Thursday, January 8, 2015

Imitation Game at the Old Ritz

Late last night, in the nine degree New Jersey winter weather, I went to the old Ritz movie theatre to meet Anne. The Ritz was once the best theatre in the tri-state area. I remember opening day in 1996 when I went to see Citizen Kane for the first time. They had a man in a tuxedo playing a grand piano in the main lobby. There were little café chairs and tables and big leather sofas to sit and chat before or after the movie. They had a regular concession stand and then one that served coffee and delicious chai tea, cakes, muffins and even fresh fruit. Inside the theatre, the lighting was low and before the film there would be classical music playing while local art was shown on the screen. It was wonderful to go and sit and be able to chat with your companion, read a book if you were there alone, or just relax and settle in for the upcoming feature. Then the theatre changed hands. The prices went up on everything, the clientele went from suave and sophisticated adults and young people with manners to groups of rowdy teenagers and obnoxious adults that would text throughout the film. It went from being a sanctuary to an asylum and I hadn't been back since. But Benedict Cumberbatch and The Imitation Game pulled me back in.

I noticed that there were several hipsters coming in for the 9:30 and 10 o'clock films and was hoping I wasn't going to regret coming to this theatre. Then I got up to the ticket sales counter and met Sue. She was beyond sweet, in her mid to late 40s, with short, soft brown hair, a pretty face, and a charming demeanour. She told me I was in for a treat and was sure to love the film. I said, "Well, I mean, Benedict Cumberbatch..." and we both swooned out loud, then giggled like silly high school girls. "He's going to win the Oscar," Sue told me, and said that the rest of the cast were equally as dazzling. Then she mentioned Mark Strong. I had completely forgotten that Mark Strong (hubba hubba!) was also among the cast until Sue reminded me. I nearly leapt onto the counter as I said, "OH MY GOD!! I LOVE HIM! Oh, he is just so gorgeous." She totally agreed with me and told me of a car commercial that he was in with, oh my goodness it never ends, yet another stunning Brit - Tom Hiddleston! As I waited for Anne, who as it turned out, was sitting in the café and not the ticket area, Sue and I talked more about our adoration for Signor Strong and all those lovely British stars of the silver screen.

Then I finally discovered Anne and we strolled to theatre eight. As soon as we sat down we were blasted and bombarded with stupid commercials, behind the scenes footage of upcoming films, plus idiotic trivia games. I began to feel like a crotchety old bitch. The volume. My god, the volume! It was like that torture chamber they had Karl in on Lost season three. It was deafening. I was channeling my dear departed Granny Roseanna, shaking my fists in the air and wanting to shout, "I can't hear myself think!!" Thankfully the Brits know how to make a film without an explosion every five and a half seconds and so once the previews were over, I was able to regain my hearing.

Cumberbatch as Alan Turing was nothing short of phenomenal. He wasn't over the top and he seemed effortless in his portrayal. His performance engulfed me completely and it wasn't til the credits began to roll that I came out of my trance and realised just how good Cumberbatch and the entire cast really were. Mark Strong looked as dashing as ever and that Matthew Goode is certainly easy on the eyes. Oh, and it was nice to see Tom Branson away from Downton (Allen Leech is such a fine actor). Most impressive I think was Alex Lawther as young Alan Turing. It sounds cheesy as all get out, but his acting was spellbinding. He kinda stole the show, to be honest.

All in all, regardless of the sub-zero temperatures, I had a lovely time with Anne, a fab chat with Miss Sue, and the images of a beautiful film to dance through my mind as I curled up under the blankets and set sail for Dreamland. Sadly, Mark Strong and the lads were out of town and therefore completely missing from my dreams...

(photos kidnapped from youdontknowjersey)

No comments: