AFI Silver Theatre

8633 Colesville Road,
Silver Spring, MD 20910

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Giles
Giles on January 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Howard, I actually went to the 1:40pm screening last Friday – and yes I got a souvenir programme – what a beaut!

Greenbelt is still 5.1 – phase 2 (which has yet to commence), might include the installation/upgrade to 7.1, time will tell.

I asked way back when the Avalon reopened what projector they had and they stated a 4K system was in the main auditorium – maybe they informed me incorrectly [EDIT: upon looking back at my Avalon Theater comment I mis-remembered, it’s a Christie projector that can be upgraded to playback in 4K, but from what I gather they’ve never done the system upgrade].

As to the 6-track soundtrack of ‘Phantom Thread’ it sounded very front heavy, with very little, subtle use of the surrounds and when it did, it was mostly for the music.

Personally I would love to hear a new movie from a director who remembers five stage channel mixed movies bring back that technical aspect – since I think it can be done on current processors (five front plus two surround channels).

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 22, 2018 at 3:37 am

Giles, thanks. As to curtain, did you arrive before the last screening stopped as I wrote above? As emails still mentioned free souvenir program while supplies last, you got one? Check the Old Greenbelt’s website “about” which says 5.1, albeit its 4k digital projector is more than the Avalon has (assuming they haven’t upgraded from 2k) & all of these wonderful historic theaters (AFI # 1, Avalon, Old Greenbelt) main screen is about same size: 40 feet wide, which is great. AFI Silver projectionist told me Phantom Thread soundtrack for the 70mm print is 6 track DTS.

Giles
Giles on January 21, 2018 at 8:14 pm

^ nice article Howard.

I saw ‘Phantom Thread’ here at the AFI Silver last Friday and they used the curtains only for the conclusion of the movie, usually they do it for both the beginning and the end.

Did the Greenbelt finally upgrade to 7.1 surround sound? I know that for here and the Avalon which is playing on the main screen, the 7.1 mix can and is played back as such.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 21, 2018 at 5:54 am

Phantom Thread is still in 70mm here. My photo on the marquee is included in this interesting article, http://www.in70mm.com/news/2017/phantom_thread/index.htm

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 14, 2018 at 4:07 am

JodarMovieFan, yes, curtain used as I’ve seen it usually including last month at European Film Festival. Get there when last showing is finishing. (There’s only a few minutes of trailers so you can calculate using the movie length time). Curtain closes. You can enjoy closed curtain for awhile, but long before new feature time, curtain opens for slides, trailers, etc. then the movie is played, then curtain closes again. The use of the curtain enhances the movie experience. Living in Philly, I’ve yet to visit Greenbelt but it is on my bucket list! So, yes, rather than see The Post in aud 2 here, sure, see it at the Greenbelt. Also, I should mention that souvenir programs for Phantom Thread are only as long as supplies last.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 13, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Howard, I want to see Phantom Thread this week, along with the Post. Did they use the curtain? If I do, I will keep an open mind. I read a post/review on in70mm that was glowing. I’m avoiding critic reviews until after I see it.

My sense is there is a projectionist for 70mm all the time? I vaguely remember when they played Dunkirk in 70mm on weekends and in DP during the week probably to save money on labor.

Post is playing here, too, but I think I’ll see it at Greenbelt just to support them. :)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Saw Phantom Thread in 70mm today (35mm blowup), souvenir program included (for ticket price, no discounts, $18). Wonderful presentation of interesting movie. For those like JodarMovieFan who didn’t like The Master, you won’t like this movie. Good movie though.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on December 18, 2017 at 10:39 am

Phantom Thread is booked here in 70mm shortly. Looking at the you tube preview and setting, its somewhat interesting. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be as unsatisfying as The Master.

It appears a new print of Lawrence is making the rounds. Perhaps, AFI will get it here later in ‘18. Its about time for it and 2001 to come back, once again. :) Maybe with luck, something 70mm new? I’m thinking Sleeping Beauty and Brainstorm.

