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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.
I’m scratching my head on this one but wasn’t this theater located at the corner of the block? And one of the theaters had a design flaw of having a column that obstructs a patron’s view of the screen? I remember going to a Circle theater that had that. Supposedly, all 3 had stereo installation and an operating curtain that dropped and rose before and after the show. I’m guessing I visited this place around ‘87 or so.
If memory serves me correctly, the original auditorium, or largest one also had plays. My first and only visit here was back in 1982 where I saw the movie Tron. It was probably the best venue to see it as there were no 70mm bookings of it in the DC area. The seats were steeply raked..almost stadium-style and had Dolby stereo. I don’t remember if the other 3 had stereo.
This was a horrible theater that was probably the worst of the theaters that lined up Wisconsin Ave. My first and only visit to this place was in 1982 and I believe they closed sometime in the later 80s. The acoustics were horrible and, if memory serves me correctly had no stereo sound in any of the auditoriums. Sound insulation was lacking as you could hear two soundtracks for the price of one. This place was hardly a “treasure” by any stretch of the imagination.
My family attended a 5:05pm showing of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in one of the 4 smaller theaters. I didn’t know that 5pm was the cut off of matinee prices. I always thought that 6pm was the cut off, but their prices are lower than the chains. There is freshly popped popcorn as you are welcomed by the waft of it as you pass the ticket booths.
The interiors haven’t changed since AMC opened this place up 22 years ago, except the stadium seating and Dolby Digital sound upgrades. When they first opened up this place, they had a 70mm booking of Top Gun that showed in two auditoriums of the four largest auditoriums. It was a great theatrical experience to hear and almost feel the roar of the jet fighters do their thing mated to the great score by Giorgio Moroder score and Kenny Loggins' title song. I wonder if they still have the same projectors there.
There was an annoying buzz like an old alarm clock alarm that eminated from one of the speakers at the top of #8 where we were. It came and went during the show. Another annoying detraction is the lack of proper sound insulation between the theaters. You could hear the other auditoriums soundtrack at various times during the movie. Not a good thing.
Lastly, their Customer Service Email address is either not accepting email or its closed.
When I lived in the area, I could have sworn that this theater was a twin operated by the Roth group in the early 80s. I don’t think as a twin, either had stereo, which was probably why I never went back.
I’m not 100% sure about this, but I believe this place opened in the mid 80s? I’m thinking ‘87 or so and it was under the APEX or KB name. My friend and I attended a movie on opening weekend, but I can’t remember what it was! The theaters are upstairs and are about the same size..I’m guessing 150-250, maybe 300. If you attend on a Thu evening-Saturday, do visit the Amish Market that’s right below the theaters. They have wonderful fresh farm produce and dairy, along with snack foods such as fresh made pretzels (with or without salt or butter) and a variety of freshly baked-on-the-premesis cookies, breads, pies and cakes! Ian says he enjoys Pot Bellys and, yes, their sandwiches are good and reasonably priced, but they only have bottled and canned drinks. I prefer the fountain variety.
When Crown took over, they completed a remodel back in ‘04 or so, which included a refurbished concession stand area and sound systems. I believe they all have digital sound (at least Dolby) that I am aware of. They do play the Dolby Digital trailer the last few times I’ve seen movies here. I read on a website on 70mm capable theaters, that the projector from the old MacArthur supposedly made its way to this venue back in '97 and that auditoriums 1 and 2 were 70mm capable. Unfortunately, I don’t recall this venue ever booking 70mm anything.
BowTie took over in late ‘06 and the programming has remained art house-type fair, which would explain the lack of teens attending this place..as if that were a bad thing? The Mall gets the popular films but this is not always the case. Last year, this place got Dreamgirls as opposed to the Mall, so go figure. BowTie installed new rocker type seats, which are very comfortable. The last film I saw here was Sweeney Todd, in #1, to an almost empty theater but enjoyed the movie and the sound. It was nice to lie down and enjoy the show.
Ken, as far as your post to a link about underaged ticket buying, I’ve seen cashiers at the ticket counter ask for ID to those who look underaged. Maybe on that particular night, someone slipped up but I probably can guess who asked for ID upon entering the theater, too. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a film that is Rated R states that no one under 17 is allowed without a guardian or parent? If thats the case, then the parent legally should have gone to the showing with the kids. Or, maybe he did go with them to buy the tickets then decided not to go to the show thinking that once the kids had been cleared to buy tickets, his presence was not required for the actual show.
I honestly think he has no standing since legally, his child was attempting to watch a movie that legally required a guardian or parent to be with him and his friends.
During my years of frequenting the Mall 11, I’ve had to ask for a refund only one time and that was because they advertised Superman Returns as being in digital projection, yet it was not. I was told that the “key” to the digital projector had expired and that the last show of that movie of the day was on film. The ticket taker tried to explain to me that there was “no difference” between digital projection and film but I was not having it. The Manager was going to give me money back, but I opted for passes because I frequent the place often. If that offended parent had seen the General Manager, I’m sure he would have gotten his money back.
Tonight, my ears are ringing as if I’ve been at a loud rock concert, but alas, it was due to the loud but excellent presentation of the movie, “Cloverfield”, in DP. The audience of mostly 20somethings and naval academy kids enjoyed the sold out show, which was introduced by one of the managers, but had little to say other than to move closer together to make room for others. I primarily wanted to see the new Star Trek teaser trailer and knew it would be attached to this movie being that J. J. Abrams and Paramount is involved in both films. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and am looking forward to more trailers for this movie as well as more movies at this, my favorite multiplex.
Juno was very good. I saw it in DP at Landmark Balto. I’m glad its doing well at the AFI. I’m surprised to see its calendared to run well into February.
On the issue of what is showing in the Historic Auditorium, we’ve been over this subject over and over, over the years and its not going to change, unless they’ve booked a 70mm movie. Posting here may be a good outlet but one has to call AFI management and voice your protest or start an organized petition for what you want.