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Christmas Day I caught Les Miserables to a large crowd for the unbelievably bargain price of $5. It should be noted that BowTie theaters discontinued their bargain Tuesday prices during the holidays due to what they claim are contractual obligations. Given this piece of information, its a wonder how the Greenbelt could open the film and still offer their Tuesday discount.
A major distraction was the ‘letterbox’ presentation. There were obvious gaps in the lower and upper portions of the screen. Watching the movie was similar to looking at it through a mailslot. I was thinking someone forgot to change lenses and figured someone else would complain. There were a few that got up, but I guess they didn’t, or if they did, it was not fixed.
The film was engaging, for the most part, as I’ve seen both dramatic and musical versions, but I have to say that aside from Anne Hathaway’s Fantine, the other majors, particularly Russell Crowe, cannot sing. Hugh Jackman, much lauded actor, sounds so haggard as if he’s doing karaoke intoxicated. During the scene where the kid rises up to a certain death by the French soldiers, a man screamed out as the kid gets up…which just turned up the drama to that scene for the rest of us. And, of course, the ending brought the house to tears for most of us..this is the power of good cinema, folks.
I saw ‘The Life of Pi’ in 3D in #7 with a decent crowd, today. I missed the large screen presentations when the movie first came out but thoroughly enjoyed this moving fantasy tale. The CGI effects are well done, as is the whole look of the movie. I can see Oscar nominations for this movie. The bottom part of the screen looked as if it was fluttering or not properly affixed to the wall, but it was not a constant detraction.
My friend and I caught ‘The Hobbit’ on the IMAX-lite screen in #12, in 3D, this past weekend. The description above about it being shoe horned in is apt. I’m almost sure I’ve seen movies in this one before and believe that the screen was just enlarged to accommodate the IMAX projection. Sound and picture were first rate. The presentation was not in the much touted HFR. I believe this is the only venue, of the IMAX-lite screens, to not have the HFR copy in this market. For the late showing, there were only maybe 5 people in attendance.
The 9-minute preview of the Star Trek Into Darkness movie was terrific. The 3D effect of the scene where the natives shoot darts at Kirk and Scotty made me jump as if it were coming off the screen.
If thats the case, what is ‘Enhanced Theater Experience’ then, if not HFR? Fandango has that description, plus ETX AND Dolby Atmos for the #11 auditorium. TheHobbit.com movie site makes mention of Tysons IMAX & ETX as having HFR. IF you are right, then maybe thats why it looked like regular digital to me…someone clarify..and I want my $ back for false advertising! :)
This morning, I caught it in regular IMAX-lite at the Magic Johnson venue. I actually enjoyed it better than the Atmos presentation, but it may have to do with my seating center and closer to the screen. The 9-minute Star Trek intro is Trektacular. ^5.
Enjoyed the movie even more in a second viewing even though there were just the 5 of us. :)
Last week I saw ‘Anna Karenina’, based on Tolstoy’s book. Tuesday’s prices are only $5, a definite bargain. The audience was plentiful and the staff are always friendly. The Manager was thanking people for coming as patrons exited. Now when was the last time you were thanked by someone at your local theater for coming?
I saw ‘The Hobbit’ film in #11, with the Dolby Atmos sound system and ETX. I really wanted to see it in the IMAX-lite theater only because they’re supposed to have 9 minutes of the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. I was thinking they’d have it in the ETX theater since its similarly sized, digital, is shown in HFR and Atmos. Nope. Only got the regular trailer, which is exciting and means I need to see the movie again in IMAX-lite.
To be honest, I’m not all that thrilled about Atmos. The trailer shows off the potential of the theater, much like the THX trailer lets you hear the difference. The Atmos trailer shows off the surround and ceiling set up to great effect. Wow. In the movie, there wasn’t much distinction EXCEPT when characters walked off screen and you can hear dialog continuing to either the right or left off the screen. Hmm.
Perhaps the second viewing in a non-Atmos theater will reveal what I’m missing.
The presentation was very good. I like the 11/ETX/Atmos set up as the movie was quite immersive although it plays a bit like the first Lord of the Rings movie with the expectation that the BIG fight scenes are coming in the next movie. As usual, the 3D darkens the picture, to the detriment of the trailers where you can barely make out details of the FX heavy clips.
As far as the HFR, I do not know what the fuss was about on the internet about cheesy looking picture. Of particular mention was the dinner table scene. It looked fine to me..it was very clear, 3D, but is it 2x as better as 24 fps regular projection? I did not notice much of a difference in the digital projection. Does it compare to Showscan and its higher 60 fps projection? No. Showscan was film and its set up camera tricks had 3D scenes without 3D glasses.
