Comments from PhilipWW

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PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - Northampton on Nov 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

Are all screens full 2.39 Scope ?

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Harbour Lights Picturehouse on Oct 24, 2017 at 5:26 am

This cinema often appears in any list of “Ten Best Cinemas in England”. Indeed, as the photo shows, architecturally it is an impressive building with its glass façade and location overlooking the marina. It has a nice café inside and as the photo also shows you can also sit outside on the veranda and appreciate the surroundings.

However I think that a good cinema should primarily be judged on how it operates as a cinema rather than its architecture and surroundings.

On this score the verdict is more mixed.

Screen 1 is good; it is wide with a full Scope screen and movable side masking. It was refurbished a few back to a high standard with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. The layout was changed removing the centre aisle and having sides instead; this was all good.

However on the down side, the auditorium is very light during the film as the lights are just dimmed and not turned off. It is far too light in my experience and detracts from one’s enjoyment. The management are aware of this and say that changing it is on their radar; however that is not that easy as the electrics are not wired to allow them turn the lights off over the seats but leave them on over the aisles. Additionally the fire exit cuts a corner out of the auditorium and makes the fire door with its lights very visible. Small points perhaps, but ones that stop Screen 1 from being an excellent place to watch movies in.

Screen 2 is not so good; it has bigger problems. The screen does not take up all the end wall as there is a passage down one side (fully lit) leading to the fire door. There is nothing subtle about its presence; it probably takes up about a quarter of the end wall and I found it very distracting. Consequentially the screen is only 1.85 which in 35mm days had top masking and in my opinion made the screen far too small for the size of the auditorium. I have stopped going to this screen so I don’t know if the top masking has been retained for digital projection; I presume not as is common practice nowadays.

Overall while the architects designed a building that looks great externally, I don’t think that they had much clue as to design cinema interiors that are great for the moviegoing experience. The current management do a fine job in successfully running a cinema that caters for all tastes but sadly they are rather hampered by the design of the building.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - Newcastle upon Tyne on Oct 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

As of October 2017, it has 16 screens comprising of the 12 original ones plus 4 Studios.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Luxe East Kilbride on Oct 23, 2017 at 9:53 am

Refurbished and rebranded as ‘Odeon Luxe’ in October 2017 with all screens having spacious recliner seats. Total seating capacity across all 9 screens is reduced to 652. Screen 1 is an ‘ISense’ screen.

This was the first site to to upgraded to the ‘Odeon Luxe’ brand by Odeon’s new owners AMC. The next two are at Wester Hailes in Edinburgh (rebranded as Odeon Luxe Edinburgh West) in Nov 2017 and Odeon Panton Street, London (rebranded as Odeon Luxe Haymarket) in Dec 2017.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Luxe Edinburgh West on Oct 23, 2017 at 9:51 am

Refurbished and rebranded as ‘Odeon Luxe Edinburgh West’ in November 2017 with all screens having spacious recliner seats.

This is the second site to to upgraded to the ‘Odeon Luxe’ brand by Odeon’s new owners AMC. The first was the Odeon East Kilbride in Oct 2017 and the next will be the Odeon Panton Street, London (rebranded as Odeon Luxe Haymarket) in Dec 2017.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Embankment Garden Cinema on Oct 19, 2017 at 10:17 am

I’m impressed if they actually installed a Scope screen as in the picture rather than show Scope films “letterboxed” on a 1.85 screen.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket on Oct 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

Thanks Zappomatic. So, is this talk of new plans just a red herring? Do Empire, to our knowledge, plan to do anything to the cinema?

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Embassy Cinema on Oct 15, 2017 at 7:25 am

It is always a pity when a rather grand building is demolished and replaced by a rather mundane one.

The 1984 building is still there with MacDonald’s still occupying one side of it and a coffee shop on the other.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - Poole (Tower Park) on Oct 15, 2017 at 7:20 am

Just the two larger screens (Nos 5 and 6) have full 2.39 Scope screens. The other 8 in the original cinema plus all 6 of the more recent ‘Studio’ cinemas just have 1.85 screens necessitating that Scope films be shown “letterboxed” centre screen and, as is normal practice nowadays, there is no top/bottom masking. This was confirmed to me in an E-Mail by Empire cinemas a while back.

An unusual feature of the cinema in its early UCI days was that many of the medium seize auditoria were L-shaped with a section taken out of the back for the projection booth which it shared with the auditorium next door.

When Empire took over and refurbished the cinema, the L-shape was removed. Whether just the upper part of the ‘L’ was taken out of use or whether the size of the projection area was reduced, I don’t know. It could be the latter as digital projection can take less space than 35mm.

