Never Let Me Go

romanek

Sy is a photo technician at a SavMart development center who has a fierce, almost reverent passion for what cameras can do. They can provide a window into someone else’s life. They can preserve everything we hold dear in two dimensions. They can capture a person. Played in One Hour Photo as a quiet force of nature by Robin Williams, Sy worships photography almost as fervently as he does the blissful life of the textbook suburban family that he plans on getting closer to. With a filmmaker as visually florid as Mark Romanek, you’d expect a more bombastic debut, but the acclaimed director approached his first feature with a simple, colorful elegance that suited its precise protagonist. Sy the photo guy would approve. A little over a decade later, the film is now available on Blu-ray — giving us a new opportunity to hold it up to the light box and try to find some sympathy for the devil on the other side of the camera. I spoke with Romanek to discuss that power, his education under Brian De Palma, and the rarest thing that happens when making a movie.

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Fantastic Fest: Alex Garland

In many ways, Alex Garland is not dissimilar from Judge Dredd. He’s tough, he’s fearless, and he doesn’t mince words. Arguably, no one was more qualified to reboot the 70s comic book antihero than Garland. Not only is he a fan of the source material, but he’s also proven time and time again to be one of the most interesting voices in cinematic sci-fi. Films like Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, and now Dredd form quite the imposing catalog. When we sat down with Garland during Fantastic Fest, like Dredd walking into Peach Trees, we got more than we bargained for.

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The new trend in Hollywood seems to be live action adaptations of tales starring Disney princesses. First Disney hit it big themselves with their Tim Burton directed 3D version of Alice in Wonderland. Then, a couple of other studios got the jump on them for the next round by announcing several different Snow White projects. Eventually Disney threw their hat into that ring with their own take on the tale, The Order of the Seven, and not one to be outdone for long, they’ve become to first one out of the gate for the next wave of princess movies as well. If one of those other studios wants to put a Cinderella project in the works, well they’re just going to have to get in line behind the mouse. Work on a live action Cinderella started last year when Disney paid The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna big money for her treatment on the material. That pitch seems to have come together nicely, because word from Deadline Fantasyland is that Disney is courting director Mark Romanek to helm the project. Romanek has directed films like One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go before, and his work has always gotten a fair amount of critical acclaim, but it should be remembered that the last time he was attached to a big studio property it resulted in him walking out on Universal’s The Wolfman not long before shooting was scheduled to start. Seeing as nothing has been officially signed, […]

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Variety has gotten its hands on the director shortlist for The Wolverine, and it, mostly, consists of fairly safe and obvious choices. But, like many of these lists, a great and head scratching question is posed: Does Hugh Jackman and company actually know what type of movie they want to make? When a list of favored directors features the likes of Mark Romanek and the director of Tokyo Drift, it boggles the mind. Here’s the apparent list of favored options that, per usual, you should take with a slight grain of salt:

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is back again with a massive slate of releases. You’d think that it’s about to be Christmas time around here with the amount of quality Blu-rays spilling into stores. Everything from a beautiful edition of a Disney classic (seen below in the new Pick of the Week section) to another institutional Criterion release, combined with a chance for home video buyers to see some of last year’s more interesting indies. In column news: I’m taking your comment section silence to mean that you like the new format, so I’m sticking with it. But enough talk, lets make with the recommendations. Alice in Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition Call me a victim of nostalgia — or a man of taste — but the bitterness of seeing Tim Burton take the care of a baby rhinoceros in a chandelier shop with the story of Alice in Wonderland this year made me sad. Someday, much to the benefit of movie lovers everywhere, that guy will realize that you can’t just take Johnny Depp, some pastels and a little bit of weird and make a good film. Especially if you do it in mind-numbingly bad 3D. Which brings us to the point — Disney has released their now 60-year old Alice in Wonderland tune on Blu-ray. And like many of its animated catalog titles, the color and detail of the hand-drawn tale is brilliant in high definition. It’s supplemented with great extras, new and old. Among the new are two interactive […]

