The Odeon cinema that used to be called ''The Filmworks'' is located inside the Printworks complex in the centre of Manchester, along with bars, restaurants and a gym, making it part of a pretty self contained entertainment centre. Its the most central cinema in Manchester, close to both main train stations (Victoria is nearest) and right by the Shudehill bus and tram stop. Its just across the road from the Arndale centre and Exchange square, so easy to access if you''ve had a day of shopping or sightseeing and want to catch a film before getting the train home. This cinema has the added bonus of having a huge IMAX screen, which is usually showing the biggest current blockbuster and is well worth the extra ticket price if you like films that are big on the visual effects, like the recent spate of superhero films, or the franchises. 3D glasses are free for IMAX films but have to be returned. The cinema has 23 screens, according to its website. I go all the time and didn''t realise it was that big! Its set out on 3 levels, and always had a good range of films on at a good variety of times so you can nearly always find a convenient time and if you just bowl up you''re not likely to have to wait long to see something you fancy. Customer service is great, the queues for tickets can get long, but there are always enough staff so they move pretty quickly. There are also ticket machines for picking up pre-booked or for buying on the day. I tend to go on Wednesdays and use my Orange Wednesday text code, which isn''t available on the machines so the queues tend to be quite long for popular films on Wednesdays. The seats are comfortable, you can pay extra for a ''Premier'' seat but I''ve never felt the need even for long films like the Hobbit. There''s more than enough leg room and every armrest has a good sized cup holder. There is a luxury option of sitting in the ''gallery'' for some showings. This is a small room up at the back of the cinema, separated by glass from everybody else, with super luxurious seats, tables, free food and soft drinks and you''re allowed to take alcohol in from the gallery bar. This is a bit pricey, but worth it if you want a one-off luxury experience, maybe for a birthday or a film you''ve been anticipating for years! The place is always clean, there are lots of options for drinks/sweets/snacks etc. and while the tickets are a bit more expensive than they would be at an Odeon in a smaller town, you get what you pay for with the choice, the setting, and the variety of films available.
I have been a keen cinema-goer since for a while now. A decent cinema is quite hard to come by, as they are all quite different. Ok, this might seem like a strange thing to say because they are all basically big buildings with massive screens in where we watch films. But what about all the other little things that makes the cinema experience just that little bit better? I introduce you to the Filmworks, part of the Printworks complex in Manchester. For all of you who aren't familiar with it, the Printworks is an entertainment venue, where you can find a number of bars and restaurants along with a giant bookshop and a gym. It's one of the city's latest developments, and has been up and running for about two years now. For a quick description, it's a bit like Piccadilly Circus in London- a big centrepiece building with lots of flashing lights and screens. Nestled in the Printworks is the Filmworks, a UCI cinema. It really is the best cinema I've ever been to, and here are the reasons why: *Location* Conveniently, the Filmworks is situated very close to 3 modes of transport: Manchester's tram network, the Metrolink’s station/stops Train station Bus stops The tram and the train station are about 3 minutes walk away, and there is a bus stop right outside. Additionally, there are also taxi pick-up points outside and a car park a couple of minutes away. I think the Filmworks owes some of its success to these conveniences, as well as being located in such a bustling and well-established complex as the Printworks. The fact that the cinema is surrounded by 14 top-notch restaurants such as the Hard Rock Café, and 36 popular bars hasn't done it any harm either! *The cinema itself* It's a very modern cinema, a far cry from the crumbling Warner Brother's one I’d visited before it opened. The theme throughout is silver, silver and more silver! I say sil
ver, but it's more metallic-looking, which is contrasted with the wood flooring. All in all, it's extremely stylish and tasteful. Cinemas have certainly moved on from the old-fashioned carpeting and screen curtains they all sported once, and this is a prime example of the revolutionary direction cinemas are now taking. Adding to its modern feel is the high-speed glass lifts and the overall interesting architectural design- lifts and escalators overlap each other in a rather artistic way, meaning there's something interesting to look at when you're waiting for your tickets! The use of technology is generally quite obvious in the Filmworks: the queuing system has even been modernised, with a scary electronic-sounding voice telling you to when it’s your turn to be served. Furthermore, the Filmworks is the only cinema in the area to offer IMAX. The IMAX is a new experience, and is basically a huge screen (larger than your average cinema