Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker in 4D

4d-rdx-poster
They actually don’t allow you to sit in other people’s laps at these things.

Somehow at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con I scored a free Regal Cinemas 4D movie ticket, handed to me by Dan Fogelberg — Jacob Kowalski himself — from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I decided the best possible use of this golden ticket was a 4D showing of Rise of Skywalker, the finale of the  Skywalker Star Wars Saga. I couldn’t think of a better use of this expensive freebie besides a Fantastic Beasts film (which wouldn’t come out soon before the ticket expired). So, I’m about to see my very first 4D movie excursion right now at the Regal Edwards Cinema in Mira Mesa, CA. (That’s in Northern San Diego.)

Spoilers start for Rise of Skywalker. I have to be specific, or not bother writing it up at all. 

entrance-rdx-4d
Welcome to the 4D chamber of delights. Or torture chamber. There’s some overlap.

Okay, I’m back. Here’s what I have to say about the 4D 3D D-Box experience for Star Wars – Rise of Skywalker

Good things, mostly:

The 3D was clear and worked well with the 4D story nods. Worth paying for both together if you’re going to bother with the extra expense.

The vibration feature was effective. This was probably the most effective element in the Rise of Skywalker‘s 4D version.

The wind feature helped set the mood well.

Temperature changes: I felt chilly a few times, but I’m not sure if it was just the wind feature in action. But this is supposed to happen. There probably should have been a few heat scenes during the fights.

Strobe lighting: A few times this worked, but it got distracting after the first few times. Mostly used in lightsaver scenes and anything with Palpatine. I think if you’re an epilectic you’ll want to NOT see Rise of Skywalker in 4D.

The seats rocked and bucked and yawed in tune with the spaceship action. But you stop noticing after a few times, and maybe this could have been done better. Or maybe they didn’t want people vomiting in their chairs. It felt like those old Star Tours rides at Disneyland, but without needing seat belts. I would have preferred more flying action AND seat belts.

Each lightsaber stab gave me an actual poke in the back, in different locations that loosely matched the movie fighting. More or less.

Some water mist on the ruined Death Star scenes were okay. Not enough, though. You are able to turn off the waterworks option on your seat console, so why not do this right for those who wanted it? More was needed. I barely noticed.

Smoke. Although it felt a little gratuitous since this wasn’t really that kind of film.

Scent: Um…a few times I smelt burnt rubber and that was it.

Overrated Things: 

Well, all of it, really, It still felt like they were trying too hard, and the few additions weren’t amazing enough to put me into the action. The effects got gratuitously repetitive, too.  It felt more like, “Oh, hey, they added a thing here. Now stop it.”

Oh, and if you get motion sickness easily, or have other health problems, don’t see RDX 4D motion movies.

There’s a long list of health warnings! 

4D-health-warnings
Look it up online if you’re unsure 4D is healthy for you.

 

Ultimately: should you shell out money for Star Wars in 4D?

Overall: 4D is still a cash grabbing gimmick. It’s fun to do for the occasional film (a RunPee fan told us it’s superb for Ford v Ferrari, and you can feel each gear shift and corner turn), but for Star Wars it was…meh?

I’d wait for the tech to improve before paying $25 for the experience. Do it once at a movie you’re excited about, and see if you’re willing to do it again.

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

Movie Review – Star Wars – Rise of Skywalker (spoiler free)

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

Top Memphis Theaters & the Memphis Movie MeetUp

RunPee fan and guest blogger Gavin Anderson shared a few movie theater reviews from his Memphis, Tennessee hometown. Gavin is the co-organizer for the Memphis Movie Meetup, dedicated to ensuring no one has to watch movies alone when in town…and provides a fun forum for discussing films afterwards,  often over cheesecake. 🍰

Here are Gavin’s words about the best places in Memphis to catch a movie. The group invites all movie-lovers to join them (see Meetup.com for dates and film titles):

Malco Powerhouse Cinema Grill

Our current favorite theater is the Malco Powerhouse Cinema Grill. They have a full menu restaurant with adult beverages in the theater, and you can take anything you order into the movie with you. They have lazy boy style seats, with electric controls for the foot rests, and they also recline (the only danger is falling asleep during the movie — LOL).

At least 2 theaters in town (this being one of them) have IMAX screens. These are both what IMAX calls 2D, but which locals call LieMAX. They are really just a big screen, not true IMAX. Very disappointing, because we all thought during construction that we were getting a real IMAX in Memphis. 

Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill and IMAX

For our top movie choice, the fave is Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill & IMAX (note: not sure why they added Grill into the name, because this one does not have food like Powerhouse). I think this one has the most screens of any theater in Memphis, and therefore tends to have the most selection of movies to see.

Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill

Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill is the go to for eclectic movies that typically aren’t mainstream. They sort of have a grill and they do have adult beverages. And they have an older gen lazy boy type seat which doesn’t recline, but is still more comfortable than your average theater seat.

Malco Bartlett Cinema – Top 2nd Run Theater

The 4th theater I’d like to mention is the Malco Bartlett Cinema. This is what we call a second run theater. It runs movies that are already out of the mainstream theaters. It’s a little rundown, but all movies are $3.50, and it’s a good way to see a movie that you missed the first time around.

Other Memphis Theaters

There are other theaters in town, including a drive in theater (where you still get 2 movies for your admission), one non-Malco theater, and a whole slew of other Malco theaters in each little Memphis suburb, but those mentioned above are our main  Meetup hangouts.

The Memphis Movie Meetup Group

Our group is on Meetup.com. We serve as a way for folks to see movies together, instead of alone. And then we usually go out for dinner or dessert  after the show! We discuss what we thought of the movie, which ones we are looking forward to seeing next, and which other current movies we’ve seen and what we thought of them. We had 13 people at Star Wars this weekend, and then went out for cheesecake afterward.

Guest Post by Gavin Anderson, co- organizer for the Memphis Movie Meetup. Gavin writes, “I went home to visit my family in WA over Christmas holiday and took 9 of my nieces and nephews to see Star Wars in 3D. We had a blast. Hope you did, too. Appreciate everything you guys do!”

AMC Movie Theater Review: Naperview, Illinois

MacGuffins Bars at AMC Theaters

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego

Hip Indie Theater Review in Tijuana, Mexico – Cine Tonala

 

 

RunPee Guest Post Guidelines – Write for RunPee.com (and be as opinionated as you like)

RunPee Family
The RunPee Family

The RunPee Family is happy to publish posts from movie geeks with interesting entertainment opinions on RunPee.com. Or even non-geeks with thoughtful reviews of any movie category are welcome – we have a lot of film coverage blind spots. Here are our submission guidelines:

What you get from RunPee

  • Your own linked Byline to the RunPee blog, social media promotion on our sites, and links to your projects/emails choice in your bio. We’ll help promote your personal interests for free, as well. Any really timely articles will get Featured Content status on the RunPee app itself!
  • You get Author privileges on RunPee: an author photo of your choice, a bio blurb, a full biography page with any links you want to promote — which also automatically lists all the articles you post on RunPee.com.
  • A entry volunteer association in a fun, world-wide acknowledged app boasting millions of downloads. Plus professional article editing, experienced writer mentoring, and the possibility of learning to make Peetimes to see free movies, along with the rest of the RunPee Family.

What RunPee Wants from You

  • Just pitch us your topic ideas and potential titles, and we can see if we’d like to publish your piece. Send ideas to [email protected] (Editor in Chief) and post Guest Article in the subject heading.
  • Articles should be no shorter than 300 words, but can be as long as you like. No need to be brief if you’ve got a lot to say.
  • Your personally taken photos are welcome and will include your Byline, if we use them.
  • Tell us your favorite movie genres and mention a few possible titles you’d suggest as an idea on how your mind works.
  • Really, nothing about movies, actors, directors, or entertainment might be too out there to write about. This is your chance to be creative and show off.
  • We even accept reviews of movie theaters themselves, and  would love to blanket the world with details about the different cinemas near people. (Ask us for our Movie Theater review template.)

Interested? Re-read what I wrote above to be sure, and send your ideas to [email protected], or address your interest to Jill at [email protected].

Origin of RunPee

RunPee FAQs (about)

Writing an app review in the Apple App Store

 

 

 

Got Lice from Movies & Theater Seats? Steps To Get Rid of Your Lice

lice and nits on a lice comb
Lice looking like rice in a comb of nastiness.

I wrote an article about how I, an adult avid movie-goer for RunPee.com, got a gross, itchy, rashy head of lice and nits from my local AMC movie theater. My theater is normally a spotless establishment, but since a lice epidemic has taken the nation, all I can say is: pests happen. People are turning to the internet to 1. Avoid getting Lice 2. Test for Lice, and 3. Get Rid of Lice.

