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Great article, Howard. ^5.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the movies this year as often as I would have liked, the AFI’s 70mm festival included. I’ve just been too busy with work and other things. Your review of the 70mm Ryans Daughter notwithstanding and with my previous lackluster experience of 70mm at the Silver, I wasn’t too enthused to make the trip to see anything here.
My enjoyment experiencing 70mm lies, in large part, to the sound. If the sound isn’t engulfing when its supposed to, the immersive experience is not attained. I’m not tech enough to explain the differences. I remember a Ziegfeld theater posting about ‘West Side Story’ in 70mm and the opening whistling sequence heard around the theater. When they showed it here, just about all the sounds seemed to come up front. Thats just an example of those sounds that make a film come ‘alive.’
Howard, looking at in70mm’s website, NY and Chicago had/have 70mm festivals with titles that AFI can’t seem to get at all. One would think with AFI’s hook into the film community, they’d be able to get them. On the other hand, the local AFI has had some interesting premiers and directors for film discussions recently.
The site seems to be getting better, the email notifications are workinf for me, for the first time in years.
On the other hand, I believe they’ve been pruning site comments as I have seen mine disappear. This majorly sucks. Now, some of my memories of certain films are gone forever.
I remember the first Transformer movie and was quite impressed with its soundtrack..enough to be aurally tricked into believing sound above, in addition to surrounds when the bots would fight in Bow Tie’s #1’s THX theater. It was missing in the IMAX (real) at the UA/Regal King of Prussia venue. I don’t know if I wanted to see another one. It seems more like a rehash of what was in the previous movies.
I thought I had entries here..maybe not. My posse and I saw last year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness in the IMAX auditorium. Its probably one of the smallest of the IMAX-lite installs in the area. And Giles, yes, its smaller then the Egyptian’s XD. Its a shame since this venue was built new from the ground up. My friends were upset for paying $18 for the privilege. I recall the day seeing Star Trek, as it was playing in another auditorium and sold out, people refusing to pay the extra $ to see it in IMAX and instead choosing to see other movies. I’m thinking either folks don’t know/appreciate the difference, or just don’t care. Then again, as ticket prices approach $20, you have to think about what you are spending and what you get for that money.
I think I saw the last GI Joe movie here, too..and Spielberg’s Lincoln in one of the regular auditoriums. ‘Lincoln’, the experience was underwhelming as the sound level was too low that lulled me to sleep..literally, although Daniel Day Lewis performance was great.
They’ve got hot food here such as wings and jalapeno poppers, with soda, close to $12 or more. Expensive! I’d rather (and have) snuck in better food from the nearby Wegmans' hot food bar.
The customer service with the management, at least, is good. I had an issue with my Regal card and they took my old one and transferred everything to my new card, with pick up the next day.
This theater is currently closed for renovations and is supposed to reopen in the fall. On Yelp, it says Sept 1, 2014.
AFI’s 80’s film retrospective line up looks good. They’ve got “Batman”, “Star Trek IV”, “Willow” and “Temple of Doom”, but not one in 70mm. I remember seeing/experiencing all of those in 70mm. The surround track during Doom’s Thuggee sacrifice sequence..the time warp surround in Trek IV..the siamese dragon fire coming at, through and behind you from Willow and James Horner’s playful, heroic score. Batman, I don’t remember anything grand, except for the loudness of the Batmobile in motion and the Prince track.
They’ve got “Lawrence of Arabia” in 70mm, once again. One would think they’d book 2001 again, too, but maybe the 4K version coming later may be worth waiting for.
If they can get them.. ‘The Untouchables’ in 70mm would be great, “Gandhi” is epic with its real crowd scenes of thousands. ‘Top Gun’ would be great, too, but they’ve got it in digital. Hopefully, the transfer is good and they play it up loud. The beginning sequence with the jets taking off, Giorgio Moroder’s score transitioning to Kenny Loggins' ‘Danger Zone’ was sooooo awesome.
This venus is temporarily closed until July for construction. Not sure if its construction nearby or at the facility, itself..maybe need to drive by to see for myself.
The address is correct.. I remember the West Ox Road part of it now. The picture correctly depicts its location. I remember there was (maybe still is) a Chinese restaurant below the theater.
