Archive for the ‘3D Films’ Category

Cinema Shows Week 19: Coraline 3D, 13th May 2009, Odeon Freemans Park, Leicester

July 3, 2009

Total Ticket Outlay (on 4 3D feature films released in 2009) – £29.60

coraline_ticket

With no new British films available to see in Leicester this week I was at least able to keep the 3D cinema side project going. Coraline is the fourth 3D film to be released in the UK after My Bloody Valentine, Bolt, and Monsters vs Aliens. Coraline‘s novelty is that it is the first stop-motion animated feature film to be made in 3D. I have to confess that the style of the animation linked to the gothic childhood fantasy of Neil Gaiman’s is not my kind of thing and I felt like the film created its own twilight zone of appeal between something that was not dark enough for adults and not enchanting enough for children. But I did like the jumping mice circus.

I also feel that the 3D doesn’t add much to the experience. Without having compared it to the 2D version, I sense that the depth is exaggerated, and interestingly the film doesn’t use much of the gimmicky pointing things out of the screen stuff you normally get with 3D. But if you don’t bring the action out of the screen there might be a perception that the 3D isn’t adding value. The greater sense of depth might not be enough to convince people that 3D films are a premium experience for which they have to pay more for their tickets. Still searching for that great 3D experience that will make it a long lasting and valued part of film grammar.

coraline

Cinema Shows Week 16: Monsters Vs Aliens 3D, 23rd April 2009, Odeon Freemans Park, Leicester

June 6, 2009

monsters_ticket

  • Number of 3D films watched in the cinema in 2009 – 3
  • Ticket Outlay on 3D films – £22.40

A strange atmosphere at the Odeon – not many people around, tills roped off and had to get the ticket from the snacks counter. There was only one other person in the cinema to see Monsters vs Aliens, the third 3D release of the year. Perhaps we should have sat together. These big empty cinemas can make you feel lonely. Starting to build a nice collection of RealD 3D glasses. Maybe I should start recycling and bring an old pair rather than using a new one. That would be greener, but less good value for money. I don’t think Monsters vs Aliens is as funny as Bolt and it feels tipped more towards adults. It references 50s monster movies and simulates those SFX-laden superhero films that are so prominent at the moment. In terms of 3D, it has plenty of things flying out of the screen, but the best bits are when you get more static use of the space in front of the screen, such as when General Monger is hovering in his jet pack.

gen_monger

Cinema Shows Week 6: Bolt, 7th February 2009, Cinema De Lux, Leicester

February 16, 2009
  • Number of 3D films watched in the cinema in 2009 – 2
  • Ticket Outlay on 3D films – £15.20 

It didn’t work out for seeing  the British co-production The Secret of Moonacre this week. Let’s call it a near miss. Instead, my first ‘first night rush’ (seeing a film on the day of its release) of the year was plan B –   Bolt. It all came down to timing (post-dinner), and, as the night of the screening approached,  a growing sense of awkwardness shared with Robert, my fellow fortysomething companion for the show. I suspect that we imagined in a cinema full of adolescent girls, two middle-aged blokes are going to look questionable. So we missed it by 20 minutes and a self-conscious inhibition. A shame, because a literate man such as Robert is the perfect guest to accompany a fantasy fiction dissenter.

The Cinema De Lux Highcross is going to profit from that city centre convenience and impulsion that might be lost to the more out of town multiplex. It certainly seems to be attracting gaggles of young people to this corner of the shopping centre in Leicester. Each ticket comes with a free ride on an escalator to a food court concourse and restaurant/bar. It feels like an adventurous journey to a carvery.

