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Michel, I always enjoy your lists. I spent a day at the local library going over some of the old ads and made copies to post online but now I’ve lost my folder. I hope to do that again one of these days.
As this venue was the premier place to see movies in the 80s, I’ve seen most of the first run 70mm films here in the 80s. I wasn’t into the classics, except sci-fi, until I was a little older. Looking at the chronological order of the Uptown’s 70mm shows, it seems my first 70mm was Star Trek II. The list doesn’t reflect it but it played just one week prior to Gandhi’s opening. I saw it 2x. I remember dropping my Mom off to her nursing job at Sibley Hospital then high tailing through DC. By about 6:40 pm or so, you’re more or less safe to park for free on the street as rush hour is about over. During the full house shows, you could park in the residential areas but had to walk some but its still free. I don’t think you can do that today with the use of vehicle stickers.
Superman III was a disappointment presentation wise. I do not recall anything positively memorable as the story was lame and the attempt at lightening it up didn’t work, with probably the only exception being the opening scene where Clark does that comedic walk avoiding several disasters in what looked like one take.
Ghostbusters in 70mm is memorable for me with that shot of the homely looking librarian that turns ghostly. It was the combination of the visual fx transition, the shhh and some low bass rumble that scared me and the audience gasp/scream..then laughter as the Ghostbuster crew dashes out of the library.
Dune is memorable for me as the presentation perfectly fits the visual quality of its high budget production. The Arrakis desert and the shreiking sounds of the sandworms. Oh..the thumpers..that low beating drum sound effect that attracts those sandworms, you could really feel its power through the Uptown’s sound system. I was curious if you would enjoy it as much sitting in the balcony but at that time, I wanted to get my $ worth sitting close to the front of that huge curved screen.
The Return of the Jedi reissue I’ve mentioned before. The size of the screen made my enjoyment of the film even better especially during those first person shots such as the speed bike chase on the Endor moon. The sound wasn’t as good as the MacArthur’s only because my memory of the Emperor’s use of force lightning didn’t have the sizzle and sparking sound it had. Perhaps the print had degraded a little soundwise or the Uptown’s sound muffles the soundtrack some.
I forgot about Manhunter. This was directed by Michael Mann, who did the Miami Vice show on NBC, which was very popular, audibly and visually stylistic back in the day. The show was one of the first to broadcast in stereo..that was a big thing then. My only memory of this were the lush colors captured on film. Then there was the scene of the guy that got killed in a burning wheelchair and the sound effects of the fire and whoosh as it goes by you.
The Last Emperor was another visually beautiful film to look at. Nothing great audio wise that I can recall. I think this was my first movie to see women kissing..it was Pu Yi’s wife and the female pilot that talked like Trixie from the old Speed Racer cartoons..remember that?
Willow was enjoyable for me. The most memorable sound effect for me were the two headed dragons. When they’d shoot fire, there was the sound coming directly in front of you but when there were those shots of the side and the fire breath goes directional, the sound seems to go behind you either to the right or the left and then in back. It had some decent fx..I think one of the first CGI morphing effects, from the different animals to the old, but good witch. One last thing..Val Kilmer’s yellow teeth. I recall reading something to the effect of him being in character all the time but did that include him not brushing his teeth? Ugh.
The Roger Rabbit movie I believe may have been the first time in the balcony. This may have been because they were the only seats. But for some reason, I’m thinking Manhunter was because I didn’t want to see the movie but my friend kept badgering me to see it but I agreed only if it was here in 70mm. If I was going to see something I didn’t want to see, the logic of going would be to see it in the best presentation possible..70mm. Make sense?
Anyway, there wasn’t anything memorable by way of wow..cool effects or soundtrack. I’m thinking now being older that that was the intention. The integration of the animated and real world had to be seamless, which makes everything in the movie more believable. And it is. Thinking back now..I think the introduction of the Jessica Rabbit character and the way she sings that song and the way they animated or lit up her dress with the sparkling sequins. That was very well done. They weren’t sparkling in a cartoony way, but like it was a real dress with sparkling sequins. Those touches elevate the movie to be more special than it would have been.