screen) which shows 3D productions, educational stuff and documentaries, etc. I have seen one of the 3D films, and they're excellent: They're only about 40 minutes long, but really are amazing. And it's always fun wearing those funky 3D glasses isn't it?! Moving on to the cinema's facilities- as well as all the places to visit in the Printworks, I feel I have to credit the Filmworks with its great selection of extras: *The Gallery* This is a special area of the cinema, sort of like a VIP area in a club. It's pricier than the usual ticket rates (more about prices later), but is definitely worth it. The Gallery is quite exclusive, and offers big leather seats rather than the normal (often uncomfortable) cinema seats. Also, you get 'complimentary food', which is really good as it's unlimited nachos (with cheese or salsa dip), popcorn (sweet and salty), drinks (the usual- Coke, Fanta, etc.) and Celebrations chocolates. I've been to th
e Gallery a couple of times, and is very worthy of the extra cash because you get lots of extras! There's also a licensed bar, selling every alcoholic drink you could possibly think of. Because of the bar, under-18s aren't permitted, which is a good thing for those who want a bit of peace and quiet, and a more adult environment to enjoy a film in. *Bars and cafes* The Filmworks caters for everyone: There are a couple of small bars where you can enjoy a drink before your film starts. For tee-totals, there's a Nescafe bar, which sells coffee and cakes. *Saturday Morning Kids' Club* This is when you can see both old and new children's films. As well as these extras, there's the usual: Food-points, where you can buy popcorn and drinks, etc. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream counter Basic facilities, such as toilets, etc. The screens in the Filmworks are all fairly big (there are 20 of them!), the biggest showing the newest films. The seating plan in each screen is quite similar, and there are also lots of space available for the disabled. Also, the use of lighting is very effective, as they leave pretty much everything on until the very last second before the film starts. I think this is good, because you can rummage around in your bag for stuff whilst waiting, and actually be able to see! The seats themselves are fairly comfy, and they all have the nifty device of lifting the armrest between seats- very convenient for couples! This may seem like an obvious thing, but the Filmworks is the only cinema I'm aware of that has this facility. I visited for the first time about 2 years ago with my (then new) boyfriend, so it was a nice addition to our first date! It's fairly clean, but not as good as it could be: Popcorn is often left all over the seats and there is usually quite a lot of litter on the floor. This is the only area I think the staff need to do better at. G
enerally, the staff are friendly and courteous, and it's nice to see that UCI have employed a multitude of people, of all different races and nationalities. Compared to other cinemas, the Filmworks seems like a palace. Judging that Manchester is a rather large and busy city, it's interesting to know that there were only two other cinemas in its vicinity (one grotty old Odeon and an arty place) until a few months ago when a big new one opened-the AMC Great Northern-which I'm yet to visit (I love the Filmworks too much!). *Prices* Adult: £5.00 Adult Off-Peak (Mon-Thurs): £4.00 Child/students/OAPs: £3.50 Child/students/OAPs Off-Peak (Mon-Thurs): £3.00 Kids' Club: £1.85 (with the accompanying adult going free) The Gallery: £15 The Gallery Off-Peak (Mon-Thurs): £10.00 Like I've said, the Gallery seems a lot more expensive, but put it this way: By the time an adult paying the full £5.00 to watch a film starts buying drinks and popcorn (necessities when at the cinema!), it's going to cost them at least £10 anyway as food prices are sky high in cinemas. Therefore, I believe paying the extra for the Gallery is a lot more worthwhile, as you get unlimited 'complimentary' food! *Conclusion* Well, that's about it. If you're ever in Manchester, I fully recommend paying a visit to the Filmworks, or the Printworks in general- it really is a fantastic complex. If all of this hasn't persuaded you, a lot of celebrities are often seen in the restaurants and bars: Bond Girl Halle Berry was seen in Wagamama a few months ago, and the cinema itself is a favourite with the Beckhams. What more could you want from a cinema?! Thank you for reading :-)
I really liked the Filmworks when it first opened. It's in a great part of town, 3 minutes from Market Street, right opposite the Triangle, Marks & Spencers and the nicest (of many) Pizza Express and Starbucks in the city centre. It's in the rather nice Printworks, although the place is disappointing in that half of it still has not opened. The cinema itself is really nice. There's a coffee bar at the entrance and it's all very newage looking - lots of nice shiny metal all over the place. The problems arise when you get to the queue. When I've gone on a weekday, they have one or two people (who aren't particularly helpful or courteous) serving and you can still be stood for 5 minutes waiting. In school holidays or at the weekend, they don't have many more people serving and you can be queuing for 20 minutes. I would go and buy my tickets hours