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Sunday night’s attendance was surprisingly good with a good mix of older, younger and the very young. Given the fight scenes in the movie, I was surprised parents brought their toddlers to the viewing. Thankfully, the ones near me were well behaved and quiet.
Not being a fan or having viewed the film in its entirety at anytime, I was curious as to what was really the overture to the movie. I had thought the music played before the AFI ad and previews was the overture. If that is the case, what was the bit of music played with the different color screens that preceded the West Side Story title card?
The use of the curtain was well done. I had bragged to my friend that this is the closest we would ever get to what excellent movie presentation was in the days before the multiplex. Curtain closed and opened with the AFI ad, previews, closed again and opened before the color opening. They forgot to play the THX sound trailer. :P Perhaps the ones they have are all 35mm and digital. The only 70mm trailers I remember was the ‘Grand’ THX trailer scored by James Horner and the prior ‘the audience is listening’ ones.
If this print was struck new, with the newly discovered track, I am surprised there was no clean up to the print. The sound appeared to be void of hiss, crackle and pop leading one to believe that was dealt with. I would also think they’d make a digital master, say 8K, ala Blade Runner, with which to make a 70mm print. Whatever the case, the print, itself, was somewhat of a letdown given restoration efforts done on Vertigo. The print shows off the handsome cast very well. Natalie Wood just radiates and glows in her scenes especially when she and Tony sing together.
Sitting towards the back, I could appreciate the rich soundtrack. The orchestral score appropriately filled the auditorium with music though I have to admit, I find that scores of that era seem disjointed with abrupt cuts and use of percussion instruments. If I’m wrong, someone correct me, but the soundtrack cues such as the opening finger snap, Tony singing Maria that radiated a bit from the front 1/3 to the front half of the theater, the police siren, car whizzing and train runs could be heard from the back.
I think they should remix the soundtrack with new foley sounds like Vertigo and correctly clean up the movie of scratches and fade. Why just do half the job by just restoring the original soundtrack? Then make a HD master for the generations to appreciate the film.
Its a testament to the filmmakers that despite the passing of years, the movie still has the power to move people. The end scene when Maria holds the dying Tony created audible sniffles and crying to the left of where I was sitting. On the other hand, I found Tony to not be that great of a catch. His first onscreen appearance made me think of a beaver with the way his front teeth show up and the side ones disappear in shadow. I was thinking to myself that the gorgeous Maria could do better if she’s going to cross over to the other side for a man. Lastly, people clapped during the end credits as well.
I wish the film had a longer engagement than this weekend, I’d surely want to see it a couple of more times just to see scenes again that went by me a little too fast.
I’m thinking either Sat or Sun. I’m thinking there will be some kinks on the first night. I do not know if the theater runs prints before to discover problems before the actual showtime, but they should especially for 70mm and special presentations like this. That way any adjustments that can be made is performed before the actual curtain time.
As far as Facebook, I gave up on that. I had an account and could not control the spam that I would get after signing up.
As far as complaints about this theater, or I should say ORGANIZATION to be more precise, I have a major one that I’m chomping at the bit to post but I’m giving myself time to cool off before posting.
For you West Side Story in 70mm fans, our AFI Silver, in Silver Spring MD is showing it this weekend. Reportedly, it is the one with the recently discovered original soundtrack.
That is awful they removed the 35/70mm projector..what was it…the Norelco one? I can’t believe it. So no more 2001 in 70mm or 70mm anything? I’d like to think this is just a bad dream. I do not want to resign myself to think that 70mm is only going to be seen at the AFI Silver and their smallish 40 ft screen.
4K DP?! Hmm. Hopefully by the next 3D DP booking, the kinks will have been worked out. As I stated before, the bargain matinee price is very reasonable considering what IMAX-lite is for a screen thats about the same size.
Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot about it. Should be fun. I hope they use the curtain and they have proper intros by someone who knows something about the movie and the format. So if someone from AFI is reading this, please do a little research if you do plan to have someone talk WSS trivia. You have to educate those under 30 that cinema isn’t just digital projection and IMAX-lite. :D
Sorry for not responding. Evidently, my name got booted off the contact list. As I stated above, Tron was in 35mm Dolby here and probably was the best of the venues that booked it.
