S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Theaters, movie-going, and squirrels

Modern movie theater construction isn't all about boxy mall-style genericness. Even malls can achieve moments of elegance and interest, if their designers are willing to put some thought into it, such as the fountain at the heart of Toronto's Eaton Centre. The Paramount slips briefly into something more than boxiness with its three-story escaltor, surrounded by wide windows. The Famous Players at Yonge and Eglington surrounds a wide circular multi-floor domed atrium with aerially-suspended escalators.

Back in London, the UGC cinema at Canary Wharf (well, West India Quay) feels something like a movie hotel, long corridors on piled-up levels delivering viewers to their movies in numbered rooms. The hallways were lit with floor-to-ceiling windows. There's nothing transcendant about it, but it's more interesting than many modern movie theaters. To our benefit, the theater didn't have assigned seats, the way so many UK movie theaters do - or did, at least. Ice cream in theaters always strikes me as more British than any other food, because all theaters sell ice cream, more or less. No where else I've been is it a staple at all kinds of theatrical performances, including plays and movies.

I'd forgotten just how many advertisements are shown before movies in the UK, so many that ticket salesfolk and customers are nonchalant about the movie's real starting time. The movie's starting time was ten minutes? No rush. There'll be advertisements for another five. Advertisements are so much more ingenious when seen for the first time. I saw the best advertisement for milk I've ever seen on the screen last night. The t.v. series Lost is in teasers here.

The rift between movie launch dates in Canada and the UK was just enough that I could quote reviews of most of the movies. But the rift is narrowing from years past; most of the big movies launch within a few weeks of each other. In this case, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened two weeks after its North American release date. The movie is true to the book is almost every way, in delightful and marvellous and impressive ways. Johnny Depp is astonishing. So are the squirrels. But perhaps because I knew the plot a little too well, even all these years later, my heart was never quite as much in the movie as I wished it had been.

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