Comments from Giles

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Giles commented about AMC Uptown 1 on Nov 11, 2021 at 11:20 am

I was over in the neighborhood the other day and there is no liquor license signage up, but according to another friend, the older prior seats were being taken out earlier in the week. All I know at this point is that Landmark IS, and will be running this theatre. However there’s been some alarming news/rumours that they might twin the theater, which would be horrible. In somewhat related news, a friend, who up and just literally dumped me for reasons unknown, who worked for Alamo Drafthouse corporate, said that the December opening of the Rhode Island Ave. theatre’s ‘Big Show’ screen would exceed the Uptown’s screen by some twenty feet, making it the largest screen in DC proper.

Giles commented about West End Cinema on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:53 pm

another economic casualty of the COVID pandemic; I drove by this the other day and every sign and everything inside the glass doors is gone, this theatre is officially closed. DC, yet again, loses another movie theater

Giles commented about Arclight Bethesda on Jul 23, 2021 at 6:47 am

I thought I had heard a murmuring that another chain ([cough] ‘Cinemark’) was doing a hush-hush acquisition / interest of the space - ?? Honestly I wish Showplace ICON might take the bait, their Boro (Tyson’s Corner) location is the best in the DMV area, in terms of 2K/4K Barco laser projection and state of the art sound.

Giles commented about Cinemark Fairfax Corner 14 + XD on May 22, 2021 at 11:47 am

I was there a week ago for ‘Army of the Dead’ on one of the XD screens, I thought it looked fantastic. My understanding is that the projectors are Barco 4K laser. It’s a shame that Cinemark made the XD screens as Auro3D, they really should be Dolby Atmos, but that’s more of a personal preference.

Giles commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood on Apr 12, 2021 at 7:06 pm

Zootopialover98 - in my opinion, AMC or Regal are the last two chains I would want to come and step in, give me Cinemark or Showplace ICON, their theater complexes are more state of the art when it comes to top of the line Barco projectors, 7.1 audio and Dolby Atmos systems.

Giles commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:18 pm

huge, unfortunate news for Arclight/Pacific theatres from Deadline:

EXCLUSIVE: Refresh for more details The last thing we needed to hear as the box office and exhibition were rebounding from the pandemic was a piece of bad news, but word spread like wild fire in distribution and exhibition circles that the Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres won’t be reopening. The chain has issued a statement below.

Last week, I was hearing that the chain was shooting for a Memorial Day weekend reopening with A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella, now those hopes look dashed, and at an unfortunate time because it’s expected that Los Angeles County could get the opportunity to operate at 100% capacity in movie theaters well before California Governor Newsom’s June 15 wide-open order. Here’s the chain’s statement:

‘After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres locations.
This was not the outcome anyone wanted, but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.
To all the Pacific and ArcLight employees who have devoted their professional lives to making our theaters the very best places in the world to see movies: we are grateful for your service and your dedication to our customers.

To our guests and members of the film industry who have made going to the movies such a magical experience over the years: our deepest thanks. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve you.'

Giles commented about Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Woodbridge on Mar 6, 2021 at 11:08 am

I finally made it down here to see ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ last Thursday and ‘The Big Show’ impressed me. It’s a large auditorium that sits 256 patrons and overall image from the Barco 4K projector and Dolby Atmos sound really put it at the top of my favorite theaters in the Virginia/Maryland/DC area.

Giles commented about Georgetown Theatre on Feb 15, 2021 at 2:38 pm

It was great to see the sign all lit up and featured in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’!

To answer a question I had originally asked: ‘Caligula’s theatrical run here was fifteen months, from March 28, 1980 and ended on June 30, 1981. The Washington Post advert has been included in the photos section.

Giles commented about AMC Mazza Gallerie 7 on Feb 12, 2021 at 6:55 pm

For a major city in the US and having lived here since 1972 watching the decline of the ‘film scene’ and theaters come and go,it’s downright depressing. The Avalon is the last theater in the affluent Ward 3 section of the city.

Giles commented about AMC Tysons Corner 16 on Sep 21, 2020 at 10:30 pm

on the whole, because there weren’t that many other patrons and the distance from one another was pretty significant, yes I did feel safe. Now going on the weekend when there is the potential for more folk, that’s where I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Because at the screening I attended I wasn’t proactively watching others eat, I wasn’t aware of the taking off their masks to eat/drink.

Giles commented about AMC Tysons Corner 16 on Sep 21, 2020 at 7:57 pm

sorry Jodar, but I didn’t get any concession, the less contact or proximity to other folk was a top personal health priority. I did have to go to the restroom, something I was trying not to do, but with the running time of ‘Tenet’ it was unavoidable. I just wanted to go in and quickly out – I normally stay to watch the credits, but not this time. For the first show of the day, I’d say there were about 20 people in the IMAX auditorium.

