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Cinema chain.

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      28.08.2009 12:26
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      Starting to get a bit tired

      Movie House Cinemas

      I have always been a fan of the big screen and would try to go and see a movie roughly about once a month if not more. Northern Ireland used to have a very limited supply of cinemas but over the past 10-15 years the situation has changed dramatically. Of the top of my head I can think of five cinemas in Belfast alone. One of the cinemas I frequent pretty regularity the Movie House cinema at York gate (now called city side shopping centre).

      Who are movie house?

      Movie House are a chain of cinemas in Northern Ireland. The first movie I seen in a movie house was speed and that was in a new cinema at the time so they must have been established in and around the early 1990's.

      Movie House York Gate

      This is the movie house cinema that I frequent the most. It's on the edge of Belfast City Centre and very close to the harbour and York Gate Train station. The cinema is located in what was once a large cigarette factory. Other occupiers of the centre include Tesco, Boots, Asda Home, pound stretchers and a few others. There is large free parking area shared amongst all shops and it's generally pretty busy but I have always managed to get a space.

      I believe that York gate has around 15 screens which vary in quality and size. Currently they are showing 21 movies which offers great selection however some movies may be shown only once a day. Movie house operate an online booking facility and current ticket prices are at £5.50. Students can get in for £4.25 and OAP for £4.00. I think the discounted prices might stop in the evenings though with a flat rate being applied. Im not definite about this but I do know from my student days that this used to be their policy.

      My opinion

      I have seen lots of movies in York Gate movie house cinema and on the whole I have been very impressed. The cinema is always clean and the service is generally very good. The cinema entrance is located on the first floor of the shopping centre. Once tickets are bought you then have 2 very steep flights of stairs to ascend. I assumed there is a lift somewhere for less mobile people.

      The concessions are one area where this cinema lets itself down. I have always been a fan on the nachos with the dip and chillies. This cinema used to sell them no problem but for some reason they decided not to offer the chillies anymore. I remember ordering the product one afternoon only to discover that they didn't do the chillies. I always ask for nachos with chillies and dip. The lady proceeded to serve the product. When I noticed the absence of the chillies I brought it to the attention of the lady who said they stopped selling them. I told her I didn't want the product as the chillies were my favourite part and she got very worked up and rude. In fact I would go as far as saying it was one of my worst experiences of bad customer service I have ever had. The pop corn in this cinema is also awful. Its not fresh and its not warm either so should be avoided.

      On the other hand I went to see Blood Diamond in this cinema and the movie cut out (at what I know is the very end) before the credits. All of a sudden the lights just came on. I really enjoyed the movie but wasn't sure if I had seen the whole thing so was a bit disappointed but wasn't going to sit through it all again. Following my experience of the bad service I wasn't going to make a scene so I decided to just write a letter and was pleased to receive an apology letter and two complementary tickets in the post.

      All in all this is a good cinema. It has free parking and offers a wide movie selection. Some of the smaller cinemas are very cramped and claustrophobic and in some areas the age of the cinema is starting to show. The newer cinemas in Belfast charge a bit more and I think York Gate may have some work to do in order to keep up.

      On Tuesdays all movie houses operate a crazy Tuesday where tickets to any show are £3. This was a great deal back in the student's days. I would buy my drink/snacks in Woolworths and then go see a show during the day with the cinema pretty much to myself. Nowadays its still good during the day but far to busy to go on a Tuesday evening. Id rather pay the extra to have a less busy cinema. Overall a decent cinema in need of some modernisation.

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