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This theater is a drive for me, but its a point of ‘compromise’ of sorts between my friend and I, who attend movies almost weekly. Most of the time, we go near where I live, which is either the Regal or Annapolis Mall theater, where at least 3 auditoriums are THX certified and everything else is digital. Granted, the Annapolis mall screens do not have the wall-to-wall screens that this venue has, but the excellent sound (Dolby Digital 7.1, now) and projection attains that all-important immersion experience and we don’t have the traffic and parking mess.
Therefore, I cannot comment on the rest of the auditoriums at Tysons to comment, irish_mclean. For the most part, I ’ve enjoyed the presentations here. I enjoy the dialog between myself and everyone else to compare things going on and sharing information. Back in the day, there were several 70mm theaters here in NoVA..most of them the National Amusement chain, the formerly GCC..then AMC Springfield, that I used to go to pretty much when they had the exclusive 70mm bookings. Making the drive here is/was worth it. When Regal opens its new Crofton plex with IMAX-lite, then the drive here may be more debatable.
To answer your questions about the sound booms..do you think maybe the trailers or movies you saw just didn’t have them? I can’t imagine management deliberately toning down the bass booms…at least for the trailers. I doubt any AMC folks from there frequent this site, much less comment. Once in awhile, a cinema enthusiast such as ourselves, who just happens to work for a theater and just so happens to come to the site will comment, but that is rare. I don’t know..maybe you could talk to someone at the theater and see what they say? If so, let us know what they say.
With regard to your SDDS comment, I thought that was encoded on the film, itself and hardly used, or discontinued nowadays. I thought I read a comment to that effect somewhere on the site. I remember the AMC ads for SDDS, in the trailer, that bragged about 8 channel sound…the animated triangles…remember those?
I’ve read comments posted by projectionists on the site about ordinary theater (kids) employees running the automated projection booths. If these automated booths are truly automated, then is it fair to say that the sound levels are also pre-determined? I’d think to control sound levels would require some level of skill because you’d want to achieve optimal sound levels to provide the best in viewing entertainment. Too much bass, not enough treble, or vice versa, or not engaging the surrounds, too low or too high sound also would detract from ‘the experience.’ Maybe there’s a cheat sheet to set the sound levels… :)
My friend and I saw ‘Wrath of the Titans’ in IMAX 3D-lite. Sound and projection were decent. Fortunately, we missed the projector problem tmundell mentions above. There were changeovers, like a handover hand magic trick, when the trailer for the AMC theaters would come in scope and then change back to fullscreen for previews. Not annoying in the least bit. Its just the first time I noticed it.
They showed previews in 3D for the upcoming ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Spiderman’ reboot, two Tim Burton movies and ‘Prometheus.’ ‘Prometheus’ looks especially good in the format. It is visually stunning not just with the design of the ships and alien landscapes but there is real depth detail in even things like the graphic displays. It shows off Ridley Scott’s flair for really fascinating visuals. No doubt the movie will not disappoint.
Customer Service was outstanding, at Guest Services, as the ticket person forgot or miskeyed my Stubbs number. When I got home to check the balance, it appears, the CR rep doubled my points. I received my second $10 rewards and am $25 into the third! So far, the $12 annual fee is worth it, but a better deal, if you share it with someone who can split the high cost of the IMAX-lite and ETX presentations. With the high cost of concessions and the close proximity to the food court, its tempting to bring in outside food undercover.
I saw ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ in Digital 3D a few weeks ago. It was usual dark, with yet another Lucas tweak, at the beginning of the pod race. Sound and projection were good in #6.
The past week I saw ‘The Hunger Games’ in #1. As usual, the sound and picture were first rate. I love the Dolby 7.1 trailer, but miss the THX sound trailer. The movie is a bit overrated with elements of ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’ and ‘The Running Man’ with the violent nature of the ‘game’ played with the kids.
I was lucky this time and was able to catch the 70mm version of ‘Hello Dolly.’ Not surprisingly, there were quite a few patrons in spite of the bad weather. I do not recall seeing the film in its entirety even when it would run on tv, specifically, ABC’s movie of the week, in the 70s. Overall, we had a good time watching this classic.
