Tag: "dvd"

Epiphany Skateboards | Decipher Tomorrow DVD

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Robert Prado dropped me a line to see if I’d be interested in checking out Epiphany’s new DVD. I didn’t know too much about Epiphany, but a quick look at their website – http://epiphanyskate.com – told me to sit up and pay attention. A skate company run by skaters might not be anything new conceptually, but the guys have set up a nice little brand supplying nice decks and hardware (the coloured bolts are very nice) and, as this DVD shows, they’ve got a good team of skaters to represent them.

I grew up filming my friends skating on a big-ass video camera that took full-size VHS cassettes – the only motivation was to gather everyone together and watch the months of poorly-edited film together once the video was done. ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ brought back some of those motivations and feelings to me but with a lot more talent behind it than anything I ever made.

And on that tip, ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ is a bit of a low-fi masterpiece. There are no HD sections, no frustrating skits, no 3D graphics – it’s just a perfect showcase of good skating, filming and editing. Unlike some skate films that leave you feeling obliterated at the end, this is one of the few recent DVDs that actually makes you want to pick your board up and go for a skate. One other thing that is particularly nice is that most of it seems to have been filmed in the actual streets as opposed to purpose-built spots.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Nice style aside, the skating is as good as anything put out by ‘the big companies’. The core team consists of Josh Valadao (who skates to a dope Del/Hiero track), Christian Holt, John Davis, Robert Prado and Andrew Green, but there’s a pretty incredible friends section in there with a lot of great stuff. I don’t know the dude’s name, but someone does the best nollie heel shove-it down a set of stairs as well as a nice nollie bigspin late flip. I need to give this a few more viewing sessions to totally absorb everything, but some of the things that really stood out were:

Josh Valadao: a very smooth hardflip to manual over a gap – and a lot of nice flip/manual variations.

Christian Holt: a perfect hardflip down a 12-set and a very slick b/s double flip down a big set of stairs, done somewhere in Long Beach perhaps…

John Davis: super-nice handrail action – and a well-caught f/s heel shove-it down a set of steps.

Friends section: super good throughout. Some guy does a perfect feeble flip-out over a railing. All these guys are amazing. One skater has the most incredible orange hair I’ve ever seen.

Robert Prado: hands-down, Robert does the best half-cab heel down stairs done in 2011. Possibly even longer. Rob’s section is way too short!

Andrew Green: I’m unsure how he managed to get up and run away after the opening slam, but he goes on to destroy everything in sight. The switch 180° impossible thing down the steps at the end is pretty amazing.

There’s a nice ‘Bonus’ section at the end, after the credits as well.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Epiphany have put out one of the best skate videos I’ve seen this year – I’m unsure if all the guys live near each other or not, but the vibe I got was of a group of friends who enjoy their own slice of the west coast. The editing and filming is very nicely done and I thought the music choices were spot-on.

Support the guys and buy your copy of the DVD here for $7.99. It’s a good investment!

The Real Video | Since Day One

The Real Video Since Day One video review

When Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero decided to join forces and start their own skate company, the name Real couldn’t have been more appropriate. From their humble San Francisco roots, Real has continually lived up to its name: the day I picked up the 49ers Tommy board and the anti-KKK Thiebaud tee, I knew this was something good. And in their twentieth year, it seems only right that a sharp smack to the head is delivered in the form of a new film.

Real’s video history is as good as it gets. The first video from ’93 (sadly yet to be reissued on DVD), ‘The Real Video’, still remains one of the best of its era. Kelly Bird skating to Steppenwolf, Jim T’s last formal video section, Moses letting the security guys know what’s up (“Not here…” “Yes here!” CLANG!) and Kelch’s EMB annihilation, it’s still one of my favourite skate videos of all-time. ’97’s ‘Non-Fiction’, ’99’s ‘Kicked Out Of Everywhere’, 2001’s ‘Real To Reel’, 02’s ‘Seeing Double’ and ‘Recipe For Disaster’ shorties, ’05’s ‘Roll Forever’, 2007’s ‘Life and Times’… the back catalogue carries some serious weight. And with that, the Real team rider history is just as strong. A broad mix of styles from the progressive and fun-loving styles of Gonz through to the sorely-missed smoothness of people like Ben Liversedge or Drake Jones, and then contrasted with the dynamite power and speed of Dennis Busenitz and Keith Hufnagel. Solid team selection, quality product, an incredible video history, well-respected company owners… That’s Real.

And ‘Since Day One’ continues the tradition of excellence. Since we saw the first trailers filtering through the forums, blogs, Twitter streams and video playlists, everyone knew that this was going to be something rather special. Set yourself firmly into the proceedings by heading over to our friends at Chrome Ball for their excellent Real Week of postings.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Firstly, the days of when you could proclaim ‘My local shop doesn’t have this: can someone upload it for me?’ are gone. You can buy this on iTunes, in either a straight standard definition download or a mixture of standard and HD footage. And it’s £4.99, in the UK. No excuses – here’s the link:

Real ‘Since Day One’ on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?id=426042765&s=143441

(I’m currently based in the UK and managed to purchase it fine from that link, so it should work)

For those of you fortunate to have a local store, the deluxe DVD package comes with a great-looking 100 page book. If I manage to get myself a copy, I’ll update this review accordingly to include a write-up on that too.

The opening titles and intro section use the same intro music that the first video used, the highly-appropriate ‘Streets of San Francisco’. A nice little nod to the past there, but the skating is firmly set in the future. R.I.P. Johnny Romano.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Kicking things off is new Real pro James Hardy. And what an opener it is. Total destruction of rails, steps and benches is counterbalanced with speed, some tech (the best frontside half-cab flip ever and the nollie 360° flip over the rail and into the bank was amazing) and some special guest appearances. Loved the music, loved the skating, the ender was amazing – the perfect start to the rest of the film. Jake Donnelly blows the frickin whistle with a section full of fast stylish skating, giving the cameraman some practice for the Busenitz section. Massive switch bigspin, amazing nollie over a gap and into a bank, perfectly tweaked/caught flips (switch and regular) = impressive.

Alex Perelson fucking KILLS it. One of the best vert sections I’ve seen. Amazing proper 720°s, gay twist flips, huge backside ollies, sliding noseblunts all on ramp and on concrete. This is not a token vert section: it’s one of the best things here.

Davis Torgerson has a strong section (that maybe deserved something little more powerful in the music choice?) with a lot of good stuff worthy of repeat watching. Ernie Torres and Nick Dompierre share a part and it’s incredible. Every trick, no matter who’s behind it, is really good. I’m not normally a fan of shared sections that much, but this worked really well. Ernie’s 360° nollie heelflip into the bank and total handrail crushing is incredible to sit back and watch and Nick’s got featherlight foot control over the biggest tricks (there are a couple of seriously BIG gaps here). I knew this part would be good, but not this good. Get in that hedge, Ernie!

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Huf has been with Real for a l-o-n-g time and hasn’t let his personal business endeavours and successes get in the way of his skating. One of the best styles ever, backed up with lots of speed and pop: business as usual.

I first heard about Chima Ferguson when I was on my first trip to Australia, back in 2006. He was all over the national magazines and from what I could tell, he was going to make some noise on a global scale. There’s no need to recap over his past few years in detail, but he’s risen up the ranks, turned pro for Real and with this video put out his ‘coming of age’ part. Another contender for the biggest tricks/smoothest landings award, Chima lives up to the expectations. Loads of great stuff in this part: the ollie up the ramp at the Aquatic Centre (huge and smooth), frontside heelflip down the doubles (ski gloves!), backside 360 over the rail (massive), switch backside tail down the hubba (speechless). It’s a great section.

Kyle Walker skates to Flavor Flav – always a good choice – and does his tricks big at 100mph (the smith grind down the curved rail was amazing), whilst Antoine Asselin does the same, but with complicated lines instead. Both are good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Hell yeah: Justin Brock! This guy is (in the opening words of Stefan Janoski) ‘so fucking good’. His opening skatepark line should clear any doubts up: no need for mindblowing tricks when your natural style is like that. But mindblowing tricks he’s got, so that’s all angles covered. The 360° flip-to-ledge-to-frontside-bigspin sequence is sick. Nollie shove-it 5-0 at Hubba? Oof. His handrail antics (fakie ollie to switch feeble or fakie ollie to bluntslide to handcuffing, being two prime examples) are flawless as well.

JT Aultz skates BIG rails and 360° flips roof gaps, again at mach 5, while Massimo Cavedoni and Robbie Brockel share a section packed with difficult tricks, fast lines and too much good shit to individually name here.

