“ Queens link leisure park / Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire / AB11 5BT / Tel: 08701 550 502. „
HISTORY OF THE UGC AREA
The UGC cinema in Edinburgh is somewhere I frequently go. A couple of years ago in the Gorgie/Viewforth area there was nothing really, not a part of town I ever visited apart from when passing to go into the city centre Then, I hear about Fountainpark being built. This is basically an entertainment complex with much to do, the businesses have changed a little e.g. McDonald's is no longer there but still it can survive. The most famous part about this part used to be the Fountainbridge brewery but now Fountainbridge is a regular hot spot for all ages.
HOW TO GET THERE
The cinema is easy to get to by bus or car. The buses pass along the front these are like the 1 and then going through the tunnel to the back is the 22. I usually get a bus further away then walk down a street down to the cinema. Sometimes I also drive here. The car park is 2 floors you drive round into Fountainpark then go down into the car park. You take a ticket first then drive, park and when you go into the cinema at the right of the ticket desks you insert your ticket into a machine which registers that you are using the car park for cinema use only. This means that when you go back down to the car park paying machine it registers that you don't have to pay, basically it is free for all. There are lots of spaces here and it is easy enough to park. You just go through the doors and up the escalators into the cinema, this is warmer than bussing it.
When going into the cinema you go into the complex and there is a sign with the times etc. and all of the current film posters up. Going through the doors you enter the foyer and are instantly hit with the gorgeous smell of popcorn mixed with nachos. The atmosphere is very welcoming and straight ahead is the ticket booths. Behind the ticket desks are screens and they have all of the days film times with the screen number they are showing in beside them. The good thing is that if it is a white square beside it there are seats, yellow if it is limited and red if it is fully booked. They announce it on speakers if there is single seating as I noticed happened with Star Wars the other night I was there. There are about 5 separate desks and you queue up staying behind the rope guard. There is one big queing space and on the right is a separate queue for cardholders which when I go never seems to be open. This is to make them privileged and escape the wait on busier nights.
After buying your ticket you then turn right and there is the food section. There is the popcorn counter. The large, mediums and kids sizes of popcorn are regularly made and the boxes lie out for you to take, the large costs £3 odds which is pretty good and you can choose between salt or sweet. They have a pick'n'mix section which has a good selection of sweets and I am now an expert at getting the right amount for the money I have. They have Italian ice cream, Haagen Dazs freezers, the smallest tub is about £1.90. You then go to the crisps racks they also have brownie and things here and Walkers Sensations and Maltesers, M&M's. There is then ice lollys, ice creams in another freezer. You also have the cups then you take ice and fill up a drink. After spending minutes choosing your food you proceed to the counter to pay although the way it is set out you could pick food and escape without paying I have heard people boast and no I am not guilty of it. At the counter is where you get the hot foods like hot dogs which are I think £2.80 and nachos also you can get hot nuts.
PROCEEDING TO THE SCREENS
There are 13 screens in total each different in its own way. I have been here so many times I think I have been in them all. When you go through you show your ticket and they tell you your screen. Walking through it is nice because it is a long wide corridor and lighting the way are the lit up movie posters of upcoming releases. On your left and right are the screen numbers. Outside of the screen is the number and then it tells you the time the film starts and ends on a TV screen. Other details they tell you which no-one reads unless unlike me you have had to wait outside the screen for the staff to clean are the capacity the screen holds, what sound system they use, the screen size.
With the screens they are always either red, purple or blue. I don't like the red screens as it's a bright bright on your eyes and cheap I feel. The best screens are the ones that hold about 500 you come in through the middle of one and looking down there are seats then if you go left or right and look up there are also plenty of seats. For most screens you come in through the side and walk up to your seats. Usually you can sit where ever you want but on say a Friday night they will seat you. The best screens are screen 1& 13. Screen 1, this is the Extreme screen you come through from the back. The screen is huge and the seats go down and curve round the room it is like a semi circle and the screen is really big also it is proper surround sound in here and makes any film great. Another cinema I like but is smaller so tends to be used less if you go see newer films is the Premier Lounge, screen 13. This is very nice in here you walk through a bar to get here, the bar is only used when parties are on and the seats are curved to make it comfy on your back. If you touch the lever on the chair the chair tilts backwards. There is a mini table on your right and also a footrest. It is a comfortable cinematic experience.