The film looked quite good. Colors were bright but I did notice some contrasting dark parts around the perimeter of the movie in some parts. For example, during the parade scene, you could see the vibrant colors of the costuming, particularly nice bright reds. Yet, if you look at the sky above, it was grey as if a storm were approaching. Not sure if it was just the source negative that faded, but you’d expect color correction if the print was from a digital source, as is with the newer restorations.
Sound was decent as well. I noticed in the beginning when Walter Matthau’s character talked and moved to the left, his voice travelled ‘following him.’ I didn’t notice surrounds though. It seemed as if everything played from the screen. Was this the way the film originally played in the same 6-track format? Or, was the surround switch turned off from the projection booth. :)
The best 70mm presentations I have experienced, even if the film’s story is bad, at least treated one to an immersion of sight and sound, with the surround track and booms. Being a musical, I expected to be surrounded by orchestral instruments with Streisand’s voice filling up the auditorium.
As to the summer 70mm festival, I did send in my suggestion but received no response, as usual. I suspect when they do get to running it, it will be the usual films like 2001 and Lawrence of Arabia, which according to a recent posting on in70mm.com, is to have a celebratory anniversary re-release soon.
Hmmm. It is interesting to note that the same film is playing at the AMC Georgetown 14 nearby, in IMAX-lite. I’m assuming their IMAX-lite install is the same as the others..I haven’t been to the Georgetown 14 in years.
I saw ‘Iron Lady’ in 6 a few weeks ago in DP. The picture and sound were quite good, but not as good as at the BowTie Annapolis Harbour. It may be that I sat in the back at the Harbour as opposed to smack in the front here. Great movie. I hope Meryl Streep wins another Oscar, but since Glenn Close has yet to win one and she is also nominated, it may not happen.
I also saw ‘Red Tails’ in #13. Very good surround and picture. There was some disruption in the beginning of the movie but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the movie and the presentation. The audience, mostly African American, was a bit boisterous in the beginning. There was an older lady sitting to the left of me, who would occasionally SHHH. If we were in DC, say at the Regal Gallery Place, I’d fear there would have been some confrontation with the lady since she was white SHHH-shing. Fortunately, it did not escalate. As with other theaters, no one came in at all during the show to check on the exit doors.
The movie did bring out some cat calls and applause when a character surprisingly returns from a prison camp. As such, the audience participation was a welcome surprise.
I can’t believe I spent almost $40 here; $25 on tickets and another $12 for a popcorn/soda combo. With my AMC Stubbs card, I was able to get it upsized for free. On my way out, I did get refills for both for later consumption. They need to have popcorn seasonings here other then the hydrogenated imitated butter glop.
Which of the 8 is THX Certified? Is it 4? I blogged about visiting here but it has disappeared. I think I saw the first Mission Impossible movie here back in ‘96 in the THX theater.
How expensive is it to make a new print of the older movies? A few thousand? I imagine 70mm would be a little more, of course.
With the director’s edition of TMP, they must have a digital version of it, from which to strike a new print, or go to the original source negatives. Of course, the investment would need recouping. One would think with the popularity of the reboot, revisiting the classic cast would be a no-brainer.
One sound effect I love about 70mm 6 track presentations is when the movies use that sssHHHHHHHHHH transitional sound effect. It gives me goose bumps. Lifeforce has it in the title sequence, Cocoon has it as the film transitioned from space, to earth and sea. Star Trek 3 has it in the opening after the Paramount logo and Brainstorm has it at the end, during the ascension light show sequence at the end.
Hello Dolly is playing here on 3/24, in 70mm. One measly day. I hope to make it that day. Maybe AFI will reconsider and have more showings. I hope that print isn’t pinked out.
I want some decent sci-fi. No more 2001, please. They’ve shown it enough. Come to think of it..no more Lawrence of Arabia, either. Not to offend fans of either movie, its just that whenever the AFI Silver has 70mm anything, its usually always those two that play.
Show all Star Treks' from TMP-VI, please. :D It would be Trektacular! They had a 70mm retrospective two years ago at the Laehmle (spelling) with a ‘special guest star’ from either the cast or production crew to take Q&A. I know ..I know…we aren’t in SoCA/LA so the stars can just drive over. If the AFI can’t get at least ONE star and/or production crew person (director, producer, production designer, etc)to do Q&A, at least Louise Fletcher does live in nearby Leesburg VA… :)
70mm of TMP (the first Star Trek movie) would be great as it was the only one (and probably one of the last movies) with an overture. It would be perfect to play in the Historic Auditorium. Closed curtain..or partially opened..i forget now, dimmed lights..Ilia’s theme. Curtains opening..house lights turned off. Paramount’s bright logo and Jerry Goldsmith’s stirring, Academy Award nominated score!