Ishod Wair’s opening slow-mo/HD montage shows just how good he is. Precision isn’t the word. The nollie flip down the brick double set is on-the-bolts perfection. Great music is the icing on the top of one of my favourite sections in the whole film. Feeble to backside lipslide on a rail, the switch flip down the fountain at Love Park, sliding round the corners of kinked rails and the best frontside 270° to lip on a rail since Shiloh in ‘Love Child’. Amazing section. One of the best.

Max Schaaf has put in time as one of the stalwarts of vert skating, and his short and laid-back section is nicely put together. Whether he’s doing big lien airs or riding his motorcycle up banks, I don’t really need to see him do much more than that to know he’s one of the best to have ever dropped in.

And then there were two.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Peter Ramondetta and Dennis Busenitz probably have two of the most highly-anticipated parts of the video – and I can confirm that you won’t be disappointed. You know what to expect from both skaters and they deliver in bucketloads.

Peter skates like he’s fleeing a pack of Aids-infested zombies. Some of my favourite tricks in his section include the 50-50-to-ollie over the post, the l-o-n-g nose grind to nollie heel out on the steps, the kickflip crooked grind on the green rail and the steep 50-50 right at the end.

Ahhh… Mr. Busenitz. We’ve been expecting you. Style, power, speed, pop, trick selection: he’s got it all. If he didn’t do any flip tricks (or thread the needle on wallrides occasionally), you’d think his feet were glued to the griptape. He’ll do a 10-foot tailslide on a waist-high ledge and bomb a hill just as easily as do a bigspin fakie manual on a block. The quick combination lines he does just show off his natural ability (I’ll use this statement to link up his Battle at the Berrics match, just in case anyone missed it). Super super good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Living up to the hype has got to be one of the toughest things when you embark on a project like this. But Jim, Tommy, Mic-E Reyes, Dan Wolfe, Gabe Morford and the Real team have delivered one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. This film made me want to go skating: what more could I ask than that?

Dig out your $10, set aside an hour and enjoy some of the best skateboarding ever to be seen on screen. Real have upheld their tradition perfectly.

– data –

Length: 71 minutes
Format: DVD ($19.99) and iTunes download

Featured skaters: Johnny Romano, Dennis Busenitz, Ernie Torres, Max Schaaf, JT Aultz, Ishod Wair, Keith Hufnagel, Chima Ferguson, Nick Dompierre, Peter Ramondetta, Davis Torgerson, Alex Perelson, James Hardy, Jake Donnelly, Massimo Cavedoni, Justin Brock, and Jim T’s sneaky footage at the end!

Bonus DVD additions (this is taken from press release: NOT authenticated yet, so I can’t help anyone trying to find the ‘missing’ Ishod part… yet anyway):

– 100 page photo book from Gabe Morford
– Extra footage includes: Philly filming trip, ATL filming trip, Austin filming trip, NC filming trip, LA filming trip, 5 days with Ramondetta, Justin’s little brother’s part, Woodward skate camp edit, ‘a year of Ishod’ in HD (as yet undiscovered?), Gabe’s slide show (with music by Tommy Guerrero) and ‘tons more extras and outtakes!’.

Real ‘Since Day One’ soundtrack:

Intro section/opening titles KnightsBridge ‘Streets of San Francisco’/Minor Threat ‘Salad Days’
James Hardy Molly Hatchet ‘Flirting With Disaster’
Jake Donnelly Too $hort ‘Blow The Whistle’
Alex Perelson Joy Division ‘The Drawback’
Davis Torgerson Brian Eno & John Cale ‘Lay My Love’
Ernie Torres & Nick Dompierre Green Eyed God ‘Treadmill’
Keith Hufnagel Tommy Guerrero ‘Yerba Buena Bump’/The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’
Chima Ferguson Cass McCombs ‘She’s Still Suffering’
Kyle Walker & Antoine Asselin Public Enemy ‘Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya, Man!’
Justin Brock George Thorogood ‘Move It On Over’/Boyz N Da Hood ‘Gangstas’
JT Aultz Egg Hunt ‘We All Fall Down’
Massimo Cavedoni & Robbie Brockel The Stooges ‘Down On The Street’
Ishod Wair Tommy Guerrero & Monte Vallier ‘The Drain’/James Brown ‘Get On The Good Foot’
Max Schaaf The Dutchess and the Duke ‘Reservoir Park’
Peter Ramondetta Exodus ‘Only Death Decides’
Dennis Busenitz Brian Eno ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’/The Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’
End credits Tommy Guerrero ‘The Paramour and the Pugilist’

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise VHS T-shirt

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Finding myself ‘reviewing’ a t-shirt for Trashfilter wasn’t something I originally planned to do when I started the site. It seemed there were enough others doing that kind of thing already and the web didn’t really need another unknown idiot wasting bandwidth with more of the same. To summarise, it’s gotta be something particularly good for me to take the time to photograph it and spend an hour or so typing, all the time unsure whether anyone will read it.

And, much to my girlfriend’s annoyance, my house has more than enough t-shirts in it already: I certainly didn’t need to spend $26 (plus international shipping) on another one. Hell, at the time of writing, I can’t even afford next month’s rent.

But then I saw this.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Hopefully, you’ll have already seen the Chrome Ball Incident site and our interview with Chops here on Trashfilter back when his Nike Dunk SB dropped in 2010. If not, play catch-up quickly and we’ll meet you in the next paragraph.

Instead of plastering a nondescript logo or forcing some stylised typography onto this shirt, Chops took 12 screengrabs from a variety of classic (ie. important) skate videos. Some are more obscure than others (I consider myself reasonably proficient in stuff like this, but the G&S Footage and Sick Boyz grabs took me a while to work out), but that’s all part of the fun. What I didn’t realise until later on was that all the grabs have in fact already been decoded on the Heel Bruise site, with a nice little paragraph about each video: see the end of this review for the link.

So, whilst it’s a nice enough tee anyway, all the contextual stuff made it a winner for me. Watching that kid exhaling in a bin full of trash at skate camp in ‘Hokus Pokus’ or being told to ‘kiss my ass and go home’ by a hobo in 1281 was all part of my childhood. Thanks to Chrome Ball and Heel Bruise for taking me back there again.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

You can buy the tee here, and I suggest you do so before they disappear. There’d be nothing worse than seeing someone less deserving rocking one. Oh, and if you were stuck wondering what the chimney grab was from or who it was complaining about ‘breaking some wood’, then head over here to Heel Bruise and get the full rundown.

Thanks to Richard at Heel Bruise: watch this space for a chat with him about the Heel Bruise project shortly.

Emerica ‘Stay Gold’ | DVD review

emerica stay gold

It’s been a long time coming and the ads over the past 18 months have certainly fueled our expectant minds, but Emerica’s ‘Stay Gold’ certainly lives up to the promise. I don’t usually venture out to skate film premieres these days (the last one I went to was probably ‘Public Domain’ at the National Film Theatre in 1989), but I actually wanted to see this one in the cinema. Well, unlucky me: a prearranged client meeting put paid to any leisure activities on the evening of 26th August. Messageboards blew up with news and early reports and I did my best to ignore leaked footage and spoilers so that I could approach viewing with a clear mind. You have no idea how difficult this was.

I wouldn’t normally pay for a download – call me ‘old school’, but having the physical DVD is far more appealing when it comes to parting with money – but I dropped the £5.99 via iTunes and purchased an official copy of ‘Stay Gold’. A physical copy is on the way, and I’ll update this review when it arrives, but in the meantime let’s run through the feature presentation.
(Big thanks to Tom at Sole Tech for dropping me the DVD in the mail: see the bottom of this review for a DVD-specific additional section)

Firstly, it may or may not surprise you to find out that this is unofficially Heath Kirchart’s retirement video. The guy’s smashed it for years (I first saw him in Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ back in ’93) and when you look at what he’s accomplished since then, he’s been at the top of his game for the best part of a decade. Read the full run-through of Heath’s part towards the end of this page.

emerica stay gold

The opening sequence is slick. I really like the combination of Jon Miner and Mike Manzoori behind the cameras and the edit desk: the result is far more cinematic than a lot of other skate films and easier to stomach on repeated viewings. Handdrawn typography, the green tint to the footage and other devices such as vignetting and careful use of slow motion gives a relaxed and immersive feel. One thing I had heard was that the video was tough going in places because of the repeated hammers being thrown left, right and centre. Whilst that’s true to certain extent, there’s enough variety from section to section to keep things interesting.

emerica stay gold

Brandon Westgate. Jesus Christ. What an opening section. I’d seen a fair bit of him (the Zoo York DVD springs to mind), but this section elevates him to a new level. On the topic of elevation, he’s a contender for having the biggest pop out of anyone at the moment. Comparing him to Busenitz or Cardiel is being lazy, but there are definite similarities: confidence, speed and style being three common characteristics they all share. My favourite trick of his section? Probably the massive driveway/rail clearance when he’s bombing the hills of San Francisco. Seriously impressive.

