What is D-BOX? – A Review

Hey everyone,

So I haven’t seen movies for a while because school has been swamping me down, but I did manage to catch Thor : The Dark World with one of my friends over the weekend!

When purchasing our tickets, we realized that aside from the usual IMAX, Ultra AVX and regular showings (3D+regular), there was a new option available: D-BOX.

Doing some initial research, we found out that with D-BOX, your seat moves according to what is happening on the screen. We decided to try it out.

Firstly, if you choose D-BOX, you’re still watching a 3D version of the movie– at least that’s what happened to us. Secondly, we realized the D-BOX seats do not get a theatre to themselves like Ultra AVX films. Instead, we get an area of the regular 3D showing sectioned off for us. These seats are red in colour, and you pre-reserved your seats when you buy your ticket (much like the Ultra AVX films). They reserved some of the prime seats in the house for D-BOX viewers (middle section, closer to the back). When you find your seat, you’ll realize that on your right armrest, you get to select how intense you want your seat movement. These seats are also more comfortable and bigger (they fit less of these seats in the typical row than the regular seats).

Red seats = D-BOX seats; Blue seats = regular seats. All in the same theatre.

Red seats = D-BOX seats; Blue seats = regular seats. All in the same theatre.

Now for the experience bit. 
Firstly, if you get nauseous during 3D movies, I’m pretty sure you won’t be enjoying this. Back when I first started watching movies in 3D, I’d get dizzy, and the same thing happened initially with D-BOX. However, my nausea went away after I got used to the moving seat.

The chair doesn’t only vibrate, but it also lifts you up and down, and forwards and backwards. Now, don’t worry about it just throwing you around. These movements aren’t that intense, but are usually gentle. It’s not like those 4-D rides that make you feel as if you’re actually in a spaceship or whatnot– remember, you’re still in a regular theatre where 80% of the viewers there are watching the film in standard 3D. It’s also pretty quiet, so you don’t really notice the sounds from the chair.

During Thor, we would move along to spaceships that flew across the screen, which was cool. There was also this liquid matter that the screen showed, and our seats gently mimicked the liquid’s floating movement, making you feel as if you were a part of it. There were also scenes where when Thor jumped off a building (not a spoiler, because he can jump anywhere. He’s the God of thunder.), your chair raises you slightly so that you can fall with him off the ledge.

So what did I like about it?
I thought that it was a cool experience. It’s definitely differed from traditional methods of viewing movies, and it does add to the movie. You also don’t need to sacrifice the 3D (if that’s your thing– I like 3D only if it’s made well and the film was actually developed with 3D in mind). Having reserved seating meant that you did not have grab a seat early, and the seats were nice and comfortable since they were bigger.

What did I not like about it?
I was a bit nauseous at the beginning, but that eventually went away. There were some unnecessary movements (did we really need vibrations when Thor ran up the stairs? Arguably not.). It also costs more than your regular ticket (made a chart for your reference– Oo! Look at me being all fancy!).

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 5.23.08 PM

My friend who went with me also thought it was a good experience. If you’re not sure whether D-BOX is for you, it never hurts to try it. For me, the biggest issue is the cost. I wouldn’t mind having the accompanying chair-guided-movements to movies if it wasn’t for how much more it costs per showing. I guess I would’ve also enjoyed it more if everyone in the theatre had D-BOX seats, but that wasn’t too big of a problem.

For those of you who have tried out D-BOX, what are your thoughts?

-Karen

“Gravity”: A Movie Review

gravity

Hello everyone,

So I just came back from an advanced screening of Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Before I knew what this movie was about, I thought that this was going to be some sort of romantic comedy, simply because of the cast. Show how quick I am to judge.

So what is Gravity?

Gravity focuses on Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, who is a medical engineer sent to space for the first time. She is accompanied by two other astronauts, one of which is George Clooney’s character: Matt Kowalsky. As she’s fixing something during a spacewalk, they get notice that Russians crashed a satellite, leading to a chain reaction of other satellites and structures to be destroyed from the debris. They had to get out of there. Quick.

Of course, not everything goes according to plan. We see Dr. Stone left adrift in the vast emptiness that is space. She starts to panic, but soon enough, Matt comes to her rescue and tethers her to him. Together, they try to return to their space vessel. This is only one of the first problems to come their way as they desperately try to find a way for them to return to earth.

I watched the whole thing feeling like I was going to have a heart attack at every scene. It was very stressful, but that’s not to say it was at all bad. If I had to name a movie you had to watch in 3D, this would most likely be it. Zero gravity and 3D works amazingly well together.

Asides from visuals and acting, the story itself made you ponder on how small you are. You are so insignificant, especially when compared to the huge unknown void that is space. What is the point?  We see Sandra Bullock’s character going through the same process, and well, I guess you’ll have to see how it ends for her.

