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Last week, I happened to catch two movies that were part of the 80’s film retrospective. Specifically, the Richard Donner cut of Superman II and Star Trek III. A few months ago, I had written and requested if they could show at least one known 70mm print of ST3 in circulation and shown recently at the Laehmle Theater in LA. Initially, I received a response, from the webmaster, saying to look at the website again. DUH. Its not in 70mm. I replied and received another response stating that the 70mm print they could get was not as highly rated as the one shown this past week. Hmmm.
Superman II on the bigscreen was a welcome, if disappointing experience. The movie was advertised as being in Blue Ray. That may not be such a bad thing as the movie looked good in the Historic Auditorium. Unfortunately, the volume was played too low with barely discernible surrounds. I’d have to say the movie sounded better on my Sony system at home then it did here. Unfortunately, I do not have a 40 ft screen to myself to enjoy…
Star Trek III was also a disappointment. Its ironic that the movie played here over 26 years ago but not in 70mm. Apparently, they got a 35mm print that I’m reasonably sure was a mono print. There was no stereo sep/surround at all. As many times as I’ve seen this movie both in 70 and 35mm and in stereo at home, I know what parts are supposed to deliver when it comes to sound. Background chatter was not distinct, nor separate, or altogether non-existent during the bridge scenes and as the Enterprise enters and leaves Spacedock.
I had complained about the sound level being too low and the manager on duty and he said the film would be played loud. The reason for Superman II being so low in the sound department was that “it was a DVD.” I was about to say to him “so that means you can’t increase the sound playback on DVDs in your multi-million dollar theater?” The Manager had warned the 20 or so patrons in attendance that the film had scratches in some places and would be granting refunds prior. I did not notice anything that detracting to warrant a refund, other than the lack of SURROUND STEREO.
If the prior two lackluster presentations are indicative as to how they do retrospectives, then whats the point of having them? The awful presentations are more worthy of a Regal or AMC, not AFI.
Lastly, once again they ran out of my favorite pretzels. Is it my bad luck, or do they just don’t stock them anymore. Take them off the menu then. :P
Summer is almost over. Who needs AC? It can’t get that cold in theaters during the fall months. I’ve actually been inside the theater and you’d think with the proximity to the university, an ice cream/sandwich shop inside and arcade games, you’d have some hope.
Those “living room sized auditoriums” aren’t exactly living room sized. At least compared to the one my home has or most people I know of..its more likely steeply raked, stadium seating with wider and comfortable chairs of a standard sized multiplex auditorium.
I also saw Inception in the IMAX-lite theater. Unfortunately, I was up late the night before, so the AM showing I saw caused me to sleep during the middle of the movie. Its funny though that I thought I was actually “in” the movie going in and out of consciousness and felt I was in certain scenes and that I was actually talking to Leonardo diCaprio. :D I hope to see it again before it goes.
Piranha, Giles? PIRANHA???? In 3D, no less and paying $14.50 for XD???? I thought you were better than that :P :)
I want to see Avatar, again, too. Maybe tomorrow. My first experience was less than pleasurable given the fact that I had eaten some bad potluck food… The special edition should be worthy of the admission price.
I meant to say that there was an existing page for this venue already on Cinema Treasures because I had made an entry about my experience here but its nowhere to be found. :P This isn’t the first time. Not sure if its a server issue when they migrated to bigger one. No replies were ever received to my queries.
Sounds exciting. How about opening a plex like this in the Washington DC market. LA has enough first rate venues to see movies. We could use at least one or two. With youth predominately employed in movieplexes these days, I am curious how your superior customer service is going to work out given the fact most are apathetic to work, much less know the meaning of ‘good’ customer service. :P
Sounds exciting. How about opening a plex like this in the Washington DC market. LA has enough first rate venues to see movies. We could use at least one or two. With youth predominately employed in movieplexes these days, I am curious how your superior customer service is going to work out given the fact most are apathetic to work, much less the meaning of ‘good’ customer service. :P
Wasn’t this listed under National Amusement? I thought I blogged about my first (and probably last) encounter about their ‘reserved’ seat selection in the Director Halls and the mall-type fast food fare. Nothing exists under the city. I recall seeing the previous Shrek movie, not this summer’s one, the sound and picture were okay, not worth driving into Virginia though. :)
I forgot to mention that it was nice they had their free screening in Bethesda and not at the sister plex on E St, like they usually do. Parking is much easier if you drive. Attendance for the screening seemed to favor the older (50s and older) crowd with many seats to spare in Auditorium 6.
I had the privilege of seeing a sneak preview of the upcoming release (8/20) Mao’s Last Dancer, tonight. The movie is a biopic of the Chinese ballet dancer LiCunxin, who created an international incident after leaving his native China for the US in 1981. Performances are great all around, including its star and Bruce Greenwood as Li’s mentor/sponsor, Ben. You will appreciate the ballet backstory and leave the theater without a dry eye at the end.
As of today, should the theater’s current status be changed to ..closed? I am surprised no one has posted anything from the last movie showing. I had work conflicts and couldn’t make it.
I saw Airbender in 3D in the newly 3D equipped #5. Film was not very good. The 3D aspect looked more like an after thought. There were no gotcha or aha 3D tricks, not even a pointed spear or arrow. Unless they showed the 3D trailer at the beginning, which I missed, there wasn’t a 3D trailer. The stereo surrounds were good sitting in the back. Hopefully, they will book something more worthy of the format in the future.
If the movie is good, they will come. You’d need an Avatar-like movie to bring em in. But when you do the Shrek 4 trick and jack up 3D/Imax-lite pricing to $16 then they won’t.