I know no-one likes to talk about toilets but here oddly enough the toilets are quite jazzy. They are purple doors and have a star on them with a famous actresses name, in the womens toilets anyway. This is weird and also it is nicely decorated and very clean.
In the foyer if you go upstairs there is a bar/lounge but I have never been in here before. This is just to pass time if you arrive early before a film. Also I do remember when a premier was on and someone famous came they took them up here and no-one was allowed there.
Another thing I like about the cinema is if you arrive early you just grab a copy of the free Unlimited magazine. This is monthly and basically is just a catalogue of all the films coming out and what they have compared them to. You can decide what you want to go see next and also there are some articles in here which pass time by while you wait.
The staff here I have always known to be very friendly. They are all smartly dressed in their blue shirt and always smile while at the till. I have also noticed that there are more foreigners working here now as well. The staff always tell you about promotions and if you have the UGC card they give you offers as well. Also once I went with my friend and she didn't have the right money but the woman working there just let her in for cheaper anyway which I thought was very kind as this never happens anywhere I normally go. Also they all seem to enjoy working here.
This is always advertised just after the trailers. Basically when I first saw this I noticed the minimum subscription of 12 year part and the fact it was £9.99 a month. So, I thought it was a rip off and that they wanted £120 up front but they don't. You go to the desk in the foyer and a friendly member of staff will help out. They only need a proof of age as you have to be over 18 and a copy of a bank statement. What the card is, is that for £10 you can see an unlimited amount of films a month, if you're a regular cinema goer like me this saves a lot of money and is the only cinema I know of that does this. You get a paper card at first and your photo taken there and then. This is temporary until they send away to UGC France which is where the company is from and just before you temporary card expires then you get the real plastic one. It is direct debit they do it and only take off £10 a month from your account. It makes life easier because with the card they just swipe it and if there are offers at the time you get them when you use the card. Also, you get special previews, get to go into the quicker queue and they send you e-mails on releases and offers.
You can now book screenings online. They accept Visa, Mastercard, Switch, Delta and American Express. The cost is £3.60 for a child, £5.80 for an adult, £3.60 for a concession, £3.60 for a student and £4 for a family ticket. These are reasonably priced and sometimes with a Snapfax you can get 2 for 1 deals. Also, if you go before 12 noon you get in for £3.30.
Personally, I have never booked online but I am sure it will be reliable enough.
The good thing about this cinema is that it takes part in a lot of European festivals. It also plays a lot of European films that others don't. It did a French film festival this year and also it takes part in the Edinburgh Film Festival etc.
The website is easy to navigate. You just go to the cinema at the top choose Edinburgh then you have all the film times and you can change dates. Also, you can click on the film and find out a summary of the plot, the certificate and the length.
Overall I love going to this cinema. It is convenient, comfortable and beats no other. Having the card is really good as it saves me a lot of money. The UGC is very popular and there are a lot of reason why that is. I have just shown that I am a film geek but if you want more information go to http://www.ugccinemas.co.uk
Some of you have already rated this (updated) review because it's an old one from 2003, so Mauri, proxam, mumsymary and MRSCANADA please skip it if you so wish :)
How many of you make regular visits to the cinema? If you're a big film fan, certainly you will. But what type of cinema do you go to - the 'elder statesmen' that have been there since the dawn of man, or the more glamourous multiplex?
Multiplexes always seemed to be expensive out of the way places, so I stuck with my nearest traditional local at Blackburn.
The problem with the traditional cinemas is that they don't have many screens, and therefore not a great amount of choice. Chances are they'll be showing the more crowd friendly films, so for example, most of the Oscar nominated films don't get a look in. Once, while doing a search online for the nearest showing of any of the latter, I came across the UGC cinema at Bolton, and decided to give them a try.
The first of these showings was The Hours (way back in 2003). Not what you'd call a blockbuster film. In my old cinema this would probably have been shown in one of those tiny screening rooms with about 80 seats. So you can imagine my delight at finding a fairly large room with an equally large screen. The chairs were comfortable and there was plenty of leg room. Only two other people turned up. There's something rather cosy about having the cinema to yourself - as if they're showing the film just for you :)
The main advantage of going to this cinema is the price. I try and go during the daytime if I can. All the weekday showings at the cinema that start before 5pm cost only £3.80 (as of July 2005). This is considerably cheap, considering other cinemas sell tickets for £5 at this time. Not a bad saving. Evening and weekend showings are more expensive - £5 - but even that is slightly better than the £6 other cinemas charge (for example, I recently saw The Fantastic Four in Leeds on a Sunday afternoon and a ticket cost £5.90). And of course you wouldn't find most small films at the local cinema.
