30 Ways To Improve The Movies

Silence is Golden

Not to make cinemas like a church (we still want to laugh, scream or reserve the right to hurl abuse at Michael Bay films) but stronger silence policies would make things much more pleasant, wouldn't they?

So kick out anybody eating from a cellophane wrapper; sweets should be sold in paper bags. Legalise the punching of people who insist on giving a running commentary through the film.

Failing that, bring in a headphone option so that we can set our own volume levels.

Silence is Golden

Not to make cinemas like a church (we still want to laugh, scream or reserve the right to hurl abuse at Michael Bay films) but stronger silence policies would make things much more pleasant, wouldn't they?

So kick out anybody eating from a cellophane wrapper; sweets should be sold in paper bags. Legalise the punching of people who insist on giving a running commentary through the film.

Failing that, bring in a headphone option so that we can set our own volume levels.

Fares Fair

The big chains are already charging £7+ a ticket (double figures if you're a Londoner), and then they make a mint out of making us watch adverts.

Here's the deal. Either drop the ads, or give us cheaper tickets with 30 minutes of advertising. Charging and then showing ads takes the jammie dodger.

And obviously, while we're on the subject, enough of the extra fleecing with 3D. If the technology's such a dazzler, it'll pay for itself eventually.

Fares Fair

The big chains are already charging £7+ a ticket (double figures if you're a Londoner), and then they make a mint out of making us watch adverts.

Here's the deal. Either drop the ads, or give us cheaper tickets with 30 minutes of advertising. Charging and then showing ads takes the jammie dodger.

And obviously, while we're on the subject, enough of the extra fleecing with 3D. If the technology's such a dazzler, it'll pay for itself eventually.

Stop 3D post-conversion

Hollywood execs, make your minds up before the shoot starts...and stick to it. Decent 3D requires a hell of a lot of forward-planning in terms of technology and staging. It really can't be bolted on with the editing suite's equivalent of a Band Aid.

Shonky rush-job 3D-isation has all the finesse of an old Viewmaster toy. Sometimes, it looks less like actors acting than a bunch of cardboard cutouts spaced at strategic intervals.

Stop 3D post-conversion

Hollywood execs, make your minds up before the shoot starts...and stick to it. Decent 3D requires a hell of a lot of forward-planning in terms of technology and staging. It really can't be bolted on with the editing suite's equivalent of a Band Aid.

Shonky rush-job 3D-isation has all the finesse of an old Viewmaster toy. Sometimes, it looks less like actors acting than a bunch of cardboard cutouts spaced at strategic intervals.

Think Outside The Box

With the top-end of home viewing on a par with cinema sound- and vision-systems, it's time for cinemas to think about how to add value to the moviegoing experience.

It can be something as simple as introductions to screenings ( Derby QUAD is one cinema with a regular programme) or as special as a cast and crew Q&A.

Others are blazing a more unique trail. Secret Cinema has gone for full-on interactive cabaret, but it's worth checking out the DIY fun and games offered by leading blog Ultra Culture at the ICA's monthly Ultra Culture Cinema .

Psycho-ville

Famously, Alfred Hitchcock decreed that nobody would be admitted late to screenings of Psycho , in order to preserve the integrity of that film's corkscrew twists.

But the policy is worth sticking to anyway, if only to stop ace opening sequences being ruined by some clumsy Johnny-come-lately sticking his fat arse between you and the action.

We got there on time. If you can't do the same... tough.

Ban Nachos

Cold snacks are bad enough, given the surprising number of punters who have failed to master the basics of eating.

But steaming nachos, dripping in greasy, smelly cheese? What is this, a restaurant?

Ban the filthy things, please. Or, at least, provide food-free screenings. We like the odd box of popcorn now and then, but if we're watching Schindler's List , who wants someone munching through a full meal in the adjacent seat?

Respect the "Restricted"

U.S. box office wisdom has it that a R-rating is a glass ceiling in terms of ticket revenue, so studios are in the habit of trimming gore or dubbing over s***r words in order to secure a more profitable PG-13 rating.

Over here, that translates as should-be 18 certs getting released as 15s, and they usually end up as bowdlerised, patronising facsimilies of what they might have been.

It's a counter-productive, nonsensical move anyway, since negative word-of-mouth only harms the movie's box office take. Besides, if an R-rated movie about Jesus getting tortured to death can make $370 in America, maybe received wisdom isn't all it's cracked up to be.