Review by Quinn Feldman
I’m sitting here watching “Abstract Art II” while I do all the endless amount of work I have to do tonight, and during Matt Strobot’s second part I decide I am going to do a review of this video. I don’t usually do reviews on videos or anything else because I don’t have any time to actually sit down and write a good one. But since I am exporting and e-mailing for a while tonight, I will take a break and write my first video review. My credentials on skate videos are pretty good, I’m sure skaters who have been to my home to see the collection can vouch for me. So here we go.
I for one was excited right away when I heard there was going to be an “Abstract Art II”. I am a big fan of all the Kazlauskas videos. My two favorites are “Abstract Art” and “Smell the Onion”. A lot of skaters I’m sure didn’t even know there was an “Abstract Art” until “Abstract Art II” was announced and what’s awesome is “Abstract Art” is included in the bonus of the DVD! “Abstract Art” was one of the earlier skate DVDs. It came out a little after rollerblading’s first ever DVD (to my knowledge) “Life+.”
The “Abstract Art” DVD just kind of kept going. Even the DVD menu gave you a “Got to press play and see what’s inside”-type of vibe. It was sort of a crazier version of “Juice”, the Fifty/50 video, that came a little after it. Crazier in editing and music specifically. There are a few parts in “Abstract Art” I have to mention and give props to before I start on it’s big brother.
First is Ben Walton. He had a great part in this video and it wasn’t just the skating that got me although I must say I love that back side and soul grind he does on that log as well as his nice rail skills to go along with it. The way the part is edited hyped me up as well, music starts out nice and relaxed until you see a flash of Colin Martin saying “damager” into the camera and then the song gets crazy. Oh and that 180° into the grass hill was great, too. I always loved that spot. Every time I watched that video I always wondered why they hit up that spot. Had to light it up with cars and it was just a grass hill. But just thinking about that spot puts a smile on my face.
Also love Jeff Jaras part and mad props go to Mike Ireland, he had my favorite part in the video. Never saw enough of that guy. He seemed so naturally talented, like he was made to roll or something. He also has a great little part in “Against the One Way”.
Now, before I get caught up in how much I loved the first video lets move on to the second.
“Abstract Art II” over all is a great video. There is absolutely no reason not to buy it! It has the same layout as “Abstract Art” but it’s been updated. Awesome job with the motion graphics when the title was shown. That must have taken some effort to get the timing right on that. I really like how that effect worked, gave a sweet settling vibe for the end of the intro but also amped you up for the rest of the video. Another updated feature in this video that I like is the location of where each skater is from which appears under each name in the video.
So first up is Logan Clark who I have not seen a ton of footage from but I still know the name and am intrigued to see what he can do. Highlights from his part are the nice 180° mute he pulls on this gap off a wall into the street rocking that yellow “What future?” Franco Shade shirt. He also pulls a decent true spin makio on a nice mellow down rail.
Next is Michael Froemling’s first part in the video. Michael has always been really good as far as I can remember. His first trick pulls you right in with a back torque budget backside savannah on this very nice very long curve ledge, gets a little low and steezes out the last part of the ledge. His first part is short but there’s more out of him later.
Then it’s time for Travis Rhodes who I am not very familiar with but actually turns out to be one of my favorite skaters in the video. I really like this guy’s style and he laces some hard tricks in his part such as the very nice inspin fishbrain with a grab he flawlessly does on a mellow down ledge and his gap top soul gap off, as well as his last trick – a good 360° on a very weird and difficult gap.
PJ comes up next with a few cool tricks. I know PJ as the guy who was always doing crazy steep rails and transfers. Props for all those stunts, homie! PJ’s videos have always been good, too: “Pay Taxes and Die” and “Tax Free”, both good videos to have. He always gets a Rory section so I’m always hyped. PJ’s cinematography skills only seem to be getting better as of lately.
Next Mike Bober hits a sick zero fish on a famous Chicago drop rail as well as a good cab alley oop soul on another Chicago video hot spot which always shows up in all videos that come out from that area. Anthony Esquivel does a crazy (!) suicide wall ride to sort wrap things up.
Then it comes down for a second and goes into Dallas Kilpatrick who quickly gets it moving again. He has a good part which I could only expect after his last section in “Smell the Onion” which was also very good. Kid does some crazy gaps, some even crazier things with walls and a nice farside makio on a drop ledge.