I’m not quite 100% sure about this, but I think the venue opened around Dec 1996. The reason being I saw Star Trek: First Contact here and worked near Tysons and there was something new about this place and was advertised in the Washington Post. My visit there was during snow time. The nearby Movies at Fair Oaks was already there and remained open for a few years. I believe there were two auditoriums that were THX certified. I don’t recall the numbers but as you entered upstairs to where the theaters are, the THX cert theaters were adjoining. There were video gaming machines clustered together in the beginning..maybe they are still there..not sure since I haven’t been there in 7 years.
I can vividly recall the excitement over the trailers for the re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy after George Lucas' had tweaked them. The trailer announcer intro’d the preview by demonstrating visually and aurally that there is a pronounced difference from the way many had seen the movies on tv and on tinny sound systems to full blown wide screen and remastered digital sound with the bombastic John Williams orchestral score and sound fx.
I don’t recall anything special or unique about the place. The experience was underwhelming as I thought the sound levels should have played up louder.
Yeah, it happened again and yesterday at the Magic Johnson venue…all AMC theaters. I wonder if its the start of a pattern. I hope not and they catch the idiot that is doing this. You’d think movie theaters would be ‘safe’ as it is a destination point to ‘get away’ cinematically speaking.
I wanted to see the newly released X Men movie as it is playing in the ETX theater in 3D. I am not so sure about that now.
This is all wrong. The picture is wrong. There had to be a listing for this venue that has disappeared along with some of the others for some unexplained reason. I’ll update once my memory clears up.. :)
The last movie I saw here was the first Sex in the City Movie back in ‘07 or so because it was the only or one of the last venues showing it in DP, in one of the smaller houses down to the right as you enter.
I caught 300: Rise of an Empire in the Xtreme Theater or so I thought. There were a few people at the counter and I decided to use the automated ticket machine. Fortunately, unlike Bow Tie’s auto units, the Xscape auto machines, like Regal’s, will also accept your frequent movie card. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you what your points are, either or that it even acknowledges any point capture.
When I sat down, I was alone, the lights were on and a patron came in during previews. The lights were still on during previews. Hmm. The movie started and the lights were still on. I waited..and waited..thinking maybe someone will turn off the house lights. Finally, the other patron left. I then went to box office/concession stand and was told that someone should have told me that there were electrical problems from one of the recent snow storms that prevented the houselights from 3 theaters to be turned off! I was thinking to myself, then why did they even advertise, much less sell tickets for shows where this would be a problem. I was offered a free pass after watching the show in bright light, a refund and/or watching it in another theater and then getting a free pass afterward. The thing was I paid the premium price for the Xtreme auditorium.
I decided to go back and watch it in the bright light. A Manager came in later and asked me if I could follow the movie. Fortunately, it was intriguing enough to follow, but due to the harsh lights, contrasts and darks could not be seen. She recommended I go to another auditorium, but didn’t specify. I walked around and found it was playing and ended up seeing the first half hour again.
I think it was 11 that I ended up in and it was in a non-3D but digital format. What a difference. I almost forgot the graphic visual style of the first movie that drew me to it and the sequel. Anyways, the presentation was digital perfect even though there was no 3D. The sex scene they had was raunchy and deserves a hard R rating.
When the movie ended, I went back to the concession/box office counter. There was only one young lady there. She called the Manager to get my free pass. I waited and waited and waited. Finally, the Manager, a much younger guy than the first one I met when the place opened up earlier last year. I suppose the previous GM had enough of the place and left. :) So..after about what felt like 30 minutes, I got my readmit pass. The only thing is upon reading it when I got home, it says not valid for Xtreme, 3D shows. Well…we’ll see about that come redemption time. I kept my original stub, which is intact because no one was at the auditorium entrance to take it. Ha!
This year, with work and the very harsh winter we’ve had, I have not seen the usual amount of films I have in year’s past. I was glad to get out and see this movie even with the tech issues the venue has had. Would I go back? Sure. I have to redeem the readmit pass. :) I do love the comfy faux leather chairs and the big screens. Maybe when the Russell Crowe starring ‘Noah’ comes out next week, I’ll go back.
Its not a great venue. I still remember going there some 23 years ago and never returned.
The calendar shows they are booking 1984’s ‘Starman’ in 70mm in March. Of many of that year’s films, this wasn’t really a favorite. I saw it in 35mm at the now closed College Park theater and fell asleep during it. My sleeping during part of the movie had more to do with the fact I worked the night before and my friend kept begging me to drive him to catch a matinee. I remember the reviews of the movie being similar to ET but for grown ups. Let’s hope the presentation yields something more memorable than the other 70mm films shown here of late.
