Movie Reviews: ‘Pegasus’ (2019) and ‘Escape Room’

pegasus escape room movie review

We watched ‘Escape Room’ in JB recently and, my goodness, I’d thought it would be incredibly boring but it was anything but dull! The group of 6 had been selected because they had one thing in common – they all survived something while others had perished, e.g. in a plane crash. So there’s an evil mastermind who lured them to the escape room setup with prize money and they had to try and escape before they got burnt, frozen, gassed or crushed. Ridiculously exciting… even heart-stopping! Crazy dude next to me went “siao siao siao SIAO SIAOOO!!!” at some point. And *spoiler alert* the movie ends with the two sole survivors, Ben and Zoey, attempting to take a plane ride to go locate the evil mastermind. BUT the diabolical genius already knows of their plans and has even done a simulation for an ‘escape room – plane version’ so the two heroes have only an estimated 4% chance of survival to find the way to save the whole planeload of people (and themselves) before the plane crashes. Really good movie. A must-watch! I hope there’s a sequel. πŸ˜€

The movie cost us RM19 per pax at TGV. Just over S$6.

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As for Pegasus, I found it pretty enjoyable too. Here’s a synopsis from GV’s website:

“Zhang Chi (Shen Teng), a hubris [sic] and dominating six-time racing champion, falls from grace following a crisis. After a five-year suspension from the motorsport, the now single-father to a six-year-old boy throws down the gauntlet once again to a younger generation of racing geniuses, and vows to regain his past glory. The father-and-son duo braves a brand-new world of auto-racing which puts them into some rather ironic situations.”

I found this movie much funnier than Make It Big Big, and there’s just one main sponsor whose logo you keep seeing. I don’t think it makes people more inclined to purchase the Volkswagen Polo though. I really don’t see the point of in-your-face product placements in movies.

I love how Zhang Chi cast everything aside because he wanted to bring up the child – that baby someone left on the bonnet of his car. Even after the DNA report showed the child’s not his, he still took on this huge responsibility. And he demonstrated what devotion to your craft is. It’s more than just passion. He was mentally rehearsing that route every day of those 5 years that he was suspended. So when he was put back on the track, without his partner by his side, he was still able to emerge champion.

The movie ends rather awkwardly. At first you think Zhang Chi must be dead… but he reappears on the airport tarmac, attempting to ‘race’ a dude flying a plane.

Still a decent movie. Watch it during CNY if you’d like. πŸ˜€

‘Make It Big Big’ (PG) Reveals Why Made-In-Singapore Movies Suck

make it big big movie review

We watched this at GV Paya Lebar. Gosh hall 8 is really small. I can only accept seats in row H. There’s also very little space / leg room between the rows. (@_@)

‘Make It Big Big’ is a film about the (real) lives of four local DJs at LOVE97.2 – Mark Lee, Dennis Chew, Marcus Chin and Chen Biyu. Near the bottom of the movie poster, there are the words (in Chinese) saying ‘Funny or not? Find out in the cinemas’. So I was expecting a hilarious ‘rollercoaster ride’ from start to finish, but I left the theatre with a heavy heart. In the movie, Mark Lee’s character is embroiled in a ‘fake news’ scandal while Dennis Chew has a mental health crisis. The way these issues are handled leaves much to be desired. Also, as Jack Neo’sΒ protΓ©gΓ©, Mark Lee has ensured that the ‘tradition’ of including cringe-worthy product placements and sponsor shoutouts is continued and he has, arguably, taken it to the next level. (I’ll not mention the sponsors as much as possible since they aren’t paying me to make a movie :P) Perhaps unintentionally, this movie ‘Make It Big Big’ has revealed crucial reasons why made-in-Singapore movies tend to suck.

SPONSORS

Since I’ve already mentioned the sponsors, yes, let’s talk about the sponsors for movies.

In ‘Make It Big Big’, Marcus Chin tries to convince a sponsor to fund Mark Lee’s new movie. He has to entertain them but lands in hot soup when he (accidentally) pokes fun at the plump lady’s XXL size. Then there’s more apologising and pandering to the potential sponsor and especially, her mother. The latter gets Marcus to entertain her and her four other taitai friends who, whipping out their phones, want him to sing for them and hit extremely high notes. Eventually, what happens is that you learn you can pander to the sponsors and even then you may not get the funding you want. Even bringing them gifts like a gigantic hamper won’t help if you’ve not given them sufficient ‘face’ or worse, caused them to ‘lose face’.

