Showing 126 - 146 of 146 comments
Although I’ve never been to Toronto, this cinema looked flat out amazing and it is a crime that it ever closed, let alone the horrible accident that cost a human life. The $700,000 cost to make this place accessible (does a ramp and a bathroom really cost that much?) to wheelchairs also screams of stupidity.
Here is a Flickr set of photos, as well as a Live Journal post that explains the closing. Does anyone have any more photos? Someone, somewhere, has to have photos of the massive screen in Uptown 1.
Furthermore, what were the two downstairs cinemas like? Were the screens large?
Very cool! Just a hair under the Alamo Drafthouse’s coolness, but I could definitely enjoy a movie in couchy comfiness.
Just how the HELL are they going to make digital projection watchable on that large of a screen? I even find 2k digital projection to be lousy on a medium size cinema screen!
It’s just that the cinemas themselves leave little to the imagination. Yeah, the lobby in this cinema is just as pretty as the Colossus and Scotiabank closer to me in Vancouver, but the auditoriums themselves are just black boxes with screens too close to the seats.
I also find it kind of crazy that this cinema sits across a highway from the AMC Interchange 30. 49 screens total!!!
Jurassic Park was shot in 1.85:1, not in the Cinemascope format. There were also no 70mm blow ups made for the film either, although extremely likely the North Hill was the first DTS venue in Calgary and it also played 70mm in its earlier years. I also doubt this cinema ever played any true three-strip Cinerama, rather 70mm prints projected through a curved lens, as I remember the auditorium did not have the Able and Charlie booth boxes on the sides nor any indiction that they were ever there.
I remember visiting this cinema while on vacation in August, 1999 a few weeks before it closed. It was a dreary, boring looking cinema on the outside at that point, as the adjacent mall was under heavy construction. The lobby was lifeless and drab, with hardly any staff around. “Star Wars Episode One” was playing there throughout the summer. The projector appeared to be on its last knees, as the image was bouncing like crazy (literally no tension in the gate) and staff refused to fix it when I asked because the cinema was about to close. The screen was also notoriously small after the original screen was removed. It was a common-width screen, which meant 1.85:1 films occupied a larger image area and the screen dropped down for scope features. “Episode 1” was shot in anamorphic, and it was kind of depressing seeing such a small, bouncy image in such a large room.
That said, the DTS sound was mind-blowingly awesome and probably the best sound I’ve ever heard in a non-IMAX theatre. Dialogue was clear, surrounds were powerful and effects filled the room, and the bass was deep, thunderous and rumbled the seats. It made up for what was a slightly disappointing single-screen cinema that could have been so much more.
In Vancouver, all single screens first-run:
Oh boy, you need to BE at a Drafthouse screening. It’s like no other moviegoing experience currently in the world. Besides the food and the drinks, they also strictly enforce their no-talking and cell phone policy, which has helped keep their sales up. The company has opened cinemas in Houston and San Antonio and no doubt they want to make a big expansion. So why not LA?
The National has plenty of room for kitchen and service space, along with providing, like you said, VIP sections and special seating. It might take that seat count from 1,100 down to about 400-500 or so, but as long as you kept that screen it would be worth it!
The Studio Movie Grills in the Dallas area appear, at least to me, to be more of a sports bar venue. I’d lean more towards the Drafthouse concept which I think would benefit greatly from the nearby campus who are looking for a fun night out.
As for the cinema’s current significance, I have an article I posted on efilmcritic.com about the National (the link is posted far up on this page) to contribute.
How familiar are you with the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin? (www.originalalamo.com) They are just opening their new location on 6th street in Austin this week, but if they were ever looking for a move out to the west coast, THIS would be the venue to do it in.
Drinks, specialty films run near the UCLA campus? The Alamo has been very good in promoting their product in their home city, so I’m sure they could promote around LA and the campus. Say it with me now…The Alamo Drafthouse at the National…The Alamo Drafthouse at the National…
‘“Paris, Je Tâ€™aime” has been booked at the National begining today.’
