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Wisconsin Film Festival 2009
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Sundance Showing Mainstream Movies

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Postby crevice beatle » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:49 pm

I want to love sundance... unfortunatley it has scored more checks in the misses than hits column for me. i've now gone there a grand total of 5 times; 4 of which have been many notches below what i expect from a theater with ticket surcharges.
A few examples of this include but are not limited to:

-went to see Juno- arrived early so we could pick out good seats. After eating at the Dane we went back in 10 minutes prior to showtime. 5 minutes after scheduled showtime, the usher goes to the front of the screen and announces they will be starting the movie in 10 more minutes so that everyone can get thier concessions.
This was a weekend night. Why were they so understaffed to make the people there on time wait for others do to the slow moving concession line?

-The items in the juice/soda cooler do not have the price dispayed. May sound like not that big of a deal but when you wait in line to purchase a simple juice and find out it cost $3.50 - and then are forced to grab different items (because you don't want to pay that much for juice) and run them back to the counter to see what they cost while people behind you are waiting - annoying indeed.

-haven't been up to the rooftop yet but i can tell you that if i make it up there it will definatley only be for drinks. i had a panini (which is the same as one featured from the restaurant) and it made both my friend's and I stomach turn.

-It seems to me in my experience that the highschool kids who work at Star are happier to have thier job. I have gotten lots of attitude from the kids working at Sundance - of course, this may just be my experience.

I realize none of these things are all that horrible, but considering you're paying more, they are a bit harder to overlook.
As far as Sundance showing mainstream films, it's not too big of a deal. The ability to pick your seat ahead of time for the summer blockbusters that tend to pack theaters on opening weekend is a nice little perk. Nonetheless, i do agree they should keep with as much with the indie films as possible. Perhaps the mainstream movies are being shown there because business hasn't been so great.
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Postby Schabow » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:14 pm

Wow…I have been there about ten times and have never had a bad experience. I have never had anything start late. All in all, I feel the surcharge is completely worth the experience and comfort of it all. It’s usually at the most, a couple bucks more. Not bad. When I ate there (which was only once), I got their spinach pizza (or something like that) and thought the price and portion was quite reasonable.

I didn’t know that some of those items weren’t priced at the concession stand. I think that’s wrong and would hope they would consider pricing the food. That is ridiculous.

But let me tell you, hanging out on the rooftop on the nice, breezy night and then going to see the movie while still being able to bring that Pinot Noir with me, was something special.
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:27 pm

Sundance is is cool, it is what it is.

Gimme a break... Sundance is the epitome of the yuppie lifestyle. The whole Hilldale redevelopment screams "Exclusive, over priced, and PROUD!" To claim anything else is ridiculous. Regular consumers of that kind of culture want to be seen spending their money in that fashion, because again, it is a fashion in itself.

There are those of who live the stuff seen on the screen, and there are those of who simply consume it. Sundance is by no means "indie," it simply sells it.
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Postby boston_jeff » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:38 pm

I too found the seat picking and concession stand to be annoying. But we've been through that an an earlier thread. The comfy chairs, sound and vision were fine.
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Postby Ducatista » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:54 pm

pulsewidth modulation wrote:Sundance is the epitome of the yuppie lifestyle.

What is this weird "yuppie lifestyle" distinction?

Seems to me "yuppie" simply means "nicely appointed," and it usually doesn't mean that much more expensive than grubbier options.

I went to yuppie, aka nice, venues when I was selling plasma to make the rent, and I still go to them now that I can afford to buy and sell yuppies. (Slight exaggeration.)

So what is it about nice places that sets people off? If you don't like the extra amenities, don't go. And if you do like them, pay the extra dollar and live it up!
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Postby boston_jeff » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:53 pm

I do see the distinction between something like a funky community arthouse cinema and Sundance. Madison doesn't really have arthouse cinema so Sundance seemed like a great way to fill that niche while providing Sundance jewelry and decor, coffee and paninis. Unfortunately, at this point its really nothing more than a multiplex. Sure its a nice place to watch a film, eat proc food and wait too long in line for overpriced drinks, but its not serving any real cultural/artistic need that any other theater would. So if you prefer the interior design and the concessions, more power to you.

