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Pieces of blog and even more of your 3D thinking

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Mark Kermode | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The memes that cannot die are back including how to get a free DVD of a movie before it's even released at the cinema and the amazing possibilities for 3D TV on the Wii, plus a loving tribute to a fabulous local picture house.

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  • Comment number 1.

    We have a "local" Cineworld that is filled with big movie blockbusters but when an independent or interesting film comes out its never shown. I have to wait till its released on dvd to actually see it!

    The one thing Cineworld does show are great classics. In the past months i've seen The 39 Steps, The Great Escape, The Good The Bad and The Ugly and last week i saw From Russia With Love. I've enjoyed these much more than new releases.

    I wish more cinemas would take a chance and show something interesting rather than the mindless rubbish thats cluttering the screens!

  • Comment number 2.

    Dear Doctor K,

    A local cinema, which I have attended for as long as I can remember (and one that you have mentioned on a couple of occasions) is the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge.

    The cinema has more comfortable seats than any commercial cinema I know. The staff are friendly, you can book specific seats, prices are reasonable, there are screenings for parents and children, as well as Autism screenings.

    They show a wide range of films as well as hosting Q&As (I attended the Sounds Like Teen Spirit Q&A recently). If you visit Cambridge you can be rest assured that you are in the company of people who respect cinema at the Arts Picturehouse.

    And lets face it, the film is the centrepiece and nothing should come between you and film projected.

  • Comment number 3.

    There's a cinema called FACT off Bold Street in Liverpool. Three screens and one sort of 'cinema sitting room' where you watch the film on settees! Doubles as a video-art-gallery with lots of interesting exhibitions, runs video classes, has a lively bar and cafe and the tickets are cheaper than the multiplexes. Not only a great place to watch a film, but also a fantastic place to just 'be'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Just a quick word on the 3D debate - I am slightly colour blind and so the 3D 'films' I've seen in the past (in the 80's and recently in theme parks) just don't work for me and give me a headache. I believe that this is because 3D is an optical illusion based on colours. When viewing these films in theme parks, my kids are amazed and love it, but it just doesn't work for me. Everything just looks a bit fuzzy. If 3D is the pirate-proof future of cinema, I'll be forced to only watch movies at home in old fashioned 2D.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Mark, I'm really enjoying the blog and the comments, good work.
    I personally feel there is a revival of the independent spirit, in movies and particularly in music these days. And perhaps it will be the independent studios that will prove the real innovators in the movie experience over the next few years.
    Some musicians offer free downloads, then CD and deluxe CD/DVD at a higher price, but allowing a higher level of access to the music, musician, art whatever, and of course the chance for us to own our own copy of the music if we choose.
    Because we dont just listen to music, we experience it. And we dont just watch films anymore. Sometimes we want to own them, we want to relive them, we want to share them, we want to feel a part of something, and importantly sometimes we want to forget them! If studios help us to do any of those things, and make us an affordable offer, then each individual can customize the way that they experience any one film.
    As a side point, music and film download has another significant advantage to it, there is far less energy, fuel, materials used in packaging, distribution and retail.
    Let us pay a basic fee to access the film (one of your contributors had, a similar thought) then we can download in MP4, SD, or HD, or order the disc for our collections whatever, we have the tools to watch video in almost any situation nowadays. And if we have less environmental impact in the process, then all the better for it.

  • Comment number 6.

    My local small cinema, 'The Windmill' in Littlehampton will always hold a place in my heart. It was the only cinema near me that showed 'The assasination of jesse james by the coward robert ford' nuff said.

  • Comment number 7.

    My favourite arthouse cinema in history is "The Tyneside" which when I was like 15 I would go once or 2 twice a month to see the latest arthouse film I remember seeing tons of great films like Pan's Labyrinth, Brick, Nashville etc. They also show 1 or 2 of the latest blockbusters with all the newest independent and foreign language films. I sadly had to move to Birmingham and they don't even have a decent arthouse cinema.

  • Comment number 8.

    On an Irish tip, there's a new arthouse (well, a new location and building, same owners and name) called The Light House has been opened for about a year in Smithfield in Dublin. It shows some great films and it's a lovely space. Shameless self-promotion: I made a video of it, viewable here:

  • Comment number 9.

