Hi Film Folk,
Here in the North of England, we’re blessed with a huge range of cinemas. We’ve got lots of multiplexes: two Odeons, two Vues, an Empire and a Cineworld.
There’s a whole range of art house cinemas, the number of which varies depending on how far afield you’re prepared to drive.
My favourite local cinema is “The Tyneside Cinema”. It’s been going for a very long time and oozes with class and charm. They show a really wide variety of quality films and you can’t go wrong with spending time there. I’ve premiered two films there, and I directed their fundraising campaign video several years ago when they were going through a refurbishment.
The next two best cinemas in the region are Odeon (either the Metrocentre or the Silverlink) and Vue Gateshead. Odeon is hands down the best cinema chain in the UK, full of innovation and class. I do love Vue Gateshead though, which has the best seats, really comfy and luxurious.
Cinema in recent years do more than just show films with standard seating. The Odeon, for example has IMAX, 2D, 3D, standard seating, VIP seating, DBox seating (sort of dynamic moving seats) and even luxury GALLERY screenings with a big sofas and unlimited popcorn, nachos, fizzy drinks and chocolates!
One of my favourite innovations that Odeon brought in was “Odeon Screen Unseen”. This is a fantastic feature they’ve been doing for the last few years now. Essentially, an audience buys tickets at a reduced rate, to see a film before it gets released. The twist? You don’t know what film it will be until it flickers onto the screen…
This is brave, and it gets audiences watching films they might not otherwise see. Past Screen Unseen films have included: Nightcrawler, Selma, Whiplash, It Follows, Inside Out, Arrival, Moonlight and, this week, Baby Driver. They’ve not screened a uninteresting or poor choice yet, and I always look forward to the next one.
It did get me thinking that a lot of filmmakers need to open up their viewing choices a bit. Yes, if you know you’re going to make a zombie flick, then horror films are important to watch… but you can learn filmmaking craft and generate ideas from other genre.
My favourite films tend to be quality comedy, thrillers, sci-fi, gangster and action… but I’ll watch a far wider scope of material. I will watch chick flicks, horrors, romantic dramas, period pieces, old black and white films etc.
If you’re limiting your viewing to just the things you’re already familiar with, or know you’ll like, you are blinding yourself from inspiration and some fantastic experiences.
So, this blog was really a gentle reminder to try and watch things that are outside of your typical tastes. Note: if you want to choose it blindfolded or not is up to you, but remove the blindfold when the film starts!
Thanks for reading,
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