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If the theater closed in ‘94…14 years ago, that’s hardly “decades ago” and plus, that would age me beyond reason! The last time I drove by the spot, it had already been built over and assimilated by a new building. Its gone. As fond as my memories of movie experiences go, I’d prefer the old MacArthur to come back. The building and space is still there even though CVS occupies a small part of it.
I saw 10000 BC in DP and thoroughly enjoyed the story and presentation, even though it was at a Regal multiplex. It wasn’t the 50' squared off presentation that the Uptown could present in DP, but a decent movie, nonetheless.
To clarify my previous post, I don’t think DP projects on the curve like the way Uptown’s screen is set up. If I’m wrong, I’m sure one of projectionist experts will clarify for us.
And, again correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think AMC has booked 70mm anything since it took over this venue.
Thanks, Howard. An interesting read. I think its fair to say that most of the multiplexes run their films dark. The independents do a better job. Maybe thats why I gravitate to movies digitally exhibited. Its doubtful the movie chains will be able to ensure quality film presentations given the hands that get involved that could ruin it. So, DP is a safer, albeit a compromise for a presentation quality that is consistent given its tech roots.
Back to the Uptown. Even if they can’t project on the curve, I’d settle for a 50ft squared off presentation. Its more than a lot of other venues and with DP can still draw the viewer in to experiencing movies better than most can do now.
We’ve beaten the topic of how to save on admission prices to movie theater going to death haven’t we? You’ve got bargain matinees, movie chain club card memberships, discounts at both AAA and Costco, etc etc. If theater refreshments are too high, eat before/after the show, or sneak in your food and drink. I do it on those times when necessary.
I wouldn’t pay $35 for a movie ticket for a more intimate setting. Even if by some drug/drunk induced reason that I would pay that much (and, btw, I do not partake in either) I’d expect live pre-show and post-show entertainment, a seven course gourmet meal, full body massage and theater seating in a select-comfort soft leather couch. :D
If they do DLP the Uptown, they’d better go with something a little ahead of the game. Supposedly Muvico was to install Sony 4K systems in their venues, but nothing has happened that I’m aware of, yet. They don’t even advertise that they have DP movies when they have them.
If and when AMC does a DP install here, they’ll have opportunity to tout this venue as DC’s premier state-of-the-art motion picture venue. I wouldn’t mind frequenting this place again for DP movies rather than either the smallish AMC Georgetown or Regal Gallery DP auditoriums, if its done well. When they premiered “The Guardian” here a year or so ago, they supposedly temp installed some kind of DP system.
Judging by the looks of the “Speed Racer” trailer, that would be an excellent candidate for a large screen DP presentation. The exaggerated color schemes brings back the memory of how when color tv was new in the 70s.
If they follow through with that, I can see half of the Movie Directory shrinking in the Washington Post. As naive as this may sound, I thought newspapers put movie showtimes as a public service. Also, the directories do not correctly advertise sound format and/or presentation format. For example, if a film is showing in a venues only THX cert venue, they don’t say “Movie Title in THX.” Some places do advertise digital projection but then again, they get lazy and just say “digital.” The average moviegoer doesn’t know if its digital sound or digital picture. Back in the day they had 70mm releases, there was a special icon to denote that and Spectral Dolby prints of films. They need to go back to doing that. It educates the consumer and for sound/picture enthusiasts, makes it easier to find the right venue to see their movie of choice.
One beef I have with them is that they don’t even advertise what movies they have on their own marquee. They stopped even that. You have to go INSIDE to look at the showtimes or call a number.
Yesterday, I stopped by this theater on my way north to PA. They had a Star Trek movie retrospective and showed the first Star Trek movie, which I haven’t seen theatrically in 17 years or so. The print they showed was awful. As with my very first theatrical experience viewing TMP, the movie started then stopped and appeared as if the print was forcibly moved because of something gone awry. I could hear attempts at trying to restart the film. There was no music overture as it was either skipped or missing from the print. The color faded to pink and there were many, many scratches, spotting and shifting throughout the movie, with additional new, but unwanted sound effects such as a prolonged boom during parts of the movie. The auditorium, itself, has surround speakers but either they weren’t turned on, or the movie print was so bad that they couldn’t be played. I could discern some stereo separation on screen so my best guess is that it wasn’t mono.
