To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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FrauBlucher
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To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#1 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:11 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#2 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:19 pm

My answer before reading the article: yes
My answer after reading the article: yes

I can understand an iPad resting ten inches from your face, but that's as small a screen as I can fathom being acceptable

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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#3 Post by tenia » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:47 pm

Michel Ciment told me that that people might think it's viable to watch movies on a smartphone is part of why he thinks technological progress around cinema isn't always a very good thing.

He also told me an anecdote about him and Pierre Rissient at a festival in Mexico, and there were waitresses there coming to you, during the movie, so you could order them some food, but not snacks : real food like some chicken or whatever, and they would serve it to you during the movie. So you can imagine the ballet of waitresses disturbing the showing.

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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#4 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:51 pm

We have those sort of places here (CineBistro et al), they sound horrifying-- though I know mfunk has weighed in as enjoying them, so maybe he can offer a defense. They seem like Hell on Earth to me

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#5 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:17 pm

I can't wait to hear someone say the first time they watched Lawrence of Arabia was on their smartphone. Then I'll know civilization has changed forever.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#6 Post by cdnchris » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:42 pm

If I watch anything on my phone it's something I've already seen and am just killing time. Watching something for the first time on my phone sounds awful.

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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#7 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:13 pm

domino harvey wrote:We have those sort of places here (CineBistro et al), they sound horrifying-- though I know mfunk has weighed in as enjoying them, so maybe he can offer a defense. They seem like Hell on Earth to me
One of my favorite theaters in NYC- the Nitethawk- does this, and I like it a lot. You by default get a fair amount of leg room, and they pretty cleverly set up discreet downward facing lights and tickmark based menus; the waitstaff comes, grabs your menu, and brings back your food, which is real food, but also things you don't need to see and which won't make a lot of noise (eggs benedict is the one that comes to mind.) It is, if anything, less disruptive than a lot of the getting up and down and munching and so forth that happens in other theaters.

Regarding phone watching- if you had some sort of virtual reality style glasses to slot your phone into, such that it would take up your whole field of view, it could be a much nice way to watch something on a plane or whatever than trying to squeeze your laptop into the seat tray. Other than that, though, I can't imagine it (though I've downloaded and watched some Casper Tybjerg lectures, with visuals, on Dreyer onto my phone, and that was pretty successful.)

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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#8 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:09 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:
domino harvey wrote:We have those sort of places here (CineBistro et al), they sound horrifying-- though I know mfunk has weighed in as enjoying them, so maybe he can offer a defense. They seem like Hell on Earth to me
One of my favorite theaters in NYC- the Nitethawk- does this, and I like it a lot. You by default get a fair amount of leg room, and they pretty cleverly set up discreet downward facing lights and tickmark based menus; the waitstaff comes, grabs your menu, and brings back your food, which is real food, but also things you don't need to see and which won't make a lot of noise (eggs benedict is the one that comes to mind.)
I'm assuming that American Cinema Eggs Benedict don't bear much of a relationship to the real thing, because that's one of the last things I'd want to try and eat in the dark! All that dripping egg yolk and hollandaise.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#9 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:27 pm

It was on an English muffin, I think, making it relatively self contained. Also it came with a good sized Bloody Mary, so you didn't care

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#10 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:18 pm

Maybe theaters can simultaneously stream the films into the phones so they can offer messy foods, so customers can look down to eat. :roll:

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#11 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:38 pm

The only video material I watch on my phone is something short off YouTube.

My iPad, on the other hand, is a very different matter - I watch tons of stuff in bed with headphones on. In fact, this is why I used to actively prefer dual-format releases back in the days when I couldn't rip from Blu-rays, as I'd watch the main feature in high-def and then rip the extras to my iPad.

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Re: To Phone, or not to phone, that is the question:

#12 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:42 pm

I should start watching stuff on my iPad again, I have one that's at least 5 years old but is able to stream YouTube and others quite well. Unfortunately it doesn't take to FilmStruck too well. I don't watch anything that's new to me, otherwise anything is fair game. And I agree with dom that the iPad is the smallest acceptable way to watch something like that. I have a decent-sized computer screen but don't watch a whole lot on it anymore except YouTube and pornography (which is perfect for smartphones).
matrixschmatrix wrote:Regarding phone watching- if you had some sort of virtual reality style glasses to slot your phone into, such that it would take up your whole field of view, it could be a much nice way to watch something on a plane or whatever than trying to squeeze your laptop into the seat tray.
I love this idea.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#13 Post by chiendent » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:46 pm

I'm mostly fine with the Alamo Drafthouse kinda experience, especially for blockbusters and the like. The servers aren't that distracting and I like being able to get some decent beer during the movie. I did make the mistake of trying their chicken liver mousse once which not only caused a couple people near me to move but came with crostini that was ear-shatteringly loud to bite into!