UGC also have a fixed rate offer where you can see any films you like at any time for £10.99 a month (it used to be 9.99 but it's gone up, for shame), which sounds good value. The only downside is that you have to pay a minimum subscription fee for 12 months - thats about £132. And also, you have to have one of those awful passport photos on a special cinema pass ;)
There are a couple more downsides. First is the time it takes for the film to start. The Hours was scheduled to start at 11:40am according to the programme, but there was a 20 minute wait. It's the same for all showings. First there are the usual car/credit card/holiday ads. This is what takes up most of the time, and after 15 minutes of this you'll be mentally urging the projector to get on with the film. Then of course there are the trailers for upcoming films, which are a delight to see (I grudgingly admit that The Dukes of Hazzard doesn't look too bad after all... and it was amusing to see Lynda 'Wonder Woman' Carter as the head teacher of a superhero school in Sky High). In fact, sometimes the trailers are better to watch than the film you've come to see. Oh, and those Orange Film Board ads are pretty funny too ('Lord of the Ringtones... the fourth in the trilogy!' 'Nobody puts *Swayze* in a corner!')
The second downside is that their food is somewhat expensive. £2 for a bag of Maltesers would you believe? Similarly for a small bucket popcorn, which costs £2.45. The same can be said for drinks, ice cream (plenty of Haagen Das by the way) and swwets. It puts you off buying anything... but there isn't anyone else nearby who sells it!
Most UGC cinemas are to be found on the outskirts of large towns in retail parks. My UGC cinema is a typical example. Very easy to get to - it's just off the main road (Blackburn Rd) and there is plenty of parking. And if you want to eat out after the film, there are various restaurants and fast food places available, right next to the cinema. If you're going by train, it's a 5 minute walk from Hall'i'thwood station. Or a 30 minute walk from Bolton if you want the exercise.
Other UGCs in the North West are at Chester, East Didsbury, Liverpool Stockport and Wigan (see the website for a list of the other UK cinemas).
All the cinemas have the same prices except in London's West End where their 12 month subscription is 13.99 per month. Ouch!
If you want all the details for cinema showings (or indeed any cinema), just check out http://www.scoot.co.uk/cinemafinder. They also have a list of all the prices and a map of the area.
So overall UGC cinemas are well worth a visit, especially if you're going during the daytime, as it's cheaper and less busy. And to be honest I'd go there in the evening if necessary - much less cramped than your small local cinema, for much the same price. Recommended.
Adult: Daily £5.00
Adult: Monday to Friday before 5pm £3.80
Child: Daily £3.50
OAP: Daily £3.80
Student: Daily £3.80
Year long subscription 10.99 a month for a minimum 12 months.
http://www.ugccinemas.co.uk (online ticket booking available)
Having recently visited the UGC cinema at Five Ways, I have to say I was rather impressed with the place. Five Ways is at the interchange of several bus routes and there are good parking facilities making it a convenient place to reach. The cinema itself is large and airy, set on two levles. Assess to the second level is by esculator or lift. The cinema runs an automated telephone service, so that you can check the start time of films and also buy your tickets before you leave home. If you buy your ticket via the telephone there are special machines at the cinema to collect our ticket (no standing in the ticket queue!). Tickets were £5 per adult , £3.30 per child and a season ticket is also available for just under £10 per adult, per month for unlimited viewing. The service we received was good, staff were effecient and pleasant. There was the usual choice of refreshments; popcorn, sweets, drinks etc., but at rather elevated prices, kids soft drink £1.80, kids pocorn £2.45. There is also a bar located on the second floor, if slightly 'stonger' refreshment is needed. An aoutomated board keeps you updated on the film start times and when to take your seats. The seating in the cinema was excellent. They were well spaced out, no feeling of being overcrowded. The seats were comfortable and the rows infront were well below your level, so your view of the screen was not impeded by the person infront (regardless of their height). Also leg room was excellent, giving you plenty of freedom of movement. Each seat also had a drinks holder in the arm rest. I would certainly recommend a visit to the UGC cinema, however take you own popcorn!