    Thoroughly agree with the comment above about the Tyneside. It underwent a full refurbishment last year, restoring the original auditorium and adding a new screen.

  • Comment number 10.

    IanSchultz, I used to go to the Electric in Birmingham and the Midlands Arts Centre for arthouse films. The electric is apparently still running at and is 100 years old this year.
    I now live in Australia and, while I sympathise with the person who said they had to travel 70 miles to see Let The Right One In, it's 700km to get to Perth and little chance my local three-screen cinema will get anything arty or foreign-language, so downloading or waiting for the DVD are the only choices and there's no guarantee the video shop will get the film in anyway.
    I nearly fell down with surprise when they got the Russian vampire film Nightwatch a few years ago (read the book!) but the anomaly has not occurred again since.

  • Comment number 11.

    Dear Dr K,
    I would thoroughly recommend the Clocktower in Croydon. It shows really interesting films in a tiny cinema. When we used to go there, we were usually one of about ten people maximum! This is where I saw films like In search of a midnight kiss and Flashbacks of a Fool. Its certainly what miss most about moving away from Croydon and really hope it doesnt fold in the credit crunch.

  • Comment number 12.

    Dr K, keep up the good work - please compile a list of recommended arthouse cinemas from the comments here and stick it up somewhere on the site for permanent reference.

    By the way, you maybe missed one of my previous comments on 3-D - it will soon be available at home. LCD/plasma screens and projectors have already been demonstrated at trade shows, and Sky have already done a faux demo using one of their HD boxes. It wasnt actually broadcast over a satellite, but apparently the current boxes have enough technology to handle the signal, and all we need are the displays.

    This technology will be available for the public within 18 months.

    More's the pity.

    In an attempt to get people back into the cinema, I have a groundbreaking idea for the studios.

    Make good films.

    Steve W

  • Comment number 13.

    Dr K, sorry, I forgot what I came here to say in the first place.

    I presume you're going to Cannes next week. Apparently they're showing a restored version of The Red Shoes - will you be going?

    Steve W

  • Comment number 14.

    Doctor K

    I'd like to start this comment off by saying I'm a long time listener, and thanking you for completely resparking my love for film - I'll always be greatful.

    My favourite cinema ever has to have been my grandfather's bedroom, he wasn't a rich man but he saved up for a long time and bought his own screen, a film projector that he built into his converted closet, a pair of fold down seats from a local place that closed down and even his own red curtains that drew at the flick of a switch.

    Whenever I stayed at my grandparents home as a child I would watch a new (to me) film. This ranged from more family oriented films like Mary Poppins and It's a Wonderful Life, to more adult films such as Vertigo and my perhaps my personal favourite, Brazil.

    If only all cinema goers had had a place to go with the same level of love, care and respect put into them.

  • Comment number 15.

    My favorite independent cinema is the Gulbenkian Cinema in Canterbury (it also doubled up as the best lecture theatre at uni). Its wonderful film pick has always put shame on the tiny, uncomfortable local Odeon with its inept staff, who routinely make sure the picture is out of focus, misaligned, or even in the wrong aspect ratio.

  • Comment number 16.

    I live near the Rio in Dalton, and I'm so glad it exists!! They screened Let The Right One In as soon as it was released, and they have fabulous double bills as Sunday matinees.

  • Comment number 17.

    Sorry I meant the Rio in "Dalston", of course!

  • Comment number 18.

    My sister does not have binocular vision and as such 3D films have no effect on her whatsoever. She's tried viewing them wearing her glasses, wearing her contact lenses, nothing doing. She paid extra to find this out. The future? Bollards.

  • Comment number 19.

    Mark why are you not in Cannes? Are you going?

  • Comment number 20.

    My local art house cinema is the wonderful Glasgow Film Theatre, not only a beautiful art deco building, but a great place for independant/foreign/art cinema. Where else would you get a David Lynch double bill of Fire Walk With Me and Mulholland Drive to mark the latter's release? Great place. And what's better, the people who go there go to actually *watch the film*, not sit and talk with their mates.

  • Comment number 21.

    The Wii thing looks great, but it's a solitary deal... I quite like watching films with other people and really don't want individual screens.

  • Comment number 22.

    On the subject of great little cinemas, I'd like to tout in a good word for the Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury. Situated upstairs in a buildng on stilts, it has only a single screen and shows a mixture of arthouse films, foreign films, and some up-to-date blockbusters. A couple of months ago there was even a screening of the silent classic Metropolis, accompanied by a live piano player.

    It's a great little place, with probably only a couple of hundred seats, which include double "lovers" seats up the back for that old time experience. The staff are friendly and whoever selects the films clearly has a passion for movies.

  • Comment number 23.

    Further to the post of BaubleRob above, I can fully recommend FACT in Liverpool as being an outstanding venue, and the city can also boast the Woolton Picture House, which is a stone's throw away from my home. It is a very grand and beautiful old relic from the 1920's which conjures up childhood memories of seeing matinee's with my grandmother, with intermissions filled by me eating tubs of Cornish ice cream with a wooden spoon. It closed recently due to the sad passing of it's owner, but after a campaign by local enthusiasts and the media it reopened to much fanfare and is still standing to this day. Something of a triumph in the face of corporate behemoths across the land!

  • Comment number 24.

    Enough nice things cannot be said about QFT (Queen's Film Theatre) in Belfast, just beside Queens' Universtiy. Cheap tickets (£3 for members), comfy seats and friendly staff.

    Dragliner78 mentioned a David Lynch double bill at their cinema, i think i can trump that with a David Lynch introduced screening of The Elephant Man (I got to shake his hand) and I'll never forget laughing with everyone else in a packed screening of Annie Hall last July. Can't wait to see Let the Right One In there after my exams.

    Adam McReynolds

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Mark,

    I'd also like to give a shout out to the Electric cinema in Birmingham, the oldest working cinema in Britain I think, certainly England. Show a good range of films and most of the smaller releases.

    I second the previous comment which mentioned The Red Shoes. This is my personal P+P who don't get anything like the praise they should. I was trawling through your radio archive and A Matter of Life and Death was mentioned. You said it was your wife's favorite film, is that still the case and what are your thoughts on P+P?


    Tom Wood, Birmingham

    red shes

  • Comment number 26.

    As has previously been mentioned The FACT cinema is excellent in Liverpool and is pretty much the only place locally you can get to watch the likes of the excellent Let the Right One In, its relaxing and in my opinion the people who tend to go there are people who go to watch the film and not to eat popcorn and talk about the price of fish.

    Also cant speak highly enough of the Woolton cinema which is liverpools oldest picture house, its recently re-opened in the past year and I believe is doing great business not only with showing big blockbusters but having themes like Laurel & Hardy showings. If you go there its genuinely like going back to the 70s and 80s, when i first started my cinema addiction, they still have intervals!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear Mark

    My current Art House cinema is Harbour Lights in Southampton; a rose in an otherwise soiled garden. The staff there are always friendly and professional, the entry fee is reasonable (particularly for students) and most importantly, the cinema screens themselves are large in size without crucially losing that sense of intimacy.

    On a separate note, I hear you are a big fan of David Cronenberg. What are your views on his re-imagining of Burroughs's Naked Lunch? Personally, I think its quite possibly one of the best films of all time, but other people who i have shown it to have had a rather cold reception to it. It's marmite.

    Adam, Southampton

  • Comment number 28.

    hey mark. keep up the good work with the blog. very rarely disagree with your views.

    i'm in my second year of a three year ba hons degree studying media production at staffordshire university, stoke-on-trent. an arthouse cinema i definately believe worthy of a mention is the 'stoke-on-trent film theatre'. it is actually connected to the university buildings on the main campus and because of this their is a common misconception that it's only open to students and lecturers, which i can assure you is not the case. the film theatre is open to both members of the university and the general public. it is ran by volunteers, shows all the latest smaller released independent films, has no advertising or trailers before the main feature, allows you to bring your own food in and has a very reasonable asking price. £5.00 full price, £3.50 concessions.

    although only quite small (212 seats) you always feel you are watching the film with people who want to be their and want to focus on the film from beginning to end, without any outside distraction, which is nice. this is helped by the fact that they only screen one film per night (some more popular films run for 2 nights). this means the people coming in know exactly what film they have come to watch, and want to watch it.

    the last film i watched their was 'franklyn', a week or so ago. a rather interesting film, although quite flawed. in a weeks time 'let the right one in' is playing which i will be sure to get to.

    the website can be found at

    it is well worth a visit.

  • Comment number 29.

