DID YOU READ

“Senna,” Reviewed

“Senna,” Reviewed (photo)

Posted by on

There’s some poetic justice in the fact that it takes at least a half-hour, if at all, into “Senna” to realize director Asif Kapadia is only going to use archival footage to tell the story of the legendary Formula One driver since of course Ayrton Senna’s own feats on the racetrack were always best appreciated when he was miles ahead. It’s one of the many ways that the doc is modeled after Senna’s approach to driving — Kapadia’s film is relentless, occasionally idiosyncratic and bound to be wildly popular as it commemorates one of Brazil’s most celebrated exports.

However, “Senna” is an interesting biography not only because it limits itself to 15,000 hours of video already on record with interviews sporadically used as voiceover throughout, but also since it is far less about the man than the driver, which expands its entertainment value considerably while marginalizing in some sense the actual amount you learn about the title character. There are bits and pieces about his personal life, highlighted by clips of him on yachts or motorcycling with a new girlfriend, his charity work for his home country (alluded to with a tossed off mention by his sister and a card in the end credits about its success), or allusions to his strong religious beliefs, but for the most part, the film shares the same view as Senna did behind the wheel, with only the asphalt in front of him.

Indeed, that might be the most accurate way to tell Senna’s life story since his commitment to racing is unquestioned. We’re first introduced to the driver as a teen in a speed suit and a bright yellow helmet, racing around a track in a go-kart and talking over the clip about “pure racing [when there was] never any politics.” As we soon find out, politics were just about the only thing that could beat Senna after he entered Formula One and became an instant sensation. And the other, Senna’s great rival, the French driver Alain Prost, is what really gives the film its drive.

Racing fans are already familiar with the impact of Senna’s sparring with Prost had on the sport’s popularity during the mid to late ’80s and for the film, it conveniently provides an enemy to root against, even if you’re completely uninterested in Formula One. Known as “the professor” for his extensive planning and shrewd politicking of race officials, Prost is quickly established as Senna’s opposite, whether it was in the measured way he raced or, as is pointed out in parallel clips, his lack of game with the ladies as demonstrated by his come-ons to a BBC reporter that come off a bit lecherous when compared with Senna’s innocent flirtations with a Japanese reporter. (That the two are eventually paired on the same McLaren racing team only further fuels their rivalry.)

Kapadia, whose previous experience as a director has largely been with narrative features like the sumptuous epic “The Warrior” and the forgettable Sarah Michelle Gellar thriller “The Return,” isn’t exactly subtle in how he forecasts the ways he’s going to please his audience, either. But “Senna” is so well-crafted, from its emotionally wrenching bookends to the seamless way the film simplifies the unexpectedly byzantine backroom machinations of the sport that the driver was so frustrated by (many of which are caught with almost shocking fly-on-the-wall footage), it’s hard to argue the director and a team of editors hasn’t achieved the closest approximation of Senna’s dream of “pure racing” onscreen.

Speed nuts will definitely be wowed by the over-the-shoulder shots of Senna cruising on an open track at a velocity unknown to most mere mortals, but it’s the film’s ability to move in other ways that make it a special film for all audiences.

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

Watch More
FrankAndLamar_100-Trailer_MPX-1920×1080

Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

Posted by on

“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.

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

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

Posted by on

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.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

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

Posted by on
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.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet