Our French editor Youri Barneoud was at the Reels Festival in Annecy a couple weekends ago and got to check out all of the movies first hand on the big screen. Here's what he had to say:
After watching a host of this year’s shred port, what struck us the most is the fact that unlike the last 2 or 3 seasons – when one super big project was dominating – this time there are a bunch of films that you will just have to watch to make sure you don’t miss anything. That might be a bad news for your purse, but a damn good one for your eyes and soul. So here are the movies that you don’t want to miss this fall – which doesn’t mean the ones not reviewed here are crap: once again, films are very subjective aren’t they? We enjoyed every minute of them. The only problem now: where’s the snow?
So without any further ado, here's Youri's take on this year's must-see snowboard movies that he saw at The Reels, along with their respective teasers:[splitpost intro="true"]
[part title="Dopamine – Absinthe Films"]
Standouts: Brandon Cocard, Cale Zima, Victor De Le Rue, Bode Merrill
The unique vibe of Absinthe strikes you from the very first image and leads you right the way through with what will be noticed as a way smoother edit and music choice than last year. The Super 8 atmosphere gives a timeless feel to the movie, and the action as well. The overriding theme is just deep pow and huge tricks all the way through, but the street stuff is really serious too, especially with Cocard.
Bode Merrill’s part really stands out, not only because of the odd choice of music, but also because he rips and will leave you slack-jawed: a double one-foot attempt, crazy gaps… it’s just insane action. Bode innovates and does it on features with serious consequences. Congrats man!
The final part goes to Victor De Le Rue, with a solid showing in the backcountry and a tweak of class as well. Anyway, Absinthe can be relied on to deliver the hammers and this year is no different – if anything the tempo of the movie is the best it’s been in recent years.
Watch this for: Big backcountry riding and urban action from one of the most recogniasable film crews in the game
You can download your own full copy of Dopamine at the iTunes store.
[part title="The Last Ones – Videograss"]
Standouts: Joe Sexton, Scott Stevens, Jake Olson Elm, Justin Fronius
After a double release last year - "Enlighten" and "Darkside" - Videograss returns for 2013 with only one project, which is far less confusing. That said, you still get what you expect in a Videograss movie: Rails, rock, beers, smoke. Joe Sexton opens up with emphasis on technique and style, but it’s certainly Scott Stevens’ part that will get you instantly amped – this guy is just as creative as he is talented. More out of the blue tricks than ever before, set to the punk-pop pogo-ing of Plastique Bertrand – for better or worse. Scott’s talent bagged him the Jury ‘Coup de Coeur’ at The Reels and it’s more than deserved. Plus he was so touched by the gesture that he got all emotional and received a standing ovation.
Other things worth mentioning? Zac Marben has unmatched balance on long rails, Jake Kuzyk is definitely a super tech dude and Jake Olson Elm has a banger part, and a banger trick at the end of it – Cab 270 Hardway to Back Lip on a spot with high consequences. The young and upcoming Justin Fronuis mixes heavy rails and fat backcountry with a lot of ease for his age, and gets the closing part.
Watch this for: Raw, technical jib trickery from one of the most consistent urban crews out there.
You can download your own full copy of The Last Ones at the iTunes store.
[part title="Déjà Vu – Déjà Vu Production"]
Standouts: Will Lavigne, Franck April, Louif Paradis
These French-Canadians are at the forefront of what street snowboarding can be, thanks to what is certainly the best jib crew on the video planet this winter. That the Déjà Vu dudes scooped all three nominations for best Jib section at The Reels (Will Lavigne, Franck April and Louif Paradis – Louif won) speaks volumes about the film and its riders – the film is 90% jibbing, something you must know this before you check this so you don’t go in expecting a pow fest, and in terms of this aspect of snowboarding you won’t find a better representation in a film this year.
Will Lavigne gets the intro and sets things up: this is going to be a tech fest. Ben Bilocq will make you sit up, both on rails and in the backcountry, pushed by a pleasant Smashing Pumpkins track. Nic Sauvé takes it back to the street in style, and with Interpol, which helps as well. Franck April must have the most ‘gangster’ part of the year with some solid jibbing set to some old school hip hop.
The ender goes to Louif, who has obviously shot banger after banger, in some crazy spots most of the others would not maybe think as doable. Best jibber this season for sure. Alex Cantin, LNP and Phil Jacques complete in style and technique, what is the best street crew today. Bravo les gars, tabernac!
Watch this for: the heaviest urban movie you’ll see this year
You can download your own full copy of Deja Vu at the iTunes store.
[part title="Nation – Transworld Snowboarding"]
Standouts: Xavier De Le Rue, Eiki Helgason, Gulli Gudmonson, Dylan Thomson
I will remember this movie’s sick intro for a while, and that’s because of the imagery but also for the best tweaked Cross Rocket I’ve ever seen: who’s the dude doing this for Christ's sake? Xavier is straight up there and slashes Alaska and every icy face with determination: his part is, once again, is one of the best balls-out sections ever. Insane. Tripping. Scary.
Then we go straight back to the streets with a punchy Chris Brewster who explains his choice for jibbing: “it all starts when you live somewhere with snow but you don’t have the money to buy liftpasses". Dylan Thompson gets serious again with a double kink backside boardslide with consequences to kick things off, followed up with drops of huge proportions, gap nosepress 3 out, and double wallride lines… Stylish, bold and precise.
Jonah Owen gives us another round of rails before Eiki and Gulli start playing on their Icelandic home turf. And this is fun to watch – original tricks, original spots, and just fun snowboarding. Ståle Sandbech brings it to the contest scene, which from a media point of view is always interesting – as long as there’s not too much.
A few lines from DCP and Benedek are thrown in for good measure, plus there are good parts from Hironaka, Sweetin and Brisse who shows some new stuff in backcountry – and that BS rodeo boardslide…
Forest Bailey closes it with a solid jib part and unlike a lot of the jibbers today, combines crazy tech with huge features. Oh and his doubles and 10s are not too shabby either.
Watch this for: a well rounded movie, with some solid riding talent
You can download your own full copy of Nation at the iTunes store.
[part title="Take It Easy – Quiksilver"]
Standouts: Teo Kontinen, Will Lavigne, Bryan Fox, Zebbe Landmark
Another good surprise is this Quiksilver team video, which is also rail heavy – surprisingly rail heavy, actually.
It all starts with the star, of course: Travis Rice slays some gnarly backcountry lines – followed by his helicopter. That puts you right into it for sure. Then the heavy rail team shows up and heat up the metal: Danimals, Ian Hart and Jake OE are all very good, Teo Konttinen kills it with tech, and there’s a bit of Lavigne style – Will’s also present in this movie – and also killing it.
Teo then does a little bit of park with Kim Rune Hansen, and the newcomer Johnny Brady blends both street and pow tricks before Bryan Fox ramps the BC level up with one of the most stylish cork BS 7 ever done! Zebbe Landmark closes the show with another heavy rail section – and a tiny bit of backcountry. But that BS270 gap to boardslide, man!
Watch this for: A sick first effort for a team movie from Quik (plus it's free to watch online)!
[part title="Naturally – Friday Production"]
Standouts: Jake, Kazu, scenery, spots, powder, natural terrain
Jake Blauvelt’s project has been buzzing the world of snowboarding for about a year now, so expectations were definitely high. Many times when expectations are high, they get disappointed. That’s not the case here, of course, because the filming, the scenery, the vibe and the pow riding is just awesome – not for street rats that’s for sure, but anyone who loves pow and the art of turning will want to strap in immediately after watching this.
I found it highly interesting, and going into the life of Jake in such a way is pretty unique. The whole crazy windlip sequence (where Jake got injured before coming back to own it a year later) is just really intense. Also the fact that Shayne Pospisil and Fredi K are in the movie although they have no real sponsor, is also noticeable. Especially because they are still ripping of course. We also salute the genius idea of – with only a couple of exceptions – going all natural; this statement is not only bold but gives a unique feel to the film all the way through.
And what to say about Jake… Maybe what’s the most impressive about him is his ability to pick insane lines and just rip them and slash them to perfection – video game stuff. In short, if I would like to show an ignorant what snowboarding is about, I would most certainly pick this film - Or Never Not Part 2.
Watch this for: POWDER
[part title="Distorted Reality – Pirates Production"]
Standouts: Elias Elhardt, Sami Luhtanen, Kalle Ohlson
For very good reason, Unique 8, last year’s Pirates film, was considered by many as the best movie of the year. Perhaps a little controversially they didn’t get any prizes for Unique 8, while this year at The Reels they won the ‘Best Cinematography’ category. And you know what? It’s a well deserved prize. A huge amount of time and effort has been put into rider’s intros – they are all amazing and pretty surprising.
There are also lot of new recruits this year – obviously it’s no longer only 8 riders – and the new additions pretty much smash it for their first season with the crew: Nils Schack and Fredrik Evensen for example… The rest of the crew showcase their incredibly high level of riding, and also their motivation: Kalle Ohlson, Sami Luhtanen, Marco Feichtner, Gigi Rüf are all awesome to watch and seem to improve season after season.
But the closing part, my friends, reveals one of the most underrated snowboarders on the continent, and we can say we’re super glad for him because after this let’s hope he’ll get the recognition he deserves: take a bow, Elias Elhardt. Not only he’s one of the nicest guys on the around, Elias SENDS it in every shot, doing his best for himself and the crew. A very solid backcountry part, including a trip to Alaska with Evensen and some serious lines. He told us he’s also featuring in Keller’s project Chamäleon… How many months does this guy have in his winter?
Watch this for: Super creative intros, beautiful filming and a monstrous backcountry frontside 180 by Elias
Distorted Reality will be dropping on iTunes shortly.
[part title="Incoming – WhatWeWant production"]
Standouts: Tyler Chorlton, Gerome ‘Coin Coin’ Mathieu
A banging, inspirational intro, a pretty big crew of riders, a fantastic soundtrack (from blue to jazz and rock) and a general flow that begs for powder so badly… this is a good second effort from the WWW guys. Tyler’s power in the backcountry is powder riding at its best – this guy can just stomp the gnarl or gently brush the snow with his board.
Fred Couderc spices it up with some tech rail tricks, while Valérian Ducourtil brings it back to the theme of the movie: big powder and big tricks in to it. Johan Baisamy and Ben Thomas-Javid join forces on their part, one being more BC, the other more urban, obviously. Fefe Pellicani and Tobi Strauss also share an interesting part, and there’s also some nice and soulful riding featuring of Martin Gallant, who’s as good on a board as he is on a sled or ATV.
Emilien Badoux charges some heavy freeride lines, Doods Charlet does his thing on home turf, as does Kale Stephens. And then we have a very amusing (sometimes not so much) slam section, set to the dulcet tones of Mister Richard Cheese: finally! He made it in to a snowboard movie, Yeeha!
But guys, the ender featuring Coin Coin, is just a off the hook. Gerome’s commitment when he rides big wedges is so sick to watch, and he’s not shy of pushing limits either. Plus Marilyn Manson on the audio side of things tops it all off. This, my friends, is a real strong video part. Good job Coin Coin! Good job WWW crew!
Watch this for: Big, balls out riding from some slightly lesser known (but totally ripping) European riders
[part title="Never Not Part 1&2 – Nike Snowboarding"]
Standouts: Halldor Helgason, Gigi Rüf, Nico Müller, Jed Anderson
Drop by drop, you’ll get to see it all, whether you get the full movie or watch the part-by-part stuff. Any way you put it, any way you watch it, this movie is just epic.
Part 1 is your classic yet banging part-by-part movie, while Part 2 is more of a snowboard documentary centered around the Nike riders, whether they jump in powder, grind some metal, or compete on icy landings.
Ok let’s start with Halldor, so it’s out of the way. Halldor is one of the best in the business, we all know this. Now we also know he’s one of the craziest motherfuckers on the planet, pardon my French. His part is rammed with technicality and radness, but that monstrous backflip gap when he was still wearing a neckbrace after getting injured 4 days before? Insane. Happy Xmas dude! A well deserved recognition of his talent was when he received the Golden Reels Award for Best Male Performance, full stop.
Jed Anderson is not only natural on rails, he can hit the backcountry pretty well too. Nico Müller opens things up in his inimitable style, and systematically manages to bag the perfect line/perfect trick for the terrain he’s riding. Plus he’s got the one quote of the movie: “Tricks? There’s only one trick: strap in!" The review could go on and on, since every rider in there is killing it: Justin Bennee, Gigi Rüf, Austin Smith, Sage Kotsenburg, Manuel Diaz, Ethan Morgan… It’s all good!
Part 2 is split in to 4 different sections, all very intense in the filming as well as in the talking: adaptation (riding everything, Halldor), ambition (contests, Kass on having only one chance), exploration (backcountry trips, a rider can travel up to 32,000 Km in a season), and the epilogue (yes, where you go snowboarding is a great place to make friends).
Watch this for: EPIC snowboarding from some of the world's absolute finest
You can download your own full copy of Never Not Part 1 & 2 at the iTunes store.