Comments from Zubi

Showing 1 - 25 of 60 comments

Zubi
Zubi commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Apr 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

There’s still Mann Theatres of Minnesota (Ted Mann’s brother’s chain). http://manntheatres.com

Zubi
Zubi commented about Century 21 on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Like the 24 and the 25, the 21, 22, and 23 are now closed and may be soon demo’d. Sunday night’s finale at the original and never multiplexed 21, presided over by Shannon Guggenheim and the Retro Dome repertory company, was attended by representatives of the Syufy family, the media, and over a thousand patrons. Completely sold out, it was a festive send-off (the audience even clapped to the beat of the old 1990s Syufy/Century Theatres trailer). However, the new leaseholder and the property owners appear intransigent. So it looks like The Block-San Jose may soon join Coronet-San Francisco, National-Westwood, Cinedome-Orange, Cinema 21-San Diego, and countless other nice California theatres so that there can be more of what we already have too much of here in this state.

Zubi
Zubi commented about ArcLight Beach Cities on Jul 20, 2013 at 6:57 am

Arclight members were recently notified by email that this chain of theatres is going to start charging a $15 annual membership fee. One must now pay for the privilege of having a rewards/loyalty card that has been 100% free for well over a decade. All current memberships will terminate at the end of this summer. Members with accrued points who do not renew under the new program will have 24 months afterwards to use any accrued points. One must use or lose even new points under the new membership within 24 months. The trade-off is that you get a 10% discount on coffee, a $5 gift card for signing now, and other things that nobody cares about. They are calling these things “exciting new benefits”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

To each his own, of course, but the quality of service has gone down considerably in recent years; so “totally worth it” seems a stretch to me. Cinerama-Hollywood almost never plays 70mm prints anymore while other theatres around the country still do. The Arclight chain has lots of revivals but they’re smaller digital pictures—not nearly as impressive in sound or image quality. The snack bars aren’t as fresh or well run as they used to be—at least at the locations I’ve been to. They have fewer and fewer live box office cashiers; more and more out-of-order ticket machines. They took out their guest services desks. One sees more and more vandalism in the restrooms. Seems like paying more and getting less to me.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Arclight La Jolla on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Arclight members were recently notified by email that this chain of theatres is going to start charging a $15 annual membership fee. One must now pay for the privilege of having a rewards/loyalty card that has been 100% free for well over a decade. All current memberships will terminate at the end of this summer. Members with accrued points who do not renew under the new program will have 24 months afterwards to use any accrued points. One must use or lose even new points under the new membership within 24 months. The trade-off is that you get a 10% discount on coffee, a $5 gift card for signing now, and other things that nobody cares about. They are calling these things “exciting new benefits”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about ArcLight Pasadena on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Arclight members were recently notified by email that this chain of theatres is going to start charging a $15 annual membership fee. One must now pay for the privilege of having a rewards/loyalty card that has been 100% free for well over a decade. All current memberships will terminate at the end of this summer. Members with accrued points who do not renew under the new program will have 24 months afterwards to use any accrued points. One must use or lose even new points under the new membership within 24 months. The trade-off is that you get a 10% discount on coffee, a $5 gift card for signing now, and other things that nobody cares about. They are calling these things “exciting new benefits”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about ArcLight Sherman Oaks on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Arclight members were recently notified by email that this chain of theatres is going to start charging a $15 annual membership fee. One must now pay for the privilege of having a rewards/loyalty card that has been 100% free for well over a decade. All current memberships will terminate at the end of this summer. Members with accrued points who do not renew under the new program will have 24 months afterwards to use any accrued points. One must use or lose even new points under the new membership within 24 months. The trade-off is that you get a 10% discount on coffee, a $5 gift card for signing now, and other things that nobody cares about. They are calling these things “exciting new benefits”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Arclight members were recently notified by email that this chain of theatres is going to start charging a $15 annual membership fee. One must now pay for the privilege of having a rewards/loyalty card that has been 100% free for well over a decade. All current memberships will terminate at the end of this summer. Members with accrued points who do not renew under the new program will have 24 months afterwards to use any accrued points. One must use or lose even new points under the new membership within 24 months. The trade-off is that you get a 10% discount on coffee, a $5 gift card for signing now, and other things that nobody cares about. They are calling these things “exciting new benefits”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Marina Del Rey 6 on May 28, 2013 at 1:05 am

