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Thats awful to hear, Giles. Maybe the bookings were too heavy at AFI with their current schedule that they couldn’t get it. Or, the Wexner had exclusive rights to be the only venue in this market to show it? I forget the term now..but it was talked about in the Balto Senator’s forum a lot.
I did catch the Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture Thanksgiving week. There was a word document on the door indicating this version was not the theatrical version but is the first time this version has been shown theatrically.
An older man was at Concessions, no greeting, no thank you, no..‘your movie is showing in ..nothing. Its funny..I was running a little late, as usual, with the traffic and assumed it was in #1. They had the name of some other movie there and assumed it was in #2..ran there and nope, omg, not #3..ran there, nope. Went back to #1 and opened the door and yes, this was the one..they just started the overture with open curtains. I thought, maybe mistakenly so, that the curtains are closed during overtures. Being after the 4:30pm starting time and me finding my seat, I felt they were waiting just for me to arrive to start the movie :)
As the movie began, sure enough, the dulled picture was most likely the regular DVD that has been out for 13 years or so. Sound levels were okay, I did hear stereo in the front. Music was everywhere during the end credits. Despite the presentation quality, it was nice to see the TOS crew on the big screen. Despite its shortcomings, which are well documented, one has to appreciate the old style moviemaking such as key lighting on the bridge close ups of some of the stars, attention to detail such as the makeup, costumes and production design.
All in all, I enjoyed this presentation far better than the Richard Donner cut of Superman II they showed here in Blu Ray a few years back. Supe II was just awful and subdued as if to have a mono soundtrack.
If they ever make a proper theatrical print of the Director’s Edition of Star Trek, Paramount better do something about the current neutered soundtrack and polishing the VFX to theatrical standards of visual quality. Its okay to play at home. I’d think Gene Roddenberry would’ve objected to at least one change and that was the elimination of the ship’s male computer voice and klaxon ship alarms since it was his idea to have them in the first place. In the original release, they had you jump in your seat from the blaring alarms and the male computer voice was kind of futuristic cool, if a bit cold. It got your attention, which is the idea.
Thanks Steve for your info..informative as always.
When you say the projectionist checks the print in, is this done all the time? With sound levels, I gather the studio, perhaps the director (himself or herself) will have instructions to play the film a certain way with sound levels at a particular setting, etc. With today’s DP, how do you ‘check’ that in if its all on the hard drive? Does the theater do a trial run of the print, film or digital, before it actually is publically screened? And there is a back up for digital, and an extra film print (for film shows) just in case? And lastly, can’t the venue request the BEST print available, or does it just settle for whatever the studio wants to give out. I would think with the venue being AFI, they can and should get the absolute best print ALWAYS since you’ve got a projectionist to take extra care in film handling especially with 70mm and those other rare prints.
Re: 2001 sound. I forgot to mention the alarm system on the Discovery that went off was also not as ear drum splitting, along with the slightly faded graphics. Was the sound on digital disc or magnetic stripes? :)
My favorite showing of 2001 is still the advertised ‘virgin’ print back in ‘90 or so at the Uptown. If I scanned the ad from the Post, i’m wondering if the site would post it…
Haha. Giles! I knew 2001 had a very short run and I read about ‘Pulp..’ but 2001 won out for me since last night was its last night and ‘Pulp..’ is showing in #3. For as long as AFI Silver has been open, I’ve never seen a movie in that auditorium. I’m sure its okay, but it is the smallest of the 3. :P
If the venue has curtains, why not use them? Its part of the showmanship that cinemas are losing nowadays. Look at our local AMCs and cough Regals. But hey, we are getting comfy oversized leather, or faux leather, recliners! Ho-hum. Theaters should do everything they can from excellent customer service to venue amenities to keep people coming back.
I haven’t checked out the new Arclight, but hope to very soon. I think AFI and Landmark will get some competition from them and if their concession fare is better then AFI’s, which from the website, it seems to be, its going to be tough.
I’m not sure when you arrived, but did you hear/see the little commotion about the patron who got kicked out? I’m not sure if the AFI employee was the manager, he was casually dressed, or security.