Mark Lee also made me do multiple eye-rolls when he performs a ‘magic trick’ in the movie for his young daughter. He picks out the egg yolk from the raw egg and lets it roll around on his palm. It’s apparently… wait for it… M A G I C. Make a guess: which egg company sponsored this? πŸ˜‰ His on-screen daughter then picks out more egg yolks between her thumbs and forefingers and says oh it’s because these eggs are of high quality, blah blah (insert possible sponsor-crafted message), and it’s not magic. Right. Thanks, little girl.

Just for the fun of it, I tested this with one of the very cheap and possibly not very high quality eggs bought from a supermarket nearby and O M G, it’s still possible to pinch the yolk and have it separate from the white. Of course, the advertisement for this egg company was pretty impressive though I’ve never wanted to separate yolks and whites before when cooking at home. I’m not making meringues after all.

In a similar vein, there’s this very popular skincare company that often does roadshows in Singapore. The beauty consultants love to do this ‘experiment’ to show you why you should buy their lotion together with their miracle product. On one hand of yours (the back of your palm, really), she’ll apply the lotion first then the best-selling product and it all gets absorbed into the skin (or so it seems). On your other hand, she’ll apply only the product (without the lotion) and the beads of liquid seem to stay on the surface of your skin. And therefore… you’ll have to buy them BOTH if you want to ensure your skin really benefits from this wonderful essence of youth. Now… when skin is moist, it allows for the product to get absorbed (more) easily. So, newsflash: you don’t have to use their lotion. It’s just science. Use water for the same result! (Perhaps they’ll be a sponsor for the next Jack Neo or Mark Lee movie)

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Since sponsors can be a**holes, then the G might be a good source of funding. For this movie, the MCI or the Ministry of Communications and Information, is involved. Like, REALLY involved. Two ladies playing the roles of officers from the MCI (I’m not sure if they are actresses or not) have a meeting with the DJs in this movie to discuss how they want to let radio listeners know more about the PDPA.

So since you’ve got *ahem* the G’s support, no bashing of the G then. And you’ll also have to be their mouthpiece. In this movie, the PDPA is mentioned numerous times. Also, there’s the DNC and also what you should do if you ever notice a suspicious bag in public places. *yawn*

I think the main issue with sponsorship is that there’s always the need for ROI. No one is going to give a movie producer lots of money and say “Just take this and make a movie Singaporeans will love. No strings attached.”

STARS WITH REGIONAL / INTERNATIONAL APPEAL

In the movie, Mark Lee talks about wanting to film a movie about 4 DJs but he’d need to hire (more famous) actors to play the parts of his DJ pals, because the latter aren’t quite famous overseas. And stars with regional and international appeal don’t come cheap. Try getting Andy Lau to star in your movie.

In ‘Make It Big Big’, there are cameo appearances by folks like Jack Neo, Henry Thia, Zoe Tay, Fann Wong and ‘aiai’ Christopher Lee. It seems like a local movie needs a cast as huge as that of the President’s Star Charity before it’ll attract folks to the cinemas. After all, when you can watch ‘Aquaman’, why would you watch ‘Make It Big Big’? πŸ˜›

In the movie, Marcus Chin says he’ll help Mark Lee get the sponsorship if he gets to play the lead role. He finally settles for commission of 20%. Well, it’s not hard to see why the children of sponsors get to act in TV series or in movies. But whether having them around is a plus or not remains to be seen.

UNINSPIRING PLOT

I don’t mind awkward film titles like ‘Make It Big Big’ if the plot’s really good. If you can’t entertain the audience, at least inspire them. Many parts of this movie are rather predictable. I knew the police were going to show up after Mark’s annoying photo with the suspicious-looking bag. And that the parrot-like professor would be the psychologist meeting Dennis Chew after his apparent mental breakdown. At first, this annoying professor was pretty funny when interviewed by Guo Liang and You Yi. But it seems the movie willΒ flog anything good to death. They’ve forgotten to ‘见ε₯½ε°±ζ”Ά’ – to know when to stop.

