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Maybe I'll Just Wait for DVD
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 1:07 am    Post subject: Maybe I'll Just Wait for DVD Reply with quote

Theaters may be cinema's natural habitat, but I've nearly had it with lousy projection standards. I'd say roughly 80% of all films I see in the theater are not presented properly, and at least half aren't even close. There are some theaters I refuse to attend, because I know for sure I'll have to get up at least twice just to tell them to fix the projection. It's flat-out robbery for theaters to accept cash and then not live up to their end of the contract--am I nuts for thinking a purchased ticket entitles a filmgoer to a professionally, properly projected feature film?



Last Saturday my wife and I attended a screening of Terminal at a local Marcus multiplex. The film was misframed far too low?so low that in nearly half the scenes we could clearly see the set microphones on the screen. Although we twice notified ushers of the problem, it remained misframed throughout the film?s duration.



Afterwards I asked to speak to a manager, who told me the presence of microphones was the result of faulty filmmaking?as if DreamWorks, Spielberg, and Hanks somehow failed to notice the mics while shooting and editing a big-budget picture?and the projectionist himself claimed ?there was nothing? he could do. I tried to explain that films routinely arrive at theaters with ?fringe? material never meant to be seen by the audience. Proper projection will always ?mask? that portion of the image. The habitual presence of microphones on screen is always an indication of misframing.



While not surprised, I'm dismayed to learn that both a Marcus manager and a Marcus projectionist are ignorant of the fundamental principles of film projection. For those of us who consider cinema an art form, correct presentation is integral to the filmgoing experience and at this point, the only place I can count on correct presentation is in my own living room.



Eric
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Bad Lieutenant at the Times Cinema on Friday night, and although I thought the movie was awful regardless, the audience was comprised of insensitive, rude, loudmouthed, vulgar hecklers who could only chuckle whenever we see Harvey Keitel shooting up, masturbating, saying f---, etc. - in other words, constantly. At that moment, all I could think was, I would rather be hating this movie in the privacy of my own home.



That said, I'd rather see a movie in the theater any day, but when something goes so dreadfully wrong - projection, rude audience, sound quality, etc. - one can't help but hope to relax on the couch and watch something terrific with the soothing sounds of traffic roaring by outside...
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear ya.



I rarely go to the movies anymore because I'm almost guaranteed a lousy experience. Aside from projection problems (mis-framing, bulb not bright enough, etc.), there are the loud, inconsiderate audiences with ringing cell phones and crying babies. At the two Landmark theaters in Houston, I can usually expect quiet, considerate audiences and a theater staff that knows what they're doing, but they're both over an hour round-trip for me. As much as I'd prefer to see movies on the big screen, watching DVDs at home is usually the better experience by far -- comfortable, distraction-free, and much cheaper with Netflix. Until something changes, going to the movies just isn't worth it.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just telling my wife that the only theater around here that makes any effort at all is the Oriental, where you happen to work. I recall a sound problem during Talk to Her, but afterwards an usher stood at the door, apologizing and handing out unsolicited passes. That was the last real problem I've encountered at the Oriental, and that was more than a year ago. Generally the projectionist quickly and astutely corrects any flaw.



By way of contrast, here in West Bend we have the Paradise, which is anything but. I recall seeing 8 Mile here, and all the dialogue sounded as if it were being whispered into tin cans. I complained several times, and afterwards asked for a refund. The manager explained that the sound system in that auditorium was completely trashed--and yet the theater was still selling tickets for it! I'm not exaggerating when I say that nearly 100% of the films I see at the Paradise are presented with some kind of wretched error. The last movie I saw there was Troy, and the film stopped twice, and the sound went limp for about an hour, too.



Eric
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should add that I rarely experience audience problems. Since I attend so frequently, it does occur at times, but mostly it's tolerable. In fact, I'm a big believer in the communal experience cinema can create--a power utterly unique to a specific auditorium and specific group of filmgoers, similar to what can be created at a stage performance--so I enjoy watching certain films with a large audience. I remember spending some of the E.T. re-release just watching the kids in the audience, their eyes filled with the same rapture that existed for kids 20 years ago. And maybe lots of kids were noisy during Harry Potter, but their excitement and energy was palpable.



Truly obnoxious audiences are relatively rare for me. Usually I hope to spot the mooks during the previews, while there's still time to move to another seat before settling into the feature.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rarely experience audience problems, as well; only in the theatres containing 95% of teenagers will be annoying. And, even so, there's only been one time (My Boss's Daughte) when I've actually wanted to leave.



Projectionists are pretty good around here for the most part. I've only seen microphones twice, but they've been very small; the people I was attending the movies with didn't even notice them. And, amazingly, the film has never gone out on me, to a point where they couldn't fix it within a minute.



