Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Walden Galleria 12 on May 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Did the original ever have stadium seating, I’ve seen it listed a few places as Walden Galleria Stadium 12? If so which operator retrofit it? If not CinemaTour is wrong.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Willowbrook Cinema on May 18, 2010 at 7:39 am

I vaguely remember two twin theaters, one where the current food court is and one where Macy’s Furniture is at the edge of the mall. I have no additional info to offer up, sorry.

John Fink
John Fink commented about BIG Cinemas Towne 3 on May 18, 2010 at 7:37 am

Link doesn’t work – at least they’ve stopped lying to people by calling it a 6-plex!

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cedar Grove movie theater closes after 12 years on May 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

As awkward as the Clairidge is it has gotten better since the remodel, but it still does very well and sold out shows aren’t uncommon on the weekends, the weekdays are slower but depending on the show they still pull a healthy amount of business, I doubt it will close and if it ever did I bet another chain would snap it up quickly (Bow Tie or Landmark would be good fits).

The Screening Zone they told me had many equipment problems (as well as poor projection, it was retrofitted from a bank into a theater by its prior owners), while I saw many a great film there I had a few unwatchable experiences (often they’d have to call the projectionist to come down from the Clairidge to help fix an issue). I have many a happy memory from the summer of 2000 seeing great indie flicks in Montclair – stuff that today would never play at the Clairidge, at that time Montclair had 11 screens: the more commercial stuff played at the Clairidge, the indies and foreign films played at Screening Zone, and mostly foreign films from micro distributers and the occasional big Hollywood film played at the Wellmont. SOPAC was originally going to trend more towards art films and they occasionally surprise (last thing I saw there was the anthology film Tokyo!).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cedar Grove movie theater closes after 12 years on May 17, 2010 at 10:49 am

This story says Clearview lost their lease: maybe Jimmy Dolan’s former drug addict temper turned the shopping center’s owners off like ABC Oscar night style (I strongly dislike Cablevision but deal with the fact they own half the theaters in New Jersey). Here’s that article: View link

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema 23 Fiveplex on May 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

Wow – I haven’t been to this one in about two years (last flick I saw there was The Assassination of Jesse James…. ), last I saw two weeks ago when I was driving past from the Clairidge in Montclair it was open. The theater did big business pre-Essex Green’s move to a 9-plex in the 1990’s, but I’m not sure if this is one Clearview got around to upgrading yet with new seats – a 3+ movie wasn’t comfortable here. If I recall the theater was most likely a chop shop: one theater to the right, one to the left and a hallway to 3 in the back, small concessions and bathrooms.

I wonder if CJM who is still active would acquire it back (if they legally can, I remember there was a fight over the Caldwell Theater a few years ago which led to CJM functioning as Clearview’s landlord). Who knows, I didn’t particularly dig this theater but it served as an occasional move over house for successful art films from Montclair.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Northfield 18 on May 17, 2010 at 12:38 am

Great experience in a vibrant shopping district, good popcorn, comfortable seats and a big screen (we weren’t in the CineCapri). It takes a lot to impress me, but I’d venture to say this was probably one of the best big multiplexes I’ve been to and I see 4+ films a week in theaters, if only Harkins would come to Eastward….

John Fink
John Fink commented about Roger Ebert not bullish on 3-D on May 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I agree and I disagree: considering the analogy to language – if film is a language than 3-D is a new grammar, one that is redeveloping but is over all not used as effectively as it needs to be to justify the ticket price. I’m with Ebert on that, but I perhaps one day 3-D will be perfected, IMAX did it very well (haven’t seen a digital IMAX show yet).

