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Fun & Games
Fun & Games
What travelers are saying
- When our family was in Seattle last summer, we took in a movie at the legendary Cinerama theater. Paul Allen did such a great job restoring this masterpiece of cinema and mid-century design. We had a great time and really enjoyed the experience! My family also still talks about the chocolate popcorn! Highly suggest for a movie going experience that will take you back in time!Written July 12, 2019This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- SIFF Egyptian is a prime example of what you can do with a classic Showplace. Choices are well made films. Smaller personal movys wonderfully acted , directed, filmed and produced by independent filmmakers.Written January 21, 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Best home for independent and foreign film choices in Seattle and very good popcorn. Love the different foreign film festivals that they host, as well as its own, well-known festival-hence its name.Written November 15, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- As you can tell from any of my reviews, I recognize that the overall experience -- from start to finish -- is what's actually important. One really good or bad thing doesn't tell the story. Take this story, for instance.
Moving from FL to Seattle recently, I was wearing a black armband over the uselessness of my still-active Universal Studios Annual Pass. (That was my Gold Edition, Director's Cut happy place, man, I'm not joking.) So, imagine my shock and joy upon discovering a local movie theater with the same atmospheric special effects (wind, water-spritz, peripheral-vision lightning flashes, gently gliding seats, etc.) as my beloved Minions and Shrek 4D attractions (before being replaced). Aw yeah, this bore investigation, schnell!
Nestled on a downtown corner across from the convention center that once housed PAX West and Emerald City ComicCon, I found a multilevel monument to cinema culture that delivered a fine first impression. Making my way upstairs to the box office and concession counter, I was already in like with the unique layout that all but eliminated the bunching up that typically happens at the standard ticket/concession counter. I secured my standard popcorn & soda combo and skipped (okay, walked) to the cinema house speculating on the sensory supernova that I was soon to sublime in.
I...was...not...disappointed! Now, I've been doing 4D for many a year; that wasn't what was so cool. It was feeling all of the environmental immersion and involvement to a regular movie, and not just the theme park attractions that I knew like my dog's begging eyes. In this case, it was Avatar: The Way of Water. Yeah, exactly! Imagine your first 4D movie being THAT spectacle, with the water puff every time they dove into the ocean, or the wind in my face and light tilt of the seat as we rode the "Banshees" through the air, or the rotating light and sound as we were circled by combat choppers. No jest, it was like living in a video game. It was truly spectacular.
Here's where it gets all "the whole is greater than the parts" and so forth. I ordered popcorn without butter and got that -- but also without anything. It was just plain popcorn. Whether a mistake or an assumption that I didn't want salt, it was still a major drag. However, they made up for it by the soda syrup being out, so I also had a large tankard of carbonated water to wash down the naked popcorn. *sigh* Suboptimal, to be sure, but in a case of superb customer service, the manager comped me both items and genuinely apologized for the concessionary shock to the system that rattled the otherwise spectacular experience.
My one significant complaint is that they do not validate your parking pass-- like Cinemark Lincoln Square (Bellevue, WA), Cinemark Lincoln Reserve (Bellevue, WA), and Pointe Orlando (FL) all do -- which is between $7 & $20 (at night! Forget about daytime rates), depending on the garage.
Some folks would let the low concession quality and chintzy parking validation denial ruin everything. But, on the whole, I had enough fun to warrant a 4-dot.Written February 8, 2023
- Nice historic building! Fun for the family with booster seats and cheap popcorn and drinks. Will come againWritten March 26, 2019
- On a recent visit to Seattle, we went to the theater to see Yesterday. What fun! You can pick your seats when you buy your tickets -- great refreshments and excellent sound for this film.Written September 3, 2019
- Besides having a good location (meaning Not
downtown), plenty of parking, good selection
of films, great concessions(popcorn,snacks,
drinks,candy etc.) comfy seats, nice big screens etc.. Quality venue.Written September 6, 2019
- It was a couple of weeks ago that a friend of mine mentioned that he was going to the Grand Illusion to catch a Shaw Brothers Kung Fu double feature. The Grand Illusion? To quote Obi Wan Kenobi, that's a name I've not heard in a very long time. But how can I pass up some awesome seventies Chopsocky? Yeah, not going to happen.
So that evening, while I was there, I checked out the coming soon list. They had a long list of awesome films: Terminator 2, Bullit, Ronin, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Demolition Man, and To Live and Die in LA - all on 35mm! Looking at their past schedual, I saw films like The Green Slime, Naked Lunch, The Babadook, the holiday double feature of It's A Wonderful Life and Christmas Evil, Bad Lieutenant, The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (giallo? Who runs giallo?!?), Ricki-O, The Big Sleep and on and on and on.
Seriously, I can't begin to tell you how moist I am.
