One decent-sized screening room is located at Leamington’s Royal Spa Centre, primarily a theatre. After a lengthy hiatus the cinema has mercifully begun screening films again. Following the re-design of Leamington’s only other cinema, a Vue, to resemble an airport waiting room (the corporate clone it really is) the Spa Centre should be a haven for fans of independent film.
The programming brings together a seemingly random selection of indies and some more mainstream fare, around a month after release. It might be frustrating to wait that long, but seeing as many upcoming films – The Two Faces of January, Boyhood – haven’t screened at the Vue it’s the only choice for some Leamingtonians. With just one screen it is unsurprisingly a small selection. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be much demand for independent film in Leamington (I was one of only 5 people at tonight’s screening of Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank). Prices are also far more reasonable than at any of the major chains; a full price evening ticket will set you back £6.50 and matinees are only £3.50.
The Spa Centre boasts a spacious bar where you can enjoy a drink before the film and, being a theatre, stocks ice cream as well as popcorn. The building’s décor is pretty bland, so it’s likely to be the features, if anything, that’ll pull you in. Stepped seating ensures all will get a good view, and there’s nothing to fault in terms of audio or projection. The seats themselves, however, are not the comfiest, and the long-limbed will almost certainly desire more legroom. It was a HOT day but thankfully the auditorium was ideal in temperature – cool but not aggressively air-conditioned.
None really – though the cinema’s reopening was celebrated with a free screening of Inside Llewyn Davis, at which the lucky attendees received free popcorn and beer.
The cinema holds a lot of memories for me as I saw some truly great films there in its previous incarnation, including An Education and The Breakfast Club. AKA two films I bang on about a fair bit. I was also scarred for life at a screening of Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, but there are pros and cons to everything. And it was my own fault.