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Ski
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 1:29 pm 
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Cinemark USA, Inc.
3900 Dallas Parkway, Suite 500
Plano, Tx. 75093-7865

re: audio quality during screening of “La Boheme” at “Cinemark” theater Pt. Ruston 06/27/19

Gentlemen:

I took my mother to watch a film screening of “La Boheme” at your “Cinemark” theater down at Point Ruston last night. Excellent cinematography, fabulous costumes and set designs, and first-rate performances by the principals notwithstanding, the experience was less than pleasant because of the audio quality – or rather the lack thereof.
We are talking about OPERA here. This is not a Jimi Hendrix concert. Having seen both opera and Hendrix live on stage more than once, I can assure you I know the difference. I should not be wincing in pain when Rodolfo and Mimi reach that crescendo during the Love Duet (“O Soave Fanciulla” *) toward the end of Act One.
I was wondering “Is it me?” until my 88-year-old mother leaned over and said “I’m thinking I should take out my hearing aids.” The elderly woman sitting next to my mother commented that she thought it was too loud as well.
When my mother and girlfriend went out into the lobby after the film to address the sound quality, there was another woman who had been in the audience who was also complaining about the sound being too loud.
This morning I asked one of the girls up at the coffee stand at 46th & Pearl about her experiences at that theater, and she commented that although she went to watch an “action-adventure” film (“Avengers”) she also though the volume was too loud. Her comment verbatim was “I don’t need my hair blown back.”
I was recruited to run the sound system for (the now defunct) Tacoma Civic Ballet in 1969, and one thing I have learned over the years is that there seems to be an occupational disease among “Sound Men”: they are all partially deaf. Unfortunately, because THEY are the ones pushing the buttons on the mixing boards, they’re the “experts” and in their arrogance they refuse to listen to people who are telling them to TURN THE VOLUME DOWN.
In short, the sound quality was abominable. The sound was horribly distorted during all of the crescendos of the main arias.
To further add insult to injury, the sound level in the adjoining theater was so loud it seemed they were conducting artillery practice in the next room. If I want to listen to cannon fire, I can drive 15 miles south out to JBLM any day of the week for that.
If your bean-counters are scratching their heads and wondering why the number of paying customers at last night’s screening was less than 15 people, all of whom appeared to be well over 50 years old, you might want to consider that while your “action-adventure” and CGI “Toy Story” pap may well have broad appeal among a younger demographic, the sensory assault is a bit more than some of us choose to spend our dollars to watch.
While the advertisements and previews of upcoming Metropolitan Opera screenings of “Madama Butterfly” and “Tosca” and “Aida” are more than tempting, and your theater at Point Ruston is exactly two minutes away from my driveway, I can assure you that I will NOT be attending any future screenings (or using the three “comp” tickets your “manager” gave us after the performance) until I am assured in writing that you will address the issue of the volume levels at this theater.

Thank you sincerely for your time and consideration.

cc: Michelle Flores, Seattle Times
cc: Dale Phelps, Tacoma News Tribune

(* THIS is the way it’s supposed to sound:

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 8:44 pm 
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Ski - this isn't unique to the theater complex you visited.  I don't go to the movies often, mainly b/c there isn't much out there I want to see, or unless it happens to be a film that benefits from the big screen experience (Free Solo, for example). The last few times I've been to the theater, the volume was disturbing; especially irritating during the "commercials" that are now endemic and run continuously until the previews and main attraction.  You can't even carry on a conversation with the person you came with because it's so loud.  Don't know when this started, but it's further limited my desire to see movies in theaters.

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"There are yahoos out there.  It’s why we can’t have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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Ski
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 10:28 pm 
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^ When leaving the theater last night we ran into one of the other young (22-year-old) girls who works up at the coffee stand on the corner and her 25-year-old escort, who commented to me "They're ALL that loud!"
I asked her earlier this afternoon about her experience last night and she said it was "excessively loud."
These are young people, so it's not me being "too old".
This is apparently something that has become fairly universal, which I find rather disturbing.

Up until last night, the last time I went to a walk-in theater was several years ago in Maui, where my sister dragged all of us out to see "A Single Man" *, which I found absolutely dreadful.
As you, I very seldom to go walk-in theaters, but it's mostly been because of the poor excuses for cinema that are produced and passed off as "entertainment". Never-ending gun battles and explosions and CGI graphics seem to have become accepted as substitutes for good writing and real talent.

(* Good grief... that was released in 2009, which tells you how long it's been since I went into a walk-in movie theater. In the meantime, I've been to Benaroya Hall at least a few times, Paramount Theater at least a dozen times, watched the Russian Ballet dance down at the Pantages two or three times, several productions up at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and GodOnlyKnows how many ballet recitals, all of which featured great audio quality, which makes me wonder if this is simply incompetence on the part of those who are operating these movie theaters.)

