(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The MovieColumbus

Where You Can Stream It: Criterion Channel

The Pitch: John Cho stars as Jin, the estranged son of a renowned architect who finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana when his father suddenly falls ill during a speaking tour. While wandering the artfully designed Midwestern city, he strikes up an unusual friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), an architecture enthusiast who works at the local library and is trapped in her own situation, taking care of her recovering drug addict mom.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: I was transfixed by Columbus when I first saw the delicate feature debut by Kogonoda. There was nothing flashy or exciting about it — it was just about two lost souls who connect and bond while wandering through a pleasant environment. It’s a premise that’s been done plenty of times before and maybe more effectively by others (all of which are catnip to me), but still, Columbus struck a chord. But when the time came at the end of 2017 to choose our top films of the year, I foolishly left it off my list — a decision I would regret as Columbus continued to occupy a space in my head for months, years later. What was it about Columbus? Was it the oh so satisfying way that Kogonada framed his every shot, using the clean architecture of the town to draw the eye, in an almost mesmerizing fashion? Was it Cho and Richardson’s quiet, vulnerable performances? Was it an aesthetic that, for all intents and purposes, could be mistaken for a minimalist ASMR video? But there’s something soulful that stirs beneath the placid surface, about the rare kinship that can be found in melancholy.

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Columbus trailer

John Cho has long deserved a romantic leading man role after paying his dues for years in the broad comedy of Harold and Kumar and as second fiddle in action franchises like Star Trek. He even gave an underrated performance in Selfie, a surprisingly charming TV show with a terrible title. But now it seems like he’s finally been given the spotlight he deserves in the Sundance darling, Columbus.

And you can see him get that spotlight in the trailer for Columbus, which stars Cho as the son of an ailing professor and Haley Lu Richardson as the young drifting architecture enthusiast with whom he strikes up a friendship.

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The Best Films of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Call Me By Your Name

The reviews have been filed, the awards have been handed out, and the stars and cinephiles have left Park City: it’s time to close the book on the Sundance Film Festival for another year. Last week we brought you our quick impressions of every single film we saw at Sundance 2017. Today we’re rounding out our coverage with a ranked list of our very favorite movies from the fest. Click through to find out what we loved.

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sundance 2017

The /Film team of Angie Han, Ethan Anderton, and myself have returned from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Over the six days we were in Park City, we screened over 36 movies (with only one movie having been watched by all three of us). Here are 15-second capsule reviews of all the movies we saw at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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Columbus review

Early in Columbus, Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) defends her decision to use less spice in a dish. She was going for subtlety, she explains, all the better to let the true flavors of the ingredients shine through and leave a lingering aftertaste. That, essentially, is the mission statement for the entire movie. It might not be to everyone’s tastes — it’s too delicate and slow and, yes, subtle for that. But those who stick with it will find a drama worth savoring, with echoes of OncePaterson, and the Before trilogy and fine performances from Richardson and John ChoRead More »

richardbranson

Lately, the man dead set on selling space to millionaire tourists, Virgin Atlantic billionaire Richard Branson, has been getting into the movie business and he currently has his sites set on Columbus, a script by T.S. Nowlin. The 300-esque retelling of the Christopher Columbus story has McG attached to produce and direct and Branson is reportedly close to acquiring the script for his Virgin Produced film company, a joint venture with Relativity Media. They’re also in the middle of producing a Kentucky Fried Movie type comedy featuring segments with Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Uma Thurman, Gerard Butler, Julianne Moore and many, many more. Hit the jump to read more about both projects. Read More »