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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.’
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.