Born on the 4th of July. I’ve written about this before. We were in a group, I chose the seats very close to that giant, curved screen. The cinematography was that hand held, jerky, real time style. Bad decision. I got motion sick at the end. This was Tom Cruise’s first real dramatic performance and he did well. I can still visualize him as that Kovic or Kovaks character whirling around in the wheelchair, drunk and telling his Mom how he can’t feel anything below his waist..can’t even masturbate. Mom screams in shock and tells him not to talk like that.. it plays all the more powerfully on the huge screen. I suppose its true what they say about size does matter..watching the movies. :)
Looking at all the movies in chronological order, I’m beginning to second guess myself as to when I saw 2001 in 70mm here for the first time. I know there was a very special engagement and a ‘virgin’ print. It may have been in the 90s.
Sorry for the long post, I should have put an intermission after the Return of the Jedi experience. :)
Great posts. I guess I will trek to see H8ful 8 here as opposed to my local BowTie, where it is reported the experience was not good. Still.. $20 for 70mm! At least throw in a free drink. Howard, did you get a movie program?
Steve, why is it 70mm does not fill the width of the (presumably Historic auditorium) screen? Is it the lenses? What do they use? I remember the previous owner of the Senator touting the then lenses used were some German type.. Bauer? I suspect the Bauer lenses are the best.
Dot, that was my sentiment when I posted. As you know, film usually will have the scratches, shake and judder you describe. The thing is if it is handled properly, those things should be at a minimum. I am just wondering if they hired a professional projectionist or had one of the teen aged guys read a manual and ran the movie. :)
Did they use the curtain to open and close during the overture and intermission?
Did you see Star Wars at any of the real IMAX venues, Giles? If its masked, the actual viewing size may not be worth the trip.
Laser should make it on par with the Grauman, er TLC Chinese and Seattle Cinerama or closer to. I’m thinking the Cinerama still has true film projection.
This venue has booked Hateful 8 in 70mm in auditorium 10 and not #1, the big THX certified theater. I’m perplexed at this decision. While 10 isn’t exactly shoebox sized, I’m not sure how the smaller auditorium would do such a film like this justice. Whatever curtains they had haven’t been used since Crown ran the place and I believe they were more for masking/picture cropping then showmanship.
This venue would be a great place to see the new Star Wars film, if only for the sake of nostalgia. I saw Return of the Jedi here in ‘85, during its first re-release, here in 70mm, which filled up the curve quite nicely. I still think the MacArthur was better soundwise but thats just my opinion. I’m thinking it may be the massive interior fabrics absorbing some of the sound. The speedbike chase through the Endor forest was more exciting because the screen is that more massive and immersive.
Unless, they’ve upgraded the digital projection, Im not that enthused about the darker picture quality. Laser would be a nice upgrade but as you say, Giles, AMC isn’t going to. If someone does see it here, post..maybe the projection light is bright now, but 3D digital plays a little darker for me.
Wow, Howard. Thanks for the post. Ultra panavision 70 sounds so h u g e. I wonder if the Silver’s 40 ft screen will do it justice. I’m hoping for the best..no, I’m going to set my expectations low, so if its good, then I’ll say it was great. :)
I caught the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight in #8..the Extreme theater in 3D. Surprisingly, this was one of the few venues that didn’t sell out. While I miss the deep bass that makes the cool sound booms of AMC’s Tysons ETX and the better THX systems, the sound sep played the sound FX and John Williams terrific score quite well. The scope of the film resulted in the bottom part cut off. Instead of the usual mailbox slot type viewing, the projection was closer to the top. The 3D was the usual dark while not really having any decent 3D shots or action sequences. I think the only scene I could appreciate in 3D was the full shot of the Star Destroyer. The depth of it and digital clarity made it look so real and massive.
Buying tickets online with the loyalty card does not yield the service charge like AMCs. They should reconsider it since this is the only venue in the area.
The $15 adult evening price seems like a bargain compared to the other venues in the area. Regal charging almost $20, AMC $18.
