Skate Kitchen is, as the kids are saying these days, “my jam”. The newest film from director Crystal Moselle is a fantastic follow-up to her 2017 documentary hit The Wolfpack. It combines the style of a documentary with the coming-of-age themes in a narrative feature, with a cast of non-actors, and a voyeuristic look that makes it the perfect “hang out” movie for years to come. It also tells a story of female empowerment, friendship, and what it means to grow up in the big city of New York. Skate Kitchen is not just one of my favorite movies of 2018, it is a film that I want to relive again and again.
Behind every great man is an even greater woman. The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones), is not a movie that is saying anything extremely new, I mean, there have been plenty of movies that reveal women have been shortchanged in life due to sexism, but it is doing it extremely well. Glenn Close delivers a near perfect performance as Joan Castleman, wife to acclaimed author and newly awarded Nobel Peace Prize winner Joe Castleman (Pryce). Being awarded is a fantastic honor for the writer, but it also unearths a secret that the couple has been hiding since the beginning of their marriage. The Wife is a balanced drama, with fantastic performances from the entire cast, including Close, who will most likely earn another Oscar nomination.
There needs to be more punk in our horror movies. Thankfully, The Ranger has come along, and it is a super cool, punk slasher escape that I have always wanted. Director/writer Jenn Wexler and co-writer Giaco Furino conjure up every goofy stereotype that you would want in your horror movie. The cabin in the woods, the final girl, the bloody slashing, and the mad man stalking his youthful prey. And yet, The Ranger feels like a fresh, fun take on what we’ve seen before. Chelsea (Chloe Levine) is the quiet one in her group of friends. She participates in the fun of drugs, loud music, and laughs, but when boyfriend Garth kills a cop, it sends the gang on the run to her family cabin. What they find in the forrest is a park ranger with an axe to grind, resulting in a fight for survival, which is what makes The Ranger a killer independent movie that you won’t want to miss.
The story of a boy and his dog has been told before, but Alpha explicitly markets itself as an origin story of man becoming best friends forever with our furry four legged friends. Sounds like a pretty simple concept, sending us back in time, 20,000 years to pre-historic Europe, where man speaks in a cave-man language, living with nature as their guide, and hunting wild animals for food. Instead of focusing on an adventurous journey of man bonding with beast for the audience to enjoy, Alpha is too preoccupied with showing CGI landscapes, and forcing us to endure our heroes painful trek. If this is supposed to be the origin story of how dogs became man’s best friend, I wonder why they don’t hate humans entirely?