Uptown Theater

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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Giles
Giles on April 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

so I saw ‘Source Code’ this evening, and I have say, again it was a mixed bag. During the trailers, the lower left of the screen was displaying a double image and out of focus, thankfully for the main feature it was corrected. But… for a 1.85 film, the framing was all off, the credits at the beginning were barely there, and only a few instances where heads at the top of the screen were slightly cropped off – this never happened for 35mm prints. Audio at a moment near the end lowered in volume unexplainably. On the plus side the image was consistently sharp, as was the light output – if the projector had displayed the 1.85 aspect ratio, it would have looked great

Giles
Giles on February 9, 2011 at 12:03 am

was the Norelco projector ever replaced? I didn’t think so… til now. As for the ‘non-aligned edges of the image’ this is also a problem on the curved Cinerama Dome screen in LA, it’s a problem in that DCI digital projection specifications never has had to address an image (and modify it) on a curved theater screen.

Giles
Giles on February 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

unfortunately the current 3D film now at the Uptown is the craptacular ‘Sanctum’ that’s been getting alot of negative reviews – I have no plans on seeing this, guess I’ll wait for the next film at the Uptown. Considering alot of the films that are being shown on IMAX screens are scope films (2.35) I’d favour seeing them here on the Uptown’s wide screen than paying extra for a screen that adds black borders above and below the image.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on February 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

That is awful they removed the 35/70mm projector..what was it…the Norelco one? I can’t believe it. So no more 2001 in 70mm or 70mm anything? I’d like to think this is just a bad dream. I do not want to resign myself to think that 70mm is only going to be seen at the AFI Silver and their smallish 40 ft screen.

4K DP?! Hmm. Hopefully by the next 3D DP booking, the kinks will have been worked out. As I stated before, the bargain matinee price is very reasonable considering what IMAX-lite is for a screen thats about the same size.

Giles
Giles on February 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

given it’s the dead of winter, the number of showings per day has decreased dramatically, a four and seven showing only, just this week they added a 10pm showing. Unfortunately, given the fact the theatre added a DLP unit, the choice or implementation of ‘alternative programming’ has yet to booked at this theatre – the one off ‘Carmen 3D’ would be ideal.

Giles
Giles on January 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm

that’s rather annoying the non-alignment issue was NOT resolved/fixed.

RedJacket
RedJacket on January 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Management, the employees, the high prices and the lousy “will call” (you still stand in line at the ticket window for pick-up) are the downsides to this great-looking theater. It’s great for matinees and weeknights to avoid the crowds. I saw “Grindhouse” and “300” here, and it’s the perfect place for those kinds of big-screen releases — especially “Grindhouse,” where maybe four other patrons showed up. Just like in the old days of trashy double features.

richmurphy
richmurphy on January 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

I went to the Uptown for the first time in about four years yesterday to see TRON LEGACY. I first went to the Uptown in the 1950s as a child (and have the SOUTH PACIFIC ticket stub stapled to my program as proof!), and had gone fairly regularly until changing tastes in filmmaking passed me by. However, I was curious to see how much my favorite theatre had suffered over the years, as well as to check out the new digital 3D system.

First, the good news. I’ve read about the speaker modications at the theatre and feared the worst. But the Uptown seemed to me to still have its distinctive sound quality. There was perhaps less rumble in the bass, but TRON is a typical noisy special effects extravaganza, and I didn’t sense any disappointment about the sound range or volume.

Also, I was impressed with the management. I went with a visually-impaired friend, who just came along to treat me to the movie. He took the 3D glasses he received at the box office and put them in his coat pocket as a souvenir. Similarly, I put mine in my coat pocket since I had visits to the restroom and the concession stand to make before I took my seat. A manager stood by the concession stand as we entered. He stopped us to ask if we had received our 3D glasses at the boxoffice, since he didn’t see either of us with any. I appreciated the manager checking to make sure we had our glasses. (A couple of years ago at the AMC Hoffman in Alexandria, the box office DIDN’T give us our glasses. I didn’t question this, since I thought maybe they handed them out by the auditorium entrance. This was a hassle, since there was no manager in sight and it was a long trek back to the box office, where one person was handling the line for the 22 auditoria.)

As for the bad news, the curtains were not in use for the performance I caught. Since the theatre thankfully didn’t show advertising before the presentation, it would have been nice to have the curtains closed instead of staring at a blank screen. Perhaps this is because the theater was uncomfortably dark between shows, so you probably couldn’t have seen the curtain anyway before the show. The spotlights that used to be on the edge of the balcony illuminating the curtain are either turned off or gone. I’ve never understood why any business fails to highlight a feature that makes it distinctive from the pack, and you’d think the Uptown would automate its curtain opening if need be to make it part of the show.

