A Spine-Cracking Good Time

To the Maxxx Extreme Sports Film Sidebar

The main course of the Film Fest is joined this year by an explosive side dish of movies dedicated to sports that may kill you. Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, and death-defying athletic antics are par for the course in the To the Maxx category — which is sure to have audience members chugging Mountain Dew and doing upside-down inverted flaming headstands in their theater seats all week long.

The adrenaline orgy gets its official kickoff Friday afternoon at the Victoria Hall Theater with the gritty love song to cyclocross PureSweetHell. But it’s later that night when the real fun begins at the Center Stage with a skateboard film extravaganza that includes the Jim Bates biopic Fun Pain, and Eric Hath and Beau Lambert’s presentation of assorted other skate shorts like LA2NY and Footy. The grinding, big air, and occasional debauchery take it to the slopes later that same night with the world premiere of Mack Dawg’s From _____ with Love at the Victoria Theater. This hour-long celebration of snowboarding features many of the world’s top riders getting stupid at home and abroad. From California to Russia, this film — shot entirely in 16 mm — is packed with powdery goodness.

From there, the week unfolds with an action-packed lineup that includes the latest freestyle mountain-biking flick from the folks at Freeride Entertainment, Unchained (besides nutter-butter action these guys are claiming a big-time blowout bash to follow their screening); kite-boarding action in the already popular film Soul Fly; more snowboarding in the HD screening of The Craving; and South Coast native Josh Landon’s salute to Al Merrick and the Channel Islands surf team in Flow.

Though it probably depends on which spine-cracking medium you prefer best, the pre-fest favorites have to be the motorcycle film On the Pipe 2 and the skateboard documentary The Making of Animal Chin. Pipe 2 is as high quality as any free-riding motorcycle film ever made and the action inside isn’t so slouchy either. From world record-breaking jumps and airs over flying helicopters, this movie does everything but disappoint — not to mention, rumor has it that the February 10 premiere at the Arlington will feature an impressive live musical accompaniment. And that brings us to The Making of Animal Chin. Not much to say about this one other than Animal Chin is arguably the best and most influential skate film of all time and this documentary offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the magic.

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