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I saw ‘Captain America’ in IMAX 3D before it left this week. When I bought my ticket, I was mad at the fact that they would only let me ‘choose’ a seat way up in the back of the theater. It was a matinee and I thought maybe they sold out but the place seemed deserted. When I paid my $18.69, the movie was just about to begin. I should back up and say there was a difference of about 15 minutes between the stated showtime and the actual showtime, which made me miss all the previews. :( Since it was dark, I just sat at the aisle seat and practically had the place to myself. :)
I had a good time. The movie wasn’t so dark as Digital 3D usually is. They changed the sound fx intro to the IMAX format. Its okay, just slightly different. My aisle seat is actually good for me as its at that immersion point where the you’re not looking so much up or down at the screen. The early scene with that one character..I do not know the name because I don’t really follow the comics..she has the dark hair. You could tell some of the movements were CGI. Too much CGI. While you know they are super heroes who perform super human feats, it just registers as fake to me when they keep throwing those CGI stunts at you that the ‘wow’ factor diminishes.
I’m disappointed the new X Men: Apocalypse isn’t booked in IMAX. I can’t believe they booked the Alice in Wonderland sequel instead. UGH!. On the other hand, its in the Dolby Cinema one. It may be worth the trip to come back this way, but I don’t know.
RE: ST II. I guess the only way to find out is to boldly go and see it for myself. :) To be honest, my memories of the 70mm original theatrical run have always been in my mind more so for its soundtrack. Perhaps the DCP is from the newly released 4K remastering. It should look good in this theater. I’m hoping some of the sound fx are still there.
Upon movie showtime searching this evening, I had noticed that showtimes at this theater were not posted on the AMC website. I had initially feared that the theater may have closed and no one knew about it. Googling revealed that they are showing the latest Captain America.
In the google search, I noticed a Wiki page on the Uptown where it states the Norelco 35/70mm projector was taken out in ‘10 when Tron Legacy came out. Going through the posts, I saw the discussion thread that took place but didn’t see where the venue’s old Norelco projectors went to? Does anyone know? I was thinking maybe the Portland OR theater that had 70mm capability installed a few years ago, but forgot the name of it. :P
I saw that. Only the newer Trek films are in IMAX. I suspect Star Trek II is digital? And they’re charging the same $15 as the IMAX formatted NuTreks.
Sounds cool, Giles. Thanks for the review. :) Now..the question to be answered is..is it worth the $20 admission price for the lovely reclining seats and state of the art presentation?
Interesting. I saw the trailers for the format. Thanks for the link, Giles. The sound trailer looks like a 4K sequel to THX’s Life trailer. It should play nicely on the BIG screen.
The vibrating/reclining seats don’t look all that impressive. I wonder how it compares to the DBox at the Egyptian? Do you really need a touch screen to put up the footrest and/or recline? I was thinking you could order concession fare on it. As nice as they are, its only a matter of time before they break due to abuse. The Brandywine Crossing theater has numerous unrepaired reclining seats when I saw the last Star Wars movie there. I suppose they are pricey to fix or replace. And if they aren’t wiped down with regularity, who knows what the previous patron may have done to, or on it, during the last show…
$20 Pricing is steep during prime time, but the matinees are a more reasonable $13.09. Thats more my price. :) With a combo purchase, for one person you’re spending almost $30! I’m not too thrilled about Batman v Superman even though it is ruling the box office at the moment.
Driving by the theater the other day, I noticed that a Spanish language Pentecostal church is renting out the place as of now. The second pair of glass doors is painted over with Spanish words, while the right pair is open. Maybe one day, I’ll take some pictures if I can see deep inside. :)
Giles, where did you see the Prime theater info for Tysons? I don’t see it on the website.
$20 is getting steep. They’d better have massaging reclining seats and concession concierge service for that price. Out of curiosity, I may try myself just to say I’ve experienced it. Two or more would be a budget buster for me, too.
I absolutely love the ETX theater and have enjoyed several presentations here making the drive into VA worth it for me.
I believe this place opened in the 70s. I remember when this shopping place was an outdoor plaza, much like PG Plaza and Wheaton Plaza were all outdoor shopping centers that eventually were remodeled to be indoor mall-type places.
What happened to the Academy 6 listing and there was a single screen venue outside of the Plaza that was here. It was here, then it disappeared, then reappeared. Now its gone, like most of my pre-2K5 postings. :(
Dan, when will Phase 2 be complete? I had thought the renovations were all but done when they reopened the venue last year.
