Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12 on Sep 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Empire may be abandoning the luxury recliner plan, they’ve recently installed seats from Showplace down the road (Kerastoes is currently renovating to install recliner seating).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Kerasotes Showplace 14 on Sep 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Currently Kerasotes is renovating the theater into a recliner-plex – – the five-year old seats it currently has (which are still in fine shape) were sold to Empire Columbia Park 12, a mile up the road.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Movieland 8 Theatres on Sep 15, 2014 at 7:35 am

They’re 3/8th digital – with 5 35MM screens. I saw a digital presentation here last year and it wasn’t the greatest – pillar boxed on a small scope screen in one of those long bowling alley-like cinemas on the left side of the complex. This was a compromise for a foreign language film, originally they had showed it in scope until the audience complained (the subtitles were chopped off), had it not been subtitled we might have seen it in the wrong aspect ratio without catching it.

Not sure what its future will be – they launched an IndieGoGo campaign that wasn’t successful and even first run theaters are finding themselves limited (I occasionally look and see what’s playing at a few theaters I know of that haven’t gone digital yet). Here they’re getting newer, more indie films on digital (I’m glad they’re showing these films – they actually do pretty well here!) and commercial hits on 35MM. An ideal outcome would be Movieland gets the financing or another operator steps in and makes a few improvement to the place while taking it digital. It sure is popular (even charging double what Dipson does at McKinely – which is in better shape) – and could be even more successful with some improvements.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Scotiabank Theatre Toronto on Sep 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm

New leather/vinyl rocker seating in all auditoriums, similar to the Ultra AVX seats! (Not sure when they installed them – new since last TIFF at least)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Sep 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Slated to become an AMC recliner-plex due open by the Summer of 2016 (not sure what the hold-up is but Roads Less Traveled will return for another season in the building). I have mixed feelings on this one – on one hand its great it’ll remain a cinema, but it also may shut out the local film community as this venue held screenings for Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, UB’s Buffalo Film Seminars and other local screenings and premiers. On the other hand, it’s good news and I think the refurbished theater (Dipson’s hands were tied here) will be a success.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Allwood Cinemas 6 on Aug 6, 2014 at 8:20 am

Visited yesterday for Hercules – the good: it was clean and leather recliners. The Bad: yes, they’ve gone digital (no 3D but thats no deal breaker for me) but they never bothered to replace the glass in the projection booth – so in at least two auditoriums you’ll see a dark line running down the frame at some point. The picture was ¼th dark and out of focus – not acceptable (at least two others walked out along with me). The reason the management gave “the owners are working on it”.

Otherwise with a little more fixing up it could be great – they need new wall treatments (the one in the theater I was in had water damage), new glass in the booths and an automated lighting system that doesn’t leave the theaters dangerously pitch black between screenings – – and then the place would be fine.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bay Plaza 13 on Jul 29, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Due for the AMC recliner-plex treatment per their website (no doubt the second generation that don’t recline as far and only allow for half the theatre capacity to be cut). AMC has been (after a year) charging a premium on the recliner-plexes – $16.50 at 84th Street is NYC’s highest 2D adult ticket price for a non-IMAX show.

The other Bronx theater in operation, Concourse Plaza recently installed comfortable rocker seats. Bay Plaza certainly needs an upgrade – while Concourse Plaza simply needs to be more welcoming – – it’s seriously like National Amusements built a movie theater in what looks like the middle of a maximum security prison. The least inviting theater I’ve ever been to.

The Bronx overall needs more movie screens, for a city that large to only have 24 screens at two complexes to choose from (AMC will likely in a year raise prices here quite dramatically) its time for another operator to enter. The only question is where?

(Yonkers by comparison has three excellent theaters in operations with a total of first run 27 screens)

John Fink
John Fink commented about IMAX Theatre at Palisades Center on May 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Operated (with a separate box office and concessions from the 21-screen Lowes) by AMC since RoboCop (February 12, 2014). Not sure if they still have 15/70MM in operation.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Palisades Center 21 on May 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm

AMC assumed operations of the IMAX Theater in the complex in February.

On a side note Re: Regal – not sure what their plans are but they also announced they’ll be operating a luxury theater at Paramus Park. This theater seems a little less crowed but not hurting for business – I think both mall serve slightly different audiences with Nanuet ultimately a quicker, less stressful experience (at least parking). Bow Tie changed the focus on New City on art/indie films, although unfortunately a lot of the bigger titles from Fox Searchlight and Sony Classics play both at Bow Tie and Loews – occasionally a film will play at all 3 Rockland County theaters.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on May 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I visited last week for the BNFF and the theater is still in limbo – it’s in a strange predicament because the building is technically owned by the city, operated by a NFP-board and managed by Dipson. The city, wanting to get out of the exhibition business has requested proposals from interested parties to acquire the building (which includes the cinema and some additional storefronts).

