Uptown Theater

3426 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008

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Showing 151 - 175 of 417 comments

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 5, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Strip screen removed during renovations which resulted in “Vertigo” opening the theater when they were done? For contrast, why does it matter if strip screen or the current screen?

sguttag
sguttag on May 5, 2008 at 7:05 pm

DLP on the Uptown screen is going to be a bit challenging. Not that one can’t fill it or even possibly get the brightness. The resolution really isn’t there and there are no lenses available to compensate for the screen’s depth. They would just throw away pixels.

While it is true that the Uptown has rarely hit SMPTE specs for light output (the 70mm run of Vertigo being a notable exception), it normally can put out a passable picture if the equipment is kept in alignment. A DP will have the same problems.

Unlike in many large screen applications, at the Uptown, the screen is not only large but rather close…any imperfections…like the lack of pixel density in a 2K system is going to show itself much more unless you are in the balconey.

The problem you saw was a matter of getting more light on the screen, which need not come from a digital projector but an alignment of the existing equipment. What makes you think that a company that will put out a haphazard film presentation will give a digital presentation any more care?

I don’t recall anyone other than the studios…which normally relented, complaining too much about the light levels when I was at the Uptown. The Uptown’s image starts to look pretty good when you hit 12fL but starts to degrade a bit once you go above 14fL as things will wash out. Remember too, Cineplex chose to remove the strip screen which absolutely killed the contrast in that theatre.

No, what the Uptown needs is 70mm film…it is the best technology available in 2008 for lighting up that screen. Shame on AMC and others for not insisting on 70mm for these sorts of venues.

Steve

Giles
Giles on May 5, 2008 at 3:52 pm

don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen stellar 35mm prints at the Uptown, DREAMGIRLS and V FOR VENDETTA near the end of their runs and they were very impressive, here though, the print looked like it was run through with coffee. I can’t believe Disney would go through the whole process of installing a DP system only for the premier of ‘The Guardian’ and then just UN-install it, if it can be done, why do it for a one off premier, NEC systems tout they can install DLP systems on large screens (up to 100 feet) well…. come on AMC. I think I was jaded by the recent 70mm run of ‘2001’ at the Silver which while not perfect still WAS an event.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on May 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Giles, thanks for saving me a trip. I was about to see the film there but opted for DP at my local Regal, which was SUPERB. Maybe its time for the Uptown to get an DC Cinema install. It should get the newest and best to make the most of its screen.

If AMC were to see the light and have 2001 here to celebrate its 40th anniversary, I’d be happy to revisit this venue.

Giles
Giles on May 5, 2008 at 8:40 am

I have to admit, I wasn’t pleased with the print the Uptown got for IRON MAN, it seemed washed out. The sound was fantastic, but for a first swipe of it’s run (Friday: 1pm showing) it seemed devoid of color and brightness and the cigarette burns were really apparent and distracting – why are they so large? For the studios opting to go digital thus elimanating imperfections like these: cigarette bursn, the white lines that randomly pop up, theatre ‘red dot’ indicators, all seem just to be added, to mar the perfect ‘film’ experience. It’s sad when three screenings at the Avalon as part of Filmfest DC, trump the projection at the Uptown.

rlvjr
rlvjr on April 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm

“2001” returned to the Uptown MANY times. It sometimes rotated with 3 other MGM big hits: “Gone with the Wind” “Dr Zhivago” and “Ryan’s Daughter” — all in 70 MM.

We returned again for “10,000 BC” despite AMC lackluster operation and somewhat underpar projection. I think we’ll keep coming back, but it makes me burn the way AMC is trying hard undermine the Uptown legacy of excellence — so long treasured by Warner, Circle, and Loew’s management.

Myrna38717
Myrna38717 on April 22, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I remember, too — also Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, and Wizard of Oz. I think that was during the period it wasn’t being leased by a conglomerate.

Giles
Giles on April 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

someone refresh my memory: I remember seeing a reissue of ‘2001’ at the Uptown that was part of a showcase of other classic films

the other two I remember seeing then were:

‘Alien'
'West Side Story’

does this ring a bell, were their other films. I assume there were (?) I think this was in the 90’s (I think).

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 2, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Richard L. Coe’s review of “2001” in the Washington Post, 40 years ago tomorrow:

View link

Kathleen Carroll’s review in the New York Daily News. I bet she liked it better the second time:

View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

40 years ago tonight: the World Premiere of “2001: A Space Odyssey” at this theater, April 2, 1968. It opened in New York on the 3rd, and the mostly bad reviews were printed in the daily papers on the 4th. I remember this date especially well because while I was looking for the review in the NY Daily News, I heard that Martin Luther King had just been assassinated in Memphis.

View link

Most of the NY papers panned “2001”, but Richard Coe in the Washington Post was able to see outside the box and gave it a rave. I have his review at home and I’ll post it tonight.

Giles
Giles on April 1, 2008 at 6:27 am

I have to admit I haven’t been to the Arclight or Seattle Cinerama but I would assume their screens are similiar in curve – right, and they’ve done DLP – right? Since there are home theatre DP systems than can replicate curved screen presentations without distortion, I would assume similiar commercial lenses exist for theatres this size – right? To reiterize what I said in my Sept. 10 2007 post, NEC’s system is the most ideal and CAN playback 4K content – 2K this side might diplay flaws.

re: 10,0000 BC – I saw it just to see it in DLP (at Gallery Place) and which highly benefitted from crystal clear digital picture.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I saw 10000 BC in DP and thoroughly enjoyed the story and presentation, even though it was at a Regal multiplex. It wasn’t the 50' squared off presentation that the Uptown could present in DP, but a decent movie, nonetheless.

