DID YOU READ

“Homeland,” Reviewed

“Homeland,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Before he directed 1988’s astounding “The Vanishing” and 1993’s astoundingly disappointing American remake of the same film, Dutch filmmaker George Sluizer made a trilogy of documentaries entitled “Land of the Fathers” that followed two Palestinian families through their experiences in 1974, 1978 and 1983 — the last, “Adios Beirut,” he mentioned was sold to PBS but never broadcast. With “Homeland,” one of the films making its world premiere at Abu Dhabi, Sluizer revisits those two families, now spread out over Lebanon, Colombia, the U.A.E. and other locations, and also puts himself and his feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict center stage.

“Homeland” starts quietly, with Sluizer discussing his own history, the earlier films, the aneurysm two years ago that left him needing crutches or a wheelchair to get around, and how that brush with mortality encouraged him to revisit the past. It ends with him looking in on a comatose (and heavily Photoshopped) Ariel Sharon, telling him the world would have been a better place if he’d died in Auschwitz along with much of Sluizer’s Dutch family. So, no mincing around with ambiguities here. The sincerity of Sluizer’s feelings are without question — his reunions with each family member, particularly the elderly head of the large Hammad family, are tearful and joyous, his fury in the face of the displaced from their homes palpable.

But “Homeland” wanders into browbeating Michael Moore-style documentary techniques, even before Sluizer’s diatribe to an unhearing, hospitalized Sharon. He walks up to Jewish settlers living in a formerly Arab house in East Jerusalem and asks to speak to the young man who answers the door on camera. When the young man says that someone else in their household speaks to the press and that he’s not home at the moment, Sluizer taunts “I guess now the most oppressed have become the oppressors!” An interview he does get with an American settler who needs no help looking ridiculous is nevertheless abusively edited to cut her off mid-sentence in her responses. Discordant string music swells behind periodic quotes from Sharon and others about how “if I was only an Israeli civilian and met a Palestinian, I would burn him and make him suffer before killing him.”

Regardless of where you stand on Israel and Palestine, the amount of vitriol on display in “Homeland” and the determined one-sideness of the argument is startling and off-putting, the language on occasion powerfully uncomfortable — Sluizer speaks, for instance, about the biased reporting of all the “Jewish news agencies.” These things basically guarantee “Homeland” will never screen for an audience not already sympathetic towards and invested in the Palestinian cause — it won’t win someone over. (It’s slated to eventually air on the Aljazeera Documentary Channel, but at the moment has no theatrical distributor in place.) It’s fiery agitprop, but it’s not a well-made movie.

“Homeland” does not yet have U.S. distribution.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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