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A Landmark Theater would be great but there is already one in DC. With the Bethesda one just up the street, I doubt the market would support another one. Mixed programming of current and classics (70mm) would be better assuming they still have their 70mm projectors.
I saw this movie at BowTie Annapolis and enjoyed the presentation and the movie for the most part. We seemed to have lost AC, which made it uncomfortable after the second hour. As far as the listing is concerned, I don’t know if it is accurate for at least MD. Muvico doesn’t list a DP version of the movie.
Vito, I take it you didn’t see it at the Ziegfeld. Since it was playing there in DLP, they usually play the format trailer prior to the start of the movie. I was contemplating a Ziegfeld trip but couldn’t make it seeing instead at Baltimore’s Senator. Since it was on film, I can only point out to two “cheesy” CGI scenes and that is where they superimposed Peter Parker’s face on two freefalling action sequences. The face looked too cartoonish and lacked fleshtone. For reference, filmfans should refer to the Rock’s “Scorpion King” fight with Rick O'Connell in the Mummy 2.
The movie, for me, is a mixed bag. It is an enjoyable action film as far as that goes and I purposely avoided critical reviews so as to not become prejudiced by them, but I have to say that I’ve never been able to accept Tobey Maguire as Spiderman. He neither has the acting chomps nor film presence of say, a Christopher Reeve, the platinum standard for film comic heroes. Some of what Maguire does in this movie just doesn’t work and the audience that I saw it with agreed by the collective laughter in the most inappropriate parts. James Franco and Thomas Haden Church both shine in their parts while both Topher Grace and Kirsten Dunst deserve better material than what they were given.
Getting back to the Ziegfeld, I was quite impressed with their DP presentation the last time I was there and hope things are still running well. There is only one DP presentation in my market for this film. I can’t believe that with such a wide release there aren’t more DP versions here in this market. For whatever reason, theatres here are holding on to that awful Robinsons 3D movie thats already dead at the box office. If someone who reads this board, who is in the know, and can explain why exhibitors don’t/can’t get the choice formats, please enlighten us.
It appears Columbia wants to make sure that Spiderman 3 breaks box office records this weekend. Will it do it? Hard to say. As of today, there are plenty of tickets left for the midnight showings in my market, but the IMAX one sold out last week.
Its a given that Hollywood’s sequelitis is here to stay. If it is accepted that a sequel that makes 2/3 or so of the original’s successful box office receipts, you can be reasonably assured that there will be more. Throw in the usual cable/pay tv/DVD sales, its hard not to question why studio heads green light the sequels we see at the multiplex.
Michael, I’m not sure what you are referring to in the second to the last paragraph? The picture above depicts the AMC Empire in NYC. Did that theater close?
This is probably the same projector that supposedly was introduced 2 years ago or so…the 4K projector? This is old news, or at the very least warmed over fresh news :)
Read above, Knucklehead. There’s a story about the showing of that movie in a previous post here.
Its beeen two years since there was a post about making this place a theater again. Anyone know what is going on, if anything? With the recent Senator woes, who happens to be a not too distant neighbor, what is the viability of revitalizing this theater?
I’d like to see a Robert Wise retrospective: “Day the Earth Stood Still” “West Side Story” (70mm)
“Sand Pebbles” or “Star” (70mm), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (70mm, Director’s Edition, if one can be struck)
Or, a Sci-Fi week featuring: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (70mm), “THX:1138” (restored in DP), “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind” and Disney’s “The Black Hole” (70mm), “Brainstorm” (70mm..yes, at least ONE print is in circulation..see if Douglas Trumbull is available for Q&A for both films), any Star Trek motion picture (70mm, if Doug Trumbull is available he could do Q&A for ST:TMP, too :).. “Dune"
No more "Star Wars” anything. Might as well wait for the Digital 3D versions coming out soon.
