See Ghost in the shell at midnight?

I have to say I’m pretty excited to see the Ghost in the Shell live action remake, that I bought a ticket for the 1 minute past midnight (0001) release on Thursday morning in the Odeon IMAX.

When I bought my ticket, the cinema seemed super quiet with only 12 people, which is suprising. So you have plenty of time to get you’re ticket and join me.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of going to the cinema late at night but I kind of love it. To be fair I watched Interstellar at 5am, Dark Knight rises at 8am, etc and I quite like it. Of course I would only do this for films which I felt was worth it, and I think Ghost in the Shell is certainly one of those.

I mean just look at the first 4:44mins

What is with Nolan and the simultaneous releases? Not a review of Interstellar

Interstellar IMAX ticket

It seems to me like Christopher Nolan is the only one worth getting out of bed early or late for. Over the last few year, I got up for Inception at 12am, Dark Knight rises at 5am and now Interstellar at 8:15am. All have been in the Manchester  (which is thankfully a real 70mm IMAX).

So was Interstellar worth getting out of bed early for? YES and I’ll be watching it again on Sunday.

Interstellar

No spoilers

Interstellar is a love story told over space and time. It very much reminds me of Voices of a distant star and Contact. Both emotional and stunning to watch. Attention to detail is incredible too. It does pull at the heart strings and you can’t help but shed a tear here and there.

8.5/10 for me and I’m not the only one.

Update….

Oh and thanks to Jaz for pointing out that there’s actually up to 6 different versions of Interstellar available. I went for the 70mm IMAX originally and then watch it again in standard 35mm at the Cornerhouse Cinema on Sunday. The difference is certainly the quality of some shots but also the lack of immersion.

The joy of going to the cinema alone

(What is up with Flickr’s new embed system!)

Den of Geek talk about the benefits of going to the cinema by yourself

I remember my first time. May, 1995. A Wednesday. A student house in Coventry, and I uttered the fateful words “anyone fancy the cinema tonight? There’s a film called Hackers that looks great”. And not one of them wanted to come, the selfish bunch. Too interested in playing Doom on their PC, watching The Bill or listening to this ‘Britpop’ stuff. They certainly weren’t busy cleaning the kitchen.

So I made my mind up, walked out of the house and settled down at the Odeon by myself. I loved every minute of the Jonny Lee Miller/Angelina Jolie electro nonsense on my lonesome. And I’ve been enjoying the joys of solo cinema for many years since.

I’ve been known to like going to the cinema by myself sometimes and the reasoning isn’t far wrong…

  • Common sense…
    I want to watch this film and I usually ask on twitter, etc. If no ones up for it, I go anyway. Last film I watched alone was Gravity in IMAX3D. Friends moaned that I was going to late in the night.
  • You get to read the free cinema magazine
    Heck no, it was a chance to sneak into other movies and see the trailers. Back in the day, there was time between the showings but thanks to the multiplexs you can literally walk out of one and into another one (the greed, means they try and fit more into less time)
  • It’s about the film
    Absolutely… Sometimes you don’t want any of the nonsense chatting, you just want the film and nothing else.
  • Together, alone
    The whole of idea of the defunked Salford Cinema Club was to go together but end up choosing the film you really want to watch. To be fair only a couple of times did we actually split up the group. But the idea was always there.
  • It’s all down to you
    Nothing better than picking the seat you want. Small ice cream and This is another reason why I quite like going to the cinema late at night because theres the minimum of disturbance from kids and punks throwing stuff around.

Some of the best films I’ve watched have been alone including Inception, The Matrix, Donnie Darko, etc… Ok not all of them have been in the cinema but they have all been in a darken room

My Top Films for 2013

Trance

Its been a interesting year for films. The time between cinema and download seems to have shorten and some films surprised even me. I didn’t include Prisoners, World War Z, This is the end, Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and many others.