The 70mm of WSS was okay, just not what I had expected, as blogged above, but my expectations were probably set too high given the number of glowing experiences during the earlier years.
Brainstorm is out there and would be great in 70mm. I have vivid and fond memories of it playing at the MacArthur. There is a circulating print and would be true 70mm as part of it (the point of view or ‘dream’ parts and sfx) were filmed in 65mm. To be honest, I think it would play even better at the Uptown given the fact that the 70mm scenes, would play better on the curved screen, then on flat.
Whatever they choose to play in 70mm, I hope whomever is in the projection booth remembers to play it up loud. If the sound isn’t cranked up, it lessens the experience. Some of the sound fx in the channels don’t play up right if the sound is too low and the experience just becomes like ‘any other’ movie.
Eh. I don’t agree. If the movie is good, people will come. Watching a DVD is not the same as experiencing it in a modern theater, whether it is film or digital. Though these days, it seems to be digital….and I like it. No more flickering, spotty, washed out movie prints for my $6-$17 ticket.
Not sure if it is just me, but I am noticing audiences are less ‘involved’ in the moviegoing experience today then say, 20+ years ago. Less clapping, cheering, call outs. When I saw ‘Joyful Noise,’ there were some active church going folk who would ‘amen’ and clap during many of the gospel numbers and Queen Latifah’s big Momma speech to her screen daughter. Hallelujah! :D
I still go just about every week on average, maybe more. It just depends on the time and what is out there. I’m trying to see all the Oscar nominated films so I’m ‘informed’ come Academy Award time.
What is outrageous are the outrageous prices that the chains charge for concessions. I was at the AMC the other day and couldn’t believe my eyes seeing combo prices in the $15-$18 range for something like chicken tenders and a soda! Ridiculous! No wonder people don’t go or sneak food in. And, yes, I know venues have to charge out-of-this-world concession prices to make up for what the movie companies take out of their box office earnings.
Its sad to read about a local venue closing. Unfortunately, the blog from residents in the area all seem to agree the place was poorly run. Statements about a dirty venue and bad customer service does not sound good, although it managed to survive for ten years.
While it is sad to read news about a local theater closing, the blog on the paper’s site from residents seem to agree that the place was not properly run. Comments ranging from bad customer service and a dirty theater does not sound good for any theater.
Hmm. Finally, someone to share comments with this theater…I wonder why I no longer get notifications even when the site says I am subscribed to it.
CWK, if the venue is no longer THX certified, why are there THX plaques all over the place; at the box office and prominently and proudly displayed in #1? On the THX website, it still lists the venue as being certified. As such, someone must be paying for the certification status, otherwise, the plaques and website info would be taken down.
Bring back and play the THX sound trailers, please. Surely there are digital version of them..I’m thinking the last one with the flower petals is DP, as they’ve played that in DP movies here before.
I have enjoyed various movies over the holidays and last month to include; ‘Footloose,’ ‘Joyful Noise’ and ‘The Grey’ last week to a soldout crowd in #1 opening weekend.
With all the updates, they need to reprogram the self service ticket kiosks to read/accept the BowTie movie card to avoid the lines at the box office when it gets busy. Regal and AMC do. :)
I have been to several movies at the Harbour 9 in recent weeks and have seen ‘Iron Lady’ in #5, ‘Albert Nobbs’ in #7, ‘Hugo’ and ‘Immortals’ both in 3D. Other then the 3D films, the others seem to be projected with brighter light then at the mall theaters.
With the large number of elderly that frequent the afternoon shows, staff should be more attentive to their needs. An elderly couple came in during previews and could not see where they were going. An usher would have been welcome, but all they do are collect tickets at the top of the escalator. Curiously enough, there are no carpet/runway type lights either to illuminate the floor, at least in #5.
On a concession note, the large soft drink size seems to have been downsized. What a bummer, to get ‘less’ for that $4.75 :P
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. ;)