We take a short break from Kilpatrick to shed some light on Ashley Peterson who rolls on up with some nice tricks. Very solid negative acid down a mellow 20 stair square rail and also hits a top acid transfer true acid on some transfer rails. Always been a big fan of that switch up! Favorite trick out of this guy though is the outspin sweaty he laces on this nice double kink and reverts out, rocking some head phones, looked like he was in the zone on that one!
Then we go back to Dallas who lands the gap he fell on in his first part before the Ashley Peterson commercial break and also goes for a disaster safety grab front fahrvergnügen or could be sweaty, can’t be certain, but does not get it and takes a harsh slam. I believe this is the same disaster rail that Jeph Howard does disaster royal on. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe Mike or Derek French also tried disaster soul on it a while back and also falls. I think it’s one of them. Don’t like to be wrong on this stuff but don’t want to double check right now. Bottom line is it’s a drop kink that is set up for disasters to get handled but does take some control and and a ton of balls. Dallas continues to destroy shit for another two minutes. Rails, ledges all types of cool spots my favorite though is that nice 540° on that long gap over a fucking barb wire fence. And this guy is 32 years old.
Following that beast is a crowd pleaser, Brian Bruno who recently shared to me how happy he was with his part a few weeks back and I can see why. He assured me that there would be some rail skating and he came through on his promise. He starts off with a nice hurricane topsoul on a down ledge, the same one featured in “Jack be Nimble” but I don’t mind seeing a trick that amazing in two videos or 3 or 4 for that matter. Kid does crazy tricks through out the whole section on awesome spots! One of the clips I really like goes by fast but he hits a nice alley oop top soul on the under bar of this down rail 360° out to the street. He also laces a very hard switch up on a mellow down rail: top soul the under bar to hop up soul to true spin soul, but he didn’t 540° out of it. Just playing, Brian. Everything he does in his part is good: nice lines, good switch ups and solid style to it all. I watch this part of the video a lot.
The guy coming up next friend requested me on facebook a couple months back and of course I added him. I knew exactly who he was. In “Smell the Onion” this nutty dude bombs the biggest steep grass hill ever in a cape! Anyway his first part is tight! He nails some good tricks and there’s a shot of someone kissing a baby so if your a father man, congrats. If not, well… then random…
As we continue we have the video’s editor and cinematographer Andrew Kazlauskas. He hit some cool tricks and some nice lines. Props for hitting that alley oop wall ride on that up side down car and I also like the 180° he pulls for his ender. Nice roll in off this roof to 180° mute.
Old school Chi town legend Eddie Dombrowski is up next, always been a fan of this man’s skating. Skates a lot of different spots in his part. Laces a nice alley oop tabernackle and a very nice launch to top soul on a long drop rail which is his ender.
Then comes an up and coming familiar face: Sean Darst. Honestly really did like his part. It starts off with a nice half cab sweaty to drop on this nice out rail followed by some good lines but my favorite clip in his part is the line where he hits zero porn on a ledge then hits a top soul on a 17 stair down ledge about 8 inches higher then the stairs. Same spot that Nolan 180°’s the set in “Smell the Onion”, I believe. The line is very fast and the top soul is smooth. Kid doesn’t move, his body stays still. He also hits the fishbrain that is the cover shot for the video. Pretty hyped about that trick, too. I think most are.
Next it goes into a montage with John Adams, Nick Rother, Anthony Wolak – who laces a beautiful alley oop fish on a nice bank to rail – along with some other skaters. Greg Schlosser is next to step up to the plate who has a short but solid little contribution to an already outstanding video. Then Zach Hamel from Black Earth starts skating and everything is pretty good until he hits that gap to roll which stands out. “You know, the scary one from the trailer” as well as hits a weird looking nobbed rail which also put a smile on my face. Luda hits a nice sweaty on this pvc pipe rail to gap deal in his part. Kruise who – lets face it – has always been really fucking good at skating has a nice sort of “too short of a part to fill my Kruise fix” but laces some good stuff and adds yet another amazing trick to the furniture store rails collection of amazing tricks done. It’s alley oop top soul to revert full true top soyale. Pretty epic, bro.
Then it’s time for one of my favorite skaters, Rory Melehan. I like every trick in this section and I’m not going to name any because their too hard to describe. You just have to see it.
