Mini Reviews (September 2016)
Morgan (September 7/16)
Directed by Luke Scott, Morgan follows risk-management consultant Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) as she arrives at a remote compound to determine whether or not an artificially-created person (Anya Taylor-Joy's Morgan) should be terminated. It's a compelling premise that never quite translates into an engrossing film, as Scott, working from Seth W. Owen's script, proves unable wholeheartedly capture the viewer's interest at any point in the proceedings - with the somewhat hands-off atmosphere compounded by Mara's distractingly robotic performance. The actress' almost total lack of charisma makes it impossible to root for her character, while the talented supporting cast, which includes Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, and Michelle Yeoh, is so innumerable that no one is able to make much of an impact. (Paul Giamatti, on the other hand, certainly makes the most of his one-scene cameo as a skeptical shrink, with this all-too-brief interlude ultimately standing as the picture's high point.) The less-than-captivating vibe is compounded by a narrative that grows more and more ridiculous, with Morgan eventually morphing into an all-out slasher as the title character begins stalking and dispatching the various protagonists. It's a striking, jarring transformation that simply doesn't work, with one's lack of investment in these people preventing one from wholly embracing the third act - while the climactic twist, which is hardly surprising, probably would've served the film better had it been revealed right from the outset. It's clear that Morgan could and should have been a heck of a lot better, with the effectiveness of the aforementioned Giamatti sequence standing in sharp contract to the mediocrity of virtually everything else.