More plexes in DC? Another Landmark? I think the CEO is right about possible saturation. As much as I like the E Street venue, I seldom go there with the lack of free parking or unless there’s a free screening then paying for parking is like buying a ticket. I hope the new venues have larger screens…more like AMC’s wall-to-wall ones maybe?
Today, I saw the Hobbit sequel in IMAX 3D HFR since the new Jack Ryan movie will be taking over the IMAX screens on Fri. This time the experience was much better than the first movie. Maybe the day shots had to do with it because the water looked so crisp and Smaug’s fire breath was so vibrant and not artificially so. The 3D shots were the usual arrow coming at you and severed head landing on your lap. Still cool. :) The HFR helps but not markedly better than when I saw Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D (I only saw it BECAUSE it was in 3D..not a gore fan in the least).
Unfortunately, I got there and missed a few moments of the movie. Not sure if they had some new IMAX HFR trailers or something. I forgot about the assigned seating until the ticket taker told me my assigned was 200 something. Knowing the matinee would be low in attendance, I was going to sit where I wanted to sit.
I’m hoping to catch up on the holiday movies now that I have more free time..hopefully before the Oscar nominations come out.
An unfortunate incident for sure. From first hand experience, I know how irritating it is to sit in a theater and below you, in the darkness of the theater, see the bright white display screen of someone texting or even talking on the phone. On the other hand, to have it escalate to the point of using a gun?
I was in the area on Fri and there is, indeed, a CLOSED notation on the marquee. On the other hand, the website indicates upcoming films not released, such as Anchorman 2 and other December releases.
With the recent opening of an outlet mall just nearby and probably a casino, its too bad this place couldn’t hold on. With the increased traffic from those businesses, the area could use a movie theater, but I would think a more modern facility within the casino/outlet mall confines would do better much better.
Having glanced at the October calendar, it appears they have booked a 70mm print of ‘Ghostbusters.’ As often as I have complained about proper surrounds..I remember seeing this at the Uptown in ‘84 when it opened and there is a really cool..scary scene when the Ghostbusters come upon a 'librarian’ who does not ‘know’ she is dead and tries to shush our heroes into silence. They cut to the jabbering heroes and in the next cut we see the librarian turn from an old marm to a skeletal ghost. The accompanying sound effect is part subwoofer and growl for like 2 seconds that is surround..and out our heroes go scrambling away in fright!
I’m going to make plans to see the movie and if they play the sound all up front like they have and this scene is ruined, I’m going to complain.
I forgot to mention that one has to marvel at the humongous multi story sized movie posters they have all over the place. Unfortunately, most of the movies have long gone..‘World War Z,’ for example.
I saw ‘The Butler’ in #11 during an afternoon matinee. I used my $10 AMC rebate voucher, which paid for all but $1 of my ticket. For a matinee, $11 is quite pricey. 11 was a decently sized house with the usual AMC wall to wall screens. Nothing to rave about technically. I think the praise heaved on Oprah is way overrated. It seems her character is given the diva treatment in that she changes costume in just about every scene she is in. Forest Whitaker plays his role as one would expect. Nothing really profound here other than to see actors play the different Presidents and revisit parts of history over the last 40 years.
I saw ‘Riddick’ in #1, which is one of the ‘smaller’ houses with a cap of 116 seats that was advertised as in being in DBOX. I had always wanted to experience a movie in DBOX but the closest one to me is a the Cobb Village venue way out in Leesburg VA. For a smaller house, the screen was quite large..it had to be about 50' wide. They had the faux leather recliner seats, too, but as I later found out, no DBOX set up. After receiving a customer service rep response, it turns out it was a posting error. :P
Sound and picture were digital clear with decent surrounds. Not bad to see a movie here. Judging by the cars parked, it seems the AMC at the Charles Town mall has larger crowds. Perhaps when the shopping center here adds more business, traffic will pick up some. Though the venue could use better advertising that could be visible to the main traffic on 301. A huge message/marquee-type board with titles and formats maybe. A video screen showing movie snippets may be too distracting for drivers.
This venue had an original posting years ago, with comments since. I know because I had several postings on it!
Grand reopening on Oct 10! Hooray!
An okay choice. Though they do have a few other screens.. and the 70mm projector is still there.