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This Week in DVD

This is a busy and full week for DVD releases with a common theme… many of them are movies you’ve probably heard of over the past year, but judging by their minuscule box-office you most likely didn’t see any of them. The other common theme? Pretty much none of them are as good as the internet told you they were. I know. It’s shocking. But sometimes the internet does in fact tell lies. Titles out this week include The Tillman Story, Conviction, Let Me In, Hatchet II, Welcome To the Riley’s, Never Let Me Go, Monsters, and more.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Rob Hunter drops by to help us countdown our favorites of 2010 while looking forward to the New Year’s Resolutions the filmmakers of the future should adhere to. Out with old, in with the old. Plus, we would have found time to review the releases of the week if there were any. We can’t wait for the executives to get back to work, either. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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As I expressed earlier in the week as our 2010 Year in Review began, I take it as a great honor that I am able to put together my list of the Best Films of the Year as part of my Editor’s Picks entry. And while I’m a massive fan of my own perspective and opinions, I’m an even bigger fan of the writing and ever-diverse tastes of the Film School Rejects reviewing staff. These are the folks who, through their sensational (and often divisive) review-writing, keep you coming back for more each and every day. They travel the world and brave the crowds at festivals, conventions, preview screenings and special events to bring you some of the industry’s sharpest, most honest film coverage. And I for one am honored to have them all on this team. Just as I did last year, I couldn’t wait to see which films each writer would put on their Top 5 lists as the best films of the year. And just as they did last year, they didn’t disappoint with their unique, ever-fascinating selections. So read on dear reader, as we present the crown jewel of our 2010 Year in Review: The Staff Picks.

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There are two reasons why looking at the best movie posters is fascinating. The first is the inherent interest that all advertising brings. It’s art that’s meant to sell something that can’t admit it’s trying to sell anything in order to succeed. The second is that rating the best of the best in the poster world has the most potential to showcase films that never end up on lists this time of year. This is a celebration of the beauty and effect that movie posters can have. It’s for the films released in 2010, and it’s the posters from the studios (or else Tyler Stout and Olly Moss would completely dominate). The awards are broken up into five categories in order to recognize the wide array of styles and concepts, and because there were a lot of great posters this year (among the absolutely terrible photoshop jobs that still haunt us). See if your favorite made the cut.

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Never Let Me Go, upon its initial release, was met with mixed reactions. It’s a polarizing type of film, never quite fitting the standard sci-fi mold. In truth, it’s more of a love story, which may have surprised some not familiar with the source material. This isn’t Logan’s Run or The Island, although, based on the core storyline, it could be mistaken for as much. Romanek’s adaptation doesn’t end with an uprising from the clones, but a realistic and truthful ending instead. And though some have trouble getting past Kathy and Tommy not running, Romanek’s passionate about his film’s take on the material and open about the torn critical response.

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If you are anything like us, 2010 has felt like much of a let down at the movies, especially lately. What with all of the talk about the year’s final tentpole being a bust and the Golden Globes nominating a movie with Christina Aguilera not once, but twice, it’s easy to see how post-cinemadum depression may be setting in. Then we watched this incredibly well edited video from an artist named Gen-I. It’s called Filmography 2010, and it makes 2010 feel like it might actually have been a good year at the movies.

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The top nominations for this year’s Indie Spirit Awards are no surprise. Winter’s Bone continues its march through the woods to find its father and an Oscar with 7 nominations (which is almost all it was even eligible for). In a close second, The Kids Are All Right finds itself with 5 nominations. If you’re a fan of female directors, this year is celebrating a number of them in the top spots, but it’s also incredibly important to point out that Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Murray are finally up for the same award. The Indepdenent Spirit Awards make a good primer for the films that might make their way into the Academy Award nominee pool. In recent tradition, the winner of the Best Feature prize goes on to be an Oscar contender (and occasional winner). Examples of that include Precious, The Wrestler, Juno, and Brokeback Mountain. The full list of nominees continues below:

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Since we already have a stellar review of Never Let Me Go from Lauren, and since it’s a film that demands a bit more investigation, there’s nothing like a list of things liked and things not liked in order to get all the thoughts straight. The film saw a limited release (and was one of the Secret Screenings at Fantastic Fest), but it never made it beyond the coastal markets. Still, it promises to have at least some sort of presence during awards season and DVD and Blu-ray will give even more people the opportunity to see it. Without further ado, here are the 10 things I liked about it, and the 5 I didn’t.