From what the patron was saying, he was caught switching theaters, but the employee just said ‘you know what you did.’ Not sure how it all ended since I was already late.
From my last two blogs, security there is lax. I walked in (with my print at home ticket) and there was no one there to check in..I just went in straight to #1 and saw the movie. Then there was the homeless guy with his cart of belongings, maybe he did have a ticket..shouldn’t be judgmental..I know. :)
I caught ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in 70mm tonight. The website denoted a Montgomery College gathering and I had mistakenly thought it was for students only. Surprisingly, the attendance was large for a weeknight showing, then again there were many students in attendance for a class discussion that followed after the movie.
With traffic, I knew I was going to run late and printed my ticket but still waited in the concession line to get in. I’m thinking to myself, whats the point in home ticket printing if you still have to wait to be let in. I understand its advantageous to buy concession stand fare, but its still a time waster. I missed maybe 1 minute as the movie started at the point of the ‘Thus Spake Zathrusta’ or whatever its called beginning music. It appears the curtain was used and there were probably no previews showed.
On the Concession stand front, I tried the Hummus with Pita bread for $5. While they microwaved the 5 little and I mean little pitas, its not worth $5. Maybe $2. The Capuccino was great for $3.50 and should sufficiently caffeinate someone for a movie that runs as long as 2001. :)
This time around, I just wanted to enjoy the movie and hoped the print was decent enough. On the in70mm site, there was a report about a new 4K print, yeah, this was 70mm..fine. This film print definitely was not new, or recent, there was some fading particularly the scene where the graphics to the stasis pods of the Discovery’s scientists in hybernation. Bowman’s close ups of his BIG BLUE eyes weren’t colorly vibrant, but thats ok. He looks less scary. :) Towards the middle of the end, after intermission, there were noticeable artifacts, line down the middle, blocks/patches..expected for aging film prints but not detractable from the enjoyment.
Some detractions other than the film were hearing the projector clackety clack from the booth up above when there was no music from the movie was playing (which was a good portion of it). I had thought there was sound proofing but evidently not. Also, a radio or CD playing could be heard, which I thought was an adjacent auditorium, but remembered this was no where near 2 and 3. Must have been the booth. Then there was a guy who added his own touch to the soundtrack with his buzz saw snoring. Thankfully, the intermission gave a break to it, but I believe he nodded off again afterwards but caught himself before the first snore. :)
Even with the amount of times of seeing this movie (or any favorite), sometimes you find something new that you didn’t from the prior viewings. During the Dawn of Man sequence, there seems to be a matte painting of a body of water..perhaps lake that was just beyond the ape encampment. I hoped they would reuse the same set up for a future scene to double check, but didn’t notice it again, which means I’ll need to watch the sequence the movie again to be sure.
A new question that popped in my head was why is it Dr. Floyd is the ONLY passenger not just on the Pan Am space flight to the station, but to the American moon base, too. Can you imagine an airline running a flight with just ONE passenger on it? I’d think they’d just cancel it. Not sure what Kubrick was thinking, of course, but he could have had a few more extras in those scenes other than the flight crew. Its no wonder Pan Am is out of business..can’t make money on single passenger space flights… :)
Sitting on the the other side of the theater, I did experience some surrounds not memorable from previous showings. HAL’s voice, for one. To be sure, I compared it to the voices of Bowman and Poole and sure enough, there voices were in front. I believe there needed to be more bass especially during the Stargate Corridor sequence based on my prior theatrical and home viewings. Not sure if they can be adjusted anyway.
When the movie ended, I was curious to see if anyone was going to clap and thought I would be first, but an older couple behind me beat me to it and the audience towards the theater’s rear followed. After the closing credits, a gentleman stood up and announced a discussion for his students and audience members who wanted to stay behind. I wish I had had time to stay just to see what Millenials, the close minded ones, would have to say about this film. I bet at least one would say that the 3 hour movie was 2 hours and 50 minutes too long. :)
Steve, if and when you read this, can you comment on whether the #1 or any of AFI’s auditoriums or modern venues in general, have some kind of equalizer or similar electronic device to tweak the sound? On the Ziegfeld page, with the current discussion on ‘Interstellar’s IMAX soundtrack, Vito was mentioning that on 70mm films he ran, they could improve on sound levels using some kind of equalizer.