The $11 matinee price is worth it, much better than the IMAX-lite. If I had made up my mind and bought my ticket the previous night, it would have only cost me $6 for the first show! Being an AMC Stubs member waives the ticket fee! I think there was an error somewhere with the price entries. The IMAX-lite first shows are more.
Aha. This isn’t really film per se. Curious to see how things actually look. More like film? Or, more like video?
Over the last few weeks, I have seen ‘Arbitage,’ the Best Foreign Film winner ‘The Intouchables’ and ‘Argo.’ All films were very good, especially ‘The Intouchables.’ I cannot believe that little French film has grossed almost $400M internationally. The story is very touching with believable performances.
Presentation is very good. They’ve started in house advertising, which is okay. The last few shows had no previews. I suppose Management doesn’t know what its going to get until its secured.
For the $5 or $6 matinee price, you can’t beat it. Support your independent operating theaters!
I saw ‘Skyfall,’ the latest James Bond flick last night. Presentation was very good, though the IMAX intro started with audio only. Previews of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Oz’ look very good, especially ‘Oz.’ Adele’s voice can be heard center screen. I prefer vocals to be surround especially with top notch visuals that usually open the Bond movies. I want to see the movie in a THX cert house to compare sound track subtleties. While IMAX is loud, its not necessarily crisp, with distinction.
The movie is a good Bond flick, with the usual intrigue, femme fatale, but with less gadgetry, even though there are new alphabet characters introduced. I wished there was more story/scenes with Javier Bardem and ’M.‘ There were some audience sobbing at the end when a certain character passes.
On the refreshment side, this Regal has upgraded concessions to include burgers, fries and onion rings albeit at the inflated movie chain price. If you forgo the drinks, the $5-$7 prices for a burger and fries is a little more palatable…$1 more for onion rings. They did mix up my order giving me fries instead of onion rings. The fries were okay, crisp, hot and plentiful. The boneless wings were ok, if plain.
Any news on how well the movie is doing here? I saw ‘The Master’ in DP but was underwhelmed by the story…Forgive my simplistic summation, but all I got from it was that Joaquin Phoenix character is a sexually repressed drunk, seeks answers from Phillip Hoffman’s Ron Hubbard-like character, fails, but finds happiness at the end, by meeting and getting laid by a bar floozy. So..there is a happy ending, after all to a ‘happy ending.’ :–)
What I did like was the acting. For sure, Joaquin and Hoffman will get nominations for their acting. Phoenix has come a long way from when I first saw him ‘Inventing the Abbots’ and the jealous schemer in ‘Gladiator.’ Hoffman, proves again, what a great character film actor he can be.
For sure, the DP print I saw, captured an excellent first generation scan, presumably 65mm. Colors, texture, even the wrinkles of Joaquin’s face in the opening shot, with what looked like rosacea could be seen…so is it worth seeing AGAIN?
I saw ‘The Master’ here during the first week in DP. For whatever reason, staff were handwriting numbers of our club cards and swiping them.
Given the much ballyhooed celebration of this movie being in 70mm, I wanted to see it first in a different format to compare it to 70mm. After watching it, I didn’t feel compelled to want to see it, again. Sure, the acting by Phillip Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix are great. They are shoo-ins for award nominations for sure, but the subject matter questions why would one bother to go to the expense of filming in 65mm.
All I gathered from the film is Joaquin Phoenix character has this bent up anger/rage sexual repression in him where he tries to deal with it with the help of a Ron Hubbard-like figure played by Phillip Hoffman. He doesn’t get his answers until he sleeps with a bar pick up at the end of the movie. The end.
I saw “Here Comes the Boom” in #1 a few weeks ago. There weren’t really anything I wanted to see so I just chose it randomly. The ticket taker laughed at my reason for choosing it. It wasn’t bad as I thought and, of course, the sound and picture in #1 was top notch.
Last week, I saw Hotel Transylvania in #11 flat. As usual, the presentation was really good, bright picture, great surround and probably better appreciated without the 3D and darkness. I think the singing could have used stronger bass, but that may have been the sound mix and not the theater’s fault. It just seemed to beg for more bass given the rap elements. They had previous of a Despicable Me sequel among other CGI animated films.
My posting about this place is gone, again. :P
Let me see if I can remember. The auditoriums that were THX certified were the ones at either end of the venue. Not all of the auditoriums were THX certified. I do not think they continue to be certified as this venue does not show up on the THX site. I think structurally, the venue had the necessary specs to be THX certified but it may be that management chose not to renew the fees to keep its certification.
The last movie I saw here was a few years ago. Don’t remember the title, but I’m sure I have the stub in my movie stub bowl. I do remember there was just one lady, probably the manager, who sold the tickets and ran the concession stand!
