A Walk Down Memory Lane: Our Cinema Highlights

By Madeleine Finlay-Hudson

It’s been a while, but boy are we glad that cinema is making a comeback! There’s something about the experience that you can’t quite match. The aroma of freshly popped corn, the bustle of people — all equally excited to catch that new release, the comforting glow of the screen in a darkened room and the anticipation of not knowing where you’re going to be transported over the next few hours. It really is magical. So, blow out your popcorn-scented candle, open the blinds, turn the telly off and get down to your local cinema. We don’t have to pretend anymore and our friends are all waiting for us to come on down.

We’ve all really missed going to the cinema here at Altitude, it’s obviously a huge part of our world. But, in their absence we took sometime to think about some of our favourite cinemas and our personal highs — and occasional lows — of cinema-going. Have a look and see, maybe you’ll uncover a gem you haven’t tried yet…

Bryony Forde, Director of Theatrical Sales

First cinema trip you can remember
Babe for a birthday party at the Warner Village Doncaster, I believe we went to McDonalds afterwards which now seems a bit perverse — sorry Babe!

Warner Village (now Vue) Doncaster

Most recent cinema trip
Emma with my Mum at the Oxford Picturehouse

Oxford Phoenix Picturehouse

Favourite cinema
The Rio Dalston for local excellence, Picturehouse Central for good tiles.

The tiles of Picturehouse Central

Best Cinema memory
Visiting Louth Film Club to watch Les Demoiselles De Rochefort, sobbing with 400 others at a packed out screening of Brooklyn at The Rio Dalston and finally getting to see The Princess Bride on the big screen at Prince Charles Cinema have to be up there.

Louth Playhouse

Worst Cinema memory
Both Harry Potter related — Chamber of Secrets at Odeon Hull with a horrible year 11 boy who wasn’t very interested in watching the film and getting a parking fine at Cineworld Sheffield after watching the last installment at a midnight screening. The car park was full so loads of us got fined for parking on the curb — they probably made more from fines than tickets that night! There was also that time a guy took off his shoes and SOCKS next to me in Hunt for the Wilderpeople at Vue Islington.

Odeon Hull looking suitably grim

Which Cinema would you like to visit most
In the UK I’d love to visit Zeffirellis in the Lake District.The Uránia Nemzeti Filmszínház in Budapest also looks pretty swish.

Which is the first cinema you’ll go to when they’re back open?
Has to be The Rio!

The Rio Dalston

Madeleine Finlay-Hudson

First Cinema Memory

Odeon Harrogate

The first cinema I remember going to is the Odeon in Harrogate. There is a small town near us called Starbeck. And apparently when my Mum took me to see Toy Story 2 I got heavily confused with Star Wars and screamed across the cinema that it was the wrong film and this was in fact ‘Starbeck Wars’.

If it’s from my own memory, I remember we went to see Thomas and the Magic Railroad and I had to sit on my lunch box to see the screen. I also used to be force-fed a packed lunch during films to stop me from wanting to talk. A lot of jam sandwiches were consumed in this cinema.

Most Recent Cinema Trip
I think I saw The Lighthouse most recently at Peckham Plex. Or maybe Marriage Story at Rio Dalston.

Favourite Cinema

Peckhamplex

Peckham Plex. It’s really good value, I mean £4.99 for the latest releases is a steal. I love it there, it’s got such a strange vibe but that’s what makes it so amazing. You have to be open to heavy audience participation and the shows are often really busy, but it’s a great place to watch a film with your mates — they even do merch, I have a Peckham Plex mug.

Worst Cinema Memories
Maybe the time I saw The Hangover 2 and the people behind me were having sex. Really loudly. I would’ve told someone, but I wasn’t actually old enough to be watching the film so I just had to munch popcorn super loud until it ended.

Best Cinema Memories

Odeon Leicester Square

When I was working at Odeon Leicester Square, we had to sit (well stand but sometimes, the film is really long and you gotta do what you gotta do) in the back row for all the Screen 1 showings. Sometimes it would be pretty much empty and you would feel like it was a private screening just for you. I did a few late night screenings too, watching a film alone in the Royal Box was always pretty amazing.

Although, when I lived in Australia, my first experience of luxury cinema was the Gold Class at the local Event Cinema on the Gold Coast. I remember moving back to England being upset I couldn’t go there anymore. It’s okay, Harrogate has an Everyman now.

Or the time I snuck a 22-inch pizza and sides into a screening of The Revenant. Turns out the inside pockets in my jacket were really good at holding boxes of wedges.

First Cinema You’ll Visit When They’re Open

Prince Charles Cinema

Probably the Prince Charles Cinema, I love their movie marathons, so I’ll probably head there and immerse myself in a hefty triple bill and remind myself how uncomfortable cinema seats are in comparison to my bed or the sofa.

