Skate Kitchen Review - Skate Boarding Film Delivers Trials and Tribulations of Teenage Angst

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Skate Kitchen, from Magnolia Films, presents the urban story of a group of New York City teens who live for boarding and spending one last summer before romantic and life decisions complicate what was once unspoiled.

Directed and co-written by Crystal Moselle, Skate Kitchen stars Rachelle Vinberg, Jaden Smith, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Kabrina Adams, Ajani Russell, Jules Lorenzo, Brenn Lorenzo, Hisham Tawfiq and Elizabeth Rodriguez. The screenplay was also written by Moselle, Aslihan Unaldi, and Jennifer Silverman.

Skate Kitchen begins with Camille, played by newcomer Rachelle Vinberg, attempting daredevil skateboard tricks on the stairs of the park near her home in Long Island, falling she begins to bleed heavily with the boys behind her asking if it was her period.


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The next scene she is at the hospital getting stiches, from what is known in the skateboard community as straddle injury. After telling her mother, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, the board was taken away and Camille was left to walking and when she couldn't stand it anymore she began to sneak the board out and pick it up outside.

With a huge following on Instagram, she is well known outside her neighborhood in the burbs and when she is hit up for a Skate Party on the Lower East Side in Manhattan she decides to take the train in and meet up.

As it is New York City, the teens are definitely more mature than those outside of the city and suburbanite Camille, who is nearly 18 and yet is miles and years behind the more mature Manhattanites, meets up with the group. Soon with the common ground of skateboarding the girls are surfing through the streets.

With Kurt, played by Nina Moran, Janay, played by Dede Lovelace, and Kabrina Adams, as the Videographer, and about three others the girls are boarding through the lower east side with Camille, tagging along as they end up at Janay's home.

Her dad, whom she describes as very cool, doesn't seem to mind the girls are smoking pot in her bedroom (my how times have changed) and is willing to have all for dinner. The girls, as they have a newcomer to the crowd are going for the sexual orientation question and the afternoon ends with mature Manhattan girls getting suburban Camille to 'fess up on her preferences.

With that out of the way, boarding is the passion and with the Island a long ride home and a new group of friends, hiding the excursions for too long proved impossibile and after a couple of trips Camille's mom finds out and trashes her board and essentially grounds her which leads to her to moving in with Janay.

Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith, enters about this time as the ex-boyfriend of Janay, and as we find out the one she never really got over. Of course, when we first meet him, he is hanging with his "dick" posse as the girls call it and is considered the same.

Skate Kitchen is a urban bonding experience born from the real experiences of the Director Crystal Moselle who happened upon the group on the train in New York and as she said, "I was listening to them just chat, and they were super interesting and they had skateboards, and I asked them, "Would you guys want to do like a video project, something?"

The rest they say is collaborative history as the film was developed with a group of real girls, real street language and real situations all centered around the skateboarding culture which isn't only for the West coast anymore.

Moselle talks about her experiences and the biggest challenge of making the film and as it was her first narrative project wanting to be thorough and how "the script was like 110 pages and our rough cut was four hours and forty-five minutes. I should have listened to my instinct. I didn't need to shoot 10 endings to this film."

Skate Kitchen is thoroughly engaging with a reality that is purely New York City. The storylines, even with all the editing and changes, became cohesive and consistent. With Jaden Smith on board, which for some may be his first real part outside of the shadow of his parents and he, as one would expect, is a talented actor with screen presence.


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Elizabeth Rodriquez, who has been seen in many roles including Gabrielle, the Mexican nurse in the Hugh Jackman film Logan, is also a recognizable face in the group.

Of course the real stars of Skate Kitchen are the posse of teens skating through New York City streets dancing as the carry phones, cameras and tunes wherever they go. It was a NYC moment and very memorable in the film.

Skate Kitchen is appealing on many levels. With the back drop of the Big Apple, the city streets have special meaning, and probably hold the same for anyone who has ever lived there. The storyline is alluring and captivates as real life encroaches on the illusion of what they are making it.

Entertaining, engrossing and authentic.

Skate Kitchen, a girls bonding film, is playing select cities. Check local listings for times.

 

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