I agree there is a premium arms race going on right now with the chains that could lead to their distraction again if they aren’t careful, 3-D isn’t 100% ready for prime time, some use it brilliantly but studio greed and bad filmmaking (I’m thinking Clash of the Titians and Alice in Wonderland) will lead to a backlash. Ebert, I should note is a reviewer I’ve always respected but has given positive reviews to several 3-D features including Avatar and A Christmas Carol.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Iron Horse Movie Bistro on May 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Stopped off and caught a flick the other day, completely empty in the afternoon: I saw more staff than patrons. The theater is decent – comfortable, good projection. Truth be told, the popcorn was pretty awful. The theater one floor, off one hallway. I assume the stadium seating was a retrofit, but the theater had good sightlines and a decent sized screen. The other thing is 2 of the theaters are missing: I was in theater #5, and walked past (on the right) 1, 2 and finally 5 – on the left I noticed theaters 6, 7, and 8.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Empire 25 on May 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I can’t imagine that 35MM will be going away at Empire, it’s/it was the most popular theater in the country. At Younge & Dundas, another 100% digital complex when it opened – 35MM was in use (I heard originally at the request of TFF) – last time I was there I saw Big Fan in glorious 35MM, a film with “noisy” film grain and all – wouldn’t have wanted to see it digitally. I can’t imagine Empire could go 100% digital, with 25 screens and 16 across the street Empire is bound to want to show an indie film that digital isn’t available for, unless it means that new AMC Independent program will mean that for the micro budget indie films that may pop up in a market or two (if we’re lucky) they’ll be screened off a DVD using the pre-show projector (that would suck).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Critic thinks movie intermissions should be revived on Apr 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm

The additional snack sales and bladder drainage are all valid points. I don’t know why Hollywood and the exhibitors don’t do an intermission. Bollywood films often feature a naturally designated intermission that Regal, AMC, Clearview and National Amusements chop off (often you’ll get an awkward jump cut and even some times a summary of what just happened – Reliance Media owned Big Cinemas does do an intermission out of tradition).

Theater often build in enough time to clean and turn around the theater, so what’s another 10-20 minutes, they probably won’t loose a show, and ifs a major flick then why not: more popcorn sales. For the record when I saw the Che roadshow I bought my popcorn to enjoy with the second half of the feature since I had just come from dinner. I bet if filmmakers like Peter Jackson insisted on an intermission – it would happen.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal introducing new premium RPX big screen installations on Apr 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Frankly I think this is a scam, I wasn’t impressed with the picture size at AMC Younge & Dundas and am not sure how you can get a larger picture by moving the screen closer. The throw would remain the same – would it not? For the picture I saw, an indie named Passenger Side, it really didn’t matter.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Fabian 8 Cinema - Spanish Language Films on Apr 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I’ve gotta hand it to Community Theatres, here is an operator that gets it – Halecky has a first class operation at the Fabian, I was there twice and impressed with the projection, sound, seating comfort and customer service.

The problem is Latino only programing hasn’t really succeeded elsewhere, it’s a great idea in theory but I hope they can be savvy about advertising it and building an audience for it. They also should build bridges if they haven’t with William Paterson University which has a film program (perhaps a publicized student night to attract students to the ‘plex the way that the Village East does in NYC). Still this a multiplex operation done right, I hope movie goers in the region and the suburbs take notice. Once Center City is filled and there’s a few more dinning options this will be a more attractive venue for a night out.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplaza 13 on Apr 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm

The article linked by Lost Memory refers to the other North Bergen theatre, now run by Big Cinemas (at Columbia Park, about two miles away). That theater is still up and running. By the way I discovered a while back that the theater was originally going to be a Bradlees – when they went bankrupt Magic Cinemas signed the lease to open this theater.

Regal acquired Magic Cinemas (which had a few multiplexes and smaller theatres that were taken over by Regal – Northhampton Crossings in Easton, PA for example, or Clearview Cinemas – the now gone Colony in Livingston, NJ and Abby in West Millford, NJ). Regal I suppose had Columbia Park on the docket already, which then couldn’t play day and date with Loews. Somehow Starplex was able to do it later, and Columbia Park has found success as a hybrid Bollywood / Hollywood multiplex and even has a digital 3-D projector screen.

