I’ve been going to the movies as far as I can remember and one of the best parts to me about going to the cinema when I was a kid was being able to soak up the ambiance and seeing the happiness of the people around you. I believe the first movie I saw in theaters was either Dumbo or Pinocchio. I enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to go to the cinema as much as I could, but that was before I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in LA. That was the worst experience I have ever had in a movie theater! It was really loud with people talking, kids throwing popcorn, and I swear I remember hearing someone playing a radio in the back. After that experience I remember every time my father said, “We’re going to the movies today,” I always responded back with, “The good one right?” Of course I was referring to either an AMC or United Artist theater, but when he would say no, I would just suggest we rent a movie instead.
Ever since then, I was always on the hunt for the best cinema experience I could find. So far, the best to me (and many others) would be the Arclight Cinema hands down and two weeks ago I would have agreed. But now, it’s the Island Cinema. I heard about the newly updated cinema from my co-host, Bryce Pilgrim and when he told me about it, I knew I had to go see what Island Cinema had to offer. With that said, here is my review:
If you are familiar with Orange County (the place, not the movie), then you know where Fashion Island is. That is where the Island Cinema is located. Fashion Island is basically a fancy outdoor mall with high-end stores. Before even walking into the theater you have the ability to buy movie tickets outside at the kiosks, which is something I really love about newer theaters. Maybe it’s just me, but I like not having to worry about a employee judging me for saying, “May I have 1 for Titanic?”
Once inside you notice the fancy new renovation and I can say it’s so nice that I felt a little under-dressed even for going alone. After quickly buttoning up my shirt and straighten my jacket, I was greeted by a friendly staff member while I was looking at the crazy amount of food options I had to choose from. Everything from artisan sandwiches, chilli, soup and appetizers. Even as a vegetarian they had things I could eat too! As far as drinks go they have you’re normal soft drinks and a bar with wine, beer, AND Champagne! I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Arclight has champagne. If you watch the 21 and over viewing of a movie, you can have your beer or wine delivered to your seat at any time during the movie. The same goes for your food.
As far as the food goes, I tried their spring rolls. They weren’t the best, but they weren’t bad either and I’ve had horrible spring rolls. The popcorn was popcorn. It was good, but it didn’t stand out like I hoped it would. I love popcorn, but I’ve had better. I think the best thing I tried was the cheesecake. I had marble raspberry cheesecake and it was great! I would put it in my top five for sure and I strongly recommend it.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty with the viewing room. Every seat in the theater are over-sized leather chairs that recline. I’m a tall guy (6’2) and this place had the definition of leg room. I’ve never self so comfortable going to a movie theater. You don’t need to worry about elbow room either because they are double-wide armrests. As a techy or geek, what really made me love this theater was that every movie is shown on Sony 4k Projectors. If you are going to see a 3D movie, they actually use a Sony RealD XLS Cinema System to pair it up for a fully loaded real 3D projection. Not a lot of theaters actually use Sony technology which has been praised as the best.
Overall, if I read this review to the 9 year old me, he would call me liar. If you can’t tell by now, I really enjoyed myself. Despite the movie I saw being definitely a rental (Wanderlust), I still had a great time. Now, this would be the part where a review would say the only thing that sucked are the prices and to that I would have to tell that blogger or reporter to go fuck themselves! Yes, I said it. Go fuck yourself! The prices are high for a reason and that’s because you’re paying for top of the line seats, digital 4K projection, an array of food/drink choices, and great service. You can’t always expect good things to cost a buck. If you don’t like the prices, the Starplex Cinemas – Woodbridge Dollar Movies 5 (so cheap, dollar is in its name) is only a few miles from there, so suck it.
To end on a more heavenly note, one of the employees told me that the plan is to get directors, writers and actors coming in and doing Q & A screenings. This is something I am looking forward to because then I won’t have to drive to LA anymore. They will also be a part of the Newport Beach Film Fest. Bottom line, try this place at least once. I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Until next time, I remain @RickWeasel….