There are two theatres that I occassionally have problems with. The first one is simply a result of the lack of employees; projectionists will actually go to work at the concession stand during the movie, and not even think to check on it, until it's over. I've had focus and sound issues there in The Cooler and Le Divorce, and several in the trailers of movies. Oh, and that time when Solaris and Bowling for Columbine were sharing a screen and they played the wrong one, accidentally. The other one I have problems with is from 1928, who refuses to place their crappy, old, pullout screen (they have plays there in the daytime), and seats. They also have trouble with the duel projection system often, having to switch the reels half way through the film when one of the projectors won't operate properly. I experienced this during Winged Migration and The Station Agent, but I don't complain much there, because it is only five dollars for admission around the clock, and they have popcorn and drinks for only seventy-five cents. Actual affordability all around. Not to mention these two theatres are the only ones within fifteen miles that take in art-house movies (the good 'ol Landmarks are 20, 30, and 40 miles away), so I'm very polite about remarking about the problems. They don't take teenagers very well ever, though, when they criticize projection.



The only reason I prefer the big screen to the small one has little to do with the big screen and booming sound. Rather, it's the simple fact that I am able to deeper immerse myself, becoming deeper involved in the material. I remained engaged during the horror of Kangaroo Jack on the big screen, but looked at the time twice in Monster on my television. I'm a bit compulsive that way, but the simple temptation of seeing how much I've watched seems harmless, but it ends up being incredibly distracting. What I really need is a THX home theatre and then I'll truly be kicking it at home. I'd never go back to the movies again.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
I rarely go to the movies anymore because I'm almost guaranteed a lousy experience. Aside from projection problems (mis-framing, bulb not bright enough, etc.), there are the loud, inconsiderate audiences with ringing cell phones and crying babies.


Has anyone seen little kids who are being dragged to chick-flicks by their mothers bring Game Boys into the movie and play them for the entire duration? The light seems like a laser when it's the only bright thing in the entire audience. Or people who get up and switch seats a bunch when they have two groups of friends there, or want to sit next to another person in the bunch they come with?
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stefanieduckwitz
Director


Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 295
Location: West Bend

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, yeah. I'll second the Paradise (or the "not so" Paradise) sucking some major crappage. It blows, I really only go there when Allie or Tina get me in for free. Other than that, I don't think I have actually went there in the last..... I don't know how long.
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catch this irony! I now work at the Oriental Theatre, as Eric said, and it was (and still is) my favorite theater to see movies at. BUT for two years prior, I worked at Paradise Theater in West Bend! And I totally agree with everything you've said; that is one of the worst viewing theaters I've ever been to, and although I loved almost everyone I worked with, there were times I was ashamed of their insensitiviy towards the quality of the film presentation.



If I had any doubts before, going from the Paradise to the Oriental absolutely proves the necessity for careful film projection and presentation.



Does this sound like shameless self-promotion? Sorry if it does.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.23.2004 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
At the two Landmark theaters in Houston, I can usually expect quiet, considerate audiences and a theater staff that knows what they're doing, but they're both over an hour round-trip for me.


For me the two Milwaukee Landmarks are a 90-minute round trip. What's sad is that I'll often choose--or, rather, am forced to choose--to sacrifice those 90 minutes rather than see the same film at a theater two minutes down the road.



Eric
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 06.24.2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How I loathe Paradise Cinema, expletives do not even begin to describe. I cannot stand the way the have it set up now. On a busy night you seriously will get stuck waiting in line for 30 minutes, because it moves so slow. I have often times found myself driving by and opting to drive to a farther destintation to watch the movie, because of how the I know the line moves and my general lack of patience.



However, what bothers me the most is what you commented on earlier Eric, is people general lack of knowledge or effort they put forth to their job. So many times will you complain to someone and what will come of it - nothing. What do they care? They don't get paid enough to care what you think or do anything above the level of enough so they don't get fired. This type of mentality drives me insane.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 06.24.2004 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel like getting on a plane and heading over to West Bend just to see how BAD this place is. I've never found a theatre that everyone hates around here, with employees who don't care. The only lack of effort around here is the result of failure to have enough people working one shift.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.24.2004 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I feel like getting on a plane and heading over to West Bend just to see how BAD this place is. I've never found a theatre that everyone hates around here, with employees who don't care. The only lack of effort around here is the result of failure to have enough people working one shift.


Well, at least the Paradise is clean. I'll give it that.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.24.2004 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only clean theatres are our Landmarks here. But, it's easy to know why. The first is in a retirement community, almost all adults. The other is in a 94% gay community, which I would assume to be all adults, given the number. No teenagers = no trash.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 06.25.2004 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No teenagers = no trash.



So true, nothing iritates me more than the hordes of loud, obnoxious, teenagers on a friday night with nothing more to do but what for the parents to pick them up and be morons. I don't know how you can deal with it every day Eric, and no offense to any non-normal teenagers on the forum who actually behave like humans. Albeit I should be one to criticizej, too many humiliating teenage moments myself, but such is life.
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