THEATRE REVIEW – NO STARS FOR ROBERT REDFORD’S “ADULTS ONLY” SUNDANCE CINEMAS IN WEST HOLLYWOOD. REDFORD’S SUNSET 5 IS ANTI-FILM STUDENTS…

Paris (Carmel) Theatre and Sunset Five Cinema – “Adults Only”!  Has the Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood replaced the old Paris Theatre with “adults only” entertainment?  The Carmel Theater opened on 19th November 1924 was operated as a successful adult movie house (re-named the Paris Theatre) from 1966 to 1976.  It was seriously damaged by fire in January 1976 and was demolished.  You had to be 21 to see the gay and straight porn films.  Robert Redford has replaced the porn with overpriced booze and food at his new Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood, so he can make bucks and not allow young people to be educated on film.

If you’re a film student at UCLA or USA, and want to see a foreign film at Robert Redford’s new Sundance Sunset 5 Cinemas – don’t bother!  You won’t be admitted! Redford would rather have “green” bucks from over-priced wine than educate young people looking for foreign and independent films.  

For the past six months, Sundance Cinemas offers “adults only” entertainment at the Sunset cinemas in West Hollywood.  Claiming to be promoting American independent and foreign films, the theatre chain has  excluded audiences 21 years and younger so Robert Redford can sell pizza and booze at outrageous prices.  The message from Redford is if you are not 21 we don’t want you and could care less if you want to catch a film that is not showing at some major house.  Of course,  this goes against his pompous mission statement for the Sundance Institute regarding developing young film makers.

Paul Richardson, President and CEO, of Sundance Cinemas.   He can’t heat theatre number 2 and discriminates against anyone under 21 just so he can sell high priced cheap booze in Redford’s “adults only” cinemas. Talk about “green” happy CEOs out for the bucks.  

(Left: Coke and Water for $12 in “green” plastic bottles) You pay $10 to $12 per showing plus a $3 fee for the reserved seats, the “chef” who makes the sandwiches, and supposedly commercial free entertainment   So admission plus popcorn and a coke can run $30 plus per person.  $60 for a date or $120 for a “family” if the anti-family Sundance Cinemas allowed them.

Adding insult to injury, the cinemas are not commercial free.  You sit through endless advertisements for the Sundance Institute showing a lot of people in cowboy hats pitching their latest cinema effort.  Then you get this pathetic barrage of photos of Redford owned bistros and hash houses in Utah where the Sundance artists go to eat.  In addition,  you have endless photos of celebrities attending Sundance.  A regular commercial pushing condoms would be a relief from this pathetic display fo self-promotion.

AVOID THEATRE 2 – THERE IS NO HEAT!

In fact,  the Sundance Cinemas seem more concerned about the booze and snack business than the movies.

The theaters are comfortable, but if someone orders a chicken sandwich along with cheap red wine the cinemas smell like a busy night for winos at KFC or a cheap fish cafe.  The popcorn is in paper bags adding to the mass chewing noise from customers.  You could call the entire ordeal the “Sundance” eating institute.

Paul Richardson, president and CEO of Sundance Cinemas claims he did “whatever possible to make” all of this happen.  Who is this CEO?  Has he sat in theatre 2 where there is no heating?   Why did he open the cinemas and take four months to find a manager?

The former Laemmle theatres weren’t that disagreeable.   The movies went up on time, the popcorn wasn’t in noisy paper bags and kids could attend.

That’s not the case with Richardson and Redford’s overly pompous cloying cinema experience.  The difference with Sundance — which operates theaters in San Francisco, Seattle, Houston and Madison, Wis. — according to Richardson is that its programming in L.A. claims to be truly and exclusively independent. That’s true. Film students can stay away from Sundance and anyone under 21 interested in movies can go to hell.  Why?  Again, so Richardson and Redford can push their overpriced wine and beer.

I belong to the gym next door and have never seen a line at the Sundance Cinemas.  For months,  they didn’t have a covering for the entrance.  Patrons were constantly asking where the cinema was located.  They removed the box office and for months have had self-service machines that don’t work.  The Sundance “patio” experience is always empty.   In the summer the sun blasts and during the winter the cold would give you pneumonia.

I’ve attended the theatre four times over the past months.   Until they finally found a manager – films were consistently late in starting, house lights weren’t dimmed, and the sound was not turned up.  Two times the movies started then stopped.  It was a “high price” joke.  Complain and they will send you free passes.

The arrogant Sundance Cinemas have also decided not to work with the community.  As for Richardson and his cinema group he’s located near the headquarters of Dole Foods in Moorpark.

Last night the heating in Theatre 2 didn’t work.  I was told by a staff member it has been a problem for a long time. I guess Mr. Richardson’s “management” team hasn’t made that happen. They are too busy making high priced hot dogs. The film was “Barbara”, and the cinema was as cold as the East German setting. All of the patrons came out complaining.    It seems Mr. Richardson doesn’t care if West Hollywood patrons are cold. We know Sundance doesn’t like young people, so it easy to see why they don’t care if patrons freeze.  Being located in West Hollywood, I wonder if Mr. Richards on is anti-gay too?

What Mr. Redford should do is get rid of Mr. Richardson and get a “CEO” who can run a theatre.  I’d spend less money on two-bit chefs, cheap wine and grotesque promotion of Sundance for a good movie with box of popcorn that doesn’t compete with what’s on the screen.

While you’re at it Mr. Redford, dump Nancy Gribler.  She’s the Sundance flack who is promoting the booze, food and phony bits about a no advertisement policy.

Take a look at Yelp for comments.  The management has had some obvious five star reviews to counteract the negative ones that follow:

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

One comment

  1. No one under 21 can go to this place. This is so a few OLD winos can booze. Prices are over the top… only plus factor is that the theatres are EMPTY. The movie selection sucks… since they have no pull in getting anything top of the heap. Lots of junk from Sundance… as for Sundance… as a theatre group … it sucks!!!

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