Sunday, 24 February 2008

CAN'T BEAT THE BIG SCREEN?

For the past 3 years, visits to the cinema have been out of my reach for a variety of reasons. Chiefly, the time and money involved in actually arriving at the venue before we even pay for our admission have made this venture prohibitive, and then there's a number of other obstacles which will be familiar to most other cinema regulars. Firstly, you invariably encounter some knob who seems more interested in holding conversations on his/her mobile phone than actually watching the film. Then, you can sometimes be seated in front of a couple who couldn't agree on which film to see, and end up with a film that neither really wanted to see. Cue 90 minutes of inane chitchat, involving last nights party or how the boss is really going to get his at work the following day. Of course, if both the aforementioned groups have taken the evening off, you can usually rely on being stuck near some 'foodie' who proceeds to demolish a mountain of popcorn/hotdogs/ soft drinks in glorious 5.1 surround sound. Maybe I have a sign above my head saying 'please fuck up my evening'? Even the London Film Festival encounters some of these problems as flashlights dart across the auditorium in an effort to seat latecomers, mobile phones ring out and refugees from Burger King munch their way through a little 'snack' to keep them going. Christ, it's like being in Mickey D's in a blackout with Mulder and Scully running back and forth! Maybe I'm wise to stay at home and wait for the latest films to hit DVD? Well, just had some exciting news that will prompt me to put going to the movies back on my list.

At the end of May, the city of Derby will see a new 12 screen multiplex open in the new Westfield shopping centre. This will be the first Cinema De Lux to open in the UK, bringing stadium-style seating, digital projection equipment and the latest Dolby sound system. This will enable the cinema to screen the increasing number of films that are only released digitally. There will be two Director's Hall screens, with ultra leather seats, live pre-show introductions and escorted seating service. This multiplex will also be able to show movies in 3D and will major on Hollywood movies, though there is the promise that there will be opportunities to screen arthouse/independent films. At the moment, a pricing policy has not been announced but the siting of this cinema bang in the city centre will make life a lot, lot easier for many of us.
Later this year, the city's Metro Cinema will re-open in the city centre, with 2 screens in the new Quad building. This will mean that we again have a cinema offering the very best films from all over the world. I have fond memories of the old Metro cinema. It was where I first saw the likes of BETTY BLUE, THREE COLOURS TRILOGY, DIVA, BLOOD SIMPLE, PARIS TEXAS and many more. Now, I can look forward to a brand new development with state of the art equipment, including digital projection as well as 35mm and 16mm. The cinema will even be able to hook up with the BFI for live events from The London Film Festival, and promises to become a first-run cinema with access to new titles on the day of release. No more waiting for the likes of the latest Almodovar to become available some 2 months after it's London opening. Both of these new buildings will have bar and restaurant facilities and, I hope, adequate security staff to evict any dickheads who disrupt proceedings.
Looks like being an exciting year and, providing admission costs are not sky-high, we look forward to attending on a regular basis. I've always believed the cinema is the best place to experience a film and while I love watching movies at home on my admittedly modest viewing equipment, I'm delighted by the development of these two new theatres.

Not had much time to blog here (due to my wife landing me a gig writing DVD reviews for a web site) but hope to post on all things Joy Division as soon as time permits.

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