdone.

How it works :: Joel Kinnaman does well as the protagonist of the movie. One has to appreciate his presence as the cyborg right from that moment he wakes up inside that suit which is himself. Abbie Cornish is also nice; and I have seen her only in Sucker Punch before. There are lots of good moments provided by the cast, and the movie certainly has its own style. RoboCop seems to be doing better than the 2012 remake of Dredd for now, but I would say that the latter is one of the best reboots ever, even as RoboCop will surely collect more money than the same. Both works on almost the same platform, in a futuristic world full of crime, but RoboCop has the advantage of its hybrid character, and it is what sells, no matter how better Dredd really is. Unlike the original movie, this one isn’t really clear, as it seems to wonder what it is going to convey to the audience. It could have used a lot of updates which any robot should have with that advancement in technology.

Soul exploration :: As RoboCop is the latest victim to Hollywood’s desire to remake movies, there is surely a lot more than what meets the eye. There is a certain amount of satire in it, about the millionaire corporate greed and the prejudice of media, even as they rarely strike hard enough. There is lot of weakness in the idea. The audience expectation of an action movie is fulfilled only on occasions, as the robot police doesn’t get into the field until the second half. There is a lot of slowness related to the first half due to this, but one can spend that time thinking about what is to come and which part of this new breed of police will take over. The movie repeats what one would have always thought about the original law enforcer cyborg, and somewhat adds to the questions which were already there. But the answers are rather not clear in this case. May be it is because the movie wonders about its genre, but it fails to make its point clear as it has another television show in the end which continues what it had been saying.

How it finishes :: RoboCop doesn’t finish that strong as expected from the trailer. There was almost no scene which evoked any good response from the audience in the theatre. It was as if everyone in there was dead; there is always something to cheer for in almost every Hollywood action movie, but not in this one. When it tries too much in order to touch the foreign policy of the United States, capitalism, imperialism, media lies, human tendency towards corruption, terrorism, violence, modern tenchnology with side-effects and all things possible, with no particular care for one, there is rather too much of mess in an action movie which people are expecting. May be it had stuck to one or two things and used more interesting action sequences, with a better link between the audience and the human side of the robot, this would have been better. For now, it is just another okay movie which manages to hold on.

Release date: 14th February 2014 (India); 12th February 2014 (USA)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.