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Sadly, but predictably: no curtains.
I am a layperson when it comes to projection beyond seeing a LOT of films and remembering issues such as judder, scratchy green lines, etc. I saw The Hateful Eight here on 12/27, and I found the experience…all right. It was indeed in comparatively mid-sized auditorium number 10. No horror stories, but the ultra-wide image did not fill the screen; there was several feet of black nothingness above the frame. There were a few scratches during the overture, but those may represent intentional grind-house homage considering the director.
I strongly suspect Robert Richardson’s shadowy, snowy cinematography will be just as handsome when projected digitally at most multiplexes.
Random observation: I have decided I am not a fan of intermissions when watching a new film with a relatively rowdy/mix-of-casual-viewers-and-fans general audience. I found it…upsetting or at least, in a way, uncomfortable and distancing when the film paused for the intermission, and people started with the, “They sure say the n word a lot in this!”/“This movie is slow. Should we just go eat dinner?”/“I’ll refill the popcorn” chitchat. I would have rather just powered through.
This theatre belongs on a site called Cinema Horrors, honestly. Old building. Filthy floors. Mediocre projection. Worse sound. In a rather bad part of town. They don’t even bother updating their roadside now-playing sign anymore; it still claims Prometheus is playing, for instance, a film which ended its run there over a a month ago.
I love this theatre, though, I must admit, more for the films they show than the audio/visual presentations. Most of the screens are, of course, small (house number five is one strange experience!), and I have experienced scratched/dirty prints, particularly when seeing a very small movie being shipped from Landmark location to Landmark location for one-week-only runs. Nothing too bad, though. I would give the E Street Cinema a rousing 10/10 for selection and a solid 7.5/10 for projection, sound, and comfort.
I’ve recently seen The Bourne Legacy and The Expendables 2 in house number one. Amazing presentations. Crisp digital picture. Thunderous (but also clear and nuanced) sound; I could even understand the majority of Sly Stallone’s lines, lol. Top-notch.
Also saw ParaNorman in 3-D, in house number two. Decent enough presentation. Good sound. The picture was a bit dim, but this isn’t too surprising when one is watching a largely nocturnal film with virtual sunglasses on. I would have rather seen it in 2-D, but the film is only on one screen, and the 2-D evening show didn’t fit my schedule.
To be honest, as a general rule, I prefer the projection here to the mall location. Tends to be brighter, crisper, etc. The sound is another story, though not -bad-. It is, I admit, a bit of a groaner if the movie you’re seeing is in auditoriums number seven, eight, or nine. Particularly if it’s an action-science-fiction-spectacle type film (such as The Avengers or Prometheus), and you’re catching up with it a month or so later.
Oh, also: at both this theatre and its sister at the Harbour Center, I notice they’ve at long last decided to utilize their sound systems to their fullest. For the longest time, the Dolby 7.1 “ALL…AROUND…YOU” left/rear/right introduction just played as “ALL…dead air…YOU” in most every auditorium. This sound-system promo has been playing properly for the last month and a half or so.
I saw The Amazing Spider-Man in 3-D in auditorium number two. The audio presentation proved solid, at times very dynamic, but otherwise a very unimpressive showing. Isn’t it now proper form to project 3-D features at levels brighter than usual, to counteract the glasses? The 2-D trailers (including The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, and Total Recall) were incredibly dim and hazy, and the situation didn’t improve during the feature with the 3-D (sun)glasses on. Honestly, a bit of a disaster of a presentation; nauseating during the motion-filled action sequences, with the entire color palette reduced to a bland grey. I am not a huge fan of the 3-D illusion in general, but I’ve seen gorgeous and satisfactory 3-D presentations at this theatre before (Avatar, Fright Night), so I know they can do much, much better.