My prior article discusses how to avoid getting lice now and forever. This post tells you what to do if you’ve found those nasty critters and their eggs making a home on your head. (A follow-up article will report on my de-lousing process, and the results of my steps to never again donate blood to these tiny bloodsucking scalp tenants.)

Lice comb and lice head spray
You need something like this. (Photo by Target)

None of these steps are hard, so don’t panic! I’ll walk you through my experience.

WHat YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LICE, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:
  1. Lice and nits look like tiny oval round specks. You need a specialized comb to really see them and determine they aren’t dandruff. Comb from your hair roots in the back of your neck, and them  look at the comb. If you’ve got them, you’ll see the nastiness all over the comb’s teeth. Ugh.
  2. You have lice? Nice! Welcome to the club. Now you need to go online or to your doctor, and get de-loused. You might need more than one treatment.
  3. Keep checking every few weeks to ensure some old eggs haven’t repopulated your head. One nit can grow up to breed thousands of yucky little children.
  4. Lice Free? YAY! Now take some precautions for the future. I’ve been reading up about the movie seats, and this seems to make the most sense: have a clean towel each time you go, and lay it over the headrest. If the seats are solid (not plush), you can wipe the headrests down with Clorox wipes (cheap at Walmart or on Amazon).
  5. So that’s why you need the towel. This is probably one of the reasons the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy says to always travel with a towel. Use a clean one each time you head out, then sterilize that in a hot, hot dryer cycle. Or put it outside for three days.  Make it four days if you’re extra nervous.
  6. Also, put your hair up, and put on a special movie cap, or wrap your hair up in a scarf. You want to make sure your hair never again touches the seat back. That’s not hard to handle if you get into the habit. Be careful out there. 😉
  7. This advice should apply to airplane seat backs as well, trains and planes, or any place chairs are used communally, like Uber cars. Don’t be paranoid, but don’t take it lightly. You don’t want to deal with this particular parasitical problem more than once.
  8. If you’re a parent, none of this should be news to you. I remember catching lice one year at summer camp, and my mother combed my hair patiently for hours.  I actually treasure that memory. Like the Great Apes we are, humans find grooming each other soothing.
  9. Heed this message.  Lice are out there and want to make buggy love on your head. I’m 50 years old and never imaged my neck rash would be from lice, a children’s ailment. I guess you never get too old to host a happy head farm.
  10. OMG, I just saw a photo of someone having lice on their eyelashes.  Seriously. It makes me wonder about other hair zones…OK, maybe lice paranoia is a good thing.
combing out the lice and nits
Do this. Comb, comb, comb, then use a toxin made for hair to kill what’s left.

Next up: how my de-lousing treatment went and my (hopefully) lice-free results. Stay tuned for live action details. (It’s not like I can stop going to the theater with my job of seeing movies every week to get Peetimes. Call me motivated!)

Avoid Getting Lice At The Movies (a personal story and a PSA)

Avoid Getting Lice At The Movies (a personal story and a PSA)

Enjoy your little head friends
Lice aren’t nice.

This should be a little embarrassing: I’m a grownup after all. But I caught lice at the movies. I don’t feel weird about it – in fact I’m actually glad to know why this rash on my neck wouldn’t go away. This is treatable with a $12 lice-killer from Amazon. There are far more difficult things to handle in life.

But nobody WANTS lice. They are  gross little bloodsucking creatures that live on your head and lay eggs in your hair. I’ve been a walking buffet for them for some time now and it’s going to stop. No more free rides, you little nits! You hear me? #GETOFFMYLAWN

Consider this a Public Service Announcement. I’ve been asking people what they think of the itchy rash on my neck, and they told me they heard about this “lousey” (ha ha) situation at the cinema. I don’t have any kids around to catch it from, but I do go to the movies at least once a week for Peetimes. The news shows picked up on this minor national calamity, saying there’s a lice epidemic from movie theaters.

one big louse, up close
Now I have to use eye bleach so I won’t see this again.

So, I got a lice comb from Rite Aid, and guess what? My head is teeming with vermin. You can’t wash them out, because the eggs stick to hair, hatch, and make your head in to a new casa de ranchero. Fun times.

