Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cameo Cinema

Cameo Cinema
1340 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-9779 (Recorded Showtimes Number)
(707) 963-3946 (Office Number that they don't seem to answer)

The Cameo Cinema is a charming little restored theatre. The auditorium features a curtain, and a member of the staff came out to introduce the film an ask everyone to turn off their cell phones.

That is everything positive I can say about my experience at the Cameo.

I drove more than an hour each way to see Jaws on 03/15 only to discover that the Cameo is presenting its classic films using DVDs and a video projector.

If I wanted to watch a Jaws DVD projected onto a small screen with a video projector I COULD STAY HOME AND DO IT IN MY OWN LIVING ROOM.

The screen was about 20 feet wide when opened to the 16:9 aspect ratio. During medium or long shots, the character's faces became brown blurry blobs. Contrast was abominable.

The man who introduced the feature made a point of apologizing for the quality of the "print" because of the film's age. And there is no mention on the Cameo's website about the fact that they are using DVDs for public commercial screenings. I can't help but wonder if they might be hiding this little detail because they are breaking the law.

The Cameo Theatre has been removed from our Back on the Big Screen listings.

It might be a acceptable venue for current features, assuming they use film. I might even go so far as to recommend the Cameo as a good place to hang out and watch a VIDEO, if they were up front about what they were actually showing, and if I wrote a blog about Home Theater.

Cinema Grade = NONE (pending new review, based on comment below.)

(Old Cinema Grade = F, based on 03/15/08 screening of Jaws.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a (sad) story well told. Did you speak to anyone about this?

Anonymous said...

If they are breaking a law, who can I report them to?

Anonymous said...

The Cameo has new fantastic owners and certainly this information is completely inaccurate. They currently use the traditional classic reel to reel and will soon be transitioning to digital with the rest of the theater society.

Jonesy said...

Are you positive they are no longer using DVDs for their classic film screenings? If so, that's terrific news.

I would even accept the news that they are still using DVDs for their classic film if only they ADVERTISED that fact.

When did they change ownership? They haven't added any sort of "Under New Management" note on their website.

I have changed their grade based on your comment. Please submit a review of the theatre!