Cinema Matters #10: The (Five) Best Cinema Halls in Singapore
I believe cinema matters. This is a continuing monthly series of personal thoughts on film in no more than 750 words.
Good cinema halls can add to your cinematic experience. But you shouldn’t just be content with good cinema halls. You should want to desire for the best. But of course if you don’t give a hoot about such things, at least you may be curious to know which are the five best cinema halls in Singapore.
At the time of this writing, I have been to every cineplex in Singapore, except for the newly-opened Golden Village Suntec. I have my favourite cineplexes, and they contain my favourite cinema halls, which I would like to think, however biased that may be, are the best halls to watch movies in.
So… in fourth place:
#4 – Any hall at Golden Village City Square
Hardly anyone goes to GV City Square, but this is relative to the other cineplexes in the vicinity like GV Plaza, The Cathay, or even Shaw nex. This is also precisely why it contains some of the best halls in Singapore. The halls are quiet, well-maintained, and of course, new. The digital projectors and sound systems are top-notch, and the seats are comfy with a reasonable amount of leg room. I might just say the same for GV Suntec once I try it out. Do visit GV City Square – I have been suitably impressed so far.
#3 – Hall 4, Shaw Lido
This hall is a pleasure to watch movies in. It has a huge screen, with an excellent eye-to-screen distance. If you find a good spot (the rule of thumb is centre seats, 1/3 away from the back or 2/3 from the front), it becomes IMAX-lite, and worth every bit of your penny. Also being 3D equipped with RealD technology (the best in the business), the large screen size becomes immersive. So the next time you visit Shaw Lido, find out if the movie you are planning to catch is available at Hall 4. Some of the marquee titles of the Singapore International Film Festival 2014 are screening in this hall, including 2014 Palme d'Or winner Winter Sleep, Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs (2013) and Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria (2014).
#2 – GV Max, Golden Village VivoCity
It used to be the best hall in Singapore when GV VivoCity first opened in 2006. Because it is less well-maintained than expected, you can feel that a facelift or revamp of the seat material might help to freshen the place up. It is the largest hall in Singapore with more than 600 seats, and features one of the largest screens in Southeast Asia. Now equipped with Dolby Atmos and RealD 3D technologies, the experience remains superb nevertheless. Sentimentally, it is still my favourite hall because of Perspectives Film Festival 2011, where I introduced the previously banned Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) to a full crowd in its Singapore premiere.
Notably great experience watching: The Departed (2006) and The Dark Knight (2008).
#1 – The Grand Cathay, The Cathay
In my opinion, this hall has been enduring for many, many years. At slightly less than 600 seats, and a screen to match its large space, it is a hall that you will find pleasant, elegant, grand even, befitting of its name. It is probably the best non-premium priced hall and worth heading to for your regular movie fix. Like GV Max, it usually screens more popular blockbuster titles so that its space is best utilized by fervent moviegoers. The surround sound is fantastic and the projection is top notch. There’s less legroom than GV Max, but the seats and carpeting are better maintained. You will be awed watching the latest blockbuster here.
BEST HALL – Shaw Lido IMAX
Of course, it’s not fair to say this because it is a premium-priced hall, but still it is hands-down the best hall at every level – state-of-the-art IMAX projection, crystal clear sound production, comfortable seats etc. But there is a disclaimer, you must choose the right seats. Choose either Row I or J, around seats 15 – 20. And then you will find your life is complete. But do bear in mind that there is no point in catching a film not shot, or not partly shot in IMAX in IMAX exhibition format. So Fury, no; Interstellar, yes.
And of course, Star Wars: Episode VII, yes.
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