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Columbus (2017)

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Not the debated Christopher Columbus, the director Chris Columbus, or even Columbus, Ohio, home of the Buckeyes...We're talking Columbus, Indiana, which is apparently one of the great architectural cities of North America and where John Cho goes to make peace with his ailing father and meets an underachieving girl trapped in a caregiver relationship, all against the backdrop of aforementioned architecture.  

 

 

 

Anyhow, reviews are stellar.  The director is Korean and the style strikes me as Japanese...this is playing exactly twice in my town, go figure, but I'll catch it tomorrow.

post #2 of 35

I'll see it!

 

I've heard the title and that Cho stars in it, but otherwise know nothing else about it (aside from what you wrote above).

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
An excited Nooj! The director, Kogonada, is an interesting fellow who has made the study of film his life's work...and he may have a successful career on his own.
post #4 of 35

OH, Kogonada!  The guy who was making video essays that didn't come off like desperate youtube fodder like most!!!

post #5 of 35

I believe I already started a thread on this.

 

It's phenomenal. My second favorite movie of the year so far, after Dunkirk.

 

Best cinematography of the year. And Kogonada's eye for composition must have played a part, because the DP never did anything remotely at this level before. Kogonada's editing shows his vision, not the fact that he did video essays before this.

 

Chu and Richardson are great. Richardson, particularly, is a revelation here. Light years better than her turns in Split or Edge of Seventeen.

 

Michelle Forbes and Parker Posey are also very good in supporting roles.

 

It is a very subtle (well, the dialogue does border on pedantic a couple times, but mostly quite good for a first-timer like Kogonada), low-key, beautiful film that resonated with me on a very deep and personal level.

 

The end is very simple and very sublime.

post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 

My bad, Wasp.   But yeah, hopefully it's all that.  Both Cho and Richardon's characters sound compelling.  Columbus isn't too far from Indianapolis so I might visit next time I do GenCon.

post #7 of 35

Anyone else catch this movie yet?

 

Looking through that Awards Circuit post the other day, and clearly Columbus is gonna end up one of the most overlooked/slept-on films as far as year-end recognition goes. But I think it's a top ten movie this year, for sure.

post #8 of 35

I did.

 

Believe the hype. This is the fucking goods.

 

Looking at some of Kogonada's visual essays (emphasis on visual), this very much feels like his own personal thesis on how art should be viewed. My favorite moment: When Haley Lu Richardson's character--I had absolutely no idea that this was the same actress from Split; she is absolutely fantastic here--tries to describe why she likes a certain piece of architecture in the most literal terms, John Cho (who is at his most charming here) stops her and basically asks her, "yeah but how does it make you feel." The film's dialogue cuts out; we don't ever hear what she says--but we know anyways. The cinematography, the music, spacing of the actors, all of it combines that we understand exactly how she feels with ever hearing exactly what she says. And I think that's exactly what Kogonada wants us to take from Columbus.

 

It's a movie that expects you to meet it half away. Rather than view it intellectually (plotplotplotplotplot) instead it should be viewed emotionally.

post #9 of 35

Watched this on Hulu yesterday. Gorgeous movie. As I said to Nooj on Facebook, very reserved. Minimal score. I love when Jin asks Casey to tell him how she feels about a building, instead of just the tour guide history, and it cuts to the other side of the glass and the music kicks in instead of us hearing what she says.

 

Lots of static medium shots, lots of people framed in doorways. As Casey says at one point, "Asymmetrical, but balanced." 

 

It's not a traditional romance, so maybe I'm just projecting, but Jin seemed like he was supposed to be around 30, maybe a little older than Rory Culkin's Gabriel. But I couldn't help but think, even though he doesn't look his age, that John Cho is more than 20 years older than Haley Lu. Eh, whatever. 

 

Fascinating choice to mostly hold back showing Jin's dad, amplifying his presence all the more. 

 

ETA: I just noticed I describe my favorite moment just like Ska does! It's a good scene.

post #10 of 35

I am...not sure how I feel about this yet.

 

On one hand, I'm a sucker for the following things: John Cho movies, minimalist films, gorgeous films, films with subtle acting, and modernist architecture. You might say I'm nuts about all those things. COLUMBUS has all of those in spades, and there were times throughout that I was very deeply moved by it. I think Hayley Lu Richardson is giving one of the best performances of the year. Cho is absolutely stellar - there are moments in here where you see the star he should be. He really reminded me of some of those guys from the 1940s who could do so much with a single look. 