As for phones, I can't really judge since I spent my freshman year of college watching a bunch of movies on a tiny 10 inch netbook. At one point I hooked up an external DVD player and watched the MoC Naruse set which makes me want to go back in time and slap myself. Thankfully I've gone back and rewatched most of the movies I saw back then but I definitely benefited a lot even from those less-than-ideal conditions. So if somebody doesn't have a large screen handy or is on a plane and gets to explore some films on an iPad or larger phone (especially older silents like Glenn Kenny discussed in the article) I'm not gonna hate.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#14 Post by Minkin » Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:31 pm

My S/O watched Tree of Life for the first time .... on a plane!

Although I (and the rest of a plane on a red-eye flight, where everyone was trying to sleep) was forced to watch Daddy's Home from a tiny screen hanging three rows in front of me (and this was only 6months ago, I didn't know these kind of planes even still existed). Even without audio, I saw enough of that film to know I should've brought an eyemask or something.
chiendent wrote:I did make the mistake of trying their chicken liver mousse once which not only caused a couple people near me to move but came with crostini that was ear-shatteringly loud to bite into!
So, people were repulsed by the smell or the existence of chicken liver mousse? I've never heard of an olfactory issue in regards to movie theater experiences - be it food or the patrons. I've never encountered such a problem in a theater, but have had one experience: I was dragged to some local college's football game, and there was one particular fan who's odor created about a 50 foot diameter ring of empty seats (in an otherwise packed stadium) - as the smell was so awful. Sorry, this has moved into movie-theater experiences (but so is the topic of ordering food at a theater!).

Anyone have any offending odor experiences at the cinema?

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#15 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:51 am

I'm usually bothered by the cheesy nachos already (more than by the munching noise they come with), I can't even fathom having to deal with people eating fuller meals next to me.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#16 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:06 am

Back in my cinema management days, we never had a problem with food until a McDonald's opened just across the road - and after a few days we ended up banning hot food from any source as we were getting too many complaints. And amply justified complaints as well.

(That reminds me of one of my favourite days in the cinema-management calendar: Ice Cream Expiry Day, when we had to eat all the leftover ice cream because at the stroke of midnight it would become legally unsellable. It didn't happen very often - sensible stock management really should have eliminated this problem altogether - but it was blissful when it did.)

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#17 Post by JamesF » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:08 am

I sat down in the front row for a screening of Days Of Heaven at the Prince Charles Cinema a couple of years ago, and a guy sat down near me and opened up a hot, smelly takeaway curry! I tweeted a complaint to the cinema who told the guy to either lose the food or get the food; all resolved before the film even started!

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#18 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:12 am

Don't know how we got to food, but I'll say it again. Our obesity problem would go away in a couple decades if candy, across the board, was sold at the same prices as theaters.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#19 Post by TMDaines » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:50 am

At the live opera screenings that I used to steward, we regularly had people bring in full picnic baskets. One night someone laid their spread down in the row between the seats and tried to make everyone walk down the other side of the row!

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#20 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:52 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Don't know how we got to food, but I'll say it again. Our obesity problem would go away in a couple decades if candy, across the board, was sold at the same prices as theaters.
Clearly food is more interesting than phones. :wink:

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#21 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:42 am

I think it's all a question of "improvements" not really being improvements as much as new possible sources of annoyments (and Murphy's Law then turns them into actual sources of annoyments).

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#22 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:44 am

tenia wrote:I think it's all a question of "improvements" not really being improvements as much as new possible sources of annoyments (and Murphy's Law then turns them into actual sources of annoyments).
When I watched Caché on its original release, about twenty minutes in there was a visible onscreen glitch after which the subtitles started running out of sync - I think we were getting the previous subtitle at the time of the current one. Once I was certain it was an actual problem and not Michael Haneke messing with our minds, I walked out, and the cinema manager pompously told me that what I was describing "wasn't possible", and that loads of people had watched dozens of earlier screenings with no complaints. But he gave me a refund anyway.

Refusing to let this lie, I rang the distributor the next day and they told me that my walkout was the first of many and they ended up having to cancel the screening. It was indeed an unprecedented problem for everyone concerned (this was very early in the days of DCP), and nobody had expected it because of course it really is technically impossible with an old-fashioned subtitled print.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#23 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:13 am

I'd rather watch Man Without a Face with half of the tv covered.

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Re: To phone, or not to phone, that is the question

#24 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:27 am

Found Armin Tamzarian

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