Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Over the past few years we’ve seen a plethora of new multiplex cinemas opening in Manchester. This was no doubt the cause of the final demise of the Odeon the other month and the reason why CineCity in Withington has never reopened.

Even some of the multiplexes themselves are struggling. The Arena 7 closed after an inauspicious season or two and if you can manage to find the AMC multiplex in the Great Northern complex (signs guys, signs!), you’ll be lucky to find more than a few people sharing your theatre with you.

Our closest cinema, Showcase at Bellevue, was one of the first multiplexes in Manchester and for years was a thriving concern. Nowadays the staff almost invariably outnumber the customers and business is clearly not good. Presumably in an effort to address this, they are currently offering any film, at any time, for £3.50 (which would seem at least to be a slightly more productive attempt to turn things around than the recent policy of cutting costs by not putting the heating on in the week!).

With the bargain prices in mind, you’d think that they might at least pull a reasonable crowd for what has turned out to be the biggest Disney film of all time. However despite being derided by my companions when I enter my bid of 11 in the now customary ‘how many other people will be in the screen’ stakes, I’m once again win with the nearest bid. Overestimating by 2…

Whilst there is a certain advantage to having a cinema on your doorstep that is never sold-out even for major releases, I fear the current level of business is not sustainable. It would be a shame if it had to close; both on a personal convenience level and in terms of losing yet another employer from the area.

Anyway laying these concerns to one side, The Incredibles is yet another Pixar triumph: beautiful animation, subtle humour and fantastic characterisations. The characters of Elastigirl and Edna the Fashion Designer are particularly superbly voiced and rendered.

Stewart had already seen it on Saturday with Tor, but was more than up for a repeat viewing. Phil and I both enjoyed it, but sadly it left Sarah cold.

I suspect you probably have to be in the right mood for this kind of film (not one that results from a day involving a bad headache and having to fire an architect!). Frankly Sarah was lost before the end of the short prelim animation, Bounded, which involves a dancing lamb receiving life advice from a bounding jackalope (you probably have to see it – but it is fantastic!).

Probably worth the £3.50 all on its own!

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