I think that Dennis is a really good actor so perhaps the movie could have focused a lot more on him. After all, it seems there’s a lot of buzz around mental health lately. I felt burdened instead of entertained or inspired after watching ‘Make It Big Big’ so it’s not one of those shows I’ll watch again.

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Having said all that, perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on Mark Lee since it’s his first film as a director. There are some parts which were good / somewhat funny. Such as when Marcus Chin convinces his daughter’s teacher that the young girl is not at fault for playing truant – it’s the teacher’s fault for not making lessons interesting – and that the girl should only be blamed for being stupid enough to get caught. I think we should see more of Marcus and Dennis acting in films. Mark is the typical beng so if there’s a role for an ah beng, then yes, cast him. As for Biyu, her voice is truly lovely though her acting doesn’t seem to come across as being ‘natural’ but who can blame her? Hopefully these 4 continue their careers as radio personalities and don’t produce a sequel to this movie – ‘Make It Extra Big’, ‘Make It Super Big’ (Super Coffee *wink wink*), ‘Make It Incredibly Big’ etc are all not suitable film titles.

And seriously, Mark, ‘Ah Girl To Boy’?! What were you thinking?!Β 

Movie Reviews: ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Mortal Engines’

robin hood movie

I think we’ll all have our own favorite ‘Robin Hood’ actor, just as we have our preferred James Bond. I think Taron Egerton’s looks grow on you after a while. And interestingly, to me, he looks like a guy who’s not very tall but apparently he’s 1.75m tall. πŸ˜€ I was (almost) dragged along to watch the movie on Saturday night and I’d even brought my neck cushion along with me ‘cos I was prepared to sleep during the movie. Haha! Turns out bringing a neck cushion really improves the experience of watching a movie in a cinema – you should try it too! And I’d give ‘Robin Hood’ 8 upon 10. I didn’t fall asleep at all. It’s an action-packed film with a bit of romance too. The movie ends a little abruptly but I guess it leaves room for a sequel? Who knows?

I think this movie has a pretty good cast. Most of them look like they were born to play the roles they were given. Also, the female lead, Eve Hewson, does look a little like Jennifer Lawrence. But I guess we can’t have the latter act in this movie or else the production costs are going to soar. πŸ˜€

I’m not too fond of the way the Catholic Church is portrayed in the movie. That “orgy of excess” was rather distasteful. The Church has come under attack in recent years, in particular because of the alleged sexual abuse of children, and now even in movies, it’s still coming under fire.

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MORTAL ENGINES

Empty your bladder before watching this movie. It’s long. And don’t bring kids and/or people who fall asleep easily. It starts off pretty draggy and dude beside me was snoring already. I think it only starts to get exciting after the zombie robot (robot zombie?) character appears *shivers* and the chase begins for real.

The concept of entire cities being mobile and being capable of subsuming other (smaller) cities is mind-boggling. Love the airships and the character Anna Fang, played by South-Korean singer and actress Jihae Kim. This female character seems more ‘manly’ than any other male character in the movie! πŸ˜€

Unlike in Robin Hood where the female lead thinks the male lead is dead and therefore she gets together with another dude, in Mortal Engines, the guy finds a new girl pretty quickly (of course, the father of the first girl tried to kill him but still).

In this movie, ‘London’ uses tech from USA to invade Shan Guo (presumably China). Not sure what all of this implies, but they might as well called it Zhong Guo instead of Shan Guo since the folk there all appear to be Chinese. Interesting how the belligerence of the West is met with such benevolence over in Shan Guo. Don’t try to destroy the Great Wall in real life though. πŸ˜›

Movie Review: ‘Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse’

into the spiderverse movie

Watched the movie ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ yesterday and I can sum it up in one word: Unexpected. And I am not referring to the fact that a big group of cosplayers were also present at the screening. (There were spider-men and also spider-women, much to the delight of moviegoers) I didn’t find out more about the movie before attending the screening. I’d thought it would be just like the others before it. So we had quite a shock when we realized it’d be in animation form, or more accurately, like it’s right out of comic books. And also, this movie tak halal ‘cos there’s is Spider-Ham (a.k.a. Peter Porker, yes, PORKER :P) in the movie. I think I rolled my eyes a bit too much during this movie. There’s Spiderman-noir (yes, black and white version), the pig, a Japanese anime character with her robot, etc… (@_@)