The adjacent space that was a dry cleaner would make for a great second auditorium :) Not sure if its still there or has been occupied, but the last time I was there you could still see clothes hanging from the machines as if customers had forgotten to pick up their finished items.
Just what changes have been done? I suspect there is a DP system in place, which has allowed you to reopen and book titles unavailable on 35mm. With the DP system in place, have management considered booking non-movie shows to save on booking fees such as sporting events and just charge for high gross profit concessions and such?
Aside from cushioning, I didn’t think the old seats were all that bad with the exception of some that were broken and not repaired.
Then there was that one toilet in the mens room that could easily be moved..
I hope they still have pictures of the local old theaters; Flower, Hyattsville, Allen that were on the lobby wall.
I’ve been following the bookings of late and have yet to find movies of interest to me. I was hoping they’d book recent Oscar shorts and minis. They should be cheaper now to book since the Oscars are over. This year is the first year I’ve missed most of the nominated films due to work and other activities :(
After a long break, I’ve started going to the movies again. I saw Deadpool in #1, my favorite auditorium. Sound was great as the movie was in 7.1. The auditorium was surprisingly attracting FAMILIES. I know the R rated movies will allow kids with an adult, but there were a number of under 6 kids that I saw going up the stadium seats. Given the amount of violence, nudity and spicy language, what parent would have their young kids in tow to see this, other than the low $6 club price.
The new popcorn is quite good, if pricey. I like the cheesy one as opposed to the sweet sticky one.
I don’t know about the ‘family’ run blurb that they’re running. Customer Service still is lacking. You need better greeters, more REAL hellos and thank you for comings. Maybe they mean to say Bow Tie gives you that dysfunctional family experience. :)
Wow. This should be interesting. May be worth a visit. 3D Laser. This is the similar system they use at the Chinese and Seattle Cinerama? I had thought the Cinerama was a custom job.
Michel, I always enjoy your lists. I spent a day at the local library going over some of the old ads and made copies to post online but now I’ve lost my folder. I hope to do that again one of these days.
As this venue was the premier place to see movies in the 80s, I’ve seen most of the first run 70mm films here in the 80s. I wasn’t into the classics, except sci-fi, until I was a little older. Looking at the chronological order of the Uptown’s 70mm shows, it seems my first 70mm was Star Trek II. The list doesn’t reflect it but it played just one week prior to Gandhi’s opening. I saw it 2x. I remember dropping my Mom off to her nursing job at Sibley Hospital then high tailing through DC. By about 6:40 pm or so, you’re more or less safe to park for free on the street as rush hour is about over. During the full house shows, you could park in the residential areas but had to walk some but its still free. I don’t think you can do that today with the use of vehicle stickers.
Superman III was a disappointment presentation wise. I do not recall anything positively memorable as the story was lame and the attempt at lightening it up didn’t work, with probably the only exception being the opening scene where Clark does that comedic walk avoiding several disasters in what looked like one take.
Ghostbusters in 70mm is memorable for me with that shot of the homely looking librarian that turns ghostly. It was the combination of the visual fx transition, the shhh and some low bass rumble that scared me and the audience gasp/scream..then laughter as the Ghostbuster crew dashes out of the library.
Dune is memorable for me as the presentation perfectly fits the visual quality of its high budget production. The Arrakis desert and the shreiking sounds of the sandworms. Oh..the thumpers..that low beating drum sound effect that attracts those sandworms, you could really feel its power through the Uptown’s sound system. I was curious if you would enjoy it as much sitting in the balcony but at that time, I wanted to get my $ worth sitting close to the front of that huge curved screen.
The Return of the Jedi reissue I’ve mentioned before. The size of the screen made my enjoyment of the film even better especially during those first person shots such as the speed bike chase on the Endor moon. The sound wasn’t as good as the MacArthur’s only because my memory of the Emperor’s use of force lightning didn’t have the sizzle and sparking sound it had. Perhaps the print had degraded a little soundwise or the Uptown’s sound muffles the soundtrack some.
I forgot about Manhunter. This was directed by Michael Mann, who did the Miami Vice show on NBC, which was very popular, audibly and visually stylistic back in the day. The show was one of the first to broadcast in stereo..that was a big thing then. My only memory of this were the lush colors captured on film. Then there was the scene of the guy that got killed in a burning wheelchair and the sound effects of the fire and whoosh as it goes by you.
The Last Emperor was another visually beautiful film to look at. Nothing great audio wise that I can recall. I think this was my first movie to see women kissing..it was Pu Yi’s wife and the female pilot that talked like Trixie from the old Speed Racer cartoons..remember that?
