Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

I hate to do this but I’ve got to give the new Sundance Cinema a thumbs down. I wanted to like you, Sundance Kabuki Cinema, I really, really did. But you disappointed me and now I am crestfallen and slightly angry and feel a little bit dirty for wanting to go out with you at all.

Maybe it’s because I had such high hopes for our first date. Maybe it’s because I dressed all hip in my black turtleneck and it turns out you cater to middle-aged annoying people. Maybe it’s because I thought you were going to be a taste of home, a little slice of Manhattan on the west coast, a hipster haunt with your over-priced tickets ($27 for two) and your cocktail lounge and your upscale snacks (Izzy sodas!) But no. It turns out your forty-foot bamboo plants are just a screen for you to hide your mediocrity.

Let me offer you some constructive criticism so you can do better.

  • When new visitors ask where they should eat – the upstairs cafe or the restaurant you opened next door that replaced Pasta Pomodoro, you should not tell them to go next door. The place next door is trying very hard to look upscale in a downscale neighborhood. The food is trying to be upscale too but it fails. Green Goddess salad with tempura avocado? Nice try but it’s an avocado. Pecorino mac and cheese ($9)? It’s covered with breadcrumbs like something from Stouffers and has less flavor than the boxed version. I liked Pasta Pomodoro better. (Speaking of which, try their prosciutto tortellini in pink sauce as take-out comfort food sometime.)
  • Three bathroom stalls in the women’s bathroom? I don’t think so.
  • Reserved seating is so yesterday. Just stop it. Even the Ziegfeld in New York doesn’t do that anymore. I would rather have to show up half an hour early to get a prime location and sit next to other committed viewers than show up two minutes ahead of time and sit next to a couple of baby boomers who ordered their seats online four days ago because their lives just aren’t interesting enough to have anything better to do.
  • Tickets for $13.50. Do I really need to say anything else on the subject? I know you’ve got to pay off the remodel, but find another way.
  • The Sundance Catalog is displayed on the side tables in the hall. This is shameless but predictable cross-marketing. The Sundance Catalog, for anyone flirting with checking it out, is on a par with the cinema: some interesting things but wildly pricey and of inconsistent quality.

What was good about it? The movie. The seats. The fact that I can get a drink on-site to take the edge off my annoyance. Would I go again? Only if I were desperate to see a first-run indie film. But I’d try the Lumiere first. Or the Embarcadero. And no, you can’t have my phone number. And I’m not free Thursday.

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Categories: San Francisco (here), Watch This

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