For those of you who saw the 70mm movie here, did they show anything to denote that the presentation was in 70mm?
Back in the day, I remember there was a short “This movie PRESENTED in 7 0 M M” with the presented in 70mm in flying font like the end credits in Superman or the beginning ones in Superman II.
Its a film on celluloid folks. If not handled right, you’ll have scratches, blotching, etc etc. Thats why we’ve got digital cough today. :)
I’m hoping the movie lasts through the holidays so I can see it here.
HDCAM-SR? SR standing for spectral recording (stereo)? :)
I attended a showing of 2005’s ‘Corpse Bride’ along with two Tim Burton shorts in the Historic Auditorium. I believe I saw it originally in DP in #10 at BowTie Annapolis Mall during its original run. Unfortunately, someone deleted all pre-2K7 posts, so I can’t be sure, now. :P The print seems to hold up well and the sound was amazing showcasing Burton-fave composer, Danny Elfman and his wonderful score. I came in as they were drawing the curtain, surprise surprise! I didn’t know the Historic Auditorium had side masking (cropped for the shorts). When my friend and I saw the original King Kong in #2, I believe the screen was curtained off, but not sure, as that post is gone. I remember the THX trailer and thinking whats the point? This is an old B&W mono sound movie. Sadly, there was probably only 5 people in the whole auditorium for the show.
I like the director Robert Wise film memorabilia. The original Star Trek movie Enterprise model looks cute. I have the original souvenir movie program and some other things, I wonder if they’d be interested in showcasing them (on loan, of course) in exchange for some free movie passes? :)
Ross, over the years, I have been noticing certain theaters have had missing comments. Its as if they were deleted (to make space?) or somehow ‘lost.’ I’ve emailed to the comments mailbox but have never received a response. Not one.
Maybe the updates will include short video uploads of favorite theaters? :)
How can anyone be ‘excited’ about 35mm projection? On a platter, most likely! Plllleaaase! Harken back to the days of scratched prints, blotchy picture, no thank you. The Arclight website did boast 70mm at ‘all’ locations but not here :P
On a positive note, I am anxious to check this place out for myself given all the hoopla about presentation and sound ‘exceeding’ THX certs.
HDCam being cassette?? Nooooo. That would be a travesty. I shudder at the thought of how that would look widescreen in either #2 or the Historic Auditorium.
I think the DE of TMP was made specifically with standard DVD in mind, which is what.. 480 dp? So when BluRay came out, they couldn’t release the DE of TMP because the supplemental effects would need to be rendered for the higher standard. The AFI schedule did indicate a lot of showings compared to other Wise films. I’m hoping they present it the way I remember it, complete with curtains, light dims and the overture. :)
Re: KB Cinema’s sound system. I remember it pretty well when ‘Empire Strikes Back’ played there. The Tie fighters whizzing by like jet craft in stereo sound all around..now, I’m afraid to say surround sound.
In regard to sound systems in general and thinking about the above posts, imho, you don’t need great sophisticated equipment to experience sound around you to get that spatial effect. I remember when broadcast tv began stereo broadcasts in the mid 80s. While Johnny Carson’s show was not that great, Miami Vice and more so, the awards shows had some cool stereo spatial effects. I still have a PCM recording of Janet Jackson performing..lip synching to ‘Control’, from the AMA awards show and there’s screaming everywhere..yelling to the left of me..behind me..applause, people shouting ‘JANET!’ All I had was a Pioneer Digital 8 stereo player and 4 speakers placed around the living room and a 25" Sony tv.
Now discovering how technically unsophisticated the Mac’s system was, whatever and however I heard it, mono surrounds and all, it was enough to immerse me into whatever was happening onscreen as long as I sat in that sweet spot, which was usually in front of the back of the middle section and center.
