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Address: Ozone Leisure Park / Grenoble Road / Oxford / OX4 4XP / United Kingdom / Tel: 0871 224 0240

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      09.06.2010 14:13
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      Worse than you'd think possible...

      A cinema always seemed to me to be a fairly easy business to run well. All you need to do is show films, how hard can that be, right?

      It was only after visiting Vue Oxford semi-regularly that I realised how many things there actually are that can be done wrong - and they manage them all.

      For those that don't know, the Vue is to the south of Oxford adjacent to the Oxford United football stadium. It's accompanied by a bowling alley, Frankie and Benny's, a Chinese and a substantial gym complex. There's free parking and it's pretty easy to drive to from the Oxford ring road...So, how have they gotten things so wrong?

      For starters, I've been three times when they've been completely unable to play the film. Just couldn't work out the projector, couldn't find the film or other "technical difficulties" - so I've had to return on another occasion to see the film - that's quite a fundamental problem, I think.

      Even when the films have been shown, I've been in showings where the picture's been out of focus, where the sound has been cutting in and out and even in one where the projector was pointing in the wrong direction - so there was a black stripe down one side of the screen and the film was being shown on the curtain on the other side. When you go and point these things out to staff, you just get a grunt.

      The staff are probably a good place to carry on my rant - more often than not, when they accepted nectar points as payment (they still do, but via more expensive "vouchers", now) I was either overcharged, or they tried to overcharge me before I pointed out their mistake. Similarly I'm constantly having to point out errors in their charging of food and drink (which are ridiculously overpriced at the best of times). Quite often they'll have signs up for offers that the cashier will completely ignore. We've also been charged for a 3D showing of a film to discover the showing is actually in 2D. I'm yet to fully conclude whether these errors are just down to a complete lack of training of the staff, or whether it's an underhanded, systematic way to screw a few extra pennies out of each punter.

      Other staff, as is rapidly becoming the trend, seem to be conspicuous in their absence - it's quite common to have to chose your seat not on the best viewing angle or sound arrangement, but on the depth of the popcorn over the seat. It's rare that a screen looks like a cleaner's even turned up between showings - muchless done a good job. Ushers, also, seem to have fallen by the wayside - so it's pretty common to have loud conversations or phonecalls going on throughout a film.

      As they say in the ads - "Cinema: it's the experience the counts" - sadly, Vue Oxford have managed to completely ruin the experience of going to the pictures, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If you're in Oxford, you'll be much better served by Odeon in the town centre - or head south for 15 minutes on the A34 and visit Cineworld in Didcot.

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