The movie was enjoyable worth a few more viewings even if I felt a little deja vu watching it. :) Luke Hamill looked more like Peter Dinklage than Luke Hamill..when he finally shows up, I had to chuckle to myself. The new Dark Lord showing via holograph looks more like the bad guys from the first Thor movie. Rey looks too much like Padme in Episode 1 while sounding way too much like Emily Blount. Not to spoil it but the new ‘weapon’ is more like the old one albeit ‘blown up.’ Why can’t the writers come up with something new???
This is probably the first movie I’ve seen since..probably Dreamgirls, where people cheered, clapped and were quite vocal without being raucous. From the Lucasfilm logo to the cast credits..there was enthusiastic applause. Quite the communal experience. This is why one goes to the movies and why the best place to see one is in a theater.
While it was reported the Star Trek: Beyond teaser was to be shown, it wasn’t. :P I’ll have to boldly go to another venue to see it in the theater. :)
I just saw that, Giles. That is pushing it. Its outrageous! Now, if this were a DC exclusive, then okay. I’m pissed. Will I still see it here? Yeah. :) If they give out free souvenir programs, I’m fine with it. Something commemorative as this is a special event.
I looked at some Regal prices for the IMAX Star Wars and its $19!
Howard, I agree with you on the Uptown. Those are my fondest memories of 2001. I have yet to see it at the Seattle Cinerama and hopefully, will catch it there someday the next time they have a 70mm festival. Given the $ the owner has put in that venue, it has to be one jewel of a showplace.
Regarding The Hateful Eight, I should have read up more on the story. It seems it takes place in winter and not a desert Western. I’m not going to read much more as I want to keep an open mind and enjoy the ‘roadshow presentation’ we are to get. Can’t say I’ve ever experienced one of those in my lifetime, up until now. I hope they have programs for sale of the movie. Now, those I remember from the 80s :)
Perhaps, when Steve reads our posts, he can shed more details on the technical aspects and other plans for this special event.
I wonder if they’ll have an actual 70mm trailer.
P r e s e n t e d in:
< 7 0 mm Datastat Sound >
Yeah, yeah, my poor attempt at a widescreen trailer.
This would be a good time for the AFI to put together a featurette on 70mm. They had a simple one before.
Seems like they’ve booked the Hateful 8 in 70mm DTS. It should be interesting to see a newer film in this format. But a western? A space/fantasy epic with cool visual fx would be my choice. How immersive can you get with sunrise/sunset shots, snow, dust and more dust..maybe some pore shot from one of the actors during a close up shot. :)
On the other hand, the AFI’s kind of smallish 40 ft screen may not do this film justice. Something of this size would benefit from being shown at the Uptown.
I’m curious how modern audience reaction will be with intermission and proper curtain closures and entrance music. If done right and consistently so, it should be good. :) We’ll see after week 3 into its release.
I take it no one went to the recent showing of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with Q&A and special guest star Keir Dullea. I saw the announcement of the special screening event on the website a few months ago and almost bought tickets. Unfortunately, I had to go out of town during the showing/visit.
YouTube has some interesting recent chats with he and co-star Gary Lockwood. Lockwood had mentioned he attended the premiere here at DC’s Uptown back in ‘68 and an encounter with a stoner who had seen the movie.
If someone was at the recent event and would like to post something, please do. :)
Giles, is 12 the Extreme theater, or whatever their version of IMAX-lite is? I wanted to see ‘Everest’..heard some of it was filmed in IMAX and some other films I’ve missed :(
I loved the rocker seats in the old National Amusement seat theaters. The only problem is when you had sell out crowds and the person sitting behind or in front of you sat so far back as if he/she was to fall into your lap. :)
I still have my free pass to use from the Jurassic Park DBox experience. I want to see a DBox presentation since I’ve never experienced it before.
This venue had a listing on the site. Not sure what happened. It may have been erased like many other entries.
I recall a projectionist mentioning something about the site. The auditoriums having sloped floors and being of decent size.
Giles, I haven’t been to this place in a few years. Is it still THX certified and do they play any THX trailers?