Giles, as far as I can remember the only Star Trek films shown at the Uptown were Star Trek II and the reboots..I think. If they did, I would have been there at at least one of the showings. II had a one week run in Dec ‘82 just before Gandhi opened there in 70mm. I know this for a fact because I saw it 2x :) I can still remember driving my Mom to work before her 7pm shift and hightailing across Mass Ave to Woodley, trying to find parking before the 7pm or 7:30pm show..in the snow.
Why see the movie so many times? With a good film, when you see it again and again, you sometimes experience something or see something you did not recall from the previous viewings. What I recall from the Uptown viewing, different from prior ones, was how the sound system was able to convey the ship engine sounds ‘slowing’ just prior to the Reliant attack on the Enterprise. The ‘screw hitting the floor’ sound that I refer to in my previous posts, for whatever lack of tech sophistication in the hardware here, sounded less prominent at the Uptown. I always thought the Uptown’s sound was sometimes muffled, albeit slightly, in comparison to here and other venues.
Visually, the expanse of the Uptown’s superior screen size improved on the 70mm experience (aside from the grain) vs the Mac’s for sure. Starfields, simplistic effects for sure, made you feel you were traveling in space and the full beauty shots of the ships like the Reliant’s were all the more dramatic.
Going back to the sound topic at the Mac, pre ‘82 remodel, Steve mentioned the exposed front speakers in the front of the theater that were there because they couldn’t fit or be hidden. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise because were they to be hidden behind something, they would probably impede the sound delivery.
Steve, I’m completely floored by what you have revealed. Most of it is highly technical, which is cool and will take me time to digest.
I vaguely remember the layout of the main theater after the ‘82 remodel. When you mention 'bookshelf’ speakers, it makes me think of long rods from the ceiling attaching a box like speaker at equal distances, angled such that it faces or directs sound at the audience. Were these speakers that cheap??? It had to have sufficient construction to deliver sound better than a home setup I would think.
I remember seeing ‘Brainstorm’ here and in the heavy sequences hearing crackling sounds from the middle as if the sound was too much for the speakers to handle. Maybe thats why…they were THAT cheap!
All I know is what I have experienced and how I perceived things. If the Mac had such a not-so-glam set up, I am dumbfounded to have those positive cinematic memories forever ingrained in my mind as one of the ‘best.’ Its got to mean something even with what you say were minimalist standards of that time.
So, what in your opinion, of the 70mm capable theaters in the DC metro area were technically BEST? I am curious about the Fine Arts theater now since I have fond memories of 70mm there. Maybe we should continue that discussion there. I thought those tube speakers made it state of the art and were better looking than boxes dropping down from the ceiling. :)
Steve, I hear what you’re saying, so how is it what I experienced ‘mono’, if the sound was particularly (deliberately) placed?? And the movies I experienced were advertised 70mm 6 track STEREO, probably Dolby. I’m tempted to search through the Washington Post archives just to look at both the movie ad and Post movie directory. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the terminology by using ‘surround,’ but when I speak of my movie experience, I hear distinct sounds coming from different parts of the theater as described in my various posts.
Thinking back on my memory of II’s 70mm Mac showing, just after the screw hitting the floor sound, there’s the rear right to front left swoosh sound of Kirk’s son, just prior to his onscreen attack. The subsequent sound of empty metallic cargo containers being tossed about as they fight (in an obviously rehearsed and WWF-fake fashion) with these containers tossed about heard mangnificently in distinct surround.
If you recall projecting the movie, how could you not recall hearing this? If the spatial sound that I heard is not stereo but mono, how can this be?
When I saw Star Trek II at the AMC Academy 6 in plain Dolby Stereo, that scene I mentioned played differently as the entire ‘right’ side would produce the screw hitting the floor sound element. In 70mm 6 track, the sound produces the urge to turn your head ‘towards’ the sound. That was a neat trick!
Back in those days, my favorite seat was closer to the front but not smack IN front of the screen but to where my peripheral vision is such that the field of vision is flat or 180º. This way I am not distracted by the theater’s decor or lack thereof and am ‘immersed’ into whats going onscreen and being sound surrounded. That is how I recall blogging about my 70mm movie experiences :)
Howard, I think I’m going to see the film locally at one of the Smithsonian IMAX theaters. I’m looking forward to it. If the movie is still booked through the holidays, maybe I can convince my friend to drive up with me to the Ziegfeld.