before the showing when I first arrived in town, go shopping and to eat, before going back, otherwise you most likely miss the start of the film if you leave it too late. The screens are on several floors with escalators going up and up. The actual screens are nice - comfy seats, lots of space and good refreshments opn offer, although once again the queues are often very long. One speciality of this cinema is the IMAX screen - this is superb. There are regular showings of a wide range of different films, such as documentaries or Beauty and the Beast. It's not that expensive to get in and is worthwhile going to. The price of the regular cinema screens isn't bad either, although much cheaper in the week. They have so many screens that there are always a huge amount of films showing here and if the film is big, it will often be showing every half hour. The problem with the cinema is that until recently it was the only decent cinema in Manchester - the only others were the Odeon (urgh!) and the Cornherhouse (arthouse films). So everybody goes to the
Filmworks. You'll always see people you know and may not want to see and as mentioned before, the queues are always awful. In the last few months, another cinema at the Great Northern Warehouse has opened and very few people know about it, although it's brilliant and my new favourite cinema! I've written a review of it - check it out - it's called AMC Great Northern. Overall, the filmworks is a nice cinema with a wide range of films, but it's not a very relaxing place to go to.
Since the bombing of Manchester five or six years ago people haven't looked back. the entire city centre was devasted to the point of a lot of buildings being pulled down, and even now not everything has been rebuilt. But the Printworks has. Set in the heart of the city it is one of the blocks that is fast becoming the trendiest section of Manchester to be seen in, and along with the Triangle across the road, it is pulling people away from the Trafford Centre and into city centre shopping again. The Printowrks is massive building in which many different chic bars and restaurants have opened, along side the Film Works. Manchester's newest cinema. It boasts 23 different screens as well as the Imax screen, the third largest screen in Europe. As you enter the cinema from the covered street of the Printworks, everything looks stark and metallic, with polished chrome and aluminium everywhere, and it looks as good as the many bars that surround it. What do you want to know about cinemas... Price. Probably the most important thing when talking about cinemas, and the Film Works has a wide and varied range of prices, starting from about £4 for kids and OAP's going up to a whopping £15 for a seat in the gallery. You get the usual deal in the normal priced seats, but in the gallery, seeing as you're paying £15 you expect something better. And you get it. instead of the normal seats you get massive, and i do mean massive, leather couches to lounge on while watching the film. The arm-rests can be moved up out of the way giving a sofa feel, and also giving the oportunity to get a little closer to who ever is lucky enough to be sitting beside you. as well as massive seats you also get complimentary snacks, consisting off a large pack of popcorn and nachos with a range of toppings. Then there are free soft and warm drinks and exclusive use of a designated bar. This gives going to the cinema more of an entertainment feeling than just going to watch a
movie, and the extra comfort is even more welcomed when you are watching a longer film, such as Lord of the Rings. The standard seats are roomy enough even for me, a 6 foot 4 bulky bloke, but come nowhere near to the comfort in the Gallery. there isn't enough room to stretch out, but enough to be comfortable so that you aren't worried that you'll miss any of the on-screen action. The screens are immense. Just like all modern cinemas, size matters, and the Film Works has size in abundance. I feel sorry for people who could only get tickets for seat in the front fifteen rows, cos they are in danger of getting a stiff neck looking up to the top of the screen, and twisting round to see the sides. Just like all modern cinemas the Film Works allow you to pre-book either by phone or over the internet. You can pay by credit card and then pick your tickets up from an automatic machine meaning you do not have to queue for ages to get your tickets, which is always handy when you're running late, which my girl-friend usually is. Just a pity that you can't pre-book the refreshments you want as well... The layout of the cinema itself can be a little confusing as you try and navigate the escalators and lifts to get you to your appropriate screen, but there are normally loads of staff about to direct you on your way. Which is the only other thing that lets the cinema down. The staff. Maybe they don't get paid enough, but most of them seem to be a little peeved at something or other and most of them reminded me of that student character from the Simpsons who does all the check-out jobs, but then you don't go to the cinema to watch the staff. Choosing this cinema over the many others Manchester has to offer is a good choice, especially if you opt for the more expensive Gallery, maybe just to impress the girl or boy you are trying to get off with.