But the worst thing about my visit was the projection. While the dark image was annoying, I think much of that was due to the production design of TRON and the limitations of the 3D technology. I took my glasses off several times during the film, and the image seemed bright enough then. The previous poster mentioned that a dual projector system has been installed. I can confirm that, since the two projectors seemed misaligned on one point of the screen (near 9:00 if you think of the screen as a clock face). Worse, non-aligned edges of the image were visible on all four sides. If this is the new permanent projection system of the Uptown, they should at least increase the masking to hide the image edges. The non-alignment of the image edges, and their distortion due to the curved screen made them too noticable.

All in all, it wasn’t as bad a visit as I feared it would be. The small audience yesterday made the theater seem more like an old grind house, but at least we found a parking space right in front of the theatre. And the movie was, like the original TRON, clunky and incomprehensible, but thanks to a great production design and an innovative musical score, lots of fun.

Giles
Giles on December 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

from what I got from asking the knowledgable staff member at the Uptown:

first of all it isn’t a Sony 4K system … thank god.

1) it’s a new Christie 3D2P (DLP) (dual projector) system – some kinks are being worked on, specifially the second projector is not properly displaying the highest luminence/brightness and is also resulting in a slight fish eye image/display, the upper left, lower left, lower right of the screen are curved, but not in the right direction (as JodarMovieFan noted). Once this is corrected, AMC is full recognition of this flaw, and is fixing it, the image will be much brighter and will fit the screen properly. (fingers crossed)

2) it’s a new silver screen

3) no new speakers, but more ampage was added to compensate the audio dynamic range of digital projection’s lossless sound.

4) the 35mm/70mm projector is officially history (i.e, uninstalled)

interestingly, the beginning (and end) of ‘Tron Legacy’ is 2D and I watched them withouth the glasses – once again, and as I have noted before the tinting of the glasses ads unnecessary darkness

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

I saw Tron in 3D over the weekend as my experience was a mixed bag. The picture and previews were clear but dark. I am guessing they did not install a new screen. The movie had an upward curvature at the bottom corners probably because of the screen’s curved nature. At least that annoying screen rip that I experienced watching “Revenge of the Sith” and “Dreamgirls” is gone. An interesting observation was during the flashbacks, the movie seemed more pixellated. Is this DP’s version of ‘aged film’? I want to see the film again…maybe at the Regal Magestic 20’s IMAX-lite theater since it is new. At least the $10 matinee price is much more palatable at the Uptown’s w i d e screen then $17.50 at an IMAX-lite one.

Showmanship was lacking once again as the curtain was not in use. Surrounds were very good as was the bass but not as booming as say Cinemark’s XD, AMC’s IMAX-lite houses, or the bigger THX auditoriums. There was a warning at the box office about the movie’s presentation and dark spots, but I didn’t notice them. I suspect there needs to be more tweaking to whatever 3D system they have in place. AMC went out of their way to solicit patron experiences as a card was handed out to log on and blog about it. Since I’m a Moviewatcher card holder/member, there was a guest survey request in my email when I got home, which was completed.

For the price and in anticipation of system tweaks, I’d definitely come back. :)

RobertAlex
RobertAlex on December 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I sincerely hope that AMC will NOT install a Sony 4K on at the Uptown, the screen is too large and curved for that projector to be effective.
Hopefully they will use a Barco, as Regal did with their large auditoriums out here such as the Ontario Palace, and the Big Newport. Those screens are about 75 foot and 80 feet wide, and although I hate to admit it, both screens now look way better then they did when they used 35mm. Let’s hope the same for this theatre.

I come out to DC two to three times a year for work, and I always make a trip to this gem. By far the best theatre in DC and perhaps the mid Atlantic.

Giles
Giles on December 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

yeah, I’m eyeing that Thursday midnight show too. As for the sitting not too close, that’s the fun of the Uptown, I know when I was a kid it was blast sitting in the front row, the swoop into the trench of the Death Star in ‘Star Wars’ – weeeeeee, however being older it’s not as fun as say ‘Cloverfield’ with it’s shakey cam which made me want to hurl.