Giles
Giles on November 20, 2017 at 11:13 am

Nolan’s soundmixing in general is a mixed bag. I saw Dunkirk at the Lockheed Martin IMAX screen; here and Tyson Corner in 70mm – and each were uniquely different. The IMAX-laser presentation audio wise made me ears want to bleed – way too loud, bass was deep, the treble in the gunshots made me want to jump a foot out of my chair, surround sound felt more pronounced. At AFI, the 70mm print audio playback seemed way more constrained, and the surround sound much more subdued – the print on the other hand looked the best. At AMC Tysons, the audio was boosted and as a result gave the aural illusion it had more dynamic range.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on September 5, 2017 at 4:52 pm

I finally caught ‘Dunkirk’ in 70mm. Looking at the showtimes, it appears they run it in digital during the week, automated probably and run it 70mm with a projectionist on the weekends or evening shows?

Customer Service is lacking. No greet either at the box office, upon entering or at the concession stand. I was going to order something at the concessions and was looking at the menu for my favorite stuffed pretzels and just got stares. I just left. The movie was about to start anyway.

This time I sat closer to the screen instead of my usual comfy spot in the back to get that full immersion experience. Bad idea. The flight shots made me a little dizzy. I was not feeling so good after the show. They had the curtain open throughout. Bad. At least I thought they’d close it before the previews.

Speaking of previews, they showed the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 and Justice League. It looked like film as there were the usual spots and artifacts inherent to film projection. Being the best house, I was hoping the film would play on the louder side with the appropriate BOOMs and shakes but I didn’t feel anything. In fact, my experience at BowTie’s refurbished Annapolis Mall BTX 4K #1 was a LOT better.

As far as the film experience, it was like the other Silver 70mm presentations. All the sound seemed up front. I was hoping for some directional sound at least from the fighter planes whizzing and the bullets firing. Even the end credits walking back, no sound from the other speakers. For those who have seen it this way, correct me if I’m wrong. Maybe the low attendance resulted in them not flipping all the sound switches.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I could’ve sworn when I saw the Master, there was a slide presentation or little video about the differences between 35mm and 70mm film and the experience. Looking at the audience in attendance, the younger people (younger than me anyway) would probably not know, much less appreciate the difference.

For an archival organization like AFI, you’d think they’d be able to use one of those 70mm trailers presentation trailers. On the other hand, if you’ve got wide film directors like Tarantino and Nolan utilizing 65mm, no one younger then that group is going to know or appreciate it. May as well buy the movie and watch it on your iPhone/Pad. Why not make a new 70mm trailer with sound?

Looking at the total box office grosses, it seems Dunkirk is doing well. Perhaps, we’ll see more 70mm but if its all like this, I’d rather go see it in 4K Digital even if its IMAX-lite. I can’t believe I’m saying it.. ;)

Overall, I was a little underwhelmed with the Dunkirk experience at the AFI Silver. It wasn’t worth the drive for sure and the lack of customer service doesn’t help either. While I believe in the AFI and its mission on film preservation and all that, on the business end of showing films at this location its just not there.

sguttag
sguttag on June 18, 2017 at 1:59 am

Screens 2 and 3 have been recently changed so you shouldn’t see blemishes on them now. The newish red curtain in #1 remains fully operational too.

Giles
Giles on June 17, 2017 at 10:03 am

^ I remember Gore Vidal as ‘Captain 20’ too

anyone know if the AFI fixed that ugly blemish on screen 2, most everything lately I’ve seen at the Silver has been on screen 1 or 3.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on June 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

According to the AFI Calendar, Dunkirk will open 7/21 in 70mm. There are no showtimes listed. I suppose they will be hiring a projectionist for the event.

I saw 70mm listings for Wonder Woman in southern California. It would’ve been nice if they had booked it here. I suspect the Regal’s proximity prevented them from that.

Gore Vidal is presenting Alien in honor of the passing of John Hurt. I remember the 2004 or 5 Director’s digital cut they released. I suspect that will be what they will show. Didn’t know Vidal was still around. I remember his Creature Feature show on Channel 20 waaaay back. :)

Giles
Giles on March 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm

well on the positive side – the DCP of ‘The Dark Crystal’ is the best it’s looked and sounded since, well … it’s 70mm engagement

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Thanks, guys.

I can’t think of the last time I saw a DCP movie at AFI, if ever. Unless, I was feeling nostalgic or curious as to how the movie looks on DCP, I would have avoided seeing it. I can see the economic sense of showing movies in DCP, but I agree with you on classics on film.