Maybe a themed restrospective like “disaster week” with “Earthquake” in Sensaround, Titanic (70mm DTS). Animation week: “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Black Cauldron” both were in 70mm, or anything your contacts with Disney might have and release in 70mm.
An actor retrospective of say.. Lawrence Olivier week: “Wuthering Heights,” “Marathon Man,” “Inchon”…no..just kidding about the last one.
Oh..how about Guilty Pleasures week? “Mommie Dearest” “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”
“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”
I have just returned from a showing of the movie at the BowTie Annapolis 11 in the glorious Real D Digital format. Surprisingly, the shows were not sell outs given all the hoopla. There were a lot of families present with little kids in tow, but thankfully, my friend and I were able to sit in our favorite seats.
The trailer for the Real D format has changed. I prefer the first one that had more of an organic feel with the seemingly hundreds of little artifacts in an organic fluid as opposed to just a creative twist on the Real D lettering.
The film, itself, was disappointing. I don’t want to get into a lengthy review of the movie but let me say that Disney may be able to get the technology right making this kind of movie, but they are no Pixar when it comes to telling a story that makes sense and that is engaging. I don’t think this film was a product of the newly acquired Pixar into the Disney fold but someone in the know can and should correct me if this is not the case. I fell asleep after the first 1/3 of the movie, or so my friend tells me, as it drags and sputters until the audience finally meets the Robinsons. They turn out to be a dysfunctional mess that even Dr. Phil could not help. Attempts at humorous set ups and one liners fall flat. There’s one scene where Grandma asks Lewis, after being chased by a T-Rex if he’s okay and has cellulite. Not funny. I doubt this movie will make it to $100M domestically.
The movie looks fine in this format. The 3D elements looked good and sharp, with excellent colors that really brough it to life. Sound was also good all around with no discernible flaws.
Judging from the audience reaction, the movie was a mixed bag. One little girl next to me started to dance in the aisles when the frogs were singing! The lady behind me was into it clapping and laughing but the man sitting behind me and to the right was snoring. His friend could be heard chastising him. At the end, there were some claps but I’d hardly say that the majority completely enjoyed the movie.
Ed, you raise an interesting issue/debate about the ‘song’ sung at the end of Jedi. My first reaction to hearing it, along with my friends, was that there was a religous overtone. The chorus sounded like “celebrate the Lord” or maybe thats what I wanted it to sound like being that my friends and I attended private religous schools at the time. And the audience seemed to like the light spirited fair with the Ewoks playing drums on the severed heads of the storm troopers. Throw in the music, the spirit forms of the ‘saved’ Anakin, Yoda and Obi-wan and, finally, the group shot and fade out to the familiar fanfare theme was a satisfying ending to the saga.
Starlog, Cinefantastique and Cineflex, at the time, made no mention of Lucas being unhappy with the ending. I believe it was a Starlog editorial that cleared up, at least for me, the lyric to the end of Jedi as ‘celebrate the love’ but the writer thought, like we did, that it was ‘celebrate the Lord.’ The 1997 Special Edition changes made sense and, unlike a lot of fans, I respect the fact that it is Lucas' film, its his story, his baby, so he can do whatever he wants to finally see his vision of what Star Wars is fully realized. Now whenever the 3D Digital versions come out, I bet there may be some further changes. I, for one, didn’t like the insertion of a Hayden Christensen’s Anakin, as opposed to Sebastian Shaw’s Anakin. Its doesn’t make sense physically as the character has aged since he became Darth Vader and eventually died as an older man. Yoda should also be replaced by a CGI animated character to give him more realistic movement.
This is an interesting discussion thread, but for me, I think the Star Trek films, at least the TOS ones were more significant, with a more…rabid fan base and sometimes raucous audience for an entertainment phenomenon that has lasted some 40 years. If there is ever a discussion of that film series' experiences, I could write volumes. ;)
Paul: Regarding the Digital vs Analog, I beg to differ with you. Let me see..the 3-D-sound envelope you refer to can and has been achieved in my moviegoing experience.