UA Marina is re-opening as an AMC. In addition to taking over the former Odeon Marina Marketplace across the street and turning it into an AMC Dine-In, American Multi-Cinema has also acquired this once very busy sixplex.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Mann Grove 9 on Apr 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm

BTW – The correct and full name was “Mann 9 Theatres at The Grove”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Mann Grove 9 on Apr 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I haven’t been to that shopping center in over 20 years, have no idea where the gym you mention is located, nor do I know how the shops are configured there today. However, as I recall, it straddled the length of mall facing away from the freeway on the northwest side and somewhat hidden in the back.

Zubi
Zubi commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:31 am

@Cliffs – 1162? That figure sounds wrong to me but, of course, I can’t very well say that I’ve done a physical count. A Mann Theatres employee once told me that the seating capacity was 2300. I suppose that it’s barely possible he was meaning to include the old Chinese Twin Theatres which were once adjacent but that wasn’t my understanding at the time (we were speaking in and about the main theatre). Web articles say the original Grauman’s was 2000+ when it opened but is now only 1151. However, who knows if that’s even accurate (nowadays many just take one erroneous web piece and regurgitate). The 2001 renovation gave up some seats for an expanded snack bar but around a thousand?

Zubi
Zubi commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm

RobertAlex – Maybe they’ll “do it right” and maybe they won’t; but taking a 2600-seat movie palace and turning it into a 900-seat IMAX auditorium is on the face of it a diminution and a sorry idea—both for the theatre and for LA. Watching a movie with over 2000 patrons is by itself a unique experience (one that is harder and harder to find) and that experience is a draw for Hollywood Blvd. There are many fine IMAX screens around but very few movie palaces left. The LAHTF should oppose this, not support it.

Zubi
Zubi commented about UA Galaxy on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

od_sf – You’re thinking of the Coronet Theatre, which played that 1985 single triple bill performance for the Bay Area. Coronet-San Francisco was a huge and venerable single-screen. The Galaxy, while very nice and having THX, was a multiplex with smaller auditoriums. In Los Angeles, however, the triple bill did show at two locations: UA Egyptian Theatres-Hollywood (in the original Grauman’s portion, which was an enormous palace back then [before Cinematheque butchered it in 1999]) and GCC Avco Center Cinemas-Westwood (a multiplex but one with a decent size main auditorium then [befoe it too was carved up in 1993] and THX).

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on Sep 20, 2012 at 1:22 am

Roger A – “The Master” in 70mm, it should be added, is not a widescreen presentation. As opposed to a stretched 35mm “scope” blowup, it appeared to be a 35mm “flat” blowup. Typically, this type of 70 format features black, vertical bars on left and right sides of frame (not visible, of course, to the audience). In other words, the film stock itself is extra-wide but the projected image is not.

Auntieagent – Most movies look great there—film or digital. However, when possible, the very best pictures to be seen and heard at the Cinerama-Hollywood are the widescreen epics of the 1960s presented in their original, premium FILM formats (something that is increasingly rare, even there). “How the West Was Won” in 3-strip Cinerama (three 35mm projectors working together to form a single great image) is, however, showing there soon and should not be missed—it’s unbelievable. The Cinerama travelogues and the like are impressive too but they can be boring. That is not the case with “HTWWW”. It’s an event. Also, widescreen 70mm 6-track magnetic prints—particularly for visual and orchestral masterpieces like “Ben Hur” and “Lawrence of Arabia”—are stunning and thunderous experiences in the dome. Unlike the 70mm runs of the 1970s and 80s—most of which were 35mm blowups, the great 60s epics were PHOTOGRAPHED in the 70 format and so are particularly breathtaking on the Cinerama’s very large screen. Unfortunately, they seldom show these films in 70 anymore and, when they do, I believe it’s usually with only digital sound.