A wonderful film (saw it at last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival) and one that would look and sound just amazing at the National. Go check it out!
Another huge thanks to Michael for the “master list” of films that played the National. Some bizarro choices there. I’d also love to read that article.
I’m curious if anyone has visited the re-opened National? If it’s true that it’s only going to be open another year, that might be reason enough to drag myself and my Canon Rebel XTi cam down to LA. ;)
Alamo Drafthouse, you COULD move out west and set up shop here… ;)
An article I posted earlier this week on the Mann’s closing:
An article I posted earlier this week on the Mann’s closing:
“This theatre still exists and it is own by Empire Theatres. The theatre is pretty lucky not get demolished.”
The former Cineplex Odeon Granville 7 across the street has been bought by Empire Theatres and is still up and running, although attendance there has been sparse due to the construction on Granville and everyone would rather see a movie at the Paramount a few blocks away.
Capitol 6 is in the process of being demolished as the new Skytrain line is being built right beneath it. The property next to it has been cleared and you can see the back of the theatres from Granville now.
Really sad as the Capitol had the best location.
Part of downtown Victoria’s old “Theatre Row” which also contained the Haida, the Odeon and the Capitol. The last two theatres still stand as first-run multiplexes by Cineplex Odeon and Empire Theatres, respectively.
Building has been completely demolished and a new office building stands in its place.
Was a very good theatre in the day. Many seats, huge screens and also ran 70mm/6 track engagements.
I have seen those pictures on the CT site (I know you from film-tech as well as your other posts of San Francisco cinemas) and I saw “Brokeback Mountain” on the opposite (left) cinema than the one pictured. Simply hold up a mirror to that shot and it gives you the idea of what it looks like. I poked my head into the other cinema for a moment and it was a true mirrored cinema. Sometimes twin-plexes will have a larger cinema than the other, but not in this case.
All of those movies you mentioned are all scope 2.39 films, so I guess you would have had to sit in the third or fourth row to get a good view! I am also surprised that Lucas would consider this a place to screen SW:Ep1. The DTS and analog sound aren’t very good, the image bleeds on all four corners of the screen and they need to turn the ceiling lights down further for the feature (on dark scenes it is dim in there and you notice the lights rather quickly).
I also forgot in the first post to mention a few things I liked about the place: the lobby is gorgeous, there is no annoying automation present (the lights stayed down for most of the credits), the staff were very nice and it was spotless when I visited. You can tell the people running the place do like to take care of it. Would be nice to upgrade the screen and projection first, and then the position of those seats. ;)
(Note: I also visited the Daly City 20 and made a comment on here; also a nice place to see a movie. Hopefully on my next visit I will check out some other SF landmarks.)
(Sorry, got cut off) Does anyone have pictures of the original auditorium? I’m sure it was a nice place to see a movie. But I’m sure more fans of indie-fare will flock down to the Embarcadero or the Balboa rather than this place.
What a bizarre theatre. I was here on vacation in December ‘05 when “Brokeback Mountain” was here on both twinned auditoriums. The twinned-plex is far too narrow and the screens are small even at 1.85 common width. (Imagine watching a scope movie there on even smaller of a screen!) And as Eric Hooper mentioned, the (still comfy) seats were not rearranged so watching your movie with your head constantly turned was annoying.
(With that said, my dad and I watched the film in seats right behind some wheelchair spots, so the ample legroom was great! All that was missing were stools.)
DTS sound is also installed, although since this is an art house, most of the films will probably be in Dolby Stereo.
I guess it survives as a art-house double now. I can’t imagine seeing a big-budget movie in this place.
Does anyone have pictures
I visited the Daly City 20 back in December, 2005 for a screening of “Munich” on screen #3. And while I am not a huge fan of megaplexes, this is a beautifully designed theatre. Tickets are purchased at outside kiosks and you go up an escalator to find 10 cinemas in two wings.