    Congrats to whoever flagged up the Phoenix in Oxford. I am a first year student there and it has been my absolute favourite discovery since going up. There, and only there, have I been able to see "Waltz with Bashir", "Gomorra", "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Let the Right One In".

    However, when term is over and I go back home to leafy Sussex, I do not have this luxury and often have to coax my mother into joining me (and therefore paying for me) when I want to go and see a film which is only showing in London. Whilst this means I still get to spend quality time with at least one of the members of my family, it would be so much nicer if we did not have to rush out of the screening to catch a train and could enjoy a nice day out.

    There has to be more support for local, arthouse cinemas, as they satisfy a considerable area of the market, and are mostly supported by good word of mouth.

    To any film lovers in Oxford who have not sought out the Phoenix on Walton Street in Jericho, please, please do.

  • Comment number 30.

    Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) is a great wee cinema. Unlike the big Cineworld, the chairs are all closely packed together which may not allow for much leg room, but creates a far better communal atmosphere. Plus they usually offer £3 matinees which is great for broke students such as myself.

  • Comment number 31.

    I was happlily suprised when you mentioned my favourite cinema. I am a film student just ending my 3 year practical course and I love the cinema. I do not make it to many films at uni as im at winchester which has two screen cinema which shows only the 'big' films. SOuthampton's multiplex isnt any better.
    However when i go home myself and a friend love the Phoenix in Oxford as we watch almost everything it shows when were both back.
    I still enjoy watching big films in big cinemas lots but to see some of the gems you have to go to the smaller independant places. To compare my last weekend i went back for I saw two films, Nick Cage's lastest sci fi one at the odeon and Let the right one in at the phoenix and that for me sums up what you get at these places.
    There are exceptions but they are exceptions that prove the rule.

  • Comment number 32.

    Great cinema, not too local to me but it's worth the trip. The Cornerhouse in Manchester, they show foreign films, independant films, as well as showing classic films. Also if you go there on a Sunday morning you get your fried breakfast included in the price.
    It's a lovely little cinema and it feels like a cinema should.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm pleased to see Harbour Lights in Southampton mentioned here, and Mark living in the area I'm assuming you know of and have probably visited Harbour Lights?

    Really great cinema, showing the cream of the crop in foreign and indipendent cinema, while it does pick up the odd blockbuster a few times a year. I've always assumed that the blockbusters are used for them to make a huge profit at certain points in order to screen the less mainstream films that they specialise in. Just last year I saw Waltz With Bashir and Gamorrah at Harbour Lights, as well as the likes of The Dark Knight and Indiana Jones, representing its diverse flavour.

    Harbour Lights also does a great job in serving the community and students. As an A-Level Film/Media student, we made a few trips to Harbour Lights for conventions set up specifically for us by the cinema. I remember one in particualr in which we saw a screening of Buffalo Soldiers, which was followed by a lecture and Q&A session with a key member of the BBFC. Made for a fun and interesting field trip and it was all courtesy of the cinema. Without a doubt my favourite cinema.

  • Comment number 34.

    Another vote for the Tyneside. It's central, beautiful and really pleasant people.

  • Comment number 35.

    Two I'd mention. The Cameo in Edinburgh is nice. Old theatre layout, with some smaller screen too. Bar inside to take drinks into the screenings.

    The only problem I had with it was that they had a 'secret screening' of a movie, which my girlfriend and I fancied once we'd gotten to the cinema to see Is Anybody There?. I asked to see the secret screening, only to be told that for two of us (students!) it'd cost around £18!! Suffice to say we watched Is Anybody There? as planned. So even the independants need to watch their pricing antics.

    That said, I saw Zombie Flesh Eaters on its 30th anniversary tour in the DCA in Dundee, a fantastic arts centre, with two small screens. (I met star Ian McCulloch there after a Q+A he did for the movie)

    I also recently saw Let the Right One In there, and plan on going to their Hitchcock season. Lots of good stuff there regularly. I even got a chance to speak to the manager, who's suggesting more horror/sci-fi weekends in future.

    There's evidently a demand to see quality older films again, and whats more, even the poor quality culty stuff will draw audiences. Zombie Flesh Eaters managed a full house. Big cinemas may well catch on to this soon though, so perhaps the days of good ticket prices for films like these are numbered.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dear Dr. K,
    My local and favourite arthouse cinema is The Duke of York's Picturehouse in Brighton.
    It's the oldest cinema in Britain that's still in full operation. It opened in 1910, so next year is it's 100 birthday. I think you and Mayo should come down for the celebrations.