Gravity comes out October 4th! If you’re okay with watching something pretty heavy, go watch it. Be prepared though! It’s a beautiful movie, with suspense around every corner.

– Karen

Movie reviews: week of February 20th

Hey guys!

I went to the cinemas with my friends on Tuesday and we ended up watching three movies! Here is my two cents on them!

1) A Dangerous Method

I was not really prepared for this film, mostly because I did not read up on it before going to the theaters. However, after settling down and getting into the movie, I found it really interesting. I am taking psychology in university right now, but I was watching the movie with two friends who wanted to major in psychology and cognitive systems respectively. So I feel like this movie should have been pretty well appreciated by us!

A Dangerous Method explores two great figures of psychology: Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Jung can be seen to be the more central character in the movie. He starts off tending to Sabina Spielrein’s (another great psychology figure– the first female psychoanalyst) problems, as she appears in the beginning of the film to seem psychotic and very troubled. It is revealed to the audience that she was frequently beaten by her father in the past. However, Jung does his job and Frauline Spielrein is well on her way to recovering. At the same time, he takes her under his wing, helping her pursue a career as a psychologist. Along the way, Jung has a relationship with her, meaning he was, in modern day terms, cheating on his wife. It becomes clear that Jung is not the perfect psychiatrist the audience was originally introduced to.

Freud, meanwhile, had great aspirations for Jung to take his place in the world of psychoanalysis after his death, but came to realize the fact that Jung had other ideas about psychology. Their conflicting ideas causes a bitter row between the two. The rest of the movie follows on this idea and depicts how the world of psychology is affected by this conflict.

I personally really liked the film, but that may be because I had low expectations for it.

2) The Secret World of Arrietty

The second film we watched was The Secret World of Arrietty. Unlike the first movie, I had really high hopes for this film because it was by Studio Ghibli, which I loved! I think that is why I did not think it to be as amazing as my friends thought. Nonetheless, it was still a good movie.

The audience is introduced to Arrietty and her family, who are all Borrowers. Borrowers borrow from things from humans that they would not miss (e.g a piece of tissue paper, a cube of sugar) for their survival. I guess it is a lot like stealing, except they call it borrowing throughout the whole film (it is, after all, a children’s movie). Arrietty and her type are also very small. Think Thumbelina. Borrowers must carry out their borrowing in stealthy operations, making sure they are not seen by humans. However, Arrietty gets spotted by Shawn, a sick boy who moved to the countryside to rest and relax before getting his heart operation. This means that her family must move to a new home, as is the custom for all borrowers when they are spotted or else bad things tend to happen to them.

This animated film had beautiful scenes, many of which showed how small Arrietty’s world is: She was the same size as crickets, a basil leaf could last them for a month, and many other examples. Overall, it was a beautiful movie about friendship, with plenty of colourful scenes! It was also a sweet story, but not overly sweet!

3) The Artist

This was the movie I really wanted to watch. For those of you who read my blog, I have posted earlier that I was contemplating going to the cinemas alone so I can watch it since I doubted anyone would want to watch it with me. Surprisingly, I did manage to drag my two friends into watching it as well! They both liked it, so that is a relief!

A silent film. Black and white. Set in the late 1920s. These are the basic ingredients one must first be acquainted with before explaining this movie. I wanted to watch it because I wondered who would dare make a black and white silent movie in the middle of our modern age! After watching The Artist take home awards at the Golden Globes, then hearing about its’ ten Oscar nominations, my curiosity only grew. Keep in mind that I love old films, so I did not mind the black and white bit at all. The silent part, however, was going to be new for me.

This movie begins by introducing us to George Valentin: a famous actor, well loved by everyone for his silent films as well as his charming personality. In comes Peppy Miller, an adoring fan of his who gets pushed in the spotlight after an accidental encounter with Valentin. With a boost of confidence after showing up in the papers, Peppy decides to pursue an acting career. Coincidentally, Peppy’s first time acting was in a new film starring George Valentin! The two hit it off and Valentin finds himself messing up a scene over and over again due to his enchantment with Peppy.

Time passes and Al Zimmer, a studio boss, proposes the idea of talkies (films where actors talk) to Valentin. Frustrated and angry, Valentin stubbornly sticks to silent films and goes off on his own to produce such films. As time passes, the audience realizes that Valentin writes cheque after cheque to fund his movie and suddenly, the Great Depression strikes. Valentin’s movie gets released and barely anyone watches it. Peppy Miller’s movie, on the other hand, which was released on the same day, had lines of people queuing to get in. Valentin becomes a broken, financially troubled man. Of course, him and Peppy gets reunited along the way…and well, I guess I will leave the rest to you so I do not spoil anything.