Officially the city hopes it’ll remain a theater (and that could be viable as this block of Main Street is about to reopen to motor traffic), but it certainly requires updates including at the very minimum digital projection to continue to operate. (The lobby with its Angelika fixtures is generally in good shape, while the auditoriums are all original GCC including seats, carpeting and walls treatments – not in poor repair but certainly could use a refresh). I’ve heard some speculation as to the theater’s future, truthfully I’d like to see something innovative happen here (WNY doesn’t have a single luxury cinema and only one microcinema that serves food and alcohol).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Southington 12 on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:47 am

Rumors are Starplex is taking it over

John Fink
John Fink commented about Improvements at the Caldwell on Apr 10, 2014 at 7:49 am

The presentation has greatly improved since Bow Tie’s take over – clear, bright, in focus, and in frame (digital of course allows a certain degree to correct for poorly divided theaters). The once infamously awful KinMall is now a theater I frequent a few times a month because the presentation is now very good (I never thought I’d say that!).

John Fink
John Fink commented about RC Maumee 18 on Mar 25, 2014 at 7:46 am

It’s been converted to a Church – here’s a current interior photo: https://www.google.com/maps/preview/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x883c775c9ebffb4b:0x2f7136381679cdb8!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/115202883054903662450/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kp:placepageimage%26socpid%3D1!5scalvary+church+maumee+–+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=ZZYxU5Qk4qbSAZXTgJAK&ved=0CJ0BEKIqMA0

John Fink
John Fink commented about Central Plaza Cinema on Feb 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

RE: Optimist008 – Hudson Mall is currently open despite the revolving door of operators over the years – they’ve have covered to digital.

Western New York is a region where a few GCC locations of various vintages can be found – the most “vintage” of the bunch (all are digital by the way!) are Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, NY (including a big auditorium with a shadowbox screen!) and Chautauqua Mall I & II in Jamestown. A few others in Buffalo-Rochester were either of the 80’s vintage or evolved towards that “look” (Movieland 8 – formerly Thruway Mall has quite a history – it’s a GCC of two eras….although sadly its in very rough shape as a very popular discount theater – while I don’t recall it having a shadowbox screen, they still an original giant auditorium that seats about 600!).

I can’t speak for Hudson Mall but one location that has a few GCC touches lurking in a wing (including original style bathrooms) is Starplex Brunswick Square – the auditoriums recently underwent an extensive renovation (I’m not sure if they had a Shadowbox screen and if so it survived several renovations and divisions).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Currently the plaza is under construction – I had caught a flick here the other day. Its a perfectly utilitarian National Amusements design complete with corrugated steel walls. It appears seating ranged from 190 to 480 – I was lucky enough to be in #5 -the largest theater in the house. The layout of the mall is uninviting and looks as if it was designed to accommodate lots of crowds (and potentially problems). The walk up to the theater looks like a prison, the theater is 2 floors underground). The theater itself has a central concession stand (it looks newish) and the 10 theaters flank the stand along with two sets of restrooms. Overall the experience was – well – an interesting one, I can’t say I’ll be back but the theater was clean (even if the auditorium I was in smelled a little like a hospital), but they left the Real D polarizers on a 2D presentation – ugh – I wish they would make projectors that would refuse to start up if a 3D polarizer was left on for a 2D movie.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Clairidge Cinemas on Dec 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

The theaters are still awkwardly chopped up but the experience has vastly improved over the years – Clearview remodeled the theaters a few years ago (new seats, carpets, concession stands and restrooms) and Bow Tie has installed digital projection which has been a big improvement (although I haven’t seen a show in theater #4 which had a poorly placed port window that greatly distorted the image – digital projection can correct for keystoning). Over all I enjoy the theater now – the staff is friendly, the place is clean, and they’re the first to show some great movies (although I admit I miss the days when Montclair had 11 art house screens….even if I don’t miss The Screening Zone).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Headquarters Theatres on Dec 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm

No improvements as of yet – in fact some minor downgrades currently (no soda fountains, not sure if that’ll be the case until they install the Coke Freestyle machines with the upgrade). The theaters are currently showing 35MM (they may have two digital houses from Clearview remaining but I don’t know – we saw a movie in 35MM, no pre-show or AMC branding – just one trailer and the movie…wish it was always this simple). A packed house too with a sold out crowd for American Hustle.

