Priced Out of Indie Cinemas

Picturehouse Central

The Cineworld in London’s Trocadero near Leicester Square was a grim place; mice scuttled across the floor and every surface was sticky. When the lights went down and a film started to play it was a sweet release to be lost in a fictional world but when the final credits rolled the horror of the surroundings dragged you back to reality with a bump. A sticky, slightly squelchy, bump. Thankfully the dark days of the Trocadero Cineworld are behind us and the era of Picturehouse Central is here.



Picturehouse Central is a beautiful temple to cinema with exposed brickwork, a grand staircase, and an inefficient but effective use of light-bulbs. While the Cineworld was an ugly duckling the site has now grown into a gorgeous Picturehouse swan. What films do they show you ask? Why only the finest selection of mainstream and art house films of course! (And Ted 2.) So why did I go to book tickets last week and balk at the idea?

£18 a ticket is why.

This combined with a £1.50 booking fee makes the new Picturehouse Cinema more expensive (for a standard adult ticket) than going to the country’s biggest screen at the BFI IMAX. Admittedly a closer look at the ticket prices does reveal discounts for Picturehouse members and £8 tickets until 2016 for a select group of screenings including Picturehouse DOCS, Discover Tuesdays, Vintage Sundays and Culture Shock. Sadly no sign of the £7 tickets on a Monday as mentioned when the cinema first opened last month.

The independent cinema chains (an oxymoron surely?) do tend to be a bit pricier but even the Curzon Soho, just up the road from the Trocadero, only charges £14 and the truly independent, and truly spectacular, Price Charles Cinema clocks in at £11 at peak times.

I love films and I love Picturehouses, Greenwich and Hackney Picturehouses have been graced with my presence on multiple occasions, but I struggle to justify spending more than £15 on a single cinema ticket. Call me cheap or call me sane but prices this high will simply make most screenings at an otherwise fantastic cinema inaccessible to those below a certain salary band. My main point is that I really, really want to go to Picturehouse Central. I want to eat organic snacks in tastefully upholstered seating but don’t have enough disposable income to do so.

To put the £18 ticket fee in context, and to find a more affordable place to spend time in the dark, I have taken a look at all the cinemas you can find in central London to see how much they charge. I’ve even put them all on a map for you. Clicking on each cinema on the map shows the price of a single adult ticket for a Thursday evening 2D screening with no concessions or membership deals taken into account. Booking fees are shown in brackets where available.

If you are looking for a mainstream movie your best bet is to visit one of the not too sticky smaller Odeons and for smaller films the Prince Charles Cinema is always worth a look. When you’re feeling a bit more flush then maybe you’ll want to give Picturehouse Central a try. Take me with you when you go, I’ll buy dinner if you get the tickets.

For updates on events, offers, and openings in and around London sign up to The Slice from Metro.

The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog!

Jeff Goldblum's Laugh

Three months ago I announced that I would be contributing to the new film blog hosted by The Prince Charles Cinema; Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh. Now with mixed feelings I am here to say that the blog is no more. Jeff Goldblum has no laughs left. The reasons are numerous… let’s just say that there were commercial goals to be met and initial success was followed by a creeping malaise. Regardless Mild Concern is still here and we have no commercial goals to meet or management to keep happy. There’s nothing like writing for someone else to make you appreciate the freedom your very own website can afford you.

So long as I am still physically able to type this particular film blog will live on. And with this blog we mourn the passing of Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh and do so using a particularly cinematic poem with a few minor tweaks:

Stop all the blogs, cut off the internet,
Prevent the fan from blogging with rumours from the set.
Silence the keyboards and with double-click
Close down the website, save on memory stick.

Let readers circle moan in comment thread
Tweeting on the web the message Jeff is Dead,
Put celluloid bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the cinema ushers wear black cotton gloves.

He was my Dr. Ian Malcolm, my Jeff and Goldblum,
Weekday evening and my Sunday afternoon,
My noon, my midnight, my dialogue, my song,
I thought that blog would last forever: I was wrong

The stars are not wanted now, put out every one;
Pack up J-Law and dismantle Portman;
Pour away the champagne and scoop up the popcorn.
For no film now can ever come under our scorn.

Mild Concern for Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh

Jeff Goldblum's Laugh

Some news of a blogging nature today as I have joined the writing team over at the Prince Charles Cinema’s new blog Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh. Essentially this means that once a week, or more perhaps, I will be posting my usual witterings over there too. This may take the form of posts unique to their blog, cross-posts appearing both there and here, and some revamped and rejuvenated posts from the archives here at Mild Concern.

I will never abandon my humble home at Mild Concern and with any luck we’ll still have contributions from other writers so let’s just think of Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh as my way of getting some of my words to a larger audience.

Excitingly Mild Concern turns four this Saturday and fingers crossed this year will be even better than last year when we branched out into interviewing directors, I shared my face on Al Jazeera, and we finally got a star rating featured on a DVD cover.

And with that I leave you with hugs and kisses, and Jeff Golblum’s laugh:

How to Survive a Pyjama Party at The Prince Charles Cinema

On Saturday night The Prince Charles Cinema in London held their third pyjama party movie marathon. This weekend had a Halloween theme and featured a run of six classic horror films. Having attended all of The Prince Charles’ pyjama parties so far we have taken it upon ourselves to write you an essential 13-point survival guide.

Arrive rested – You are trying to remove an entire night’s sleep without screwing over your body clock for work on Monday morning. Have a nap on Saturday afternoon so that you won’t want as much sleep when trying to watch a film. Better to miss Escape to the Country than the climactic showdown at the end of Carrie.

Arrive on time – Arriving when the cinema doors open allows you time to find your ideal seat and set up camp. There are always people arriving half an hour into film one struggling to find a seat in the dark. Don’t be that person. Everyone hates that person.

Get a good seat – We have our personal favourite seats at The Prince Charles but we won’t be giving that away here. Make sure you can see the screen and make an easy exit to the bathroom when your five coffees finally catch up with you. A seat that is easy to find again in the dark is a must.

Take the right company – Have good friends with you. Someone who will keep you buoyed from the earlier films right through to the painful final film at seven in the morning after no sleep. Someone who will laugh at your jokes long after you are able to form coherent sentences.

Respect your neighbours – Don’t annoy the people around you as you’ll be sitting with them for the next 12 hours. A passive aggressive feud does no one any good, especially when everyone involved is sleep deprived and a little smelly.

Wear PJs – I know it seems embarrassing at first to wear pyjamas in public but everyone is doing it. They are warm and comfortable and mean that you won’t be travelling home in the same pair of jeans you’ve been festering in for the past twelve hours. Maybe buy some pyjamas for the occasion, we don’t want you wearing precisely what you would at home especially if that is nothing more than that same old, baggy t-shirt with the stain on it that you got from that team-building exercise that you did for your work several years ago.

Allow yourself naps – If you find yourself dozing then you may have to give in and have a small sleep. Aim for a particular film you’re not keen on like Fright Night, Flashdance, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Any good film line-up will have its weak spots

Drink – Stay hydrated and stay caffeinated but be careful. While a Thermos of your preferred hot drink will help keep you conscious for as long as the flask lasts, having a couple of cans of energy drink will result in an eventual crash and will do bubbly things to your digestive system at four in the morning. I’d personally suggest avoiding alcohol as it will make you sleepy and shrink your bladder. I find fruit juice to be a welcome ally in the battle against sleep.

Eat – Enjoy quiet snacks throughout the night. The cinema will be selling sweets, popcorn, and ice-cream at ungodly hours and allow you to bring your own food with you so make the most of these. I like to bring a lot of fruit (and a packet of Jaffa Cakes) with me; sweet, juicy, and fresh can be a real boost and help create the illusion that your aren’t completely running your body into the ground with your enforced sleep deprivation.

Don’t stay silent – While this may not be the right time to make plans for the following weekend you are at a pyjama party so complete silence is not necessary. Snarky comments, quoting along with the dialogue, and singing along with any songs will help keep you awake and make everyone in the cinema think that you are a cool and sexually attractive person.

Be active – One of the worst things to do is to sit still in your seat and simply watch the films. Where do you think you are, the cinema? You can tell when people have fallen asleep as the entire screen will be empty of background noise. Whether it is eating, drinking, bitching about a character’s outfit, or (as a group near the back did on Saturday night) noting every time that a character said the name “Michael” in The Lost Boys, make sure you don’t stagnate. Focussing on incidental details will keep you focussed.

Never close your eyes – I have a habit of slipping into “radio mode” where I close my eyes and try to follow the plot. This is a foolish thing to do as the next thing you know your are jolting awake and the film will have moved on without you.

Clean your face – This may sound weird but you’d be amazed how fresh and alert you feel after splashing your face with water or giving it a good wash down with a face wipe. A fresh-faced movie marathoner is one that is less likely to pass out in a quiet scene.

Thanks to Melissa and Rach for keeping me awake and essentially writing this piece for me.

Rev. Shaw Moore Investigates Dance Films; an Enterprise Fraught with Genuine Peril, Easy Sexuality, and Relaxed Morality

Following the success of their first All Night Movie Marathon Pyjama Party The Prince Charles Cinema in London hosted a second pyjama-based event a few weekends ago with an overnight screening of six back to back dance film classics.

Joining us for round two of sleep deprivation via cinema was the Reverend Shaw Moore, a fictional character from the film Footloose as played by John Lithgow (you’re going to have to commit to this delusion I’m afraid). Moore has some pretty strict ideas about music and dancing, above you can see him looking on in horror at some girl on girl dance action in Dirty Dancing.

Always willing to give an opinionated individual a platform to express their opinions I am leaving the film run-down to Moore as he tests his theory that dancing is an enterprise which is fraught with genuine peril. Over to you Reverend.
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Prince Charles Cinema All Night Movie Marathon Pyjama Party

On Saturday night The Prince Charles Cinema in London held their first ever pyjama party which involved the screening of 8 sleepover suitable films being screened back to back over 14 hours. After our success with the dual Harry Potter all-nighters I couldn’t resist the challenge and so grabbed my best pyjamas and my best friend Melissa and headed down to Leicester Square.

The event kicked off at 21:30 on Saturday 2nd June 2012 as we settled into The Prince Charles’ soft seats having changed into our PJs. It is important to note that the majority of the sold out crowd had taken the pyjama part of the event very seriously and those wearing actual clothes were in the minority. After a short introduction by a man in a Tigger onesie we were into our first film of the night. Continue reading