Thursday, July 14, 2011
Movie theater re-report: iPic Theaters in Fairview
High class movie-going just got a little less pricey.
When Gold Class Cinemas in Fairview opened in 2010, Film Guy John Meyer found their luxury approach to movie-going to be quite the treat, if one was willing to pony up the extra dough to be treated like royalty. However, shortly after John's visit, Gold Class was sold to iPic Theaters. Over the past 10 months or so, iPic has renovated the theater, officially reopening on June 24 with the hopes of enhancing an already-upscale entertainment option.
So what's changed? As Vincent Vega would say, "It's the little differences." While it would be hard to say that Gold Class lacked in elegance, iPic seems to have raised the game while simultaneously making the theater a tad more pocketbook-friendly. The bar in the lobby now seems to be a genuine hang-out area that could be enjoyed even by non-moviegoers. A gaggle of big screen TVs have been hung on the walls, with ample chairs and couches for people to perch on. You don't even have to wait to be served, as you can use a special card to serve yourself via wine towers that offer a wide variety of varietals.
Of course, the point for most is not necessarily the pre-show experience but the movie itself. At our screening of Horrible Bosses, my wife and I were seated in the newly-christened "Premium Plus" area, the higher-priced of the two options now available (plain ol' "Premium" being the other). For non-members, the prices range from $17.50 for Premium to $25 for Premium Plus. However, if you're a member -- and since membership is free, why wouldn't you be? -- you can get in for as low as $12.50, which is an especially good deal if you're seeing a 3D movie, as that's barely more than you'd pay for an evening Cinemark screening and actually less than at AMC.
In-theater service has changed some -- only Premium Plus customers are now served at their seats, although the menu available to both levels is still a cut or two above normal movie food. We enjoyed the Filet Mignon Trio, one of several versions of sliders (other options include Angus Burger, Portobello Mushrooms, and Mahi Mahi). We also had Truffle Fries, fries covered with shredded cheese and drizzled with truffle oil, a concoction rare at restaurants, much less at a movie theater. The free popcorn was also a nice touch.
Service throughout the night was somewhat scattershot -- none of our food came with napkins, water was requested three times before it was actually delivered -- but it's a little unfair to judge the operation as a whole based on one sitting. We appreciated that they took our orders prior to the movie starting, but it's still distracting to have servers continually coming in and out of your eye-line throughout the film. Since that's the whole purpose at a place like iPic, there's not much you can do to remedy it, but it's just not my cup of tea.
The digital projection and high-quality sound system made the movie look and sound fantastic, even though the movie was not quite as good as we were hoping for, John's glowing review notwithstanding. I'd wager to say that you won't find a better technical movie-going experience in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, especially given the small theater size.
iPic Theaters still isn't for everyone -- if you're looking to take the whole family out to the movies, it's probably best to look elsewhere. But for that special date night, this is a place that's bound to impress.
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