I like naked women, but that's not why I saw Hell Ride. Honestly, I had forgotten that naked women might be featured prominently. It was the motorcycles and the negative reviews from Sundance that hooked me (I'm a contrary fellow). I like 60s biker flicks, and because writer / director / co-star / Quentin Tarantino's friend Larry Bishop had been in some of them, I figured he could make an affectionate homage. Alas, while Bishop can indeed shoot the hell out of the motorcycle footage, it's the other 95% of the movie that's lazy and boring. What I learned: Bare breasts, slit throats, and roaring motorcycles do not a movie make, as I wrote elsewhere (in German). Also, I hate when critics are right.

Hoping to elevate my thinking, I happily joined friends for an afternoon screening of Love and Honor, a stately, well-composed drama that follows the plight of a samurai food-taster who goes blind. I never knew a samurai could be a food-taster, so that was educational, and I appreciated the (presumably) faithful historical depiction of a samurai marriage, which involves -- you guessed it! -- plenty of love and honor. Unfortunately, the combination of a turtle-like pace and too many beers the night before resulted in sonorous slumber (i.e. I was snoring like a Mack truck). What I learned: Don't see any movie described as "deliberately paced" unless you've ingested copious amounts of caffeine.

Later that night, horror flick The Signal definitely kept me awake with its razor-edged jumble of thrills, chills, and laughs. Despite a disappointing final 10 minutes, I really wish I'd listened to Scott and Eric D., who urged seeing this sick puppy in theaters. What I learned: Always keep a huge metal canister of bug spray handy.

categories Cinematical