They also run modern films too - last weekend I saw the latest release from RKSS, The Summer of 84, and a couple of months ago they ran Revenge from last year. So its not all eighties slasher flicks and porno!
So now that we know what sort of programming they run, how about a bit about the actual movie house? It's a community run movie house - meaning that it's all staffed by volunteers, all super passionate about their "job". The actual theater itself is about as big as your living room with a screen 30 feet across - so it's a super tiny place. The seats are comfortable and plushy (there are sofas in the back for the lazy), the ceilings are wood - it has a very elegant feel about the place.
The sound system is a little primitive - center, left and right. It gets the job done, but don't expect 7.1 Dolby surround. The projectors are equipped to show 35mm and digital, so you'll get old movies and more modern fare too.
Now, a couple of downsides: no credit cards. Cash is king at the Grand Illusion, so prepare ahead. Tickets are 9 bucks (less for kids or if you have a yearly membership), large popcorn is 4 and the Mexican coke will run you 2.50. So twenty bucks should cover your evening's expenses. Also, being on The Ave, right near the University of Washington, street parking can be at a premium some times - so plan accordingly.
But bringing cash and walking half a mile is totally worth it when you get to see Turkish Star Wars or the Toxic Avenger (with Lloyd Kaufman, who apparently hung out and signed autographs after the show). If you love film, you'd do well to check this place out!Written August 29, 2018
- The theater is really nice, they have four screens now and is really comfrotable, owners are nice and has a nice selection of foodWritten January 14, 2017
- AMC Seattle 10 has been operating in this former Sundance Cinemas location for a while and has retained the minimum age limit of 21 to watch films here. The ID checker on the entry stairway never requires verification from us, however, and simply offers a welcoming smile. That’s because we are obviously well beyond 21. The policy means we do not hear fussy children in the screening rooms and have the opportunity to buy beer and wine as refreshments to enjoy while watching a film.
Reserved seating is offered rather than general admission tickets. For our most recent visit, we tried to buy our tickets early online to ensure that we got the seats that we wanted. But a problem with the website prevented us from doing this. We needn’t have worried. Our desired seats were available at the theatre as were most in the screening room. Only six others showed up for the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee of “Dr. Sleep” on its opening weekend.
The seats here are comfortable with plenty of legroom, and the floor inclines sufficiently so that someone sitting in front of me does not block the view. The sound system is superb. But I consider the advertisements on the screen with the volume set almost too low to be heard to be rather pointless. And 20 minutes of trailers before the film becomes annoying. Films are generally mainstream.
Restrooms have always been clean. The second floor with many comfortable seats and sofas beckons as a waiting area before the show.
Popcorn here is available in regular ($9) and large ($10). We find it to be fresh, tasty and not too salty. But some of it had found its way to the lobby floor by the time we arrived. Staff, as always, proved to be upbeat and friendly.
Parking can be a challenge. It is almost impossible to locate a spot on the street and parking in a nearby garage at a reduced rate is problematic because of confusing instructions. Bus stops are nearby and that may be a better way for some to arrive at the theatre.Written November 11, 2019
- I really like the Landmark theatres that I have visited. Seven Gables is housed in an interesting half-timbered building that fits with Landmark's eccentric personality.
They have a great variety of foreign and independent films. You can always find an interesting film here.Written August 17, 2016
- We went here for a weekend matinee to see “The Catcher was a Spy.” Two ticket sellers stood behind the small concession stand, and no one tended the booth, where we had expected to purchase tickets outside. There was a real bottleneck at the entance door because of the many patrons already inside the tiny lobby and the slow movement of the ticket line, exacerbated by ticket sellers also dispersing refreshments.
When the door opened to the first-floor screening room (there are two more upstairs), we faced a wall flanked by two entrance spaces. People on both sides moved extremely
slowly into the room and I wondered what the holdup was. When we finally got into the room, I could see nothing but the screen far ahead in the massive auditorium. The area lacked lighting and I found the floor to be somewhat uneven at the start. Concerned about falling, I walked quite slowly until we came to our row of choice, where we could not see the seats. My husband suddenly remembered the flashlight on his iPhone and used that to help us get settled. I noticed many other flashlights in use before the film started.
The Varsity is an old, University-District theatre. From what I could make out, as my eyes adjusted to the dark, this auditorium may have experienced some kind of renovation. For example, the seats were fine with good legroom but certainly not set up stadium style. I cannot comment on the cleanliness and maintenance due to the lack of illumination. The screen and sound system were perfectly acceptable. After the show ended, I saw one of the ticket sellers enter the auditorium with a broom in one hand. He wore a light, similar to what miners have, around his head.
We had a difficult time finding a place to park near the theatre. If we ever came here again, we would likely take a bus or Uber. But I doubt we would return unless something was playing at the Varsity that we could not see elsewhere.Written August 1, 2018
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