Wednesday, July 11, 2007

After seeing the last two midnight screenings of the Potter series of films over at the Van East we decided to check out the Order of the Phoenix there last night. Nostalgia played a part sure, but also the fact that line ups aren't as crazy there and for a buck more you can snag some sweet views in the balcony seats.

It's a cheap, grubby little theater, very 1980's brick and the title board outside is in need of repair, but it has a nice local feel to it. The kid working the box office doesn't really know what he's doing, slowly punching totals on a dollar store calculator, handing out tickets from a raffle strip, a little blue stamp for the balcony seats. The popcorn is decent, not as artificial tasting as the big chain theaters.

But the charm wore very thin once the movie got going, even with the welcome absence of commercial ads before the trailers. The film was very dark which hinted at the management trying to save money by not using all the bulbs required to light the projector. Okay, a drag but still okay.

At the scene where we see Dolores Umbridge's first class is where the problems began, the "projectionist" who obviously wasn't an actual projectionist but some kid hired to push buttons didn't properly spool the reels and when the it changed over the frame was offset and divided by a third. Feet could be seen where the heads should've been. People yelled but there wasn't anyone in the booth and it took a long while for someone to be notified and the frame to be cranked back into place. Annoying, whatever, the movie continues.

About twenty minutes later, another reel change and it happens again. More yelling, this time Ian goes to tell the management about it and after another annoying pause, it's fixed.

And then yet again, this time at the scene in the Ministry of Magic where the first of the Death Eaters appear. Crap. Ian goes again, again the delay, crank, fix... but not really. There's an obvious chunk at the bottom and Ian goes AGAIN to talk to the management. When he comes back he's LIVID, the guy won't do anything about it, tough. So we sit fuming at this offset picture and it just stopped being fun. Afterwards Ian related the management's rude indifference and it just made me mad.

So to the Van East Cinema: you'll take the time to take our money but you won't make sure the picture is played properly. Well, you've lost a patron. I'm never going to see a show there again and I'll encourage anyone to do the same. Screw local flavour if it's going to taste this fucking sour.

And oh yeah, way to turn off the air conditioning halfway through the night. The place turned into a sauna.

I'll talk about the actual film when I've seen it in a better theater.

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