The projection and sound quality (THX/SR-D) was superb on #3, even though it was a medium sized cinema. I’m sure that if it this good in here, it will be even better in the largest cinemas. Might have something to do with the fact that THX and Dolby are in San Francisco? ;)
I also believe that there are “self-serve” concessions here, although I didn’t get to visit them.
I for one am very thankful that Leonard Schein rebirthed his Vancouver art-house chain, Festival Cinemas, and took this cinema back under his wing. As with Alliance Atlantis' run from 1999 to 2005, the theatre plays mostly art house and independent, with the occasional high profile blockbuster (Spike Lee’s flick “The Inside Man” was a recent film that played there).
The theatre is easily accessible by the #15 Cambie bus
I visited the cinema in about 2001 to see “Mulholland Drive” and was quite impressed by the large single screen cinema, although I found the rows to be very narrow and the seats somewhat stiff$. The Park also played 70mm for several films back in the day.
It has now been fully restored with new seats (very comfortable and with more legroom, making its seat total around 500 instead of 640 before), a gorgeous new screen that is adaptable to play pre-widescreen era academy ratio (1.37:1) films as well as the current flat (1.85) and scope (2.40) formats, and Dolby Digital.
My only gripe is that it is really expensive to see a movie here; $12.00 for an adult evening ticket, unless you have a $12 annual membership and that knocks the price down a few dollars. I am also cuirious as to how the theatre will stay afloat through over the next year or so of construction of Translink’s “Canada Line” skytrain which may make access to the cinema more difficult.
Still, The Park is a really nice theatre that is worth supporting; not just for the fact that these single screeners are struggling in Vancouver, but it has a more refreshing atmosphere than the overloud megaplexes out in suburbia.
A fine theater in downtown Victoria, BC, that is still going along strong thanks to good programming and a good fanbase, and is surviving despite yet another moronic Famous Players Silvercity out of town.
I never saw a film in the theater’s original glory, having grown up in the 80’s and therefore having no choice but to see films in the triplexed theater (although if memory serves, I’ve been told that the theater was duplexed in the 70’s before the downstairs cinema was divided). The upstairs theater was still a fine place to see film, with Dolby SR and a large common height wide-screen. Sadly, the downstairs cinemas were a victim of the time and were given smaller top-masking screens and mono sound (although there were surround speakers there, which never were used). DTS was installed into the upstairs #1 around 1994. Also, the whole theater ran on 6000ft changeover reels prior to the 1997 renovation, so it required a unioned projectionist on duty who needed timing and precision to change every reel on cue. (I also remember the theater used automation so just in case the projectionist missed the changeover, the film would just stop instead of the audience watching the film tail out.) Surprisingly, the new platter-deck systems were put into operation in early 1996 even while the older three screens ran.
The 7-screen renovation was finally complete around March, 1997. “Sling Blade”, “Ridicule”, “Lost Highway” and “Dante’s Peak” were the first films to show on the newer theaters, each seating around 240. DTS and Dolby SR were installed into all four new theaters, each also boasting large, curved wide-screens. Projection on these newer theaters are razor-sharp, even to this day. The old triplex still ran as it was before, old curtains and seats and all, but was upgraded with new seats and curtains around fall, 1997 (they closed those theaters while the newer four screens were still open). The old upstairs theater is now cinema #5 and has a seat count just over 400. Ironically, theater #2 has more seats than the newer theaters with about 280, so you’ll sometimes see a newer film open on there first if cinema #5 is busy. And most of the older films get to cinema #1 (210 seats), which is small and cramped, although around 1999 DTS systems were also installed into these smaller old cinemas.
The Odeon 7 frequently picks up more foreign and independent films than its competitor, Famous Players Capitol 6, across the street. The Odeon normally books films from 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal and Alliance Atlantis (because of that, the Capitol normally gets all Disney, Warner and Paramount product), but since the largest cinema at Capitol (#2) has more seats (530), sometimes they get booking first.
As of 2004, The Odeon is the closest anyone is going to get to the grandeur of old-fashioned moviegoing in Victoria.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com