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Jul 04, 2019 12:05 am 
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"TAU" is streaming on Netflix.  I threw it on my list but wasn't sure I was gonna get around to watching it.  Looked kinda cheesy and kinda leaning towards horror (not really my thing).  Glad I tried it, better than I expected.  Not really horror after all.  Not exactly breaking new ground but it was interesting I thought.  Mad scientist, emerging A.I., female test subject being held captive.  I like Maika Monroe.  Gary Oldman was the voice of the A.I.  Ed Skrein was the evil genius.  I've only ever seen him play bad guys.  If you see him, run the other way.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Jul 04, 2019 12:21 am 
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Some of these I watched a while ago.  Been on a bit of a Felicity Jones kick.  "Albatross" was decent but not a feel good movie.  She's about to go to university.  Her father is an author with a nearly terminal case of writer's block.  Her parents fight constantly.  They run a second rate little hotel.  A newly hired member of the cleaning staff (played by Jessica Brown Findlay) throws everything into chaos.  Interesting that Hollywood doesn't have a corner on the market for casting actresses much older than the age of the character they are playing, the Brits do it as well.  Although their characters were supposed to be about 17 Findlay was around 22 and Jones was around 28 (now that's quite a stretch, but she definitely looks younger than she is).

"Chalet Girl" was released the same year.  In this one Jones was a former competitive skateboarder that gave up competing after her mom died in a car accident.  She's stuck going nowhere in life, takes a job working for an obscenely rich family at their chalet in the mountains in Austria.  She eventually takes to snowboarding and is a natural at.  I really enjoyed this, fun movie.  Good cast, Bill Nighy is always good, also Brooke Shields, Sophia Bush, Tamsin Egerton, Ed Westwick.  Mostly British cast but a few Americans and a few from other parts of Europe.  Much of it was filmed in Austria and Germany, beautiful mountain scenery.

"Storm Boy" took a while to get going but was well done.  Mostly in flashbacks, but goes back and forth between different time frames.  A grandfather (Geoffrey Rush) telling his granddaughter about the pelican he saved and raised when he was a boy.  Jai Courtney played his father in the flashbacks, different type of role for him.  Set in Australia.  Nice, heart felt, bittersweet story.  The pelican steals the movie.
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GaliWalker
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PostFri Jul 05, 2019 9:01 am 
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"Spider-Man: Far From Home" was excellent. It was funny, there were lots of character driven interactions, and the first of the two post credits scenes really ratcheted up the stakes for Spider-Man. It's easily one of my favorite Marvel movies, possibly because it felt unshackled after the end of the Avengers chapter.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Jul 11, 2019 1:04 pm 
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A couple more Netflix originals that were entertaining, decent enough.  "When We First Met" is a time loop/repeat/try to change the past scenario.  Adam Devine is trying to figure out a way to end up with his dream girl Alexandra Daddario rather than getting friend zoned.  No matter what he does there are unintended consequences and he keeps messing everything up.  Drags a little maybe 3/4 of the way thru, but overall it was fun.  I wasn't familiar w/ her but Shelley Hennig, Daddario's best friend, kind of steals the show.

"The Last Summer" is an ensemble movie about a group of recent high school graduates in Chicago trying to enjoy their last summer together before they go separate directions for college or whatever else they are doing in life.  Some comedy but more romantic drama.  It jumps around between different characters and plots but the main pair is K.J. Apa and Maia Mitchell, just a couple of all American kids from...Australia and New Zealand.  I enjoy Halston Sage, she was also one of the more prominently featured cast members.
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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Jul 11, 2019 10:08 pm 
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I saw Spiderman: Far From Home this week at the Seattle Cinerama (what an great theater!) - almost as good as the previous Spiderman film, and that's high praise from me as that still ranks as one of my favorite Marvel films! The comedy and action were excellent, and I particularly enjoyed the villain.

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Read my hiking related stories and more at http://illuminationsfromtheattic.blogspot.com/
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri Jul 12, 2019 7:08 pm 
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The Dawn Wall is a bit of a companion piece to Free Solo, or maybe a contrast.  It was good, but too long.  Caldwell's partner's struggles to complete a traverse pitch just dragged on and on and on and took up way too much film time.  I understand it's what happened, but the documentary needed to be streamlined.  Also, it was pretty weird that they presented Becca as Tommy's girlfriend...until the last 15 or 20 minutes of the film when they let you know they are married and had a little boy at the time of the climb.  That was just a strange choice, seems like that should've been a bigger part of the narrative.  Granted I've never made a documentary, but I feel like this was a significant and obvious mistake.

Probably contrast is a better description of the 2 films.  While Caldwell's route was much more technically difficult, Honnold had zero margin for error.  The two endeavors are not really all that similar.  Also Honnold did it in a matter of hours, Caldwell was on the wall for 3 weeks.  I guess that makes the 2 climbs about as different as a 100 meter dash and a marathon.  Both are running, but not the same thing at all.
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