  1. Trance
    I can’t tell you how great this film is. Its smart, quick and emotionally something I didn’t expect. All the characters are sharp and the sound track is up there with the best. I would go as far as to say, the film is like being in a trance, the way parts keep jumping in and out.
  2. Cloud Atlas
    Although officially it came out for most of the world in 2012, it didn’t hit the UK till Feb 2013. I have seen this film so many times and it still has emotional depth and a sharp storyline.
  3. Now you see me
    After watching the fight of the Prestige vs the Illusionist. I thought I’d had enough of magicians on the big screen. But I like what happens in Now you see me. 4 magicians working together and a twist which I didn’t believe could work. Plenty of replay value.
  4. Gravity
    I watched this at 2330 in IMAX 3D and was simply blown away. I never like 3D movies but all that space, just worked with the 3D effect.
  5. The Great Gatsby
    I didn’t know much about the Great Gatsby, so the whole story was brand new for me. And what a story it turned out to be. Not only that the cinematography and art direction was up there with other Baz Lurman movies.
  6. Oblivion
    When I first watched this film I was not impressed then I watched it again weeks later and started to enjoy it more and more. Once again Tom Cruise who I’m not a massive fan of but he’s a bloody good actor. Good idea well executed and even watchable again and again.
  7. Fast & Furious 6
    I didn’t expect to enjoy this much but I remember me and Jude decided over Pizza we were in a hollywood smash mood and decided to watch it instead of a range of other movies at the time. Fast 6 didnt disappoint. Very action packed, but a nice heist along the lines of Takers. Fast 6 certainly has found its niche and if fast 7 does what it promises, we’re in for more action packed heisty fun.
  8. Upside Down
    Maybe less well known that the others. The context is explained in the first 3mins and the rest of the story is a traditional love story. What makes it special is the theming, characters and cinematography. Each scene looks a lush and I’m glad I gave it a chance.
  9. Pacific Rim
    Like Fast 6, pacific rim has a simple story to tell. Massive Monsters (Kaiju) vs Massive Jaegers. Nothing more complex that devastation and carnage.
  10. Man of Steel
    I was disappointed with Man of Steel. I felt Nolan and Snyder would be great, but it seems Synder took the reins in the first of the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong I love Snyder’s cinematography and art direction a lot. But Sucker Punch and 300 holds nothing against Inception and The Dark Knight.

This is not a Dark Knight Rises review

The Dark Knight Rises at 5am BST

There will be *no spoilers* in this micro-review for the dark knight rises. In actual fact this is more about my experience of waking up at 3am to head to the Odeon IMAX at 4am

Yes I did the whole 5am thing and actually really enjoyed it, somewhat more than the Tron Legacy 12:01am opening thing which had me wishing I had gone to bed instead (plus I wasn’t impressed with the film besides the 3D). However I got up at 3:05am, jumped in the shower and had breakfast. I didn’t leave the flat till 3:50am which had me rushing along the very wet but pretty quiet streets.

I decided if I saw a cab I would jump into it because it was really coming down (as it does too often in Manchester). Of course I didn’t see any cabs with there yellow lights on and I just kept walking. By the time I got through the Northern Quarter it was pointless getting a cab and I walked into the Printworks complex from the east side to find a massive queue of people waiting to get into the actual Odeon. This took me back because I was planning to be there about 4am but I had arrived about 4:15am. So much for getting a decent seat I thought. But then the line started the move as the doors opened and people walked in single file. Almost everyone ran towards the ticket pickup machines and box office while a few of us went straight up to the 1st floor to the IMAX.

I was expecting another queue but it was straight into the IMAX and I must have been about 50/60th in to the cinema meaning I could get the row just in front of the Premiere seating (row G). Generally I find row G, H and I are the sweet spots for most cinemas. Of course I didn’t get the centre but I got left of it then the couple I sat next to moved because they were actually booked in the premiere seats. Meaning I could move closer to the middle.

The Odeon staff were pretty good about the whole thing with loud atmospheric music from previous Nolan films playing. The Inception sound track got a massive smile from me. However when it came to the moment we waited for, there was a delay while they had to restart the IMAX projector. Not elegant but after 3mins we were away.

The dark knight rises takes place in a time after the dark knight when the cops of the city are pretty much use to keeping the peace and not much else. Of course the dark knight comes back however against Bane played by Tom Hardy he’s pretty much out of sorts. Bane’s presence on screen is amazing and you can really feel the bass in his breathing and speech. Other characters are also great including Catwoman… I read a review somewhere else saying it was an emotional end to a great series and there not wrong. The heart strings are pulled but not in a gimmicky way. Confidence, Self believe and wellbeing, all come into play. This will touch some and will float over the head of many others (so expect lots of disappointed people)

 

However before I start talking about the plot and spoil it for you all. I would like to say this film is the defining reason to watch it in the IMAX.

