This has been a seriously rough year. And if you are a regular cinema goer like me, and hundreds of other people, then this year has certainly been a bit up and down.
I started this year really strong, 3 to 4 trips to the cinema every week to see a bunch of really awesome films and I was having a blast. Then Covid struck, and understandably, all the cinemas had to close for around 5 months. Streaming services kept my addiction fed and thanks to platforms like Disney+, Amazon Prime and primarily Netflix, I have watched a bunch of films this year that I probably would never had tried if not for lockdown. I am now a firm lover of Netflix originals, even if they can be wildly hot or miss.
But then, mercifully, with new infections at a low rate, the majority of Lockdown restrictions were lifted and my local Cineworld was open for business. With face mask firmly in hand and adhering to all Covid safety advice, I happily jumped back in with both feet. OK, so a lot of other people at the cinema weren’t exactly following all the rules, but not a single outbreak of Covid had been linked to a cinema and as long as I was following all the rules, I felt pretty safe. Cineworld brought in a rule that you HAD to wear a face covering unless you were eating or drinking. Which most people took to mean that is you had a drink or a snack with you in the screen, you didn’t have to wear a mask. Not exactly the point.
Nightly, we saw cases and deaths rising again on the news. More and more of the big, tent pole, blockbuster movies were being delayed until next year and there were discussions about how cinemas would survive the year without these films. The delay of ‘No Time to Die’ the newest in the James Bond Franchise seemed to be the straw that broke the camels back. After MGM decided to push this back until 2021, Cineworld announced they would be closing all their venues in both the UK and the US, until further notice.
And while I understand to a point that they are closing temporarily now, in an attempt to save them having to close for good later, there are still a good amount of smaller movies that are still dated, at this time at least, to be coming out this year, that people in my local area will now not be able to see at all. I live in the South East of England, an area of the Country that at the moment is seeing a pretty low numbers of cases. But the Three closest cinemas to me are all Cineworld and/or Picturehouse, and my other option would normally be an Odeon, but it never reopened after lockdown so that is out of the equation as well. None of the small Indie cinemas near me are open currently either. Meaning if I want to see any of the remaining releases for the year I have to drive a minimum of 35 miles to go to the Vue. And that is something I would really rather not do.
Odeon, while running on restricted hours in a lot of it’s venues is still remaining open and are showing a pretty strong variety of new and old releases, including the closing film from LFF ‘Ammonite’ which I had previously been booked in to see. I was initially gutted by Cineworld’s decision to close rather than go down this route. Now however, as the case numbers across the country are beginning to rise sharply, it looks like they would have been forced to close soon anyway in order to help stop the spread of the virus.
So for the foreseeable future it looks like I am going to be limited to watching and reviewing only releases I am able to see through streaming services. Netflix are still cranking plenty of these out a month to keep me occupied, but I hope you can all bare with me until I am able to attend a real cinema again.
How are you feeling about the latest film/cinema news? Lets chat in the comments.