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My friend and I saw ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ here at a fan ‘sneak’ in IMAX-lite 3D. Surprisingly, the line was loooong, the longest I’ve experienced at an opening film day IMAX-lite showing. There were a few dressed in Starfleet uniforms, which got the attention of some special folk, not sure if they were from Paramount or a news organization, who took pictures. They gave out posters to a few hundred of us, which was a nice bonus.
No friendly greeting from the ticket taker.
The movie is quite good. I want to see it a few more times in the different formats. I have some quibbles with the ‘Wrath of Khan’ references and scene homages. I hate the pixie dust warp drive trail. Bad idea. Presentation was very good but sound booms weren’t as they should have been such as during some explosions and warp jump snaps. Not sure if it may have been the soundtrack, as the trailer for the upcoming Superman reboot ‘Man of Steel’ had some good sound booms from just the music, itself.
I noticed that and thought it was a typo. The movie is already opening big, why does management think there needs to be shows every ½ hour? Fandango shows many tickets available. Is #8 still THX certified, or at least the better of the 8 to see/hear/experience a movie there? Aside from the new seating, has the remodel helped the experience there of watching movies? I’m tempted to revisit the place.
There are no distinguishing structural elements to this plex. You can see the steel ceiling and air conditioning ducts when you enter. One item worth noting is that there doesn’t seem to be a traditional box office in front of the building. When you enter, you see self service kiosks, the Customer Service/Manager’s cube and then the refreshment stands. The idea is to buy your ticket AND get concessions at the same time. Not a bad idea and a time saver, too. Opposite to the refreshment/box office cashier area are numerous self service soda fountains and condiment stations. This is a great idea as one can fix their soda the way they want. Single soda refills are free in all sizes. The $15.50 for the afternoon matinee in the 3D Xtreme format is palatable. The first show is even cheaper. Regal Theaters take note.
I had tried to ask the ticket taker(s) about the theater amenities but they didn’t know. The younger guy was trying to say something. The older lady blurted out said..‘oh, you’ll enjoy the nice clear picture and loud sound..’ Okay. I thanked them and went to the auditorium as the show was to start.
There were no pre show ads or format advertising at all. Its no doubt digital, most likely 4K, but I doubt its IMAX since its proprietary and the movie didn’t have that brightness..the laser directed projection I guess its called..to enhance the picture.
One major gripe about #7, and to be fair..the place is new, is the lack of sound insulation. After the beginning of the movie, I would hear these boom boom sounds and thought it was the movie. Unfortunately, it made no sense since there was nothing going on. It had to be sound from the adjoining theater. Very bad. If this place had been THX certified, there would be better sound baffling to prevent sound bleeding.
Entering in, you’ll see regular seats in front of the center aisle. Above the center aisle are rows and rows of LEATHERETTE reclining seats. I was about to take the regular seat to closer to the screen in the hopes of getting that aural and picture immersion experienced in similar venues. Instead, I chose the leatherette reclining seats and boy, was I not disappointed. How many times have you been to a theater where you wish you could s-t-r-e-t-c-h and end up either putting your feet up against the chair in front, or have an idiot do the same behind you? No more. You flip a switch on the right armrest by your thigh and the recliner opens up to the desired angle. Nice. I am curious how these seats will hold up within a year or so after heavy use.
The employees could use better training in customer service. No one greeted me anywhere…okay, the refreshment area, but the guy mumbled so badly, all I could hear was “welcome a;lkaeconweo8."
They need the best looking employee there to greet people at the door. The fact there’s no traditional box office will leave people a little lost but like I said earlier, combining the ticket purchase and concession purchases is a great idea.
Stay away from the pretzel bites. They do warm them up and serve them with the same nacho cheese sauce that goes with the nachos. They are just TOO salty.
Perhaps, the next time I go, I will do more looking around and take some pictures. The leatherette recliners are a BIG PLUS as they are comfortably cozy.
The ticket I had mentioned something about reserved seating. Perhaps, this will be coming to some of the auditoriums in the future. I hope not. I do not like reserved seating. I enjoy sitting where I want and to change my seat if I find out I’m not comfortable with my first choice.
BowTie here in Annapolis, MD is quite good and have been one of my favorite venues for years. The Mall and Harbour 9 are all digital projection and Dolby 7.1. Actually, they continued what was Crown Theaters and, initially, kept with the personal touch by having personal intros to the movies. However, they stopped. :P They also stopped with the in theater advertising for awhile, then that started up, again.