Adam Eldrett, Head of Home Entertainment

First Cinema Memory
I have a very very hazy memory of being taken along on a family trip to see E.T, I was only four years old and what is strange is that I am a huge fan of most of Speilberg’s film but for some reason E.T. has never connected with me. I was told later in life that I had ruined the film for my brothers by crying a lot.

Fave Cinema
Picturehouse Central is a beautiful cinema, do screening rooms count!? If so ‘Mr Youngs / Soho Screening Room’ for the nostalgia and the coffee.

Best Cinema Memories
I have incredibly fond memories of my mum taking me to the cinema during school holidays as a treat. I remember seeing Dances With Wolves in Stevenage with her, a time before many multiplexes and we queued up around the corner to get in and see it when it first came out.

I also fondly remember seeing Groundhog Day on my first ever date!! The relationship did not work out but it remains one of my favourite films!

Most Recent Cinema Trip
The Rise of Skywalker & a host of films at Berlin EFM, including the awesome Fukashima 50

Worst Cinema Memories
I am generally a fan of Tim Burton’s film but The Nightmare Before Christmas, although very well made, is just not my cup of tea. It was the first film I paid to see that I wanted to walk out of halfway through but needed a lift home!!

For various reasons I also missed out on childhood birthday trips to see Who Framed Roger Rabbit & Ghostbusters when they first came out and feel jealous to this day of my mates who attended!

Cinema I would most like to visit
Royston Cinema, sadly no longer with us but saw some truly iconic films there. It was my fave place to go in a new town we had moved to where I had no friends locally. It was the first time I went to the cinema on my own and realised there was nothing actually wrong with doing that!

They had one of the old style ticket machines, one member of staff doing the tickets and the popcorn and you just don’t see that ‘mom and pop’ style cinema around anymore.

First Cinema You Will Visit When they Re-open
Probably Cineworld in Stevenage, it’s our local.

Remi Hinds, Theatrical Sales Co-ordinator

First Cinema Memory

Athena Leicester

Although definitely not my first cinema visit, my first memory of going to the cinema would be going to the Athena Cinema in Leicester. In 1997, unbeknownst to me at the time this would be one of the last films to be shown at the cinema before closing down in the same year. We went to watch Batman and Robin in which I spent the rest of the night being the practice baddie for my brother’s new alter ego of Batman…ouch!

Most Recent Cinema Trip
My most recent visit would have been to watch my all time favourite film Water Lilies in the Prince Charles Cinema. It was great to watch a film that has meant the most to me on the big screen and share that experience with my best friends. I feel like they get me more now.

We also went to watch Bacurau at the BFI Southbank and ended up at a party with the Bacurau directors and Parasite director Bong Joon-ho. Very fun but strange day.

Favourite Cinema

The Barbican has to be up there as one of my favourite spaces — if that doesn’t make me sound too pretentious. I spend most of my life pretending to be an extra in Mad Men and that place makes that attempt a little easier.

I also have put in the Odeon Leicester, although for a long time was a pretty run down place it was the place I watched a film by myself and was technically my local. Now she has had a makeover and she is looking FINE!

Best Cinema Memory
My favourite cinema experience would be going to watch Barry Lyndon at the Phoenix Leicester. A day that was crammed with many fantastic experience my brother and I was able to fit in a 3 hour epic (with a 10minute interval) into one of the my favourite days of all time. I also worked at the Phoenix Leicester, everyone from Leicester has to do their time at this cinema is you want a career in the industry.

Worst Cinema Memory
I won’t mention the cinema because I’m not mean — but I went to watch Monos. After a couple made out with each other mere centimetres from me for too long the film started with no subtitles. This is when I realised that I may not be the smartest because it took me 10 minutes to realise that the film should have subtitles and that everyone was speaking Portuguese and I do not speak Portuguese. We were then given a ticket swap to watch Last Christmas instead … well… that is a film.

Also there was one time a fight broke out in the cinema while we were watching Epic Movie… the fight was more entertaining than the film.

Which Cinema You’d Most Like to Visit

The Light House Dublin. I like the look of the chairs and I want to go to Ireland one day.

Light House Dublin’s stylish chairs

First Cinema You’ll Visit When They’re Back
Probably the Picturehouse Central because I love their nachos!

Kenji Lloyd, Marketing Manager

First Cinema Memory
I have a terrible memory and can’t recall a single film I saw in my early childhood at the cinema. I think I saw the first Lord Of The Rings film when it came out, and am sure I went to the cinema before then. But my first proper memory was my cousin getting me into a 15, American Wedding (a.k.a. American Pie 3), at the age of 13. I’ve been a rebel ever since.