Bryan Herman follows with an entire block’s worth of kickflip nose manual and some schoolyard picnic-table/bench destruction before his section truly starts. Big rails and big tricks all popped and landed solidly. The hardflip at Bercy in Paris was particularly insane. Marquis Preston doesn’t seem to be restricted by his choice in drainpipe trousers: lots of large steps and rails get annihilated in his part. Spanky’s section – Kevin Long, to his parents – is short but good fun (the backside tailslide bigspin out on the brick banks was smooth and being able to cry on command is fairly unique) and Collin Provost shows that he can cruise a skatepark properly and drop some ridiculous tricks into the mix as well (the 270° ollie flip into the painted red bank was amazing). Little Jamie Tancowny starts with a harsh slam before proving that he’s pro material with a part that’s packed with man-sized tricks. I’ve seen enough crooked grinds on handrails to last me a lifetime, but the one down the kinker he does is as good as they get. Aaron Suski… what can you say? A killer part with a mix of power that’s best summed up by the reaction of the schoolchildren when he clears the ramp/rail. This man deserves a pro shoe, in my opinion. Braydon Szafranski might wear some illegal clothes by my standards but damn he can skate: great smooth lines and plenty of big tricks to keep the hammer count high.

Justin ‘Figgy’ Figueroa skates fast and can do every trick you can do on a flatbar but on a full sized handrail. You could sit and pick out individual tricks (his kickflip smith grind, for example), but it’s best watched as a whole part. Jerry Hsu has been plagued with injuries – his opening montage will convince you of that, in case you thought he was being lazy – but what he does show in his short part is amazing. Switch tailslide over the ‘rainbow’ rail was frickin’ incredible.

emerica stay gold

Leo Romero goes up handrails as you might have seen in photos before, but he does a hell of a lot more as well. One of my favourite sections in the whole film, he does some seriously impressive stuff going at mach one: frontside half-cab boardslide to fakie, a sick nosegrind nollie big heel out on a picnic table, a l-o-n-g double kinker 5-0 grind and an amazing 50-50 up a proper handrail at the end. Surpassed my expectations, which were already high enough.

Who else but The Boss could end this one? Andrew Reynolds in ‘Stay Gold’ has one of the best ending parts of any skate video yet. If you’re a fan (and, c’mon, who isn’t?), you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy this one. Speed and energy go without saying, but it’s the style of his skating that makes it so pleasurable to watch. In a video that is crammed full of pneumatic-level hammering, Reynolds follows the formula but makes it look like no-one else’s section. Watch his line with the backside 360 down the stairs and then the kickflip down the next set: if you couldn’t see the stairs, you’d think he was doing them down curbs. A frontside flip down another massive set of stairs is celebrated by having a puff on the lit cigarette he’s holding in his hand. The nonchalance is in override.

The outro and credits show little clips of Chris Senn and Ed Templeton – yeah, I’d hoped for full sections from both, but a little is better than none – before Marisa Dal Santo and Ben Krahn give us a glimpse of their skills.

emerica stay gold

Time for some data:

1) The main feature clocks in at 56 minutes and 47 seconds long.
2) There are numerous Easter Eggs hidden in the DVD: Heath Kerchart’s section is one, a Barrier Kult section is another. There’s also a flow team section, an Andrew Reynolds bonus part, a Euro team section… and probably some other bits hiding in there as well.
3) The deluxe edition of ‘Stay Gold’ comes with a dope book of Ed Templeton’s photography of the Emerica team from the past ten years. I’ll update this review with a breakdown on that when it arrives.

The ‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack is pretty cool. Some mellow guitar stuff and a few heavier bits and pieces, which suits the style of the film perfectly. Data collectors, here’s a full tracklist for you:

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: main feature:

Intro Dead Meadow ‘Through The Gates Of The Sleepy Silver Door’
Brandon Westgate Earthless ‘Jull’
Bryan Herman #1 Tom Waits ‘Top Of The Hill’
Bryan Herman #2 Black Sabbath ‘Fairies Wear Boots’
Marquis Preston John Cale ‘Big White Cloud’
Kevin Long Captain Beefheart ‘Electicity’
Collin Provost Dead Meadow ‘Green Sky Green Lake’
Jamie Tancowny Comets on Fire ‘The Swallow’s Eye’
Aaron Suski Flower Travlin’ Band ‘Satori Pt. 2’
Braydon Szafranski Hawkwind ‘We Took The Wrong Steps Years Ago’
Justin Figueroa Dead Meadow ‘That Old Temple’
Jerry Hsu Ultimate Spinach III ‘Somedays You Just Can’t Win’
Leo Romero Mott the Hoople ‘Thunderbuck Ram’
Andrew Reynolds Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros ‘Om Nashi Me’
Credits Earthless ‘No Road To Follow’

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: bonus sections and Easter egg soundtrack:

Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #1 Chali 2na ‘4 Be Be’ (Instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #2 Chali 2na ‘Controlled Conscience’ (instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #3 Years ‘Don’t Let The Blind Go Deaf’
Ed Templeton Stay Gold Deluxe Tristeza ‘Golden Hill’
Emerica Europe #1 Graveyard ‘Lost in Confusion’
Emerica Europe #2 Earthless ‘Devil-Eyed Woman’
International Montage Sleep ‘Aquarian’
Heath Kirchart Joy Division ‘Atmosphere’

emerica stay gold

— DVD-specific update!

So the iTunes download is a cheaper alternative for those who want something convenient for the laptop or iPod, but the physical DVD is the way forwards for those who want to wring every last morsel from ‘Stay Gold’. The DVD contents and timings are as follows:

Stay Gold Main Feature: 56:41

Bonus features
Andrew Reynolds And The Madness (DVD bonus): 13:19
Ed Templeton – Stay Gold Deluxe (DVD bonus): 6:18
Emerica Europe (DVD bonus): 8:23
International Montage (DVD bonus): 5:34
Flow Bros (DVD bonus): 7:47

Easter eggs
Heath Kirchart (DVD easter egg): 3:34
Barrier Kult (DVD easter egg): 3:46

You can find Heath Kirchart’s section by doing the following maneuvers with your DVD remote control:

Go to ‘Chapters’ – and then press up.
The highlighted menu link will go away: then press ‘Enter’.
Allow jaw to lower to ground level.

emerica stay gold

The main feature will play as normal, but it’s prefaced with what’s rumoured to be Heath’s last video part of his skating career. And what a part it is. Of the 3 and a half minutes of footage, a good chunk is older footage you’ve already seen in previous videos. That doesn’t matter. All it does is remind us just how amazing Heath was and is.

emerica stay gold

The few new tricks in this section are just as good as you’d expect – the downhill street line only has two ‘basic’ tricks in it, but no-one else could do them like that – and his last trick is… well… just watch it for yourself. He might have a permanent facial expression that looks like someone’s just set fire to his pet dog, but that only adds to the legend. Skating’s gonna miss you.

emerica stay gold

My personal favourite DVD-only part is ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’. I’m a big fan of The Boss (again, someone who I first saw when I picked up Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ VHS tape), both as a skater and his personality. The episodes of ‘Epicly Later’d’ with Andrew were some of the best filmed, so to watch another little insight into the man’s character is really interesting stuff. Rather than come across as being weird or eccentric, he shows that no matter how good you are at something, you’re just the same as everyone else in many ways: we’ve all got out own ticks and habits. Watching him land a perfect noseslide 270° out on a handrail repeatedly or the tricks at Bercy again and again and again is amazing. A true perfectionist – and a true professional in the real sense of the word.

emerica stay gold

The Barrier Kult Easter egg part is viewed by following this sequence:

Click into the Bonus menu.
Select ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’ – and then hit ‘left arrow’ and ‘Enter’.
Enjoy.

emerica stay gold

It’s almost 4 minutes of concrete destruction, with bare chests, masks and noisy metal guitars. If this doesn’t induce bedwetting, nothing will. The other bonus sections are just as worthwhile, but picking the entire contents of every section apart is boring to read when you could be watching it for yourself on the TV.

If you care about the future of skate films, then bonus parts and Easter eggs on the DVDs are the way forwards. The iTunes download is great for convenience, but with so many extras on the physical DVD disc, you’d be crazy to turn it down. Not to mention the excellent design and packaging: simple, but premium. ‘Stay Gold’ isn’t one to sit and watch on YouTube or via crappy-quality downloads: you’re shortchanging your experience if that’s how you choose to view it.

This is a proper cinematic skateboarding experience. Thank you Emerica.

Make Friends With The Colour Blue (MFWTCB) | Blueprint Skateboards DVD

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Skate DVD reviews are probably one of the most time-consuming things to prepare. You need to watch the film repeatedly, make notes, occasionally do a little research, take screengrabs (which is trickier off an actual DVD than from downloaded content) – and then write it all down. As a result, I try to stick to the cream of the crop. Blueprint’s latest film, Make Friends With The Colour Blue (or MFWTCB, as I’m going to refer to it from now), fully deserved my time.

Blueprint is one of the UK’s finest exports and something that all skaters over here feel an affiliation to. When we heard on the grapevine that the company was going through a difficult patch a while back, we kept our fingers crossed things would sort themselves out – and with Paul Shier and Dan Magee steering the ship, it’s clear that things are on the up again. Look through the Blueprint video archives and you’ll find one of the strongest back catalogues of skate film history from any company. The exposure might’ve been limited to Europe mostly, but with ‘MFWTCB’ things have gone global.

And with a global reach, you need to adjust things accordingly. The Blueprint team is now international with a few new additions from the US, some continental Europeans and the backbone of UK riders, making for a well-rounded feeling to the proceedings. There are still plenty of the expected homegrown references (rain puddles, grey rooftops, Greggs bakery shops), but this has less of a ‘yes mate, we’re from the UK’ vibe and more of a ‘it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’ feel. I’m a big fan of the traditional style, but this time you really feel that Blueprint’s arrived on an international level. And, to be honest, things like the Marty Murawski promo and the week at The Berrics have all reinforced this new feeling of growth. ‘MFWTCB’ feels like springtime after a long dark winter.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Enough babble: on with the review. Kicking things off with a ‘this is our mate’ intro, Dave Mackey has a short but amusing pre-title sequence section. He skates fast, spends a fair amount of time on the floor and does a dope bluntslide up and over an angled ledge. The title sequence follows, nicely edited to ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ from They Might Be Giants (with a couple of little references to the band’s original music video in for good measure). Colin Kennedy is first up, with a super-fast, super-powerful section from one of the original members of the team. Great music too. Next is my old mate Paul Shier, who shares the same music with Colin (as they did back in 2001’s ‘First Broadcast’). I grew up skating – and filming – with Paul at Fairfield’s in Croydon and every time I see him these days, I jokingly remind him he’s ‘not getting any younger’ and he might ‘need to think about a future career’. Well, he can put the job applications on hold indefinitely: this section is probably his best yet. It’s so good. Lots of speed (a quality that seems to run throughout almost all of the Blueprint team), plenty of amazing combination tricks and lashings of style. Without peaking too soon, this is definitely one of my favourite sections. Congrats Paul. My Fairfield’s pride is at optimum levels.

Sylvain Tognelli from Lyon, France is up next with a great section packed with flippery and shove-it lines: he does a perfect fakie 360 flip/switch manual/pop-up on this disgusting-looking icy road gap. Bench-king Danny Brady follows with an as-expected gem of a section – loads of nice lines and a few rather unique tricks to make you hit rewind. His half cab bluntslide to flip out was particularly memorable. Thoroughly good.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Tuuka Korhonen from Helsinki shares his section with Arizona’s own Marty Murawski, whose ‘Make Friends With Marty’ promo video apparently utilised a lot of his recent footage due to camera compatibility issues. It’s not an issue though, as he still rips it here. Tuuka’s lines of tech balance nicely with his bigger stuff and I liked all the little ‘rewind’ tricks he does. It doesn’t need saying that Murawski is a fine addition to the team.

Fuck YES: Chewy Cannon. If you’ve seen his part in the adidas ‘Diagonal’ video, you’ll be well accustomed to how good this dude is: his blend of power and style is perfect. Lots of solid and confident tricks, executed with finesse. Adding to the Blueprint US roster, Boston’s Kevin Coakley has an amazing collection of footage. Fakie flip/switch crooks on the Pyramid ledges in NYC, lots of nimble-footed quick hop action over and down steps and blocks and a sick frontside tailslide to drop off on a big block/red brick bank combination. I really liked his music as well: Cheap Trick’s ‘Oh Claire’ was a great choice.

I’d sympathise with anyone having the duty of following Coakley’s section, but Sheffield’s Jerome Campbell has got what it takes. Loads of great tricks and lines (the catch on his flippery is always spot-on). Neil Smith’s section is next and although his part in 2005’s ‘Lost and Found’ was good, this is a real progression. Big BIG ollies (the one over the rail to bank is massive) and some smooth tech makes for another stand out part of the film. The huge nollie heelflip down the steps blew me away. I liked him wobbling the road sign as well. The guest clips of teammate Tom Knox (no, not the Santa Cruz guy) are also really impressive: I look forwards to seeing more from him in the future.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

Nick Jensen is the second half of the Royal Family to feature – and, as you’d expect, his section is a testament to how natural he looks on a board. Powered by the sounds of Portishead’s ‘Sour Times’, he shows a vast array of tricks with plenty of style. He switch ollies the Liverpool Street station steps (where I broke my ankle back in 2002) and makes every difficult nose blunt transfer and grind-flip combination look incredibly easy.

And so we get the final part: curtains duty deservedly goes to Mark Baines, who’s been at the forefront of UK skating for over a decade and is showing no signs of slowing down. Super good. Plenty of tricks that no-one else does, all executed at vast speeds: half-cab nose grind, nollie big spin out, switch backside heel noseslides and lots of manual trickery. To be fair, the closing honours could’ve gone to a number of the team riders here, but I’m stoked that Baines took the podium. Check out his ‘leftovers’ in the little DVS promo film that is doing the rounds online.

blueprint make friends with the colour blue

This is definitely a DVD to come back to. I liked it upon first viewing, but it’s the subsequent viewings that have really made it a firm winner. At only £10, you’re doing yourself a serious injustice if you’re just watching downloaded clips on your computer: this is one to experience in front of your TV set. Well done to all who made this film possible: Blueprint are truly on the up and up.

www.blueprintskateboards.com

Blind ‘Video Days’ | skate video

The Blind skate company was formed when Steve Rocco approached legendary street skater Mark Gonzales (AKA The Gonz) to start his own company under the World Industries umbrella. Mark’s previous sponsor, Vision, was regarded as one of the ‘big 5’ companies, generating a lot of money for the owners and shareholders but not necessarily an equal amount for the skaters it sponsored – and whose names kept the Vision products flying off the shelves.

People have analysed the Blind name and come up with their own ideas on the name (perhaps it was the opposite of Vision?), but that’s always been ‘officially’ denied by both Gonz and Rocco. Regardless of any in-jokes or private inspiration, skaters immediately latched onto the fact that one of their long-term icons was now in creative control of his own entity.

And we could hardly wait.

The roster of riders in ‘Video Days’ might have been short, but it was certainly sweet: Guy Mariano, Jordan Richter, Mark Gonzales, Rudy Johnson and Jason Lee. At a period when skate videos were few and far between, to have such a concise team was considered an unusual and brave move, especially for a new company. Established competitors such as Powell Peralta and H-Street would happily make a 90-minute film showcasing 20 different riders and sell it for £20: by comparison, Blind were barely a few years old and ‘Video Days’ featured five riders over 24 minutes – and for £25. The other companies had full-colour VHS cases: ‘Video Days’ had a grey cardboard box with a sticker on it.

If you’ll pardon the pun, in this case, less was clearly more.

Whilst The Gonz’s creativity made Blind a force to be reckoned with in terms of skate companies, there was another big contributing factor to the success of ‘Video Days’.

Enter Spike Jonze. Today, Spike is known for his Hollywood productions and music videos as much as anything else, but ‘Video Days’ was the starting point. With a genuine background in the BMX and skateboarding scenes, Spike was the perfect person to direct Blind’s debut video.

Creating ‘Video Days’ as your first commercial skate film production certainly didn’t do Spike’s resume any harm.

The camera work by Jacob Rosenberg was amazing and upped the ante for all subsequent skate video releases. ‘Video Days’ had an all-star cast, from every angle.

The video kicks off with the Blind team driving around Los Angeles (well, four of them: Jordan Richter is busy rolling down hills, it would seem) in an old blue Cadillac. As they cruise the streets and drive dangerously close to the edge of the freeway, we get to see glimpses of the skating abilities within. And a rather spectacular stack down a large double-set of stairs from Mark Gonzales.

Once the 60-second intro sequence is over, the individual sections begin…

Guy was fresh from the Powell team, along with fellow Blind team-mate, Rudy Johnson, even wearing a Powell ‘Supreme’ t-shirt at various points in his video part.