To clarify my previous post, I don’t think DP projects on the curve like the way Uptown’s screen is set up. If I’m wrong, I’m sure one of projectionist experts will clarify for us.

And, again correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think AMC has booked 70mm anything since it took over this venue.

bufffilmbuff
bufffilmbuff on March 31, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I agree Howard. I doubt any DLP system currently in existence can hope to match the quality of the 70mm presentations I have seen there over the years. But…. DLP may be the best we can hope for. Apparently are no plans for a 70mm run of 2001 for the 40th anniversary…. people must prefer 10000 BC. Guess that about says it all about the drop in quality of presentation as well as content and audience tastes in the last four decades.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 31, 2008 at 6:17 pm

The enormous Uptown screen is the top draw to this theater. Let’s not settle for a 50ft squared off presentation.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Thanks, Howard. An interesting read. I think its fair to say that most of the multiplexes run their films dark. The independents do a better job. Maybe thats why I gravitate to movies digitally exhibited. Its doubtful the movie chains will be able to ensure quality film presentations given the hands that get involved that could ruin it. So, DP is a safer, albeit a compromise for a presentation quality that is consistent given its tech roots.

Back to the Uptown. Even if they can’t project on the curve, I’d settle for a 50ft squared off presentation. Its more than a lot of other venues and with DP can still draw the viewer in to experiencing movies better than most can do now.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 31, 2008 at 5:59 pm

JodarMovieFan, for Muvico, see Rosemont in ILL (near Chicago’s O'Hare)/theaters/21297/

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 31, 2008 at 5:51 pm

If they do DLP the Uptown, they’d better go with something a little ahead of the game. Supposedly Muvico was to install Sony 4K systems in their venues, but nothing has happened that I’m aware of, yet. They don’t even advertise that they have DP movies when they have them.

If and when AMC does a DP install here, they’ll have opportunity to tout this venue as DC’s premier state-of-the-art motion picture venue. I wouldn’t mind frequenting this place again for DP movies rather than either the smallish AMC Georgetown or Regal Gallery DP auditoriums, if its done well. When they premiered “The Guardian” here a year or so ago, they supposedly temp installed some kind of DP system.

Judging by the looks of the “Speed Racer” trailer, that would be an excellent candidate for a large screen DP presentation. The exaggerated color schemes brings back the memory of how when color tv was new in the 70s.

Giles
Giles on March 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Given the news that AMC would begin the slow rollout of DLP'ing all it’s screens – I would assume the Uptown can and might be upgraded (if AMC doesn’t go with it’s rumoured plan on not keeping the theatre after it’s lease expires) – can a screen this large and degree of screen curvature prove problematic – the only incentive of DLP is that the projector darkness that some films have had in the past might be corrected, likewise color contrast and brightness will be more consistent.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Pedas owns the Uptown & did a GREAT job as Circle Uptown in operating it. They know the value of having excellent standards in the theater, and could bring 35 mm blockbusters & 70 mm classics to the huge screen.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on February 5, 2008 at 3:39 pm

If that’s the case, let Pedas re-open the MacArthur since the CVS conversion was minimal as I surmise the lobby area is the store front today. :)

rcdalek
rcdalek on February 5, 2008 at 12:49 pm

The Pedas Brothers own a lot of property in and around the District. I believe that Ted Pedas is still involved with the local National Association of Theater Owners and he definitely supports the local theater scene. Also I wonder how long the non compete clause was when they sold Circle to Cineplex. Maybe AFI could do that double billing?

Myrna38717
Myrna38717 on January 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm

My understanding is that one of the Pedas Brothers (who used to run the Circle) owns the Uptown, not AMC. A long time ago, when the brothers closed the Circle, they promised to reopen it — and they did, sort of, via the Foundry and Jenifer discount theaters. But it was never quite the same; the spirit of the Circle just wasn’t there. I know they’re probably ancient by now, and that they support local theaters (always see their names onscreen at the AFI before the movies) but I think they still owe the moviegoing public on that old promise — I have one friend who is still holding onto his Circle ticket book for just that day. They can start with a double bill of “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave”. Who’s with me?

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 17, 2008 at 8:44 pm

I suspect the Indian staff that are there may be the same ones that were running the theater when I saw the last SW film there back in ‘05. They do speak English, but I think the better question to ask is if they know how to run a theater..the projector, make sure the picture looks and sound the way it is supposed to. If they offered Indian snacks like samosas and pakoras, along with the usual theater food, I would buy them! :)

They should at least mix up the programming to include classic films (70mm) and not just the latest Hollywood offerings.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on January 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Stating the facts is not encouraging people to stop going. This has been an ongoing issue with the big chain theaters. They just don’t care about the customers.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 17, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I haven’t perceived any of those problems, including with “I am Legend” last month. The staff does speak English.

We can sit around whining about ALL or almost all of various national chain theaters, but we can’t be assured anybody else would operate any such theater! I doubt RIVJR is going to lead the Uptown effort. The Avalon effort was a lot of work, for a smaller theater that found an arthouse niche.

The Uptown is still an incredible experience. Again, encouraging AMC to depart or people not to attend may simply lead to permanent closure. The last minute effort to get another theater operator to Mann’s National in Los Angeles is answered now, with demolition.