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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.
Thanks for the info CSW. I remember reading something about the exhibition rights to ‘Porgy and Bess’ on the Ziegfeld thread. Thats too bad we couldn’t get it.
Howard, its ok. Its not like I bought advance tickets way in advance. Unless there is buzz in the news that there is a BIG event, I usually don’t buy movie tickets until the day of showing.
I did catch Sundays 8/19 70mm presentation of ‘Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.’ In spite of the rainy weather, there was a decent turn out.
As usual, they did not have pretzels of any kind and the usual ‘the truck has not arrived with supplies’ excuse was given.
The print looked good; very colorful, especially Ethel Merman’s red hair. Compared to the annual runs on ABC years ago, it was a treat to see it on the big screen without the annoying pan and scan motion of broadcast tv viewing. Its also great to see what older sitcom stars from the 70s did in movies like this. Norman Fell playing the Detective comes to mind. To see the Three Stooges, in color and on the widescreen, even though it was for that one scene at the airport was pleasant.
As with my experience with the 70mm ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘West Side Story’ the stereo sound is mostly all up front. I was hoping for at least some car zooms and whooshes from the side and rear theater speakers. The sound was most alive during the end car chase between Sylvester and Otto. I suppose the sound should have been louder. As such, those presentations, from my perspective and those who want to disagree..fine, were less immersive than my anticipation for viewing these classics turned out to be.
I was looking forward to the much talked about sound chatter and sirens during intermission but there was nothing but a musical interlude.
The travel curtain was used throughout. Well done, but whatever text card they put up at the very beginning could not be read over the curtain ripples at all.
I’m wondering if the Cinerama Dome presentation will be of the same print or something else.
Looks like ‘2001’ will have a repeat performance in early Sept. Maybe it will be worth another look.
I was just glancing through the list of movies for the 70mm retro and just discovered that they cancelled the Sep 3 showing of ‘Porgy and Bess’ due to rights clearances. Recalling the Senator’s blog of clearance rights by its competitor the Charles, I was thinking to myself, who would exercise their right NOT to show the movie. Doesn’t make sense. Maybe this can be worked out in the near future.
2001 is rebooked again..ho hum.
I hope to make it tomorrow to the ‘Mad’ showing and get my favorite house seat. :)
Amen to that Howard and Giles. I sometimes get jealous at reading the programming at Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome when they have one of their retro festivals. Then I have to remind myself that that theater is in the movie capital and they have ready access to the prints and people who can make things happen.
Howard, I think 2001 was the last 70mm movie I saw at the Uptown for its 40th anniversary. I remember taking my friend there for a different movie experience. He kept asking me what kind of movie it was and I had to tell him it will be unlike anything he has seen before and will probably not see anything like it again. At the time, we saw the movie K-Pax prior and it was one of those movies that provoked discussion on its meaning. I told him there was that similarity in the thought provoking nature but 2001 was heavy on visuals that were ahead of its time and is considered one of the greatest films of all time by some.
Unfortunately, he did not share my opinion and thought it was the worst thing he had ever seen. The movie was too long and that if he had edited it, it would have lasted 30 minutes. Our ensuing argument got no where and would make for an interesting movie on its own, along the likes of My Dinner With Andre. I blame his sentiment on the post MTV generation and how today’s movies seem to be edited with something happening every 120 frames or so. I call it Gen Y ADD.
We have a running joke between us in that every time he takes me to a movie I do not like that I have to pay for, he will have to sit through 2001, again. :)
The last time I wrote to AMC was to complain about a bad experience at their Magic Johnson Theater in Landover, MD. At that time, there was no contact AMC or email. You had to write to their headquarters in KS or someplace. I wrote and got no response. I suppose writing now may not make a difference or not.
I had thought they took out their 70mm projectors based on an earlier post. So..70mm anything is not going to happen. Given the size of the screen, perhaps IMAX-lite would be? As much as I like the Silver Theater, their tiny screen, in comparison to the Uptown’s, doesn’t do much for me and of the 70mm presentations I have seen, they have not been anything that was truly memorable.
