August 2017~ Prince Charles Cinema

I often write about the films I’ve seen at the PCC but never about the cinema itself and thought that it’s about bloody time!!

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Situated in Leicester Place, just off of Leicester Square, The Prince Charles Cinema is one of a few independent, repertory cinemas in London. It was originally built in the early 60s as a theatre but soon became a cinema. It went through a period as a porn cinema but eventually became the cinema we know today.

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It has two screens, one is a more modern looking screen upstairs with 104 seats and the downstairs screen, near the bar which as a very 70s/80s feel to it and has 285 seats.

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It is known for showing a range of cult classics and regularly has seasons of either a certain film type, director or series. Most recently it has had a season dedicated to the late Stanley Kubrick and I have been able to see his Sci-Fi masterpiece, 2001:A Space Odyssey a few times in 70mm (It originally ran at The PCC back in 1968 when it was first released). There have also been seasons dedicated to 80s action films, Bond, Harry Potter and much more. Personally I have never had a problem with the quality of the image or the sound, especially when some of the prints used are more than 50 years old!

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Downstairs, opposite the bar (which is awesome), it the film requests chalkboard where visitors can request films they would like to see. You are limited to 5 requests per person and the board can get very full. It’s good to see that lots of these requests are honoured as well.

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The cinema is also known for showing sing-a-long films. A couple of years ago I was subjected to seeing Frozen Sing-A-Long when my niece wanted to go. I have learned to like the film over the years. Regular sing-a-longs include The Sound of Music and The Rocky Horror Picture Show to which many people dress up as they do for other films shown at The PCC (they actively encourage cosplay which is awesome!).

It’s also worth keeping a close eye on the canopy outside, as over the years cinema staff have been known to put funny messages up. A few examples are below.

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Tickets are cheap and vary from film to film. The refreshments kiosk is just like it was back in the 70s/80s just like the rest of the establishment and I love it! You can become a member which gives you discount on tickets and snacks at £10 for a year (which I currently have) or £50 for life (which I keep meaning to get!). They also do members only screenings for £1.

If you want the big IMAX type screen this isn’t the place for you, but if you LOVE cult movies and like the feel of 70s/80s/90s style cinema and are slightly nerdy when it comes to film then this is the place!

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If it’s good enough for Quentin Tarantino, it’s good enough for me! (Legend has it that The PCC is his favourite cinema in the UK)

The Prince Charles Cinema Website

March 2017~ The Princess Bride 30th Anniversary, 35mm Presentation

Following on from my visit to The Prince Charles Cinema last week, I returned to see a 35mm showing of The Princess Bride which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

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If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride (which is inconceivable) here is a brief summary shamelessly stolen from IMDB:

‘Return to a time when men and swamps were swamps. Fire Swamps, that is. Full of quicksand and Rodents of Unusual Size. Lagoons were inhabited by shrieking eels. And the most beautiful woman in the world was named . . . Buttercup? Well, it’s a bent fairy tale. Complete with all the fencing, chasing, escapes, and silly accents you’d expect. Including such unique folk as Inigo Montoya, who has dreamed his whole life of finding the six-fingered man who killed his father. Fezzik is his enormous sidekick. And Max is the kvetching miracle man. Blonde Buttercup loves Westley, a poor stable boy. But when he’s captured by pirates, she’s chosen by evil Prince Humperdinck to be his princess bride. Along the way, she gets kidnapped, he gets killed. But it all ends up okay.’

With an all-star cast consisting of Carey Elwes, Robin Wright, Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, Peter Falk, a young Fred Savage and more, this film holds up well.

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The print itself was very clear and clean. The soundtrack was very clear as well. It is the kind of quality I expect at the PCC.

The matinee showing was sold out. It was good to see people of a similar age to me clearly introducing their own children to this awesome tale.

Robin Wright was as gorgeous as ever in 35mm!

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Get to the PCC now if you love cult films! I hope to make the Alien/Aliens double bill in April.c6a496e99d34096f7a62749f87eb3c85

March 2017~ 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm

If you have never been to The Prince Charles Cinema before I highly recommend it. Situated just off of Leicester Square, the cinema itself is happily stuck in time. When you visit you will be reminded of how cinemas used to be back in the 70s (if you can remember that far back, or further!). The PCC shows a variety of cult films and the tickets are quite reasonable. £10 annual membership (or £50 lifetime) gets you discounts on all films plus discounts at the kiosks and bar.