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The Week That Was

Fantastic Fest. Perhaps one of the busiest times of the year here on Film School Rejects. In which we cover a bunch of films from around the world, all of which are more likely to fade into the ether before they ever make it to your local cineplex. In fact, so many of the films that we’ve reviewed (with more to come) here in Austin won’t see distribution at all. It’s sad, but true. However, that won’t deter us from covering Fantastic Fest every single year. Why? Because it’s an amazing festival — perhaps the most unique and fan-driven in the entire world — and we’ve got a passion for these movies. The best of them are more than worth the time and effort it will take for you to seek them out. Trust us, we know what we’re talking about. Especially that Rob Hunter guy… And so begins the story of The Week That Was here on FSR….

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Jack Giroux

Features By Jack Giroux on September 29, 2010 | Be the First To Comment

Never Let Me Go isn’t Logan’s Run. With its concept, you’d imagine its setting being futuristic and dystopian. Instead, director Mark Romanek has made an alternate universe period piece. The film feels timeless, as if the universe got stuck in the 1950′s. There’s nothing overtly sci-fi about it. Being the character piece that it is, it never really focuses on the ethics of cloning; a word not once mentioned in the film. No character gives a rousing speech about how wrong this concept is and that they need to, “Fight back!” Romanek doesn’t think the film argues the ethical side of cloning, because it’s unquestionably wrong and that it doesn’t need to be argued in the first place. And while I could have asked Romanek a thousand questions about his return to the big screen, we mainly covered the two topics discussed above as well as the film’s commentary on art and the style of the film. Here’s what Mark Romanek had to say.

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If you follow the festival circuit and limited releases (and let’s face it, if you read this site, you probably do), you’ve heard about the dystopian drama Never Let Me Go. It made a splash at the Toronto International Film Festival, and now it’s coming to Columbus. But before it opens on October 8th, you can get a chance to see it early… for free… what’s better than that?

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Never Let Me Go is many things. It’s a tale of young love; it’s a dystopian sci-fi nightmare; it’s an existentialist drama, and it’s a disturbing social commentary that looks deeply into the notion of what it means to be human.

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The Reject Report

The Machete Spanish title worked so well a few weeks back, we figured we should probably stick to a dialect a little closer to home this time around. Therefore, in honuh of The Town, as well the othuh fine films in contention this box office weekend, we’re shipping up to Boston, Dropkick Murphys style. It should be a fairly close race between the newbies. M Night is producing a horror film about some people in an elevator. Lionsgate’s got a new animated flick to drop bomb on us. Easy A is a nice throwback to John Hughes’s comedies. Some of them will hit the Green Monster (this week, that title denotes cold, hard cash) solid, and some will slip into the Charles River without so much as a whimper. Let’s see how it shapes up. It’s about to get wicked retahded in he-uh.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them by now. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of August going to the local library, making phone calls to important producers and making fan trailers out of macaroni to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in September. Don’t let Machete scare you. If you watch movies, this guide’s for you.

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Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go continues to prove that it’s a contender for Awards Season. The trailer showed exactly how calm and desperate the entire thing might be, and Romanek’s history points to the movie being soul-crushingly depressing. Fortunately, that depression comes with a British accent, so it’s not quite so hard to take. Scratch that. Any sentiment of sweetness is blown out of the water by this clip featuring Kiera Knightley, a not-at-all-veiled threat against Carey Mulligan’s character, and what looks like the creepiest time possible to kiss another girl on the lips. Check it out after the jump.

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