Wow. It must be tough for Mr. Kiefaber. All I’d like to say is a big thank you for the last 10 years of so of great showmanship at the Senator (‘99-'09) that I have had the privilege of experiencing. I remember the emails we received in '05 when there was the possibility that Episode 3 was not going to get booked at the Senator, but as it turned out, they got it. My posting of that has disappeared along with comments prior and a little after.. :P Even though the theater is some 50..60 mi from where I live, it was worth the trip to experience movies as opposed to watching them.
Looking forward, I’m cautiously hopeful that the remodels will be done well. We will just have to wait and see. I look forward to the grand reopening. Maybe in time for this Christmas' release of The Hobbit?
My friend and I saw a free screening of a new Chris Rock movie “2 Days in New York” on film. For a new movie, I cannot believe the scratchy print that unfolded before my eyes. Not sure whom to blame, being new perhaps the people in the booth mishandled it. Being used to digital, the scratches did detract but one gets accustomed to it.
The film went on too long anyway and will not add anything to Chris Rock’s career. After seeing it, I felt like I needed to shower with all the talk of sex, pot and a French family with hygiene issues.
As previously blogged here, for those fans of movies, join Landmark’s film club and get invites to free screenings like this one. Most are pretty good.
According to Friday’s, 8/3/12 edition of the Washington Post, there is a community meeting Sat, 8/4, to discuss the future of the theater and possible uses.
I’m thinking if it ever were to show movies again, aside from the necessary upgrades and ADA compliance, you’d have to have more then one screen here. Perhaps 3. The configuration could maybe support the main auditorium restored but capacity reduced from the original 800 to say, maybe 500. The crying rooms upstairs could be converted to the two additional screening rooms if they can be expanded to accomodate comfortable seating and larger screens.
Ahhh finally, some bloggers to share experiences with!
I saw the latest ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ in 3D in #9. It was THX cert once upon a time, but the surrounds weren’t as powerful as it could have been. Sitting up towards the back, I was hoping for that immersive experience but heard mostly sounds in the front, with an occasional left speaker sound effect. Disappointing.
Also, the staff needs to be more attentive. The ticket taker took my ticket and forgot to give me 3D glasses while talking to the co-worker at the concession stand. Bad.
Given my lackluster experience in #9, it was even more disheartening to hear the loud end music to Batman Dark Knight Rises from #1. Hmmm. I’m holding out to see it in real IMAX when I have time to go downtown.
On a different note, it seems Bow Tie will be rolling out their own version of IMAX-lite and XD, with their BTX. They could easily tear down Screens 5 and 6 and combine them to one BIG 80' screened auditorium to compete with Cinemark’s XD and the IMAX-lite installs at AMC and Regal. Regal’s new Crofton venue will have IMAX-lite, so it makes sense to build one here to keep up with the competition.
Hooray, the Uptown is #1. The sheer screen size is a partial element to the immersive experience. Unfortunately, the known projection and sound issues detract from it being the best it can be.
Of the ones on the list besides the Uptown, I’ve only been to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The Arclight was just being built when I visited CA last a long time ago.
Good for them. Like many, I enjoy the experience and momentary get away that good movies provide especially at venues like the Uptown back in its day. Even on those days where its just myself and maybe a few other patrons, you can have a good time.
As the news unfolds about what this individual did in CO, it does make me pause for thought about safety. Then again, I think that of the what..20,000 screens or so, across the country, going to the movies is safe. Hopefully, it won’t start copycat incidences.
