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Posts Tagged ‘london’

Stumbled across this today – if you’ve ever wondered what a journey on the Northern Line looks like from street level, a bright spark has used Google Streetview to put it together for you. Wonder no more.

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Working for a technology PR company and writing on this technacious blog, I wanted to my first blog post to cover an old-school institution that’s still managing to buck the downturn: cinema.

Trawl through any culture-vulture publication on the web and you can find stats showing that trips to the local multiplex have benefited massively from the recession. Look at the sales of The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia. This is big business and the outlook is only getting bigger. Another dimension bigger.

The BFI IMAX has already offered people the chance to view films on screens nearing the height of five double-decker buses and 3D is quickly becoming a staple supplement to our effects and explosion cravings (Bolt 3D is worthy of all your pocket, lunch and milk money).

The culmination of this could well prove to be James Cameron’s Avatar. The movie is being shot with revolutionary 3D cameras that the director designed himself – and the project was apparently put on hold for years while cinema technology caught up with his ambitions. In an interview with The Independent (via Total Film) the man describes the project as:

“a futuristic tale set on a planet 200 years hence. It’s an old-fashioned jungle adventure with an environmental conscience . . . The film requires me to create an entirely new alien culture and language, and for that I want ‘photo-real’ CGI characters. Sophisticated enough performance-capture animation technology is only coming on stream now. I’ve spent the last 14 months doing performance-capture work – the actor performs the character and then we animate it.”

Rumours abide that he who brought us Titanic (officially the highest grossing movie ever) can truly revolutionise and usher in a new format of 3D and IMAX cinema.

Now I’m all for this. Cameron is a genius and I’ll be strapping on whatever funky goggles or inappropriate headwear I need to marvel at Avatar in all its glory. BUT there’s something tobe said for those cinemas that stick to what they know, that take pleasure in looking back on what has been so great about movies from before…

The Prince Charles Cinema in London offers a £10 yearly membership with £1.50 for subsequent visits. It has none of the sheen or shine of its Leicester Square stablemates but does have retro posters from the 70’s covering the walls around its basement screen. I stared at a domineering Travis Bickle as I bought my popcorn before watching Die Hard there one evening. Yes, that’s right – the Prince Charles screens old movies from Top Gun to Point Break, to Vertigo and Rear Window. It even has High School Musical the ‘sing-a-long’ version.

I watched Die Hard on the big screen mere weeks ago – complete in its grubby 35mm Technicolor with little-to-no after effects; the film had blotches, botched sound, missing scenes and fleeting moments of focus. Yet this was a cinema experience to remember – the best I’ve had in my 22 years. The people that watch these films are not there for the gimmicks, they don’t care about the new Toffee Crisp popcorn or the largest number of pixels you can squeeze into a transforming toaster. The audience I witnessed was one that revelled in the low-tech, simple pleasure of watching an iconic movie on the big screen. We cheered when Bruce Willis first enters the frame. We booed when Alan Rickman and his cronies step out of that elevator. And we raised the roof when those immortal words “yippee ki yay….” were uttered by our blue collar hero in our blue collar multiplex.

To top it off? It’s Quentin Tarantino’s favourite cinema in London. Grindhouse indeed.

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