Comments from John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com)

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John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Improvements at the Caldwell on Apr 10, 2014 at 7:49 am

The presentation has greatly improved since Bow Tie’s take over – clear, bright, in focus, and in frame (digital of course allows a certain degree to correct for poorly divided theaters). The once infamously awful KinMall is now a theater I frequent a few times a month because the presentation is now very good (I never thought I’d say that!).

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about RC Maumee 18 on Mar 25, 2014 at 7:46 am

It’s been converted to a Church – here’s a current interior photo: https://www.google.com/maps/preview/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x883c775c9ebffb4b:0x2f7136381679cdb8!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/115202883054903662450/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kp:placepageimage%26socpid%3D1!5scalvary+church+maumee+–+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=ZZYxU5Qk4qbSAZXTgJAK&ved=0CJ0BEKIqMA0

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Central Plaza Cinema on Feb 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

RE: Optimist008 – Hudson Mall is currently open despite the revolving door of operators over the years – they’ve have covered to digital.

Western New York is a region where a few GCC locations of various vintages can be found – the most “vintage” of the bunch (all are digital by the way!) are Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, NY (including a big auditorium with a shadowbox screen!) and Chautauqua Mall I & II in Jamestown. A few others in Buffalo-Rochester were either of the 80’s vintage or evolved towards that “look” (Movieland 8 – formerly Thruway Mall has quite a history – it’s a GCC of two eras….although sadly its in very rough shape as a very popular discount theater – while I don’t recall it having a shadowbox screen, they still an original giant auditorium that seats about 600!).

I can’t speak for Hudson Mall but one location that has a few GCC touches lurking in a wing (including original style bathrooms) is Starplex Brunswick Square – the auditoriums recently underwent an extensive renovation (I’m not sure if they had a Shadowbox screen and if so it survived several renovations and divisions).

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12 on Feb 6, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I visited tonight – the escalators were out of commission (I admit I walked in a minute past showtime but by time the elevator took me upstairs I had missed a bit of the movie – apparently they show very little if any trailers). A fairly large screen with a Christie Solaria One running in the booth.

I doubt the theater is run by the UK-based Empire Cinemas despite adverting specials. The disturbing thing is when I mentioned the specials and the website the staff said “we don’t do discounts – that’s not our website”. Um kay.

The facilities were on the whole clean, although very empty. The hallway between the auditorium entrance and the theatre were pitch black apart from the exit lights – a little unnecessary. Overall that as well as the dishonest advertising including using another theater’s intellectual property rubs me the wrong way.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Currently the plaza is under construction – I had caught a flick here the other day. Its a perfectly utilitarian National Amusements design complete with corrugated steel walls. It appears seating ranged from 190 to 480 – I was lucky enough to be in #5 -the largest theater in the house. The layout of the mall is uninviting and looks as if it was designed to accommodate lots of crowds (and potentially problems). The walk up to the theater looks like a prison, the theater is 2 floors underground). The theater itself has a central concession stand (it looks newish) and the 10 theaters flank the stand along with two sets of restrooms. Overall the experience was – well – an interesting one, I can’t say I’ll be back but the theater was clean (even if the auditorium I was in smelled a little like a hospital), but they left the Real D polarizers on a 2D presentation – ugh – I wish they would make projectors that would refuse to start up if a 3D polarizer was left on for a 2D movie.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12 on Jan 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

It’s reopened as Empire Cinemas. Here’s the very very strange thing about this – the site is straight out of the Cinema Holdings template (look at the sites they run – like Allwood and Hudson Mall, exact same site) – but…. if you click on Empire Deals you’ll discover the same specials that Empire Cinemas of the UK is offering (exact same names, font, etc). Very strange. Could Empire Cinemas of the UK quietly entered the US market – – at a theater that’s been passed around from operator to operator (Regal, United Artist, Cinemark/Interstate, Starplex, Phoenix, Phoenix/Big Cinemas)?

http://www.columbiaparkcinemas.com/?p=content&id=Empire+Specials

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Clairidge Cinemas on Dec 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

The theaters are still awkwardly chopped up but the experience has vastly improved over the years – Clearview remodeled the theaters a few years ago (new seats, carpets, concession stands and restrooms) and Bow Tie has installed digital projection which has been a big improvement (although I haven’t seen a show in theater #4 which had a poorly placed port window that greatly distorted the image – digital projection can correct for keystoning). Over all I enjoy the theater now – the staff is friendly, the place is clean, and they’re the first to show some great movies (although I admit I miss the days when Montclair had 11 art house screens….even if I don’t miss The Screening Zone).