If anyone sees Knight Rises here, I’m curious as to how the presentation goes and if there have been improvements all around; projection, customer service, etc. I’m being swayed by the movie chains to see and pay for event movies in the IMAX-lite, XD, ETX formats nowadays. If the Uptown improves and comes close to what it was in its glory days, I wouldn’t mind driving back into town for those event films they book. Then again, there’s Baltimore’s remodeled Senator that will reopen soon.. :D
On its last day on the XD Screen, I saw Spiderman in 3D. I have to admit, I was apprehensive about this reboot. What is the need to reboot it other then to save money on production costs by eliminating its star and director? The FX and sound were first rate. Sound was good and, again, the 3D was dark. When I left, being the last one out, they stopped the movie. I guess there was no scenes at the end hinting at the next movie. The Starbucks drinks @ 4.50 aren’t bad but they aren’t Venti sized for what you could get at a real Starbucks.
Talk about teeny, tiny, little shoe box size theaters! More like screening rooms. I thought there was going to be just two screens added, but three?? The largest of the three has about 74 seats. I’m curious if they’re going to go all out and have decent sound systems without having them bleed over into the adjoining auditoriums. Or, imagine if sound from the main one were to bleed into the others. Not good.
Don’t quote me on this, but I had thought at the time of Episode One, back in ‘99, they were boasting the main auditorium had 40K watts of power, which would put it on par with the AMC’s ETX sound theater at Tysons Corner, VA. From my theatrical experiences here, I can still remember quite an aural experience..being compelled to 'move out of the way’ during the asteroid scene in Episode II; the Martian attack on earth in the ‘War of the Worlds’ remake, the Oliphant attack in the final ‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ and when Count Dooku uses the force to hurl Obi-Wan Kenobi from the left of the screen towards the back right.
I know. I’m not complaining. I’m looking forward to the rarer titles such as ‘Mad Mad Mad World’, ‘Porgy & Bess’.
Even on this site, they report LA/Hollywood theater 70mm festivals with different titles not seen in ages. Sleeping Beauty comes to mind. I’ve never seen a 70mm animated movie before..unless you count Roger Rabbit back in ‘88 at the Uptown. Yeah, that was blow up, too.
Steve, do you know if the 70mm films shown are newer prints with DTS or original 70mm with 6 track mag tracks?
Madagascar 3 in Digital (non-3D) was good in #1. Surrounds were very good. I think the film would have been better in 3D as there were many ‘in your face’ moments. The character eyes could have been drawn better as they looked too flat and dead. I know thats not the theater’s fault, but its just an observation that drew attention to itself during character close ups.
Ho hum. They’ve always had 2001 and Lawrence. ‘Tron’ and ‘West Side’ was recent ones, too. Other then Porgy (which is rare) and “Its a Mad Mad Mad..World' and ‘Spartacus’ it doesn’t really excite me. And no Star Trek :P not even in the 80s retrospective series. I suppose we’re lucky to get what is programmed. Given what LA has, you’d think we’d get something different.
I caught Men in Black in 3D Digital @ #7. This and #4 are not my favorite auditoriums. The picture seemed dark again probably because of the 3D. Sound was acceptable but not noteworthy. Movie was good and was surprisingly packed during the matinee showing.
I saw the excellent Prometheus movie here on the XD screen and in 3D. Presentation and sound were exceptional. With Ridley Scott filming it in 3D, the holographic imagery and tactical displays are truly amazing. The large screen experience is especially appreciated during the sequence when the shot of the planet starts to rotate with the ship coming into focus. I was developing vertigo during the rotation part, but fortunately, it stopped before I could get nauseated. :)
Some parts of the multi channel sound could be noticed especially around seat level, which adds to the immersion experience of the movie. I wanted to catch it at the AMC Tysons in ETX but they’ve got Tom Cruise’s ‘Rock of Ages’ movie there :P
The $14.75 price is more palatable, albeit slightly, then the $17 or $18 that AMC and Regal charges for 3D IMAX-lite.
For those frequent moviegoers out there. If you sign up on Cinemark’s email list, they send you a weekly coupon for a free beverage when you buy nachos or popcorn. I spent $5 on the nachos and got the $4 drink for free! Much better then paying $9 for the combo. When you think about it though, that little pack of Nachos may cost $1..$1.50 retail at your convenience store and the little ¼ cup of cheese..maybe 50c..you know what kind of profit killing they are making on that $9 combo price.