I’m waiting for the mail to arrive with my de-lousing treatment, and getting ready to wash and dry everything I’ve worn or slept in all month (using the hottest temperature setting!).

And something you should know: lice can’t live away from a host’s body for more than three days. So you don’t have to chuck the things you can’t wash. Just put them in a bag outside for a few days. This link from the Mayo Clinic will tell you everything you need to know about lice, lice, and more lice.

I’ll update you on how evicting my tiny tenants goes.

In the meantime, I’m wrapping my head in a scarf and bringing a fresh towel to the movie theater, for two reasons: 1. I don’t want to pass my personal pests onto anyone else, and 2. I need to get into the habit of taking precautions at the moves to avoid donating future blood to bodily parasites.

Got Lice?

My easy list of steps will walk you through the de-lousing procedure. If you’re lice-free, be careful at the cinema, and keep checking every few weeks.

Have you ever picked up lice at the movies? Are you brave enough to tell your story? Tell us in the comments section below!

Got Lice from Movies & Theater Seats? Steps To Get Rid of Your Lice

AMC Movie Theater Review: Naperview, Illinois

Napierville AMC, IL
Yet another great AMC location!

Hey Peeple: as many of you know, I go to the movies quite a bit and there are three AMC Theaters I frequent. For this review, let me start with my AMC Showplace Naperville 16, because it’s my most frequented location in Illinois.

Of course, we at RunPee know you’re concerned about restrooms. The restrooms are conveniently located between the 16 screening rooms; there’s a good flow of traffic in and out, and they’re usually clean. I have not been inclined to inform management that the restrooms need attending,  but I will if necessary.

What’s great: 
I really love this theater because it’s a good size for the amount of people and crowds it receives. Parking is well-lit, plentiful, and free. This facility is situated as the back anchor of a two-sided shopping strip. The strip encompasses lots of restaurants, service facilities (e.g. cleaners, grocery store, UPS, salons), a bank, etc. The theater sits in the back of the shopping complex, which helps isolate the movie traffic from rubberneckers looking for a particular store. The facility is handicapped accessible, with ample seating for wheelchairs. This single floor location has plenty of exit doors and a central entrance. During the holiday season and summer months, the lines can be long, so plan accordingly by getting your tickets through the AMC app or the kiosks in the foyer.

The concessions menu contains a variety of great items; of course, a little expensive though. Warning: chicken tenders are made to order and take almost 7-10 minutes, but they are sooooo yummy.

The theater overall is clean and in good repair every time I’ve visited. The stadium seating is very good. The ambiance is nice and up to date. There’s also a small video arcade area. I really like the Dolby screening room; the sound is amazing! This location also offers any of the AMC promos, double features, and limited showing screenings. As a matter of fact, I’ve attended numerous Oscar Best Picture Events at this location. It’s so much fun spending 12 hours for two Saturdays watching incredible movies, in a clean facility, with a great event host supplied by the theater.

I’ve sponsored a free screening to 100 girls and women, and the layout of the lobby accommodated my event smoothly without disruption to the concessions or ticket area. Another thing I love about this theater is that the customer service desk is right in the middle of the lobby, at the ticket booth area for easy access to management.

How could this theater improve?
AMC Naperville could improve by ensuring all kiosks are working,  and there are ample staff at the counters (ticket and concessions). When there are large crowds, the manager should be visible to assist customers with issues or merely just to watch the flow of concession lines and hallway traffic, often  filled with unaccompanied teenagers.

Overall, this AMC is perfect for families, friends outings, and something to add between errands to just chill.

Movie Theater Grade: A-
Located:
2815 Show Place Drive, Naperville, Illinois 60564 (630) 303-5922 www.AMCTheatres.com

What to know more about DanaSimone!…?  Here are her personal links, describing her personal mission to make the world a better place for humanity: 

#FemaleMasterpiece #DanaSimone #MovieUrinologist

MacGuffins Bars at AMC Theaters

If you’ve been to any AMC theater lately, you’ve probably noticed they serve booze now. The little bar areas near the entrance  come with the inside-joke name of MacGuffins (A MacGuffin is any plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, be it a Ring of Power or a mysterious glowing suitcase). MacGuffins sounds like an Irish pub, but it’s really a clever movie pun.