Zubi
Zubi commented about ArcLight Sherman Oaks on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Markp – Wikipedia.org has a nice history on the Sherman Oaks Galleria. The old indoor mall (from “Valley Girl” and also seen in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) and the current outdoor mall are basically completely different properties located on the same site. The old mall had tons and tons of stores, a Pacific 4 Theatres complex and, during its day, was super busy. The new mall has very few stores, a restaurant venue that can’t seem to make it, parking a mile away, and a gym. Progress.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Egyptian Theatre on Aug 7, 2012 at 2:16 am

Robert L. – There are already a couple pics of the former II-III annex building under the Photos tab. However, I’ve uploaded one more for you from a web article on LA movie houses. Unlike the original Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre building, the tiny 1972 annex was not a pretty site (my friend used to say it looked like a tenement house). It was located in the back, way behind the main, original theatre—on Las Palmas. There was once even a turnstile at the annex entrance (presumably to allow minimal staffing). In the 1980s I understand that United Artists Theatres wanted to get rid of these two small screens and put in something much nicer to complement the original Egyptian: a pair of 600-seat, state-of-the-art houses built high above the original and intact Grauman’s building to create a whole new Egyptian entertainment complex. However, reportedly, Mann Theatres' allies on the City Council blocked approval.

The annex building was called Egyptian Arena post-UA.

As bad as this annex was, at least it did not affect the original building. UA did not divide and destroy the auditorium of the original Egyptian Theatre as American Cinematheque did. In its days as a commercial venue, the Egyptian was an enormous movie palace. Its main auditorium was so large then that, as UA company officer Jim Sherman once said, you could stand in one part of the auditorium and not be able to see every seat.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Sweetwater Theatres on Jun 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Previous names: Pacific 6 Theatres (main signage); Pacific Sweetwater 6 Theatres (full, original name).

A nice sixplex originally, this place had a rough opening in 1983. A reel was missing from one of its “Return of the Jedi” prints. Rather than make an announcement, however, management decided to let the film play as is and hope for the best. Things got ugly enough for the story to wind up on the evening news. Disgruntled fans, of course, were given another showing.

Although prestigious road show houses had long since used ticket agencies to similar purpose, this was one of the first multiplexes in San Diego County to have computerized ticketing from its own box office that was capable of beyond same-day advanced sales.

Zubi
Zubi commented about REMEMBERING CINERAMA (Part 52: New Orleans) on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

CSWalczak – Understood, but then how can the Seattle Cinerama claim they are “the one and only” theatre “that can show Super Cinerama”? Surely Cinerama-Hollywood and others can still play 70 Cinerama. Hollywood, of course, had that ability even decades before they finally installed 3-strip 35 in the early 2000s.

Zubi
Zubi commented about REMEMBERING CINERAMA (Part 52: New Orleans) on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

No, I don’t think that’s it, Mark_L. If you read the blurb on the Seattle Cinerama’s website – www.cinerama.com —> click on The Experience, it says “there are only three theaters in the world that can still show Cinerama movies, and we have the one and only that can SHOW (caps. added for emph. -z) Super Cinerama”. That wording to me suggests a format or a process. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Zubi
Zubi commented about REMEMBERING CINERAMA (Part 52: New Orleans) on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

Michael Coate – Perhaps you know… What is “Super Cinerama”? I’ve twice asked the people at the Seattle Cinerama (since they claim on their website to be the only Super Cinerama venue left) but don’t get an answer? 3-strip? 70?

Zubi
Zubi commented about UA Cinema 4 Tyler Mall on May 28, 2012 at 1:52 am

Just curious, where did this picture come from? I knew several people who worked here. Have any more?

