It’s now less than a week before the second part of my summer cinematic extravaganza takes place. (In case you missed it, the first part was my Inception / Toy Story 3 double bill at the IMAX, and it was a thing of rare beauty and joy.) But all my prep is done; the hire car to get me to and from some Tube station at the end of the Central line is booked, my T-shirts, one of which is custom made, have all now arrived, I have my ticket for one of the Saturday night previews as well, and all there is left to do is to sit back and wait for the excitement to start.
In the expectant pause between now and then, I’ve found myself wondering exactly what I’m getting myself into. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but one thing that struck me reading this article about audience reactions at Screen Rant this morning made me realise that I’ve always missed a little of the American brashness at the cinema – us Brits can be a little too reserved sometimes. Sure, I’m no fan of loud popcorn munching, mobile phones or discussing what you had for breakfast in a stage whisper, and the cinema experience is usually better without distractions. But sometimes it’s the investment of those around you that really makes the experience and sets it apart from watching on even a good home cinema set-up.
The opening movie is The Expendables. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer long, and even more so after the relative disappointments of The Losers and The A Team, its two nearest cousins in this summer’s entertainment. But although it’s not getting the best reviews at present, what gives me hope is the audience I’ll be seeing it with, especially after this Guardian article’s recommendation on how to see it.
My iPhone obsession, part 2: Why I fear the iPhone 4 may adversely affect my movie-going, but I’m getting it anyway
I have to confess that, when the first iPhone was released, I didn’t think it was as great as other people felt. I was in love with my Nokia N80, and all but one of the mobile phones I’d ever owned was a Nokia. As it was battered and bruised, when the N96 was due to come out, I was convinced that was going to be my next phone. Frankly, the iPhone was over-rated as a device – I wanted something in my pocket that actually worked. And then I went into the Apple store one day and fell in love.
It was the iPhone 3G, that had just been released. I was in the store two hours, forgot what I had originally gone into town for, and within a week was the proud owner of my own iPhone. And if they ever come to make the story of my life (tip: don’t subscribe to that movie channel), then that moment will form a key part of the plot, with dramatic but slushy music composed by a James Horner wannabe and a dolly zoom onto my face at the moment I pick it up.
I’m 6′ 2″, 227 lbs, reddish hair and I have a small black shiny thing growing out of my right arm. Yes, I love my iPhone, more than any other piece of technology I’ve ever owned, to the extent where our relationship has become almost symbiotic (and to where I’ve used it so much that the battery lasts about 20 minutes without me recharging).
But the reason my iPhone has become so close to me, and why my hand will over the course of my lifetime evolve into some sort of dock shape for easier carrying, is that it’s not only ergonomically close to perfect, but it has helped me make my life easier in my work and also in everything I do in my spare time (and I don’t just spend my life in the cinema, surprisingly).
Sometimes in life, when things really matter, you can pinpoint in your memory the exact moment when they started. Your first day at a good school or university, the day you got your first pet, or the day you met your wife for the first time. In my case, I hadn’t been to the cinema for years, and I can still remember the first time I went back.
It was October 1994, and I was just starting my third year at Bath University. In the two years I’d lived there, I’d not really given cinema much of a thought. I was a complete sci-fi nerd, and rapidly becoming a Trekkie, but who wasn’t then at my age? Especially when the university student union was showing The Next Generation on a 200 inch projection TV at 5 p.m. every day.