Giles commented about AMC Tysons Corner 16 on Sep 20, 2020 at 3:42 pm

I decided to risk it, and see ‘Tenet’ on the IMAX screen, and I have to say for the most part AMC is spacing out it’s patrons well enough far away from one another – it also helps to go by the guidelines of seeing a movie in the largest auditorium possible and the first matinee of the day which fewer patrons attend. There are also wipedown sheets one can take in and do a double cleaning of one’s seat. I will say it is rather painful to endure the standard twenty minutes of promos and trailers before a two and half hour movie, so when the credits began to roll, I shot out of there. It’s been noted that the IMAX screenings of ‘Tenet’ seemed to be amped up to ‘11’ thus drowning out dialogue, I only noticed this once.

Giles commented about Outer Circle 1-2 on Apr 28, 2020 at 1:02 pm

I saw countless movies here, but the first one I remember seeing as a kid was the ‘Pippi Longstocking’ movie that came out in 1973.

Giles commented about Cinema on Apr 28, 2020 at 11:41 am

updated in the photo section to include the 70mm 1989 re-release Washington Post advert for “The Ten Commandments”

Giles commented about Town Theater on Apr 23, 2020 at 11:10 am

This theater/building has a very interesting history (as noted in Robert K. Headley’s book: “Motion Picture Exhibition in Washington, D.C.”). Built in 1907-1908, the Masonic Auditorium began showing movies (and vaudeville) from 1908 (!). The first floor auditorium which ran the entire first floor was able to seat almost 1,800 people. A second auditorium was located on the fifth floor that seated about 700 patrons. When the building was converted into the museum, the first floor was remolded into a grand hall and a new 200 seat auditorium on the third floor.

Giles commented about AMC Uptown 1 on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:57 pm

This does not need an IMAX laser install – a top of the line 4K laser projector is the least it would need to be state of the art – pop in a Dolby Atmos system, the theater could and should feature the modern amenities of most chain theater ‘premier’ screens. Folk literally have no problem dropping $20 on average at Tyson’s for Dolby Cinema, and other luxury theaters in the area, there’s no reason why if another film exhibitor were to resume operation HAS to include laser projection and immersive audio when it’s become the norm. Reading the Post article was just depressing, sure running a one screen theater is a challenge, but it needs the community to back it and give some voice to the neighborhood if it truly wants it back, and it comes at a terrible time, when theaters nationwide and internationally are having a significant drop in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic. Booking Pixar’s ‘Onward’ there, which was Pixar’s second lowest grossing movie, and then having it’s next movie, the new James Bond, bumped to November, and then the sudden audience no-shows, just gave AMC the more excuses to just throw in the towel, just sad and unfortunate.

Giles commented about AMC Loudoun 11 on Mar 8, 2020 at 11:10 am

I find it fascinating that no one here has been to this theater and made any comments. What DID happen to the former ‘IDX’ screen, I would assume AMC kept the 7.1 surround sound setup, but corporate didn’t invest the time, money, or interest to upgrade it to ‘Prime’ or ‘Dolby Cinema’. Also, the theater’s name is just “AMC Loudoun Station 11” the ‘Starplex’ has been dropped.

Giles commented about Showplace ICON at The Boro on Mar 3, 2020 at 9:22 am

The soft-opening of the theater happened on February 28th, with the official opening on March 6th. ICON-X auditorium(s) One seats 226, auditorium Two: seats 200, nine and ten seat 225. I saw ‘Rise of Skywalker’ last Sunday and ‘Birds of Prey’ yesterday; and I have to say the audio calibration and specifically the Dolby Atmos sound are acoustically top notch. I also like the plush seats, that only offer the ability to shift into a one’s comfortable seating position, but also offers ‘heating’ – tres chic!

This is my first time to a Showcase ICON theater and I have to say, I really like the fact the company policy has four trailers max before a feature – not the standard over twenty minutes at the other movie theater chains.

Giles commented about AMC Uptown 1 on Jan 17, 2020 at 8:28 pm

Off the top of my head, I know that Mazza does side horizontal masking for ‘flat’ movies on screen 1,2 and 4. The Uptown to my knowledge has also done this for 1.85 AR movies. They really screwed up last year’s presentation of ‘Missing Link’ which was a scope movie, but side masked off the left and right sides of the image. For ‘Missing Link’, in April, there was no assigned seating but by the time I saw ‘The Lion King’ in July they had added seat numbers/assigning

Giles commented about Warner Theatre on Jan 2, 2020 at 10:16 pm

actually the most recent movie screenings here was in August 2016 for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain exhibited a traveling roadshow showing of the “Star Wars Trilogy: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi”

Giles commented about AMC Mazza Gallerie 7 on Jan 2, 2020 at 9:59 pm

sorry this isn’t about the upstairs theaters, but a comment about the prior basement ‘Paris’ theater/screens. I just got from a friend an email of the original Washington Post advert for ‘Aliens’ (1986) and while I know that the 70mm engagement was at the KB Fine Arts, I didn’t realize it was also it’s sole in-town run. I for some reason, saw it when the popularity and box office success moved it to more theaters and specifically to upper Northwest DC to here. Even the largest screen was on the miniscule side, but man what an audience, the scene when the face hugger scuttles across the floor towards Newt and Ripley, everyone, including myself and a friend just completely lost it – oh the memories.

Giles commented about National Theatre on Dec 16, 2019 at 8:16 pm

update to include Washington Post advert for premier of ‘Fantasia’

Giles commented about Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Dec 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Recent New York Times / By Alex Vadukul (article about Lincoln Plaza Cinema and New Plaza theater)

Published Dec. 13, 2019 Updated Dec. 16, 2019, 8:47 a.m. ET

During a recent screening of “Mr. Klein,” the 1976 World War II psychological thriller starring Alain Delon, volunteers at New Plaza Cinema scrambled to operate their upstart independent movie theater on the Upper West Side.

Ann Logan, 71, yelled directions to customers as she sat in her walker; Norma Levy, 76, sold tickets from rolls of red paper stubs and stashed money into a little metal box; Rita Lee, 88, helped sell refreshments at a foldout table. When the movie ended, ushers hurried to wheel walkers and rollators back to older guests waiting in their seats.

It wasn’t a sellout, but it was a decent showing for a 43-year-old French film on a chilly Saturday night.

New Plaza is a newcomer to the city’s independent cinema scene, and it’s trying to establish itself at a time when independent theaters are in a death struggle with streaming video and a generation of moviegoers demanding in-theater craft brews and plush recliner seats.

New Plaza also has something of a chip on its shoulder.

Two years ago, Upper West Siders mourned the closing of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, the dingy art house theater where New Yorkers came to worship Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and Satyajit Ray. A cultural institution from the early 1980s, its concessions stand sold lox sandwiches, water leaked from its ceilings, and quarrels broke out among hard-of-hearing customers during foreign movies.

And ever since its landlord, Milstein Properties, declined to renew its lease, the theater has sat in a ghostly state on 63rd Street and Broadway with a blank marquee.

But as the city marched on with cold indifference, a band of seniors and retirees who live in the neighborhood refused to accept its demise and founded New Plaza Cinema just across the street.

They operate their nonprofit theater in a generic auditorium that they rent out twice a month from the New York Institute of Technology. A sandwich board on 62nd Street announces their presence. On weekends, they set up a volunteer recruitment table on Broadway beside a handwritten board that reads, “Do You Miss Lincoln Plaza Cinemas?”

Barry Schulman, 72, a retired television executive who helped found the Sci-Fi Channel, was selling candy bars from a wicker basket at the “Mr. Klein” screening. He explained why he joined the cause. “After I retired, I didn’t move to the Upper West Side just so I’d have to get on the subway and go to the Angelika,” he said.

The ultimate goal is lofty: unsatisfied with New Plaza merely being a pop-up cinema, the organizers want a full-time theater of their own, but securing such a space would probably cost millions. A strategy meeting was recently held over banana bread at the New Plaza president Norma Levy’s apartment in Lincoln Towers. Their big hope is that wealthy donors will bankroll their movie house.

“This city is full of wealth,” said Ms. Levy, a retired lawyer. “Three million dollars is nothing to some people. We only need one of those people. Maybe two. We’ll let them name the place. ‘The Mike Bloomberg Theater.’ Whatever. All we need is the theater, and we’ll do the rest.”

It won’t be easy. The city’s old art houses and independent theaters have been vanishing. Recent closures include the Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side, the Beekman Theater on the Upper East Side, City Cinemas on 86th Street, and the stately Paris opposite the Plaza Hotel. They close because of high rents, expired leases, and shifts in modern moviegoer habits.

Tellingly, as of a few weeks ago, the Paris will now be getting a second life, but only because Netflix leased the refined single-screen theater as a showcase address for its prestige releases.

As the old guard institutions fade, a slick new era of art houses is rising. The revitalized Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village sells organic wine at its bar, and the Metrograph on Ludlow Street has a restaurant that serves koginut squash salad. Last year, possibly sensing change in the air, the longstanding Film Forum on Houston Street underwent a $5 million dollar face-lift.

New Plaza’s single-screen auditorium seats 259 people. Recent screenings have included “Pavarotti” and “Tel Aviv on Fire,” and they’ve shown classics like “My Dinner With Andre” and “The Conformist.” After Philip Roth died, they ran a marathon of movies adapted from his books.

