By Ciara LaVelle
By Calum Marsh
By Voice Media Group
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Sherilyn Connelly
By Inkoo Kang
By Carolina del Busto
By Alan Scherstuhl
Then he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the halfpipe, landing him in a coma for a month and a lifetime of disability.
Lucy Walker's documentary The Crash Reel paints an in-depth portrait of Pearce's life after the accident, briefly chronicling the athlete's impressive career before descending into the frustrating, heart-wrenching details of his recovery. The cameras are with him at each tiny step, from staring blankly and wide-eyed at his mother shortly after he regains consciousness, to learning to walk and struggling with memory loss — and through what feels like an interminable litany of appointments with doctors who beg him to slow down, be patient, take it easy, and give up his dream of returning to the sport he loves.
Pearce's story is a tragic and timely warning of what can happen to athletes at heightened risk of TBI. But The Crash Reel fails to take a stand on the broader issues it addresses, glossing over the problems of how quickly sports such as pro snowboarding have progressed to hazardous extremes; who pays for medical treatment in the cases of these athletes, who are often uninsured; and whether such dangerous sports should be legal in the first place. By the time The Crash Reel ends, when you're as tired of hearing doctors say no as Pearce is, you'll wish more of the film had been spent pondering whether sports entertainment is worth risking the lives of its stars.
Vinyl Days: Love, friendship, and vinyl records drive the plot of Vinyl Days, writer/director Gabriel Mesci's tale of four friends who bonded as children when an angry boyfriend dumped a rack of records out of an apartment window as his girlfriend walked out. "We were baptized," says a voice-over by the adult version of one of the boys.
It seems like a noble beginning, but aspirations for an Argentine High Fidelity fall flat. Vinyl Days is a well-shot and fine-paced movie, even while edging close to two hours. But Mesci's writing never invests in the small things needed to flesh out the characters and their passion for the music that's the foundation of his story. Instead, it sets up convoluted jokes that nearly derail the film. A woman's Yoko Ono-like threat to a Beatles cover band fronted by one of the friends seems cute — until the musician's apprehension toward her reveals a racist bent more than a paranoid wariness toward the odd coincidence.
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