Skating to the sounds of the Jackson Five, Guy’s section is nothing short of incredible. We’d already had a small taste of his skills in Powell’s ‘Ban This’ video from ‘89, but by ’Video Days’ his skills were honed to perfection.

Riding a board that was almost as big as himself (Guy was 14 when much of the video was shot), he did the first noseblunt slides I’d seen on film, an impossible lipslide on the infamous Hewlett-Packard handrail and some incredible flatground lines. One of the best opening sections of any skate video ever.

Jordan had a short section compared to the rest of the team – and to be fair, he had his work cut out to hold our attentions. Whilst vert ramp skating was the popular style of the ‘80s, by the time ’Video Days’ came out, vert was in a lull and everyone wanted to see street skating. It didn’t help that the person who’d brought him to Blind – ramp genius, Danny Way – had moved on, leaving Richter as the lone ‘ramp guy’ on the team.

That said, his part shows the beginning of the period where vert riders began bringing street-inspired moves to the ramps: nollies, nose manuals and other tricks.

Opening with clips from ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ (not to be confused with ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’…) and skating to John Coltrane, Mark Gonzales produced his first full video section anyone had seen. We’d seen the photos in the magazines of his incredible tricks, but watching them on the TV screen was something else altogether.

There aren’t any highlights: his whole section is outstanding. The first to ollie the infamous Wallenburg steps (see middle picture above here), the handrail manoeuvres, the cruising down the street, the long linked lines of flatland… Nothing had ever been done of this calibre before.

One of the best video sections of all-time.

Having joined Blind from Powell with Guy, Rudy’s section was just as impressive. High speed lines, technical trickery (the manual to 360 flip at Embarcadero being a prime example) and crisp style made Rudy’s section the perfect follow-on from Gonz’s section.

You can tell how good Rudy was by the visible clue that many of his tricks were filmed in the same day: just look for the same clothing in a number of clips.

Another skater who we were used to seeing in the magazines but had little idea just how good he actually was, Jason Lee’s section is still a benchmark twenty years later.

Skating fast, with plenty of big moves, you get to see a number of outstanding tricks in this part. The 360 flip over the sand gap (see above left) is one of the best 360 flips of all time. We’ve heard numerous times that Jason’s part doesn’t actually show just how good he really was. But it was still enough to blow our minds.

The blue Cadillac device continues at the end of the film, with our rowdy skate team grabbing some alcohol and taking to the dirt tracks of Tijuana. Alas, it all ends in tears when they go over the edge of a cliff and crash, resulting in a eulogy-style credits section that could bring a tear to anyone’s eye.

Whilst it seemed pretty clear that it was all a joke, I recall people asking ‘Wow… did they all die?’ after seeing this for the first time.

Deathbowl To Downtown | Skateboarding in New York City DVD

deathbowl to downtown dvd

To say that I was excited about seeing this DVD is an understatement: I’d been reading about the production for a while on various websites, blogs and magazines, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would reach the UK. Luckily for all of us here, the distributors realised they had a gem on their roster and made sure it was available for all.

Skating in New York had a beginning far removed from the Californian image of a long haired surfer guy weaving in and out of crowds on the sidewalk. And, although drawing a parallel might seem like a tenuous link, skating for us here in the UK wasn’t like that either. Cold winters (anyone else remember that dope Zoo York ‘wind chill factor’ advert and the Blueprint ‘we thrive on cold winters’ messaging?) , dirt, traffic, no legal spots… these are things that we shared with the NYC skaters. They had the Brooklyn Banks, we had South Bank: tolerated skating locations, but far from legal until more recent years. They have Supreme, we have Slam City. I could make a million of these connections, but that’s not what this review is really about.

I didn’t need any endorsement or positive reviews to know that this was going to be a real representation of skating in New York City. The role call of who was involved in the production and included in the footage was more than enough validation. Rick Charnoski and Coan Nichols were behind the excellent ‘Fruit Of The Vine’ film back in the late ’90s, which focused on the hunt and uncovering of backyard pools – another worthwhile viewing session, if you can find a copy.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

deathbowl to downtown dvd

So, what’s the film actually like? The main feature (ie. disc one of the double DVD pack) is phenomenal. It takes you from the very start of skating in NYC, from the ’70s and brings you up to around the ’98 or ’99 era. The photos and articles I’d read in Transworld or the Supreme/ Metropolitan/Zoo/Illuminati/Rookie/Shut ads I’d clip from Thrasher were great, but there really wasn’t too much visual material outside of that. Zoo York’s ‘Mix Tape’ or the incredible Eastern Exposure series were my first proper video introductions to what was happening on the East coast, but I knew there was more in the archives somewhere. So, that’s what you get here: the story of skating in NYC, with historical context and plenty of background information.

There’s nothing to question here. From Chloe Sevigny’s role as narrator through to Futura talking about the Soul Artists or Pete Bici, Bobby Puleo and Jefferson Pang on the ’90s Zoo York movement, it’s all totally legit. It was good to see the Sheffey and Coco Santiago shots from the first Shut era in there too: I remember seeing those in the magazines at the time.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

There’s a bonus disc with a whole host of extras – well worth the price alone – but the main feature is where I’ve been hitting rewind again and again. With the passing of Andy Kessler in 2009 and the loss of others such as Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce and Ali, this is a timely tribute to all those who’ve ever put urethane to concrete in New York.

deathbowl to downtown dvd

I suggest you hit up the official website here, and place an order at your favourite online film source. Peep the YouTube trailer below:

Style Wars | hip-hop & graffiti documentary

Filming began in 1981, following on from director Henry Chalfant’s

documentation of the early New York hip-hop and graffiti scene (best

demonstrated in his and Martha Cooper’s ‘Subway Art’ book – something we’ll return to later on Trashfilter). Chalfant linked up with Tony Silver and between them they filmed and collated over 30 hours of raw footage. The formative era of b-boying, with Rock Steady and the Dynamic Rockers is captured, but it’s the interviews with the graf writers that makes this so essential to me.

If you’ve ever picked up a can of paint or a marker, you owe it to yourself to study the film in full. The now-legendary clips of Skeme and his mother, the exploits of Seen and Duster, the wars with Cap and the MPC crew, Min One and Iz laying it down… It’s still just as invigorating to watch now as it was back in the ‘80s.

Documentaries come and go over the years and there have certainly been some fantastic efforts when it comes to documenting hip-hop culture. But nothing has knocked ‘Style Wars’ from its well-deserved pedestal.

Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver were forward-thinking enough to start

cataloguing and recording the pioneering days of a worldwide phenomenom that will outlive all of us today. As an open-eyed 8 year old, I couldn’t

necessarily relate to what I was seeing on the screen at the time, but I knew I wanted to find out more. Channel 4’s infamous screening one Christmas in the UK was carefully dubbed and shared until an official VHS release of ‘Style Wars’ appeared in the early 1990s. I made do with that copy until the

excellent reissue on DVD courtesy of Plexifilm in 2003. And now there are rumours of an HD version being created if funding can be found.

The excellent Style Wars website, designed and built by the legendary Mare 139 (who also features prominently in the film) was the first graffiti-themed website I’d seen where the design was as carefully considered as the content: the pieces and photos look great on there.

Tony Silver sadly passed away in 2008, but his name will live with future generations through his work on Style Wars. Henry Chalfant is still very much around, often attending exhibitions and shows, proving that he’s very much ingrained within the threads of hip-hop. His photographic partner Martha Cooper is also still shooting and writing, as her own ‘Hip Hop Files’ book will attest.

I had the opportunity to see some of Henry’s original prints (and sit down to a big screen showing of ‘Style Wars’) when in Paris for the ‘Born In The Streets’ exhibition. Judging by the crowd, the

magnetism won’t ever end.

Make sure you take some time to watch the film, whether you’re fully immersed in hip-hop or just have

the yearning to see a well-made and intelligent portrayal of one of the most exciting subcultures to have ever emerged.

Flip Skateboards ‘Extremely Sorry’ DVD

With every modern-day skate film release, the online community proves a harsh and difficult audience to please. Peppered amongst the continual requests for download links and torrent files are opinions and spoilers – and although it’s good that anyone can voice their thoughts to a huge number of readers, it must drive the people behind the films nuts. I like to read what people think, but I also try hard to remember that these are opinions and not rock-solid facts. Some kid in Nebraska might not appreciate a bunch of flip-in-flip-out ledge trickery as much as I would, so I can’t let his damnation influence my preconceptions.