After reading much buzz about Cate Blanchett’s performance in the new Woody Allen film ‘Blue Jasmine’ and already tired with the traditional summer fare, I saw this movie at the remodeled Bethesda Row. Expecting to be bedazzled by the $5M remodel, I was disappointed. Aside from the new bar, leather seating in the lounge and auditoriums and, of course, the technical upgrades in projection, it does not look all that different. The paint scheme is different and the counters look Ikea-grade, which isn’t bad.
The new self service ticketing kiosks have huge screen displays, but most of it is not put to use by making the menu selection and fonts BIGGER. All that real estate on the screen seems to have gone to waste. Once you select your movie, you select your reserved seat. Unless its a special event with a large crowd, I do not like select seating at all.
On a table, by the doors, is a notebook with a schematic of the seating for the auditoriums. I later found out that the one for Auditorium 2 is wrong.
There was the usual ticket taker/greeter at the bottom of the escalator. I had arrived early enough to want to sample some of the new menu items touted on the website. Unfortunately, there was NOTHING on the menu board to suggest the wraps and other new things. Fortunately, I was approached by the attendant, who was friendly and showed me a notebook-type menu that had the wraps and other food items. While the pictures and descriptions were lovely, there was no mention of prices at all! The attendant had to look up my queries on the register. Suppose there were lines? What is the purpose of keeping the menu offerings AND prices hidden from view?
Bad, bad, bad, bad.
I ordered the jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel, which I loved from when they were offered at the AFI (then were forgotten to be ordered in the years after their remodel). For $4, its not bad, but smaller then the ones the AFI used to have. It was served hot from the convection/microwave they used to heat it up.
About 20 minutes before showtime, they were still cleaning up the prior show. When I was informed it was okay to go in, I had expected to be ushered to my seat, but no one bothered. In fact, none of the other patrons were escorted to their seats either. The older folks who came in were trying to find the tags on the seats to make sure they were in the right place. Auditorium 2 seems like the largest movie theater and I had hoped I would have some space to myself. Wrong. There were a group of loud French speaking patrons who sat behind me. Kept yakking until one of them probably got waft of my pretzel and decided to move. Thank you. Then two old ladies happened to choose the next two seats after mine. I call them Laverne & Shirley since they reminded me of the two tv characters; one of them with a distinctive NY accent..like Penny Marshall’s. One of them started chatting about the ticket for 5 minutes and how it seemed to read one way or another.
I had chosen row G as it was close enough to the screen but had leg room as it was situated by the walkway to get to the other side of the theater. In reality, they put a row of seats that blocks the path to the other side. I am probably spoiled by the enormous leg room and recliner seats at the Brandywine Xtreme Multiplex, but there is little leg room in front of the new seating area. I found myself having to get up, move to the aisle, so that patrons could access seats on my row. Only children or anorexic adults would be able to squeeze past a seated patron to move through to their seats.
Finally, the movie began after the usual pre show ads and previews. Volume was terrific as were the picture and sound. The Landmark trailer was decently loud and played to create that immersion experience with surrounds. I’d like to think there are curtains or draperies of some kind. In the Regals and Bow Tie’s..they move them to mask films according to their presentation format. One major detraction is the lack of sound insulation. You’d think with the millions spent they’d do something about sound bleed from the adjoining theater being heard into this one. Yeah, there was some big explosion boom I could hear and feel.
The movie was very good. I had expected the characters and their situations to be heavily cliched and, surprisingly, were not so. The writing avoided the usual soap opera-type dialog that accompanies movies with similar themes. It took me a few minutes to get into Cate Blanchett’s character, as I had expected to see/hear either Queen Elizabeth or the Elf Galadrel. Her character portrayal of the ex-wife of a Bernie Madoff-type character is very good. Yeah, she’ll be on that Oscar list of nominees for sure.
In summary, I think the remodel is a mixed bag. No menu visible on the menu board with prices. Decent sound and projection. Sound bleed from other auditoriums. Reserved seating should be for evening shows or special events. At least offer discounted parking for those who drive in. For the $25 or so I paid with parking, I probably could do better watching something formatted for IMAX-lite.
One more thing. Be warned about the Haagen Daaz ice cream store adjacent to the theater. I had an ice cream de leche caramel concoction that gave me bad cramping not too long after eating the $8.22 item. No, it wasn’t the pretzel because that food item was hot enough to have killed any food borne pathogen that may have been hatched. And yes, I did wash my hands before eating. :)