“ Queens link leisure park / Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire / AB11 5BT / Tel: 08701 550 502. „
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!