The overview of this cinema (above) refers to one of the screens being IMAX. I can see no reference to IMAX on the Cineworld web-site, so that comment may not be true.

Either way cinema goers in Poole have a poor choice when wanting to watch Scope films as this cinema, in my opinion, is basically just a very large TV set.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket on Oct 15, 2017 at 6:31 am

Zappomatic, No, I have only the web link posted below by CF100 on 9 August.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - Chichester on Oct 14, 2017 at 11:05 am

One of the larger screens (Screen 5) has been converted to IMAX. I have not been in there, so cannot comment.

All the others 9 screens are Scope with movable side masking.

All 10 auditoria have stepped seating.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Savoy Cinema on Oct 14, 2017 at 10:41 am

The site is now a Poundland store. They took over when Woolworths closed.

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PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - Aldershot on Oct 14, 2017 at 8:03 am

The foyer is at ground level in the Westgate development. Escalators then take you downstairs to the cinemas.

All 7 auditoria have Scope screens. I can’t remember if they had movable side masking or whether the masking was fixed at Scope irrespective of the film being shown, as is often the case nowadays. I think it may be the latter.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Vue Bristol Longwell Green on Oct 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

A fairly standard Warner Village multiplex of the 1990s. The larger auditoria are good, fairly wide and with Scope screens while the smaller ones are fairly narrow, box like and with just 1.85 screens. All have stadium seating.

The Scope screens are 1, 6, 7, 8 and 13 which have, or had, movable side masking. I am not sure if the masking is still in use as the last time I went to Screen 13, the largest one, the it was out set to Scope all during the show even though the main movie was 1.85.

The 8 smaller screens, 2 to 5 and 9 to 12 would all have had top down masking for Scope movies when shown on film but now the image is just “letterboxed” mid screen with no top/bottom masking, which sadly seems to be common nowadays.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Vue Portsmouth on Oct 14, 2017 at 7:49 am

A fairly standard Warner Village multiplex of its time. Of the original 11 screens, the larger auditoria are good, fairly wide and with Scope screens while the smaller ones are fairly narrow, box like and with just 1.85 screens. All have stadium seating.

It opened in 2001 with 3 empty shells which later became screens 6, 7 and 8. Although relatively small, the auditoria are quite wide so have impressively large Scope screens.

Of the current 14 auditoria, there are now 7 Scope screens (Nos 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 12) which have, or had, movable side masking. I am not sure if the masking is still in use; I rather think not and that it is permanently set out to Scope irrespective of the film showing.

Screens 2 and 4 were slightly unusual in their 35mm days as to go to Scope the top masking lowered a bit and the side masking went out a bit, a combination of the two. Now in digital, the 1.85 image is slightly smaller with the top masking permanently lowered, so going out to Scope just becomes the standard side expansion.

The 7 auditoria with 1.85 screens are 1, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14. All had top down masking for 35mm Scope movies but now the image is just “letterboxed” mid screen with no top/bottom masking, which sadly seems to be common nowadays.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Empire Cinemas - London Haymarket on Oct 14, 2017 at 7:15 am

Is someone able to summarize the plans that Empire have for the cinema? The planning documents are not particularly clear to me.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Bath on Oct 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Fine modern multiplex with stadium seating.

All 8 screens are Scope with movable side masking.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Guildford on Oct 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Standard, but good, modern multiplex. All 9 auditoria have Scope screens with movable side masking. The screen sizes are good. The smaller auditoria (6 to 9) are still a good size and have impressive screens.

Built to a sloping floor design before stadium seating became the norm.

Perhaps by today’s standards the foyer and corridors look a little spartan, but that’s a minor comment. In all, I found it a good cinema.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Dorchester on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:08 am

Screen 1 is a fine modern auditorium with stadium seating, large Scope screen and movable side masking.

Screens 2 and 3 however are not good. Both are long thin box-like auditoria with just 1.85 screens. Initially when the cinema opened they had top masking for Scope films but with digital projection Scope films are shown “letterboxed” centre screen with no top and bottom masking as is common nowadays.

Although the screens are wall-to-wall, the picture image does not go completely to the side edges. I was told that it was adjusted after opening because a set of wall side lights were obtruding out and obstructing the picture. So now the situation is that Scope films are both “letterboxed” and “pillarboxed” on the screen. This is not good.

Additionally the auditorium lights only dim during the film so the auditorium remains relatively light. I was told that the management are aware of the problem but the electrical wiring is such that it does not allow them the lights to be turned off over the seats whilst leaving it on over the aisles.