Most Recent Cinema Trip
I saw Snowpiecer at the BFI Southbank a few days before it closed, and am so glad that I did.

I watched it for the first time a while ago when it came on Netflix, and there was a problem with the subtitles file, so none of the Korean dialogue was subbed — which I thought was a creative decision until pretty late in the film, at which point I switched over to Prime to watch the rest. Needless to say, not the best way to experience a film for the first time. So finally getting to see it properly on the big screen was a brilliant experience, and it’s even better the second time around. Especially when you can actually understand everything that’s being said.

Favourite Cinema
I’m a really big fan of the BFI Southbank, and NFT1 in particular. It’s a beautiful cinema and the perfect way to watch a film, whether it’s a new release, a classic, or something from the archives. And they programme such a wide range of films; there’s always something amazing to discover/re-discover there. The staff are always super friendly, and it’s a fun and more interesting layout than your standard cinema, with all the screens dotted around the building.

Runner-up award goes to Picturehouse Central, which is also terrific with a great team who are passionate about film. And shout-out to the BFI IMAX for its Christopher Nolan late-night screenings and all-nighters.

Best Cinema Memory
The aforementioned Christopher Nolan all-nighter at the BFI IMAX. I think it kicked off around 9pm, and probably didn’t finish until around 9am. Back-to-back screenings of Inception followed by The Dark Knight Trilogy in full, and there just isn’t a better way to watch those films than sitting up the top in the BFI IMAX. It was epic. Hans Zimmer has never sounded so good.

Worst Cinema Memory
I can’t remember which film I was watching, but when the trailers started, I was very aware that the lights were still fully on when I was expecting them to be off/dimmed based on past experiences at that cinema. So I went out and mentioned it to the staff, and they said they’d look into it, and that I shouldn’t worry — the lights would be off by the time the film started.

When the film started, the lights were still fully on, and despite going back and forth in and out of the screen a few more times to talk to the staff, they stayed on for the best part of the whole film. I was unimpressed, but appeared to be the only person in a pretty full screen who cared.

Runner-up award goes to the multiple times the door to the projection room has been left open, so the light spills into the cinema screen throughout the film. (Not naming any names, but safe to assume they didn’t happen in independent cinemas.)

Which Cinema You’d Most Like to Visit
The Angelika in New York. I’ve heard it’s a brilliant cinema.

First Cinema You’ll Visit When They’re Back
Three-way tie between BFI Southbank, Picturehouse Central, and the Prince Charles, depending on what’s on and when. Keeping my fingers crossed that doors will be open (if only halfway open) for the Prince Charles’ screening of Uncut Gems.

Victoria Hamilton, Intern

First Cinema Memory

Peckhamplex

My first memory of going to the cinema by myself at least was at Peckhamplex. I went to the cinema to watch Coraline in 2009 however I remember the sweets section more than the whole experience.

Most Recent Cinema Trip
My most recent cinema trip was to see my friend Martin Kusimo’s short film screening at the Picturehouse in Hackney. It was the first screening of his very well named short film Victoria.

Hackney Picturehouse

Favourite Cinema

East Dulwich Picturehouse

My Favourite cinema is East Dulwich Picturehouse because it’s local and cozy with nice seats. I’ve seen multiple movies in the cinema since it opened in 2015 and can’t wait till it opens again.

Best Cinema Memories
My mum and I had turned up to Surrey Quays Odeon too early for the movie so we got loads of snacks, watched trailers and sat in the massage chairs till we could go into the cinema. It was a really nice way to spend time with my mum and made that visit to the cinema so much better.

Worst Cinema Memories
Cheap tickets are great but unfortunately Peckhamplex isn’t great in other ways. During the opening for Fifty Shades Darker the sound started playing before the film which ruined the atmosphere a little.

Which Cinema You’d Most Like to Visit

Somerset House

I would love to go to Film4 Summer Screen and was hoping to get tickets this year however with everything that has happened the odds are not in my favour.

First Cinema You’ll Visit When They’re Open

Prince Charles

I would go to Prince Charles cinema when it’s open. They made a cool Terminator reference to tell the public that they will be back since they were forced to close.

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Thanks for stopping by and checking out our greatest hits. If you’ve made it this far, let us remind you that it’s been difficult but your friends are back. So this weekend (or in the coming weeks), please support your local cinema. We can guarantee they’ve missed you as much as you’ve missed them — if not more. Get swept away in an evening or afternoon of cinematic bliss. Nothing quite beats the cinema experience — even if your Uncle does have a home cinema set-up. Cinemas in England begin to re-open JULY 4.

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UK & IE Distribution arm of Altitude Film Entertainment. Coming soon: @rocksthefilm, @DavidALifeFilm, Calm With Horses & more!

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