In spite of the aforementioned, it was nostalgic to see the veteran crew of the Enterprise in their first motion picture adventure AND I discovered one or two NEW snippets from scenes that I have never seen before. I’m going to have to view the film on DVD and on VHS to confirm this though.
The auditorium, itself, is decently sized and one can see where the split down the middle halved what was once a grand theater. There are some architectural details to your right that do date the theater but gives it character. The simple wall ornaments gave me the first impression that I was in Legoland.
The lobby is quite clean with movie posters evenly spread throughout the area. The box office and refreshment stand are combined. As you walk down a few steps, you’ll see the entrance to the right half theater. To its right, is the entrance to the balcony auditorium and to the far left is the left half auditorium. In between the entrances to the main floor theaters is an open space for arcade games and the restrooms. Across from the arcade/restroom area is the manager’s office and an inside entryway to the Carvel ice cream parlor.
Being that it was late and I was probably the only patron in the whole complex, I didn’t venture into the other two auditoriums to see what they were like. I surmise that the left auditorium is close to the same size as the one I was in. I’m curious as to what the balcony theater is like based on prior posts, its probably not much to write about. As far as any ‘ghosts’ or any apparition or strange moments, there were none unless they were fooling around with the soundtrack. I did get this sense to leave early but it had more to do with the fact I was alone in an unfamiliar area but when I did leave the place close to midnight, the streets seemed deserted and void of loiterers and riff raff.
It would be nice if the website indicated proper theater parking. I was about to park on the street but saw that the parking meters are in effect until 11pm and did not have change to feed the meter. There is a hotel lot, which I parked at but didn’t realize they had a towing warning for unauthorized vehicles.
Congratulations! I’m looking forward to pictures being added to theaters, maybe video?
As far as the posts on daily news, perhaps the news isn’t as pertinent to some members as it may be to others. If I read a post about a theater in Boise, Idaho, I’m probably not going to be moved to say anything as opposed to it being in my home state closer to me.
The reporting pretty much says it all. The movies weren’t as great or memorable as in years past. As far as the host, I’m not much of a Jon Stewart fan even though many Gen X, Y and Z-ers seem to get their news from his daily show. I, for one, do not. I don’t think he’s that funny, witty or in the same league as in prior years' hosts such as Billy Crystal or the late Johnny Carson. And to think, I wasted three hours watching that show where one could have gotten a colonoscopy, read War and Peace, finished my will, changed the oil and filters in my cars and had a nice seven-course meal… :)
I remember the hoopla surrounding this film for tv and that there was only one commercial shown during its airing. In school, our English teacher suggested us to view the program (unless one’s religous conviction prevented one from viewing it) and then write about it afterwards, so it was required viewing. Being that it was so long ago, I think the only moving moment for me was at the very end when Jason Robards' character weeps. It was kind of a Job (from the Bible) like moment given that like the Biblical character, he lost everything; possessions, family and friends.
The T2 depiction of a nuclear blast is a powerful one. I remember seeing it in both 70mm and in the one place (in the DC Metro area) that had the then new Cinema Digital Sound format (UA Bethesda, now Regal). I can still visualize the scene up to Sarah Conner’s burning, crisping flesh from the flashpoint to when she wakes up from the dream. Back then, the threat was the Soviet Union, today its virtually anybody given the post 9-11 proliferation of terrorists and suitcase-type enclosures that could deliver THE bomb.
How sad. There were no announcements that I knew of about this place closing. Its perplexing AMC chose to close this given the fact that its in a mall and has foot traffic. They’ve got a decent theater in #1 and the newer ones at the end of the mall opened up 10 years ago or so. I vividly remember they were advertising the fact they had the Jurassic Park 2 trailer in DTS in the Post. Perhaps Regal or one of the other chains will reopen at least 1-6. Since 5-10 are inside the mall, late shows and, shall I say, certain riff raff elements walking about would not be desirable to mall management after most stores are closed.