If you recall in ‘82, the 70mm films in summer at the downtown theaters were: Star Trek II at the MacArthur (which I saw there more times than I will admit, but it didn’t have an entire summer run as it ran Raiders in 70mm for a week or so before closing for a remodel..I’m thinking August?), E.T. at the KB Cinema, which ran forever..I"m sure for the entire summer and probably all of fall., Poltergeist at the Embassy in 70mm, too.. I think that was it for summer. I know I saw Star Trek II in 70mm, at the Uptown, in Dec., just before Gandhi opened in 70mm.
Hooray. I’m wondering if this print will be the one with the recently discovered ORIGINAL 6-track soundtrack probably mixed for DTS? I’m looking forward to it even if I’m not a major fan.
On the Ziegfeld page, there are several blogs about its original run, with curtain usage and the intro with whistles and snapping fingers coming at you in stereo from different parts of the theater? Should be interesting.
Its no wonder the theater loss money. They didn’t charge the usual premium and they booked the wrong films. Don’t recall many raves about “The Revenge of Kitty Galore.” If they had booked and rode the Avatar wave, they probably would have done much better. As with any film and 3D versions, there are always going to be good and bad ones.
As far as the faster projection format, that has been around for a few years. Supposedly, the costs of that format is far less then digital, which seems to become outdated as newer, higher resolution projectors become available.
In any case, we’re just going in circles with the 70mm vs digital format debate. Everyone laments over the disappearance of 70mm but unless you have trained caring projectionists handling and exhibitors that care about presentation, it’ll never ever come back. Today, it is push button automation that rules so that your megaplex makes the buck to keep the investor happy.
Someone took down the original listing or it got deleted somehow. I know I blogged about this place since I used to live nearby.
This place opened at or close to the opening of the then new Academy 8, also run by AMC in 1986. The Academy 8 had 70mm capability, while this venue did not. At the time, they advertised something called Corvus curved-like screens and stereo sound in their theaters.
The last movie I saw here was “The Preacher’s Wife” with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington in ‘96 or so. I do recall the sound was underwhelming in spite of the fact the theater had stereo. Chalk it up to poor multiplex management.
The venue is located in Oxon Hill MD and in a neighborhood where there are unwanted gangs and teen delinquents. Since Washington DC is the next city over, you also get that spill over of unwanted city riff raff.
If and when they do reopen this place, they will have stiff competition with the more up-to-date Magic Johnson plex at the Capitol Arena shopping center. You could counter program with more adult independent fare, but given the neighborhood, who would come? I wouldn’t mind revisiting the place once they reopen as long as there are some decent upgrades and anemities…and hopefully, better customer service.
I remember when this place opened and saw probably a handful of movies there, the last being The Preacher’s Wife back in ‘96 or so. There isn’t anything special about the theaters that I can recall other then the simultaneous opening of the then new Academy 8 a few exits away at the same time. No 70mm capability unlike the Academy 8.
The problem are the teens and riff raff associated with the neighborhood. You wouldn’t want to be there by yourself after dark for sure. However, with the reopening, anticipated updated amenities and superior customer service, perhaps the place may be worth revisiting again.
I saw Tron in 3D over the weekend as my experience was a mixed bag. The picture and previews were clear but dark. I am guessing they did not install a new screen. The movie had an upward curvature at the bottom corners probably because of the screen’s curved nature. At least that annoying screen rip that I experienced watching “Revenge of the Sith” and “Dreamgirls” is gone. An interesting observation was during the flashbacks, the movie seemed more pixellated. Is this DP’s version of ‘aged film’? I want to see the film again…maybe at the Regal Magestic 20’s IMAX-lite theater since it is new. At least the $10 matinee price is much more palatable at the Uptown’s w i d e screen then $17.50 at an IMAX-lite one.
Showmanship was lacking once again as the curtain was not in use. Surrounds were very good as was the bass but not as booming as say Cinemark’s XD, AMC’s IMAX-lite houses, or the bigger THX auditoriums. There was a warning at the box office about the movie’s presentation and dark spots, but I didn’t notice them. I suspect there needs to be more tweaking to whatever 3D system they have in place. AMC went out of their way to solicit patron experiences as a card was handed out to log on and blog about it. Since I’m a Moviewatcher card holder/member, there was a guest survey request in my email when I got home, which was completed.
For the price and in anticipation of system tweaks, I’d definitely come back. :)
Noooooo. I do not feel like driving up to King of Prussia. Though a shopping trip would be nice…
There is a post on the Ziegfeld theatre side about silver screens and that if you aren’t looking at it straight on, then the screen may look ‘dimmer.’ Though I usually try to be seated centered, but to the front of a theater, it explains why some of my viewing experiences may have been darker than expected.
