I can't really understand what the general objection to multiplex cinemas is; granted, they only tend to show the latest Hollywood releases so you're not going to find the latest 'art house' / foriegn films in these types of venues, but on the plus side - and from my point of view, it is a really big plus - they are generally sited outside of city centres so if nothing else you're rarely, if ever, going to find yourself stuck sitting beside a stinking tramp who's only come in to shelter from the cold / rain.
Harsh, and not very PC to homeless people admittedly, but some years ago I vividly remember sitting through a showing of 'Last of the Mohicans' in the - at that time - two-screen town cinema in Aberdeen's city centre (two screens, so there was nothing else we wanted to see on). The dialogue was inaudible because of the poor sound system / acoustics in the geriatric, grimy picture house, and the flatulent tramp sitting in front of us broke wind constantly throughout the entire performance.
Happily, shortly after that I moved to the south-west where you generally get a choice of more than two films at the cinema, and even better, where they have multiplexs, of which the 'Vue' at Cribbs Causeway is my personal favourite.
It doesn't smell and it isn't grimy because they clean it after every performance; it's been in situ for at least 10 years but the seats and flooring are still in good nick so it appears that they do maintain / occasionally refurbish it; Cribbs Causeway is effectively inaccessible to anyone who doesn't have access to a car so that tends to weed out the weirdo-element you often find with city-centre cinemas, and with a 12 screen (and I see from the very useful website) 2600-odd seat capacity it almost never gets crowded or full up. The exception to this is perhaps for avidly anticipated, summer blockbuster type features, for which, at peak showing times (any time from about 4 - 9pm) especially at weekends may become short of seats - but that's the beauty of 'Vue' - showings of the newly-released films run, at peak times, approximately every hour to hour and a half, so in the unlikely event that you arrive and find your chosen showing is sold out, you don't have long to wait for another similar one. At Cribbs Causeway there are lots of things you can do to occupy a bit of time; e.g. many (pretty poor) chain sit-down restaurants of the 'Bella Italia' and 'TGI Fridays' variety adjacent, also a bowling alley and a big shopping mall across the road from the 'Vue'.
There are a number of 'special programmes' available at the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue'. They quite regularly show kids films, even repeat showings of ones that have been on release for a while, at weekends during the afternoons; there are regular subtitled performances of certain popular films, adults-only showings of standard films later in the evening, and occasional 'one of a kind' performances - like midnight showing of horror flicks, or the singalonga showings of 'Mamma Mia' that were so popular last summer.
The ticket staff do tend to be a bit on the gormless side. This, combined with the excruciatingly slow approach taken to deciding on a film / buying the ticket for it that I've noticed seems to affect many patrons of the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue' as they cluster round the point of sale means that it'll take you disproportionately more time to buy your cinema ticket than it should do. You might try purchasing a ticket using your credit card online, via the cinema's website, but the machine just inside the foyer from which you collect such advance bookings is often out of order, so you generally have to wait in the queue in any case. They accept cash, credit and debit cards, but don't have chip 'n pin yet so you have to sign for your tickets. There is a standalone 'Halifax' bank machine in the car-park, not far from the entrance to the cinema where you can get cash.
They also accept at the time of writing, 'Nectar' reward points - 1000 points buys you a standard adult ticket to get into the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue'. As you only get 1 Nectar point per £1 you spend, this isn't exactly the deal of the century, but since there's not a lot else worth £7-8 worth having that you can trade in 1000 Nectar rewards points for it might work out OK for some people. If you want to spend your Nectar points at the cinema, just take along your Nectar reward card; be vigilant however, as the aforesaid often generally gormless sales staff are very likely to make a mistake during the transaction.
The ticket prices are not cheap - £7 to £8 for a peak-time showing of film. The food prices in the foyer are ridiculously expensive - as they always are at the cinema; they've got all the usual popcorn, sweet, soft drinks and ice-creams you usually find on sale in these sorts of venues. I don't buy food at the 'Vue' myself because it's a blatant rip-off - you're looking at over a quid for a small bottle of water and I don't know, checking your overdraft facility before considering a purchase of popcorn, but this is absolutely standard for cinemas everywhere, of course, so not a bad point against this particular branch. The toilets tend to be OK if the cinema isn't too busy.
At the Vue the advertised start of a film actually refers to the start of 15-20 minutes of advertising mostly for mobile phones and I-Pods that you have to sit through before the trailers for upcoming film releases even begin. The actual programme doesn't start till some time after that. I find it a good idea to arrive for any film I want to see 15 minutes after it is due to start for this reason, but as they turn the lights off you'll need to bring along a small torch so you can find a free seat.
I recently visited my family in Bristol, and seeing as it was my Birthday I decided to ask my mum to babysit so me and hubby could go to the cinema. Something we haven't done for about a year!
The local cinema was Vue at Cribbs Causeway and it has been quite a long time since we used it, when we were younger we used to go every couple of months.
We went at what I would class as peak time, 8pm Friday. I was amazed to see no queues as we walked through the door, I then realised there was a sign stating that you could buy your tickets either from the food concessions or from the automatic dispensers. This seemed a little odd at what I thought was a peak time, we decided to buy tickets from the dispensing machines in the front entrance to avoid disappointment, but found that only 1 out of the 5 there were working!
Anyway, tickets in hand (at £7.10 per adult!) we then felt it was time to go and bankrupt ourselves on food to take in with us. As usual the prices were hugely inflated but it was a treat so we ignored the £4 for popcorn, £2 for nachos and I really did ignore the price of the drink! As you can imagine with no-one selling tickets at the door the queues for the food were quite large but the staff were serving fairly quickly. You could also buy ice cream and pick and mix sweets (£1.15 per 100g) from a separate counter, and I also noticed that they had a bar, but you could not take drinks from the bar into the cinema.
This is a large cinema with either 10 or 12 (sorry, memory not very good) screens and they show all the latest releases. They have great seats, set out in a way that you never have someone with a large hat sitting in front of you getting in the way, and the arm rests go up so if you are feeling cold (why is the heating always down so low?) you can snuggle up with your cinema companion, or keep them down if you like!
The staff are generally helpful, the screens are cleaned after every film so no sticky bits on the floor or popcorn on the seats!
They only get 2 stars as I feel taking away a ticket desk at peak times is a daft idea, especially if they cannot keep their dispensing machines in order!
**We saw Fools Gold for anyone interested, and it was fairly good!**