Friday This ‘n’ That – FREE 3D & YouTube Red

Epic Theatre Hendersonville

  • Intriguingly, the Epic Theatre chain has dropped their surcharge for 3D movies. I’m not a big fan of 3D movies as I find that in most movies, it serves simply as a distraction. It is supposed to make things more immersive but I find it has the opposite effect. Having said that, it is nice for patrons to have a choice without the exorbitant upcharge. Bravo, Epic!

YouTube Red

  • Borrowing a page from Hulu’s book, YouTube has introduced YouTube Red, their new ad-free service. It is $10 a month unless purchased through ios (ios charges $13). I already pay for Hulu and Netflix as well as receiving Amazon Prime because of my wife’s joy at receiving packages quickly (you can see why I don’t need cable). I can’t see shelling out for this but I can see it being useful for others (my granddaughter really enjoys toy unboxing videos).
  • This does bring up the possibility of a troubling new trend. Start something for free, get people hooked on content, then crowd the site with ads, finally offer to remove the ads if they pay each month to remove them.
  • Which brings us to microtransactions. They were an anomaly until several companies proved that you could make a fortune giving your game away and then making progress nearly impossible without a tiny tiny purchase of some in-game commodity. Now even games that cost $60 will charge you for planned but not yet released expansions, variant costumes, etc.

Spectre

  • Please pardon me as I’m off to see Spectre!

Friday This ‘n’ That – Timing is Everything

#firstworldproblems

I love going to the movies. Currently, Friday is my day off and I like to spend the day at the movies. During the summer, things are great as movies start between 10 and 11 in the morning. I can get in three features before meeting my wife for dinner.

Unfortunately it’s not summer so two of the three theaters I frequent, Regal Biltmore Grande and Epic Theatre of Hendersonville, don’t even start their shows until 1 in the afternoon. Ditto the three I don’t go to, Carmike, Beaucatcher, and Asheville Brewing. Only Carolina Cinemas has morning showings, some as early as 11.

This is the absolute nitpickiest of nitpicky complaints.

Regal Cinemas

Biltmore Grande has a rather annoying schedule. The vast majority of their films run on a 1, 4, 7, and 10 rotation (as many theaters do). While this does mean that you can simply show up at the theater prior to one of these times and be pretty sure you’re okay, it really leaves out those of us who like to string together a marathon or even a double feature.

Carolina Cinemas

Again, Carolina Cinemas comes to the rescue. Their movies are scheduled at all different times so, if you know how long a movie is, you can plan a string of movies. This past Friday, for example, I could have gone to Biltmore Grand to go see The Visit at 130 and Crimson Peak at 4. Alternately I could have gone to The Carolina to see Crimson Peak at 1150, Sicario at 205, and Bridge of Spies at 420.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Violence in the Cinema Edition

I went to see Sicario the other day and enjoyed myself but there was an incident at the theater.

I actually missed about ten minutes in the middle of the movie as a fist fight broke out. One patron decided the theater was his personal living room and starting using his cellphone, another patron objected verbally, and shortly after, sound effects behind me are echoing what was onscreen.  I got up but several closer people had already separated them so I got management.

The incident was resolved quickly. After the movie finished and people started leaving, management was on hand to give out return passes. My wife was concerned when I told her but for all the talk of cinema violence, I have gone to the movies constantly for over four decades and have seen just this one fight and one drunk and disorderly a few years back.

I am refraining from naming the theater(s) involved as I would not want them to get a reputation over an incident. Violence is obviously unacceptable (on either part of the equation) but also

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE at the movies – everyone else paid for a ticket too. Act like an adult – don’t kick the chair in front of you because you want to put your feet up. Don’t talk during the feature. This is not your living room. If you are incapable of simple human decency, for goodness sakes, stay home.

 

Epic Cinema Tables at Epic Theatres of course!

On my last movie day, I spent the whole day at my local Epic Theatre. I got a nice jumbo hard plastic Ant-Man cup to add to my already overburgeoning collection and my waistline thanks them for having unsweet tea. I don’t care for water and hate diet cola.

Pirates Table

 

Normally they, like most theaters, have too much lobby space. Normally I like to peruse the neat displays for upcoming movies (my favorite was Regal’s whack-a-mole featuring the Minions for Despicable Me 2), but this time I was really impressed with the new tables they got.

Hunger Games Table

 

The tables and chairs seemed very sturdy and the table easy to clean off. The table was a little lower than I would like but now I think I need one in my movie room.

Toy Story 3

 

They had four styles but I imagine these would be quickly customizable to any movie poster. Now should I get Alien or The Thing or something from classic Hollywood?