Hmm. Why would Landmark spend $ on such an old place? How much larger of a movie screen can you put in those shoe box theaters anyway? I doubt it’ll big enough for 70mm. :P
Wow, how time has passed since it reopened in 2010 and closed this year.
I wish them well.
Now, if only Landmark would reopen say, the old MacArthur theater, which is also a triplex, but has a huge 700 seat BIG auditorium that could play 70mm on a large screen. But how to get rid of CVS?! Their lease should be up by now. Its been 18 years..gotta go.
It seems the AFI is having a final screening of the great 1980s films. Not sure what that means. Does it mean that the 90s will be the decade they consider classic now?
Even more disappointing is not one 70mm print of anything. in70mm has posted fairly recent screenings of 70mm prints of Ghostbusters, Temple of Doom, Die Hard, Dark Crystal, Aliens and Tron.
Rivest, you’ve done a great job posting opening ads/announcements of various theaters! Thank you. I have one of the MacArthur remodel that I intend to email CT for posting soon.
Awesome ad post, Rivest. Thanks. Look at the admission prices 35¢ for kids and 50¢ for adults! I’m wondering what they are referring to as ‘free’ parking. Not if you count that lot next door to what was it.. Safeway? Even in those days, can’t imagine that little lot accomodating a 1000+ in single screen venue like this one. I remember having to park either way down or up the street during the big event movies being booked here.
I caught a matinee of Jurassic World here only because they have recently installed D-Box seating. Being opening day and upon discovering the D-Box install, I thought this would be an interesting experience. I’ve known D-Box was locally installed at a Leesburg mplex, but it is rather far for me to go.
Unfortunately, the website indicates they are in the smaller auditoriums 13 and 18, not the nicer XD one. I guess its okay if the screen was not as immersive but at least its 3D and digital, meaning a clean, slightly darker picture. The website also denotes the fact that the entire auditorium is not D-Box arranged but only 2 rows and 2 seats. When I saw the online schematic for the reserved seating (ugh!) chart, I thought for a second that the theater was just that..a capacity of just 2 rows and 2 seats! Nope.
Due to unexpected traffic delays, I arrived 15 minutes late. Fortunately, I bought my ticket online and skipped the box office line despite the surcharge. I missed all the opening sneak previews and format/sound trailers, so I can’t talk about any of that. I believe this venue never played sound format trailers, just digital. The way the online seating chart looks in relation to the screen, one is MISTAKENLY led to believe the two rows of D-Box seats are the bottom of the stadium seating level and the two other seats are on the auditorium floor and in center. WRONG. The movie had started and the fact there is insufficient lighting, I could not find the J row that I was assigned. I did see the seat number and people to the right of me. I asked the guy next to me if its J Row, the D-Box row and he said yes.
No movement in the seats, buzzing or any kind of moment in the beginning. I thought maybe the seat motions only during the action parts. The action parts come and go, no movement. By this time, the movie is already into the half way part. No sense in moving again, missing the flow of the film trying to find the elusive J-row.
The movie was surprisingly good. I had heard some positive reviews on the radio and the online buzz was decent even though, I don’t really pay attention to them to the extent that it influences my movie choices.
Sound wise, there were decent surrounds and particular chatter and sound fx from the top left like 7.1. Not sure if its the auditorium or the soundtrack, itself, but I’m leaning towards the auditorium sound system, the depth of sound wasn’t as rich or deep as seeing the original Jurassic film at Universal Studios in Hollywood way back when DTS debuted. Of particular comparison is the full shot of the T-Rex (rather the new creature’s) onscreen and its roar. At that venue, which I blogged here but was probably deleted, you could get the sensation of breath coming at you and motion from the then THX-cert auditorium.
A few minor annoyances was the series' often repeated opening shot of the dinosaurs trotting onscreen from right to left to the upswell of oooh ahh music. I get the impression they reused the same shot from the original but modified the images to add/take away particular dinosaurs and include the current actors in the scene. Bryce Dallas Howard’s Stepford Wives' style do made me want to grab at the image and turn it something less oppressive. :)
Complaining to Guest services got me an apology and acknowledgement about the bad website seating schematic and vertically cropped film. I’ll go back but avoid #18 for D-Box, if I can.