The Filmworks is one of the best things to happen in Manchester. Along with The Lowry and the resurgence of the Quays, it has put the town back on the map as an entertainment mecca. LIFE BEFORE THE FILM WORKS I moved up to Manchester last Summer. My local cinema then was the UGC in Salford which I have to say turned film going into an absolute nightmare. You could hear the film next door whatever you were watching always ended up being a remix. I remember watching Stuart Little but hearing snippets of The Perfect Storm! Also the cinema would attract hoardes of kids on their own who would sit down, start sending text messages, ringing their mates and generally being abusive to anyone in the cinema! The final straw came during a screening of What Lies Beneath. About an hour into the film, 12 kids wandered in and started running up and down in front of the screen. The staff did nothing as they seemed scared of these 'mini Damiens' running riot! Sadly (tongue in cheek) this cinema closed last Feb! But out of the ashes of bad filmgoing experiences, something wonderful has emerged.......... THE FILMWORKS The filmworks is a UCI cinema. At the moment there are two of these complexes. The other being in Greenwich. "A cinema is a cinema!" I hear you cry. So what is unique about this one? THE BLACKOUT SCREENS Each screen has black decor. This is so that your eyes end up looking at nothing but the screen. You must remember sat in your local Odeon clocking the stains on the curtain! Those days are gone now! Each row of seats are in a stadium format so however big someone's hair is yu can always see. The screens are all huge. The Filmworks do not punish you for seeing a film that has been out for six weeks. You know the nightmare- you arrive at the cinema to see Shrek. It's been on for ages - so it's been relegated to screen 28- you walk in there and hit you nose in the screen! Your TV is bigger
than the screen! Not here, all the screens do the films justice. THE SOUND The sound in the Printworks is amzing. I recently saw a preview of Moulin Rouge there and the sound was so crisp and clear that if a character whispered it sounded like someone was behind me. The screens are spaced apart so the experience of the remix in Salford cannot be repeated! THE GALLERY The Gallery is a movie buff's dream really. The idea is that some cinemas have a gallery within them. The Gallery is upstairs. It's basically a balcony with only a few rows of seats- but not ordinary seats- couches. There is a bar behind you and staff serve you in your seats. You pay about £15 for this luxury but it's ideal for a birthday or to see a big film like Moulin Rouge and make it an event. And it is only available to over 18's so no Mini Me's running up and down. THE STAFF The staff are generally really helpful. I have seen them deal with children talking non stop through films by simply entering the cinema after a complaint has been made and removing them. They handle complaints very seriously and really do seem to recognise you if you frequent the cinema alot. CHOICE OF FILMS As well as the usual blockbusters like Planet Of The Apes (which I think is in three screens!) The Filmworks caters for all. Recently they held the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival there. The Director's Chair seasons are usually very good- classic like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Taxi Driver were in the last list of screenings. Art house movies also get a look in. The Filmworks has screened Malena, Memento, When Brendan Met Trudy and many more non commercial films. FOOD AND DRINKS Food and drink is available on all the levels. You can get everything from a quick coffee to sandwiches or cakes. Also there is a great deal of choice in the Printworks pubs and restaurants outside the cinema. TH
E IMAX EXPERIENCE I have always been a bit sceptical about IMAX. I always thought it was just a gimmick. But at the Printworks there is such good choice. For the kids there are 3D cartoons which have everyone ducking and diving and dropping their popcorn. For adults there is a great documentary called The Living Sea. You are see what lies beneath the water and the scenery is stunning. The film has a voice-over by Meryl Streep and it's an excellent film. The IMAX screen is huge and the seating reminds you of being in a mini stadium. SUMMARY I think you can tell that I like this fairly new cinema! It has been opened in Manchester for nearly a year now. Every time I go it feels like an event. If you love movies and live in the area- you gotta go! The website is: www.thefilmworks.co.uk or there is more info at: www.uci-cinemas.co.uk The filmworks site is a bit slow- but staff are always friendly when you go there and you can nip in there and pick up leaflets. I gotta go. I'm off to the cinema!
