One of my favorite things to do on Friday nights, now that I don’t have a company that supports happy hour endeavors, is to go to the movies, which usually means driving off the island and having to deal with those mainland-types in Oakland or San Francisco. Well, much to my joy, the renovation of the Alameda Theatre, http://alamedatheatres.com/, is complete and a spankin’ new 7 screen cineplex is now walking distance from our house! Johanna and I made our first visit Friday night to see another golden-oldie brought to life with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull . Here are some thoughts on both the theatre and movie:
The Alameda Theatre
The theatre maintains it’s 1932 art deco exterior (much to my happiness) with it’s iconic signage and use of oldstyle marquee lettering to announce the movies playing. I guess I’ve gotten so used to looking at marquees like the Metreon that it took me aback for a moment but I like it. Tickets are, at the moment $9.50 for an adult with a $7 matinee. Kids and seniors get in for $7 anytime.
The lobby is dark but amazing, with a tall ceiling and gold trim. It outshines the Grand Lake Theatre lobby for art deco lavishness but the organization of getting tickets, giving said tickets to the usher and finding your theatre left a lot to be desired. The interior signeage defintely needs some re-thinking. From what I surmise, the mainscreen (which was showing Sex & the City for it’s opening night) is the original theatre’s big screen and easily found by going up stairs from the lobby. What was not so easy to figure out is that there is another side escalator that leads to the other 6 screens and are located in a structure built on to the old building. The decor of the new area has a modern feel but lacks the character of the original lobby. I am guessing they were quite tight for space and the architects tried many workarounds, for which I give them a C+ for verses the A- on the renovated side.
We did not get around to trying the consessions but it looked like a standard fare setup. I would love to see some unique offerings if it would be possible, say some Tucker’s ice cream from around the corner. Yummy!
The new theatre had a large enough screen, the expected great sound system, comfy seats and good legroom. What was quite nice was the absence of pre-show advertising and the non-stop barrage of messaging. All this pre-show noise tends to weaken the effect of movies when they finally do arrive onscreen. I hope this lasts at the theatre… 
Overall, I give it a B+ with room to grow as soon as they can figure out how to efficiently move people along to where they need to go in a friendly fashion…
Indiana Jones
I am sure most everyone who cares has seen it and I almost felt like I was left behind by waiting a few weeks to get to it (Indiana Jones is so my generation). I went in with tempered expectations after dealing with the Star Wars Prequels, and I have to say I found the movie to be okay at best. I would rate it as the third best of the bunch (I think I might be one of the only few who really liked Last Crusade). There were just slight glimpses of that old Indiana Jones magic there but most of it felt forced. I found the new characters to pale in comparison to Indy’s old cohorts and, sadly, the Karen Allen reprise of Marion did not bring the magic of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark with her. I found the dialogue to be a bit dragged out when it could have been short and sharp, what a shocker for a Lucas project…
But still, it had lots of actions (I prefer fighting Nazis verses the Soviets though) and thrills. It’s worth seeing once, and it’s probably even better seen as a matinee. Actually, if you saw it at the Parkway, , http://www.picturepubpizza.com/, it would be perfect (you’re welcome, Will)…

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