Containing over an hour of IMAX footage, the movie leaps up on the giant screen, absorbing and lush and practically enveloping the audience in its 70 mm celluloid. The most notable use of IMAX from The Dark Knight, the swooping overhead city shot at the beginning of the film, is repeated over and over again in The Dark Knight Rises, but it never loses its impact. We constantly see Gotham from above, and it fills the entire screen and our entire field of vision; just as Batman is committed fully to this city, we cannot escape it.

I swear my jaw was locked in place and chin on the floor for most of the later parts of the film. It was stunning and absorbing. The level of immersion was breathtaking. I’m so glad I got a chance to watch it in the IMAX first and I’m lucky enough to live close to a real IMAX. Unlike previous films by Nolan and others, its been clear when its the IMAX camera and not. Don’t get me wrong it was still clear but the difference this time is there was plenty of footage, enough to make it blur together.

For me the Dark Knight Rises was a masterpiece. I won’t be watching it as many times as Inception but Nolan once again has done himself and his audience proud with something which people thought couldn’t be reborn. He for me and others is the greatest director ever now. What ever he touches turns to gold… Dark Knight Rises was simply EPIC!

The dark knight rises should beat the avengers and set the world record for the biggest grossing weekend in current film history, specially with its 12 cert. But please spare a thought for those killed and injured in Colorado the same time I was glued to my seat watching the dark knight rises…

Prometheus, thoughts…

Prometheus

I finally saw Prometheus at the Odeon IMAX in 3D with my friend Dave and his girlfriend, a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. No Spoilers!

I never thought I’d enjoy it because I’m not a fan of horror (I never jump or find them scary) but it worked because they removed all the long periods of tension with small amounts of action.

I did feel slightly uneasy about the amount of religious points within the film but the concept of our technology leading us to make our makers is certainly interesting but I’ve said no spoilers. If you really want to get down and dirty into spoiler zone… Have a good old read of this blog.

Seeing the Dark Knight rises at 5am

Dark Knight rises

After the pledge for the dark knight rises failing.

The tickets went on general sale almost the following week. Of course some of my friends were lucky to get tickets for the 8:30pm showing of the dark knight rises in the Manchester Odeon IMAX (1 of 4 real IMAX’s in the UK…) and they disappeared within a few hours. I missed it and only got options for 4:20pm and 11:30pm also in the IMAX.

However I later discovered when watching Prometheus (more on this very soon) that there will be a 5am (yes 5am not 5pm) showing to match the midnight showing on the east coast of America.

I had planned to take the day off to see it, but with the 5am showing, I can get up early watch this amazing film (which I think will blow Prometheus and the Avengers away) then go to work afterwards. Of course I will be rubbing it in my friends faces 🙂

So 5am on 20th July if I look a little tired you now know why…

Busy social week ahead

Next week I’m involved in a lot of social events….

Honestly trying not to over do things, but they’ve just creped up…

I’ll certainly make sure I take it easy on that weekend right before my Rollercoaster weekender (interested in coming give me a shout)

Also worth pointing out that Salford Cinema Club has started a Pledgebank to book the Odeon IMAX cinema (real IMAX) for the opening night of the Dark Knight Rises.

Pledge “darkknightimax

I will Hire the Odeon IMAX for The Dark Knight Rises on 20th July but only if 300 other dark knight film fans will commit to paying for a ticket (between £10 – £15).

— Ian Forrester, Founder of the SalfordCinemaClub (contact)

Deadline to sign up by: 20th May 2012

Watched Avatar twice in 3D, why?

Avatar screenshot

So leaving out all the stuff about the movie being racist and what ever people want to say about the film. I thought I’d have a look at the 3D technology behind the experience, but I can confirm I enjoyed the film and watched it twice. Why?