All right, I did a search under KB Theaters and just KB but nothing comes up under “ALL” categories, forums, blogs or stories. What am I doing wrong? :)
Hopefully, from that experience management will know better to secure a better copy of the film. Or, at least a decent backup copy. This isn’t your local Regal or AMC multiplex where crap presentation can be expected, this is the AFI for pete’s sake.
I wanted to badly, but work commitments prevented that from happening. They advertised HD and I’d be surprised they let out a bad copy of media in whatever form. Better to just have cancelled the showing or heck, show the actual DVD, itself.
If that’s the case, let Pedas re-open the MacArthur since the CVS conversion was minimal as I surmise the lobby area is the store front today. :)
Here is the link that states that #1 and #2 were 70mm equipped:
My friend and I saw There Will Be Blood primarily to catch up on the Oscar nominated films I’ve missed. Being that this film has been out for almost a month and that Juno has been held over through February, I figured we’d be watching the movie in one of the smaller auditoriums. We were pleasantly surprised that the film, at least the 7:40pm Sat showing was in the Historic Auditorium to an almost full house.
The film, itself, was an interesting one but I’m on the fence as to whether it was movie ‘inspired by the life of’ as opposed to a true biopic. Daniel Day Lewis does give a wonderful, if dark performance and definitely deserves his nomination. Presentation was excellent. They played the latest THX Sound of Life trailer, which brought out several chuckles throughout the auditorium once it was finished. It is a cute sound trailer.
I’m wondering if this is the same 70mm print the AFI Silver had last Feb ‘07. It had an annoying tapping sound starting with the scene with Bowman rescuing Poole. You can read my experience at the AFI Silver’s page. I don’t know how to do the html thingy, yet.
Nice update, Howard. I like the history write up, to include its restoration effort and current technical offerings. Its the best write up of any theater on this site. And, yes, I’m biased because its in my area. :)
I’m contemplating catching the restored El Cid tomorrow night. Even though its a workday and some of the reviews were not too kind and with the reporting of its two stars; Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston not getting along led to wooden performances, I feel if someone went through the money and expense of restoration, it must be worth a look.
My friend and I saw Batman Returns here back in ‘05. Having driven and braved the drive from Wash DC and having seen Revenge of the Sith at the wonderful Ziegfeld, the same day, I was beat. Needless to say, I slept through probably half the movie. The presentation, from what I did see was immersive and satisfying.
What I do remember is the usher’s demanding tickets to enter the theater, on the second level, even after you’ve proved you belonged there the first time. I guess no one switched theaters or spent the day there watching movies here on one ticket. On another note, there was quite a diversity of the crowd; mostly younger, some professional and the amount of singles spread throughout the theater and then this HUGE big boned man, who decides to sit right next to me even though there were plenty of individual seats around the theater. I suppose he was sitting in his favorite seat. :)
All right then. If this is the theater that I believe all of you are referring to, it was located next to where Target is now, actually to the right of where Montgomery Wards used to be. Its not the outdoor one next to Social Security, across the street from Bally Total Fitness. There was a lamp shop in between that sold nothing but lamps and there were an assortment of 25c kiddie rides and gumball machines at one time or another. At the end of the wing, there used to be a pet shop. In the 90s, Burger King opened up across from the theater, too.
I saw Cloverfield and am wondering if exhibitors were instructed to play the movie extremely loud. It was perfectly presented in DP at a THX cert theater, my fav BowTie plex, and as a result, my ears were ringing for hours after the show. On Sunday, I took my niece to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, at a different theater, and Cloverfield was just ending and you could hear the exit music all the way to the entrance to the multiplex. They need to issue audio warnings about the sound levels.
Though it is nice to dream of this place reopening to its original glory and capacity of some 900 seats, I can’t help wonder about the parking problem that would exist. Anyone who has driven by this place will know that the shopping center is usually full of cars on any given time. Probably the only sensible place to park would be around the corner where the Giant supermarket is to accommodate everyone.
I read somewhere that the strike will effect movie production for ‘09. That being the case, I guess I don’t really care about it either. I figure they’ll settle before then. On the tv front, I never watch much of broadcast programming anyway because of the commercials, even with DVR.