A Love Letter To The Cinema -

You can feel it, can’t you, coursing through your veins as you patiently wait for your fix of that sweet (or salted?) kernel of popcorn. Chatting amongst your friends, the buzz of excitement begins to swell. Faintly you feel a rumble vibrating through your soles as a giant, alien robot suplexes his latest nemesis through the steel and glass of a downtown skyscraper. A group exits the nearest screen, the sight of dried tears still visible beneath their red eyes thanks to another Oscar-worthy performance. Then you spot the couple across the foyer, emitting that nervous tension released in those first few dates, ready to go and be reminded why exactly they would sprint to the ends of the terminal for their one true love.

When it comes to the art of entertainment, nothing unifies us as much as film. Gather 10 of your closest friends. Ask them how many are interested in reading the latest book release, downloading the latest album or seeing the hottest band. Half, if you’re lucky. Now see how many want to watch that new big screen blockbuster, whether it’s the next instalment in a celluloid universe of superheroes or a gang of ordinary Joes singing their hearts out in a sun-drenched Mediterranean villa. My guess is most, even if it’s just to have the experience of a good night out. They may come out of the screen smiling or they may exit with that “I’m never getting those 2 hours back” scowl. One thing is guaranteed; they’ll leave talking. Whether it’s debating its social values, breaking down its glaringly obvious plot points or simply commenting on how dreamy the so-attractive-they-can’t-be-real A-lister looks up on the big screen. You’ll still talk about it. Probably the next day too.

The Movie theatre. The Cinema. The Pictures. The Flicks… Whatever it is you call it, the big screen is how films were intended to be viewed. Whether it be a $200 million CGI-heavy festival of explosion or a film about real people, in real situations, facing life decisions that we ourselves have to make every single day, whilst we sit there like a raw nerve – exposed, emotionally vulnerable – staring up at an IMAX screen, either surrounded by the people closest to us in life or simply sat on our own, we are transported in such a way that simply cannot be replicated at home. As great as it is listening to your favourite song in a dark room with just your headphones, can it really replace the feeling you get at a gig, the pumped-up crowd oozing adrenaline? No. Still great. Just not the same.

However, the cinema has never faced such competition. Now you can buy TVs which take up a whole wall in your front room and dazzle with their startlingly hi-res colour palettes, and sound bars which let you hear even the faintest of background noise. You can pop in the latest DVD or Blu-ray, or better still, just stream it straight from one of your many online accounts (providing your WI-FI doesn’t go into meltdown of course). But with all that comes distraction. The kettle needs to go on, the clock needs moving two inches to the left, the dog is waging an almighty war on the innocent passer-by that just had the audacity to invade her personal space by a mere 50 feet. Watching a film at the cinema, on the other hand, is like being Mary Poppins, sat on that cloud high above the world, watching everything in front of you unfold at once. It is, in a word, magical.

And things have changed. ‘The big screen’ has evolved. Now we can go and see our favourite films on the very biggest of screens in a variety of different formats each designed to push our senses to their limits. Want to go see the latest MCU instalment on a curved screen much wider than the conventional offering, with sharper sound tailored to each individual auditorium and much higher picture resolution? Then visit an IMAX. Wish you could feel the spray of the Pandoran seas on your face once James Cameron’s ten-year-in- the-making Avatar sequel arrives next year? Then why not try 4DX with its high-tech motion seats equipped with an array of special effects such as wind, rain and smells, all synchronised to perfectly follow the action up on the screen. We now even have the latest in super screens, the ScreenX – up to 270 degrees (it varies dependent on the film being shown) panoramic viewing experience, with scenes expanded onto the side walls to provide the ultimate in immersive cinema.

Whether we are gunning it to 88 with Doc and Marty, bringing the party to the Avengers or showing up at your best friend’s house to confess your love for his wife via a series of fortuitously planned out placards, being at the cinema takes you on a rollercoaster ride. A film could have that infamous green splat courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes or be critically derided by every professional paid to dissect someone else’s work, but how will you know for sure that somewhere amongst all of that clunky exposition or bad CGI, isn’t a tiny morsel, or maybe even a slither of something, anything, that may resonate with you and open you up to possibilities you never even imagined? Film can have that power. And where better to experience that first hand, for yourself, than at the cinema. The great thing about it is that you don’t even have to be a cinephile to enjoy it. Just go to experience it with friends. See things from multiple perspectives. Go for the experience of laughing at something you wouldn’t normally laugh at, but you are because 60 other people in the room are and laughing is infectious. Cry for the same reasons. Jump out of your skin at an unseen enemy pouncing at you, even though you have been anticipating it for the last 30 seconds and are now sat like a coiled spring ready to take it.

We love film because it takes us out of our reality for a few short hours. As I said before, even if you aren’t a cinephile you will have a favourite genre. Or a favourite actor/actress. Someone, somewhere will have their interest piqued by something that the film world has to offer. That’s where we come in. If you like going to the cinema or would like to go more often but are never sure of what’s on offer from Hollywood or beyond, stay tuned. Like Neo in that phone box we’re “going to show you a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice we leave to you”.

We’ll just make sure to try and go easy on the existentialism so that we don’t lose you all halfway through part 2.

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