As far as their loyalty program, it needs fixing. I had a BIG disagreement with their staff about their point accumulation system and redemption. When I redeemed a soda voucher, it zeroed out my points to start all over again. It does not continue like the ones for Regal and AMC do. To this day, I am not sure if they’ve fixed it.
There was a lady at corporate, whose number I kept on my old cell phone but now lost it..she was nice enough to restore my points. I’m close to the 100 pt mark to where they give you a free pass, soda and popcorn. I’m hoping to redeem the incremental freebies; more passes, popcorn, etc. since the point values have not zeroed out.
They need to improve their concession offerings. Perhaps they could take a cue from Cinemark and make things more self service. I prefer to get my own soda with the right amount of ice.
The National Cathedral has a 2 to 1 voting advantage as of today..not too good. I’m reading there is money put aside for some upgrade work. They should at least get a digital projector to maintain some operating viability.
The article points to many needed upgrades, but $1M? Are they going for a renovation like the AFI Silver? If so, thats quite ambitious, maybe overly so given the area. You’ve got the Academy 8 a few miles up thats the main competition and they’ve got 3D Digital to boot. Unless they can get their hands on a 70mm projector… ;–) there could be some great counter programming here.
I feel sorry for the people who currently operate this venue. They spent probably $50K for each digital projector..$150, plus more for the carpet and seating upgrades.
Maybe they should stay there and offer counter programming, or maybe second run movies at a discounted price and NOT close.
$5-$7 movies as opposed to $15 at the Arclight wouldn’t be too bad.
The expansion raises the issue of sufficient parking space. I used to work there for several years and parking is at a premium especially during the holidays. If you’ve got a 16 screen plex, with seating for a few thousand..where are they going to park if you don’t build a new garage?
On the other hand, it would be very nice to have an Arclight here where the presentations supposedly exceed THX standards. But..I’d be reluctant to pay more than $15 for regular fare. Then again, if its THAT good, I’ll have to drive there regularly since my friend is closer to that theater than to come to where I am. :P
There was an earlier posting that disappeared for this theater, like many others. I know because I posted! This theater opened around 1995 or 1996. It preceded the Hoyts Bowie theater in opening. I can’t remember what movie I saw there but I’d say they are almost identical in layout, with two huge, two-story type theaters..maybe its four but I remember there being an elevator you could take to the second level. On the second level, it was planned to be an area for people to congregate and eat but like the Bowie multiplex, it never came to be.
The first time I saw ‘2001’ was, around 1980, at the then twinned Flower Theater, in Takoma Park MD, and 35mm MONO! The film still had its visual appeal and it was sci-fi, one of my favorite film genres. I still remember walking out at the end, an older kid saying he would not be seeing “THAT FILM” again, as he just didn’t get it.
When DC’s Uptown had a 70mm ‘virgin’ print around ‘90 or so, now that was something special. As they say, they don’t make em like they used to anymore.
In 2001, when they had another re-release, I took my friend, who absolutely hated it. I tried to tell him it was one of those thinking movies like K-Pax, which came out around that time. He absolutely hated it. Being brought up in the post-MTV generation, movies have to be under 100 minutes, with quick 3 second edits and something BIG happening every 20. No matter how I tried to explain it to him, how the pacing may be slow, its deliberate and for reason. He just doesn’t get it. It reminds me of that comment Rock Hudson allegedly made after seeing this movie..he didn’t get it either.
Its now a joke, between us, that when he gets me to see a movie I don’t want to see or end up not liking, that I will make him sit through and watch this again when it comes to town. Or, when talking about seeing a ‘new’ movie, I will tell him there’s a sequel…2061: The Next Odyssey and its 4 hours with two intermissions! :-D
My friend and I caught a sneak peak of GI Joe: Retribution in 3D, special for Bow Tie Criterion Members in #11. The Dolby 7.1 trailer played nicely, but for some unknown reason, the sound level was not up to what it should be. The trailers, usually played loud..were subdued. The final Star Trek Into Darkness had none of that ‘boom’ ‘boom’ deep bass as in other venues. The film was bleh. Though the one action sequence where the bike splits up and becomes independent weapons was cool.
