Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Out and about: The Great Gatsby at The Electric Cinema

The Great Gatsby has arrived... and I am SO. GODDAMN. HAPPY! (say that with a Nu Yawk accent please)

I haven't been this excited about celluloid since the Harry Potter franchise...

or maybe Alice in Wonderland...

...or the Hunger Games!

I've been waiting for this film forever. Well, not forever, maybe since I saw the last film (the 1979 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, as opposed to the 1949 or 1926 versions) and I hoped they'd re-make it with a cast from my era of stars.

And OH, have they...

Leo was my favourite from the minute he walked on screen to that amazing soundtrack in Romeo and Juliet back in 1996.

And when I say "they" I mean Baz. King Baz. He of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Australia fame. I loved them all, yes, even Australia. Mainly because I watched it from an upgraded seat on a flight home from Down Under and so it holds wonderful memories for me.

Anyway, this week I finally got to see the film, in all its big-screen glory at The Electric Cinema. It was all amazing, that is the film and the cinema itself.

So, to quickly chat about the film, I chose to ignore all the bad press about it and, although I can see exactly why the critics panned it, I loved every second. I wasn't massively keen on the 3D-ness of it, I don't think it's necessary except maybe at the IMAX, but other than that I just adored the casting, the cinematography, the costumes, the jewels (oh... the jewels) the a.mazing soundtrack (always a high point in a BL film for me) and Mr Luhrmann's interpretation of a great American classic.

I'll tell you what I also adored - watching it in such a beautiful setting.


It's not difficult for the Electric to be the most beautiful cinema I've ever had the pleasure to watch a film in. Aside from a few special occasions at the Leicester Square Odeon where they show premiers (not that I've actually attended a premier!), I've only ever been to brand name cinemas where you pay a tenner for a small bucket of popcorn and a bottle of water, twelve quid for an uncomfortable seat in a massive auditorium, filled with people that talk, babies that cry and teenagers that chuck sweets at each other. Don't get me wrong, I love going to the cinema, and these things never put me off going.

Well, until now.

Now that I know how it could be every time.

The foyer feels like a cross between a ticket tent for a circus and a Victorian grocer, with a small booth in the corner where you collect tickets, a wall lined with wooden drawers full of traditional penny sweets, alongside a vintage till at the Electric Donuts stand.

Then, it's straight in to the auditorium, full of squidgy red leather armchairs, love seats at the back (perfect for a back row smooch) and double beds in the front row.

Each seat has it's own little polished table, vintage lamp and a leather footstool (no putting your feet on the back of someone else's chair and being told off by an usher, here), which contained a cosy cashmere blanket for each person and has space to store your belongings. This fact alone made me squeal with delight - I always take an over sized scarf or pashmina to the cinema with me to snuggle under, or hide behind during the scary/gross bits, and I refuse to put my nice handbag on the sticky, dirty floor.

There's a bar at the back of the theatre which serves alcoholic beverages (fizz please!) and yummy snacks (a cheese board, hummus and flat breads pour moi!), and they get top marks for serving the fizz in coupes. WE all know I love a coupe!

Another special mention for the toilets, which are the most beautiful cinema toilets I've ever seen, full of retro features and Cowshed toiletries (not a surprise as Cowshed is owned by the same company).

There are minimal pre-film adverts, so be on time with just one or two that fit the profile of the main film and then in to the usual, but in fact, unusual, "housekeeping" about phones off, exits, drinks/snacks and where to find the loos. Pay attention here - there are some fun surprises!

After the film we went next door to Electric Diner for dinner. The menu is full of simple but tasty American diner-style treats and the short but sweet drinks list contains some powerful cocktail concoctions, alongside a variety of beers and wines.

I chowed down on a super-tasty cheeseburger with a shared side of fries, broccoli and the tastiest, juiciest bacon I've eaten in a long time washed down with a Grey Goose le Fizz (Vodka, elderflower, lime and soda).

It's not cheap, but for the experience of watching a film in style and then having some intimate post film debate in a stylish booth, it's worth every penny.

For a special film or for date-night I'd highly recommend it!

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