seen @ Center Cinema 5, Sunnyside, Queens, NY
I hadn't realized how accustomed I had gotten to having high-backed seats arranged stadium-style in movie theaters until yesterday, when I went to see Drive. I'd been to the Sunnyside before (that's not the theater's name, but that's how I refer to it), and while it's not the greatest theater in town, it's not the worst, either. I copped an aisle seat like I always do, this one maybe two-thirds of the way back from the screen. The seat felt a little wobbly, so I moved back an aisle to another one. No stadium-style seating here; all the rows are on the same plane. The armrests - the kind with cup holders - were immovable, which left me with just enough wiggle room, but it was okay since I could stretch my legs out in the aisle (though not far enough to trip people, of course). The auditorium had perhaps a dozen people or so.
The film starts and wouldn't you know it, an old couple across the aisle and behind me begins an on-again, off-again pattern of mumbling to themselves about the action on screen. It doesn't take me long to decide that this is gonna be a problem, so I grab my stuff and move forward about eight or nine aisles and in towards the wall, the point being to get as far away from the couple as possible.
And this is where I start to become more conscious of the seats. I can't stretch my legs out comfortably, me being somewhat tall, so I have to swing them sideways. Because I can't stretch out my legs, I try to compensate by leaning down, but I can't do that very comfortably either because the seats only come up to just below my shoulder blades, so I have to kind of contort my body sideways to adjust to not only the lack of legroom but to see the screen better, since I'm now on the side instead of in the middle. The Angelika is arranged this way too, but there's much more legroom there; I can slump down in my seat comfortably without it being a big deal.
As for the movie, well, I liked it, though it didn't blow me away like with most critics. Much more violent than I expected, but the violence comes in mostly quick bursts, kinda like Ryan Gosling's character - generally placid on the surface, but ready to kick your ass if the need arises. The whole film simmers like that - the use of dissolves, long takes, and pregnant pauses makes the action, when it comes, feel more abrupt. It also has a bit of an 80s vibe going on, what with the hot pink of the credits, the Miami Vice-like cinematography of LA, and especially the synth-heavy soundtrack.