    I study film at the University of Brighton and we're going to give our beloved cinema a party it deserves.

    Are you heading to Cannes next week?

  • Comment number 37.

    Or are you already at Cannes?

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Mark,

    Am currently living in Nottingham and loving the superb Broadway Cinema. Great food, booze and ambience (movie posters and animated shorts projected on the walls, etc) make it a place to go even before you've looked at what's showing. They have regular star guests (Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk recently) and allow you to hire screens out to show films of your choice (Ghostbusters is on almost every month!). If you and Simon are taking your (award-winning) show on the road again, why not come here?

    My favourite indie cinema has to be the Cameo in Edinburgh though. Real charm despite (or perhaps because of) being a little worn around the edges. An all-night screening they had of 5 Cohen brothers films (bring your own duvet) is yet to be topped.

  • Comment number 39.

    Dear Dr. K.

    First off, thanks for reading out my comment, about movies in cinema regarding Let The Right One In.

    I was wondering if you feel European horror is leading the way at the moment. With Let The Right One In this year, and last years' Rec, The Orphanage, The Children and others, are European fiml-makers making the better horror movies at the moment, and if not, who would you say is leading the way?

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi, thanks for reading something of mine out :) I must admit I did a small football-style celebration afterwards. At last some validation :) Of course in some ways cinema does owe you, good cinema anyway, because you transmit your passion for it to people like me. But not in terms of subsidising 3D I think. Anyway, as a journalist you're always having to start the debate and then the rest of us weigh in with responses. We're fortunate in not having to stick our necks out like that.

    An unrelated thing that popped into my head when I was thinking about film criticism was how sometimes critics do a little segment before the showing of a film on TV. I hate that. It disrupts the natural order. All that discussion normally comes after watching the film. Paul Kaye did one before an Oriental film once, and after he'd described the themes, discussed the director, highlighted all the pivotal scenes, I decided that I really didn't want to watch the film anymore. He'd taken all the fun out of it. Should come at the end.

    The more time passes since watching Star Trek, the more I don't like it. The glorification of violence, young Spock, young Kirk trashing a car, bar fights, planets destroyed. It's so dumb. I think if you have to blow one planet up to make a story interesting you're not trying hard enough, but two? Anyway thanks again, looking forward to this weeks pod.... :)

  • Comment number 41.

    Never posted before, but just wanted to say ditto to OllieSim. I've been using the Arts Picturehouse since I started studying at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, and it is by far and away the best cinema I've ever used. Very comfortable, great films, good ticket prices, and a bar!

    As stated before, live Q+A's for films are brilliant, upon hearing your review Of Time and the City, I booked a screening of the film and live Q+A with Davies.

    Such experiences had at the cinema like this, as well just going to see a film you want that isn't over-priced, makes me think the future of cinema is not in the big commercial types, but arthouse cinemas like these, there is a need for them I think and there is evidence to support this;

  • Comment number 42.

    I would totally agree with TomBenwell about he Gulbenkian Cinema in Canterbury which is a lifesaver compared with the appalling choice at the local cinemas in a 10 mile radius. We frequently end up driving 25 miles to watch a film... and it isn't unheard of for us to make the 60 mile trip from Whitstable to Greenwich to return to the wonderful Greenwich Picturehouse, which is one thing we really miss about living in Greenwich. If you live in a major city you stand a chance of a decent film choice, but in smaller places it really is lamentable.

  • Comment number 43.

    I live in Nottingham and the Broadway Cinema is a fantastic independent cinema. Mark, you should consider coming here for one of your next 'on the road' shows.

  • Comment number 44.

    Piracy to me also starts within the industry itself, it's not as if joe bloggs just happens to wander into a major film studio and sneak out a master of a current film, how do you think films become available to download illegally? One other question that i've been dieing to ask you for ages on the subject of the best horror film EVER! I read somewhere on the net that whilst you were researching info for your documentary "the fear of god" Warners opened up the vaults to you and you discovered roughly around a minute of test footage for captain howdy face. Amongst exorcist fans like myself this footage has mythical proportions, i know you used a few seconds at the beginning of your doc. I would just like to ask your views on this footage and its disturbing quality, maybe one day we might see this on a future exorcist home release.