One of the main characters in the film was George Valentin’s dog. I thought this was a great way to convey information to the audience. Dogs are mostly understood through their actions anyway, so it made certain scenes easier to understand due to Valentin’s canine companion. Out of the three movies I watched I would recommend this one the most. It was interesting to see such a classic storyline made in our present time, as well as the producer taking a risk to make a silent film.
Out of the three movies I watched, my order from my favourite to least favourite would be:

The Artist > A Dangerous Method > The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty is only the third because I had very high expectations for it. On the other hand, A Dangerous Method I had no clue as to what it was even going to be about, so I was pleasantly surprised. Hope this little review convinces some of you to watch at least one of these movies! Let me know what you think!

-Karen

What I’ve learned this week

1) How to play mahjong

2) I cannot eat as much as I think I can

3) Santa Claus is Canadian

4) The idea of watching movies alone

So starting off with number 1, I finally learned how to play mahjong! Okay, so I am not at the level where you can play the version where you tally up the points, and you play certain different combinations, but I learned how to play the regular matching three up one! Honestly, in my 18 years of life, although I have watched my parents and many aunts and uncles around me play mahjong, I have never thought about learning it. However, now that I have, I cannot believe I never did! It is actually very fun, and I feel more connected to my Asian heritage. Okay, maybe not so much the whole connected thing, but it was still fun! Funny (or not so) thing is that we play at the UBC library. I think half the people wanted to kill us at Irving K. Barber and the other half wanted to join us. Okay, before you start tutting at me, you have got to realize that Irving is infamous for being the library you to go when you do not want to study. It is the nosiest library in the whole of UBC. At one point, some random guy came up and asked if he can join us for a round. Of course we agreed, but he had to leave before we finished our own round. 😦 Overall, I would say it felt like I have acquired another life skill.

Mahjong at the library...I won three times in a row!

Now to number 2…it all began (and ended) at Anton’s. So after everyone’s classes ended today, us hungry university kids were starving and William, one of my friends, said he knew a place. We all listened as he described how although it is like $20 a plate, the spaghetti portions were huge and you win a prize if you actually end up finishing it. Being who we were, we were like

It turns out that this place was Anton’s Pasta Bar, on Hastings and between Carleton and Madion. We got there and I was so hungry I declared I could eat half a cow. My friend said she was so hungry she would resort to cannibalism (*cough* Monica). There was a line, as my friend had warned, since it was such a popular joint. After sitting down, we basically took ten minutes before quickly flagging down the waitress so we could order. Looking around the restaurant, I saw everyone asking for a box to take away their leftovers. I was criticizing how people could not even eat one-third of their plate of spaghetti. WEAK! When our food came, we all dug in. Although there was five of us, we ate in silence for 10-15 minutes. That is how hungry and into our food we were. I got the Spinach Fettuccine Alla Fillippo, which was basically a white sauce spaghetti with spinach and chicken. Delicious! Charlie also got a white sauce spaghetti (the Fettuccine Alfredo), while Monica and Kody got the Fettuccine Creola. William was the only one who got something really different, the Tortellini Alla Panna. After a while I realized that this was an endless battle. In the end I think I ate 1/3 of my plate max. Kind of sad when you walked in with such high expectations of yourself. And I wanted the prize too (a pen). Sucked watching some table behind us claim a pen. Anyways, defeat aside, that restaurant was delicious! Probably not the place you would take someone on a date, due to having to pig out and dig through a heaping plate of pasta, but a great place with a cheerful environment for hanging out with friends.

Anton's Past Bar storefront featuring Valentine's Day

Our spaghetti 🙂

A feast! Challenge accepted!

Before challenge...

Challenge failed...though you have got to admit, I did plough through a lot!

And we shamefully walked away with half our plates in these containers...

Point number 3 came up as we were waiting for our takeout boxes at Anton’s. We narrowed down Santa Claus’s nationality as either Russian, American (from USA) or Canadian. We all started arguing our points and the argument went on from there. My friend and I argued that since he wears white and red, is super nice, and our coin (the quarters) has a picture of a caribou, which is the same as a reindeer, Santa Claus is Canadian. No one seemed to have as much evidence as we did so we kind of left that there. 🙂

Lastly, I was having a conversation with my mom the other day, complaining how I do not think I know anyone who would be willing to watch “The Artist” with me, though I desperately want to! All my friends definitely do not seem like the type to be into that type of movie…so I was stuck in a dead end. I jokingly said “I might as well go to the cinemas by myself.” My mom then told me that watching a movie by yourself is a whole new experience. When I thought about it, I realized how true that was. You do not have to censor your feelings and you can fully concentrate on the film! I really am thinking of trying it out one day, just to see how I like it. Who knows? It may even become a thing I do! Honestly, after consideration, I would most probably want to watch those cry-your-eyes-out movies alone because it gets so hard to control your tears when you are into the movie.

So for now, that is what I have learned this week! 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone!

-Karen