With a six-year gap between this and their last effort, Flip had a lot to prove with this one. Would ‘Extremely Sorry’ carry on the tradition of next-level progression that the guys have shown time and time again? I tried to avoid reading too much about the premiere reports. I couldn’t attend the London one, due to work pressures, so aside from hearing that it was favourable, I didn’t need to know the intricacies of the individual sections.

When people talk about Flip, they usually mention the team changes and other surrounding events that have happened over the past few years. Bastien, Arto, PJ, Boulala and, of course, Shane Cross have all come up in conversation many times – could the new video be able to fill the gaps that these guys left? Well, in short, yes. One of the things I’ve loved most about Flip is their nurturing of talent. Every year you hear about a new team rider who’s apparently amazing and who you’ve never heard of before. Their talent scouting is second-to-none and reminds me of the early ’90s World Industries strategy: doesn’t matter what your name is, if you’re good, you’re good. After Flip scooped up what was remaining of The Firm, it appeared that all angles were covered. You’ve got unheard-of mini-rippers sat alongside skating legends – and it works.

So, I picked up my copy via Slam City and pressed ‘play’. And this is how it went down.

As an opening curtain, Shane Cross’s section is a fitting tribute to one of the best skaters to ride for the team. His section only reinforces the thought that he was taken from us way too soon. Huge rails (including an unbelievable nosegrind), that nollie flip down the Rincon set, massive 360 flips and a fast and solid style makes this section one of the best openers you could have asked for. I didn’t even object too much to the added graphics and bits either. Rest in peace, Shane.

After Shane’s section, the general intro kicks in, with a rapid-fire minute-long assault of what’s due to come. If the website trailer didn’t get you excited enough, then this certainly will. Who better than Geoff Rowley to follow on from there? Half of us expected Geoff to have the final section maybe, but seeing him this early on in the structure only increases expectations for the rest of the film. Mixing the ‘big stuff’ up with some more of the controlled trickery that some of us UK skaters will remember him for years ago, this is his perfect part. Carefully edited, well filmed, interesting and slightly more diverse than most would expect. Box ticked.

I’m not going to run through the entire video piece by piece – there’s already enough spoilers out there – but I will pick out a few choice snippets that I particularly enjoyed.

Rodrigo TX’s part was always going to be impressive. The smiling man with the flip tricks excels beyond your wildest expectations. Plenty of pop, ledge trickery and body-contortion makes for an amazingly-good section. I could hardly ollie a bench off a bump, let alone switch frontside flip one from flat – and his kickflip frontside bluntside fakie on the rail in China was perfect.

Bob Burnquist’s section belongs as much in a stunt show as it does a skate video. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the flamboyant canyon-jumping stuff designed to appeal to the X-Games crowd, I can appreciate the incredible trickery that goes down on the Mega Ramp. Watch it carefully, as he’s an absolute switch monster. Some people have claimed this to be a genre-defining piece of history, which it probably is, but how you ever aspire to conquer vert in a similar manner is beyond me. Entertaining as opposed to inspiring. But that’s because I’m a pussy who can’t skate vert, I guess.

One of the best sections on here. Luan Oliveira’s part is professional standard from start to finish. An amazing line of bench tricks right near the start sets the level for the rest of his section – and things only get more impressive from there. In my opinion, Luan skates a little like Mike Mo Capaldi which is an indication as to how good he really is. Ali Boulala’s got enough to deal with without people breaking down his section piece-by-piece: it’s entertaining, diverse and the perfect continuation of his part in ‘Sorry’.

A little three-skater section in the middle features Curren Caples (tiny/good/amazing pop and catch), Ben Nordberg (amazing! How come I haven’t seen this guy skate before?) and Willow (who does the best hardflip down a set of 13 stairs and has an incredible part overall). Can’t help but want to see more of those guys. Then Rune Glifberg turns up with the grind on those massive curved walls in the desert (I can’t remember the name of them, but they’re some crazy film set leftovers and absolutely stacked with vert) and a full-on concrete onslaught without any pads. Fast as hell, with some great backyard pool lines to interrupt the skatepark footage. Tom Penny’s section is classic Tom. People have already said, ‘Oh man – it’s not as good as I hoped… blah blah blah’, but you’re missing the point. The fact that Tom could hibernate for a year in the countryside and then turn up at your spot wearing Timberlands and still make the local hero look like a sniveling baby says it all. Watch for the smoothest ever tre-to-manual on the picnic table: dude looks like he’s on his way to buy groceries.

Lance Mountain’s section is so good. A great ‘family photo album’ intro, some lovely filming and editing and a whole lot of stylish pool skating. Whether it was intended or not, watching this part reminded me of Stacy Peralta’s production style.

Appleyard’s section is as good as better than you hoped for. That’s all I’m going to say on that one.

So, onto the last section. Dav-veeeed Gonzales. You’ve seen this once-little dude shoot up through the ranks of skate media for a few years now, so expectations were high for his part in this film. They gave him the final section for a good reason. Whilst I’m not into the ‘recklessness of youth’ (call me too old to appreciate a kid biting into a dead pigeon), this is a monster of a video part. He might do a huge backside 50-50 down a Hubba, but he’ll also do a kickflip-manual-to-front-foot-impossible on a manual pad too. A well-deserved ending section.

So, what’s the verdict? This is a damn good video. Some people have ripped it apart – editing, music (both of which I actually thought were great and appropriate), whatever – but approach with a clear mind and I’ll be surprised if you weren’t blown away.
You could download it, but pick up the DVD box-set and experience it full resolution on your TV as it was intended.

Hold Tight London DVD and t-shirts

The Hold Tight London project is one of those little shining examples of motivation and creativity that deserves some coverage. Bringing together groups of skaters throughout London and presenting the accumulated video footage as a series of regular episodes online, it’s one of those things that you can easily lose a few hours working your way through. The skating is top notch and the filming and editing by Henry Edwards-Wood and Morph raised the bar considerably.

The recent ‘Extended Episode 12″ is a 24-minute DVD production that adds a little competitive fun in the form of ‘North V. South’. Hailing from Fairfields in Croydon, I’ll always be biased towards the southside, but I’ll grudgingly admit that the Northern section is equally impressive. With the support of Slam City and DVS, the guys were able to get this one professionally duplicated and out in the shops. Check out the saucy little Quicktime trailer below that I’ve poached from their website.

To celebrate the release of the project, DVS got a couple of shirts printed up, featuring the photography of Sam Ashley and my good buddy Dom Marley. I’m always partial to a photo of Fairfields, so, as nice as Sam’s photography always is, the South shirt gets my vote here!

Pick up the DVD directly from the HTL mini-store here – or head over to Slam City and purchase the shirts and the DVD in person.

Lakai Limited Footwear ‘The Final Flare’ DVD

lakai final flare

When I received my review copy of ‘The Final Flare’, I was slightly nervous. How the hell was I going do justice to a 3-disc special edition version of one of the best skate films ever?

If you’re looking for a breakdown of the main feature, then the first thing to do is to go back and re-read the original ‘Fully Flared’ review here on Trashfilter. The bonus material – we’re talking SIX hours’ worth! – in this special edition is well worth a completely separate review, so I’m going to briefly break down each of the three DVDs in this box one-by-one.

Let’s kick things off and set the scene with one of the official ‘Final Flare’ trailers:

Looks good, huh? Read on homebones…

lakai final flare

Disc One (SD DVD)

Contents:

Original Fully Flared Release
Fully Flared Trailer #1
Fully Flared Trailer #2
Koston Speechless
Fully Fished

I’m not sure if there was anything on here that I hadn’t already seen, whether it was on the original release of ‘Fully Flared’, on Crailtap or on Lakai‘s site. That said, if you didn’t already purchase the original release, then you’ve got your money’s worth right here already: the two extra discs in the box are just icing on the cake. If you did buy the first release of ‘Flared’, then just stick this disc in, remind yourself that this is the best skate film since ‘Video Days’ and ‘Questionable’ and re-watch the main feature again.

lakai final flare

Disc Two (SD DVD)

Contents:

The Final Flare Documentary
Unused Footage
Beware Of The Flare
Alternate Edits
Photo Galleries
Commercials and Video Vaults
Battle Commanders (Koston and Mariano)
All Blu-Ray Features (from Disc Three) Converted To SD
Australia Promo
Canada Promo… and a few other bits n’ pieces

As I already owned ‘Fully Flared’, for me, disc two is where the full value sits. There’s a hell of a lot of extra footage on this DVD. The ‘Unused Footage’ alone is almost 25 minutes long – and has a lot of sections you won’t have seen before. Watching this just re-emphasizes the effort and work that the team went to on this production. It might have been nice to see it grouped and arranged by skater perhaps, but that’s just a personal preference and being picky – this footage is better than most other skate companies would put out as their final edit.