Ms. Levy declined to detail the operating costs and revenue of New Plaza, but she said they break even with their ticket sales, and that senior tickets make up the bulk of their revenue.

“Do we need younger faces?” she asked. “Yes, we do. But right now, we have an army of bright and dedicated people who have life experience. It might be time as a society to look at older people differently in terms of what they’re capable of and can create for society.”

In this brutal environment, they have one idea that might get them attention.

Woody Allen’s new film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” hasn’t had a New York premiere, and there are no current plans for its release in the United States. (It opened in September in Paris to lines spilling down the street.)

“No one in town wants to touch it,” said Gary Palmucci, 64, New Plaza’s film curator. “We did a show of hands here, and about 85 percent of people were in favor. I think we’ve decided we’re not so worried about picketers and we think it would be worthwhile to show.” He added: “We’re all over 50. We’ve lived in this world a lot. We view certain transgressions differently than college students.”

As the second anniversary of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas’ closing approaches, there lingers the thorny and awkward matter of the shuttered art house itself, which seems tantalizingly available.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas was opened in 1981 by Dan and Toby Talbot. The pioneering couple is credited with helping start the art-house-revival movement in the 1960s with their bold programming at the The New Yorker Theater on 89th Street and Broadway (Woody Allen and Diane Keaton argue in its lobby in “Annie Hall”).

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas was the fourth and last theater the Talbots operated, and the first film to play there was Federico Fellini’s “City of Women.”

For years, Howard Milstein, who owns 30 Lincoln Plaza, has been the landlord of the cinema. Mr. Milstein, who is the chief executive of Emigrant Savings Bank, is a member of a New York real-estate dynasty that Forbes once ranked the 90th wealthiest family in America.

In December 2017, Milstein Properties declined to renew Lincoln Plaza’s lease, saying that the theater required vital repairs. In a statement the company suggested that it would reopen the space again as a cinema, although it said little else.

Outrage quickly spread through condominiums on the Upper West Side. Critics and journalists wrote odes to the cinema’s leaky ceilings and stiff seats. But the closing date held firm. Mr. Talbot, who had been ill for some time, died later that month at 91. Lincoln Plaza Cinemas’ last day of operation was Jan. 28.

“We initially called him and asked to rent the space and keep running the cinema on our own,” Ms. Levy said. “A couple days later, a lawyer called us up and said, ‘Mr. Milstein is a very generous man. But not when it comes to money.’ He explained we’d need to come to the table with lots of money for anything to happen.”

A spokeswoman for Milstein Properties said that the company is still searching for a new tenant and that its “vision is still to reopen the space as a cinema.”

These days, Toby Talbot, 91, has been busy finishing her husband’s memoirs at their sunlit apartment on Riverside Drive, which is filled with posters of movies by directors like Bernardo Bertolucci and Claude Chabrol that once premiered in their theaters.

The closing of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas remains a sore spot. “He keeps our name on the marquee,” she said. “What nerve.”

She’s rooting for New Plaza. “I give them my blessing,” she said. “I want them to succeed. This was our life’s work. Dan and I were educating people, and why should that education have to stop?”

If a recent Saturday night at New Plaza was any indication, word about the cinema was getting around. An eager crowd entered to see “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles,” a documentary about “Fiddler on the Roof.” Two ushers, Naomi Rossabi, 83, and Ruth Mucatel, 91, took tickets. During their downtime, they groused about going to the movies today.

“We hate reserved seating,” Ms. Rossabi said. “What if we’re stuck behind a tall person?”

“Young people are used to getting everything easy,” Ms. Mucatel said. “We know what it means to have to wait for things.”

But a gloomy note soon entered their conversation.

“I heard the New York Institute of Technology is selling off their property in the area,” Ms. Rossabi said. “We don’t know if this space will always be here for us. Some of us are worried.”

In fact, the school recently put a 12-story campus building on 61st and Broadway up for sale, just down the street from New Plaza’s auditorium. But a spokesman for the university said there’s no cause for alarm: those plans don’t involve their space, and New Plaza’s arrangement is secure at least until May.

But considering the travails of New Plaza Cinema, perhaps it still felt like too close a call.

“I hope this isn’t all just a pipe dream,” Ms. Rossabi said. “Because something magic still happens when you go to the movies.”

Giles commented about Disney's Fantasia - Washington DC theatrical premier on Dec 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm

yeah, I found that rather odd the exclusion of the ‘Fantasound’ system; and for a two hour movie, the evening screenings beginning at 8:30pm – that’s on the late end if you ask me.

Giles commented about Cinemark Egyptian 24 and XD on Oct 31, 2019 at 3:08 pm

can anyone confirm if Auditorium #13 is getting the makeover/upgrade to ‘XD’ ?