There may have been 20 or 30 people at the screening – mostly adults with kids, but we rattled arround in the spacious auditorium. Do cinemas ever fill up these days? The strategy of making 3D films seems to be to create a premium experience, but one wonders whether people are prepared to pay extra. Are we paying more because the screening is more expensive or because it is special?

bolt_ticket

Unlike My Bloody Valentine 3-D  there is not a great deal of pointing pointy things (gun, pick axe) at the screen to make them jut out in Bolt. Instead the 3D just seems to create both a different sense of depth and a solid closeness that brings the action much closer to your eyes. Take the glasses off and you really notice how suddenly the screen seems much further away. In My Bloody Valentine I thought that the highlight was the shot (!) of the bullet emerging out of the screen, doing a u-turn in the middle of the auditorium, before returning to tear through the actor’s onscreen flesh. In Bolt it was not so much the 3D-ness as the usual (it has been called ‘uncanny’) folding of live action simulation and stylized cartoon. As John Lasseter explains, from the very beginning they have always been pushing the limitations of the computers to achieve cinematographic realism. The animators have to create what in live action you get for free. I was particularly struck by a scene near the end of the film with a paramedic rescue and an ambulance that had all the fluent, live action intensity of an episode of ER, except that you look around and see all these cartoony characters. These films are four years in the making and they always involve asethetic problem solving. In this case they wanted to make ‘pretty painterly’ backgrounds, even if they only really get noticed when you stop a frame. Don’t you think they’ve got too much time on their hands?

Cinema Shows Week 3

January 27, 2009
  • British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 4
  • British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema  in 2009- 2
  • Ticket Outlay £4.97.5  (on British feature films released in 2009)
  • ‘Going Out’ [to the cinema] – 4 films
  • ‘Staying In’  [with rental DVDs] – 4 films
  • my_clubbed_experience

    Clubbed, the second British film  release of 2009, was not shown in any of the multiplexes in the Leicester area last week. In fact, it was only available in 30 cinemas in the UK on its opening weekend averaging £423 per site (compared to Slumdog Millionaire‘s chart topping £7,972) . It has now closed in Leicester, lasting only a week at the City Cinema. The take for the 7pm screening I attended with my friend Steve last Wednesday at cannot have been more than £30. I will be very surprised if I experience any more memorable British cinema nights this year than this one.

     

     

    city-cinema_flyer_heading

    city-cinema_prices

    A rather rushed paneer dhosa at Mirch Masala, Market Street, did not save us from crashing the credits. At the City Cinema the film started at the advertised time. It is a cinema with a long history, proudly recalled on its flyer. One wonders how this budget ‘city centre’ three-screener manages to survive, but it provided a perfectly creepy 80s aura for the film, with staff-less food and drink kiosk, tabloid-reading box officer and hurriedly abandoned floor sweepings left on the stairs of the aisle. I could not tell if the person I met in the corridor was staff or bewildered patron. The ‘two for £5’ ticket could have doubled up as an entry for a tombola or raffle. clubbed_ticket2As an audience we made mockery of the the conditions on the reverse of the ticket. A small group of teenagers talked loudly throughout, ignoring the screen, but thankfully leaving before the end. They were a constant distraction while the show was on and showed no discipline,  and I am sad to report tht my pockets were packed with photographic equipment:

    clubbed_ticket_reverse 

    I could not tell if the film was badly projected or just oddly framed on occasions. I recalled that it was made on 16mm and might have gone squiffy in 35mm format. Unlike Steve, I could not read the bloody message scrawled above the victim crucified to the wainscot by the film’s gangster villain, but, unlike Steve, I could make out a strange cameo appearance by Neil Morrissey hiding behind a bushy goatee.

    Earlier that afternoon at Leicester’s newest cinema (Showcase Cinema de Lux) there were more bloody scrawlings in My Bloody Valentine 3-D. This was for mainly technical interest in the latest revival of stereoscopic 3D. The screening seemed to be full of students – but none of mine. The smell of fast food was intrusive. The duty manager and the visiting head office lackeys roamed the concourse all concern for detail. We were charged  a small premium on the ticket price to cover extra costs. A disgruntled man in front of me queried the lack of free glasses, and the manager swatted his offer to buy them by claiming they cost £25. They were quite smart (see photograph below). I bet we could have made some just as effective out of sweet wrappers and packaging down at the City Cinema (if they could find someone for the kiosk). I’m hoping another British film will be on there soon.

    my_bloody_valentine_ticket

    my_bloody_valentine_experience1