That said, I like that the main character is Miles Morales, a black teen who gets bitten by the spider, thus becoming Spiderman too. And the fact that there’s another Peter Parker (yup, the white guy) who gets old, fat and even divorced. It’s always nice to see how minorities can be portrayed as the heroes and that the white folks can also … fail at life. πŸ˜€

I like the message that anyone can wear the mask; YOU can wear the mask.

I’m not too sure who this movie would be most suitable for. Kids would probably not enjoy it as much as when watching other “cartoon”-type movies such as, say, ‘The Minions.’ Adults who are expecting real-life action won’t like this comic book-style presentation. I guess only hardcore Marvel fans will like this movie.

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As an aside, I was seated behind a family of 4 yesterday (couple and their two young daughters). The mother was coughing really badly as she entered the cinema. Then her daughter started coughing too. And I’m wondering why these people don’t wear masks, when evidently they are quite ill.

Unlike the Japanese and Taiwanese, we don’t show such consideration for others. The HPB can encourage us to wear masks and fight the spread of the flu bug all it wants. So far, I believe there’s no result.

But that’s not to say that Singaporeans won’t wear masks EVER. These parents will, when their kids are very young (infants, or little toddlers). They want to avoid spreading the germs to the little ones who will get ill and cause their parents much grief, especially when they have trouble falling asleep at night. Just something I’ve observed. πŸ˜‰ Let me know if you agree, ya?

Movie Review: ‘First Man’ @ Shaw, Waterway Point

first man movie review

[image credit: slashfilm.com]

We watched First Man at Shaw (Waterway Point) yesterday as EVERYONE was so taken with the Health Promotion Board’s roadshow that the cinema was just about deserted. Yes, the HPB roadshow was awesome (freebies galore!) and why pay for a movie when you can claim free drinks, free rice and noodle packs, etc, an unlimited number of times? But we thought it was an opportunity not to be missed when we saw how there was absolutely no one in the queue for movie tickets ON A SUNDAY, and there were still lots of SAFRA 1-for-1 tickets available. πŸ˜€ We basically picked a movie at random, and ‘First Man’ it was.

The whole movie experience at Shaw this time round was rather weird. There were people coming in an hour after the movie had started, there was a little girl babbling away (not sure why her parents brought her to watch a film it was obvious she did not appreciate) and there were even 4 of the cleaning staff talking and laughing loudly just outside hall 7. Seated at the last row, I was quite distracted by their banter, and even took to opening the door and asking if they would quieten down a little. Sometimes it’s best to just watch movies in the comfort of one’s own home, no?

The movie itself was kind of boring. A family of three even upped and left halfway! I had to stifle some yawns too. But it taught me something I did not know. That Neil Armstrong had a daughter, who died as a toddler due to a tumor. The movie doesn’t show that he had remarried as he didΒ in real life. But it was obvious that the couple had lots of strains in their relationship. How difficult it must be to tell your wife and children that you have to go to the moon, and that you may not return. It sounds like a suicide mission and I don’t blame the wife for hating the choices he makes because he just seems like he’s handing over all responsibility to her, while he goes be part of the space race.

At the end of the day, we realized that once you’ve seen a NASA movie, you’ve seen them all. Same for the zombie movies, really.

Zombiepura: The Zombie Movie That Army Boys Will Love

zombiepura movie review

We attended the Zombiepura Gala Premiere yesterday evening. Interestingly enough, when the movie ended, there was scattered applause all over in Hall 4. That was just one of the many surprises. πŸ˜€ The main one being that we got seats in row N, which was two rows from the front (WAY too close to the screen at Shaw Lido). I love watching zombie movies but not up close, k? πŸ˜€ Really made me feel like throwing up. BUT I think army boys will love Zombiepura. Some of the jokes go over the heads of us women but the men in the audience seemed to love them.