AMC taking the reins again on this mplex is strange. With the Hoffman just over the bridge, it doesn’t make sense. With the new casino and traffic, a close movie theater would be nice but a newly constructed one would be better. You still got the riff raff to deal with in the neighborhood. The buffet place that is next to the theater draws in crowds, so going to see a movie next door after dinner or lunch would make sense.
If memory serves me correctly, there aren’t ‘large’ auditoriums like the old Academy 8 when this place opened back in ‘86 or so. The Academy 8 had 4 larger halls; 2 had 70mm and then 4 tiny auditoriums with steeply raked seating. Not sure what the owners did post-AMC with remodels here.
Giles, I was just teasing you. I thought the membership was supposed to be free for six months, thats what I read on the website when the place opened with ‘Interstellar’ last Nov. I’m just pissed at the awful customer service. I’m mulling writing a letter to corporate. Maybe it was just a bad day. I still want to to check out the other auditoriums and eventually will.
As far as digitizing a classic like 2001, I’m holding out for a HFR digital product along the lines of what FX Master Doug Trumbull is working on. I vividly remember his Showscan effort, HFR 70mm film projection that was ahead of its time and this Showscan Digital, or whatever its called, is supposedly compatible with today’s systems..this could be the generational leap in the motion picture experience that will sustain the business for years to come, imho.
Howard, I hear you, too. I forget the name of the magazine..‘Cinefantastique’ or some other one but there was this article that talked about digitizing the classic films that were 70mm..well, 65mm native. Whether to scan at a higher res rate like ‘Blade Runner’ supposedly did.. 8K. So when its finally rendered..4K, 2K, the final product should look better even if its several generations below the master scan.
Both of you are right in that these studios need better quality control when it comes to these transfers. They should pay extra $ to consult with the original production folks (while they are still living) to ensure these DCPs remain faithful to their film versions.
Out of first run release boredom, I was perusing the AFI Silver’s film calendar and have discovered they are planning to book not 1, not 2, but 3 different versions of Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner.’ The original ‘82 release, '91 director’s cut (I presume this was just sans the Ford voice over,’ and final (restoration and final Scott) cut and DP release of ‘07. It would be even worth more of a view if either the first two were 70mm. I suspect the '82 one is pinkish by now unless its the underground private copy or studio vault copy. The '91 cut I remember seeing at the Uptown was 35mm. The '07 final cut has Joanna Cassidy filming her character’s Zora’s death scene almost 25 years after original shooting! Even still, the movie has excellent visuals (65mm) that should have won Oscar over E.T., imho.
Unfortunately, hyperlinks are dead. I suppose info and/or final booking is fluid as of this writing.
I finally made the trip to visit this grand new plex with much enthusiasm after reading what a great movie exhibition business this was in LA.
Before the movie, I had lunch in the eaterie area and was disappointed over the fact that the big restaurants have yet to be opened. Bobby Flay’s burger joint I’ve had and wasn’t too thrilled with at the Arundel Mills location and Cheesecake Factory is just another pricey chain restaurant. Visually, the place looks better and brighter than the old food court, I have to say that many pieces of the laminate furniture is already peeling apart. Very bad. Plus, a combination of the lack of patron courtesy and attentive cleaning staff made for very dirty tables. I don’t know why it is people don’t clean after themselves and leave their uneaten food, drinks and trash on the table when there are clearly marked trash bins all over the place.
I caught the new Wachowski sibling film ‘Jupiter Ascending’ also with some degree of heightened enthusiasm even after their last two disappointments known as ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Speed Racer.’ The film was in #7 and had the Atmos sound system but was not Wide Screen.
When I went into the lobby area, there are self service tables with movie cards for you to sign up for or so I thought. I thought you could sign up and use the card at the same time to get your points. You can’t. Since I was running late, I paid the $17 (!) for the 3D Atmos presentation. It was only after I saw a guy, who should have greeted me at the station, who stated I could not get credit for my purchase since I didn’t go through him to sign up for the card. The idiot should have greeted me the second I walked through the door not just look into space like some zombie. I told him I was already late for the movie so I’d sign up at home. He then grabbed the card I had thought I’d need with the unique membership number and said I only get that when I sign up at home. Okay. Fuggeduhboutit!