These mini-bars serve not  just beer and wine, but full cocktails, some of which are created specifically for the movie franchise in question. [pullquote]AMC had the “Twig and Berries” drink for Deadpool 2 (and yes, it’s intended to recall exactly what dirty thoughts you’re thinking)[/pullquote]; two drink options when The Last Jedi came out — a blue Jedi drink vs a red Sith drink, each with tiny glowing lightsabers; a dino-themed bevvie when Jurassic World 2 was showing; a creepy cool Venom drink most recently; plus a ton of other interesting creations that I’m personally too broke to order.  🙂

None of the beverages are what you’d call a great deal. The draft beers offer the most bang for your $7-$9 bucks with full pours, and there seem to be about five taps, with one rotating seasonal option, and usually an Angry Orchard Cider to boot. The wines are kind of expensive for what you get, hovering between $7 to $14, depending on whether you get a half glass or a full. The specialty cocktails generally run around $13 and up. The prices do fluctuate in different cities. On an recent trip to Florida, I found I could get a super large brew for around $10, making it a better deal than two $7 beverages.

So, they’re not so cheap, and there’s no happy hour, but it’s nice during a long movie to be able to sip on something more grown-up than a soda. I’ve noticed that a typical-sized beer can be nursed through a three hour movie. Usually I’m too caught up in the film to remember there’s a drink handy. But I like having the option. [pullquote position=”right”]It still feels like a novelty. Remember the line in Pulp Fiction that you could get a real beer at the movies in Europe? Well, we have them now too.[/pullquote]

One nice thing about MacGuffins is they usually have a couple of stools at the bar, and often some bistro tables to sit at with friends. This is really nice if you’re early for a movie and waiting for it to start, or if you’re seeing more than one film and want a convivial place to hang. An extra plus: there’s usually no line to order, unlike the overcrowded, chaotic popcorn/hot dog/soda concession stands. It’s a much more peaceful affair.

I’ve been to an Edwards Theater recently, and there was no bar. [pullquote]I’m so used to those being around now that it seems weird to not have a MacGuffins at hand. When you think about it, it’s a little crazy for the other movie chains to miss out on that extra income.[/pullquote] I assume Regal, Harkins, and Edwards will probably follow suit from AMC’s example at some point. They’re just throwing easy money away if they don’t.

Anyway, of course, having beverages of ANY sort turns into a trial of holding your full bladder, to the point where you kind of want the characters to die and get over it — just so you can run to the bathroom and relax again. Seriously.

However, since there’s the faithful RunPee app, this is no longer a problem. Yeah, I’m going to plug RunPee here.

RunPee exists to service your bladder. The app (on both iPhone and Android phones) discretely vibrates when its to time go to the bathroom during all the wide release movies, every week and every year, and for the last ten years.

There’s usually between 2 to 4 “Peetimes” — depending on movie length — and the app provides a synopsis of what you’ve missed during the 3 to 5 minutes it takes to run out, do your business, and get back. There are Recommended Peetimes, Emergency Peetimes, and even Alert Peetimes (which warn you if there’s a unpleasant sort of scene coming up, like something featuring torture). The “Extra Scene” feature is very popular, telling you if you need to wait during the end credits or not.

In any case, [pullquote position=”right”]RunPee goes together very well with MacGuffin’s beers, wines, and cocktails. You can’t pause a movie, but now you don’t have to worry about when to go, or if you should just sit there in agony. [/pullquote] 🙂

I think a good idea for AMC’s next iteration would be an upscale barista counter. It would be nice to get a latte during an evening show.

Have you seen the MacGuffins bars? Do you think this is a good idea for movie theaters, and have you ever ordered anything?

[Photos owned by RunPee.com]

Related Articles: 

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego

The RunPee App, Explained

RunPee’s Movie Selection Process

Best Movie MacGuffins Explained

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego

Good bathroom! I thought it would be fun for RunPee to lead with that. Toilets aside, this AMC is a personal favorite.

I love AMC theaters, although I’ll grant you some are much better than others. I will go on a limb and say this: almost any AMC is a better movie experience than non-AMC blockbuster cinemas within their price bracket. [pullquote]In San Diego, the AMC Fashion Valley isn’t the best AMC in town (that award goes to the AMC in La Jolla, with the reclining lounge chair seats), but it’s my personal favorite, and my go-to theater when I’m in town. [/pullquote]Many Thursdays at 7 pm you’ll see me waiting there, clipboard in hand, so I can bring Peetimes to life for the RunPee app.