For such a movie to ‘go international’, I think it would need a better plot, and not so many local references. For instance, the first zombie to appear after a botched CPR attempt had a nametag reading “CHOW C B”. I don’t think angmohs will understand this, much less find it funny.

And when zombiepura’s ‘chio bu’ made that whole show about applying mosquito repellent? Well, kind of gives everything away already. If she’s wearing a jacket, WHY would she need to remove it and apply mozzie repellent on her shoulders and arms… in slow-mo, no less. This is a film made for army boys to ogle and drool over.

And *spoiler but not quite* alert, if mosquito repellent can keep zombies away, well, get me a carton ok? πŸ˜›

At the end of the day, the feel I got was that this movie is kind of a ‘low budget production’? But there’s an article on TODAYonline that mentions $900,000? And yet the “helicopter” in the movie appears so fake. And with a relatively unknown cast, where did the money go?

After The Walking Dead, Train to Busan, World War Z, and more, Zombiepura just doesn’t quite impress me. The movie’s enjoyable, yes, but there’s little originality.

‘Book Club’ Movie Preview @ Shaw Theatres LIDO

Book Club Movie singapore

As I’d gotten 4 tickets to the preview of ‘Book Club’, I invited 3 dudes to join me for this “girly movie” (someone’s words, not mine). The movie preview screening this evening was at Shaw Theatres LIDO and while we loved the movie, there were a few complaints from the guys regarding the theatre. πŸ˜€ For one, the air-conditioning wasn’t superb in theatre 5. The soundproofing was pretty bad as well; the guys kept hearing booming noises coming from next door (I think they were screening ‘Jurassic World’ in 3D but I was seated right at the end of our row and missed out on the apparently loud noises). And there was even a comment about how the screen wasn’t perfectly aligned in the center of the wall in front, presumably because there’s a giant pillar on the left in Theatre 5. And I’d thought women are better at complaining. πŸ˜›

*Update: I forgot to include the ‘ultimate’ complaint yesterday: “Don’t take the last row. Doesn’t the screen look as small as if you’re watching the movie off your handphone screen?!” πŸ˜€ (Yes, I like getting a seat at the very last row of cinema theatres and no, I did not get such a seat yesterday. Thanks, guys!)

Here’s the movie synopsis from Shaw’s website: “DIANE (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. VIVIAN (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached. SHARON (Candice Bergen) is still working through decades-old divorce. CAROL’s (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. The lives of these four lifelong friends are turned upside down after reading the infamous 50 Shades of Grey catapults them into a series of outrageous life choices. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they’re each inspired by the scandalous text to hilarious ends.”

The guys didn’t really know what this movie is all about before heading to the theatres but I told them that even if the plot sucks, the 4 actresses (with Academy Awards under their belts) won’t let us down. And indeed they don’t.

Go ahead and catch this movie. It’s not too long – just 104 minutes. And the guys will have a good laugh. That scene following Carol’s spiking of her husband’s drink (with a couple of Viagra pills), for instance, is hilarious.

I like the message too that we’re all worthy of love no matter how old we are. I’d rate this movie an 8.5/10!

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Don’t be afraid to be happy. πŸ™‚

Movie Review: I Feel Pretty

We watched the movie ‘I Feel Pretty’ yesterday evening, and it was all my idea, obviously. He walked into the cinema, checked the list of movie screenings, asked me if the movie I’d got us tickets to was this one and he said “Aiyoh!” and that it’s a movie for females to watch. (>_<) And he’s right. Grab your mothers, sisters, aunts, girl pals, etc, and go catch this movie! πŸ˜€ I watched the trailer a couple weeks’ back and was hooked.

In short, Amy Schumer stars as Renee, your usual pleasantly plump (see how I avoid saying ‘fat’?) OL. She goes for a spin class, falls off the stationary bike, hits her head, and wakes up thinking she is absolutely gorgeous. Her confidence levels are through the roof. (If we can bottle it all, and sell it, we’ll make a gazillion bucks!) Then, as luck would have it, she hits her head again with another fall and it’s back to square one. So what happens then? πŸ˜‰ Watch the movie and find out.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of how you can “Change everything without changing anything”. Beauty is no longer tied to waistlines with a measuring tape. It doesn’t depend on how sharp your jawline is, how big your boobs are, how toned your legs look. It is an attitude.