Looking at the AFI’s calendar, it seems they are booking ‘West Side Story’ in 70mm, afterall. The last time I saw it here in 70mm was underwhelming. One of the posters on the Ziegfeld page claimed he heard snaps and whistling from all over the theater, (was it) before the credits, in its original 70mm release. I didn’t experience that though I did sit way in the back in the lounge seats.
Now, if they can find one of the newer 70mm prints for ‘Sound of Music,’ this would be a retrospective even the late Robert Wise would love to attend.
It also appears they’ve changed the version of Robert Wise’s ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ as they are showing the director’s cut in some format called HDCam. What the heck is that? Sounds like video taken with a HD camera??? As far as I know, they never printed a film from the director’s cut even though Wise had supposedly wanted a re-release ala the ‘Star Wars’ special editions. Judging by the DVD version, its good they didn’t. I really hate the way they dumbed some of the original audio elements that, imho, took away some of the original dramatic edge. It plays okay for tv. Wouldn’t it be cool to have all 3 versions; original film (if there’s a good print), Blu-Ray (as originally planned) and the director’s cut. :)
It would be nice to have a Robert Wise pre-movie featurette before each Wise film. Or, at least have an AFI employee or intern introduce each one. With iMovie, youtube and the AFI archives, they could easily put something together… :)
Giles, I Saw ‘Dark Crystal’ here, too, as it was 70mm and it was when the place was triplexed. While the puppeteering (spelling) and creatures were cool for its time, my only memory was the score and surrounds at the end of the movie.
I still remember running around the now ‘new’ balconies made as a result of the remodel. I think I caught 2001 here during a rare 70mm screening sitting in #2, the main auditorium, and just enjoying the place for what it was. Also, I believe ‘White Nights’ or is it ‘Knights’ with Gregory Hines and Mikhail Barishnakov was playing here in 70mm. The only reason I wanted to see the movie and remember enjoying was the dancing part that had a great set up, but went nowhere as Hines' character couldn’t hit it and Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Say You, Say Me’ in the theater’s stereo system, at the end of the movie.
Interesting info, Steve, as always. You state the Mac never had stereo surrounds only mono surrounds, so how would you explain me hearing the following:
In Star Trek II, as I posted on the AFI Silver page, there was this screw dropping hitting the floor sound heard right and rear in the BACK of the theater. I distinctly heard this many times and on the subsequent viewings, looking forward to audience reaction (heads turning towards the sound. Then Kirk shouting ‘KHAAAAN’ starting in front, progressing to the middle of the theater and echoing in the rear trailing off..as the camera seems to pull back to show his voice carrying off into space..or something to that effect.
What I’m trying to say is if this ‘mono’ how is the sound separation such that its around you and there’s that s-p-a-t-i-a-l quality to it that brings the movie to life? When I hear ‘mono,’ I think pre-1950s movies, B&W, flat sound, no right to left, left to right, nothing. Okay, Fantasia may be the exception.
In Brainstorm (1983), when Natalie Wood’s character is sobbing for her husband to ‘come back’ from the trip going to ‘heaven,’ you hear her voice all around the theater..i forget where but various lines are heard in rapid succession and repeated, ‘Michael’ was heard in one part, ‘Anthony (character’s middle name) 'Brace’ somewhere else. Then her next lines, ‘don’t leave me’ and ‘GET UP’ would be sound mixed heard all over the theater as the visuals take you on this light trip. It is all happening super fast ..Michael..Michael..Anthony..Anthony.. BraceBraceBrace..don’t leave (get up!) me!
So all this is ‘mono’?
What was cool was the regular shots were 35mm but almost filled up the Mac’s screen, then the 65mm visual fx and/or pov shots would go wide. As you state, the screen wasn’t large enough (wide) for 70mm, that makes sense.
I think the director’s intent would have made more dramatic impact had the right screen been had to show the difference. But during its DC release, this was the largest theater. Not sure about VA..I remember it was booked at GCC’s Springfield’s 70mm #1 and a few others but screenwise, the other’s would be about the same, if not smaller.
