I used to go to the movies all the time — at least once a month, if not every couple of weeks, to see what I could see.
This year, I've been to the cinema all of... two times. I saw Cabin in the Woods, and I saw Prometheus. I enjoyed both experiences immensely... though I think I would have been fine waiting to rent a copy of the former film.
And why is that, I wonder? What did the movies mean to me that they don't any more?
I suppose it's something to do with the inherent spectacle of cinema. The experience of being taken in by a film. But then, I didn't always have a sweet series six Samsung to watch movies on at home, nor the surround sound setup that I take for granted today. Either that's what's changed, or I have.
Though I suspect the whole truth is that it's a bit of both.
Because I certainly don't like opening nights. These days, there's nothing quite as likely to spoil a trip to the pictures for me than the sweaty, noisy, nacho-slathered mass of fellow film-goers that one can hardly avoid on opening nights. The inappropriate sniggering. The conversations you can't help but overhear during quiet moments.
So on those increasingly rare occasions when I feel like I need to see something at the cinema - because I'll have to wait four more months if I opt not to - I'll wait at least a week. Often longer. And in that time, any number of things can happen to put me off: I can read one too many negative reviews, or be spoiled by some sadistic soul, or outside of all that, obligations have a habit of coming up right when I wish they wouldn't.
Which is why I still haven't seen The Avengers. Or The Hunger Games. Despite having planned to take both films in at the pictures.
I won't - and I haven't - let that happen with The Dark Knight Rises. Batman Begins might have been a bit mince - fun in a silly sort of way - but The Dark Knight was and is one of my very favourite films ever, and I have faith in Chris Nolan to conclude this trilogy more meaningfully than in the movie it began with.
Long story short, I've been avoiding potential spoilers all week. I haven't, as yet, read a single review. And I think it's safe to say that by now, the farters have come and gone.
Or at least, that's the dream.
But the dream, for me, has taken on a different form than it has in the past, because given how significant spectacle is in terms of my interest in cinema, and the fact that there isn't another film I can imagine myself being this excited to see due for a period of years, for the first time in my life, I've booked tickets to the IMAX. To see The Dark Knight Rises.
And do you know, I don't even know what IMAX is!
My best guess? It's big cinema. And I'm expecting big things from this film. So it sort of follows.
But I really have no idea what to expect otherwise, and there are truly few things as thrilling to a jaded old man like myself as that. To wit: woo!
I'll report back on my inaugural IMAX experience in the comments a little later, or else in my review of The Dark Knight Rises. In advance of that, though, what about you guys? I want to know.
Do you, for instance, go to the cinema as often as you used to do? If not, why not? What's changed?
Meanwhile, who's seen something at the IMAX? Did it add anything to the essential experience, in your opinion, or ruin the movie for you?
We'll talk again shortly!