As someone who watches movies on a regular basis, I have realized that best location to do so is a factor that depends on what film you are watching and how you want to watch it.
For example take something like ¨The Mummy¨ - a big budget horror action movie - it is something you can and probably should watch at a multiplex and, luckily, in Singapore you’re never more than 20mins away from one. They are perfect for the blockbuster experience – glossy, glamourous and mainstream; everything the movie itself is.
However, what if we change the movie to something like a low budget independent drama from Finland? Films like these are almost never distributed by multiplex companies like Golden Village. In the scenario that a multiplex decides to carry the type of film I am describing it definitely wouldn’t be on a large scale. It would only be shown in one of their smaller cinemas and at irregular times for possibly only a week. The bottom line is multiplexes want MONEY and will pretty much only show blockbuster films which guarantee a hefty sum of money at the door. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to watch blockbuster movies like sci-fi and superhero films and 100% of the time I end up watching a film like that in a multiplex chain. However, one of my favourite genres of films are comedies. I’m not talking about those flat big budget and star studded comedy movies like “Rough Night” or “Baywatch”, aimed at the lowest common denominator - although, to be fair, this year there were some great blockbuster comedies like “Logan Lucky” and “The Lego Batman Movie”, I’m talking about the lower budget more irreverent comedies like “The Big Sick” or “What We Do In The Shadows”. These films are never shown in a multiplex so I would have to wait until it was available on DVD or iTunes but I prefer to see films in a cinema.
I’ve never really been to an independent cinema in Singapore, mainly because I didn’t even know there was one. However, this all changed when I was invited to a small film festival being held at a cinema called “The Projector”. The Projector is located on the eastern part of Singapore. On that particular day, I did not have time to look around and get the vibe of the place. However, I found the location intriguing and the film I saw was a 1991 art house foreign film with a somewhat cult following, something a large multiplex would never show. Fast forward one week and I decide to check out the website of this mysterious niche cinema to see what films they would normally show. As I browsed through, I saw mostly films from a few years ago that have since amassed a cult following, such as “Moon”. They also show recent films that have been shown in the multiplex cinemas such as “Mother!”, “Baby Driver” and “Get Out” that really feel more at home at a small independent like The Projector. I decided to go back to the cinema to see a film as they were showing the 2009 Wes Anderson Animated Comedy “Fantastic Mr.Fox” and not only am I a fan of irreverent comedies and Wes Anderson I also loved Roald Dahl Books as a child. So I knew this film would be perfect for me.
As I entered the lift which went directly to the cinema, I noticed that it was covered in a mural of classic films - this alone brought a smile to my face. As I left the lift, I was greeted by a large neon sign placed next to a bar and mini restaurant run by the cinema. On the left was a small ticket counter where you could buy tickets. The walls were decorated in film posters done in different art styles. I realised I was late for my movie and quickly grabbed a water and a popcorn before heading into the film. The film was in the cinema’s newest screening room which was named the “Blue Room”. The hall was just your average screening hall, nothing spectacular. It had a decent sized screen, a good sound system and somewhat comfortable chairs.
The only issue I had with the screening hall was the seats didn’t have enough leg room and when you are tall like me that can be an issue. The ticket price was the same price you would pay for any cinema. I was given a $2 student discount which was nice. Unfortunately, the snacks being sold were even more expensive than the multiplex. I was charged $4 for a small Evian water and $6 for an average amount of salted popcorn, which tasted stale and too chewy. This was a let down, as I had heard good things about the food there. The main problem I see the Projector facing is the fact that many of the films that they show can be seen online for free. However, I personally would go to The Projector than watch a film online. To be honest I see myself going to the multiplex more as they have newer blockbuster films that I am into, such as Star Wars , Kingsman and others but I definitely see myself going to the Projector more often in the future.
One thing that really stood out to me was the way it felt watching a film in The Projector. It was pretty much the same – in that you are sitting in a chair looking at a big screen, but there was also a feeling that I watching it the way it was intended to be seen. I can imagine Wes Anderson wanting his quirky animated film being shown in a small quirky cinema. That’s when I realised the best thing about the cinema. They care about movies. They care about the fans. They would rather show an unknown film and lose money than show a crazy blockbuster film to make money. They don’t want to constantly help large corporations and film companies, they’d rather help small independent film makers and companies, as the people who run the place love film as much as the people in the cinema. Not only do they support independent films they help film makers. Even though I really like the Projector’s schedule of films, I don’t think I will be going once a week like I go to the multiplex but I do see myself going perhaps once a month. This is because some of the more art house type of films don’t appeal to me and most of the great ones are M18 but I am excited about seeing the 2009 cult classic Sci-Fi “Moon”.
So in conclusion, I would say that The Projector wins between the two but your experience at the cinema really depends on what movie you’re watching. For example you would enjoy something like “Avengers” on the big IMAX screen much more than the small quaint hall in The Projector. The opposite goes for something like an independent low budget drama from another country, you would enjoy it a billon times more in something like The Projector. I highly recommend you check out it out as there is always something interesting you can watch and probably enjoy.