Everything on here is worth watching (alternative edits have never really appealed to me, but I liked them here), but the two killers come in the form of ‘Beware Of The Flare’, which documents the team travelling through Europe over a period of three weeks in March and April of 2002. I’d seen this before, but it’s a great bonus feature to own here. Biebel and Johnson totally annihilate the continent, while the French Connection (and my fellow Londoners Jensen and Brady) do themselves proud.

‘The Final Flare Documentary’ is a sixty-minute extravaganza showing you the behind-the-scenes point of view. If you thought making a skate video was simple, then you should educate yourself. The amount of time, effort and money that went into making ‘Fully Flared’ is unbelievable: gruelling tour schedules (seriously), injuries and stress (let alone the amazing filming and editing)… It’s amazing and inspiring to hear the team talk about the pressure they felt on making this the best film ever. For me – and probably many other 30-something skaters out there – it was Guy Mariano’s ‘comeback’ that resonated the most. Guy talks openly and frankly about where he was in his life before deciding to pick up his board again. To hear how Rick Howard and the Lakai guys embraced his return and helped nurture his desire to be back at the forefront of skating again is genuinely heartwarming – and reminds you that the supportive and involving nature of skating is well and alive. An amazing film that everyone should see.

lakai final flare

Disc Three (HD Blu-Ray Disc)

Contents:

New Full Length HD Feature
Weekend At Biebel’s
Guy Medical Leave Of Absence
Vincent Alvarez commercials and Chocolate Introduction
Fully Flared Intro
Fully Fished
TWS Awards Interviews
Photographer Photo Gallery

For those of us fortunate to own a PS3 or a regular Blu-Ray player, this is a great addition to your DVD library. All the juicy visuals and grading from the original feature are shown as they should be in glorious HD quality – but it’s not the original version of ‘Flared’. It’s extra unseen footage cut to different music. Unbelievable… Just how much footage did they manage to collect? The intro sequence viewed in this quality will blow you away, if you’ll pardon the pun. Brandon Biebel is definitely one of my favourite characters on the team and I really liked the ten-minute ‘Weekend At Biebel’s’ documentary that they put on here.
Guy talks about his injury and subsequent surgery without making you squirm too much and the Vincent Alvarez ‘Welcome To Chocolate’ commercials previously only seen as web-quality clips are here in HD, which looks great. A perfect end to the trilogy of discs.

lakai final flare

Mike Mo’s Easter Egg footage and Carroll’s section from TWS’s epic ‘Modus Operandi’ are worth seeking out if you can find them (try ‘cleaning’ someone’s ear on the second disc’s menu…) and the bonus 46 page booklet that comes in the box is a great read, packed with all kinds of old ads and giving you a real idea of the production timeline.

The Lakai guys should feel proud of this contribution to skating. This special edition set surpassed all expectations, even after everyone had seen ‘Fully Flared’. That’s not the kind of goal most sane people would set themselves.

P.S. For anyone who was hoping to see the ‘Slow Motion In Regular Motion’ section from the second disc, which had to be axed after the packaging was printed due to lack of disc space, the Lakai guys have put it as a free download on iTunes via their site for all to see. Thanks dudes. Or you can simply watch it here on Trashfilter courtesy of the official Lakai YouTube channel.

Alien Workshop ‘Mind Field’ DVD

Firstly, I’m not going to be reviewing every skate video production that comes out. I can barely keep up with Youtube clips, let alone the releases and premieres for all the major productions. That said, if you find yourself reading a skate flick review on here, then that means that it’s probably worth your time checking it out for yourself.

I’ve always liked Alien Workshop. There was something creepy and genuinely different about their vibe from the get-go, and it hasn’t got tired over the years: you know what you’re going to get with any footage they release, so injections of interstitial treatments and bizarre sepia-tinged clips don’t get in the way of your viewing pleasure. I was there in 1991, buying their first video release (‘Memory Screen’, with its weird yellow VHS cassette) and recalling that 15 minutes of actual skating in a 41 minute long video was a little… unusual. Something here was different.

The one main thing that has changed since those days is the team of riders. Some are still there (Rob Dyrdek, for example), but there’s always a healthy draw to their productions through the new blood and seasoned pros that are on the roster. With ‘Mind Field’, their fourth video, Alien had the tough job of topping 2000’s ‘Photosynthesis’ – arguably one of the best skate videos of all time.

‘Mind Field’ has been on the boil for a good few years, so expectations were already high before even considering the vast talent on the team’s roster. Leaked photos, advertisements and messageboard rumours kept the interest levels at a premium, maybe second only to the pre-launch of Lakai’s ‘Fully Flared’. Enough babble: if you’ve read this far, you already know all of this. I could have searched for a download, pestered people for a torrent file… whatever: like the Habitat video… or the Stereo box set… or any other production that I actually cared about, I was willing to hold out for the proper DVD release. You get the main film, a nice little 60-page book showing the making of the production, some bonus footage (which, truth be told, I haven’t explored yet)… It’s a nice set. So, what’s the feature like then?

It’s really good.

Opening up with plenty of ‘Memory Screen’ visual references (was that Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis I saw and heard there?), things were off to an interesting start. But when Omar Salazar’s section chimes in with his vast amount of pop and stair-hopping, you soon realise that this is two steps beyond. Gone are Steve Claar, Bo Turner, John Pryor, Scott Conklin and the others (although Duane Pitre does supply some music in this one). Gone is the experimental feel that the scratchy 8mm footage once had. This is big business.

Omar’s in for the opener, as mentioned already, and he proves worthy of it. It might not blow you away like Mike Mo did on ‘Flared’, but it’s a great opening section to the hour-long film. Lots of needle-threading (including an interesting hedge hop), rail pounding and ledge/Hubba antics make for a great section. Whether I preferred this to his Nike ‘Nothing But The Truth’ part is hard to say, because in that film his part stood out slightly more. The game’s been raised in terms of editing and production (and by the lack of terrible subplot) in this one. His ender is amazing.

Jake Johnson can skate switch as well as he can regular. Fast lines, peppered with confidently popped and caught tricks makes for a high adrenaline watch. The Jersey barrier wallie to tailslide on a rail is dope, as is the fakie heelflip down the Brooklyn steps. Wallride over a double set? No problem.

Arto Saari had a lot of hype to live up to, thanks to things such as his Skateboard Mag cover (that double kink backside lipslide, which incidentally is just as amazing to see here), but he manages to bring it to the table. Arto doesn’t need to show you 300 different tricks: I’d rather see a tight selection executed with smooth perfect style, which is exactly what he does here. It’s a good section. The popped pivot to fakie on the bank to wall (trust me, you’ll know it when you see it) is perfect.

Dylan Rieder probably had one of the most anticipated parts here, and with good reason. A relaxed flowing style with plenty of pop on various terrains gives a well-rounded part. The ditch lines are fast and fun, while the last trick – a vast fakie 360 flip down a big five – is an impressive end to one of my favourite parts of the film. Oh, and I liked the Segway interlude that followed.

Now, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from Rob Dyrdek and Steve Berra’s contributions to ‘Mind Field’. Both are plagued with the potential disinterest from skeptics, to the point of where I think they’d have to skate twice as hard as others just to get some recognition. Dyrdek’s been busy with all kinds of projects, whilst Berra was out of action for a while with injuries. To hold that against them before viewing their sections is a little presumptuous: both skaters have turned in short-but-very sweet parts that I really enjoyed. Dyrdek does a particularly dope switch tailslide flip out and Berra is the king of half-cab flips down sets of steps and over gaps. Both skaters did the lesser-spotted fakie double flip (Rob’s was off a bank, Steve’s amidst an amazing line), which made me smile.

Josh Kalis comes through with a great part. Despite having filmed a multitude of video contributions for the last God-knows-how-many years, his section here is classic Kalis: it’s been said many times, but Josh is a contender for best tre flip ever. Lots of clever manual trickery, some slick ledge work and plenty of switch goodness. The switch bigspin heelfip over the block at Fort Miley is an immediate rewind, and he has switch backside tails on lock. Strike up another win for Philly’s finest.

Grant Taylor had a highly anticipated section. Seeing him mature as you watch his part is amazing – the little guy at the start is a man by the time he hops the bump in the playground to frontside boardslide on the fence gate. Watch that move carefully – it’s amazing. I liked him flying around the waterpark as well: that place looks amazing to ride.

Mr. Big Socks, Jason Dill skates as you’d expect: fast, fun lines, using a variety of street obstacles. His part is short, but adds another element to the team line-up. What else can you say about the guy?