 

But I had to really fight to stay engaged with it, and wound up watching it in about 45 minute chunks over a period of a couple days. That's never a good sign with a film for me. 

 

Ultimately, I give it a recommend, but not a strong one. 

 

But man, this rekindled my love of architecture. Definitely something I want to go back to. 

post #11 of 35

It's a beautiful movie, but there's not much propelling the conflict forward. Jin's dad's condition is so vague, and Casey seems to be both too concerned (her mom seems fine in the scenes they're together) or not concerned enough (there's an undercooked subplot about if the mom is skipping work and, therefore, possibly back on drugs). 

 

And again, the lack of definition on exactly what Jin and Casey are doing with each other felt too nebulous for me. It's not a romance, but it's not a mentor/apprentice situation either. I don't know, the dynamics were hard to nail down due to John Cho's ageless face!

 

Still, really dug it. 

post #12 of 35

I do appreciate that the movie flipped the dynamic with its ending where

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Jin stays in Columbus and Casey is the one who leaves. 

 

I kept thinking of the film as a pretty good short story. One where the "prose" - i.e., the visuals - elevate the plot, but it definitely leaves you impressed and wanting to read or see more from the creator. 

post #13 of 35

The elements (or lack thereof) that left some of you cold are part of what I loved about this movie. I LOVE that the relationship between Cho and Richardson is left a bit nebulous (while still thoroughly developed and affecting--it's a unique on-screen relationship that feels real to me, perhaps because it reminds me of a relationship I once had that was very dear to me but difficult to categorize or define). I LOVE that there isn't some intense dramatic conflict driving the movie forward. We have a bajillion other movies for that type of thing. This movie is about people, it's about the place they meet in and the circumstances that bring them together, it's about art and environment having an effect in the sharing of them and it's about something shifting inside of you, with you barely even realizing that that's happening.

 

Intent and execution are everything. Columbus' intent is pure and its execution is wonderful.

post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasp View Post
 

The elements (or lack thereof) that left some of you cold are part of what I loved about this movie. I LOVE that the relationship between Cho and Richardson is left a bit nebulous (while still thoroughly developed and affecting--it's a unique on-screen relationship that feels real to me, perhaps because it reminds me of a relationship I once had that was very dear to me but difficult to categorize or define). I LOVE that there isn't some intense dramatic conflict driving the movie forward. We have a bajillion other movies for that type of thing. This movie is about people, it's about the place they meet in and the circumstances that bring them together, it's about art and environment having an effect in the sharing of them and it's about something shifting inside of you, with you barely even realizing that that's happening.

 

Intent and execution are everything. Columbus' intent is pure and its execution is wonderful.

 

I love all of those things, and I adore movies like that. Everything about this movie should have worked for me, which is why I am surprised it didn't. 

post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

It's a beautiful movie, but there's not much propelling the conflict forward. Jin's dad's condition is so vague, and Casey seems to be both too concerned (her mom seems fine in the scenes they're together) or not concerned enough (there's an undercooked subplot about if the mom is skipping work and, therefore, possibly back on drugs). 

And again, the lack of definition on exactly what Jin and Casey are doing with each other felt too nebulous for me. It's not a romance, but it's not a mentor/apprentice situation either. I don't know, the dynamics were hard to nail down due to John Cho's ageless face!

Still, really dug it. 

ewwww that sounds a lot like you want some plotplotplotplotplotplotplot.

The thing is, none of that matters beyond how it makes the central characters feel. Would you really have more empathy for Jin if you knew that his dad was suffering from cancer? The film does not think that's important. What is important is that Jin carry's a long-standing resentment for his father and Columbus beautifully represents that through its visual language.

wasp gets it.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post

I love all of those things, and I adore movies like that. Everything about this movie should have worked for me, which is why I am surprised it didn't. 

