Review: Waterworks Cinema
Sunday, October 14th, 2012
1:30 PM Looper
Sunday was a weird day. The weather got warm, and it felt like a storm was on its way. I was feeling a bit melancholy and Wife suggested a film to help my raise my spirits. We settled on Looper at the Water Works Theatre. I tried to buy tickets online but they don’t seem to have a website. There are no photos of the place online anywhere, even Yelp.com. We decided to risk it, and drove over to Freeport Road.
The cinema is behind a strip mall, next to a burger joint. The entrance has a retro feel kind of like SouthSide Works Cinema, but more authentic. Walking in the place felt very sanitary, very clean and with lighting you might find in a K-Mart (which I can’t be sure still exists). Tickets were reasonable at $8.50 but concessions were some of the most expensive I’ve seen. I told Wife it didn’t matter and to get what she wanted. I hit the restroom which was about as clean as I imagine an OCD germophobe might be. The nice thing was that instead of advertising to stare at while relieving one’s self you found yourself reading movie quotes printed on home printer paper. From Casablanca to more recent fair. It was somewhat comforting that every possible money-making outlet was not squeezed out of the customers.
The Snack Bar
Back in the lobby Wife was contemplating her options. One side of her wasn’t prone to wasting money on overpriced snacks, but the other side really loves buttery popcorn. Lucky for her, the concessions employees didn’t mind her ordering a $5.00 children’s order which included normal sized portions of soda, popcorn and a mini-Skittles.
In the mostly empty theatre there were traditional red reclining seats. They reclined but not too far. The screen was big, but not huge. And I was getting used to the fact that this theatre was the cleanest I’ve been in. Everything about the experience so far was acceptable, although nothing seemed really great. It is a workman-like theatre which I’m pretty okay with. The movie started and we subjected ourselves to the travesty which is Looper. If you want to mimic a Christopher Nolan-like mind bender that’s great. If halfway through you realize just how hard that is and give up, shame on you for taking advantage of the audience through a slick marketing campaign and bankable stars. SPOILER ALERT: What the FUCK was the deal with that kid? If I wanted to watch a horror movie I’d have just rewatched Woody Allen’s Melinda & Melinda.
The Deal Breaker
Then, about 20 minutes into the movie came the deal breaker. The ventilation unit kicked in. I don’t know if it was a heater or just air being recirculated but it was loud. Loud enough to overwhelm the movie itself and prevent me from hearing the nonsense being spewed by an old looking Bruce Willis and oddly young looking Bruce in Joe Levitt. In retrospect I’m kind of grateful for that, but at the time I was pissed. The unit continued to go off for several minutes at a time every 15-20 minutes for the entirety of the film. Wife made an interesting point. She said, “If the ventilation unit would have been going the entire time I wouldn’t have noticed it, but since it wasn’t it was really annoying.”
Not until I got home did I realize that I hadn’t taken any photos. Which just about sums up the experience. Nothing stood out, and nothing was egregious enough to merit being pointed out either. Nothing we could see at least.
- The theatre is behind the mall so you can’t see it from the road.
- Extreme cleanliness lends to a somewhat sterile environment. But I did appreciate the cleanliness which isn’t found in a lot of theatre’s.
- Fair ticket prices.
- Overpriced concessions. People expect to be ripped off by concession stands, but
- when the cost of concessions surprises you that isn’t a good sign.
- Everything was adequate until..
- Damned ventilation system can ruin a film. Luckily, this wasn’t a great film but still.
Here is my problem. How do I grade a theatre I know I won’t go back to again? Does it automatically merit an F? I decided not. In all, most things were fine. It was clean. The ticket prices were decent even if the concessions were not. The seats were comfortable, and the sound and screen made par. However, the risk of having to deal with the ventilation kicking in and out and ruining the film means that I won’t likely go back. Maybe it was just the room I was in, or maybe it is only during the chilly months. I don’t know so I decided to grade it on everything else and let you decide if you’re willing to risk it or not. Water Works Cinema tries really hard, but they lose you in the details.
If you know of a reason I should go back let me know, but until then I’ll head somewhere new.