  • Comment number 45.

    What's wrong with Kissing Jessica Stein?

  • Comment number 46.

    You think it's bad you have to pay for 3D glasses. I had to pay 20 extra just to see star trek in English. I was in Spain and I got the 20 euro back after returning the wireless headphones.
    My complaint was really that the headphones were terrible, one ear got static, the other hurt terribly and i couldn't move or have a drink without the sound cutting out.
    It made me think that maybe the wireless aspect was unnecessary, I couldn't imagine these problems would be present in wired headphones.

    Other than that i loved the movie. I was brought up on star trek next generation and the other spin off's, i never really liked the original series. This movie has made me think maybe i should try the old series again

  • Comment number 47.

    Dundee Contemporary Arts is my local and it is brilliant. It has the right balance of independent, arthouse and cult movies. Often shows retrospectives and festivals.

    Also The Glasgow Film Theatre is absolutely stunning. I'd pay £6 just to sit in it without a film showing. I'm going to see Suspiria there next week. I'm very excited and will be well worth the 90 mile journey.

  • Comment number 48.

    Two things,

    I don't think that letter read out has merit, it is not extra value that the movie in 3D - on the contrary, I would prefer to see them without.

    And second, that wii link is totally brilliant! It may have little impact on 3D in the movies, but its certainly a cool nerdy thing, everybody should give it a gander:

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi Dr K,

    I agree that independent cinemas need more exposure their showing of art house films isn't easy when audiences are obviously dwindling in the face of home entertainment and the pressure remains on cinemas to compete with rising overheads.

    My 'shout out' must go to Screen on the Green which showed Let the Right One In and where I also saw you in discussion with Billy Friedkin on The French Connection. The film programming is always brilliant and the cinema has a wonderful ambience, which for my money can't be matched. The cinema is getting a refurb I hear so with a seat upgrade it'll be faultless!

  • Comment number 50.

    I realise this thread is winding-down now, but I've made a realisation this week.

    I've gone on the record twice in this debate about being a movie-lover who hates going to the cinema, largely because of having to share an auditorium with talking, telephoning, smoking idiots. I may have discovered the cure - IMAX.

    I saw Star Trek at the Manchester Odeon IMAX last night, and very much enjoyed it. Largely because it was romping good fun, but also significantly because of having shelled-out extra pennies for the "IMAX Experience". And I'm an immediate convert. Here's why:

    1. Ushers (plural!!!) to show me to my specific seat, which I chose when booking the ticket.

    2. No promo-reel before the movie.

    3. A visual assault so immersive that it was difficult to do anything other than WATCH it!

    4. Audio so, *so* loud that, even if someone had been chattering behind me, I'd never have heard them.

    5. (this more opinion than fact...) The people in there were respectful movie-folk who deliberately paid an additional £2 for a superior experience, and were less likely to be chatting, phoning, smoking idiots in the first place.

    Now all they need is to open bar in the foyer, and I'd come to the cinema every damn week!

    Outstanding. Anyone who's of a similar mind to me, check out your local IMAX before restricting yourself to movies at home. There may yet be hope...!

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear Dr K

    I unequivocally love my local intendant cinema in Wetherby near Leeds. It is simply rows of seats a screen and a sweet counter, and as you go to pay for your tickets you don't get one of those flimsy receipts that pretend to be a ticket you get a proper "automaticket" ticket stub with the word ADULT or CHILD written in bold across it with a satisfying *chu-chunk* sound when its dispensed. and the most pleasing thing is the film always start on time with very few adverts and very friendly staff.
    A few years ago it was nearly taken from us due to lack of money and flow of new releases, and now it has been recently refurbished and given a lease of fresh life. And i love it!! If your ever in the area you should go because it is simply brilliant and a very charming place to see a film.
    p.s. the seats are kind to your behind (unlike corporate cinemas) and the seats recline.

  • Comment number 52.

    To echo the comments already made, the Glasgow Film Theatre is an excellent wee place; art deco design, plenty of interesting screenings, no popcorn and a dedicated base of discerning punters.