The Uptown is great if you’re centered but not too close to the screen. I remember getting motion sick when I saw Born on the Fourth of July (70mm, ‘88) sitting in the front row. The jerky (docu-style) camera shots were just horrible to watch.
Fandango indicates a midnight Thu showing..hmmm.
New (flat) screen? Oh oh. I just thought if they were to go digital, the image would be cropped at the sides given the current screen’s curvature. I’ll probably see Tron 3D in real IMAX at the Smithsonian and catch it here later just to see what they’ve done to the place.
Someone in the know should post something about this new system…Steve? Somebody?
As a Balto native, I’m curious as to why John Walter did not do more to help out its own Senator Theater. Hmmm.
I suppose we’ll just have to check this one out … :D I doubt AMC would close it now after investing money into this new projection system. Sell it? Maybe.
Hmmm. IMAX or Uptown? IMAX supposedly has what..40,000..watts of power to their speakers? Is their DP system 4K? I haven’t enjoyed a really decent Uptown presentation in years. And remember from Steve Guttag’s post about AMC decontenting the theater by taking out speakers?
Mazza’s #1 is the better of the THX houses even if all of the Mazza auditoriums are supposedly THX-certified. I did say bass boom is nicer in the better THX houses. Bow-Tie’s Annapolis 1 comes to mind. As far as Potter in XD, it just may have been the soundtrack had little of that sound effect in the movie. I suppose this venue is the first in the DC/MD/VA metro are that is now entirely DP?
Mazza’s #1 is the better of the THX houses even if all of the Mazza auditoriums are supposedly THX-certified. I did say bass boom is nicer in the [i]better[-i] THX houses. Bow-Tie’s Annapolis 1 comes to mind. As far as Potter in XD, it just may have been the soundtrack had little of that sound effect in the movie. I suppose this venue is the first in the DC/MD/VA metro are that is now entirely DP?
I saw the latest Harry Potter here in XD #12. The preshow ads almost filled the entire screen! Not bad and in better resolution without the pixellation you see at the Regals. Though not a fan of the series, the movie was sustainable for its almost 3 hour length. The late show crowd was sparse but given the film’s super wide release and its practically hourly show times, I suppose the number who did come was a decent turn out. Sound is good but bass is not DEEP and booming as in the better THX houses. The film is digitally bright but colors not as vibrant. I suppose its because of the 2K print master they used? The film’s $13 admission price is more palatable then AMC’s IMAX-lite’s $17.50. I suppose people along with me complained enough for them to hold the line on pricing? :) I didn’t check out the concession stand this time.
A 10/22/10 Washington Post article reports that the 7200 sq ft venue has three auditoriums seating 95, 75 and 50 people. Sounds like a cozy place to see a movie.
Aside from the traditional movie theater concession fare of popcorn, candy and soda; they reportedly will serve beer, wine and “gourmet nibbles.” Hmmm. I interpret that as high end fare such as foie gras nuggets? :D
It appears they are open now showing movies. Should the status now be open? :) The line up looks interesting.
Hmm. Even if they installed DCinema here, look back at Steve’s post about how AMC replaced the sound system with an inferior one. Dumb, dumb, dumb AMC.
They should put DP at the Uptown. If it works for Seattle’s Cinerama, and from what I gather their screen is also 70', it should work here, too.
On an aside note, I’m wondering if you can sneak into the IMAX-lite auditorium or is it far and away from the others and always attendant staffed? Hmmmm.
The Air & Space’s Chantilly IMAX would be a good alternate and REAL IMAX theater to see Potter. I’m not a real Potter fan, but am looking more forward to the Narnia and Tron sequels.
I happened to stumble on this article several months ago about the restoration efforts of WSS with the newly found original soundtrack. Here is the link: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2010/wss/index.htm
$17.50 a ticket?? $17.50??? Its ticket gouging deja vu. Didn’t the exhibitors learn from the mistake they made this past summer about out pricing themselves? I know many midnight shows are sold out all over, but the IMAX-lite prices are ridiculous. King of Prussia’s real IMAX venue has the same price. I’d rather see it there, spend the night and go shop at the mall. :) The thing is my previous experiences there have met with a projector breakdown of some sort ever since Polar Express in ‘04.