Damp Streets of Berlin

Mendl’s is a gourmet dessert shop located in a medieval village near the Grand Budapest Hotel in Wes Anderson’s new film, which currently has a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating. This Mendl’s cart is sitting in front of the Hotel Adlon as we speak. Mendl’s boxes were all over the upper lobby area during this morning’s round-table interviews.

Journos with geek-leaning tastes are trying to get into the Berlinale screenings of Joon-ho Bong‘s Snowpiercer. I know it’s not going to do it for me so I couldn’t care less. I concluded after seeing Mother that Joon-ho Bong is basically a Brian De Palma pretender. He might not be as “bad” as Park Chan-wook (Stoker) but he’ll do until the next Chan-wook film comes along.

Large wooden model of the Grand Budapest Hotel, sitting in the entranceway of the Hotel Adlon.
  • GigglesForGigli

    So, you’re telling us The Lego Movie is a much better film since it is at 97% fresh with 106 reviews in?

    • D.Z.

      I don’t get that, either. I was kind of hoping it did have bad reviews, so it’d tank. It just looks like what was wrong with every 80s toy infomercial, and finally makes me understand why some critics didn’t like the animated Transformers movie. But even if it failed, it’s got a small enough budget that it’d still do gangbusters on home video, either way.

    • Perfect Tommy

      I’ve been reading reviews that have compared the film to Pixar, so I’m curious. Looks like this will be the Liam Neeson film that doles out the big paychecks.

  • mactalons

    Jeff! You couldn’t be more wrong Bong Joon-ho. Check out Memories of Murder – it is every bit the equal of Zodiac and maybe better. He’s really one of the most promising filmmakers out there, and that should extend beyond genre geeks.

    • Dazzazzad

      Yeah. Only seen each film once but Memories was the better film for me. Incredibly powerful and darkly funny.

  • lazarus

    Oh the irony of saying Bong is a De Palma wannabe, when the latter has spent most of his career aping other directors. At least Tarantino’s homages have his own unique brand of dialogue.

    I’m trying to think of a Brian De Palma film that’s truly better than Mother and…I’m having trouble.

    • D.Z.

      “At least Tarantino’s homages have his own unique brand of dialogue.”

      Copying and pasting does not qualify as unique.

      • lazarus

        Shut the fuck up, D.Z.

    • TheAngryInternet

      I’m trying to think of a Brian de Palma film that’s like a Bong Joon-ho film and…I’m having trouble. Turns out Wells actually did a mini-review of Mother (apparently there was a time when he went to Cannes to watch movies) and said it was aping de Palma because it’s “consistently flourishy,” “deliberately unnatural,” “at times operatic,” all elements invented and patented by Brian de Palma.

      Amazingly he brought up the exact same comparison when reviewing the recent remake of The Housemaid, as if this Kim Ki-young guy exercised less of an influence over contemporary Korean filmmakers than de Palma. (Bong himself all but worships Kim and did an audio commentary for his 1960 Housemaid). And Kim wasn’t the only classic/semi-classic filmmaker making stylized, non-naturalistic films with no reference to de Palma—see also Lee Jang-ho, Ha Kil-jong, Jang Sun-woo—but apparently it’s inconceivable that modern Korean directors are reflecting indigenous models and they’re actually just thirdhand Hitchcock imitators.

      As for Snowpiercer, it might well be the best film at the festival that will actually get a U.S. release, though I have high hopes for Grand Budapest.

  • D.Z.

    Yeah, I think Bong Joon-Ho’s a hack, too. But the geeks are going to get off on it, and Harvey will look for some other movie to ruin, so everyone will be happy.

  • Not a big fan of Joon-ho Bong, but I’ll give any movie with Kang-ho Song a chance.

  • MoreOscarDollars

    Is the movie about non-Europeans? Yup, chances are Wells won’t like it.

  • qdpsteve

    Gotta admit I love the pic of the McDonald’s billboard. “Westernburger Beef/Westernburger Chicken… with Western Sauce!” Always interesting to see how American culture gets filtered through Europe’s lens.