Comments from DavidSimpson

Showing 1 - 25 of 434 comments

DavidSimpson commented about Xinedome on Jun 12, 2024 at 2:14 am

A granite plaque in the foyer (see photograph) translates as “Cornerstone”. Presumably the date shown, 21st January 2003, is when the Xinedome opened (as opposed to, for example, when work started on the foundations). This ties in with the huge amount of construction work going on in this area at the time.

DavidSimpson commented about Parkway Cinemas on Nov 1, 2023 at 3:37 am

I was given a very warm welcome when I visited on Thursday 19 October 2023 to see “The Miracle Club”. As intimated in the Overview, the transformation is stunning: there is even a ‘red carpet’ to welcome patrons! The staff were especially enthusiastic; with Halloween approaching the foyer had been suitably decorated, and the staff were suitably attired! This is a real credit to Gerald Parkes' legacy.

DavidSimpson commented about Old Regent Ballroom on Nov 1, 2023 at 2:10 am

I went along to The Old Regent Ballroom on Friday 8th September 2023 to see “It’s Showtime!”, a ‘music and songs from the shows’ presentation by local amateur group True Productions. I was fortunate to meet up with co-owner Frank Cull, who kindly showed me around. He and his business partner Shaun Young have done a terrific job revitalising the building as a sumptuous ballroom and cabaret venue. And the show was pretty good as well!

DavidSimpson commented about Capitol Cinema on Jun 25, 2023 at 1:24 am

I assisted Ken with the updated Overview and, yes, I believe the original Cinema, then the Glenboi and the Capitol cinemas, were all housed in the Workmen’s Hall.

DavidSimpson commented about Gateway Cinema on Apr 30, 2023 at 1:20 am

I visited the Gateway on Thursday 20th April 2023 to see the National Theatre Live screening of C. P. Taylor’s play “Good”, starring David Tennant and Elliot Levey. While films are still not being presented every evening, they are rather more frequent than was mentioned in the Overview. Projection is from Blu-ray, with occasional live broadcasts. I was delighted to meet Kim, the very enthusiastic manager, and equally pleased to note a very good attendance. This is an extremely spacious, yet very comfortable, ‘boutique’ cinema, the brainchild of the lady who owns the Labels Shopping Centre.

DavidSimpson commented about Scott Cinemas-Northgate Yard Bridgwater on Apr 30, 2023 at 1:02 am

This is a very impressive, luxurious multiplex. I visited on Wednesday 19th April 2023 to see “Renfield”, starring Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult, and I was especially impressed by the side masking, which opened up for the ‘scope film. The very enthusiastic staff made me particularly welcome, and I hope this leads to further new builds by Scott Cinemas.

DavidSimpson commented about Avenue Cinema on Apr 30, 2023 at 12:48 am

I was given a very warm welcome when I visited the Avenue on Tuesday 18th April 2023 to see “John Wick: Chapter 4”, starring Keanu Reeves. The cinema has been fitted out to a very high standard, and is a splendid addition to the town’s entertainment attractions.

DavidSimpson commented about Winding Wheel on Apr 30, 2023 at 12:37 am

With the Pomegranate Theatre (see separate Cinema Treasures entry) closed for a multi-million pound refurbishment, its film shows have been transferred to the Winding Wheel. So it was that, on Tuesday 28th March 2023, I was able to enjoy the ‘big screen’ experience, with comedy/mystery “See How They Run”, starring Sam Rockwell and Adrien Brody, in this former Picture House/Odeon.

DavidSimpson commented about Cinema in the Power Station on Apr 29, 2023 at 11:35 pm

I visited the Cinema in the Power Station on Friday 17th February 2023 to see the Marvel Comics' adaptation “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”. In a nice touch, alongside the trailers and adverts, there was a short history of the power station, which included clips from some of the many films that have used the site as a location over the years.

DavidSimpson commented about St. Margaret's Hall on Apr 29, 2023 at 11:11 pm

Happily, films are still being shown at what is now St. Margaret’s Hall. Indeed, Bradford on Avon Film Society, founded in 1989, has been showing films here since then. Initially, a 16mm projector was situated at the rear of the hall, but later on a 35mm projector was installed in the original projection box. In 2013 a major refurbishment programme was undertaken by the town council, including the installation of retractable seating, which enables the hall to host a full range of events. Since then, the society has used a digital projector.

Film Society seasons run from October to March, with 15 films being shown on Fridays. I visited on 20th January 2023, when the main feature was “The Lost King”, starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. In a nice ‘heritage’ touch, it was supported by “The Coming of the Dial”, a GPO short from 1933 about the automation of telephone exchanges. A near capacity audience was testament to the popularity of these shows.

DavidSimpson commented about Film Theatre on Jan 31, 2023 at 12:56 am

As with all places of public entertainment, the Film Theatre closed in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The part-time staff were made redundant, but a core team of volunteers remained in place.

