cinema entrance tickets and popcorn

Turn down the lights, crank up the sound…

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Home Cinema - small cinema theatre

First time I ever remember going to the Cinema was to see the film ‘Jaws’ so I must have been about 6 at the time. I dont remember much about the film other than hiding beneath the seat when the guy gets his leg bit off, that and being told off by my primary school teacher the next day when its the only bit of the film I could describe to my class.

Even so I was hooked, if you will pardon the pun. I fell in love with the cinema and movies in general, its probably more to do with my dad and his insistance that you really couldnt have a big enough TV, something which holds true for me today with a TV that has killed all the plants in my living room as theres no longer any light coming in through my front window.
Its also easy to tell I lead the single mans life, walk into the living room and theres a single 3 seat leather sofa with reclining seats directly opposite a 50 inch plasma and just the right place for the 5:1 surround sound system, and yes I do have the speakers on spikes and the rears mounted on the wall near the ceiling. I did draw the line though at not placing concrete blocks on the equipment to make sure the sound is completely dead, unlike some of my friends…
…anyway I’m getting ahead of myself.

Home Cinema - super 8 8mm home movie film celluloid films

My next memory of ‘going to the pictures’ was going on a bus with my cousins across town to a special christmas showing of bedknobs and broomsticks, quite a journey in Belfast at the time and one of the last times I would go to the proper cinema for a while. The next outing wasnt really an outing as we went to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind and were turned away after queuing for over an hour as the cinema was full. Back in the days of huge cinema theatres with only one show on. So it was back down the next night, a lot earlier and we got in this time.

Home Cinema - popcorn cinema tickets

By this stage is was the late 70s and not really the place to be taking kids at night into Belfast City Centre so going out to see a fil-um (how we pronounce film) was limited to going to the local working mens club where they set up the screen and super 8 projector and we all piled in there.

Home Cinema - super 8 8mm film projector movie camera film cartridge

Looking back now it was a complete heath robinson outfit but for films like Earthquake and The Shootist there really was no better place. For Earthquake the place was full but I remember me, my Dad and my sister and maybe one other person turning up to see The Shootist. John Waynes last film and one of the last we saw on Super 8 as Betamax and VHS tapes were just coming onto the scene.
My Dad had been wanting a super 8 camera and projector for years but was another one of those things that came long down the list after food and clothes for the kids.

Home Cinema - 8mm home movie camera

It was time to trudge back into down every Friday to visit the video hire shop where the tradition that lasted almost 25 years of going into a video shop for an hour and arguing over which film you want to watch, someone sulking then getting a film nobody wanted to watch.
Then of course there were the local video shops which provided tapes which didnt come in fancy boxes and were just black tapes, pirate videos werent in the vocabulary at the time and these seemed legitimate shops on legitimate streets, copyright protection was unheard of. It wasnt just copyright that was ignored, I remember on two occasions sitting down and watching betamax tapes that were 10 minutes shorter than the film itself. You then had the daft spectacle of us all going up to the video shop and the guy in the store telling us all the ending. I cant decide to this day if thats good or bad customer service, it certainly was dedication.

Home Cinema - dvds bluray blu-ray films movies home

It was my dads decision to buy a Betamax video recorder that has shaped my opinion to not be an early adopter of any technology or if there are two competing technologies, to wait it out until one dies a death. Hence the reason for waiting to get a blu-ray player even though I know it is obsolete already and will probably be superceded by online download or streaming.
When I got my first job out of uni in 1992 they were talking about video on demand and the ability to pick and choose one of hundreds of movies down the telephone line and watch what you want, when you want. Of course almost 20 years later we are just getting to that stage.

Home Cinema - dvds dvd home films film movies movie

Ive only a small selection of blu-rays and I suppose its like the whole CD v MP3 debate – MP3s are ok but if you want to sit down and listen to music properly then you stick on a CD, similar with downloads to watch a movie on a wee screen but blu-ray to make a night of it. At least thats what I keep telling myself. I told myself that too when I bought a high end VHS player just as they were being phased out, the reason? Well my large collection of VHS movies, of which I’ve probably played 3 (the star wars originals) since then. More money well spent.
I hate when you go into the cinema and they put on 10 minutes of anti piracy ads, like Ive paid in already! Leaving the piracy part aside, there really is nothing like seeing a movie on the real big screen, with my home cinema coming a poor second.

Home Cinema - the shining at a drive in movie theatre

Since I’ve been small Ive had it drummed into me to see as much live entertainment as possible, whether it be sport, theatre, music or in the case of movies, on the big screen.
Now Ive a HD video cam, HD on demand movies, large tv, dts surround sound, even a popcorn machine but put star wars on a black and white portable in mono and I’ll still watch it.
Ive just finished watching ‘In Bruges’ again for the nth time (thoroughly recommended if you can take bad language and violence), great film, more like a stage play on film.
So take some time out this weekend, get the family in or sit down yourself, turn down the lights, crank up the sound, get the popcorn on and press play…
…go on you know you want to.

Home Cinema - tv listings remote control 3d glasses
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