Ranked! Trinidad Cinemas

This list is my definitive list of all the cinemas in Trinidad currently, ranked on their merits, and I will go over all the positives and negatives of each till we get to the cream of the crop. So lets get into it. Each cinema is ranked on a few different things, which then combine to an overall score which gives that cinema its overall ranking.

9) Caribbean Cinemas 8:

Kicking the list off (meaning in last place #sorrynotsorry) is one of the original “New” cinemas to hit the island, but it didn’t take long for it to fall off, in my eyes at least. They’re a few reasons they’re at the bottom of the list, as you will see in the break down, but its something I wish wasn’t so because this cinema had and probably will always have so much potential that it may just never live up to.

Great for: Sending your bad ass kids.

Bad for: Actually enjoying the movie.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7/10   Food: 4/10   Screen: 5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 2/10

Total Score: 5.2 out of 10

8) Movie Towne Chaguanas:

From this point on, this list gets a lot more competitive, and cinemas are separated by much less. Next up we have Movie Towne Chaguanas, which can really feel like the forgotten Movie Towne. It has more or less all the trappings of the other Movie Towne’s, but the overall cinema feels a bit more dated than it should. It does generally run Bollywood movies more often than some other cinemas, so if thats more you’re speed then this should probably rank a little higher for you.

Great for: Taking your outside woman/man.

Bad for: Taking your actual woman/man.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 6.5/10   Screen: 8/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 6.6 out of 10

7) Caribbean Cinemas 10:

Out here repping for what the Caribbean Cinemas experience could and maybe should be is the newer Caribbean Cinemas 10. Boasting a much more state of the art setup, in all facets, while still being able to offer some of the cheapest tickets around, makes CCX a much more compelling place to find yourself. It might be the most “best of both worlds” cinema in this set, so if the price is the biggest deal for you, then this is your place.

Great for: Saving a $40.

Bad for: Seeing the movie on time cause they play like 30 mins of ads.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 9/10   Food: 6.5/10   Screen: 7/10   Location: 7.5/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 7.4 out of 10

6) Movie Towne Tobago:

Can’t forget the sister isle, even if the cinema Gods did for a while. The opening of the Movie Towne Tobago complex was a great addition for any cinema fans that lived on the smaller isle. It does everything you could want from a cineplex, and only it rest above CCX mostly because of the generally superior food of Movie Towne’s, but is also just a bit more comfy.

Great for: Seeing any movie in Tobago.

Bad for: Getting service faster than “Island Pace”.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 8/10   Screen: 7.5/10   Location: 7/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 7.4 out of 10

5) Digicel Imax:

The only “Imax” certified screen on the Island is a strong boast for the Digicel Imax cinema that finds itself having probably the best screen experience of all the cinemas on this list. They also do have the benefit of running midnight screenings of movies, which is a great welcome when you really want to be the first to see something. There is only 1 screen, but thats just something you have to deal with. This Imax might be higher on the list if some of its other attributes were up to the standards of some of the other cinemas on this list.

Great for: Seeing a movie in 3D when you actually want to see it in 3D.

Bad for: If you like your cinema screens more on the empty side.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 6.5/10   Food: 5/10   Screen: 10/10   Location: 8.5/10   Experience: 7.5/10

Total Score: 7.5 out of 10

4) Movie Towne Invaders Bay:

One of the real OG’s of this list is the original Movie Towne, aka Movie Towne Invaders Bay. Even though this was the original Movie Towne, it more or less got it right from the start. It had higher prices than CC8, but it gave you so many reasons for that added price, that it wasn’t just a higher price, because it gave you so much value. It also had the benefit of being the centre piece of this development, so that things were really designed with the cinema first kind of mentality, that shows in just how little they have had to change things, in order to keep up with he rising competition.

Great for: When you just want to see a movie, and know exactly what you’re going to get.

Bad for: If you like to go to the cinema on a Saturday night because the place is a zoo then.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8/10   Location: 8.5/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 8 out of 10

3) Gemstone:

Now we’re getting to the cream of the crop. Gemstone is a new set of premium or vip style screens, which is a newer trend on the island. They pair smaller more intimate screens, with a much more lush and pampered style of experience, boasting probably the best chairs of any cinema on this list. Gemstone offers you motorised leather padded seats, much more personal and leg room, an actual menu of appetisers and snacks to order from, and just a much more refined atmosphere. This would rank number 2 over all if it weren’t for some small differences, that put another set of vip style screens just ahead of it.

Great for: Impressing a girl on a movie date.

Bad for: Your pocket.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8.5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 8/10

Total Score : 8.1 out of 10

2) Movie Towne Vip:

Second place officially goes to the Movie Towne Vip set of screens (combined between invaders bay and C3 center). These offer just about everything that Gemstones offers, besting it only in two ways. One, they do have the better food and drink selection, its not like miles bette, but it is better, and they also have some better combos. And secondly, they do manage a bit of a warmer, more relaxing, more inviting experience than gemstone. Gemstone does have the better seats, but MT Vip gives you a blanket, is better staffed, and they have less of a “fancy dentist office” lobby like Gemstone, and more of an “old favourite restaurant where all the staff knows you”, kind of feel. It might seem like a knit pick or a bias, but one had to be 2 and one had to be 3, and I feel like those little differences do make a difference.

Great for: Date night.

Bad for: If you really wished your date night stop was more separated from the main cinema itself.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8.5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 8.5/10

Total Score: 8.3 out of 10

1) Movie Towne South:

And coming in at number 1, I think this is actually the newest cinema on this list so that must help, but its the latest and greatest from the Movie Towne team, and that’s Movie Towne South. Set as the name implies in the south of the island, this new MT venue gave them the chance and opportunity to really go all out. Set in its own little Hollywood, and fit with all the trimmings for not just a great cinema experience, but just a great night out, MT South really does set the bar currently, for what going to the cinema should be like. With a few different level of movie going experiences on offer, the same great MT food we know and love, plus all the brand new tools and toys to wow us, Movie Towne South truly is the best in cinema going Trinidad and Tobago has to offer, and even if you have to take an hour drive to get there, trust me, it’s worth it.

