Screenwars Abroad with Nic

What’s up, what’s up, Nic checking in once more. I know I haven’t been posting as regularly as I once did but senior fall/college apps really got to me. However, once you see what I have in store for you loyal readers today I promise all will be forgiven. As my bio states, I am a man of a fair few nations and recently I had the opportunity to visit not one, not three but TWO of those nations! What I bring to you today is a traveler’s report of sorts, a journal of my film-related experience and, as always on Screenwars, a dollop of review.

toronto.lpg

My first experience came during a recent visit to the true home of Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Crystal Castles and yours truly. I saw The Martian, which I seriously enjoyed for its light-hearted yet worthy portrayal of a beloved book. Matt Damon certainly deserves kudos for his performance in a movie that despite solid performances from the overall cast occasionally feels like a one-man show, albeit a thoroughly enjoyable one. I won’t say too much more as the film has already been adeptly reviewed on this very site and besides I think everyone should enjoy it for themselves. What I will say some words about, however, was the theater in which I had the pleasure of watching the film. The Scotiabank Theater in downtown Toronto is absolutely massive in every way. It houses approximately 5,000 people, the screens are massive and, perhaps most importantly, the selection of concessions is immense.

the martian bring him home

Now you might think attending such a big theater would make you feel like just another sheep being herded in for its weekly dose of entertainment. In fact, I felt almost the exact opposite. There was some magic in gathering with so many diverse people on a Saturday night, united in our common enjoyment of the movie. Ironically, just earlier that day someone had described the big lectures they attend at university as like going into a movie theater in how you totally forget the rest of the audience’s presence. During The Martian, I was clearly aware of the audience’s presence in the very best way and walking out into the Arctic wind swept Toronto streets I felt extremely connected to everyone I had just spent two and a half hours with and, in a way, intensely human. You should try it. (I also felt intensely cold having not packed a proper coat but that’s not as romantic)*

bridge of spies

My second unique film experience came a week later over in my other homeland Great Britain. Bridge of Spies was a long experience (which as you will see was not such a bad thing in this particular case), but it merited its length with suspense until the end and some intelligently nuanced performances from big man Hanks et al. Another reason that I was absolutely not complaining about the length of the film was the theater I had the pleasure of viewing it in. The Electric Cinema in London provides true luxury theater experience, cashmere blankets and all. In stark contrast to the Scotiabank, it only houses about 80 pampered viewers but everyone sits in divinely soft armchairs, covered by the aforementioned blankets and with legs up on a very comfortable leather footrest. There is also a proper bar and pick’n’mix selection to match that considerately closes as the film begins. There are also beds to sprawl out on in the front and, if you like a serving of spice with your cinema, intimate sofas for two in the back. These are curiously rather more expensive than even the beds right at the front. My only major criticism of the film was that having eaten dinner before the film I was quite full and didn’t appreciate Spielberg shoving the whole America is so cool and light and free, Berlin is so depressing spiel (get it) down my throat at some points.

On the whole, two good films and two great theaters.

Until next time,

NTG

*Full disclaimer: I did go see shows at this theater a lot when I visited Toronto in my younger and wilder days and that could have easily had a Proustian influence on my enjoyment of the experience. I would still heartily recommend it though.

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