At the Senator, in Baltimore staring in ‘99, they installed a Dolby Digital EX system with a unique rear channel set up that adds more 'life’ as it were to sound. Since then, along with thousands of regular patrons over the years, we have enjoyed event films there where I can say I’ve experienced that 3D sound envelope you mention. Here is a short list of my first hand experiences:
In Phantom Menace, during the pod race sequence, the sound is loud, distinct and powerful enough that when you sit at least ¼-1/3 from the screen, you get the sensation of movement. You, along with the others move in tune with, or away from the pods as they accelerate, bob and weave. This same sensation was achieved in Clones, when Obi-wan tries to escape the sonic charges from Jango Fett’s ship. Remember that super loud BOOOOOOONG sound following a second of dead silence? Then the shockwave starts and the resulting theater’s sound and picture caused patrons to also move, as if to avoid the coming shockwave and oncoming asteroid matter and space debris.
The last Lord of the Rings movie, seen again at the Senator, and its Dolby Digital EX set up, also re-created the same enveloping 3D sound during the major land battle at Gandor with the Oliphants. After the Orcs flee from the army of Theodon, the Oliphants are on the march with their massive swinging and swaying tusks. I can remember that the whooosh sound of the trunk swinging and sweeping and then tossing multiple horse riding soldiers into the air, made patrons move in their seats as if to avoid being ‘hit’ by the approaching beasts! A powerful scene delivered and experienced!
I suspect independents like the Senator are more presentation saavy and regularly perform sound tests and maintenence to ensure their investments deliver. And, for the most part, they do! :) I’m not sure what your experiences may be where you are. Perhaps your experience with digital sound was at the multiplexes, which, at least in this market, usually don’t care about such things. In my experiences, the THX certified cinemas, are better since they have to maintain a certain standard to remain certified. When I saw the first Matrix at the THX-certified GCC (now AMC) Springfield (VA) 1, Neo and Trinity enter the building with a shootout to save Morpheus, I could here the crisp metallic clanking sound of dropping spent shells. Seen again, at the Uptown in DC, there wasn’t that metallic crispness to the sound for the same scene.
Sure. Do I get any residual points for income earned, either directly or indirectly, credit of any kind even incidentals? :)
Paul, as far as the sound format, I would think digital would have been superior given its pristine advantage over analog six-track, even Dolby. In reading some posts from moviegoers who have noticed the same thing, the general consensus is that the film’s sound editor is to fault.
I forgot to mention that I saw this movie again, in New Delhi, India, no less at one of their movie palaces, in 70mm 6-track, non-Dolby in Dec1985 or Jan 1986. The soundtrack was rock concert loud but lacked the noise reduction of Dolby to at least reduce the snap, crackle and pop of a print that, I’m sure, was played many, many times given the film scratches and fade. The distinction with this viewing was that during the scenes with the Emperor, there was a discernible choral ‘theme’ like a ghost wooo..WOOOOO…woooo heard in the rear. I could not make out this ‘new’ sound during the many viewings at the Mac Arthur, in ‘83, or even the brief re-release at DC’s Uptown in Aug '85. I wonder if perhaps there were several master prints that could explain the subtle difference of this addition to the soundtrack.
So Vito, do you think I should give NA’s Fairfax (VA) Deluxe 14 another try and see the movie there? Thankfully, its not in the Director’s Hall, so I won’t have to go through the seating problem I had the last time I went here.
I think I’ll see the movie at BowTie Annapolis' plex which has the Real D install and THX certification. I’ve seen Chicken Little in Digital 3D there and enjoyed the presentation, as well as just about every DP movie they’ve booked in #10. Its no Ziegfeld for sure, but its probably the better of just about any other venue in the Metro area. If the movie is really good, I may see it again at the Fairfax plex.