First, tell  me about the bathrooms!

Of course, we at RunPee know you’re concerned about restrooms. So we’ll start here with good news. The theater has large, clean, well-stocked, well-lit bathrooms, spaced at regular intervals, both up and downstairs. If you need to run for a Peetime, you don’t have to run far. I’ve never seen their toilet stalls in bad shape, or felt unsafe, even after a late film ends. Your bladder is in good hands! (So to speak.)

Whew! So, then, what’s great about this theater?

  • Easy access, free parking, well-lit, patrolled by guards. Park anywhere around the mall, or in the adjacent garage structure.
  • Attached to a classy mall for interesting strolling, with several decent restaurants, and a clean, decent food court by the theater entrance.
  • Handicapped Accessible.
  • Short line waits.
  • Decent food selection, with two free food topping stations.
  • Large self-serve soda machine.
  • Clean setting altogether.
  • Good stadium seating, comfy enough for all but the longest bladder-buster films.
  • It has the sweet spot of movie selections: it offers all the wide releases, with a few limiteds here and there. It’s got more film choices than the AMC in La Jolla, but a lot less than the nearby mega-movie mill in Mission Valley.
  • It has a bar! I love MacGuffins. The prices are not overblown for this city (just a dollar or two more than outside the theater). The selection of draft beer, wine and cocktails is bigger than it looks from the small size of the stand, and they do generous pours. I do wish this location boasted a couple of bar chairs and a bistro table or two outside the bar zone, like most MacGuffins do. Note as of November 1: They do have chairs now. Two stools at the bar area. I’m content. There are no bistro tables, but it’s nice to have a place to sit and wait for your movie. YAY! Also, you can log in to the nearby Aveda’s free WIFI. Totes awesome.
  • The location between Mission Bay and Mission Valley in central San Diego is super easy to access, and you can avoid rush hour traffic en-route from several directions (locals tend to know this). It’s the easiest AMC for me to hit on movie nights for RunPee; I know exactly where to park, and I’m considered a  sub-contracting regular. The easiest no-muss option for yours truly.
  • UBER info: Even the “cheap” carpool walking option drops you off and picks you up right in front. It’s a well-lit location to wait at, with lots of people around, and common curb for cops to pull up by and keep watch on things. It feels very safe. The mall also has a lot of security guards. No problem getting cell phone reception.

Fine, fine. How could this theater improve?

  • As I said above, the bar zone needs seating, even if it’s just two stools at the counter. They would make more money if people had a place to sit while waiting for their movie to start. And it would feel more inviting. The other AMCs in San Diego do this. When I’ve asked why not here, I get shrugs. Nov 1: There are two stools now at the bar. Maybe they read this review.  🙂
  • There aren’t any specialty rooms. No Dolby, TRX, or 4D experiences. No lounge chair rooms. This is a basics-type theater.
  • This also isn’t the AMC theater that runs the super fun Double Feature movie events. Those are at the Mission Valley location, a little further down the I-8 freeway.
  • No reserved seats. (Is this considered a good thing or a bad thing? )
  • I never know if my movie will be upstairs or downstairs. I don’t like negotiating the two sets of escalators to get down there when I’m running a little late. Also, there aren’t any concession services on the base floor. If I used a Peetime to get a drink refill, I have to go up and back down now, through four  flights of those escalators.
  • The attached mall is very upscale, which doesn’t lend itself to picking up the milk, or other simple errands, like some mall areas do.
  • If you need to use the elevator, it’s not entirely clear where to get on from the ground floor (the ticket windows are on the top floor).
  • Other nearby AMCs, like the one in Mission Valley, offers more movie choices.
  • No in-seat service (this isn’t one of the luxury movie chains).

Overall, the AMC Fashion Valley is a top choice from among the most common mid-price US movie chains, has plenty of movies, and is centrally located  within San Diego. Clean and safe. A simple, personal favorite.

Movie Theater Grade: A-

Located in: Fashion Valley
Address: 7037 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 296-0370

Hip Indie Theater Review in Tijuana, Mexico – Cine Tonala

MacGuffins Bars at AMC Theaters

 

Hip Indie Theater Review in Tijuana, Mexico – Cine Tonala

Three levels of food, brews, music, WIFI, film, and fun!