First time I watched in Odeon Manchester’s 3D cinema (note this is not a IMAX screen, although the same cinema does have one) before Christmas. Then again with a friend in Cardiff, while I was in Bristol. We got talking about Avatar and my friend had not seen it yet. But worst still he had never been to a IMAX cinema ever let alone to a 3D screening. So we drove all the way to Cardiff Bay (Bristol’s IMAX was suspend earlier in 2007 year and was due to be open again) to the Odeon IMAX there.

So to be clear both Odeon venues but one is IMAX 3D and the other one is just Odeon 3D. Most people think there the same but there not. Just one look at the different glasses will show you that.

There’s 3 main 3D systems, Imax 3D, RealD and Dolby 3D Digital Cinema. Obviously Imax 3D was first then RealD and now Dolby 3D. 3D vision blog has all the details you need for them all but I’ll stick to the two I experienced.

IMAX 3D

This one is the oldest of the three standards that is famous mostly because of the very big screens present in these cinemas, but they are still not very widely available around the world with most of the IMAX cinemas present in USA. Up until very recently IMAX 3D was only analogue with the movies being shot on large frame 70mm film in order to achieve good image quality on the larger screens these cinemas use, as compared to normal 35mm film. The digital version was introduced last year and still very few cinemas use that and the resolution and respectively the projection screen sizes for these implementations are not as big as on the analogue ones. IMAX uses big linear passive polarized plastic glasses for the viewers that do not provide the best possible experience. Anyway, getting back to the user experience, there is something very specific for IMAX 3D and that is the fact that the movies shown there are usually optimized for more pop-out screen effect than depth. This means that most of the time objects literally seem to pop out of the screen appearing as if you can touch them, kids do love this effect, but this is also more tiring for the brain. So usually longer movies are a bit of a problem to watch and Avatar is close to 3 hours, so you should be carefully consider this, especially if you feel a little “out of this world” when watching movies in an IMAX cinema. Some other drawbacks that are not always present and most of the people miss are the lower contrast in some dark scenes, a bit more ghosting of objects and problems refocusing your eyes quickly enough to follow the whole picture in fast action scenes and thus you might miss some important parts. Anyway IMAX 3D is certainly the most easy way to achieve the WOW effect with just about anyone that is watching his first stereoscopic 3D movie, but it this is not the first for you, then the other alternatives might be better…

RealD

This is a bit newer standard, but a digital one from its start… digital here meaning that the movies are recorded in a digital format and the projectors being used are also digital. RealD 3D cinemas uses circular polarized plastic glasses instead of linear polarized to provide better user experience when watching stereoscopic content. Circular polarization is considered to be better, because viewers are able to move their head as they like without the loss of the 3D depth effect. With the linear polarized glasses you have to be a bit steady, not moving around too much and sometimes you might have trouble finding the right position for your head in order to achieve the best effect when watching the movie to fully enjoy it. The circular polarized plastic glasses used here are also cheap to produce, but this technology requires the use of more expensive silver screen for projection which makes it a bit more expensive to implement. Still at the moment RealD is the most widely used standard for stereoscopic 3D movie projections all over the world, so you will most likely have one of these cinemas where you live. The immersion experience with RealD is a bit different compared to what you get at IMAX 3D projections as here the depth perception is of actual depth so the action is more going inside the screen, and not popping out of it. This does not make things less impressive, although some people might get a little disappointed at first if they were expecting to have the IMAX 3D pop-out effects, but after some time of watching they still get the feeling they are right in the middle of the action. This way of going more in the projection screen and not out of it is also easier on your brain as it is not that overloaded with information and is considered better for longer movies. Also it is easier to keep track of quick action scenes and the ghosting is usually less, so most of the people prefer this technology, although it is still not perfect.

And this is very consistent with my experience. The IMAX 3D glasses were massive and the effect was bigger and bolder that watching it on the RealD setup in Manchester. I thought it was down to the size of the screen but to be honest the IMAX screen in Cardiff wasn’t anything like the IMAX’s i’ve been to in London Waterloo, Minneapolis, etc. I got a feeling it might be one of those Fake IMAX screens.

One of the weird thing about the RealD setup was that the screen didn’t feel as sharp as the IMAX but that could just be the seat position. So for the win, watch Avatar in IMAX 3D for now.