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Last night I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favourite films on the big screen and in 70mm. It was a first for me with this movie as it came out 4 years before I was born. I’ve only ever seen it on Betamax and then VHS and DVD.

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The Prince Charles Cinema showing 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968 when it was released.

The film is Stanley Kubrick’s space masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m a huge fan, I’ve read all four books in the series and seen both 2001 and 2010:The Year We Make Contact numerous times. I was so glad to see the cinema offering a showing starting each night at 20:01.

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The film was amazing. The special effects had stood the test of time and the physical models looked amazing on screen. The soundtrack was as awesome as ever. The quality of the 70mm print was much better than I expected. Having seen some other 70mm films at the PCC I expected the print to be a bit grainy and possibly discoloured in places with obvious splice-lines etc, but nothing. If it had been restored then the restorer has done a fine job, otherwise it’s been very well looked after.

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It was also quite amusing to have an intermission during the movie. Something I’ve not experienced for a very long time.

So as I said, if you like cult films (or even Disney’s Frozen sing-a-long version) then The Prince Charles Cinema is a must!

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Follow this link to see what they are showing: The Prince Charles Cinema

September 2016~ Star Trek 50th Anniversary

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September 8th 2016 was the date that Trekkies all around the world would be celebrating the 50th birthday of our beloved show. Yes. it means a lot to me and I felt I had to put it into words. I had to say something. It was a fairly long post so I have added it to the end of this page.

People were celebrating in various ways. I was going with 4 amazing friends to The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. It is known for showing classic, cult movies and for the 50th they had an original, 1982 70mm print of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Prior to watching the film we met for dinner and drinks at TGI Friday’s who had a special green ‘Spocktail’ which was delicious. After a few of those we hit the cinema for an awesome experience. I felt 10 years old again! It was great seeing TWOK back on the big screen at this special time!

Sorry for the dodgy pictures!

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Tomorrow is a very special day for me and many of my friends. I feel I cannot let this day go by without me saying something as it means so much to me.

50 years ago a TV show first aired that changed the lives of many people. Set in space, it was billed as ‘Wagon Train to the stars’ and dealt with many of the current issues at the time such as racism, equality, drug addiction, the cold war and much more. It addressed some serious issues and continued to do so through all of its various iterations.

It told of a future where humans had finally made the journey into space and followed the exploits of a ship and her crew as they explored the galaxy, meeting new alien races and visiting new planets.

That show, of course, is Star Trek. The original series spawned 6 spin-off series (if you count the new Star Trek: Discovery which starts in January), totalling 726 episodes. 13 movies, hundreds of books and comics and a huge amount of merchandise which is too numerous to list!

Many fans of the show, Trekkies or Trekkers (depending on your preference) were drawn to the show for a specific reason and have been fans for a long time. I first saw the show in 1975 and to this day I still get reminded by my dad about how I used to duck when the Enterprise came flying towards me during the opening credits.

I, like many of my friends, have suffered over the years because of our devotion to the show. People make fun of those of us that attend cons, collect memorabilia, meet the stars and so on and are quite often told to grow up.

Why?

We have found something we enjoy and which means so much to us. What is the difference between what we do and say someone who collects stamps or follows a particular football team and spends money on kits and other memorabilia? The answer is nothing. There is no difference. This leads me to believe that the people who mock really do not understand what Star Trek is about.

Every Trekkie has their own perspective on the subject but they are all similar in some respects.

To me, Star Trek is not just a TV show. It is a way of life. It tells us of a future where the people of the Earth are united in peace, freedom and equality. It tells us that no matter who we are, what our abilities are, our gender, our age, height, weight, skin colour, religion and anything that currently divides us, we are all equal. No one is better than anyone else and no matter what, if you believe in yourself you can accomplish many things. Trek also teaches us that life comes in many forms and that we should appreciate the wonderful variety. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

With all the crap going on in the world it is a light in the darkness. It’s something to turn to when you feel life is too much.

I’ve made many amazing friends because of Star Trek and the many events I have attended over the years, some are regular Trekkies like me and some are those amazing people both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes that made the show possible.

At this time of celebration for us I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being a friend (even if we never see each other except at cons) and if you are one of the amazing people that helped the show to be what it is an even bigger thank you!

Enjoy the 50th and Live Long and Prosper to you all!