    The cinema regularly hosts premieres and special screenings with question & answer sessions with filmmakers, such as the packed house and repeated standing ovations creator of TV show "The Wire" David Simon was given last year. The Monorail film club has monthly screenings, quizzes and group discussions. Specially arranged screenings for young children and kids with autism. *Two* film festivals with packed programmes a year...

    All in stark contrast to the world record holding "tallest cinema in the world" Cineworld multiplex barely a quarter of the mile down the road; the cathedral of plastic that shows almost exclusively blockbusters. The cinema has a strong emphasis on buying more of their overpriced junk food or pressuring you into signing up for their monthly subscription "unlimited free tickets" card in order to push out the competition; a number of friends refuse to go to the GFT because they already have these "unlimited" cards.

    It's a pity the GFT's got such a nasty website...

  • Comment number 53.

    The Wall Street Journal had an article last week that said that Hollywood is having its best year ever and will probably exceed any previous year's revenue, so perhaps we don't have to feel too sorry for them over the piracy issue.I previously mentioned a vintage cinema near me that is being restored but opens to show classic movies several times a month. It is only 20mins by PATH (subway) train from Midtown or Downtown Manhattan so here's a link in case anybody is visiting New York (assuming the swine flu situation eventually subsides).

    I am sure they would love to have Mark come and present a film of his choice if he's visiting [they can show 35mm and 70mm and usually schedule their films about one month in advance]. This weekend they showed Keaton's The General along with a short to the live, virtuoso accompaniment of the restored cinema organ. It's
    one of the all time great films but it was good to see how eighty years on it could still delight young and old audience members, many of whom were clearly seeing it for the first time.

    As for arthouses in Manhattan, New York visitors might want to consider the following non-exhaustive list of arthouses below 60th St:

    Sunshine Cinema, East Houston Street. My preferred NY arthouse. Comfortable stadium seating and spacious auditoria. It's slightly off the beaten path so it doesn't get crowded very often.

    Angelika Film Center, West Houston Street. Busy cinema with a good selection of films but older, flatter seating and the subway can often be heard while the film is running. I saw "Let The Right One In" and "I've Loved You So Long" here on
    the same day. It doesn't get much better than that.

    IFC. Sixth Avenue at West 4 subway station. Comfortable seating and superior sound quality make this one of the best places to see films. They often show films that are part of film festivals.

    Film Forum, West Houston between 6th and 7th. Another good theatre a bit hidden away but easily accessible. They show a mixture of new independent/foreign films with vintage films. Theatres are quite small and you may have to queue during peak times if they are the only place showing something. I saw "Of Time and the City" here (no queue!). Admission is also about $1-$1.5 cheaper here

    Quad Film and Cinema Village 12th St. are perfectly OK if a bit small
    Paris is also good and has discounts for seniors so it tends to draw the older crowd.

    The multiplexes sometimes show independents as well and are all stadium seating so if there is a choice I would see a movie there in the first instance. Walter Reade @Lincoln Center and some of the museums show classic and older films.

    Arthouses of last resort are:

    Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Broadway near Lincoln Center. A bit of a pokey hole in the ground. Because of the crowding the New Yorkers tend to get a bit shirty and engage in shushing wars.

    Village East Cinemas 3rd Ave @12th. Most uncomfortable seats ever. They also show some mainstream movies but mostly independent and foreign. You will sometimes see them holding film premieres here.

  • Comment number 54.

    As a north London boy I have to agree with Screen on the Green. Its a beautiful cinematic island in the sea of medicority that is Upper St, particularly with the Vue down the road. Euch. Great venue, great seats and great films. I am perpetually torn with wanting more people to know about places like this which give such a fantastic cinema experience and wanting less people to know so i don't have to share it with others!

  • Comment number 55.

    3D is a terrible gimmick that puts an extra nail in the coffin of narrative cinema. Furthermore I have one very dominant eye and like many other people have no binocular stereoscopic vision and hence no normal sense of seeing in 3D. The only time I have experienced 3D is when watching a highly exaggerated 3D film, where the affect was so overpowering it made me feel quite sick. Not wearing the glasses is not an option since it would make the film unwatchable. The glasses are a pain (quite literally!) and as they are not a good fit over regular glasses, many of us are already incurring extra cost to switch to contact lenses. I would positively avoid going to see any 3D film: let alone pay extra for the 'privilige'.

  • Comment number 56.