Hmm. I haven’t been to the Ziegfeld in almost 8 yrs, but I’d love to see 70mm there. Unfortunately, I’m reading their curtain isn’t used. I wasn’t so enthused about The Master when it came out. Looking back, it was just a nicely filmed movie with first rate acting that
With regard to Regal, they’ve got their IMAX-lite, AFI has real 70mm, they (Regal) shouldn’t feel threatened or try to prevent the AFI from getting it.
With Chris Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ getting a 70mm initial release before it goes wide, I’m wondering if the AFI will book it! It should since its the only venue that can play 70mm now. I am told the Senator quietly got rid of their 70mm projectors during the remodel. What a waste!
I saw the preview recently and was quite impressed with the visuals. Nolan knows what do with his 65mm camera and the visuals, at least the space ones should look really decent in the original format as opposed to blow ups and/or digital manipulation.
As a Trek purist, first, then cinephile second with a stickler for good showmanship, I do remember distinct sound fx in the original theatrical releases of the Trek films, so when it comes to the movie’s soundtrack, I can pretty much tell you, which film, had this particular sound effect and how it was experienced in its original release.
However, the original post was meant to express general disappointment over 70mm anything, with regard to Wise’s films, especially with ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘West Side Story’, both of which have decent 70mm prints out there, the former having been shown just a year or two ago!
With regard to the BluRay of TMP, at least it better preserves the original theatrical release of the movie (with its flaws), which I believe is superior to the director’s edition, in that they didn’t tamper with the better sound fx, that for unnecessary reasons, was replaced for either timing or revisionist reasons and toned down in the DE DVD.
Technically speaking, TMP, aside from the reboot films, was shot in 65mm with the fx shots, which are a lot. Even reduced to 35mm, you’ve still got first rate photo res as the original source was 65mm and its larger format. I remember being disappointed with Star Trek II’s 70mm resolution (blown up, of course), at the MacArthur, and the noticeable grain and subdued colors on its initial opening weekend. On the other hand, there were some cool sound fx and tricks afforded the 6-track format. One that stands out is when Kirk yells ‘KHAAAAN’, as Khan tells Kirk he’s marooned on Ceti Alpha V forever.. that resonates starting from the front of the theater, then to the middle and trails off to an echo in the rear. My favorite sound trick was prior to that, after the crew beams down (new transporter beam effect, loud and multi layered sound beams) where one of the Regula station crew drops a ‘screw’ that hits the floor and is distinctly heard right and rear of the theater. In my subsequent viewings of the movie, it made me chuckle to myself, to watch people turn their heads towards the sound as of something DID drop inside the theater.
Robert, you’re right, the 70mm Trek movie showings were at the Royal. On TrekMovie’s website, they had the guy, who runs it I think, hosting the TOS movies along with special guest stars. From what clips I saw of the Q&A, it could’ve been much better moderated with a proper panel discussion like they do real film retrospectives.
For TMP, they did show it somehow, I think it was 35mm and it may have been that awful print I saw in WV 5 years ago. At first, I didn’t think a 70mm print existed, but was told by the moderator that there were several but in very bad shape and the one decent print, was only ½ way presentable. I would’ve shown ½ in 35mm and the rest in 70mm, with intermission, but thats just me. :)
The guest they had for TMP’s showing was one of Kirk’s girl-of-the-week TOS' guest stars, who had nothing to do with the TMP movie. I forget her name, but I think she just recently passed away. I believe they got Nick Meyer, for Q&A, for Trek II. I would’ve gladly cashed in frequent flier miles for a ticket for that, but decided not to. Given your experience, in a way I’m glad I didn’t, but I would have liked to have met Nick Meyer and asked some pointed questions about the movie.
With TMP’s rushed release, there weren’t initial 70mm prints, but I have to believe they were in the process or making them because in either Starlog or Cinefantastique, they make mention of them coming later into the release and for the European release of the movie. Plus Susan Sackett’s ‘Making of’ book makes particular mention of work on the soundtrack for an eventual 70mm release.