I do remember seeing Titanic here in ‘97. It was in one of the THX cert auditoriums. What was memorable about it was how subdued/silent the sound was. Sure, the movie was great, it just did not wow me as it should have given the movies great visuals and soundtrack. I believe the Columbia venue had the regions only 70mm print of it at the time.
This theater has been open several years. It must have had a proper listing before as I did blog about it. For whatever reason, I have been noticing postings and theaters disappearing from the site with no reason or explanation. After several emails sent, over the years, there has never been a response. Perhaps, they’ve been lost with the site upgrades. Who knows.
This venue is about 25 minutes from where I live and my friend and I were there on opening weekend where it was a big event. It was originally a Loews Cineplex/Magic Johnson venue where the local paper had a story about its opening and how, at the time, Magic Johnson Theaters chose ‘underserved’ areas to open new movie theaters. AMC, of course, took over, having bought out Loews Cineplex a few years ago. The outdoor shopping center was also new, at the time, having been built on what was the former Capital Center auditorium where Barbara Streisand had her comeback concert way back in ‘94 or so.
Given the proximity of this venue to Washington DC, its fair to say that they get patrons from all over. Some of it, of course, of the urban and less disciplined variety. You will see police officers in and out of their cars making their presence, so there is a feeling of security after you leave a later show.
The IMAX-lite addition is a recent install, probably last year. I have not been there since the last Shrek Forever After movie, in 3D. Its funny that the weeknight showing I attended was where I had the theater all to myself. They forgot to start the movie. Perhaps they thought no one was going to show and did not bother starting it. I went back to the ticket person to remind them I was there AND to get the 3D glasses they forgot to give me. I had thought they’d hand out the 3D glasses as you went into the actual theater, as they had other screens showing movies flat.
Prior to that, my friend and I saw a movie in one of the larger auditoriums..the title I forget, but I do remember there was a BIG argument started between families over something that escalated to an almost brawl. Thankfully, it calmed down.
Perhaps one day I will visit the IMAX-lite theater, but I suspect it will be like all the other AMC installs. There were some pretty large auditoriums with huge wall to wall screens.
The Concession area is fairly large and varied. Other than White Marsh, that I know of, here they have hot wings for $15 or so!
I will probably see it mid-week. From what I’ve gleaned from a few reviews, there probably isn’t much surround sound but the Post makes comment about it being visually stunning. If its that good, I’ll probably check out the 1 35mm venue and the digital print for comparisons.
Howard, I’m surprised they didn’t use the curtain at the Ziegfield for at least this movie. I’m sure they had a projectionist running the movie since it is 70mm, why couldn’t he just push the button to open and close the curtain, too?
This week, I saw “Bourne Legacy” in #5. Coming in a little late, I missed the trailers and sat too close to the front. The jerky camera and quick shots made me a little woozy afterward but not as bad as seeing “Born on the Fourth of July” in 70mm at the Uptown way back in ‘88. Digital perfect presentation, no detractions. The movie seemed more of a reboot with the new Jason. It runs like the first movie, including the open ending.
The venue needs to upgrade their self service kiosks to accept the BowTie movie card like Regal and AMC do. Since no one was as the closed Customer Service desk, I had to trek back to the box office to get my movie credit and ticket. Not very good customer service. :P
:–) You know, Giles, I wasn’t planning on seeing it because of what you guys blogged about the possibility of them showing a pinkish print. I missed most of the 70mm screenings for lack of interest and because I work more weekends now. I had to leave as the end credits started. Today, is my brother’s birthday.. Blog about Chicken @ Landmark’s page. I wouldn’t mind seeing that and Samsara this week if I can finish my work early.
I’m going to have low expectations for “The Master.” This way when I see it, I’ll be amazed. ;–)
I hear what you’re saying about not having a trailer in front of “South Pacific.” Back in the day when they had 70mm event films, 70mm trailers were almost equally or even more exciting because you had the w-i-d-e format and the superior surround sound to get excited about what’s coming. Since “The Master” sounds like one of those event films, at least as far as 70mm is concerned, not the fact that its a big action adventure movie, I think it deserved a plug here. I think there probably was no 70mm trailer to tack on to the beginning of “South Pacific” anyway.
After reading the comments yesterday, I was hesitant about seeing “South Pacific” today, but I did anyway. I made an excuse to leave work a few hours early to catch the 1pm show.
They started 2 minutes late, with the overture music. The curtains were used. I think there was just one part in the beginning where the color was pinkish. The sound was all in the front. No surrounds. Other than that, like Howard has posted, the colors were quite good for an older film. Howard, I was thinking the same thing when I saw Ray Walston. I grew up watching him on tv, too, but years later when that program was into syndication.
They are already pre-selling tickets for next week’s new 70mm movie “The Master.” I haven’t seen any preview yet. I was thinking they’d show it today but pre show ads, no nothing. Straight to the movie. They are reporting on the news, that that movie has the highest per-screen average this weekend of any other. Hopefully, this will bode well for the AFI Silver here next weekend.