Unfortunately, in January 2023, long after the pandemic restrictions had been lifted, negotiations with the building’s owner, Staffordshire University, about the Film Theatre re-opening were still at a stalemate. It is unclear what the University’s objections are. The Film Theatre volunteers say they have provided all the information and documentation that has been requested, while the University says only that the discussions are on-going. In the meantime, the Film Theatre remains closed.

DavidSimpson commented about Picture House on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:57 am

I visited the Picture House on Wednesday 11th January 2023 when “Mean Girls” (2004) was being screened. At that time, films were being shown every Wednesday at 9pm, with a different theme each month. For my screening, the theme was “2000’s classics” - see my photograph for the themes, and film listings, for January to April 2023.

I have to say that the experience was not entirely satisfactory. In a really nice touch, the screen is above the bar, which runs across the front of the proscenium arch, so the films are projected as close as is currently possible to the original screen. However, no attempt was made to move pub patrons away from the area immediately in front of the screen so, although the pub was not that busy, the ambient noise did frequently drown out the soundtrack. This didn’t matter too much with a film like “Mean Girls”, as it’s a fairly obvious tale of student bitchiness without that much of a plot. But the next week’s offering was to be the psychological fantasy “Donnie Darko”, which would definitely suffer.

The obvious answer would be to show films where the DVD/Blu-ray has optional subtitles - or even show silent films! But the staff didn’t seem that bothered - they put the film on, 15 minutes late, almost as a bit of an afterthought, and I was the only patron to sit through the entire film. Perhaps things are different when manager Jem Turner, who was profiled proudly tub-thumping the shows in the Winter 2022-23 issue of ‘Wetherspoon News’, is on duty.

DavidSimpson commented about Capitol Cinemas on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:28 am

I visited the Capitol on Tuesday 10th January 2023 to see “A Man Called Otto”, starring Tom Hanks. I was given a very warm welcome by the duty manager, who proudly showed me around before I settled down to enjoy the film. I had heard beforehand about the shopping centre’s problems with young teenagers hanging around, causing problems, and, indeed, the Capitol had been their target just before Christmas. Operator Sam Lavington had gone so far as to say that, if the problems persisted, he might be forced to close in the New Year. That would be such a shame, as this is a superbly appointed and very comfortable cinema. Fortunately, there were no signs of any problems the evening I attended, and I hope the remedial action promised by the shopping centre operator and the police continues to have a positive effect.

DavidSimpson commented about Rainbow Theatre on Dec 24, 2022 at 12:32 am

In “My Autobiography”, motor racing commentator Murray Walker recalled watching the Indy 500 race, held in Indianapolis, USA, on Monday 30th May 1966, at the Astoria. The presentation, via satellite link, was apparently much enjoyed by a “mixed audience of American servicemen and British enthusiasts”.

DavidSimpson commented about Odeon Theatre on Dec 23, 2022 at 1:25 am

The link provided by Trolleyguy on 4 September 2022 refers to a proposed re-opening in 2021. Sadly, this did not happen, although the really good news is that the Odeon did re-open on Thursday 1st September 2022 with a screening of the 2016 crime drama “Hell or High Water”, starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, that was partly filmed in Tucumcari. A second screening was held the following Saturday. These were free, with the emphasis on revenue from concessions rather than tickets. It was hoped that first or second-run films would soon be screened five or six days a week, with, in addition, separate free lunchtime shows supported by concessions sales.

DavidSimpson commented about Cinema & Co on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:46 pm

Following the judgement in December 2021 Ms Redfern lodged an appeal. This was heard in part in September 2022, when the judge ordered her to produce a detailed audit trail of her personal and business finances, in order to determine whether the fine of £15,000 is at an appropriate level. This included the whereabouts of tens of thousands of pounds raised via a crowd-funding campaign set up by someone with links to the far right.

At a subsequent hearing in October 2022 the court was informed that Ms Redfern had dispensed with her barrister and legal team, and had abandoned her appeal. She had not presented the required financial disclosure, but the judge, who accepted her request to abandon the appeal, did not increase the original fine.

DavidSimpson commented about Icon Cinemas 4 Hills Village on Sep 4, 2022 at 3:42 am

I visited the Icon Cinemas 4 Hills Village on Sunday 14th August 2022 to see the suspense drama “Fall”. As per my photograph of the screens indicator panel, there are actually 11 screens: numbers 1 to 10 plus the “Iconic” screen. This is simply a much larger auditorium; if this was created by knocking two of the original screens into one that would answer the conundrum of 12 screens becoming 11.

DavidSimpson commented about Odeon Theatre on Sep 4, 2022 at 3:09 am

On a visit to Tucumcari on Saturday 13th August 2022 I was fortunate to be able to meet current co-owner, Christy Dominguez, at the Odeon. She told me that she and her husband, Robert Lopez, a local farmer, had acquired the Odeon in March 2013 from Ramon Martinez. It was open at that time, but they closed it in September 2013 for refurbishment and the installation of a digital projector and a Dolby 7.1 sound system. The Odeon re-opened in January 2014 with children’s favourite “Frozen”.

