Friday, 16 October 2015

Films, More Films and a Play.

So what else have I been doing apart from shopping? Well I’ve been to the cinema just a little too. 

I’ve mentioned here before that Himself writes a film blog, which is kind of his excuse to pretty much live at the cinema. Luckily for us our local is not only 10 minute walk from our house, but also a Cineworld. 
Cineworld have a scheme where you pay about £17 a month for an ‘unlimited’ card which does exactly what it says on the tin, lets you into the cinema as many times as you want within that month.  This basically means I am effectively a Cineworld widow, whenever a new release is out he’s there, doesn’t matter what it is or how good it is, he’s there.
 I, on the other hand, am more selective with my cinematic viewing and only go to see things I think I will enjoy.
Which this month have included Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender (*swoon* even despite the beard)

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and not just because Mr. Fassbender was standing bare chested in a lake at one point.
 Weirdly thought I never studied Macbeth at school or anything, I found myself able to quote chunks of the text (in my head and not out loud of course) which did surprise me, I wasn’t aware I had taken it in on reading or watching the play in the past. 
Anyway the cinematography was stunning and it was superbly acted, though Himself found it highly amusing that none of the lead actors were Scottish and neither was it filmed in Scotland!

I also insisted on seeing Suffragette as soon as it came out which meant the novelty of going to the cinema on a Monday night. 

Again I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would definitely recommend it. 
As a subject I have read quite a bit about, I felt it was handled brilliantly, thankfully it wasn’t made as  a self-congratulatory nostalgia piece where we all live happily ever after, but rather raised the moral issue of the more controversial way the suffrage movement went about it’s campaigning, alongside the ferocious treatment meted out by the authorities trying to crush the rebellion as they saw it. 

As the final credits rolled you were presented with a timeline of women’s rights and it was interesting to hear a couple of audible gasps from the audience at just how recent some of those dates were.

A couple of weeks ago we also had an all expenses paid trip to Milton Keynes thanks to Cineworld.
Himself has been working with them for the last few months on a ‘Superfans’  campaign and I got to tag along as his ‘plus one’ 
We had to be in Milton Keynes for 11am for a special screening which we wouldn’t find out what it was until we arrived. It meant getting up like it was a usual work day on a Saturday (boo) as we had to go in and out of London due to engineering work on the trains.

The event was to experience ‘4DX’ which is being advertised as the ‘Future of film’ The marketing blurb says;

"4DX is a motion picture technology owned and developed by South Korean company CJ 4DPLEX, a part of the CJ Group. 4DX allows a motion picture presentation to be augmented with environmental effects such as seat motion, wind, rain, fog, lights, and scents along with the standard video and audio"

I have to say I wasn’t sold but more of that later!

We arrived and were presented with the best bit of the day, a wristband that gave us free access to all the sweet and drink concessions! 

I don’t usually eat at the cinema because it is so expensive and I’m a tightwad, but in this instance I did, I mean it would have been rude not too. 
I had a delightfully huge tub of Baskin' Robins ice cream and some posh salted caramel popcorn.
As it goes this was a good job too, because the lunch that was provided was a buffet style greasefest at Frankie and Benny’s and not my cup of tea at all. So other than a small slice of pizza I didn’t bother with it.
We were told that the 4DX film we were viewing and reviewing was the second maze runner film The Scorch Trials. 

Luckily they screened the first film in 2D before lunch so those of us who hadn’t seen it would have a bit of a clue what was going on. 
I have to say I did enjoy both films, and liked the second film better despite the best efforts of 4DX.

After lunch we were given a behind the scenes tour of the cinema and the 4DX equipment which was absolutely fascinating. Cinemas are HUGH behind the scenes! Who knew?

From there we were given a few minutes to stock up on more snacks before being escorted into the film………….and so to the whole 4DX experience.

The future of cinema? Er, that would be a resounding NO from me, and I suspect from most other people. A one off, or occasional experience yes, the price ticket of £15 per head would limit the number of times most people choose it if nothing else.
If you have ever been on some of the rides at Disney or Universal Studios then the effects used in 4DX will be very familiar to you.

The bits that I thought worked were the seat motion, this was very effective and as the characters on screen were bumping across the desert in the back of a truck so were we. I loved that. 
The other thing I liked was the wind effect , on screen a helicopter flew in and landed and at the same time our hair was being blown about,again very effective.

The less successful ones were the ‘fog’ which turned out to be two dry ice machines, one each side of the bottom of the screen. The main issue was whenever they were deployed, they issued the fog/dry ice with an intrusively loud HISS-SSSSS, which not only blocked out the dialogue but instantly attracted your attention to them and not the action on the screen. 
The other effect that didn’t gel and was the major bugbear of Himself (in fact he called it unpardonable!) was the lighting.
Every time there was lightning, or a floodlight in the film the auditorium lights went up. Not only did this white out the screen so you couldn’t see the film properly, it instantly plunged you back into reality and reminded you that you were actually sitting in a cinema full of other people with a huge cineworld logo on the wall!  