I did see the Blu-Ray for the first Star Trek movie, which was disappointing..if that comes close.

The monthly schedule shows a few retrospective titles from 1982. They’ve got Dark Crystal and Blade Runner, again. If they book Gandhi and/or Tootsie, I may want to catch it there again. I’m curious to see how Tootsie would play to a contemporary audience. I enjoyed it on demand the other day and remember the audience laughs at different points in the movie as experienced in a theater.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 13, 2017 at 5:10 am

JodarMovieFan, A friend told me. I have many friends in the film community. And, from those friends, I know how expensive digital projectors are to acquire, to replace, and how impossible it can be to repair them, whereas it was easier to repair 35mm projectors. Movie theater operators, whether indie or chain, didn’t cry out that they needed digital projectors or couldn’t afford projectionists & shipping costs of film. Hollywood studios decided it would be easier to provide films on digital format. However, classic films don’t look the same on DCP as they do on 35mm or 70mm, the formats they were meant to be seen! (and that’s also why in recent years, we’ve got a few more new 70mm films) And all classic films aren’t available on DCP. This year, I saw more Oscar nominated films before the Oscars were announced than I normally see even afterwards. Of all Best Picture, Director, and acting nominations, I saw all films but Nocturnal Affairs (which now I would like to see). My favorites that were nominated are Hacksaw Ridge, Fences, Hidden Figures, and Lion.

sguttag
sguttag on March 12, 2017 at 10:37 pm

The AFI/Silver NEVER ran movies on a platter except on rare occasions in theatres 2 or 3 (not even an option in 1). My only comment on the projectionists for the site is that the regular projectionists are no longer there.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 12, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Howard, how did you hear this?

I had thought they ran films on automated platters, except for archival prints and 70mm that require/demand professional handling.

I, too, have noticed they don’t put film formats anymore on the titles.

Maybe the place is in financial trouble where they can’t afford to hire a projectionist. This is why movie theaters are all digital now, isn’t it?

2016 was a low film/movie watching year for me..first time I missed any/all of the Oscar nominated films. I did see Lala land and fell asleep. lol..more on that later.

Perhaps, Steve can shed some light on the lack of at least a PT projectionist.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Sadly, I found out why the website doesn’t list any classic films in film. The theater is NOT showing any 35mm or 70mm film. The theater is not paying film projectionist to show real film. This would be tragic, as the AFI has always prided itself on its classic film program. DCPs & lesser are not the same.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Looking at the website today, it seems none of the classic movies list the format- 35mm or 70mm, DCP or lesser!

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on September 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Ah hah! Someone must’ve been listening. They have Star Trek: TOS Movie screenings this week at the AFI, but mostly in 35mm and DCP. The Motion Picture is Blu-Ray and is the Director’s Edition. Sadly, no 70mm for anything. The Blu-Ray presentation was underwhelming the first go around even though it was in the Historic Auditorium. III maybe worth a viewing in 35mm. I can’t believe I’m saying that after all the years of complaining about scratched and mishandled 35mm film prints at the local megaplex. Maybe its a studio vault print. Then again, why not the 70mm, if its a vault print. :P Decisions, decisions. To boldly go, or not.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on September 4, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Movie, no recliners like AMC. Maybe one day? The back of the original auditorium has very comfortable wide seats and space for your cups and a food item.

I enjoy the rear seating in the original, but lose that sound envelopment unless I’m sitting closer even though its a THX cert auditorium. I’m thinking that many shows just aren’t played loud enough for my taste. I can’t remember the last time they played the THX trailer, probably in the 00s and the Life sound trailer. Then again, I haven’t visited this year, yet, maybe they’ve got the newest space one. :)

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on September 4, 2016 at 10:03 am

are there recliners at this venue?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 4, 2016 at 6:06 am

Very much enjoyed very good 35mm prints of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 1969 Goodbye, Mr. Chips, both with mono sound, Chips with intermission, Friday, in aud 1, with use of red curtain, which arrived about May 2016.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 1, 2016 at 5:17 am

Thanks! what month was the new curtain installed? I will mention it at the Intro above.