The ticket taker observed me walking up and didn’t bother greeting me until I opened my mouth to say hi, first. Buzzer Poor, poor, poor customer service. Looking at the age of this guy, he had to be a Manager or someone in authority. I should’ve gotten his name. I asked him if the film was in Dolby Atmos. (I already knew it was because thats what the showtime ad said). He didn’t know, but looked at my ticket and said. ‘well, it says 'dolby’ so it MUST be Atmos. AHA! Okay. He told me where the theater was but no ‘enjoy the show.’
When I got to 7, the previews had started and the seat I had I could not see the number but visually, I sort of knew where it should be. Supposedly, there were to be 3 others in the same row but there was no one there. So much for reserved seating. The auditorium, itself reminded me of AMC’s newer theaters but in reduced size. I’d call them AMC’s IMAX-lite-lite. :D Screen size can’t be more than 50 ft. Seats were comfortable and, thankfully, all the armrests can be put up so you can make yourself more comfortable as long as you don’t have someone sitting next to you.
Presentation was good. The stylish glasses were spotted on the left but tolerable to see the movie. The digital 3D movie had decent color saturation and the expected darker picture was tolerable. The Atmos sound effects were mostly noticeable in some dialogue and people entering certain scenes. The sound could have been cranked up more beyond cradling you to sleep.
For $17 to watch a 3D DP film on a 40ft screen in Dolby Atmos is getting into IMAX-lite territory. Unfortunately, the customer service here is not there to justify such a high price point either.
Giles, you saw a 2K DP version of 2001 and had the slightest notion it would be superior to that of 70mm??? Blasphemy!! Maybe it was a DVD that you saw. They showed a 2K 2001 at the Senator in Balto. I passed on that one. They play them at the AFI.
Since 2001 was shot in 65mm, they should do what they did with Blade Runner when they transfer it to digital by going higher with the resolution. I read they scanned BR at 8K.
I hope to make a visit there sometimes this week. I see the prices are $13 for a show! We’re entering IMAX-lite territory here. The concession fare is equally expensive but above your typical popcorn and nacho fare. We’ll see…
On New Years Weekend, I caught the final Hobbit movie in IMAX-lite HFR 3D. The trailer for the Dec 2015 Star Wars movie was exciting to see on the B I G screen, but I’m holding reservations until I see more of the finished product. :) The Avengers sequel trailer looks just like the first one..not too exciting.
The movie started out okay but with a mirror-like distortion that I had thought was ‘normal’ but became annoying. About 1/3 of the way through, they stopped the show to ‘reboot’ the system. When they restarted the movie, what a difference! Since I don’t patronize this venue regularly, I can’t say for certain, but it seems that they frequently have some projection issue or breakdown. Sound and picture were their usual decent standards.
I really hate the reserved seating policy in this auditorium. While its good for those like me who may travel far and plan ahead to see a movie and want that perfect seat. It turned out the patrons sat in my seat. Fortunately, there were many empties so I ended up sitting 2 seats away. When its dark, you can hardly see the seat numbers. When the late comers would come, they too, got frustrated finding the correct seat, or found someone sitting in their seat and ended up sitting somewhere else. Thankfully, this wasn’t a sold out show or there would have been some commotion for sure. Then there were no AMC ushers anywhere in the auditorium or standing by to help people find their seats as was my experience at the Rave Fairfax multiplex years ago.
Also, the third tier seating section up is not so good to see the movie as your line of sight just about gets cut off. If you have a patron with a big head or is tall, you may get your view cut off. Not a good design. Unfortunately, the company I was keeping wanted seats that high not realizing it was TOO far up.
Lastly, the $19.00 single admission price is quite high. For that kind of price, everything should be PERFECT. No excuses to have the projection system rebooted. Its understandable the venue/format is top grade, but back in the day, they never charged extra for 70mm booked films.