Retail might have faired well with Target and other big box retailers opening a few blocks down on Tunnely Ave.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Could the 3D fad die like it did during the 50's? on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Agreed Newt, I’m not going to see Why Did I Get Married 3-D! (Although I had a rather fun experience at the opening night of Why Did I Get Married Too this evening)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Could the 3D fad die like it did during the 50's? on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Agreed – a quality immerse experience should be included in the base ticket price of any modern multiplex, the fake IMAX, EXT, and XD screens hopefully will end up shooting themselves in the foot (although I doubt it, the average consumer isn’t sophisticated enough to really care, they show up to see the 9PM show regardless of the extra bells and whistles aside from 3-D and IMAX).

I’ve seen 3-D films that use it well (Avatar, of coarse, but also Coraline and even My Blood Valentine 3-D I’ll give credit to) and others not so much (Alice in Wonderland was boring even in 3-D). But not every movie needs the 3-D treatment, I will stop going if every movie even character driven dramas are in 3-D. This is just like the multiplex boom and bust, overzealous exhibitors jump on stadium seating and end up cannibalizing each other because they think any area can sustain 3 20-plexes within 10 miles of each other.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Carmike to operate Ocala's Marion Theatre on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

Is this an April Fools item? If not Carmike might be interested in the assets of Kerastoes that I can’t see AMC having any interest in (midwest small town twin theaters).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Final Season for 'At the Movies' on Mar 31, 2010 at 5:51 pm


Bring Back The Bens!

(just kidding)

I’m glad Ebert is attempting to go viral according to his blog and use new media, he’s an interesting case study of someone who has technologically reinvented himself, perhaps out of necessity but he still remains the most important voice of film criticism, despite what the jerk whose trying to sell me high brightness sanitary ware(?) is saying.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Price increases for 3-D movies in effect today on Mar 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Technocolor’s 3-D would be great for the discount houses. I do think this $5 upgrade fee is essentially price gouging and a very bad thing, but if people pay it then they’ll get away with charging it. I like how AMC is charging a $5 for Real D shows, but $3 for Alice in Wonderland.

Alice of coarse wasn’t an innovative use of 3-D. Filmmakers aren’t using the medium the way that Avatar and Coraline did and its boring. I felt ripped off with Alice and the brightness issues are still a factor, I saw it in the Dolby Digital 3-D process (that doesn’t use a silver screen) and I wasn’t impressed. Not to mention Clash of the Titans (never intended for 3-D) has negative buzz around it. I don’t get the big deal around 3-D, a movie still has to be good. I think 3-D is a tool that’s just developing, filmmakers need to reconcile it and consider it as another tool, instead studios are going to cannibalize the format by turning out crappy product like Alice and Monsters Vs. Aliens.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Sony studio head asks for healthier food concessions at theaters on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I remembered seeing National Amusements try veggies and dip at Buckland Hills back when I lived in CT, I didn’t have them but I thought it was a good idea. They do well with offering diverse options, its not so much the healthy as it is diverse that I prefer. Still it doesn’t make sense to go all healthy, but more natural, good foods, sure. Starbucks is an example of a company that started reducing the “fake” ingredients from their foods, which is probably great theatre (the cookies still taste the same).

Personally I like food courts in theaters – I know the CT folks up in Toronto hate Scotiabank but it works for TIFF when your seeing three movies in a row and don’t want to leave the theater for lunch. They do offer healthier options and fruits during the fest because they sell to movie goers who are indoors all day. Most people aren’t going to be in the theater for a few hours, still its good in a rush to have that option, I like Cinema De Lux for that reason and while their food may not be healthy, the pizza is actually prepared and cooked in house, not frozen and reheated like AMC.

Still I’d like if a theater chain partnered with Jamba Juice, I think that might do well at a high traffic multiplex (since AMC Garden State might not let me bring it in next time).