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

Mr. Sittig: I was asking, of course, about the screen SIZE of your 4k showing for “Ben Hur” (versus a 70mm 6-track magnetic presentation of same) and not the AMOUNT of in-frame image retained/cropped, etc. I was speaking of the actual masking in the auditorium; while you were referring to the virtual masking for the image itself (i.e. black bars). Naturally, the in-frame composition is subsequently projected and therefore no minor matter. However, I was simply trying to find out if this week’s digital showing would be comparable at all to the enveloping, extremely “large” (both visually and aurally) 70mm performance of “Ben Hur” at the Cinerama-Hollywood in 1990. Since we’re talking about a movie that is, after all, on television every Easter and Christmas—fully letterboxed and in beautiful HD, the paramount question for many of us concerning so sharp/expansive a picture is, frankly: how big is the theatre screen? Since I still wasn’t able to ascertain that from your nonetheless very thoughtful answers, I decided to just go find out for myself.

In answer to Giles and for those interested (and forewarned of my tendency to idealize film): I found the 4k format certainly serviceable but far from the magnificent, event-like splendor of the 1990 70mm engagement. The size of this Sunday’s “Ben Hur” showing was comparable to a 35mm scope projection: the picture was about 15-20% shorter than a 70 presentation at the Dome; and neither did it extend as far to the left or right as 70 in that venue. As Mr. Sittig indicated, this digital showing, like with the HD letterbox version on TV, is a more elongated picture (i.e. with a wider aspect ratio because of less cropping on the sides). And certainly more image/less cropping is always better than the reverse. However, the 4k picture overall is a much smaller projected image than a 70 performance in the Dome. The picture resolution was likewise decent. In fact, some scenes I have to admit popped more in digital. However, other scenes were much darker (too dark) and the focus overall was soft—particularly away from the center of the picture. Speaking of which, the aperture plate (if there is such a thing on digital projectors—I haven’t been in a booth in decades) appeared to be slicing off the two bottom corners. Also, for some reason, the auditorium masking wasn’t brought in over those black bars and on the sides (i.e. set to properly frame the readable image) to achieve a nice professional, finished look. Instead there appeared empty screen on all four sides of the picture. I know sometimes auditorium masking is left ajar for sound or technical reasons but it looks like the devil. The digital soundtrack was very good but it sounded strained at times. At least as far as my extremely subjective recollections go, 6-channel magnetic stereo still seems to me to be a richer experience. Of course, it’s always possible that I’m allowing my prejudice in favor of film to distort my memory on these matters. However, I don’t believe such is the case. I really have no problem with digital projection/sound for regular movies (they look and sound great). However, 70 in the Dome is still overall a much better experience—particularly for a giant epic like “Ben Hur” and for a large-screen theatre with a name and expectations like “Cinerama”.

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on May 10, 2012 at 1:45 am

Jsittig: Did you see my follow up question on May 8 at 3:29p? Will this Sunday’s digital showing of “Ben Hur” be the same projected image size as that film’s 70mm performance in the Dome in 1990/91?

Zubi
Zubi commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Mr. Sittig – Thank you for responding to my questions. Just one final clarification, if I’m not being too much of a nuisance. When you say that 4K’s picture size is the same as “film”, do you mean the same as 70mm film projection as presented in the Dome? I ask because, as you know, whereas 35-scope and 70 are often the same projected image size in smaller (multiplex) auditoriums, that is not the case with very large screens such yours. I’m not as knowledgeable as you are regarding widescreen formats such as “Ultra-Panavision”, etc. However, my recollection of your early 90s showing of “Ben-Hur” was that the masking was pulled back to its outermost settings (picture nearly to ceiling and incredibly wide). Alternatively, “El Cid” in ‘93, which was in 35-scope at the Dome, had heavy masking dropped way down and brought in, even though it too was a widescreen. Will your upcoming showing of “Ben-Hur” in the Dome be akin to the former or the latter? Thank you.