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Caught the Adventures of TinTin, in IMAX-lite, the other Monday. Thinking I was going to pay matinee pricing for IMAX, I was wrong. They charged full price! The motion capture aspect of the production made for a very exciting chase scene at the end..the very end. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough to sustain interest getting there. At least the technique has more detail from when Polar Express was released, but I still think the characters have limited expression beyond that of zombies.
I saw Mission Impossible 4 in IMAX over the holidays. No complaints, everything was as it should be. The large screen canvas properly showcased some of the more harrowing scenes like Tom Cruise’s hop around the skyscraper hotel. Didn’t see the preview for The Hobbit though.
This venue opened up in ‘97 or so. Just prior to this venue opening there was a twin venue opening just outside of Baltimore. I think the first movie I saw here was the sequel Babe: Pig in the City. When it first opened, the two largest theaters were two stories high and played movies loud. I think the original plan was to open a cafe that bridged the two big theaters but nothing ever came of it. There were restrooms upstairs as long as elevator access. These big theaters received the Dolby EX upgrade back in '99 when Star Wars: The Phantom Menace opened.
When Regal took over, this place went downhill. Projection was lousy with scratched film presentations. When Hoyts ran it, they had decent concessions such as freshly made coffee drinks. Regal tried to run it but many times employees just put up out of order signs. The many times I wrote to complain about the lousy service here met with the usual apologies and free passes.
Recently, there have been digital 3D upgrades, but I’ve stopped going here. Many times there are riff raff that come and unfriendly policemen who double as ushers. I remember my friend and I being ‘escorted’ to the auditorium and told where to stand and wait at a specific spot before entering. Not a good experience. Maybe the place has improved since I last visited in ‘09, but I have no interest in going back for now.
Having just read the article, $5M is a lot for one theater. The auditoriums seating of under 300 remains the same, so I’m guessing the screen can’t be larger then say 50 ft. It supposedly has 3D capability.
Face it Giles, everywhere you go there seems to be some problem with sound and or picture. Hehehe. I’m kidding. :)
I’ve pretty much enjoyed the ETX shows but I only go for those bigger movies. Other than that, its not worth the price as its about the same as the IMAX-lite movies. I saw Immortals in 3D on a smallish screen @ Annapolis Harbour in Digital 3D. There were great surrounds and the experience was immersive. The FX reminded me a lot of the Matrix though. Henry Cavill, or whatever his name is, will make a great Superman. I’m looking forward to that movie but maybe I’m expecting too much of Chris Reeve’s humanism in the character now since its been imbedded in my mind for the the last 33 years or so.
I am not so enthused by yet another plex in DC…unless there are some higher end amenities such as say, an IMAX screen, upscale food fare, plush seating and w i d e screens. If costs are going to be high, admission prices are probably going to be higher then in the suburbs but it may be more palatable to pay them if the ‘experience’ is unlike other places.
Caught Happy Feet 2 in #9. Very good projection and sound despite the darker 3D. No THX trailer played to show off the sound system, even though this is one of the 3 certified here. In fact, I do not think any THX trailer has played in any of the auditoriums since the sound/DP upgrade.
Courteous employee thanking us for coming as we were leaving the auditorium. On second thought, maybe he was thanking us because we were the last to leave so they could clean the place…
My friend and I saw ‘Puss N Boots’ in IMAX-lite 3D.. Very enjoyable movie worth a repeat viewing..maybe not at the IMAX-lite price, unless someone else is paying. Film had decent 3D wow effects such as the usual first person chase scenes. Sound was very good, too. What was really cool was the camera planing at ground level in the beginning. It made you feel you were really traveling. Nice.
After 3 showings, we’ve passed the $100 mark and am getting $10 back with the AMC Stubbs program. Is it worth it? I suppose so, if you share expenses with a friend.
Recently saw Footloose in #4 in DP last week. Film is a subpar remake. The updated songs do not have the same oomph as the originals. Casting for the leads is off with Ren McCormack now sporting a Bawston accent. Deniece Williams' signature song doesn’t play as richly as the original given the digital soundtrack.
Yesterday, I saw ‘Tower Heist’ in #11 in DP. Very good picture, digital crisp and decent sound. Nothing great soundtrack wise. Engaging movie.
I did buy concessions this time around. They need a better condiment station to have fresh onion, relish and a ketchup and mustard dispenser. Packets of relish and ketchup just don’t cut it. The hot dog was lukewarm. Next time, I’m going to sneak food in.