Brandon Sanwick comes up and does some niceness including a fishy on a bridge drop rail and back comes Strobot to do some more damage in his second part which he does. Steezed out back savannah. Dude, props and that launch to true mizou on that ledge was hot, too. Full commitment on that trick. I don’t know what’s up with this 32 year old but he comes back to lace four more stunts. Dallas you’re a beast!
Travis Rhodes returns to us with a very nice switch up – zero negative porn – and then uses that backslide foot perfectly to switch up to top acid and it was solid, he seemed pretty juiced about it.
Then it’s Nolan Wojciechowski who looks like he could win in most bar fights and he does the transfer that was screaming to be done for a while but wasn’t because it’s just really fuckin’ beefy! Nolan kills it with some big transfers, a nice true kind grind, a “Oh, damn!” true top porn on this curve rail and some all around powerful skating.
We end the video with a full second Froemling section that certainly does not disappoint. Smooth lines and some tech stuff hold this section down and just like that the video ends.
Overall skating was on point. Lots of variety in the spots but also some great rail and ledge skating in there. I personally like to see both. There were some good stunts and mostly all the skaters had tricks that really stood out to me. Everyone had a good part or good parts in some of the skater’s cases. I got the feeling everyone skated hard for this video and that’s what I really do respect when watching skaters. Seeing an individual who is pushing his own skating to another level and progressing.
Filming was good as well and some of the filming that stood out to me was a lot of tricks I already mentioned but loved how Logan’s 180° mute was filmed had a pretty nice zoom out to it and it went good with the music. Like the filming on Froemling doing that zero negative mistrial on that black handy. Nice to see him land and then roll out of frame. Also his 180° over the high black rail, I like how the filmier followed him on that didn’t zoom too far out or in. It was just right so you got a good idea of what the spot was.
Travis Rhodes launch to mizou transfer to royal was another well filmed clip. It was a very well executed shot. Dallas’s harbor gap as well as the second shot of the makio that follows that clip was great, too. Brian Bruno’s truespin top acid on the drop rail I dream about skating was shot nicely. Sean Darst top soul line was well shot. I have more but I have to get back to work soon so can’t list every one. Over all filming was nice. Editing was good to, I really enjoyed the motion graphics! props to Kieran Sweeney who put those together and I loved the music. Music went really well with the editing and vice versa.
I personally have always loved Kazlauskas’s videos. I’m not biased at all because I don’t know him, I’ve never been to Chicago. I’m not in the video and no one asked me to write this review. So with that being said I would say “Buy this video!”. There were things here and there that I didn’t like but I’m not going mention any and I’ll tell you why: I know that there are plenty of other people who will trash talk this video or the people in it as their will always be people who will trash talk everything on the internet no matter what it is. I’m sure other’s will give their two cents about what they think a certain skater should or shouldn’t have done or what the editing should have been like or the music or whatever. There may also be some constructive criticism that might help or give new ideas for the next project. I’m sure people will write their opinions all over the internet. So I’m sure there’s going to be enough of that, so I don’t have to mention any minor little things on here that may have not been up to the standard of the rest of the video “in my opinion”. Because with all the good, great and epic that this video has to offer I forget about any of those little things.
Hating won’t ever stop and that’s ok, maybe it fuels the fire or something but before you leave a comment on something for everyone on the internet to see, think about how hard that person worked on his video or section or profile or whatever it is before you tear it up. Constructive criticism is only good if it’s constructive and not coming from everybody. If Andrew or any of the riders really want to know those little things I didn’t completely enjoy as much as the rest of the video they can ask me. Criticizing will always be easier than creating!
My one request is if Jeff Jaras, Ben Walton and Mike Ireland read this: please come out with sections in “Abstract Art III” or “Smell the Onion 2”! I would love to see you guys killing it again or hit me up so you can do something for ACHOSEN-FEW.COM.
Damn, 3 am and I still got another 2 hours of work to do. ACHOSEN-FEW.COM never sleeps. Yo, awesome video Kaz, you killed it! Awesome job to all the skaters. Buy it! Support!
– Quinn Feldman
You know a video is good when there is throwaways like this.
Michael Froemling – Abstract Art II Throwaways
Dallas Kilpatrick – Abstract Art II Throwaways
Get the video at the Be-Mag online shop: http://shop.be-mag.com/product/abstract-arts-2
Make sure to check out ACHOSEN-FEW.COM