Saturday Jan 25

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The Empire Cinema

Let me start by saying this: I love movies. I love watching movies. I love watching movie trailers. More awesome that watching movies? Watching a show at the cinema! There is just something so awesome about being at a cinema with a bag of popcorn, some peanuts, a can of soda and a bunch of friends or a loved one! If I recall correctly, the first time I watched a movie at a cinema was in 1993 at the Marina in Seria. Jurassic Park had just been released and there I was in the packed hall...watching a movie on the big screen.

Let me try and recap the movies I have seen so far this year. In non-chronological order - Captain America, In Time, Contagion, Breaking Dawn (1), Immortals, Sherlock Holmes (1), Transformers 3, Battle Los Angeles, Thor, Real Steel, Sucker Punch, Rango, Just Go With It, Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, Lincoln Lawyer, Source Code, Hanna, Rio, Kung Fu Panda 2, XMen First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and most recently, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. There are others, but these are the ones I can remember. Out of these, I enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Limitless the most.

What about you? What have you watched this year? Which ones stand out?

Speaking about movies and cinemas, do check out The Empire Cinema, managed by MVision Cinemas. It is nestled at The Empire Hotel and Country Club...very handy for guests at the Hotel. There is plentiful parking space, the latest international and regional movies are screened, there is a well-stocked 'candy bar', there is a comfortable lounge area, there are options for 'gold-class' seats, and it is just 30 minutes from Bandar Seri Begawan. Here are some photographs from the Empire Cinema. For details about their movie sessions, click here.

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For those of you interested in a historical account of cinemas in Brunei, here's an excerpt from The Daily Brunei Resources, @BruneiResources.

"Cinema Memories in Brunei".

In the 1960s and 1970s I remembered going to the padang in Muara watching movies being played there. There will be lots and lots of people there – all watching black and white movies. I don’t think the movies were in colour then. I remembered my dad used to own one of those home movie projectors and every time we stayed at my auntie’s place in Seria, he would play one of those silent movies and there would be lots of people watching it. It was unbelievable. Dad used to be one of the first to own a home movie equipment and we would get to see ourselves on screen after he has sent off the film for processing somewhere in the world. Today, in the days of 50 inch plasma television with multi media multi surround home movie equipment, those days were almost unthinkable...

...Before the first world war, there was one cinema but it was destroyed during the war. It was rebuilt as the Boon Pang and later on in Bandar, we had three - the Boon Pang, the Bolkiah and the Borneo, the latter two built in the 1950s. The Boon Pang is now gone replaced by the BIBD building. The Boon Pang had an interesting history. It was once used as a detention centre for a few months. After the 1962 rebellion, the army rounded up all the detainees and placed them in the open tennis court areas at the padang...

Other than the Boon Pang, the Borneo and Bolkiah are still there though I have never been inside either one. So I don’t know what the places look like. I don’t even know what movies are currently being shown there. The Bolkiah I have been told has been upgraded and one should go there at least to find out the better experience of watching a movie in a full size cinema unlike the miniscule ones in the Empire or the Mall. The Empire’s and the Mall’s multiplexes are today’s in-thing...

For the full article, click here.

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