There’s thesenatortheatre and true friends of the senator on Facebook. The truefriends facebook page seems more aligned with the previous owner and the group organized to save the theater prior to its ownership transfer. There has been no comments since Nov 2012.
The other facebook page appears to be the one run by the current owners, as there are about 11 pics posted on the renovation.
I wished they could have enlarged the screen from 40, to say 60'. Nostalgia sentiments aside, it doesn’t compete with the IMAX-lite auditoriums, although the sound system they had was killer nevertheless. Digital projection should be excellent here.
I saw ‘Quartet’ here midweek, last week. Pleasant film with older stars set in a retirement home for elderly in the arts. No projection problems this time. I had read the place was to close down for remodeling, but they are still showing movies.
Upon closer inspection of the remodel schematics, the mens room appears have the same number of urinals/stalls..maybe there’s an additional one or two. With the additional screens and traffic, they have to have bigger restrooms. When the place sells out, prior to the remodel, there would be lines out the door. One or two more urinals isn’t going to help much at all.
On the other hand, there isn’t anything to show what they are doing to the upper level. Before, they had it available for private party rentals. I imagine they are keeping at least the old crying rooms for rentals. It would have been nice to have made little balconies for all the auditoriums.
I read somewhere about a possible April opening, but the website does not indicate any such thing. The news article doesn’t say anything either. I’m tempted to drive by just to see, for myself, how things are going..maybe the marquee will have a date on it for the reopening. I imagine (hoping) they’ll be open by May for the summer blockbuster movies! They’ve got 4 screens, so..I imagine they can rotate movies as they open and keep patrons coming. ]
I saw ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ in IMAX(-lite)3D. I’ve discovered that there seems to be tiered pricing; first showing, matinee and evening prices. Fortunately, I had accumulated a $10 credit used towards the $17 matinee price. This AMC has upgraded concessions and offers coffee drinks and smoothies. The Concession staff could be more friendly as to greet you as they see you, or at least acknowledge you in some way.
Presentation was as decent as the last time. The preshow presentation is now in 3D..perhaps 3D for the presentations in 3D. I enjoyed the Academy-type ratio aspect of the opening probably as an ode to the early movies…s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g to widescreen upon arriving to Oz. I had to take off my 3D glasses to make sure they did not use the sepia tone that the original had during the ‘present-day’ Kansas scenes..they weren’t. :( I enjoyed the movie, overall, the Oz sequences were appropriately exaggerated and decent surrounds especially during the tornado sequence as the balloon goes around and around. I think James Franco plays too cute as the Wizard..if only director Raimi had gotten his first choice, Robert Downey, Jr…
A really nice touch to the theater are the multi-story high movie murals of movies coming or have played. They need to take down some of the older movies that have gone from last year. I can’t think of any other local venue that compares..maybe the AMC White Marsh, but it has no external murals that I can recall of during my visits there a few years ago.
Congratulations! Do I suspect a movie version may be coming? :-D
This venue should be updated to OPEN under Montgomery Royal Theaters name/management. Their website is the same .com. Looks like they lowered their adult evening prices since I was last there by $1.
Talking about movies before a showing is hardly a new idea. Crown, former owner of this and the Mall theaters used to have personal intros to the movies. When BowTie took over, they prided themselves as bringing ‘back’ the movie going experience the way it used to be.
Unfortunately, the personal intros became more like live announcements parroting the no talking and turn-off-your-cell-phone rules that you see on screen. They eventually cancelled the personal intros, rather then be more creative with it.
Classic films on the big screen are usually always a better experience, but the screen sizes at Harbour 9 are so small. I saw the ads for the weekend screenings but the offerings were the same. They need to offer a better enticement to get people out.. gourmet food items? coffee…espresso?
Christmas Day I caught Les Miserables to a large crowd for the unbelievably bargain price of $5. It should be noted that BowTie theaters discontinued their bargain Tuesday prices during the holidays due to what they claim are contractual obligations. Given this piece of information, its a wonder how the Greenbelt could open the film and still offer their Tuesday discount.
A major distraction was the ‘letterbox’ presentation. There were obvious gaps in the lower and upper portions of the screen. Watching the movie was similar to looking at it through a mailslot. I was thinking someone forgot to change lenses and figured someone else would complain. There were a few that got up, but I guess they didn’t, or if they did, it was not fixed.