The good news is we were warmly greeted by the one and only Fluffy – – very glad to see him!

John Fink
John Fink commented about Teaneck Cinemas on Dec 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

A photographer caught the extreme makeover (I apologize if this link doesn’t work or changes) –

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.660991233929266.1073741832.580266278668429&type=1

(Or search Facebook for Janet Joyner Photography and the album “Teaneck Cinemas”)

The theater had been in very bad shape last I visited in the spring of 2011 before they closed (I had seen a movie in the main auditorium where they used the curtain – cool, but the projection was out of focus, the sound was too low – especially for a dialogue driven Wit Stillman comedy, and the theater was freezing).

From the photos this place is looking great – with a complete modernization and a restoration of the some of the original art deco elements that were buried 20-40 years ago. I can’t wait to check it out this week!

John Fink
John Fink commented about Town Center Plaza 10 on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Starplex is taking this over as of today, now listed as Town Center Plaza 10. Upgrades planned are luxury seating and digital projection.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Kinnelon 8 on Nov 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

Bow Tie has solved the major problem I had with many of the Clearview locations – Kinnelon has gone all digital and the picture is sharp, bright and most importantly – in focus! I look forward to seeing what they do circuit-wide as they continue to work on the Clearview sites.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Nov 29, 2013 at 10:19 am

Speaking of which: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/downtown-buffalos-only-movie-theater-may-soon-go-dark-20131128

John Fink
John Fink commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Nov 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Last place in town to see a first run show in 35MM! (Movieland is 5/8ths 35MM – – and everyone else is fully digital)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Starplex Luxury Cinemas at Ridgefield Park 12 on Oct 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Visited tonight – it appears to be a bit of a work in progress (or not….Starplex’s other NJ location – Brunswick Square, also saw very few changes beyond the auditoriums). Great presentation and extremely comfortable black leather-ette recliners – side masking for those that care about that kind of thing (at least in theater #2) along with the promised video monitors in the lobby, snack bar and guiding us into the auditoriums. Once in the hallway no atmosphere what-so-ever- – new carpeting and the removal of the small concession stand downstairs, also no posters or signs beyond (temp?) auditoriums numbers.

Many touches remain including (like Brunswick Square) the bathrooms – which could use some remodeling and other lobby touches. Hopefully they’ll class up the joint a bit more. The customer service however was excellent tonight and the staff was friendly explaining the Starplex rewards card and greeting folks prior to cleaning the auditorium (and showing off how the seats worked for those that hadn’t been in this kind of theater before). Good experience and great value – the adult ticket price at $10 is, I think, the cheapest in Bergen County for by far the best seats. If only the theater wasn’t in such a weird location.

A bar and expanded concessions may be on the way (lobby space is certainly in no shortage). An awful lot to like about this theatre so far – and hopefully Starplex’s work isn’t done yet.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers on Oct 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Bow Tie unfortunately departed from Central Plaza so Alamo can pretty much show whatever they want now. I had originally thought Alamo would be the place for genre kinds of films, while Central Plaza might get more family friendly stuff – even though Alamo does play both (in fact I spoke with families when I was the director a tech camp two summers ago in Austin and many families make the Alamo a theater of choice for a day out).

I had visited Yonkers opening night and had a good experience even if it wasn’t perfect (it was opening night – and they took 75% off our bill so I’m not complaining). They have pictures up on Facebook – and while they didn’t install Stadium Seating they made extensive lobby changes while keeping some of the vintage charm of this one painting the brick walls red and installing a theme (this one is Dr. Strangelove). Over all, like the locations I visited in Austin, this is first class operation.

Still I regret not getting to Central Plaza before they closed – I’ve been told much of the GCC charm is in tact :(

John Fink
John Fink commented about Plans fall apart for Manhattan Drafthouse on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

It does suck (although I would have likely been more apt to travel to Yonkers than the New Metro, all things being equal).

I was at Yonkers opening night and briefly suggested to Tim League they look into Headquarters Plaza in Morristown – which I think would have been an ideal spot (AMC is moving back with those great luxury recliners – which is pretty great news as well).

I’m hoping they’re behind the new Paramus Park 13 but suspect not as Alamo’s largest complexes have 10-screens each. Paramus Park would make sense as a more civilized alternative to GSP, which really should have been a 20+ screen theater (it, along with Clifton Commons and Rockaway is constantly packed…even on weeknights).

It’s worth noting iPic is planning a luxury cinema in Fort Lee, they seem like the kind of theater that might take over this project if the developers still really want a theater. And with their ticket prices ($35 in some markets verses Alamo’s modest $12 in Yonkers) the numbers might make sense for them.