This is an aside and off topic, but Trek’s 50th anniversary is in 2016. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a 70mm retrospective here? I wouldn’t mind seeing a pink print of Wrath of Khan as long as the soundtrack is preserved. The succeeding movies probably look better with age. DC never got VI in 70mm, the best they could get was the ‘Grand’ THX house at the now closed Union Station 9.
If I had Steve Allen’s (whatever that Microsoft guy’s name is) money, who owns the Cinerama and has made his own preservation prints, I’d make IMAX-lite versions of the TOS movies, preserve them for DCP. :)
Heck, maybe even throw in D-Box versions.
After checking the AFI Silver’s website, they are finally having a Robert Wise film tribute. This is a long time coming. They should’ve done this years ago. I may actually make time for this one.
What is interesting to note is that his more popular films, ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Sound of Music’ are NOT in 70mm. BOO! And they have two measly showings of each film. TWO!
I’m especially glad to see they’ve booked the Wise’s ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ on the list! I have not seen the movie theatrically in 5 years and that was a horrible, horrible scratched up print that definitely was not cared for. Its too bad they couldn’t get a good archive 70mm print or a decent studio print they had for a 70mm Trek festival in Hollywood a few years ago. AFI is showing it on Blu Ray and its not the Wise revised director’s cut! Ho hum. Might as well see it at home. :P
The last movie I saw here on Blu Ray was the Superman II Donner cut, which I had seen on DVD at home, but here, theatrically, even in the Historic Auditorium, was a major disappointment. Little surrounds, very low sound levels.
As I’ve seen the movie many times during its original release as a child and since, it introduced me to the world of cinema showmanship, at its best, with curtains opening and closing, proper light dims and a real overture. While the movie has its detractors and criticisms, it was an event experience for me that is forever ingrained in my mind. I am hoping the AFI will show the film the way it should be shown..with the complete overture, the curtains opening and closing and the light dims at the right time! Even if its not in the Historic Auditorium, I’ll settle for #2, which has a similar size screen anyway. :) With the THX certs and the volume amped up, Blu Ray’s digital mix of the original soundtrack, theoretically, the experience should SURPASS my original memory of the first theatrical release back in ‘79, right? Okay, sans the 900 or so in the sold out crowds back then.
It would be nostalgic if they played the original trailers that are on the DVD. The teaser one has a 5.1 surround mix that plays nicely at home. On the big screen, it should be better.
I think the description is incorrect. The 4 interior theaters were open well after the one above the food court opened. Not sure exactly when, but I’m guessing it was the early 00s, most likely before the first Qualcom DP projector was put in #11, which was for ‘Star Wars Eps II: Attack of the Clones, in '02.
Crown operated both venues, to be bought out by BowTie in ‘06 or so.
I vaguely remember the theaters here, but never saw a movie inside. I believe seeing marquee titles and digital sound in some, maybe 2 of the 4. The DTS logo being seen as a sound format. Since the 4 were in the middle of the mall, I suspect they were more of the shoebox variety then anything grand by way of design or special projection systems. Definitely, no 70mm. 35mm for sure.
I caught X Men Future Past in #9, one of my favs and one of the 3 original THX certified auditoriums. Excellent sound and projection.
In #5, I recently saw Liam Neeson’s latest ‘A Walk Among Tombstones’ and ‘Maze Runner.’ While Tombstones was more of a thriller, the sound fx with the gun shots were very effective.
‘Runner’, on the other hand, plays like a budget Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies, but had some really nice surrounds with the maze changing scenes, with distinct sounds rear, sides and in front. Sound booms were deep, but not as deep as in #1, which I missed opening week :(
After a long break, I am glad the self service kiosks have multiplied and also recognize the reward cards. What I am pissed about is they changed the point system to be more like Regal’s. I was getting close to the 100 mark on the old one and was going to cash in on everything at one time. Oh well.
Wow. I never knew this place existed. I remember it was the Tenley 3 for Circle Theaters back in the day.