The smells were hard to notice and the manager did explain on our backstage tour that a lot of people say they just can’t smell them at all. I did get a whiff of a couple but not really enough to make it noticeable. We didn’t get to experience the water with this film and this is the one effect you can switch off at the seat if you want too apparently.

The final effect was my major bugbear. A thing that actually made me swear when asked about it after the film with a vehemence that would have had any sailors present blushing. What was it you may ask? the air jets. 

It was just so damn annoying, it nearly ruined my enjoyment of the film. 

The chairs are fitted with air jets on the headrests and behind the legs. The idea being that apparently you get to experience the action when there is gunfire on the screen as they are supposedly meant to feel like bullets zipping past your head.
Firstly, like the dry ice machines they also go off with a loud HISS, so as Himself pointed out it makes it seem like everyone is fighting with Nerf guns rather than dangerous weapons. 
Secondly, and to be fair this may be to do with the fact that I am tall and therefore the jets were hitting me in the wrong place? 
They were puffing fierce jets of air on my neck rather than past my head which was really, really, REALLY,  IRRITATING!!!!
I ended up spending most of the film leaning as far forward as I could whilst hunched over to try and avoid the sensation, I heartily wish that was one effect I could have turned off!

Other than that it was a great day out, well apart from the fact we found out we were going to be filmed all day and as everyone else said that was fine I felt I couldn't really say no thanks. 
Thus I did spend the whole time clamming up and backing determinedly out of view every time the camera came near me, I'd almost like to see the final result as with hindsight I'm imagining it looked quite funny.
I did join in the group picture at the end of the day though.

Finally the theatre. 

Which was actually the theatre at the cinema as it goes, because it was one of those National Theatre Live screenings. 
We have had the tickets since May because as soon as I heard about it I wanted to go. 

David Suchet in The Importance of Being Ernest in drag as Lady Bracknell. What's not to like?

I have to say it was a little stilted at first and I wonder if this was due to the actors being aware they were being live filmed. Thankfully it soon found it’s pace and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Himself has never seen it before and was blown away by the fact that the play was written in 1895, it seems so very modern in it’s vicious wit and sarcasm.  

So there you go it's not all spend, spend, spend.


  1. It sounds like a really interesting experience anyway, the 4D thing! I think I would have been annoyed by the bits you found irksome too - mind you, I can't even watch 3D or HD, let alone anything else! I find them too stimulating, so I can't concentrate or 'lose myself' in the film. I just like pictures, not even sound's necessary if you have a nice old film with subtitles. That'll do me. xx

  2. Ooohh, how I miss live plays. Yes, okay, there is a small theater company here and then put on a teeny number of shows, which is awesome, but sometimes I do very much pine for the stages (and symphony halls) of a big city. If I ever live in one again, I am going to try and take in as many plays, operas, concerts and symphonies as my budget will possibly allow.

    Wishing you a marvelous mid-October weekend,
    ♥ Jessica

  3. I'm the opposite to Porcelina, I usually watch films by listening to them and occasionally looking at the action onscreen... (not really been to the cinema since I got ME/CFS, it's too bright and noisy and makes me knackered!) So I think I'll be avoiding 4D, though it does sound interesting.

    I'm quite interested in seeing Suffragette, but I'll probably just wait. I'm glad to hear it's not not just a nostalgia period piece, does it mention how the police actively encouraged men to physically harrass the women at demonstrations? (a fact I was horrified to learn at the Museum of London, which has quite a good suffragette display!)

  4. I'm so behind the times that I've never seen a 3D film let alone a 4D! Its rare we ever go to the cinema. Walsall's multiplex only tends to show chavvy action films and kids' stuff and when we do it's full of morons chatting on their phones or eating obnoxious smelling processed meat burgers. xxx

  5. I'm like Vix and have also never seen a 3D/4D film. In fact I hardly ever go to 'the pictures' In my opinion it's overpriced and far too loud. I'm aware I sound about 93 but I prefer to buy the DVD from Amazon and watch in the comfort of my home.
    Jets of air blasting at me would seriously piss me off. xx

  6. I've been so see a few 3D films with the kids and some of the effects have been spectacular. That said, I don't go to the pictures very often, it's so pricey and there's always something I'd rather do with a night out (like go to the pub and chat, or go for a meal!) I have been to a short 4D film at the science and industry museum in Manchester - I thought it was great fun! xxx

  7. I've never seen a 3D film either. I did wonder how your chap could afford to go to see so many films; the Cineworld monthly ticket is probably a massive money saver for him. Last time I went, I nearly fell over at the cost per ticket.

  8. I have to admit to not ever seeing a 3D film either and 4D well im lost already ;-) I am not a great film buff in fact the only time I ever watch films is at Christmas I don't know why. The last time I went to the cinema was to watch Les Miserables :-) Glad you had a good night out. dee x

  9. I saw Pacific Rim in 3D and it was impressive if stupid and noisy....and Idris Elba of course. I'm not sure about 4D.
    I'm quite keen to see Macbeth I'm intrigued by the casting and I bet Fassbender is brilliant. I did the play for O level and it is one of my faves. I remember going on a school trip to see Polanski's Macbeth. I don't think they'd get away with that now!