Once again, they did not have decent pretzels. Rushing straight to the theater, I had to satisfy myself with junk food..the hot dogs. They now serve the skinny Nathan kind as opposed to the larger Costco-type they used to serve. I think they microwave them now as opposed to the roller grill. Thankfully, I did not develop stomach problems as one of the hot dogs was not quite hot. They must improve on the food items. Quality wise and selection wise.
Classic films, including 70mm always looks better on bigger screen venues like here, unless its a true 70mm film..filmed in 65mm and NOT a blow up. I remember seeing many 70mm films here, almost all blow ups and wondering why there was so much grain. Grain is one of those detractions that hinder the best theatrical experiences. On the other hand, the saving grace was the six-track stereo sound track that envelopes and draws you into the movie. Even some of the worst movies I’ve ever seen were decent theatrical ‘experiences’ because of the immersive sound and picture.
Raiders would’ve been nice to see again on the Uptown’s bigger screen. Unfortunately, I had to miss it this time around. A one week run is too short.
I just looked through the AFI calendar and they have scheduled the Alien movies in November! No word on 70mm anything. I’ve only seen Aliens in 70mm, at the closed Fine Arts downtown. I suppose it will be Alien, the director’s edition in digital. The rest probably all film. At least Aliens should be the expanded edition. Prometheus is scheduled, but that is best experienced in IMAX Digital 3D. The ship’s tactical displays show off the format in its dimension and clarity.
The new Paul Anderson film is supposed to play here and at Bethesda, in gasp 70mm. This should be interesting. Their screens are rather tiny.
Howard, it seems you’re recent 70mm experience has been the same as mine. The sound is all coming from the front. Disappointing. Maybe Steve can shed some light on this if/when he sees these postings.
For all we know, we could be duped into watching 35mm and 4 track stereo and be fooled. :) Probably not.
If the AFI can play all formats, then the question is what prints arrived and was the AFI able to play them the way it should be exhibited? We can reasonably assume that the 70mm presentations were most likely run by a projectionist, especially the rare titles. It seems studios would like to protect these prints and not risk damage do them by platters. Then again, who is to say a projectionist could not mess it up..drop his drink on the print, touch it with dirty hands..etc.
My love for movies is, in part, the experience and 70mm played a great part of it, even if most of them were blow ups from 35 mm.
Curious about your DTS comment. When you surmise the newer print was with DTS and not 6 track mag, do you meant to say that DTS in the newer prints has diminished sound compared to the original? I thought the digital sound takes the original and cleans up scratches and other unwanted noise and enhances the fidelity of the original. If this is true, then DTS should exceed the original.
My first DTS experience was ‘Jurassic Park’ @ the Universal Studios theater and that THX-certified auditorium was rocking loud and booming. All they needed to do is add smellovision and you could smell T-Rex’s breath in addition to his roar. :)
Way back in the 80s, the Showscan’s rapid frame per minute projection format gave the illusion of 3D. I remember watching one of the short films where this person was talking as if he were behind the movie screen. It literally looked like he was coming at you.
I saw ‘Hope Springs’ here during a matinee showing for the measly price of $5. Seeing Meryl Streep act in various roles is amazing because she transforms into whomever the character is supposed to be. In this movie, she’s no different, giving a restrained and believable performance as an unhappy wife married to Tommy Lee Jones.
I’m so used to DP in movies that watching movies on film takes some minor adjustment. Those adjustments are of course the film scratches and abrupt changes.
Watching movies here is definitely old shoe-ish but like pleasant memories, you always want to revisit them time and time again.
This past week, I saw Whitney Houston’s final film ‘Sparkle’, during a matinee and, surprisingly, largely attended screening in #11. I had trepidations that the sound may not have been great as if it were in #2 or 9, but was pleasantly surprised. 11 was my first positive experience with digital projection, albeit at 1.2K resolution 10 yrs ago. ‘Sparkle’ looked digital great, too.
The sound was played up and very enjoyable. Of course, the inevitable comparison to ‘Dreamgirls’ is unwarranted, Jordin Sparks holds her own in her movie debut. One special thing I have noticed in Whitney Houston movies is that when she sings, she’s filmed live singing and not lip synching and ‘acting’ in the moment. You can see her vibrato motions in her throat. In this film, there’s no exception.
A film like this is best enjoyed with a vocal crowd. Since this is an African American film, there were many blacks in attendance, even older couples. There was this black lady who kept clapping, amen-ing and even exclaimed ‘kick his ass’ as Mike Epps' character was being beaten by the sisters for beating one of their own. It was a great crowd pleasing good time had by all.