The Printworks in Manchester is a development just behind the bus station which is home to, among other things, many bars, a Hard Rock Cafe and the Filmworks – Manchester’s very own Multi-Storey Megaplex. The cinema is great and offers everything you could want - all the new releases, a wide range of films, comfortable seats and a Ben and Jerry’s stand..... The staff, sorry “cast members” are efficient and polite and well trained, and the building itself is pretty funky – the loos especially are wonderful and sparkling and full of adverts for up coming films. The backs of the doors also have jokes and stories on so you have something to read while you, ahem, go. There’s a gallery area which I’ve never been in (due to the fact it costs over 10 pounds per seat and I’m an impoverished student) but which, I’m led to believe, offers extra big seats, free drinks and snacks, and privacy to “snuggle up with your loved one” although frankly you could do that at home for free. I could leave my op at that but, as always, though, I have a few stories to tell. Every week we run a play scheme for some Moss Side kids who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We often go on trips and twice we went to the Filmworks. The first time we saw “Cyberworld 3D” in the Imax part. It was a great day – the staff didn’t bat an eyelid when we asked for 8 Students tickets and 22 Children’s ones (incidentally, their tickets are more expensive than ours – but then students usually get good discounts). We ordered the special snack pack for the kids – popcorn, a drink and some Smarties with a free poster for about 2.50. Again, we were served quickly and efficiently. The film was good and afterwards the usher types thought it was quite sweet that the kids tried to sneak out with the special 3D glasses. “What fun!” we thought, “let’s go again̶
1; so we did. We were going to go and see “Spy Kids” near the end of term and after checking on the website for the times, we rang up the day before to double check . “Yes, yes”, they told us, “it’s showing at 5.30 tomorrow”. We didn’t reserve seats as we could never be sure how many kids would have permission to come, but we turned up early the next day just to be on the safe side. Rach took them all upstairs to get snacks, while I did my usual “20 little terrors, sorry, children and 10 students for Spy Kids please” at the box office. The guy there was nice and helpful, but I could have killed him when he came out with “Terribly sorry, there’s a problem with the screen and it’s not showing today”. I asked for suggestions and he gave them willingly but, as he pointed out, most were not suitable for children, and those which were started in an hour or so. We had to have the kids back for a set time, so that was no good. In the end we sat through “The Mysteries of Egypt” for 45 mins and then let themsome of them play on the Dreamcasts which are scattered throughout the building while the rest of us went to the Hard Rock Cafe for drinks and Nachos. We left the cinema with 20 happy children, but behind us were some rather p***ed off staff. You see, the film was pretty boring for the kids, and so they had to make their own entertainment. When you’re 8, bored and badly brought up, and with a thing of popcorn in front of you, there is only one option – make a mess. A huge mess. We left the room a complete and utter tip – every step we took you heard the unmistakable crunch of popcorn as it was ground into the carpet. I dread to think how long it took them to clean up, and we haven’t been back with the kids since but, as we rationalized afterwards, if the right film had been on it never would have happened, and if there had been a suitable alterna
tive it never would have happened, so really it was their fault....... So 2 stories, one good and one bad. I’ve been to the cinema a lot with my friends and never had a problem, so maybe it’s just one of those things that happens after a bad day at uni and when you have 20 screaming kids with you. It hasn’t put me off going, as both times the staff were great and the place spotless (well before our lot got started) and, as I said, it is usually a pleasant experience. Just check, check and double check that the film you want is on before you show up with darlings like ours. Price below is for students with ID, it's 3.95 for kids and 5.95 for adults generally..