    I live in Ipswich which had the worst cinema in the world. Nearly every film I have seen has been out of focus. I spend the entire movie wondering if its supposed to look like that as surely modern technology should look sharper but maybe its deliberate but then again etc...

    BUT - recently went to see Sunrise at a festival of silent cinema at Harwich Electric Palace which was magical. The most amazing little cinema

    AND - just went on holiday to Lake District and saw Star Trek at Keswick Alhambra Cinema which was a really lovely little cinema with a an actual, living projectionist who re-focused at the beginning of the film.

  • Comment number 57.

    After watching this I looked up the Doctor's review of Kissing Jessica Stein on Newsnight. A debate that prompted Germaine Greer to dub the movie as:

    'The last of the Clinton-era films. Bush-era films are not going to be like this. The genesis of this is about alternative families, yeah it's sitcom, it's garbage. The mum says, "Oh, you're in love with a girl." I promise you, in three years we won't see that.'

    Mr Kermode disagreed and predicted a torrent of copycat films. Now we're at the other end of the Dubya years which of these statements rings true? Kissing Jessica Stein always irked me for going along with the 'beautiful klutz' role for women that bores me to tears in straight and queer cinema.

    Madgirlipswich, I too have to use that cinema and it is pants. But the better quality Odeon shut down because my friends and I never paid for a ticket. Go team.

  • Comment number 58.

    A shout for my local art house cinema: Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Between two screens it shows a great selection of many types of cinema from all over the world (including a few of the mainstream "blockbuster" types) and has many other great things including a good bar, a theatre etc.

  • Comment number 59.

    My 10 year old daughter lost an eye to cancer when she was a baby. She is just the right age to love G Force and other such movies, but finds the fact that they are in 3D (something that obviously she can't access) really offputting. She hates the idea that she might go to a cinema and end up in a 3D screening, which will only serve to diminish her enjoyment (I'm not sure what sort of view she'd get with only one eye, but I bet it wont be great). Wish 2D versions of 3D films were advertised as such, but as far as I can see, they're not :(

  • Comment number 60.

    Must reply to psybee's comment above...

    I also lost an eye to cancer when I was a baby. I'm 31 years old now, and while the loss of the eye has never held me back in any way (indeed, the wonder of the brain has compensated by creating its own 3D effect in a way), this new trend for 3D cinema exhibition is slightly troubling to me. I'm fairly convinced it is a gimmick for now, but if I was your daughter's age I would have been also upset that I couldn't watch the films I watched at her age at the cinema without wearing stupid glasses that makes the film look dark, muddy, and served no purpose to me whatsoever. (This by the way is how it looks to someone with one eye, it looks better without the glasses, except then you feel like you should have gone to Specsavers*).

    (*or any other high street opticians, dear BBC).

    I wonder if I would be able to get a discount at my local multiplex for a 3D showing (where an ordinary showing wasn't available) by simply popping out my false eye on the counter and shrugging my shoulders? Somehow I doubt it, I'd be more likely chucked out by security for smuggling in a boiled sweet that happens to look like a false eye.

    Yes, I am in the minority here, and wouldn't want to spoil others experience of 3D cinema, should they want it. In the great tradition of internet commentary, I am looking at this from completely a selfish perspective. As an avid cinema fan, should this gimmick become the norm, well, I guess I'll have to resort to online piracy... (Oh...)

    PS - something interesting, nay baffling to note is that one of the originators of 3D techinique in the cinema in the 1950's was a chap called Andre DeToth, (look up House of Wax), who also only had one eye. Which probably explains why that technique was considered bobbins. (Not that I, or Andre DeToth would ever know...)

  • Comment number 61.

    Honorable mention goes to the FACT cinema in liverpool, it always plays the best arthouse / foreign language films and the use of couches in some of their screening rooms is inspired. I like the idea that you can buy a glass of beer or a bottle of wine in the above located bar and take it into the screening rooms. It has some outstanding art exhibitions and regular Q and A's with directors.

    But for me personally the greatest cinema in Liverpool and for that matter my favourite cinema overall is Woolton Picture House. Built in 1929, the art deco interior hasnt changed from the day it opened, one of the last vestiges of the single screening room, it still has intervals in the middle of the movie for ice cream and popcorn courtesey of a women wheeling out an old golden age refreshments trolley. It was one of the main reasons why i fell in love with cinema and for that i owe it a great deal.


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