I'd say a second watch might make you feel better about it.
post #17 of 35

It's definitely a movie that I've been turning over. I'll totally wind up watching it again. 

post #18 of 35

This is a movie that I am really glad that I saw in the theater, as it is the kind of film that really benefits from having your undivided attention. Not that I am casting aspersions on you, Boone, I just think this type of movie is always harder to watch at home, where you can so readily turn it off.

post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by COULD432 View Post
 

This is a movie that I am really glad that I saw in the theater, as it is the kind of film that really benefits from having your undivided attention. Not that I am casting aspersions on you, Boone, I just think this type of movie is always harder to watch at home, where you can so readily turn it off.

 

Yeah, I really do wish I had been aware of this when it was out, as I agree, movies like this (or CAROL, a personal fave) benefit from undivided attention in a darkened room. 

post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by COULD432 View Post
 

This is a movie that I am really glad that I saw in the theater, as it is the kind of film that really benefits from having your undivided attention. Not that I am casting aspersions on you, Boone, I just think this type of movie is always harder to watch at home, where you can so readily turn it off.

 

Yeah, really great theater experience. Loved watching a movie where everyone was utterly quiet throughout and yet you still had the feeling they were quite taken with what they were watching. And the cinematography was just gorgeous in that setting.

 

I've enjoyed my home watching of it but you're right, it's much easier to get distracted and have to pause it and come back to it later, which does detract something major from a movie like this that on an aesthetic level is all about acclimating you to its rhythm and syntax.

post #21 of 35

I do hope this gets a nice home video release. It currently has no blu-ray release scheduled, as far as I can tell.

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post


ewwww that sounds a lot like you want some plotplotplotplotplotplotplot.

The thing is, none of that matters beyond how it makes the central characters feel. Would you really have more empathy for Jin if you knew that his dad was suffering from cancer? The film does not think that's important. What is important is that Jin carry's a long-standing resentment for his father and Columbus beautifully represents that through its visual language.

wasp gets it.

Not exactly, not exactly. I'm not super heavy on plot, but even in character pieces I like a sense of escalation when it comes to character decisions. 

 

This isn't a criticism exactly, but it felt like the characters had already decided what they needed to do at the beginning, the movie was just about them slowly admitting that to themselves. And within that context, the movie is a success. I'm not asking the movie to change, I'm just expressing why it didn't connect with me super hard.

 

Big like, but not love, for what the movie is. But what it is isn't 100% my cup of tea. 

post #23 of 35

This is a modern Ozu film without coming across too hard like it's trying to be an Ozu film in the wrong era.

 

And because Ozu is clearly a huge influence on Isao Takahata, there are moments in this that also remind me of ONLY YESTERDAY

 

 

So yes, this is really really wonderful work.

 

There are elements of Setsuko Hara in Haley Lu Richardson's performance here.  A young woman smiling in her every day interactions, but just quietly making it through each day out of family love and duty.  She's great.  Cho is great.  Posey is great.

 

I wish I could've seen this in theaters.  I had to watch it with a lot of distractions.

 

 

 

SO MUCH SMOKING IN THIS MOVIE!!!

post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that kind of struck me as an Asian quality. I mean here smoking maybe gets you the stigmata, but in Korea or Japan it's still practically Midnight Run. I think it's meant to reinforce the fragility, the brief nature of life, but it rings true with these characters.

Glad you liked it Nooj. Hopefully you get to see it in an art house sometime because it really does deserve to be seen on the big screen. Where did you watch it anyhow?
post #25 of 35
HULU... on a computer monitor while I was at the store.
post #26 of 35
A theater sure. But preferably an empty one or filled with not shitty people.
post #27 of 35

I also don't see this movie coming back into a theater at this point.  Arthouse or otherwise.

post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 
Pessimistic Nooj
post #29 of 35

If I had an arthouse, I'd screen it! 

post #30 of 35

It's already out on HULU, Sub!!

 

I'd go to Boone's arthouse.

post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post
 

It's already out on HULU, Sub!!

 

I'd go to Boone's arthouse.

 

We screen gawn gurl every july 5th

post #32 of 35
Thread Starter 
On a side note, this thread is only six thousand, five hundred and forty-odd posts behind the last Jedi.
post #33 of 35
we can still turn the tide!!!
post #34 of 35

Just got Hulu, so I was finally able to watch this. What a lovely little film. I'm a sucker for movies that involve people meeting people at just the right time in their life. (Except Lost in Translation)

 

Give John Cho more work!

post #35 of 35

Yeah..John Cho is fucking amazing in this.

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