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This is a movie every woman needs to watch. Actually, the guys might probably enjoy it too. There’s that (fake) bed scene. AND that bikini contest. There’s lots of humor. And also lots of truth. He rated the movie a 7/10, but I’ll give it an 8.5 mainly because of that really motivational / inspiration bit towards the end when Renee gives a speech on stage. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

Movie Review: EXPLOSION (rated M18)

Explosion movie review

From shaw.sg

I attended the preview screening of the movie ‘EXPLOSION’ this evening and there was a ‘first’ for me. It was the first time I sat behind someone who kept getting freaked out by an action movie – with loud exclamations of “AIYOH!”, “AIYAHHHHH!” and “OH NOOO! OH NOOO! OH NOOOOO!”. I would say that there could be even more gore, violence and non-stop action in this movie, but that poor lady sitting in front of me would probably have suffered a heart attack. Her husband (they’re both middle-aged, by the way) had to keep shushing her but as they were walking out of the theatre at the end of the movie, and somehow another scene came on together with the credits, this lady still turned back to watch, as if she couldn’t get enough of it. LOL!

In short, this movie is about a guy they call the “blaster technician” – his job is to create those explosions at mines. An “accident” happens and 4 of his colleagues got killed in the blast. He suspects foul play as he’s been at this job for 20 years and no such accident has occurred before. And that’s where it all starts… a hired assassin after his life, the police chasing after him, etc.

Sure, some parts of the plot could have been tidied up. Like, why would the person responsible for the “accident” have left incriminating evidence behind for this male lead to find? Wouldn’t you clean up the scene of the crime if your actions actually caused the deaths of 4 men?

Still, watch this movie for all those “OH NOOO!” parts where you’ll be covering your mouth in order not to scream out loud (or just let it out like that lady in front of me did).

Actually, I do not recommend bringing older folks along for this movie. I saw that someone had brought his grandma along. Stop frightening our seniors, please. πŸ˜›

5 Reasons To Watch Movies At Shaw Premiere

Shaw Premiere serangoon nex

This week, we watched the latest Star Wars installment, ‘The Last Jedi’, at Shaw Premiere in Serangoon NEX. We redeemed the tickets to the movie with complimentary passes I’ve been saving up for MONTHS for the ‘right’ movie. To maximize the value we got out of the free passes, the movie should be pretty long yet decent enough to keep us awake throughout (though falling asleep in comfort isn’t too bad either). πŸ˜€

Here are 5 reasons why I love the Shaw Premiere experience:

#1: The recliner seats

I really like how there are barriers between the rows of seats so, for instance, someone with long legs sitting behind me won’t end up accidentally kicking the back of my seat or, worse still, the back of my head.

#2: The blankets

I’m not sure why but recently, I keep forgetting to bring a jacket with me when I head out for movies. It was the case with the screening of ‘Ferdinand‘ and it was the same when we watched ‘The Last Jedi’. With Ferdinand, it wasn’t too bad as it was a HUGE theatre at The Cathay. And with ‘The Last Jedi’, there were blankets in Shaw Premiere so I was snug and warm. The movie’s pretty long, at 2 hours 33 minutes. Add to that about 19 to 20 minutes of advertisements before the start of the movie and you’ll realize the importance of keeping warm. πŸ˜€

#3: Food + Beverage at the touch of a button

If we start feeling peckish during the movie, we can press the call button and place our order with the staff, without having to go out and get food and miss a portion of the movie.

#4: Private restroom

With long movies like these Star Wars ones, a trip to the restroom is a must after the show ends. And Shaw Premiere has a private restroom only for Premiere customers. So there’s no need to queue, especially when it’s ‘high tide’. πŸ˜€

#5: No queues

I didn’t have to queue when getting tickets at the ticket counter. There’s a dedicated counter just for Premiere ticket purchases. And after entering the Premiere lounge, we could either sit down for food or head into the theatre.

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For longer movies, it certainly makes sense to watch them in Premiere. Alternatively, you can bring your own blanket into the regular theatres too, I guess. πŸ˜€