FRIDAY, AUGUST 24,2018 -- The last film director Crystal Moselle developed was the odd but interesting documentary "The Wolfpack" about a bunch of brothers growing up isolated in the projects in New York, reared by their protective father. They learned everything they needed from movie rentals. It was one of the most off-beat coming-of-age films ever made.


Moselle revisits gritty New York with her latest film which features only one real actor surrounded by a bunch of female skateboarders. Talk about the power of social media, she discovered the "star" - Rachelle Vinberg - while skimming through Instagram. Vinberg is an accomplished skateboarder who had the right skillset to fit in with the real Skate Kitchen girls.

Vinburg plays Camille, a teenage girl living in Long Island with her protective mother who frowns on her skateboarding. When Camille gets hurt performing a skateboarding stunt, her mother forbids her to ever skateboard again; her mother's fear is that she will never be able to have children with her husband. Well, you knew that wasn't going to fly with Camille and as soon as she is nearly healed, she is sneaking out the house boarding.


She winds up in the Bronx hanging out with a group of girl boarders who invite her to a skateboarding park that is dominated mainly by boys... who the girls mostly loath. The girls are led by a lesbian named Kurt (Nina Moran) who is desperate to find a girlfriend who really likes her. Others include Eliza who once had a thing for one of the boys (played by Jaden Smith).


After a final falling out with her mother, Camille leaves home and moves in with Eliza. She also gets a job at a stopre where, low and behold... Eliza's ex works as a stockboy. He invites her to come skate with the boys which is a direct breach against her girl squad, but she goes anyway. It is only a matter of time before this blows up in her face, but she goes with it anyway developing feelings for the boy.


While the story is rather mundane, the cinematography is fabulous. Cameraman Shabier Kirchner shows what he's got by capturing up close shots of the skateboarders shredding it. The angles are fantastic and you are drawn onto the skateboards with the kids.


The jury is still out as to what Jaden Smith is doing on the screen, but he does distract from the scenes and apparently performed his own skateboarding stunts. But the real star are the skateboarders and Vinberg whose making her feature film debut.


"Skate Kitchen" is light on story and heavy on cinematography as the film follows a troupe of girl skateboarders through the streets of New York...shredding it!   -- GRADE B --   GEOFF BURTON