Tyler Bledsoe… Oh man. Watching him recently on The Berrics site, I had high hopes for his part and the bespectacled warrior turns in a contender for top section here. Yeah, it’s that good, honestly. A sick frontside boardslide shove-it popped over a rail kicks his section off with finesse, but he goes off: perfect backside bigspin to frontside bluntslide on rails, a huge bigflip down the Carlsbad gap… I won’t spoil it for you by listing everything, but he has all angles in his repertoire. This guy is going to be one to watch. Top three here, for sure. Mikey Taylor’s style stood out to me in the DVS film and he continues where he left off. Backside nollie flip/tailslide at speed, super long crooks down a man-sized rail… a huge nollie heel down a 10 set… An amazing section – and a nod of respect to our recently departed Van Wastell was a lovely touch. Anthony Van Engelen’s up next and, to be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Maybe I’d neglected to check out enough of his previous footage to realise just how good his part was going to be. Massive ollies, some sick lines (one high speed street line ends with a switch crooked grind up a ledge, popped out to 50-50 around a corner. I can’t really explain it, but it stuck in my memory immediately), a massive switch frontside noseslide to fakie on a bank to wall, a vast fakie nosegrind down a big rail… Lots of super-good tailslide-to-noseslide variations too. Another amazing section – and could’ve been curtains in any other video.

But… that duty goes to Heath Kirchart here. There’s no point trying to do his section justice in a website write-up. You can’t do it without bombarding everyone with superlatives. You feel that Heath worked hard on this section and the proof is there for all to see. The best double flip out of a schoolyard bank, over a picnic table… catching it at its peak… and then rolling away like he was in ‘Goodfellas’: “I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you?”. Insane curved Hubba 50-50. Transition debauchery at a park, nosegrabbing 360s higher than most people can jump on a trampoline. The closing trick is amazing. I’ll leave it for you to try and decipher.

With everyone proclaiming to be online journalists, I have little doubt that as soon as the premieres had shown, kids were running to their Blogger accounts to write up their take on the film. There seems to be a trend of downplaying things just so you can have that critical edge on the next guy, but I think it’s too easy to take something apart instead of enjoying it for what it is. Don’t listen too hard to online opinion (including mine, probably): go and see ‘Mind Field’ for yourself. It’s a very good skateboarding film.

Lakai Limited Footwear ‘Fully Flared’ DVD

How do you begin to write a review of a skate video like this one? What was it… a two year wait? Something like that. How could this film possibly live up to the expectations that I’d set for it? I was thinking along the lines of ‘Video Days’ or ‘Questionable’ for this one, but surely the days of such epics were gone in this disposable DVD age.
Anyway, the Lakai shoe team have been compiling incredible amounts of footage (I heard a rumour that Marc Johnson handed in 21 minutes) for this one, so regardless of what the package as a whole was going to be like, I knew there’d be some good skating.

I missed the London premiere (let’s just say that ‘girl-related issues’ put paid to that one), but initial reports were suggesting it was groundbreaking stuff. Not just skate video of the year, but possibly the last decade. Whoa…

So I finally got sent a copy to check out, courtesy of the guys at Revival Distribution.

After a really impressive slow-motion intro sequence (maybe the term ‘bangers’ needs to be redefined after watching this), the skating kicks in with a section from Mike Mo Capaldi. And what a fuckin’ section it is. I knew this guy was really good, but damn! Loads of tricks I hadn’t seen before all executed with great style and solid landings. There’s a beautiful line that ends with the best nollie heelflip backside tail to big spin out I’ve seen and his switch frontside crooked to fakie tre is absolutely perfect. I had to rewind that one. Twice. All angles covered, Mike handles manual variations, ledge work and stairs and gaps like a professional.
Next up is East Coast powerhouse, Anthony Pappalardo with some fast city lines and some amazing ledge trickery after literally smashing himself into smithereens at the start.. His 360 ollie flip over the pyramid thing is sweet.
Then you get the European team’s ‘6 Squares’ section, which kicks in with a cool little intro section. Really nicely put together and not something to skip. And then… then you get Jesus Fernandez. Oh man. What a section. The most amazing ledge tricks I’ve seen, all landed on the bolts and executed at speed. 270 ollie tailslide to flip out? Yes sir! Backside bigspin to long fakie 5-0? Yes! 270 flip (turning with it) to tailslide on a bench? Hells yeah! I’ll leave his last trick for you to see yourself. Amazing.

Next up are local London legends Nick Jensen and Danny Brady, both of who do the UK serious justice with a really nicely filmed section destroying the streets of London. Loved the Fairfields line and Brady’s backside 180 fakie nose grind into the black bank was amazing. The closing trick… damn! Round of applause for a really impressive section.

Lucas Puig is up next and having already seen enough Cliche footage to know that he’s a serious contender meant I was looking forwards to this. His first trick might have been an accident, but it shows just how ‘bolts’ his footwork is! Best switch heels ever and his closing line is amazing. J.J. Rousseau shows his prowess on the ledges and manual pads – the kickflip backside nosegrind revert (coming off the hard way) performed in the middle of a ledge is perfection. J.B. Gillet is up next… oh man… another French guy showing that these guys have the technical power angles fully locked. The line with the nab heelflip opener is so smooth. This whole Euro section is mindblowing – you’ll see lots of never-befores at places you’ve never seen. Can I just say… backside tailslide to 270 flip out (turning with it), at speed on a two-foot high ledge. Thanks.

Cairo Foster is next up and if you’ve seen him skate before, you’ll know that he has one of the most impressive and unique styles out there. And, damn, he’s got pop! Waist-high ledges, walls and handrails are no match for this man. Great music and a nollie flip over a road gap. Oof.
Jeff Lenoce skates to the D.O.C. and gives some solid lines and flippery over big gaps, before Scott Johnston steps up with some trademark SJ smoothness. Rob Welsh is also in this part, making the most difficult manual combinations at Pier 7 look like a walk in the park.
Alex Olson is an angry young man indeed. Misbehaving skateboards incur his wrath, but luckily he has full control over them most of the time. He skates really fast with a lot of confidence, regardless of whether he’s grinding rails, flipping stairs or launching huge ollies on transition. That’s one hell of a large road gap to clear as well…

Ahhh… next up are the Lakai overlords: Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. If you thought they’d stopped skating as much or were in danger of ‘losing’ it, think again. Perfect proof that style speaks for itself. Plenty of great tricks in these two parts… Frontside flip to hurricane? Damn! Carroll’s section in particular is one of my favourites in the entire film.

Brandon Biebel has a really good section, showing his power (which appears to be due to the Redline ‘ultimate energy rush’ drink he consumes at the beginning) and balancing skills. He absolutely kills it. The switch backside tailslide on the waist-high ledge can be watched again and again: it’s solid as hell. He can flip out of grinds better than anyone else out there. Dude seems like a fun guy to go skating with, although he’d make you look stupid with his trick list.
Next up is Koston. You’ll know what to expect from this guy’s section – has he ever had a weak video part? No. Big old flip tricks, smooth lines, handrail technicalities… it’s all here. The fakie tre closer to his part is absolutely massive. And he skates to Public Enemy, which makes it all good with me.

Mariano. Oh man… People have been touting this as his ‘comeback part’ – but watching it, you’d never realise he went away. His first full part since ‘Mouse’, this will satisfy all fans. Unbelievable amount of tricks you won’t have seen before, all pulled off in his unique ‘damn that looks easy to do’ style. Random tricks for you to consider: frontside 180, switch crooked to fakie flip out on a bench. Switch frontside shove-it nosegrind, nollie heel out on the same bench. The best cab flip on a bank since Gino’s on the Beryl banks. Backside tailslide to half cab flip transfer on a spined bank. Noseblunt slide to 270 nollie heel out. I’ve gotta stop there: it’s incredible.

OK… so that’s quite a line-up, right? Who the hell gets curtains after that kind of schedule. Marc Johnson, that’s who. A three-song part absolutely crammed with incredible manual trickery, flip tricks, lines and all kinds of great stuff. He’ll think nothing of doing something like a blunt hardflip out on a bench and then following it up with a 50-50 back-foot kickflip out. Early ’90s tricks are mixed up with the most amazing unseen combinations and lines you’ll have watched in ages. Everything is made to look as easy as hell, he skates with a smile on his face – and it’s the perfect end to the perfect skate film.

Faultless. That’s my review right there: faultless. Best video I’ve seen in years and years. Amazing filming, great use of effects and graphics, inspired music choices… The most amazing 90 minutes of skating you’ll see anytime soon, trust me. If I had a hat on, I’d be doffing it immediately. Do yourself a favour: don’t watch it on YouTube, don’t download it – go and buy it. You need to own this one.