My memory of seeing this movie is quite vivid as this was the event film of the summer of ‘83. I purposely flunked a biology exam so that I could make the early afternoon show at one of the few venues that had it in 70mm in the DC metro area. This happened to be at the now closed Mac Arthur in Washington, DC. It had the largest screen and was the largest theater that booked the movie and with my familiarity with it from past 70mm events seen there, it would no doubt be THE destination point for this event! My friends were dependent on me for the ride as I was the only one in our group that had wheels (an old wagon with the vomit hideaway seat) and a license to drive.
Upon our arrival, there was the looong line that went past the theater along Mac Arthur Blvd. The theater had been triplexed for about six months but Auditorium 2 maintained most of the original theater and boasted a slightly larger screen than the original. It was a warm day and one of the Ushers was selling refreshments on the street, walking up and down servicing the crowd. A few fans even dressed up in costume for this event.
Upon filing in to the sold out show, we were able to get those sweet seats about 1/3 of the way from the front of the screen and in the center. The film begain with the familiar 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos, as the crowd erupted in cheers and the last movie in the Star Wara saga had just begun.
Now one thing has perplexed me over the years, especially with the release of Revenge of the Sith and that has to do with the soundtrack. The last film’s soundtrack even though they had the best state-of-the-art digital technologies did not, in my opinion, match some of even the simpler sounds from the Original Trilogy.
For example, when the Emperor uses dark force lightning to kill Luke, it had an almost thunderous, deep frying pan-type sizzle that strongly conveyed his evil powers in 6-track Dolby stereo. People were screaming, shouting at the screen for Vader to do something as Luke was screaming..wreathing in pain from the electrocution. Powerful scene back then backed up by an equally delivering sound effect.
Fast Foward to 2005, when Mace Windu and Yoda get zapped with it, it doesn’t have the same snap or gutteral impact, certainly not lightning but more of a light show. It didn’t make any difference if it was a DLP showing at a THX cert theater like Bow Tie Annapolis, or the DP show at the Ziegfeld, or the usually first rate 35mm EK special print they had at the Senator in Baltimore, which by the way, was the most disappointing film event experience I have had there. Light sabers also suffered from a more subdued vibrato, with the exception of Anakin firing his lightsaber up to slay the Younglings and Mace firing his up for the first time, in the arena, in Clones.
Event movies like this certainly bring people together to fill the movie houses, but other than that, how is it culturally significant? Other than bringing people together from different backgrounds for that communal experience, its not much different than say a major sporting event, or even a spiritual revival at church. But significant? No. Its just a movie event.
If memory serves me correctly, this may have been a single screen theater that got twinned. Eventually, 4, all non-stereo, shoebox sized theaters were built below. The last movie I saw here was way back, in 1997, Kevin Kline in “In and Out,” in one of the shoebox non-stereo auditoriums downstairs. Prior to that, I remember seeing Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society” in 1989, in one of the twinned theaters upstairs, which are fairly large that seat about 400 or so each and have Dolby stereo. I believe the theater had long engagements of the original Star Wars trilogy, but most probably did not have 70mm capability. It is off of Rte 1 and in a shopping center strip of stores.
It was going slow.
Is it me, or does it seem that some of the older comments have disappeared. On some movie theater listings, I could’ve sworn I left a comment about an experience but its gone.
The answer is simple: they probably want to see the latest and greatest at their local movie theater as opposed to waiting months and months for it to come home on video.
Most of the younger generation don’t even know what 70mm is. On my AFI Silver post, I made mention of the fact that the introduction of the manager (probably someone just out of school) should have made some mention of it since a lot of the audience, for “2001: A Space Odyssey”, was probably in their 20s or much, much younger. I saw kids who were probably 5 and 6 in the front rows! Since a lot of them fuel the box office numbers these days, education is important.
I’ve written to Loews, now AMC, to no avail. Maybe the independents will have better luck like Balto’s Senator, but Mr. Kiefaber has been mum to 70mm posts for the last 3 years and has recently been preoccupied with his venue’s financial woes. But if the Uptown continues with its lousy projection, 70mm or 35mm, it will die.