Willow was enjoyable for me. The most memorable sound effect for me were the two headed dragons. When they’d shoot fire, there was the sound coming directly in front of you but when there were those shots of the side and the fire breath goes directional, the sound seems to go behind you either to the right or the left and then in back. It had some decent fx..I think one of the first CGI morphing effects, from the different animals to the old, but good witch. One last thing..Val Kilmer’s yellow teeth. I recall reading something to the effect of him being in character all the time but did that include him not brushing his teeth? Ugh.
The Roger Rabbit movie I believe may have been the first time in the balcony. This may have been because they were the only seats. But for some reason, I’m thinking Manhunter was because I didn’t want to see the movie but my friend kept badgering me to see it but I agreed only if it was here in 70mm. If I was going to see something I didn’t want to see, the logic of going would be to see it in the best presentation possible..70mm. Make sense?
Anyway, there wasn’t anything memorable by way of wow..cool effects or soundtrack. I’m thinking now being older that that was the intention. The integration of the animated and real world had to be seamless, which makes everything in the movie more believable. And it is. Thinking back now..I think the introduction of the Jessica Rabbit character and the way she sings that song and the way they animated or lit up her dress with the sparkling sequins. That was very well done. They weren’t sparkling in a cartoony way, but like it was a real dress with sparkling sequins. Those touches elevate the movie to be more special than it would have been.
Born on the 4th of July. I’ve written about this before. We were in a group, I chose the seats very close to that giant, curved screen. The cinematography was that hand held, jerky, real time style. Bad decision. I got motion sick at the end. This was Tom Cruise’s first real dramatic performance and he did well. I can still visualize him as that Kovic or Kovaks character whirling around in the wheelchair, drunk and telling his Mom how he can’t feel anything below his waist..can’t even masturbate. Mom screams in shock and tells him not to talk like that.. it plays all the more powerfully on the huge screen. I suppose its true what they say about size does matter..watching the movies. :)
Looking at all the movies in chronological order, I’m beginning to second guess myself as to when I saw 2001 in 70mm here for the first time. I know there was a very special engagement and a ‘virgin’ print. It may have been in the 90s.
Sorry for the long post, I should have put an intermission after the Return of the Jedi experience. :)
Great posts. I guess I will trek to see H8ful 8 here as opposed to my local BowTie, where it is reported the experience was not good. Still.. $20 for 70mm! At least throw in a free drink. Howard, did you get a movie program?
Steve, why is it 70mm does not fill the width of the (presumably Historic auditorium) screen? Is it the lenses? What do they use? I remember the previous owner of the Senator touting the then lenses used were some German type.. Bauer? I suspect the Bauer lenses are the best.
Dot, that was my sentiment when I posted. As you know, film usually will have the scratches, shake and judder you describe. The thing is if it is handled properly, those things should be at a minimum. I am just wondering if they hired a professional projectionist or had one of the teen aged guys read a manual and ran the movie. :)
Did they use the curtain to open and close during the overture and intermission?
Did you see Star Wars at any of the real IMAX venues, Giles? If its masked, the actual viewing size may not be worth the trip.
Laser should make it on par with the Grauman, er TLC Chinese and Seattle Cinerama or closer to. I’m thinking the Cinerama still has true film projection.
This venue has booked Hateful 8 in 70mm in auditorium 10 and not #1, the big THX certified theater. I’m perplexed at this decision. While 10 isn’t exactly shoebox sized, I’m not sure how the smaller auditorium would do such a film like this justice. Whatever curtains they had haven’t been used since Crown ran the place and I believe they were more for masking/picture cropping then showmanship.
This venue would be a great place to see the new Star Wars film, if only for the sake of nostalgia. I saw Return of the Jedi here in ‘85, during its first re-release, here in 70mm, which filled up the curve quite nicely. I still think the MacArthur was better soundwise but thats just my opinion. I’m thinking it may be the massive interior fabrics absorbing some of the sound. The speedbike chase through the Endor forest was more exciting because the screen is that more massive and immersive.
Unless, they’ve upgraded the digital projection, Im not that enthused about the darker picture quality. Laser would be a nice upgrade but as you say, Giles, AMC isn’t going to. If someone does see it here, post..maybe the projection light is bright now, but 3D digital plays a little darker for me.
