My solution for Sundance prices

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Prof. Wagstaff
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:06 pm

fennel wrote:Usher's introduction? WTF? That's just rude.

It essentially replaces the "preview" most theaters show reminding you they have concessions for sale and to please turn off your cell phones. Frankly, I think they'd be better off with an announcement over the sound system then with some uncomfortable dude mumbling his way through a half-forgotten script, but if there's one thing they like at Sundance, it's unnecessary froofery masquerading as "upscale" (which is why they have a "bistro" and a "cafe", instead of a concession stand and some appetizers.)

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:28 pm

I haven't been to the new westgate, but I'm surprised you don't consider Star and Sundance as offering far superior / more comfy seats to Point and Eastgate.

The popcorn is not THAT bad... but you have to ask for salt or add it yourself. I definitely recommend the former since it is a rather difficult talk to properly salt your popcorn once the bag is full and you have those crazy salt shakers they use. The popcorn itself's better than what they used to serve at Hilldale and what they still serve at Clary's, but due to the oil used a bit less tasty than traditional coconut oil popcorn.

The introduction is about 1/10th the length of the movie theater trailers shown at other places and does not ever mention concession stands in my experience. I don't think it's accurate to equivocate there. I do think it is completely unnecessary most of the time. Once in a while the guy has some mild insight to offer.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:37 pm

TAsunder wrote:I haven't been to the new westgate, but I'm surprised you don't consider Star and Sundance as offering far superior / more comfy seats to Point and Eastgate.

Can't speak to Eastgate -- haven't been there in over a year at least, but the seats at Point don't bother me at all. And I already said that the ones at Star are comparable. I had just heard so much about the great seats at Sundance that I was expecting more than just standard, modern movie seats, which is all they are.

TAsunder wrote:The popcorn is not THAT bad... but you have to ask for salt or add it yourself.

Don't need salt. That was not the problem. The problem was that the popcorn sucked. I make better stuff at home in the microwave. Also -- the lobby doesn't smell like popcorn, which is one of the best things about a theater. I should've mentioned that in the great smells thread...

TAsunder wrote:The introduction is about 1/10th the length of the movie theater trailers shown at other places and does not ever mention concession stands in my experience.

Those trailers are about minute and a half long, so I don't think your math is very accurate. It is nice not to hear how the theaters are available for your next business meeting, though...
As for your second point -- perhaps you're right. I've only seen the one movie at Sundance, but at that showing they most definitely mentioned not just the concession stand, but also the bistro and wine bar.

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:58 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Can't speak to Eastgate -- haven't been there in over a year at least, but the seats at Point don't bother me at all.


They don't "bother" me either, but there is less space at Point and the seats aren't quite as comfy. More to the point, the seats are Sundance are better than any other theater that shows indie movies that I've been to in the area.

Don't need salt. That was not the problem. The problem was that the popcorn sucked. I make better stuff at home in the microwave. Also -- the lobby doesn't smell like popcorn, which is one of the best things about a theater. I should've mentioned that in the great smells thread...


I hope to hell you aren't talking about bagged microwave popcorn, which is the most vile rat-vomit-like substance on the planet.

Those trailers are about minute and a half long, so I don't think your math is very accurate. It is nice not to hear how the theaters are available for your next business meeting, though...
As for your second point -- perhaps you're right. I've only seen the one movie at Sundance, but at that showing they most definitely mentioned not just the concession stand, but also the bistro and wine bar.


Well, I've only heard the bistro and wine spiel, not the concession stand spiel. In any case, you don't get 3 minutes of Mountain Dew ads followed by even more concession stand crap. Like much of Sundance, it results in a minor improvement over other theaters.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:10 pm

TAsunder wrote:... the seats are Sundance are better than any other theater that shows indie movies that I've been to in the area.

I just don't see how they are any more or less comfy than the new seats at Westgate. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same seats.

TAsunder wrote:I hope to hell you aren't talking about bagged microwave popcorn, which is the most vile rat-vomit-like substance on the planet.

Yeeesh. And here I thought I was being a harsh critic of popcorn... Anyway, yes, my Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn at home is tastier than the super-dry, flavorless grit I got at Sundance. Perhaps I just got a bad batch -- since the lobby didn't smell like popcorn, it's a safe bet it wasn't particularly fresh.

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Postby boston_jeff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:30 pm

As I've said in Sundance related threads before, the seating is typical of almost all modern multiplexes. And the assigned seating is more trouble than its worth. Its an unneeded "luxury" that makes things less luxurious. I often move seats at the movies because morons near me are talking, but at Sundance I have to worry that my new seat may be assigned to someone who hasn't arrived yet.

And I agree, the popcorn I had was def. not very good at Sundance. But my main complaint about the concessions was that paninis, lattes, etc. and standard movie fare are all purchased in the same line. If you have a couple of each of the specialty orders ahead of you, the line tends to move very slowly. They should def. have a line for the people who want the basics vs. the other crap.

I'm a huge proponent of indie film, but I find Sundance to be very commercialized and mall-like. The programming is only a bit better than most mainstream moviehouses, and the amenities don't really do that much for me. I don't mind the cost at all, its actually quite reasonable compared to what I'm used to, and the audiences seem well behaved. Def. a decent filmgoing experience but I'm not sold that its the end all and be all, or that much more than I would get at a multiplex.

The bar was actually a pretty chill place to have the Dane101 Oscar movie quiz though...

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Postby jammybastard » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:34 pm

Got to chime in here...

Saw "U23D" at Sundance 2 weeks ago, which was my first time there.

