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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

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"Step Into Liquid" is a splash of beauty


"Step Into Liquid" is an awesome name for a surfer documentary, but unfortunately, the dialogue is nowhere as thoughtful or poetic as the title.

Sure writer, editor and director Dana Brown (son of Bruce Brown who made surf documentaries in the '60s) takes a crack at deep thoughts, but instead sprays us with shallow platitudes and trippy one-liners like "the perfect wave is a choice" and "waves are where you find them."

Lucky for all of us, Brown has a nice narrator's voice that sounds like the morphed vox of Jeff Bridges and John Corbett.

However, if you want to make the most of the film's 90-minutes of footage, approach it more like an IMAX movie and enjoy it for the incredible visuals. "Liquid" is an extraordinarily beautiful film with masterfully shot scenes of terrifying and playful waves in all shades of blue.

Also like an IMAX film, this is one to catch on the large screen.

Brown goes a bit overboard making his point, but he is definitely successful at breaking down surfer stereotypes and reminding us that wave chasers come in all shapes, sizes and intellects. He takes us onto the boards of multiple surf nuts, from bad-ass, blond females in Tahiti to beer-bellied brat-eaters in Sheboygan. (Yup, apparently the little town to our north is a decent pace to hang ten. Who knew?)

The profiles of the various boarders are interesting -- and in the case of the Sheboygan sufers, quite funny as well -- but it's the cinematography that make this film worthwhile. Like an IMAX movie, you often wish for less talk and more action, and in this case, wish Brown would drown out the babble and get back to the bitchin' water scenes.

"Step Into Liquid" opens at the Downer on Fri., Sept. 12.


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