All in all I get the impression that this cinema was not designed by anyone who goes to the cinema themselves and really knows what the customer wants. Other modern Odeons are fine so why Odeon let all these design faults through, I cannot explain.

There was quite a battle in Dorchester when this new Odeon was proposed from supporters of the independent Plaza cinema who feared its arrival would impact the viability of the Plaza. I don’t know how the are both fairing now 5 years after opening, both are still there. Odeon Screen 1 is a fine addition to the cinema choices but Screens 2 and 3 leave a lot to be desired.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about BFI Southbank Cinema on Oct 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

The main auditorium, Screen 1, is absolutely wonderful. It is just as you would imagine a perfect cinema should be. It caters for all formats (16mm, 35mm, 80mm and digital) and all screen ratios and, to me, is the perfect environment to watch movies in.

Screen 2 I am not so keen on. One senses that you are looking up to the screen, designed that way probably in part to give good sight lines because the floor only gently slopes down.

Screen 3 I like very much. Stadium seating, good sight lines and an impressively large screen for the size of the auditorium. A bit cramped though on the legroom compared to modern cinema standards.

There is now a fourth screen, not detailed in the cinema details above. Named the Studio it has just 36 seats and is equipped for digital projection only. Sadly the screen is only 1.85 ratio necessitating Scope films being shown “letterboxed” with no masking. This is presumably due to architectural considerations when trying to squeeze an extra auditorium in. It may be a pleasant environment with comfortable seats but, in effect, it becomes just like a large TV. I avoid watching Scope films there; this is not how they are meant to be shown.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Vue Basingstoke on Oct 10, 2017 at 8:59 am

All 10 screens are 1.85 ‘Flat’ as confirmed to me in a recent E-Mail from Vue. I presume this was a Ster Century standard when the cinema was built in 2002.

Then I presume the screens had top down masking for Scope films but now in the digital age Scope films just appear “letterboxed” on the screen.

What might have been passable in 2002 when Scope films were not as common as they are today, this hardly seems like good cinema standards today. These are certainly not current Vue standards but, I guess, it is difficult to fix without structural changes to the cinema.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Basingstoke on Oct 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

All 10 screens are Scope sized as comfirmed to me in an E_Mail from Odeon.

In its earlier days (1990s) as a Warner Village all screens had side masking. I do not know if that remains the case today as it is a current trend to leave the masking permanently out in the Scope position.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Odeon Luxe Swiss Cottage & IMAX on Oct 10, 2017 at 8:43 am

Screens 4 and 5, albeit relatively small with just 61 seats each, do have impressive Scope screens with side masking. All the seats are designated ‘Club’ and are very spacious with plenty of legroom. Although the flooring is sloped, rather than stepped, the sight lines are good. These are good screens to see movies in.

Although I did not see inside Screens 2 and 3, I was told that thy too have full Scope screens (though I’m not too sure that the person I spoke to fully understood what I was asking).

Upstairs the Screen 1 IMAX theatre is in the old balcony area. The seating here is stepped and the screen impressively large in, I presume, about an 1.90 ratio for digital IMAX presentations. The film I saw was standard Scope which had to be “letterboxed” for the screen; that worked fine as the auditorium was very dark. The picture was still impressively large.

In all I thought this Odeon a good place to watch movies and a good conversion to a multiplex.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Vue Shepherd's Bush on Oct 10, 2017 at 8:14 am

The comment on Screen 5 states that Scope films are “letterboxed” on a 1.85 screen. As Screen 5 is the second largest auditorium, this rather implies that most screens are 1.85 with perhaps only Screen 9 (the largest) being the exception with a proper Scope screen. If so, this is hardly satisfactory for good cinemagoing today where 80% plus of films are shot in Scope.

The other comment with the case study link on acoustic wall treatments does show include a photo of an auditorium with a full Scope screen, though it is not clear if this is just a generic photo or one specifically from Shepherd’s Bush; if it is from there I presume it must be Screen 9.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW commented about Cineworld Cinema - The O2 Greenwich on Sep 29, 2017 at 4:45 am

When I visited it in February 2016, it still reminded me of its Vue past, namely black matte walls, very dark auditoria when film is showing, wall-to-wall Scope screens and a good sense of proportion between screens and seating; all positive facets of latter Vue builds.

I’m sorry to hear that Cineworld are putting more light into the auditoria. I think generally that they are not as interested as other operators in making watching films a good experience by keeping lights off. I have heard this about other Cineworlds too.