The film was engaging, for the most part, as I’ve seen both dramatic and musical versions, but I have to say that aside from Anne Hathaway’s Fantine, the other majors, particularly Russell Crowe, cannot sing. Hugh Jackman, much lauded actor, sounds so haggard as if he’s doing karaoke intoxicated. During the scene where the kid rises up to a certain death by the French soldiers, a man screamed out as the kid gets up…which just turned up the drama to that scene for the rest of us. And, of course, the ending brought the house to tears for most of us..this is the power of good cinema, folks.
I saw ‘The Life of Pi’ in 3D in #7 with a decent crowd, today. I missed the large screen presentations when the movie first came out but thoroughly enjoyed this moving fantasy tale. The CGI effects are well done, as is the whole look of the movie. I can see Oscar nominations for this movie. The bottom part of the screen looked as if it was fluttering or not properly affixed to the wall, but it was not a constant detraction.
My friend and I caught ‘The Hobbit’ on the IMAX-lite screen in #12, in 3D, this past weekend. The description above about it being shoe horned in is apt. I’m almost sure I’ve seen movies in this one before and believe that the screen was just enlarged to accommodate the IMAX projection. Sound and picture were first rate. The presentation was not in the much touted HFR. I believe this is the only venue, of the IMAX-lite screens, to not have the HFR copy in this market. For the late showing, there were only maybe 5 people in attendance.
The 9-minute preview of the Star Trek Into Darkness movie was terrific. The 3D effect of the scene where the natives shoot darts at Kirk and Scotty made me jump as if it were coming off the screen.
If thats the case, what is ‘Enhanced Theater Experience’ then, if not HFR? Fandango has that description, plus ETX AND Dolby Atmos for the #11 auditorium. TheHobbit.com movie site makes mention of Tysons IMAX & ETX as having HFR. IF you are right, then maybe thats why it looked like regular digital to me…someone clarify..and I want my $ back for false advertising! :)
This morning, I caught it in regular IMAX-lite at the Magic Johnson venue. I actually enjoyed it better than the Atmos presentation, but it may have to do with my seating center and closer to the screen. The 9-minute Star Trek intro is Trektacular. ^5.
Enjoyed the movie even more in a second viewing even though there were just the 5 of us. :)
Last week I saw ‘Anna Karenina’, based on Tolstoy’s book. Tuesday’s prices are only $5, a definite bargain. The audience was plentiful and the staff are always friendly. The Manager was thanking people for coming as patrons exited. Now when was the last time you were thanked by someone at your local theater for coming?
I saw ‘The Hobbit’ film in #11, with the Dolby Atmos sound system and ETX. I really wanted to see it in the IMAX-lite theater only because they’re supposed to have 9 minutes of the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. I was thinking they’d have it in the ETX theater since its similarly sized, digital, is shown in HFR and Atmos. Nope. Only got the regular trailer, which is exciting and means I need to see the movie again in IMAX-lite.
To be honest, I’m not all that thrilled about Atmos. The trailer shows off the potential of the theater, much like the THX trailer lets you hear the difference. The Atmos trailer shows off the surround and ceiling set up to great effect. Wow. In the movie, there wasn’t much distinction EXCEPT when characters walked off screen and you can hear dialog continuing to either the right or left off the screen. Hmm.
Perhaps the second viewing in a non-Atmos theater will reveal what I’m missing.
The presentation was very good. I like the 11/ETX/Atmos set up as the movie was quite immersive although it plays a bit like the first Lord of the Rings movie with the expectation that the BIG fight scenes are coming in the next movie. As usual, the 3D darkens the picture, to the detriment of the trailers where you can barely make out details of the FX heavy clips.
As far as the HFR, I do not know what the fuss was about on the internet about cheesy looking picture. Of particular mention was the dinner table scene. It looked fine to me..it was very clear, 3D, but is it 2x as better as 24 fps regular projection? I did not notice much of a difference in the digital projection. Does it compare to Showscan and its higher 60 fps projection? No. Showscan was film and its set up camera tricks had 3D scenes without 3D glasses.
The $11 matinee price is worth it, much better than the IMAX-lite. If I had made up my mind and bought my ticket the previous night, it would have only cost me $6 for the first show! Being an AMC Stubs member waives the ticket fee! I think there was an error somewhere with the price entries. The IMAX-lite first shows are more.
Aha. This isn’t really film per se. Curious to see how things actually look. More like film? Or, more like video?