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about AMC Headquarters Theatres on Dec 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm

No improvements as of yet – in fact some minor downgrades currently (no soda fountains, not sure if that’ll be the case until they install the Coke Freestyle machines with the upgrade). The theaters are currently showing 35MM (they may have two digital houses from Clearview remaining but I don’t know – we saw a movie in 35MM, no pre-show or AMC branding – just one trailer and the movie…wish it was always this simple). A packed house too with a sold out crowd for American Hustle.

The good news is we were warmly greeted by the one and only Fluffy – – very glad to see him!

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Teaneck Cinemas on Dec 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

A photographer caught the extreme makeover (I apologize if this link doesn’t work or changes) –

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.660991233929266.1073741832.580266278668429&type=1

(Or search Facebook for Janet Joyner Photography and the album “Teaneck Cinemas”)

The theater had been in very bad shape last I visited in the spring of 2011 before they closed (I had seen a movie in the main auditorium where they used the curtain – cool, but the projection was out of focus, the sound was too low – especially for a dialogue driven Wit Stillman comedy, and the theater was freezing).

From the photos this place is looking great – with a complete modernization and a restoration of the some of the original art deco elements that were buried 20-40 years ago. I can’t wait to check it out this week!

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Town Center Plaza 10 on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Starplex is taking this over as of today, now listed as Town Center Plaza 10. Upgrades planned are luxury seating and digital projection.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Kinnelon 8 on Nov 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

Bow Tie has solved the major problem I had with many of the Clearview locations – Kinnelon has gone all digital and the picture is sharp, bright and most importantly – in focus! I look forward to seeing what they do circuit-wide as they continue to work on the Clearview sites.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Nov 29, 2013 at 10:19 am

Speaking of which: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/downtown-buffalos-only-movie-theater-may-soon-go-dark-20131128

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Nov 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Last place in town to see a first run show in 35MM! (Movieland is 5/8ths 35MM – – and everyone else is fully digital)

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Starplex Luxury Cinemas at Ridgefield Park 12 on Oct 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Visited tonight – it appears to be a bit of a work in progress (or not….Starplex’s other NJ location – Brunswick Square, also saw very few changes beyond the auditoriums). Great presentation and extremely comfortable black leather-ette recliners – side masking for those that care about that kind of thing (at least in theater #2) along with the promised video monitors in the lobby, snack bar and guiding us into the auditoriums. Once in the hallway no atmosphere what-so-ever- – new carpeting and the removal of the small concession stand downstairs, also no posters or signs beyond (temp?) auditoriums numbers.

Many touches remain including (like Brunswick Square) the bathrooms – which could use some remodeling and other lobby touches. Hopefully they’ll class up the joint a bit more. The customer service however was excellent tonight and the staff was friendly explaining the Starplex rewards card and greeting folks prior to cleaning the auditorium (and showing off how the seats worked for those that hadn’t been in this kind of theater before). Good experience and great value – the adult ticket price at $10 is, I think, the cheapest in Bergen County for by far the best seats. If only the theater wasn’t in such a weird location.

A bar and expanded concessions may be on the way (lobby space is certainly in no shortage). An awful lot to like about this theatre so far – and hopefully Starplex’s work isn’t done yet.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers on Oct 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Bow Tie unfortunately departed from Central Plaza so Alamo can pretty much show whatever they want now. I had originally thought Alamo would be the place for genre kinds of films, while Central Plaza might get more family friendly stuff – even though Alamo does play both (in fact I spoke with families when I was the director a tech camp two summers ago in Austin and many families make the Alamo a theater of choice for a day out).

I had visited Yonkers opening night and had a good experience even if it wasn’t perfect (it was opening night – and they took 75% off our bill so I’m not complaining). They have pictures up on Facebook – and while they didn’t install Stadium Seating they made extensive lobby changes while keeping some of the vintage charm of this one painting the brick walls red and installing a theme (this one is Dr. Strangelove). Over all, like the locations I visited in Austin, this is first class operation.

Still I regret not getting to Central Plaza before they closed – I’ve been told much of the GCC charm is in tact :(

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Plans fall apart for Manhattan Drafthouse on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

It does suck (although I would have likely been more apt to travel to Yonkers than the New Metro, all things being equal).

I was at Yonkers opening night and briefly suggested to Tim League they look into Headquarters Plaza in Morristown – which I think would have been an ideal spot (AMC is moving back with those great luxury recliners – which is pretty great news as well).

I’m hoping they’re behind the new Paramus Park 13 but suspect not as Alamo’s largest complexes have 10-screens each. Paramus Park would make sense as a more civilized alternative to GSP, which really should have been a 20+ screen theater (it, along with Clifton Commons and Rockaway is constantly packed…even on weeknights).