While the 3D looked great the audio in the theater was horrible.
It's advertised as a "Dolby Digital" theater but it sounded like that's only regarding the image.
The soundtrack to the movie had been mixed to follow and complement the 3D images, so if the bass player was in the foreground you'd hear the bass come up in the mix, etc...
Well the problem is that in the Sundance Theater moments like this would overwhelm everything else or disappear completely as if you someone was panning a stereo signal left to right.
The movie was mixed for Dolby Digital surround, but I was convinced we were listening to it in stereo from the front speakers only.
After the movie I asked some of the other people sitting near us what they thought of the audio, and they felt the same way we did. They commented that there wasn't any sound coming from the side or rear speakers.

When I went out to the lobby I asked the Sundance attendant assigned to our theater if it was a Dolby Digital surround theater. His reply, "I don't know."
Amazing. You'd think for a special, limited run film like this they would know and have the right gear to show the film the filmmakers intended it to be seen and heard.

That was "strike one" in my book.

"Strike two" should be familiar to everyone who's read this thread...

Maybe I'm old fashioned but I found the whole "select your seat and pay extra for it" silly and annoying.
What's the point?
They want more money than the face value?
The don't want to advertise $7.50 because $6.25 looks better in print?
I don't get it.
Don't be coy, just sell me a ticket and let me sit where I want.

The one thing I do like?
Being able to get a real coffee drink at a theater.
Now if only they had bar service....

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:47 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
TAsunder wrote:... the seats are Sundance are better than any other theater that shows indie movies that I've been to in the area.

I just don't see how they are any more or less comfy than the new seats at Westgate. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same seats.


Like I said, I haven't been to Westgate for some time. I was comparing to Westgate of old, as I assume most people in this thread were.

Yeeesh. And here I thought I was being a harsh critic of popcorn... Anyway, yes, my Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn at home is tastier than the super-dry, flavorless grit I got at Sundance. Perhaps I just got a bad batch -- since the lobby didn't smell like popcorn, it's a safe bet it wasn't particularly fresh.


You could be right. Some popcorn will remain fresh for a long while, especially if the popcorn machine has a warmer. It's possible the oil they use and/or machine aren't adequate to retain freshness. I've noticed that Vic's corn popper and the coconut-oil-based popcorn I've made at home stay fresh for a full day at times, but Clary's and other popcorn seem to lose their freshness rather quickly.

Call me crazy, but microwave popcorn from a bag smells and tastes pretty nasty to me. But the air popped stuff and the raw kernels put into a micorwave bowl are decent enough.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:53 pm

jammybastard wrote:The don't want to advertise $7.50 because $6.25 looks better in print?
I don't get it.


I don't get it, either, particularly because $7.50 is a perfectly reasonable ticket price.

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Postby Shipley » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:25 pm

I'm still a little confused as to why people are pissed they select a seat and equate that with not being able to sit where they want.

if the little computer selected a seat FOR YOU maybe, but you still do SELECT your seat. and you don't have to show up 30 minutes early to get a center seat.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:03 pm

Shipley wrote:I'm still a little confused as to why people are pissed they select a seat and equate that with not being able to sit where they want.

Because the selection of a seat in a mostly-empty theater is (for most people) based on the distribution of other theater-goers.
I know I want to sit in the center of the screen, but if 3 obnoxious teenagers are doing likewise, I'll sit a few rows in front or behind them. Similarly, I'd rather not have anyone sitting directly next to me if I can easily avoid it.
It's really not rocket science -- it's basic human behavior.

As I said earlier, if it's a sold-out show, then pre-selection makes sense, but it's just an unnecessary hassle when there's only a dozen folks in the whole theater.

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Postby boston_jeff » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:00 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Shipley wrote:I'm still a little confused as to why people are pissed they select a seat and equate that with not being able to sit where they want.

Because the selection of a seat in a mostly-empty theater is (for most people) based on the distribution of other theater-goers.
I know I want to sit in the center of the screen, but if 3 obnoxious teenagers are doing likewise, I'll sit a few rows in front or behind them. Similarly, I'd rather not have anyone sitting directly next to me if I can easily avoid it.
It's really not rocket science -- it's basic human behavior.

As I said earlier, if it's a sold-out show, then pre-selection makes sense, but it's just an unnecessary hassle when there's only a dozen folks in the whole theater.


I wholeheartedly agree, its a pain in the ass either way.

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Postby Fraction » Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:54 pm

Cinematheque? Anybody?

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Postby depinmad » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:37 am

i don't recall reading that sundance's seats were far superior to star or even point. in fact i'd say star has the better seats. but the last time i was at westgate, they had only replaced random seats with newer ones. it was completely mix and match. also the last time i was there they were showing a store bought looney tunes dvd in the wrong aspect ratio and calling it a bugs bunny festival. that's all the strikes i need to never give them business ever again.

as for the sound at sundance, i agree that it's not so great, as compared to the dts theaters at star and point. i too saw U23D there, and was unimpressed by the tone and volume of the soundtrack. it should have been considerably louder. but i did think that the effect of focusing in on whatever instrument you were looking at was intentional and not a function of not hearing all the channels. i could be wrong...

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Postby Ducatista » Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:22 am

boston_jeff wrote:I'm a huge proponent of indie film, but I find Sundance to be very commercialized and mall-like.

It has a certain slickness. Then again, we rented out Sundance Theater 4 to show a moto home movie this past Saturday, and it doesn't get much more indie than that. The fee was manageable, the staff were great, and the projectionist was incredibly helpful through a couple test screenings and the final showing. Our audio was straight stereo, not 5.1 surround, and the sound was excellent.

Star's my default theater, but I like Sundance a lot.


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