Wow, Howard. Thanks for the post. Ultra panavision 70 sounds so h u g e. I wonder if the Silver’s 40 ft screen will do it justice. I’m hoping for the best..no, I’m going to set my expectations low, so if its good, then I’ll say it was great. :)
I caught the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight in #8..the Extreme theater in 3D. Surprisingly, this was one of the few venues that didn’t sell out. While I miss the deep bass that makes the cool sound booms of AMC’s Tysons ETX and the better THX systems, the sound sep played the sound FX and John Williams terrific score quite well. The scope of the film resulted in the bottom part cut off. Instead of the usual mailbox slot type viewing, the projection was closer to the top. The 3D was the usual dark while not really having any decent 3D shots or action sequences. I think the only scene I could appreciate in 3D was the full shot of the Star Destroyer. The depth of it and digital clarity made it look so real and massive.
Buying tickets online with the loyalty card does not yield the service charge like AMCs. They should reconsider it since this is the only venue in the area.
The $15 adult evening price seems like a bargain compared to the other venues in the area. Regal charging almost $20, AMC $18.
The movie was enjoyable worth a few more viewings even if I felt a little deja vu watching it. :) Luke Hamill looked more like Peter Dinklage than Luke Hamill..when he finally shows up, I had to chuckle to myself. The new Dark Lord showing via holograph looks more like the bad guys from the first Thor movie. Rey looks too much like Padme in Episode 1 while sounding way too much like Emily Blount. Not to spoil it but the new ‘weapon’ is more like the old one albeit ‘blown up.’ Why can’t the writers come up with something new???
This is probably the first movie I’ve seen since..probably Dreamgirls, where people cheered, clapped and were quite vocal without being raucous. From the Lucasfilm logo to the cast credits..there was enthusiastic applause. Quite the communal experience. This is why one goes to the movies and why the best place to see one is in a theater.
While it was reported the Star Trek: Beyond teaser was to be shown, it wasn’t. :P I’ll have to boldly go to another venue to see it in the theater. :)
I just saw that, Giles. That is pushing it. Its outrageous! Now, if this were a DC exclusive, then okay. I’m pissed. Will I still see it here? Yeah. :) If they give out free souvenir programs, I’m fine with it. Something commemorative as this is a special event.
I looked at some Regal prices for the IMAX Star Wars and its $19!
Howard, I agree with you on the Uptown. Those are my fondest memories of 2001. I have yet to see it at the Seattle Cinerama and hopefully, will catch it there someday the next time they have a 70mm festival. Given the $ the owner has put in that venue, it has to be one jewel of a showplace.
Regarding The Hateful Eight, I should have read up more on the story. It seems it takes place in winter and not a desert Western. I’m not going to read much more as I want to keep an open mind and enjoy the ‘roadshow presentation’ we are to get. Can’t say I’ve ever experienced one of those in my lifetime, up until now. I hope they have programs for sale of the movie. Now, those I remember from the 80s :)
Perhaps, when Steve reads our posts, he can shed more details on the technical aspects and other plans for this special event.
I wonder if they’ll have an actual 70mm trailer.
P r e s e n t e d in:
< 7 0 mm Datastat Sound >
Yeah, yeah, my poor attempt at a widescreen trailer.
This would be a good time for the AFI to put together a featurette on 70mm. They had a simple one before.
Seems like they’ve booked the Hateful 8 in 70mm DTS. It should be interesting to see a newer film in this format. But a western? A space/fantasy epic with cool visual fx would be my choice. How immersive can you get with sunrise/sunset shots, snow, dust and more dust..maybe some pore shot from one of the actors during a close up shot. :)
On the other hand, the AFI’s kind of smallish 40 ft screen may not do this film justice. Something of this size would benefit from being shown at the Uptown.
I’m curious how modern audience reaction will be with intermission and proper curtain closures and entrance music. If done right and consistently so, it should be good. :) We’ll see after week 3 into its release.
I take it no one went to the recent showing of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with Q&A and special guest star Keir Dullea. I saw the announcement of the special screening event on the website a few months ago and almost bought tickets. Unfortunately, I had to go out of town during the showing/visit.
YouTube has some interesting recent chats with he and co-star Gary Lockwood. Lockwood had mentioned he attended the premiere here at DC’s Uptown back in ‘68 and an encounter with a stoner who had seen the movie.
If someone was at the recent event and would like to post something, please do. :)
Giles, is 12 the Extreme theater, or whatever their version of IMAX-lite is? I wanted to see ‘Everest’..heard some of it was filmed in IMAX and some other films I’ve missed :(
I loved the rocker seats in the old National Amusement seat theaters. The only problem is when you had sell out crowds and the person sitting behind or in front of you sat so far back as if he/she was to fall into your lap. :)
I still have my free pass to use from the Jurassic Park DBox experience. I want to see a DBox presentation since I’ve never experienced it before.