Ever since it opened two years ago, Village Cinema hasn’t just attempted to generate a buzz — make that martini extra dry, please — it’s shaken up Boise’s moviegoing experience.
There was the crushing Dolby Atmos sound. The bone-shaking D-Box seats. And, yes, the cocktails served in the adults-only VIP areas.
So it’s no surprise that The Village at Meridian’s multiplex is the first in Idaho to launch the latest technology designed to lure movie buffs out of their home theaters.
It’s called Barco Escape.
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On Sept. 18, sci-fi action thriller “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” opened. If you pay a $6 upgrade fee, you can see it in the auditorium equipped with Barco.
Think of those extra six clams as a bargain. You get to watch three screens instead of one. There’s the usual screen in front. But with Barco Escape, there are two screens on the sides, too — each with their own projectors — creating a super-wide, panoramic experience.
Village Cinema’s Barco Escape-equipped auditorium is one of just 20 in the United States, according to Cinema West Operations Manager Sheri Meehan.
“Barco is going for that immersive feel with this technology,” she says.
The idea is cool. But it raises the question: When will the mind-frying theater advances ever stop? When our heads actually explode?
When I joke about combining 3-D technology with Barco Escape, Meehan replies that, um, yep, that’s being discussed.
“It’s insanity,” she agrees with a laugh. “But, yeah, they’re definitely working on that. So we’ll see how that plays.”
“Maze Runner” is the only Barco Escape movie currently available. But others are rolling down the pipeline. Barco has inked deals with 20th Century Fox and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Meehan watched a short preview of a Barco Escape concert film featuring Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. It should be out by the holidays.
The experience gave her perspective. Differences in onscreen action — and your preference for visceral intensity — might affect whether you want to sit closer or farther away at a Barco Escape film, she says: “It’s a different feel.”
The Gaga/Bennett film is “panoramic, slow-moving. It was cool,” she says. “It was cool to be further back to look at that as opposed to being up closer. It’s definitely going to be personal preference, I think.”
Interested in checking out Barco Escape yourself? “Maze Runner” should be at Village Cinema for at least a month.
‘Alternative’ FM station
A new radio station debuted recently at 92.7 FM. It calls itself “The Alternative.”
You’ll hear many songs that you normally wouldn’t find on other Treasure Valley commercial stations. Other parts of the playlist overlap established competitors.
There’s no deejay, just music — along with periodic reminders that you are listening to The Alternative. (And, no, I don’t need you snarky millenials telling me that listening to terrestrial radio is an alternative, period.)
I spent a half hour or so with 92.7 FM and heard, in succession, Sublime (“Doin’ Time”), Elle King (“Ex’s & Oh’s”), The Killers (“All These Things I’ve Done”), Mumford & Sons (“The Wolf”), Green Day (“Welcome to Paradise”) and Coleman Hell (“2 Heads”). Two of those tracks are on the Billboard Top 20 Alternative Songs chart, so I’d expect that to be a heavy influence. (“Ex’s & Oh’s” is No. 1.)
An email to the general manager of Impact Radio Group, which operates the station, wasn’t returned by press time. However, Radio Insight, which covers the radio industry, says that core artists at 92.7 FM will include Pearl Jam, Muse, Nirvana, Mumford & Sons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons and Foo Fighters.
If you have HD radio, you can chase a better signal for The Alternative at 101.9.
Tonight in ‘The Other Studio’
If you want an hour of beyond-alternative on commercial radio, well, you know where to go.
Join Tim Johnstone and I as we talk upcoming albums and concerts plus spin tunes from acts including Emily Braden, 2Cellos, Ryan Adams (and Bryan Adams), Battles, Halsey, Mutemath, Fantastic Negrito, Zella Day and Turquoise Jeep (a hip-hop act coming to Neurolux in Boise on Sept. 25).
“The Other Studio” airs from 9 to 10 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
Coming in Scene magazine Oct. 2
• Margaritas in Meridian? Casa del Matador spices up The Village. Our restaurant reviewer dines at the tequila haven.
• Fall flicks: A look at movies on the horizon in the next couple of months. And albums, too.
Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene magazine and alternating Sundays in Explore.