Wow! This is great news. I’ve read all the great things about Arclight, at least the plex near where the Cinerama Dome is located. Its too bad they can’t build a similar complex that has a super sized screen, even if its the IMAX-lite screens or XD screens that AMC and Cinemark have.
Montgomery Mall is supposedly going through an expansion. I used to work there and am curious as to where the cinemas are going to be built. If not part of a mall extension, perhaps a stand alone complex. The thing there is an independent theater downstairs by Macys that just renovated and reopened. Curious as to what their fate may be given the Arclight building announcement. Perhaps the independent could survive with counter programming but given the large 16 screener that the Arclight will have, it seems Arclight will have enough screens to book anything and everything.
On a positive note, if Arclight’s standards hold up with this plex on the other side of the US, it may force the others such as AMC and Regal to take notice . I am told Arclight’s projection and sound standards exceed that of THX. Thats a good thing. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of reserved seating. The Rave Multiplex in VA has it and I never liked the idea of having to sit in a specific seat and not move during a show if I find out that my original selection was not a good one.
Caught the new Johnny Depp movie “Dark Shadows” in #4 the other week. I enjoyed the movie better then I thought I would. As usual, the macabre nature of the Depp/Burton collaboration shows in this tv show send up. Unfortunately, the presentation was a bit off with sound and surrounds being a little off.
“Snow White and the Huntsmen” in #2 was better. The sound was appreciably up with good surrounds and digital crisp picture. Charlize Theron is surprisingly good as the evil Queen. The adult Snow White version borrows some visuals from Stephen Sommers ‘The Mummy’ remake especially with the soul sucking scene. No THX trailers at all. #1, #2 and #9 were supposedly THX certified. #1 still has the THX plaque, so the certs must still be in place.
Someone deleted my comment once again from this theater!! I saw Star Wars: The Phantom Menace here back in ‘99 in the theater that had DTS, which was probably the larger of the ones since I am sure Lucasfilm demanded the best for its first run release. It didn’t have the then updated Dolby EX system. Nothing memorable here. The presentation at the Senator, in Dolby EX, and the Uptown, DTS and its huge screen were better experiences.
As far as Bow Tie opening a theater, I believe they have cancelled plans. Their website no longer has the Brandywine Crossing location as a future theater. I had spoken with a CR rep, back in February, about my frequent moviegoer point error and asked about the opening. She said they are no longer interested in the once Kerasotes (now bought by AMC) site.
I saw the updated ‘The Three Stooges’ in #4. Movie was enjoyable and surprised the theater was almost filled out and enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The actors captured the likeness and traits of the original to a t. I’m surprised the movie did not do better than it has.
My friend and I saw ‘Lockout’ in #7. A motorized curtain cropped the smallish screen even smaller, for scope, which drew an outburst from a guy in the audience.
Even with the 7.1 upgrade, the lack of subwoofer depth demanded by trailers of upcoming blockbuster films, should require another look at further upgrades. When they played the trailer for ‘Battleship,’ it sounded very tinny compared to the booom booom boooom experience in the THX cert auditorium 1 at the Annapolis Mall.
In70mm reports a 70mm festival here. Unfortunately, the hyperlink just goes back to the theater webpage. No information as of yet. Not even on the calendar. Someone is in the know and is not telling…hopefully, we’ll have some decent sci-fi this time. There is a new print of 2001 in 70mm. I suspect that will be booked yawn again.
I can’t imagine why, short of a genuine life or death emergency, why someone would need to text or make a call in the theater. Even if you happen to receive this emergency call, like in many of the theater ads, go outside and take your call or do your text. The owner of the Alamo theater is right, if you violate the rules, you are NOT a customer. Leave.
The theater is currently undergoing renovation. Supposedly, two additional screens will be added. The last film to play here was ‘The Hunger Games.’