J. Edgar opens here on Fri., which should be interesting given the advanced word on this film. Eastwood is a very good director. I can’t believe he was robbed of at least an Oscar nomination for ‘Gran Torino’ back in ‘08, which I think was one of his best performances and directed film.
As for the Uptown herself, the theater has very pleasant memories for me way back in the 70-90s., when they booked 70mm. Too bad they do not do them anymore. At least the 3D conversion updates the venue, which isn’t cheap. Its viability is more likely now giving it more commercial opportunity to book those great 3D films of late..Tron Legacy and Megatron. ;)
Happy 75th Uptown…on Oct 29th.
Ever since the redesign I have not received ANY updates to any comments but never really investigated why. I just figured maybe people weren’t commenting, but now I see they have and I’ve missed out!
Speaking of Ghostbusters, I was there for their 1984 70mm booking and distinctly remember being ‘scared’ as were many in the audience during the library scene. The camera was locked on a seemingly innocent and homely looking old librarian, until the close up and turn to the camera to SHHHHH. Then the old librarian turns skeletal and accompanying subwoofer..sound fx that scared the **** out of us. Very cool and memorable scene and experience.
My friend and I saw ‘Crazy Stupid Love,’ in #6, which was somewhat engaging although not as funny as I had hoped. This is the first time visiting this venue since the all digital projection (Dolby) roll out. The projection was digital excellent. Unfortunately, the sound..at least compared to the Mall, was lacking from the sound of the format trailer and movie soundtrack. Also, management should consider better sound deadening material, as I could hear the ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ booming soundtrack next door throughout the movie.
As for their movie card system, it needs to be better. I do not like the fact you have to rely on the ticket booth to tell you what your points are. It seems that my points are way off from the many times I have visited here and at the Mall.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they were building true IMAX theaters that are many stories tall. The IMAX-lite venues are just diluting the brand name.
Giles, what was the print and surround quality like for this print? Did it seem aged or fresh, or mint? Do you recall any memorable surround sound events? Were the sound levels played up high or more subdued? What about audience attendance?
I wanted to see this movie badly but had work conflicts. I never saw it in 70mm during its initial run only for the fact that the DC market never got a 70mm print.
“Lifeforce” should be fun in 70mm. I saw it when the Circle Ontario was remodeled. You can see my post on that theater’s site. I still remember the experience as if it were yesterday, even the smell of freshly painted seats! The movie is horror themed but campy in a way. I still remember Matilda May, one of the space vampires, walking around the movie naked for the entire movie. John Dykstra’s visual effects were really funtastic for its time.
I wish I could see it again on the big screen, but unfortunately, I have to work that weekend, too.
According to in70mm, there’s a 70mm print of Star Trek II being shown this weekend, I’m surprised the AFI couldn’t secure that print for showing here for their 80’s retrospective series.
My friend and I saw the final Harry Potter in the ETX theater. The previews and preshow videos were awfully dark and the volume awfully low. The theater didn’t really come to life until midway through the AMC trailer. Had this not happened, I was going to get up and complain. Overall, the movie’s louder sound system made the movie quite enjoyable. Its still more palatable to see movies with the ETX surcharge then the IMAX-lite auditoriums given that the screen sizes are almost the same.
Not being into the Harry Potter phenom, or the movies until the previous two films, I can’t say there was any emotional resonance given everything that happens up to the end. I think the ending, to me, reminded me too much of the Star Wars ‘Sith’ and Star Trek First Contact scenes; with the dueling Potter and Voldemort (like Yoda and Sidious) and Voldemort’s demise looking almost exactly the same as the Borg Queen’s.
I wanted to see the movie at BowTie’s Annapolis #1 but the person who answered the phone couldn’t tell me if its in 3D Digital or not. The two Annapolis venues are all digital now.
With three paired tix purchases between the IMAX-lite and ETX shows, I’m close to the $100 mark with their AMC Stubs program to get $10 back. It helps to share expenses like this with a friend. :)
According to their website, this venue has gone all digital projection with 7.1 sound. I’m wondering if its 7.1 sound in ALL auditoriums or just the THX cert ones..or something else.
It appears that this venus has gone all digital projection now.
I finally got the opportunity to sample ETX seeing Green Lantern, in 3D, this past weekend. Fortunately, it was my friend’s turn to pay but I used my AMC Stubs rewards card to help with points. $16.50 is quite steep to pay including 3D…almost as much as IMAX-lite. The theater doesn’t but should have a special ETX trailer to denote the difference as well as the DP format. All that was shown was the Real D trailer and the familiar AMC plant growth trailer. Terrific directional sound booms accompanied the sound track add to the immersion aspect of the experience. I enjoyed the experience and the movie, but less so, overall, then Thor. Technically, everything was very good.