It’s worth noting iPic is planning a luxury cinema in Fort Lee, they seem like the kind of theater that might take over this project if the developers still really want a theater. And with their ticket prices ($35 in some markets verses Alamo’s modest $12 in Yonkers) the numbers might make sense for them.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Boyd Theatre on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm

For better or worse its now slated to become a luxury facility run by iPic Entertainment – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ipic-entertainment-announces-visionary-movie-theater-escape-to-debut-in-philadelphia-225958491.html

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Studio Movie Grill Northwest Highway on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Now closed – or at least off the AmStar’s website?

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Starplex Luxury Cinemas at Ridgefield Park 12 on Sep 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

Opens Sept 20th – it will still have 12 screens, with one auditorium featuring Barco’s 4D sound system and an adult 2D evening ticket price of $10.00. Other future plans a press release mentioned was a bar and expanded concessions – – all and all, I hope they do this one right (the whole complex was in pretty shabby shape last we visited in April) – because if they do, they’ll take this place back to its former glory. Once upon a time this was the coolest theater in North Jersey, with a coffee shop and a motion simulator ride in the lobby – if anything they’ve got an awful lot of lobby space (perhaps they could later carve out a 25-seat micro cinema for indie films).

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about AMC Empire 25 on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:58 am

Probably, that and the area is on lockdown after a certain point with security check points, etc – and once it reaches a certain capacity they close the street – thus, I doubt anybody would want to deal with the those crowds, just to see a movie one NYE.

(Then again you could be stopped and frisked anytime you’re walking down the street in NYC! – thanks Mike Bloomberg!)

The lobby (and those great outdoor patios) are taken over and I believe the NYE party offers a variety of packages, etc on each level – I believe a private organization rents the space from AMC.

By the time NYE rolls around I have very little energy to party truth be told, but I did look into this out of curiosity (I believe the package also included a pass into the secure zone should the NYPD close the area to the general public – those going somewhere were permitted in).

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Movie theaters in airports unlikely on Jul 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Not sure this will take off (Pun Intended!) – surely a small multiplex or boutique theater might do well on occasion if there are heavy delays, but my experience is no one likes to spend more time than they need to in an airport so I’m not sure adding a 2 hour experience would be fun (especially if you’re checking an app to see if your next flight is going out on time). It might be fun to have a venue for short films with travel updates between films, but again many folks are traveling with entertainment loaded on their iPad, computer or phone (I know I load my iPad full of movies without nudity and excessive offensive images before a trip).

That and flying requires a lot of sitting – often not in great comfort: that last thing I want to do is add another 2 hours of sitting – I’d much rather go see a movie that night when I get into wherever I’m going.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Luxury Cinemas 13 on Jun 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Starplex has upgraded the auditoriums to digital projection and luxury seats (black leather recliners) – capacity has been greatly reduced, tonight we saw The Internship in an auditorium with 32 seats!

The lay out is pretty interesting – 1-4 on one side, on the other: 5-8 ahead and 9-13 to the right, comprising the old “Movies at Brunswick Square” subdivision of the original GCC. The theater still has a few GCC touches including the steel “curtains” in the lobby of the 9-13 side, along with a GCC style concession stand. Not sure if they have a picture window screen (I didn’t want to peep around too much) – but the bathrooms are original GCC in that wing… with much smaller doors and stalls. The letter (black on a white door) for the men’s room is still vintage GCC as well. Interesting complex!

The Ben & Jerry’s is gone, however the Nathins in the lobby is still there along with tables and arcade games. The D-BOX seats were removed with the addition of the leather recliners. Also to Starplex’s credit they lowered prices ($8.50 for full price adult evening admission). I’m happy they kept a few GCC things in tact for us cinema geeks!

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about Social media gets in on the pre-show on May 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Cineplex in Canada is leading the way on integrating social media, customer data, etc. They have the US beat and have a mobile app called Time Play.

The other app I dig (although not social media) is Cinemark’s MovieMode, which essentially bribes you not to touch your phone at any point in the film in exchange for a free small popcorn. Not a bad deal by any means.

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about North Park Theatre on May 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Great news is although it had been reported Dipson is closing it on June 6th, the building’s owner and a local restauranteur are planning on upgrading and restoring this beautiful cinema (which sadly isn’t in the greatest shape): http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130523/CITYANDREGION/130529619/1010

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) commented about AMC Loews East Hanover 12 on May 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm

It might have been Dec 17, 1993 – the first film I saw here was The Pelican Brief, potentially opening weekend of the complex.