When my cousin told me that she was going to supplement her student loan by working in a new cinema in Manchester town centre I was intrigued. I hadn't heard of the cinema and wondered what it would be like. Well since it opened, it has changed my cinema experiences incredibly. What is the Filmworks? ----------------------- The Filmworks is the first in a new chain of cinemas being opened by UCI Cinemas. The one in Manchester boasts twenty screens (the largest for an inner city cinema in the UK they claim) including an IMAX screen, the only one in the North West according to the official website, as well as a bar, Nescafe Coffee Shop, a UCI snack shop, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlour and The Gallery. What is IMAX? ------------- IMAX is a new concept in cinema. It allows the viewers to watch specially made movies in 3-D form on a huge screen- it's at least four double decker buses high and at three wide! It gives you the sensation as though you are actually in the film. According to the official website, it works by projecting two different images onto the screen- one for your left eye and one for your right eye which are combined by the special black glasses that you have to wear- be warned, these are not incredibly comfortable, especially if you are already wearing normal glasses. According to the website, some of the films are suited for educational use and tie in with the national curriculum. I have only seen one IMAX film, although I have been to see it 3 times and it was amazing. I'm told it is the best one there is, although I am unable to comment, as I have only seen the one. All IMAX films last about one hour. The current IMAX films available to view are: - Cyberworld 3D: An animated film featuring many familiar faces including the Simpsons. - Destiny in Space: A film where you blast off into space and see pictures from the Hubble space telescope.
- Extreme: A film showing real life stunts done by sports men. - The Living Sea: An underwater trip around the sea. - Mysteries of Egypt: A tour of ancient Egypt. - Everest: A journey up Mount Everest. What is the cinema like? ------------------------- As you walk into The Filmworks you are greeted by a huge board detailing all the films are available for viewing that particular week as well as a brief description of what they are about. As you walk around this you approach the escalator coming down and some handy ATM-like machines. These are for people that have prebooked tickets by credit card and want to collect them or people that want to avoid the queues and purchase full price tickets. On your left you find the Nescafe Cafe and a lift taking you to all the floors of the cinema (of which there are four I think!). On the wall in front of you though is a set of huge television screens showing the times of all shows that are starting shortly with the ticket sales assistants below them happily taking your money off you. Once you have purchased your tickets you can go up to the first floor where you will find the bar, the IMAX, screens 2-7 and a small shop to get popcorn etc. You'll also find some newly installed Sega Dreamcasts to pass the time before the film, or to waste time afterwards. If you carry on upstairs via the escalators or lifts you come to the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlour, the remaining screens and the Gallery. The Gallery ------------ For an extra £9.75 on top of the ticket price (not a lot if you can afford it!) you can be taken to see certain films in the Gallery. Here you are given huge leather seats and unlimited popcorn and soft drinks throughout the duration of the film. Not bad- but it is difficult to get your money's worth I think. The Screens ------------ Having frequented mos
t screens in the cinema, I can say that they are all the same. You get relatively large comfortable seats with a drink cup holder on the side. The screen itself is big enough for everyone to see the film and there appears to be enough legroom for tall people like me. The Service ------------ Despite the fact that there are many students working here, the staff are usually very pleasant and helpful. I've had no problems with them and at times have enjoyed jokes with them, although the management weren't best pleased! Other Information ------------------ Like many other cinemas, this one too offers a Saturday morning Kids Club where you get to see children’s movies cheaply. In addition, on Tuesday Nights they have an older movies night where they show films that have been at the cinema six months previously for the bargain price of just £2.95 per film. The Costs --------- All films before 2pm cost £2.95. For students and concessions, all films and the IMAX cost £2.95 at all times- a bargain compared to what I pay at home (£5.20)! For Adults, both the IMAX and normal films cost £5.75, with the Gallery costing in the region of £15. Conclusion ----------- All in all, The Filmworks is a great experience and definitely value for money. I'm yet to find a better cinema anywhere.