I saw Airbender in 3D and that movie was awful. The 3D was obviously an afterthought and it looked it. If it weren’t for the fact I was redeeming a free ticket voucher (but paid $3 for 3D) and had seen almost all the other movies on the marquee, I would have skipped it.
Congratulations! Was this theater the one where in one auditorium there is a building beam or column that obstructs the view to the screen?
How do you think you are going to fare against Landmark and AMC’s Georgetown 14 that sometimes books art house films? How are you going to differentiate between those two giants? Do you plan on remodeling/upgrading the systems there? If so, what is the plan?
I doubt it was 70mm. AFI had it in 70mm last year or fairly recently. I missed it. :P Or maybe it was 10 Commandments.
If they can do digital now on 60ft screens at the IMAX-lite and Cinemark XD venues, they should try retrofitting the Uptown for digital. With the curved screen, they may have to reduce it.
I doubt an Arclight-type complex at the Senator would help. You’ve got the Charles and its six screens not too far away and the Rotunda’s two, with a third on the way. There would be too much competition, unless the Senator does more live and unique programming as opposed to movies all the time.
With Wednesday’s “last day” coming up, even though I’m not an Eclipse fan, I may plan a trip up just in case its the last time I see the venue in one complete piece.
Do you think its a fair assessment that 3D films, in general, are darker, then your usual flat films?
I think so. I always thought the CGI movies like your Pixar movies were always ‘brighter’ especially in DP. When they go the 3D route, like Shrek 4 was, it was noticeably darker. Yes, I know the movie had ‘night scenes’ but there was still that CG crispness that made you notice things better.
I attended many MacArthur showings (mostly 70mm) after 1982. The opening weekend of event films like your Star Trek II, Return of the Jedi were sell outs with lines going around the block or extending way way down MacArthur Blvd, itself, towards the Reservoir Rd. 70mm bookings of Dark Crystal (1982, upon its triplexing), Brainstorm (1983), Amadeus (1984), White Night (1985) were spartan but the presentations were memorable.
Even as late as Witness (1985) and Total Recall (1990) there were pretty full crowds. I suppose the film bookers at Circle and later Cineplex were inclined to book the event films at the Uptown and Wisconsin Ave venues then here. Hook (1991) played at the downtown Fine Arts, with even more difficult street parking. They could have booked it here to probably greater crowds.
With regard to the night the projectionist and manager closing the theater due to not wanting to be there…Steve, was this during your tenure? :)
Steve, with regard to Star Trek II in 70mm, someone on another site is correcting me stating that the soundtrack to the film was MONO and not stereo. When I described the 6-track sound fx i.e. hearing a screw drop to the floor from the right rear of the theater, this individual states it was sound panning.
I could’ve sworn the ads were 70mm 6 track Dolby STEREO in the paper, with the 70mm 6-track logo in the Post, back in the day.
I believe I saw this movie in 70mm at the Avalon in DC. This was after Circle had done a remodel installing a Sistine-chapel style ceiling painting. At the time, it was one of a handful (maybe two?) that had the HPS4000 sound system. Fantasia had a reissue there in a new soundtrack. It put me to sleep, actually by the time the Sorcerer’s Apprentice part started.
The movie was enjoyable overall, but I never did like Michael J. Fox’s acting style. With the exception of that army movie he did with Sean Penn, it always seemed like I was watching the same actor doing the same role but in a different situation. Watching him on Family Ties as ‘Alex’ was bad enough. I suppose it was his gesturing..looking back, maybe it was the start of his Parkinsons. Its hard to remember specific moments in the movie’s 6-track soundtrack but I suppose the coolest parts were when he was playing on stage and hoping his ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ would kiss. Then there was the DeLorean car, at the end, when it had the capability of flying, the sound started in front of you and sped behind you..to ‘move’ out of the way. Did it come around again and do a ‘warp jump’ explosion at the end? I forget. I think so..it did that light streak and then the titles began ..To Be Continued..
The first film reportedly was shot in 65mm that had spfx in it. To me, it looks better than the others even in 35mm given the original source material. The others were 35mm, then blown up for 70mm release. I remember when ST II came out and saw it in 70mm and was thoroughly thrilled by the experience and 6-track soundtrack accompanying it BUT noticed grain and other undesirable artifacts from the blow up.
Boldly go. :)
I wish I lived in LA. It seems this place, the Aero and Egyptian have specialty programming unlike many other venues. Plus, the proximity to the movie capital of the world is a bonus since special guests such as production crew or actors can participate in Q&As and interact with a live audience.
Caught Knight and Day in #1 after almost a year. They played the wonderful THX life trailer before the show and it seems some of the speakers up front and left began to crackle. Oh oh. There appears to be a new digital projector that does not crop the image as badly as the previous one. Picture is masked side to side but is full length from top to bottom.
The film, itself, was okay. I was expecting more of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith kind of romp. Cruise and Cameron are okay, but they do not sizzle on screen. Watching those two smile after each other made me feel like watching a toothpaste commercial with all that whiteness going on.
What a shame. Had the place shown movies, I would have visited the place at least once, but from what I remember seeing of the interior, this place was a mere shell of its former self.
I believe it was this theater that my Dad, brother and I saw Flash Gordon in 1980, to a packed crowd here enjoying the campiness and romp that the movie was. Queen’s soundtrack was different and, at the time, I thought cool.
I wouldn’t mind the XD so much if they’d have bargain matinees BEFORE 6pm. Or, at least the first show of the day like AMC does. I don’t think they have any XD reduced prices.