By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Miami May Be a Small Town, but It's Home to One Very Big Ego
Brett Sokol's "arthouse" movie feature ("Missing the Big Picture," June 17), while mostly excellent, also angered me. An anonymous local arts writer was quoted as saying, "Miami is the sticks. You don't get art films in the sticks." That is just pure snobbishness.
It is true Miami is not an art-film paradise, but New York City is not what it used to be either. Granted there is no Miami equivalent of the Anthology Film Archives (for experimental films more past than present) or the Film Forum revival house or the Museum of Modern Art. Still, more than 80 percent of the so-called art films advertised in the Village Voice eventually appear here. Very seldom does a film I want to see never arrive in Miami.
Incidentally Nat Chediak should spend more time making his Miami International Film Festival truly important and less time egomaniacally pissing on his local competition. Despite the flaws of duplication and festival saturation he mentions, does this know-it-all really believe Miami would be better off if these screenings didn't take place? He also says, ayatollahlike, that the recent Hispanic Film Festival had not one (his words) film he'd recommend to a friend. That's an embarrassing ego on display. I've got news for him: His festival has plenty of mediocre selections.
Now Playing: Nightmare on Lincoln Road
Regarding "Missing the Big Picture," many residents of Miami Beach argued vehemently against the city commission's approval of the Regal Cinemas multiplex monstrosity and its intrusion into the character and comparative tranquility of Lincoln Road. But the city's leaders ignored the hue and cry of their constituents and the cinema complex rose like a garish reminder of overdevelopment. Having now visited the facility, I can hardly imagine a more poorly conceived cinema complex.
Much has been said about the poor judgment underlying the commission's decision to permit Regal to build a facility for 2900 patrons while providing fewer than 300 parking spaces. The problems, though, do not end there. The inadequate parking is located in a structure apparently designed to frustrate visitors. The interior traffic lanes are narrow, particularly at the ramps. There are no signs directing patrons to exits, stairwells, or elevators. The single elevator that is provided is unmercifully slow, while the stairwells provide access to the ground floor but not back up; there are no door handles on the outside. This clever design results in huge crowds gathering at the entrance to the one elevator as patrons wait to return to their cars.
As for the theaters themselves, it appears no more thought was given to the needs of patrons. The box-office lobby, located on the ground floor, is far too small to accommodate the number of people who might attend eighteen separate theaters. As a result a ticket line forms that extends out the lobby doors and down the block, where patrons can wait while standing in the rain, as I did when I visited. Additionally the elevators intended to provide access to the upper levels (and presumably to comply with accessibility requirements) are located at the rear of the box-office lobby. No individual in a wheelchair could ever get there through the crowd of ticket purchasers.
Inside, the restrooms draw immediate attention to themselves -- not because of their remarkable design but because of their inadequate number and cramped configuration. There are a total of eight urinals and six stalls throughout the entire three floors of the complex to serve the male portion of a possible 2900 patrons. I assume the situation for female patrons is even worse. During the Saturday matinee I attended, there was a three-minute line to enter one of the men's restrooms. While three minutes may seem inconsequential when waiting for coffee to brew, it seems considerably longer when nature calls.
Inside the auditoriums themselves, I expected to find a state-of-the-art facility. The Aventura multiplex provides high-backed, comfortably cushioned seats that recline and abut each other to allow couples or family members to sit close together. The seats provided by Regal Cinemas do not recline, are poorly padded, provide no head rests, and are separated from each other by a gap into which a small child could disappear. This is certainly not state-of-the-art.
The crowning glory of this facility is that Regal Cinemas has the audacity to charge $7.25 for each regular adult ticket sold. I am unaware of any other cinema in Miami-Dade County that charges so much for a single ticket. No number of luridly colored windows (thank you, Mondrian) justifies this price, particularly in light of the many design flaws and disappointments.
The design and construction of this cinema complex has been a study in expediency and lack of consideration for the wishes of residents. I experienced my problems during a Saturday-matinee visit. I can barely imagine what awaits a patron on a crowded Friday or Saturday evening.
The one redeeming element in all this is that those of us who have voiced our objections to the movie theaters may ultimately prevail in our desire to preserve the integrity of Lincoln Road Mall. I cannot imagine that once the novelty of the complex fades, patrons will continue to pay inflated ticket prices to watch movies in a facility that cares so little about their needs. And when that occurs, the cinema complex will fail.