Have we all realised the importance of movies in our lives after being confined at homes for months? Things like Netflix, Hulu, HBO allow us to escape the bleak reality, and to distract keep us sane while we’re living in precarious times.
But ask any cinephiles, the excitement of catching a film premiering on a big screen, the immersive sound effects, how the audience laugh and gasp at a certain moment, you can’t replicate that at home despite the convenience of streaming services.
The Malaysian Government is preparing the nation to adapt to the new normal with the lifting of Movement Control Order (MCO) on 9 June. Following a period of three months from 10 June to 31 August, the nation will be in ‘Recovery’ mode; key business activities, schools, attractions, and entertainment venues will be reopening in phases to prevent the risk of virus transmission.
Now, the good news is, the Malaysian government has officially announced that the cinemas are allowed to reopen from July 1st. At long last, you can ditch your smart TV for a moviegoing experience.
Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and TGV Cinemas take the lead as the country’s top cinemas franchises. But if the generic mall cinema ambience is not for you, then Kuala Lumpur is also home to a couple of unique moviegoing experiences.
From the intimacy of a private cinema hall to a simple projector set up in a lovely cafe, we unpack five unusual movie theatres to elevate your moviegoing experience and of course, with safe distancing in place.
Best Moviegoing Experiences in Kuala Lumpur
Nothing speaks comfort more than parking your tush on the soft fabric of a bean bag, the styrofoam beans inside quickly enveloping and conforming to your body’s shape as you enjoy your movie.
TGV Cinemas, in particular, is well-known to have a hall dedicated to this quirky seating arrangement. Instead of the run-of-the-mill bucket chairs, you’ll find cushy bean bags to sink into at TGV’s Beaniplex halls.
As you enjoy the comfort of the air-conditioned environment, sample the standard cinema fare like popcorn, hot dogs, and soda that TGV offers. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to risk getting stains on your personal bean bag (if you own one). So, this cinema presents an opportunity for you to munch on snacks while you slouch — just don’t tell the cleaners we said that.
And as far as movie releases go, the theatre has most of the latest movies and films to offer movie-goers.
Where: Multiple locations including TGV Jaya, TGV 1 Utama, TGV 1 Shamelin, and TGV Sunway Pyramid
2. Moontree House Cafe
Situated in the always bustling Petaling Street in Chinatown, KL, Moontree House is both a cafe and bookstore rolled into one charming package.
Here, feminism is the way of life. The cafe is mostly frequented by intellectuals and hipsters alike. And the books on sale here are mostly gender studies titles in both the Chinese and English language. To add to that, the cafe also has handmade zakka paraphernalia including dolls, accessories, bags, and cards for sale — all of which were created by local female artists.
Within its walls, you’ll find that the cafe experience here is more akin to sitting in a friendly space rather than a coffee shop. And on movie nights, you will get to catch feminist-oriented big screen titles as you sip on your cup of coffee. Afterwards, do remember to listen and participate in debates and discussions on the movie you’ve just watched.
Where: No.6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
3. AMENIC Film Space
Ever wanted an entire cinema all to yourself? You’re in luck as AMENIC offers the first mini private film space experience in the country.
Introverted film lovers and crowd-avoiders will love the fresh concept as the film space allows patrons to enjoy the classics and all-time favourites with cinema-grade viewing equipment.
Say goodbye to binge-watching your favourite movies on the tiny screen of your laptop. Gather up a few friends, choose a movie, and enjoy a night of cinematic greatness! And to complete the experience, AMENIC also offers snacks and even popcorn for a true cinema feel.
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So this is it. This is goodbye. . No la! Hehe. Jokes. Drama sikit. 😝 This is actually a li'l tribute to our lovingly curated film library that's now breached the 500 films mark. To think that we started with only 150 titles 🤯 . We'll be releasing the next batch of films we've brought in. They're all super great indies! . We feel macam we're now at a good spot – with a good range of customers – to be able to start introducing obscure films more frequently.🤘😬 Don't disappoint us ah! . ♥️ to y'all for growing your film appreciation with us. It was fun trying to get you to watch unknown films. Sorry if tak kena sometimes. Lol. . Huge zankius to Delt who's donated more than we can count! For sharing your insight to films both good and bad. For helping us complete Scorsese's library. AND for introducing director Craig Zahler and his films – BRAWL, BONE TOMAHAWK, DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE – to us. . #AMENIC #AMENICfilmlibrary
As for their movie titles, expect to pick from a collection of more than 500 titles neatly stacked on shelves. Their movie collection range from classics like Citizen Kane and Mary Poppins to modern blockbusters like Marvel’s The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Batman. And the company is constantly adding to their already massive collection with the input from their customers.
Where: 73A, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya
4. Publika Square
On the flip side, the Stage in Publika Square is an outdoor theatre where one and all may join in on the fun for some open-air movie viewing.
Specifically, Publika Mall offers a free movie experience on Monday nights — aptly named Movie Mondays every once in a while (you’ll have to monitor their Facebook page for upcoming events).
The outdoor theatre of Publika Square is surrounded by trees which makes it seem like you’re watching a movie in a small forest enclave. Though, the seating arrangements are not as comfortable as the other entries in our list. You’ll have to make do with the plastic lounge chairs provided at the venue (hey, at least it’s free right?).
Our suggestion? Turn your movie viewing sesh into a picnic-style outing. Just bring a mat, a basket of goodies, and snuggle up under the stars with your friends and loved ones. The experience is bound to be memorable!
Publika Square’s Movie Monday’s feature a range of Malaysian and regional films, which are in English or comes with English subtitles.
Where: Publika mall, No. 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
5. Stratosphere at The Roof
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@stratosphere.theroof is ready for tonight World Cup Final match France vs Croatia! Which country do you think will win this year World Cup? Psst…did you know that we have also installed another giant screen as well? 😏 Please do come early for the FREE flow cocktails starting at 7pm! 🍸(while stock last) See you later! 😘 #StratosphereAtTheRoof #WorldCup2018 #FinalMatch
Hailed as Asia’s first and only luxury bar found atop an infinity-grassed helipad, Stratosphere at The Roof offers an unprecedented 360-degree panoramic view of the city.
Notably, the venue often hosts movie viewing sessions for its patrons — equipped with bean bags and all. The novelty of lounging on a cosy bean bag whilst enjoying a film under the stars is just indescribable. And it’s an experience that won’t grow old any time soon.
Case in point, Stratosphere has been the venue of Helipad Cinema — an outdoor cinematic event — for the past few years.
Where: Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor