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I checked out the first two episodes of the Neistat Brothers HBO show on Thursday night at the Rooftop Films premiere party at Kips Bay.

I liked them.

Somehow, the Neistats got HBO to give them an eight-episode series which mostly seems to be about the two brothers making stuff and doing things and then documenting these processes in as rag-tag, homemade and lo-fi manner as possible. What kind of stuff? Stuff like smuggling American maple syrup past TSA to Amsterdam because the waffles are great but the syrup sucks there, or finding one brother’s biological birth father. (The series won me over when this well-worn indie trope was cheerfully dispensed with in about two minutes.)

The Neistat Brothers were two of our “25 New Faces” in 2006, and here’s an excerpt of what Matt Ross wrote about them:

The Neistats began making films in 2000 with the purchase of two iMac DVs, and their early projects involved reworking home movie footage shot in the ’80s and ’90s. The piece that first got them attention was 2003’s iPod’s Dirty Secret, a three-minute video that involved, not surprisingly, sticking it to the man: as we hear a customer service representative from Apple explain to the brothers that the iPod battery will eventually die but will not be replaced by the company, Casey walks around spray-painting a warning on iPod ads that have been plastered all over New York City.

The video went viral, and the brothers kept churning out short films and videos at an astonishing rate — they now have more than 300 no-budget shorts to their credit (which have been shown at 30 film festivals and seven museums worldwide). For a recent project, The Challenge (which aired on Comedy Central), the brothers responded to a friend’s dare to make a film in one day by doing a shot-for-shot remake of the Jurassic Park trailer with items bought in a thrift store. The Neistats have since expanded their repertoire to European TV commercials and have also begun cutting their debut feature, The Show, a comedy about tap dancing and cancer.

“No matter what we’re working on, we approach it with the same attitude we had when we were kids, when we’d enlist the neighborhood to help us build a tree house,” says Casey. “So I would say our work is that playfulness, or at least we attempt to capture the essence of that playfulness. But it’s not a conscious decision. It just creeps in.”

The series premieres tonight at midnight on HBO. Recommended.

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