The people at the Customer Service counter were EXCEPTIONAL. I was over speeding driving across WWBridge to make it to the 8pm show and had less than 5 mins to spare. Parking was crowded. I left my cell phone in the car to charge and my friend, who bought the tix was no where to be found. He had mumbled something about leaving one for will call. CS said there was none but OFFERED me the use of their phone. How is that for customer service? I didn’t even ask.
Unfortunately, the ticket taker, a mop headed teen, did not even say hi or offer us our 3D glasses. I asked him about the glasses, as I’m sure he read the tix, and he seemed to either not hear or ignore me. Fortunately, they were laid out on the table and sealed in plastic, so I just grabbed a pair.
At the end of the movie, the very end..after the credits, this same mop headed teen and his co-workers did ‘thank’ patrons for coming, which was unexpected and a pleasant surprise.
I’m on the fence on returning but we’ll see what future bookings they have here.
I revisited #1 after 7 years seeing the very entertaining movie Super 8. The movie was most likely shown in 4K DP. The movie was decently bright and in scope as I noticed the riser going down after the movie. Surprisingly, the movie had very good use of the surrounds this time and was not muddled from my memories of seeing the Day After Tomorrow, or whatever it was called, back in ‘04. If only the bass was deeper for the film’s tense moments involving the usual fx laden crashes and alien activity. I would have preferred to see it in IMAX-lite but my dumb friend decided to wait for ME to pay. Its ok…next week, he’s going to pay for Green Lantern in IMAX-lite 3D at the $18.00 per ticket price!!
BTW, I missed seeing Pirates in ETX at Tysons. That weekend they booked, of all films, Hangover 2 in the ETX auditorium. Who cares to hear that movie in a theater with 40K watts of sound?
Shame, shame, shame. No wonder my neighborhood Regal’s DP movies are so dark. I thought it was a tech issue.
Aha. Another comment of mine is missing from this theater!!! My friend used to work not far from here and one of the movies I remember seeing here was “Little Miss Sunshine” back in ‘06. The movie was thoroughly enjoyable to the eclectic crowd. What I also remember was a fierce argument that went out between this single (white) woman who was trying to politely tell another patron (African American) male to be quiet and not talk on the phone as the movie began. The man became belligerent and the racial epithets started …mind your own business. The woman hastily retreated and got a Manager involved, who basically did nothing.
In ‘07 I recall seeing a movie here, title I forgot now, but I’m sure I blogged about it here, and there were many Secret Service agents here milling about. As to whom they were watching over I never found out..I’m guessing it may have been one of the Bush kids as I’m sure the parents would rather watch a movie in their own auditorium at the WH.
There isn’t much to recommend this place given the above memories and experiences. The technical upgrades sound nice but this is a Regal, afterall. I’d rather go to a suburban venue then venture out here unless a movie I want to see is exclusively here.
Upon closer examination of the picture and without being able to zoom at the marquee to determine the picture playing, I have to say that picture had to be taken in the late 70s. Maybe ‘76, '77..look at the Mustang and Monte Carlo..those designs take it back to the 70s. I see no 'newer’ models I can identify that would predate the other two.
I say this because one of my favorite 70s shows was Charlie’s Angels and in the opening one of the Angels is seen running from that era Mustang. The show ran in the mid-late 70s.
Aha! The truth is out. I’ve always wondered why some DP movies were so dark. For shame. How difficult is it to change a lens? Doesn’t it just screw on and off?
Giles, you’re a marked man. Everyone is going to know who you are.. ;) I’m kidding..When I used to speak to someone about a projection issue, I’ll usually get someone who just gives lip. I remember going to see Superman Returns in DP @ Annapolis Mall. They showed film and it showed a scratchy print. The excuse I got was that ‘there’s no difference between film and digital projection.’ Uh huh. Yup. Refund, please.
I always thought they had one projectionist that ran the projection via computer in the newer plexes. I hope to experience ETX this weekend or sometime this summer.
There are some exciting releases coming. The one I most want to see is ‘Tree of Life’ which won the Palm D'or at Cannes. Supposedly there are some truly high quality elements in the visual fx as they hired fx vet Doug (2001*Star Trek) Trumbull to do some of them in 65mm. If they release this in IMAX or at least 4K DP, this should be quite an experience as the source master is/should not be a blown up one.