John Fink
John Fink commented about New screens for Conway, AR and Wagner, SD on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:42 am

CINEMARK is developing the Conway, AR site, XD is their technology (pending the IMAX lawsuit of coarse). Should be interesting to see the first purpose built XD site.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC introduces new, premium theater auditoriums on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:09 am

I’m guessing Aud 1 at AMC PI was probably rejected due to having a balcony. Still I don’t get the concept if putting in a bigger screen if the actual size of the picture is going to remain the same. EXT and XD are stupid, I like how the Cinemark XD in San Francisco is at a theater that regularally shows art pictures – they were offering Precious in XD at one point – pay an upgrade fee to see a film that doesn’t really require the immersive experience of say Transformers. My guess is the people that did were the unlucky ones that showed up to see the 9:30 show without knowing they were being conned into paying extra, I’ve seen people do that at Cinema De Lux, they buy tickets for a director’s hall online because they want to see it at that time, not because they want a reserved seat.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow-Tie Royale 6 on Mar 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm

View link

Bow Tie, like all exhibitors I guess- has a policy forbidding outside food, and for a valid reason. Still there’s a difference between telling someone, no you can’t bring that bag from a fast food place in and then search women’s purses for candy. I understand the liability – but come on! Aren’t you in the customer service business, if a customer is happy because she can enjoy a candy your theater doesn’t sell, then can’t you just leave it at that and hope they buy popcorn and soda?

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC introduces new, premium theater auditoriums on Mar 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I experienced it during the Toronto International Film Festival at another location where AMC couldn’t put in an IMAX due to another exhibitor (Cineplex/Famous Players) having those rights. It was useless especially since the screen is large, sure but the picture doesn’t fill up the entire screen (so proper masking goes out the window) and the entire complex is digital anyway at Dundas & Younge. I have been to AMC Pleasure Island – do we know which screen is getting a conversion at Pleasure Island? Theaters 1 and 2 are huge theaters with balconies, I don’t know if they could have ETX presentations in those theaters since a large screen might create a poor sightline for the balcony. Anyway, this like mini-IMAX and Cinemark’s format seems like a scam. Sure the screen is larger but is the projector throw? One would think it would be smaller since your screen is closer to the audience.

At Dundas & Younge it did nothing, then again I was seeing a low budget indie shot on digital video.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Fabian 8 Cinema on Mar 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Agree with Fred, impressive presentation, large screens, comfortable seats and a very friendly staff. I caught the 1PM show of Brooklyn’s Finest in theater 8, the biggest theater in the complex. The layout is: 1 and 2 are to the right along with the men’s room, the box office, 7 and 8 and the women’s room are to the left. There are two concession stands opposite each other and 3 and 4 are to the left, 5 and 6 to the right following that. The staff keeps the theater spotless, and on the way out at least two asked if we enjoyed the movie and wished us a good day.

The place’s interior design reminds me a bit of the new Clearview look (reds wall paper and carpet), but the theater has top of line sound and an extensive use of LCD monitors even at the auditorium entrances, box office, concession and a few video poster cases.

Theater 8 is large with an entrance at the front of the theater, after walking down a hallway. Stadium seating and comfortable, wide seats along with good projection and sound. This is a great new theater, no expense was spared in building a complex that easily rivals Clifton Commons and the theaters in Wayne and its a bit cheaper. Parking was free for a few hours and the lot is brightly lit below, the mall itself is still a work in progress so I can’t wait to return when we’ll have more dinning options. Security while visible is not annoyingly so as you’d find in some other urban complexes. The theater’s smallish lobby might be an issue during more popular films but they seem to be set up to accommodate the traffic.

Another great feature is next door is the Paterson Art Gallery, an open, non-intimidating space that encourages families and mall visitors to come look around. This and the mall/entertainment complex is a great thing for Paterson and so far Center City looks to be a success, hopefully it’ll get a few more dinning options soon (Buffalo Wild Wings, which had been part of the original plan would be awesome).