Personally I'd take a seedy independently owned cinema that actually programmed interesting films anyday.
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Postby Ducatista » Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:30 pm

Well, I'm with you on the seedy independents. I was sticking to the floor of the (old) Majestic before you knew how to spell Midwest. Not anymore, of course... because it closed. Because nobody went.

Sundance is comfy, serves decent food and drink, isn't riddled with preteens, and shows a mix of small runs and blockbusters. Where's the downside? Do you wish they'd reserved that space in the mall for a Restoration Hardware?

"Sure, it's a nice place to watch a film..." Yeah, I see where that would suck. It may not be the indie shitbox you long for (and really, who expected it to be?), but it's a great addition to the Madison moviescape.
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Postby boston_jeff » Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:42 pm

It is a Restoration Hardware. Thats the point.
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Postby Ducatista » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:06 am

You've really got that tune stuck in your head, haven't you.



(Hey, maybe you'll have better luck flogging a zinger out of that sentence. I'd go with tune. Or no, stuck! "Yeah, just like we're stuck with Sundance. That's the problem." Something like that.)
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Postby Bigredhunk » Sat Jun 07, 2008 6:18 pm

On a positive note, they're getting "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" on June 13th. I've been looking forward to that one.
Last edited by Bigredhunk on Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BobbyOrr » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:16 pm

I'm okay with an Indie/Mainstream mix there. People can gripe all they want about Sundance, but it is a very nice place to see a movie and I don't mind paying a little extra for a crisp picture, great sound, comfy seats and as lame as this might sound, clean bathrooms...If folks don't like the place, and don't appreciate touches like the rooftop bar, they are free to mega-plex away...

On a side note, I'd love to see Sundance screen some film fest movies. For example, as much as the volunteers tried to make it a good experience, Planet of the Apes (at the Memorial Union) was a brutal mix of reel changes, bad picture and poor sound...
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Postby depinmad » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:00 pm

planet of the apes was TERRIBLE sound. AND they had a "sound engineer" there. i walked out after a half hour.
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Postby MadMind » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:32 pm

I saw my first movie at Sundance recently. I agree about the sound. The screen was great - the sound had virtually none of the thundering bass I clammer for when seeing a summer blockbuster.
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Re: Sundance Showing Mainstream Movies

Postby Bigredhunk » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:05 pm

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam, but this really pisses me off. It's even worse now that there's not much of an alternative (Westgate closed).

I just did a search of movies playing this Friday. I've known "The Wrestler" was coming to Sundance this Friday for over a month now. I've been very much looking forward to it. Well, it's also going to be playing at Marcus Point Ultrascreen, and possibly at Star/Kerasotes Cinema (they haven't released times yet).

Of the movies showing this Friday at Sundance:

Gran Torino - You can see anywhere in town
Defiance - You can see anywhere in town
Slumdog Millionaire - You can see anywhere in town, at least as of this Fri
The Wrestler - You can see at Point, maybe also at Star
The Reader - Sudance exclusive
Milk - Sundance exclusive

Two indie films exclusively?? That's it?? What's the point of building a gorgeous indie theater if you can see nearly everything they show somewhere else (for less money)? Why do we have to wait so long for Sundance to get them? Isn't that the point, to showcase independent cinema? How are they acheiving that goal, if, by the time they get something, nearly everyone else has it too.

Another thing earning my ire, "I've Loved You So Long" was set to come to Sundance on 1/9. They changed it. Now it's not even on their schedule. UGH!!

I'm a fan of the theater, but they're really not bringing much to the table here. Maybe Westgate should've stayed open.
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Re: Sundance Showing Mainstream Movies

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:13 pm

Perhaps you should direct these comments to the fine folks at Sundance. If Redford's going to put his name and rep on the line as a supporter of indie cinema, then maybe he needs to start advocating for his theaters to be in line for limited-city releases. Then you could have seen The Wrestler or Slumdog Millionaire weeks ago.
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