I sit here with delightful empanada pastries, and a nice menu in this three level establishment in downtown’s Cine Tonala — right on the ‘infamous’ Av. Revolucion in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It’s a sneeze to walk across the main San Diego border, then a longish walk, cheap van-taxi, or short UBER ride from there, and feels safe as sandwiches (which you can order here). The WIFI is fast (ask for the password), and there are large laptop tables near power outlets. 

The Cinema Room also has FREE COLD AC – which on a hot, humid day like today, is a blessed relief. Eats, drinks, movies…cool air and good company — this is an unusually fine venue in old downtown TJ.  The toilets are for patrons only – so get a beer, a movie ticket, or at buy least a sweet. Bathrooms are kept clean, stocked with free toilet paper — more precious in Mexico than gold (remember not to flush it. Baja sewage systems can’t handle that). 

The downstairs is open to the street, has a hip brick interior, craft beer on tap, and vintage posters adorning the walls, including stylized versions of Mexican and USA Presidents from JFK through Obama. Cine Tonala will even let you free-sample the craft brews. The tenders also create mixed cocktails, and play a good selection of music recognizable from the states. The music is set low, so you can hear your companion talk, creating a nice intimate setting. It’s a far cry from the thumping, thudding, ear-blasting dance clubs lining the rest of the way along Avenida Revolucion. (Which many young adults like. So loud. But, heck. It’s their ears. Now get off my lawn!)

The 2nd and 3rd floor funnels the cool outside breezes, with catwalks and balconies overlooking the human zoo below. Those levels opens at 3 pm and have what they call “Magic Hours” (Fri 5-7 pm…3×1 national beers): Happy Hour, to US speakers.

It’s a great little cinema house that clearly wants your business. I’m surprised they make a living, showing such a specialized fare of international limited release favorites and cult-classic Mex faves — but they attract a devoted crowd. I’m relieved. We need funky/creative places like this in the world. Sure I can stream such things on my own, but not in a fun crowd of fellow fans, with amazing beer options. GO THERE, OKAY?

Enough employees speak enough English to make this an Ex-Pat watering hole, movies aside, although the vintage, classic oldies and Indies films draw locals as well. The theater doesn’t look like much from the outside, but that’s par for the course in Tijuana. I felt safe enough running to the Damas (ladies) room with my laptop plugged in.

The employees at Cine Tonala gave me a peek into into the cinema room and offered me a free show. They play 3-4 films a day in cold AC. Nice. The chairs are vintage and a bit creaky, but have decently soft seats = good enough for  90 minute films.

There’s lots to read. Ask for the upcoming movie list, or peruse the  magazines, including brand new issues of American Cinematographer with fun covers (I saw one about the making of Avengers: Infinity War and another about Solo)They have a Facebook page too, where you can add your review — or post one in our comments below.

[US Dollars are accepted.]

Address: Av. Revolución 1317, Zona Centro, 22000 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico
Hours: 1 pm — 2 am weekends, or til 10:30 pm weeknights
Phone: +52 664 688 0118

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Free In Flight Movies – they rock, but are harder to find

See those screens? Where did they go? I want my MTV…

I used to love Delta Airlines, and willingly paid more for their expensive tickets.

Why? They had movies, over a hundred film options (some barely out of the cinemas, plus new popular TV show episodes), built into the backs of their comfy, relatively wide seats. For free. You brought or bought headphones, plugged them in, and blissed out for hours. I could catch up on lots of cool movies I didn’t get to see before, and arrive at my destination without stress. It was like having my own tiny, private movie theater, with flight attendants serving hot & cold running drinks. In coach!

So now, with airlines getting more and more stingy, why has Delta suddenly made my upcoming coast-to-coast CROSS COUNTRY red-eye flight a frustrating ordeal? I can’t even select my own seat anymore without a $30 fee (which means…the dreaded middle seat). But more importantly: I counted on having an in-flight personal movie selection for the long night flight. There’s no way pre-loaded entertainment on my phone or laptop will last long enough to fill the gap of midnight flight desperation.

Am I peeved? You bet. More than peeved. I could use stronger language here, since this is a long, late flight from RunPee HQ in San Diego to RunPee HQ in Orlando, and now I’ll be too tired to read, but not comfortable enough to sleep.  I want my movies.

Am I being picky over nothing? The touch-screen seat movies made flying almost acceptable again, in my mind. What’s your recent flight experience with free film screens? If you have tips on how to find these flights, add to the comments below.

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