Great for: Having a great ass time.

Bad for: If you don’t like enjoying life.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 8/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 9/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 9/10

Total Score: 8.6 out of 10

So what do you think of my list? Think your favourite cinema should be number one? Comment what you thought, like and share, and feel free to state a case for any cinema you think should be ranked higher or lower here.

Cheers.

 

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TTFF 17 Review


Moko Jumbie (Trinidad 2017)

“Asha flies in from England to visit her old family home. But there’s trouble in paradise. Her aunt Mary doesn’t like her associating with their Afro-Trinidadian neighbours. Then Asha begins to realise this abandoned seaside coconut estate is not as tranquil as it looks. Trinidadian-American director Anderson’s striking imagery mingles memory and imagining, the mundane and the supernatural, in examining family, race, class, and the quest for home.”

Written and directed by Vashti Anderson, Moko Jumbie stars Vanna Girod in the title role of Asha. Those are the things I know for sure about this movie, the rest is a bit of speculation. I say that because, honestly, I’m not 100% sure what happened in this movie. It plays out very Terrence Malick esk, where it’s extremely visual, and they are good visuals, but sometimes those visuals, and the narrative don’t over lap. This movie is also about decision making, especially on the part of the film makers here, as many of the creative decisions, didn’t fit what I was seeing. A large component of this film is folk lore, and the myths and legends that came over to Trinidad and Tobago on boasts so long ago. Vanna does a great job of doing what I imagine she was directed to do, and she manages to keep a level a nuance to her performance, especially in the more quiet moments of the film. The problem is when things happen in this movie, they seem to happen almost inexplicably. One moment we have this going on, the next minute there is literally a coup. This decision making, this maybe resolution of style over substance can be a bit jarring, and makes things feel very disjointed. And while this could simply be labeled as more “experimental”, that alone can’t be a crutch to lean on. I feel like Moko Jumbie, as a script or as an idea, was something subtle, something nuanced, but the execution and final product, is muddied and murky. Moko Jumbie stands tallest on the performed of its lead and its visuals, but is let down by its creative decision making, and lack of coherence.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Visibly Me (Short/Trinidad 2017)

“Visibly me tells the story of a 47 year old woman with no partner and no children who finds herself invisible and feels she has no choice but to find the antidote.”

Visibly Me is listed as a documentary short, but it plays out like a narrative, and I feel like a narrative is what this short really wants to be. It uses mostly voice over to tell the authors story, and to give meaning to what we see on screen. The idea of being invisible is a real big theme here, and it’s shown in the visuals, and the way this short is shot. Most of the angles and compositions have to do with the idea of being right there, but still not being scene, and it that regard they are successful. Where I think there are issues are when these concepts conflict, which I why I say this should have been an actual story, something we could identify with. If this short was made only to appeal to a very specific audience then that’s fine, but I feel like it’s meant to spread a message, over being a closed loop. Even at 13 minutes long, this short feels much longer, as it often seemed to wander seemingly aimlessly very often. All in all I think what we have here is a clash, a clash of styles, a clash of ideas, and a clash of methodology.

Review Score : 4 out of 10

Review : The Cutlass

The-cutlass-poster

“Inspired by true events, THE CUTLASS is a dramatic thriller set in the tropical wilderness of Trinidad and tells the story of a young woman who falls into the grasp of a dangerous sociopath. She finds herself isolated and musters the courage to emotionally battle the unsettled mind of her abductor.”

As the summary implies, this movie both takes place and was made by and in Trinidad and Tobago (so if you’re not from or in the Caribbean you might not be able to see this one). Its written by Teneille Newallo, and directed by Darisha Beresford, and it boasts a genuinely diverse cast across all levels. The movie itself is definitely more good than bad, but first, the good. Arnold Goindhan who plays the antagonist here, has the meatiest role, and the most heavy lifting, acting wise to do here, and he does a pretty good job. He does come across as sincere in his more vulnerable moments, and when he keeps his portrayal subtle, he really shines. He does this across from Lisa-Bel Hirschmann, who definitely keeps her acting as subtle as possible, but for the most part doesn’t have as much to play against. Her most emotional scene however, is done really well, and she does tug on the heart strings with her performance there. I do think some of the cinematography does lack a bit of imagination, as I think it would have allowed for some more powerful scenes with some better framing. I also did have some problems with the sound, not in that it was bad, or not done properly, there just were a few times when I felt in either the ADR, or straight audio mixing of the audio, that some dialogue didn’t feel like it was happening in the situation, but sounded more like a voice over. The score I also wasn’t too impressed with, for the most part it was very subdued and subtle, and thats fine, but I felt like when it really needed to swell and help impart some emotion or suspense, it came off a bit lack luster. And lack luster is how I would define the ending of this movie, for most of it, everything in the movie is building towards to a head, towards some kind of resolution, and you just never get it. There is an ending here, and there are definite resolutions in the script, but things don’t feel resolved, they feel like what we invested in before, was fully paid off. I know I probably sound like I really don’t like this film, but I did like it, the things that it did well, it genuinely did. There are some problems here yes, like any movie really, but this movie definitely shows the raising levels of Caribbean film making. Production wise this is one of the best local (local meaning Trinidadian) films I’ve seen. All in all, I do encourage anyone who has the opportunity to check this movie out to do so, supporting local industries is important for growth, and there is definitely enjoyment to be had in this movie.

Review Score : 7 out of 10