Spider-Man

Regal, Regal, Regal, and FREE Movie Tickets

Regal Cinemas

Normally, I’m not fond of big chains but this summer Regal has really won my business. Neither my local Epic nor my beloved Carolina opted to do summer kids movies. Let me tell you the Regal Biltmore Grande is absolutely packed on Tuesday and Wednesday morning for their $1 movie. They have obviously reached out to various groups as children arrive by the busload for the Regal Summer Movie Express.

Regal Summer Movie

 

Regal also gives points for concession purchases on their card (though only a ridiculous few) which is something my Epic does not. The big chain does have other advantages. My wife is able to exchange credit card points for Regal gift cards and Blue Cross Blue Shield also had a program that allowed me to redeem a Regal card through them.

Regal Crown Club

 

Combining Regal gift cards, the Regal Crown Club, and the numerous FREE movie ticket promotions has allowed me to spend very little on movies this summer.

There are currently FREE movie ticket offers at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target on various DVDs and Blu-Rays for current movies Terminator Genisys, Max, Magic Mike XXL, Minions, and upcoming movies Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Hitman: Agent 47, Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Pixels. Most of the stores have one or more endcaps devoted to those offers.

Hormel Pepperoni, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and Orange Crush all have FREE movie ticket offers as well.

My Local Theater Roundup

I love going to the movies. I also love staying home and watching movies. I thought that today I would take a positive look at what is good in our local theaters. R.I.P. Cinebarre, you will be missed.

Carolina Cinemas

 

Obviously, The Carolina is my favorite.

* FREE movies every Tuesday night (Asheville Film Society) and Thursday night (Thursday horror picture show) put The Carolina head and shoulders above the rest.

* Once a month, Ken Hanke gets a new digital print of a classic movie at a bargain price ($6 for members, $8 for non-members). Last month it was Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

* Local food, locally sourced from Chop Shop & Carolina Mountain Bakery along with local beer on tap, wine, iced tea, and the usual soft drinks. They have REAL butter on their popcorn. Their quattro formaggio pizza is my current favorite though I’m itching to try their hummus.

* They currently do DealFlicks – they don’t really give a discount through them so much as give you a small popcorn and a ticket for the price of a ticket. Asheville Film Society ($10 a year) gives you a $1 discount off of each ticket and FREE refills on any size popcorn.

* FREE refills on any size soda or tea

Biltmore Grande

 

The Biltmore Grande is the newest of Asheville’s cinemas.

* It has all stadium seating and the best sound and video in the area. Their auditoriums are designed so that opening the door does not allow light to leak in.

* They have a RPX screen which is HUGE and LOUD. It is also an upcharge so these showings are less crowded.

* They have Coke (and other flavor) Icees – my drink of choice at the movies.

Epic Hendersonville

 

Epic of Hendersonville, just south of Asheville

* Very, very close – okay it doesn’t say much about the theater itself but it sure is nice to drive fifteen minutes instead of forty-five.

* The sound and video are almost as nice and large as Biltmore Grande. They have all stadium seating and the same proper positioning of doors.

* They currently allow DealFlicks, MoviePass, and even (often) give away tickets for blood donations.

Asheville Pizza

 

 

Asheville Pizza & Brewing is on the North side of Asheville

* Our only remaining second-run theater. Tickets are only $3 for all shows

* Locally brewed beer on tap

* Good menu, including many varieties of pizza. Best item: The Tot-Chos – a basket of tater tots baked and then smothered in queso.

A Little Local Theater Frustration

This is going to be an absolutely whiny post so feel free to skip past. My favorite local theater is Carolina Cinemas. They have a great combination of mainstream and arthouse films, fantastic food, good customer service.

Lately though I haven’t had a clear cut winner. This is a shame as I go to a ton of movies during the summer. I would love to have a theater that had all the things I look for.

Epic Cinemas

EPIC: My closest theater is great as it is only fifteen minutes away. They have nice screens and sound systems. Their prepared food is almost exclusively microwaved and they have the world’s worst pretzels. They often have nice promotional plastic cups. They accept DealFlicks but not Fandango and have a $6 Tuesday special (Sony and Warner excluded).

Carolina Cinemas

CAROLINA: Their screens and sound are quite good but just a touch below Regal and Epic. Their fresh, locally sourced food is a mixed bag but even a mixed bag easily beats the microwaved food of the other two. Soda refills are FREE for all sizes and are located outside the counter. They are about to accept Dealflicks but do not accept Fandango and they have a $5 Wednesday promotion (Sony excluded).

Regal Cinemas

REGAL: State of the art stadium theater seating equals Epic. Their upcharged RPX theater is the best in the area. The upcharge is annoying but also means that it is less crowded. They also have the only Coke Icee available. They accept Fandango but not DealFlicks. They also have a children’s movie program in summer where the other two do not.