Sadly, the Odeon was then forced to close on 15th March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opportunity is being taken to carry out a further, much more extensive, refurbishment, and it is hoped that the Odeon might re-open as early as September 2022. This will be stalls-only (220 seats); it is unclear whether the circle seating will be brought back into use.

Christy also informed me that the Odeon had been built by the owner of the nearby Princess Theatre, a much grander venue which presented vaudeville in addition to the films, as a fairly ‘basic’ ‘films only’ theatre “for the common man”!

DavidSimpson commented about Mission Theatre on Sep 4, 2022 at 2:15 am

Further to Bill Eichelberger’s comment, I have posted two photographs of the building at 315 Central Avenue. However, it is not clear whether this housed the Mission Theatre, or whether it is a new build.

DavidSimpson commented about State Theatre on Sep 4, 2022 at 2:07 am

On a visit to Albuquerque there was no sign of the State theatre building. The block which includes 215 Central Avenue is now a parking lot, so the assumption is that the State has been demolished.

DavidSimpson commented about Rio Theatre on Sep 4, 2022 at 1:50 am

On a visit to Albuquerque, the manager of the former Sunshine theatre maintained that the next door building which housed the Rio theatre has been demolished, and the current building on that site, which includes the Sushi King restaurant, is a new build. As can be seen from my photograph, this certainly appears to be the case.

DavidSimpson commented about Southsea Cinema & Arts Centre on Jul 9, 2022 at 6:35 am

I visited the Southsea Cinema & Arts Centre on Sunday 19th June 2022 for a screening of Pedro Almodovar’s drama “Parallel Mothers”.

This is a fascinating venue. The ground floor area is all one space, with the auditorium on the right, in an area that is curtained-off for the film shows. There is a small café seating area at the front, and the box office and concession counter are to the left.

The stated seating capacity of 40 is something of a nominal number. For the show I attended there were four rows of four free-standing chairs with a large number of bean bags and cushions in front of those chairs. This produced a real ‘film society’ atmosphere, with many members of the audience lounging on the bean bags and cushions!

Projection is from DVD/Blu-ray (mostly the latter) so films only available in these formats can usually be screened. However, links have been established with a number of streaming services and, indeed, “Parallel Mothers” was screened from Amazon Prime.

Judging by my visit, this is a well-run venture which is quickly building up a large, regular clientele. I wish the Southsea Cinema & Arts Centre all the very best.

DavidSimpson commented about Odeon Plymouth on May 14, 2022 at 6:17 am

On Tuesday 10th May 2022 I was fortunate to be able to meet up with Nichola Cooke, of Nudge Community Builders, the new owners (in association with transformation specialists Eat Work Art), for a tour of the former Gaumont/Odeon. As can be seen from my photographs, an immense amount of work is required, but Nudge are contemplating retaining the horizontal sub-division and installing commercial units in the former stalls, while adapting the former circle as an entertainment venue. This should provide much needed regular rental income to sit alongside the more occasional nature of the events upstairs. On the plus side, I gather that the building is basically sound. I wish Nudge well in their bid to not only revitalise the Gaumont/Odeon, but also breathe new life into the Union Street area.

DavidSimpson commented about Cineworld Cinema - York on Apr 30, 2022 at 2:37 am

I visited the Cineworld on Tuesday 26th April 2022 to see “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”, starring (and about!) Nicolas Cage. I was given a very warm welcome by the staff, who are rightly proud of this new, vibrant cinema.

As a postscript to the Overview, the LNER Community Stadium (as it is known for sponsorship purposes) hosted its first soccer match on Tuesday 16th February 2021, when (for the record!) York City were beaten 3-1 by Fylde. (The capacity for the stadium is 8,500: perhaps the 8,005 quoted in the Overview is a typo.) The facilities at the leisure complex to the right of the stadium include a swimming pool, sports hall and gym, while the building that houses the Cineworld is also home to Hollywood Bowl and Puttstars mini-golf.

DavidSimpson commented about Cinemarsh on Apr 30, 2022 at 1:12 am

I paid my customary visit to Cinemarsh on Sunday 27th March 2022, for an 11am screening of “The Phantom of the Open”, starring Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins. I was given a warm welcome by the staff at Marsh Academy’s reception desk, which doubles as the Cinemarsh ticket and concessions counter.

In a nice touch, in the half hour or so before the screening, vintage adverts from the USA (for the record: Crest toothpaste, JB watch bands, Halo shampoo, Hotpoint electrical appliances and Hills Bros coffee!) and a Pink Panther cartoon (“Pink Trumpet”, from 1978) were screened, together with a short promo film about Cinemarsh. Interestingly, that made the direct point that ticket sales often do not cover the distributors' charges, and urged patrons to buy something from the concession counter and/or make a donation. This message was repeated on an A-board near the reception desk.