I suppose the next time we see “2001” at the Uptown it will be in glorious 4K digital on the curve screen. ;)
With the Dreamgirls recent Oscar wins, I suspect it will stay around a little longer.
And the Oscar for Longest Cinematreasures blog goes to….. :: drumroll :: Steve!!
It is great to have this forum to hear what people, from within the industry, have to share about exhibition and practices.
My comment about my preference for digital projection is solely because regular film projection in the DC/MD/VA venues just plain suck! I’ve posted comments about independents like the Old Greenbelt and Avalon and their presentations that were consistently first rate but they don’t always book films that I want to see and, in the case of Greenbelt, they get movies sometimes several weeks after their initial release.
As for 70mm, I’d be glad to see its reemergence. In the 80s, my friends and I would go to places like the Uptown and now closed MacArthur, Fine Arts, Cinema, Embassy, Onatrio, Jenifer and, at one time, the tiny Tenley 3 for 70mm exclusives of first run films because we knew of its difference. Even if the majority of the prints were blow ups. But let’s face it, given its expense and the lack of venues to properly show it, its dead, dead, dead. Digital is the future and is here to stay. If I’m wrong and 70mm somehow miraculously makes a comeback (unlikely), then no one would be happier than I.
And how does this all relate to the Uptown???? Given several moviegoers documented experiences here of late, including my own, why should anyone patronize this venue given its less than average presentation qualities? None, if other than for nostalgia reasons. If they had fairly regular 70mm presentations of classics, then sure people will come. But they haven’t had any 70mm since “2001” in 2001, if memory serves me correctly. So short of a 70mm revival, this place is scrap left on the cutting room floor! Finito!
I don’t think the Senator ever owned the Staples parking area, though I could be wrong. I only remember at one time, they announced that they had a sharing agreement to USE the parking area back in.. ‘02 or so. If my memory is correct, than the idea of a sharing agreement, much less the non-use of the Staples area, for the previous years of alleged Senator-owned land would seem ludicrous. Even on sold out events, I don’t recall the entire Staples lot being full, which goes back quite a bit, since you have some street parking and the area around the Belvedere shopping area.
The ‘shake’ that I speak of is when they play any trailer (film) especially the THX sound one, that usually precedes the main attraction. Since they didn’t play it for 2001, there wasn’t any shake.
I am in totally agreement with you about the other theaters here. I’ll take the AFI ‘broom closets’ over anything that their neighbor Consilidated has (and believe me they aren’t as good) or the nearby Regal Rockville 13, or the shoebox AMC White Flint 5 anytime anyday. Though to be perfectly honest, I’ve never watched a movie in the smallest AFI auditorium (lucky me).
I wish the AFI would play other 70mm movies than this film and “Lawrence of Arabia.” With their pull and industry contacts and affiliation, they should be able to do better for us east coast moviefans. We’re treated like step children here! And, yes, I’ve written to them to no avail. The last time they played “West Side Story,” “Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins”(?) they were all in 35mm.
Article? Are you referring to the Balto Sun article, then the answer is yes. If you’re referring to the Senator website and forums, then that answer is yes, too. I’ve been a forum member since 2004 and a regular and frequent patron of the Senator since 1999. My comments are based on well known facts, even mentioned by the owner, himself, as far as the competitive environment and clearance issue are concerned. I’ve stated elsewhere on this site that it was rather ominous that for almost a year, the Senator had an opened ended date, as part of a list of theater obituaries. Its not a surprise to me that that venue is having operating difficulties. Let’s collectively rejoice in the fact that it has overcome this financial bump in the road and will continue for the future.
To be honest, its going to be an uphill battle given the fact that you have the Charles Theater and the Summer opening of a Landmark plex that are booking the types of movies that would do well at the Senator. Factor in the clearance issue that prevents the Senator’s single screen from booking many films and you have yet another potential future financial crisis and bail out dilemna. The Senator must implement other revenue streams than just solely rely on films and concessions.