What's the big deal with 3-D? How about 4-D? Better yet, 5-D!
Yep, the new PIX 5-D Cinema opened for business this week at the Woodfield Shopping Mall in Schaumburg. (It's at entrance No. 5 near Sears.) It's the first Midwest theater to offer this technology.
In addition to regular 3-D vision, the 36-seat auditorium also offers up and down, front and back, left and right movements in sync with on-screen events.
Plus, it can appeal to touch and smell with effects such as smoke, fog, bubbles, thunder, storm, wind, rain and even snow. Yes, just like those specialty theaters at Disneyland and Disney World.
The theater is the brainchild of Anand Shanmugan, who moved to Palatine from India 12 years ago. He met his business partner Satish Thirumalai when he moved into the neighborhood. Together, they created the startup V9 Service LLC, the parent company to PIX 5-D Cinema. They already have two 5-D theaters in India, with a third coming.
"We knew wanted to be involved in entertainment," Shanmugan said to me this week. "This seemed like the perfect thing for us."
Right now, PIX 5-D Cinema offers two film shorts: "Night at the Toy Store" (toys come out to play after the store closes) and "Time Chasers," a time travel adventure. Each program of two movies will last between 10 and 12 minutes.
Ticket cost $7 for adults; $6 for children (under 10) and seniors. Go to pix5d.com for details.
Reel Life film notes
• "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" makes a midnight appearance Friday at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. Tickets cost $5 to this wild and wacky R-rated comedy. To celebrate the Tivoli's first 3-D midnight show, the theater is tossing in the 3-D glasses for free! Go to classiccinema.com for details.
• Wait, there's more! The Tivoli will also host two benefit screenings of the Frank Capra classic, "It's A Wonderful Life" at 1:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. Admission costs $5 with proceeds donated to the Sharing Connections Furniture Bank. Each showing comes with a bonus: preshow entertainment on the Wurlitzer pipe organ.
• Wait, there's even more! The 1998 animated "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie" will be shown at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Fox Lake Theatre, 115 Towne Center Lane, in Fox Lake. Free admission! Rudolph will also appear at a "meet and greet" with kids, so bring the phone cameras.
• You can catch a not-so-sneak preview of the Dec. 19 road comedy "The Guilt Trip" starring Barbra Streisand (yes, the Babs is back!) and Seth Rogen at participating Chicago area AMC theaters Sunday, Dec. 2. Go to bit.ly/SoEEJS for details.
• The After Hours Film Society will show Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching For Sugar Man," a documentary about a Detroit singer and songwriter who disappeared after a brief dance with success. Admission costs $9. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the Tivoli Theater, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com for details.
• The Chicago Film Critics Association in conjunction with SMG's Film With a View presents Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in Richard Mulligan's great "To Kill a Mockingbird," at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton. Special guest: Chicago Film Critics Association member Locke Peterseim will introduce the film and conduct a discussion afterward. For a whopping $1.50 admission, you can't beat this deal. Go to bit.ly/117tX0J for details.
Jimmy's wonderful life
Join me and James Bond author Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond's Movie Club presents "The Wonderful Life of Jimmy Stewart" with clips from some of the legendary actor's greatest movies, including "Harvey," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Destry Rides Again" and "Vertigo," plus "It's a Wonderful Life" of course! And many more. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg. Free admission! Go to stdl.org for details. Remember to bring some invisible carrots for our special guest, Harvey.
Reel Life mini-review:
Andrea Arnold's bold re-imagining of Emily Bronte's classic book "Wuthering Heights" will go down as one of the coldest movies ever made. Not only because of the barren wintry landscapes, whistling winds and the cast's frosty breath, but because the characters emanate all the warmth of dry ice.
Arnold, a British filmmaker, actress and dancer, changes Bronte's original Heathcliffe from a gypsy boy to a black Caribbean orphan, probably a former slave, which adeptly adds racism to the classism already in the story. (This change no doubt reflects Arnold's horror over the slave trade, the subject of a play she wrote at 10 years old.)
The story, for anyone who missed reading it in high school, involves Heathcliffe (Solomon Glave as a teen, then James Howson as an adult), a street kid adopted by Mr. Earnshaw (Paul Hilton) because "it seemed like the Christian thing to do."
Heathcliffe falls hard for Earnshaw's daughter, Catherine (first Shannon Beer, then Kaya Scodelario) and their scar-crossed romance plays out over the years. No good comes from this, of course.
Arnold achieves a form of visual poetry with her artsy, lengthy landscapes of bleakness, but there's nothing to take the cold off these repetitive images that quickly wear out their poetic welcome. At least give credit to Arnold for not falling back on the lame use of a narrator.
The younger versions of Catherine and Heathcliffe deliver their lines with flat monotony. Their older selves don't do much better.
Here, chunks of Bronte's conversations give way to the sounds of the wind eternally blowing the shrubbery around. Somehow, Arnold makes that feel more expressive and involving than her cast.
"Wuthering Heights" opens at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, Chicago. Not rated, but suggested for mature audiences. 128 minutes. . .
• Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!