I believe all my visits were in 2 of the 3 auditoriums. One of the 3, which had 70mm, had to have a screen not much larger than 40 ft maybe? I remember seeing Blue Thunder here in 70mm, in ‘83. I vividly remember the climax of the movie where Roy Scheider and Malcolm McDowell were dueling it out in their helicopters. The 6-track sound was enveloping with the whirring of the helicopters.
Prior to that, I recall seeing Ray Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ to a sold out audience, on or about Spring ‘83. This was in the 2nd largest of the 3 theaters. The trailers and tv ads made the film more scary than it really was even for a youngster like me at the time. There was this drunk college guy, who sat behind me, who’d make comments that would elicit this chain response throughout the audience.
For example, during the scene where the boys are pursued by the Dust Witch, played by a then hot looking Pam Grier, the ‘Witch’ becomes this lightning/hand effect that was searching for the boys. When it flashes into what seems like hundreds of spiders about to jump the two boys, the film jumps as if everything was a nightmare. The jerk SCREAMED..and these other girls screamed and then there was total laughter. Then he has to blurt out that the boys look older.
When I read about this film’s production in the now-gone sci-fi/fantasy magazine Starlog, indeed they did reshoot the scene. The kids had started puberty where even their voices had deepened somewhat.
What I’d like to call Theater #2, didn’t have 70mm, but did have decent surround sound. At the end of the movie, where Jason Robard’s character and his son try to find each other, you can hear the son’s pleas and cries all around the theater…‘Dad..dad…daaad.. I..I..I..love love…love..you..you..you.’ something to that effect. Jonathan Pryce was pretty good as the villain. The effects were supposedly one of the first films to utilize CGI animation, which was quite cool at the time, with the materialization of the carnival and Mr. Dark’s ripping pages of an almanac that morph into fire.
I’ve seen ‘Innerspace,’ which I believe was in 70mm and ‘The Big Easy(?) both with Dennis Quaid. The latter film is memorable for two reasons: 1) We saw Lynda (tv’s Wonder Woman) Carter in the audience and she was gracious to say 'hi’ to everyone when she was discovered by someone in the audience. 2) My Mom came with us. The latter is not so bad, but for the fact that in the movie there is a scene of digital foreplay that went over her head even after my cousin tried to explain the scene to her. :)
I doubt they’d close the Uptown. Even if its losing money, as long as its not a ton of money, you’ve got other theaters in the area under AMC that aren’t.
On the other hand, is it confirmed the old 35/70mm Norelcos, or whatever projection they had to play 70mm is really gone? Or just pushed aside to make room for the digital projector? Then we’d know for sure if classics would ever be shown again here..at least in 70mm. The extreme curved screen would be a waste if it were..hint installation of a smaller flat one? Nooooo. ;)
As I’ve said in previous post, IMAX-lite would be a much better fit here, if it can be decently shown on the curve then the other installs, imho. Dolby Atmos installed..hmmm. Think of the possibilities.
If they could do it at the Cinerama in Seattle, why not here? I guess it depends on if AMC has the guts and funds to do it to make it worthwhile. If it becomes something technologically superior (at least until the next BIG thing comes along) to whats shown around the beltway, it could revive this place despite the lack of parking.
No one has blogged about Doug Trumbull’s new higher frame rate super DP system that I believe made its debut at the Cinerama the other month. I wanted to go just to see how immersive the brighter, hyperrealistic experience could be but couldn’t make it :P If he ever gets it commercially going, the Uptown would be a nice place to outfit it if its possible given its current condition.
Great article, Howard. ^5.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the movies this year as often as I would have liked, the AFI’s 70mm festival included. I’ve just been too busy with work and other things. Your review of the 70mm Ryans Daughter notwithstanding and with my previous lackluster experience of 70mm at the Silver, I wasn’t too enthused to make the trip to see anything here.
My enjoyment experiencing 70mm lies, in large part, to the sound. If the sound isn’t engulfing when its supposed to, the immersive experience is not attained. I’m not tech enough to explain the differences. I remember a Ziegfeld theater posting about ‘West Side Story’ in 70mm and the opening whistling sequence heard around the theater. When they showed it here, just about all the sounds seemed to come up front. Thats just an example of those sounds that make a film come ‘alive.’