God, The Hollywood Reporter guys are really slow at posting these roundtable video chats. American Hustle‘s David O. Russell mentioned having participated in this discussion with Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, Ben Stiller, Alfonso Cuaron and Lee Daniels during his American Cinematheque appearqnce last Friday (11.8). I love all these guys except for Daniels — no offense but he’s never impressed me as a director, a personality or a conversationalist. In my book Russell and Cuaron are the kind of Orson Welles-ian shoot-from-the-hippers who are incapable of anything but direct, illuminating, midnight-lightning-flash commentary about absolutely any topic, including which insect repellent is best.
I landed at Seoul’s Incheon Int’l Airport just after 6 am this morning (or around 1:02 pm L.A. time), and I’m on the plane to Hanoi tonight at 6:40 pm.
Seoul is all about traffic and ugly buildings and smog for the most part. At first the milky stuff in the air seems like drizzly, standard-issue morning smog but by noon it looks and feels like the radioactive fallout in Stanley Kramer’s On The Beach.
My first impression of Seoul is mainly one of grimness, to be honest. It’s a combination of Newark, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and the soulless parts of Tokyo (another city that I’m not enamored of). When they built Seoul they forgot to think about trying to make it attractive.
The first thing I saw when I got out of customs was a big Paradise casino poster featuring the smiling faces of Robert “anything for a buck” De Niro. I’m trying to post this as quickly as possibly so I can wander around for two or three hours and take some more photos.
I even had a bad experience trying to get free wifi in a Starbucks here. The software asked for personal info which I quickly provided, and then it turned right around and said “sorry, fuck you, no wifi.”
Seoul is not my idea of an urban turn-on. I’ll probably never return here.
An honest, un-manipulated, straight-from-the-shoulder shot of Seoul Tower, taken at 11:40 am.