Everyone enjoys a big screen when watching a movie, but in Egypt going to the cinema can sometimes be a bit chaotic – a baby cries in the background, one mobile keeps ringing, red laser dots on the screen and sometimes even loud commentary from a group of teenagers sitting behind you.
Not to mention the uncomfortable seats that leaves you with a numb butt and sore back- ouch!
A few months ago, a new movie theater opened its doors at City Stars catering to the more spoiled people in life, who want to watch a film on a lazy boy, while eating good food in a smaller less populated theater.
So finally I made my way down to Nasr City to discover this elitist cinema.
Battling the traffic is mission number one. If you’re coming from the other side of town like me, it took me one hour from Zamalek as I tried to make it to the 9:30pm show. Luckily the movies don’t actually start before 10:15 so I made it in time.
Parking is swift at the new garage on the Holiday Inn side of the huge complex. The cinema is located on the ground floor of the mall’s new annex, which is where you end up after taking the escalators up from the parking lot.
The movie selection at the moment is not great. Out of “I am Legend , “Heya Fawda and “Tabakh El Rayis I chose the American one, ignoring all the stinking reviews, thinking how bad can a Will Smith flick be? Apparently pretty bad.
After buying the L.E 75 ticket, you walk into a plush lounge area where you can order your meal, catered by the InterContinental. The menu is quite basic, but all the essentials are there: burger, club sandwich, pizza, salads and, hmmm, salmon carpaccio – a bit of a random thing to crave during a movie.
Of course essential movie popcorn is available in one large size for LE15.
The décor is modern and somewhat luxurious, designed in shades of grey. The toilets are actually more impressive than the rest of the furnishings – the same grays mixed with wood and sparkly clean.
The previews start at 10pm, so can take your time to get comfortable. The black leather seats are large enough for you to sink into, with a foot rest and a reclining back. Try not to fall asleep – it isn’t easy.
The 36 seats are divided over six rows – each with three seats on each side of the theatre. However, it is not likely that it is more than half full. The theatre was mainly filled with couples – a VIP movie theater is apparently a popular date.
The good quality of the theatre’s audio/video system make you feel you are in the comfort of your own house. But as most theaters it is a bit chilly, so make sure you’re dressed warmly.
The food comes about a half-hour through the film. The waiter places the tray on a table placed between the seats.
I ordered the mega-bite burger that comes with fries (L.E 55). The burger was juicy, maybe too juicy considering I was half-lying down in the dark, which as you can imagine can end up quite messy. Next time I’ll stick to popcorn.
Now if you think a casual night out to the movies is easy on the pockets, think again. A bill for two, including the tickets, meals and parking, costs a hefty L.E 350.
The whole experience is definitely worth repeating, but next time they need to show better movies because man was that film bad.
Golden Stars Cinema
2 Aly Rashad St., Heliopolis, Cairo.