Of the one time I was up at King of Prussia IMAX – the screen size didn’t wow me, although the movie ‘Final Destination 3’ was an utter blast on the large screen: blood, gore, dead teenagers – woohoo!, I’d sooner go west and see an IMAX movie over at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg – which will be showing ‘Tron Legacy’ in 3D and 15/70mm (IMAX)

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

Noooooo. I do not feel like driving up to King of Prussia. Though a shopping trip would be nice…

There is a post on the Ziegfeld theatre side about silver screens and that if you aren’t looking at it straight on, then the screen may look ‘dimmer.’ Though I usually try to be seated centered, but to the front of a theater, it explains why some of my viewing experiences may have been darker than expected.

The Uptown is great if you’re centered but not too close to the screen. I remember getting motion sick when I saw Born on the Fourth of July (70mm, ‘88) sitting in the front row. The jerky (docu-style) camera shots were just horrible to watch.

Fandango indicates a midnight Thu showing..hmmm.

Giles
Giles on December 12, 2010 at 10:16 pm

unfortunately JodarMovieFan, Tron Legacy is not opening at any of the three Smithsonian IMAX screens :( they will more than likely show it later in it’s run since Toy Story 3 is playing at Air & Space, and Harry Potter 7 is due shortly over at Natural History.

So I assume the silver screen will not only produce the 3D imagery properly, but also help the colors and brightness have more ‘pop’ – I’m just worried that the Sony system doesn’t hinder either of these on the Uptown’s screen, I know that over at the Cinemark, they boost the light output higher for the 3D engagements, at the time National Amusements were none to pleased when I hadn’t told them about the poor 3D engagement of ‘Bolt’ over at their Fairfax 14 screens – the darkness was the sole problem – they solved the screen AND the light adjustments after I had brought it up. So… to sum all these issues up, I’m really curious to know what AMC has exactly done in converting the Uptown to 3D Sony LCoS Digital projection.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

JodarMovieFan, 3 D screens are silver, so the Uptown needs a new screen. I would hope it would be curved. I don’t see 3 D but when I see 2 D at the Uptown, would like to have the curved screen.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

New (flat) screen? Oh oh. I just thought if they were to go digital, the image would be cropped at the sides given the current screen’s curvature. I’ll probably see Tron 3D in real IMAX at the Smithsonian and catch it here later just to see what they’ve done to the place.

Someone in the know should post something about this new system…Steve? Somebody?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 12, 2010 at 10:41 am

I saw yesterday “Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows” Uptown wasn’t using its curtain, but does some days. I wish they’d turn house lights down during the trailers. Surround sound in the balcony was excellent.

They are aiming to equip for 3 D for Tron 3 D, but not sure yet. It is a challenge to obtain huge new screen.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 9, 2010 at 4:10 am

I suppose we’ll just have to check this one out … :D I doubt AMC would close it now after investing money into this new projection system. Sell it? Maybe.

Giles
Giles on December 8, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I would assume since AMC has favoured Sony 4K I don’t think it’d be anything less… of course if AMC wasn’t wedded to Sony, the Christie and Barco (4K DLP) systems are more ideal for ultra large 75+feet screens (i.e, Seattle’s Cinerama with the first commercial installation of Christie’s Solaria 4K DLP projector) – even though AMC had initially planned to ETX the Uptown’s screen, which would have made the ticket price even higher, under that scenario they might have put BACK some of the speakers, (an extra subwoofer and two heights speakers behind the screen

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hmmm. IMAX or Uptown? IMAX supposedly has what..40,000..watts of power to their speakers? Is their DP system 4K? I haven’t enjoyed a really decent Uptown presentation in years. And remember from Steve Guttag’s post about AMC decontenting the theater by taking out speakers?

Giles
Giles on December 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

pessimistic aren’t we?

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on December 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Another AMC theater that they will probibly close because it’s a single screen theater.

Giles
Giles on December 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

It’s official! Fandango has denoted that the Uptown will be presenting ‘Tron Legacy’ in REAL-D 3D – max ticket price of $14.75

Giles
Giles on November 12, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Warner’s is REALLY pushing the new Harry Potter film (Deathly Hollows) not only is there a 12:01 (Friday morning) screening, but there’s also a 3:30AM (!) screening too – I’d be very surprised to know who goes to THAT screening.

Giles
Giles on September 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm

the plus of having digital projection on such a big screen, would be that the image and specifically the light output and consistent color balance would be superior to the subpar mass produced 35mm prints the Uptown sometimes gets.

back to XTC, like XD there are more speakers used behind the screen to produce a fuller soundscape – similiar to what IMAX screens use. XTC and XD screens also can playback 7.1 sound – I’m not sure that is what the Uptown needs, since alot of the audiences – those sitting in the balcony wouldn’t be able to hear the side channels of sound