Vivarium

Vampire Owl: I have heard that Vive la France is an expression used in France to show patriotism. Does the title have anything to do with it?

Vampire Bat: Well, I think that they have chosen an interesting name. It means an enclosure made for keeping animals in semi-natural conditions for observation or study.

Vampire Owl: It is strange, but I will agree to it. The name does catch one’s attention.

Vampire Bat: Do you wish to rename your vampires quarters with this name?

Vampire Owl: I haven’t even come close to renaming it. The present one is a highly intellectual one.

Vampire Bat: There is nothing intellectual about naming a home as mansion.

Vampire Owl: You will not understand. I have always wanted to have a mansion.

Vampire Bat: I will not understand such foolishness, ever.

Vampire Owl: I would rather be anywhere other than a vivarium.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see where our main characters here happens to be.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young couple, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) want to purchase a house and move in. Both are not married, but looks forward to start a new life together soon. For the same, they visit an estate agent, Martin (Jonathan Aris), who seems to be acting strange, but comes up with a special offer for them. According to him, a new development known as Yonder might be perfect for a young couple who is trying to begin a new life far away from the busy city life. The place which as a series of homes looking almost the same, seems to be beautiful, and at the same time, silent, empty with no house seemingly occupied, and also giving the feeling of being out of the world. Martin shows the couple around house number nine and then they cannot find him around. Gemma and Tom try to leave Yonder, but however they keep moving, they end up in front of the same house. The car eventually runs out of fuel and they are forced to stay in house number nine.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They try to go up to the roof of the building and see if they can have a better look, but there is only an unlimited of series of similar houses to be seen, and nothing else. All houses seem so perfectly identical, and even the sky looks the same everywhere, with the clouds also being perfectly shaped. As they looked towards infinity, they decide to follow the perfect sun-like thing by jumping over walls of the houses, going in a straight line. But that also leaves them at the same place. Then at home, they find food items and groceries being delivered. But soon, they find a little boy being delivered – “Raise the child and be released” – the message written on the delivery box said so, and they begin to think that it is their only way to escape. At the same time, Tom also begins to dig of a pit hoping to escape underground, as there is no other way to go. Can the couple escape from this seemingly impossible situation? Or will they be stuck there forever? What is with this child who seems to be growing up faster than normal?

The defence of Vivarium :: The movie keeps its mystery elements strong, and it arouses the curiosity of the audience with ease, and as it gets into such an environment very early, we are also into it guessing soon enough. This time, it is a kid who is at the centre of everything, and you remember the other kids who were indeed dangerous, including Orphan and The Prodigy. Lord of the Flies proved it with a group of kids, while The Room had another kind of child, with The Influence having a child becoming a nightmare. The movie shows the dream of buying a villa, and shows how the protagonists are trapped by it. There are many points in the movie which become classic, and its idea of the aliens is nicely divergent. The creepiness here is not in frightening people, and the maze-like structure which the villa becomes, is going to make even a Minotaur proud. After all, we are in such a structure, with no chance to escape, as each and every day brings the same routine, while we are caught in it.

The claws of flaw :: There are areas where Vivarium goes unexplained, and even though it does try to live up to its name, there is not really an attempt to go into that further, or give a stronger feeling about it. The aliens seem to be a little bit clueless about what they are doing too, at a time when all these could have had better explanation that showing a cuckoo growing up – this doesn’t exactly become the same. As the two protagonists have been alone for a long time, there were more that they could have done, and further methods of escape could have also been attempted. The boy here could have also been a little bit threatening rather than remaining annoying all the time – you remember the boy of The Room who was surely developing into a genuine threat. More additions could have been done within the neighbourhood to make it further creepy or rather scary.

Performers of the soul :: Imogen Poots is a highly underrated actress, and she proves to be fantastic yet again in this movie. The audience from this part of the world might know her from Need for Speed, the game-based movie which had her as heroine, looking kind of like Anushka Sharma from an angle or two. There has been many movies with her name with it, but I don’t think that any of them had a theatre release around here, except for, maybe the A-1 cities with big malls, like Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad – maybe cities like Pune and Ahmedabad had them too, but that wouldn’t have attracted much of the audience. The British actress takes this role to perfection, and you can see many situations reflecting the same. Jesse Eisenberg will be known for the audience here for Now You See Me and its sequel as well as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which were the last big movies of him widely released here, and he also does a fine job. The rest of the cast just gives some good support.

How it finishes :: At a time when people got caught in their homes, or at times the neighbourhood with nowhere to escape, Vivarium becomes a fine reflection, as the protagonists are also facing the same situation. They are left with a house in the neighbourhood, and they can’t go into any other houses around there, and are to spend their time inside with whatever food is being delivered from outside. It does feel like a certain kind of quarantine, but this is the kind from where there is no escape. There is no network coverage on the mobile phone, and the television only shows some strange lines and grains all around. Vivarium doesn’t seem to reach that greatness that it intended, but it is so much close to it. The movie makes us feel our emotions, and make us think about the usual themes about humanity and other species well enough. It is a movie that we should watch, and will like more or a little less according to our tastes. You can feel an experiment, even though not exactly in the form of The Belko Experiment or The Platform.

Release date: 18th May 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Lorcan Finnegan
Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Danielle Ryan, Jonathan Aris, Molly McCann, Senan Jennings, Eanna Hardwicke, Come Thiry

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Morgan

morgan-2

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.