Movie Bar Madness


ulster hall belfast
I’ve been a fan of Moviebar since it opened, it’s a cinema at the Ulster Hall on Bedford Street. It specialises in nights of film double bills. It’s like a cinema in your living room. There are huge sofas and bean bags and not forgetting the bar at the back of the screen. They’ve shown everything from Elvis nights, to horror nights. Blaxploitation films with the eponymous Pam Grier in Coffy to 1970′s  girl gang chic with The Switchblade Sisters and this weekend sees the long-awaited ‘Action Bingo’ night.
The mention of ‘Action Bingo’ came prior to the movie screening at the last night. From what I can garner it is Jean-Claude van Damme in Hard Target followed by (the man the legend) Chuck Norris in Invasion USA. It seems to be a game of bingo complete with cards and apparently prizes. I cannot wait! I’ve already booked tickets for me and 2 of my friends.
After John Waters night we were all chatting to the other guys behind us. They were huge John Waters fans and spent time often saying the iconic lines along with the amazing Divine in Pink Flamingos. It was far too funny! After the screenings we all stayed and chatted there was such brilliant banter from them. I suppose that is the thing about really cult films, nowhere else in Belfast shows them, I’d never seen either of those films, and actually hadn’t heard of blaxploitation or the Switchblade Sisters before I came.
I feel a bit more educated about less well-known film now. They’re films that probably if I was going to a conventional cinema I would never pick. Unfortunately too many cinemas locally only pick the high art house films or the Hollywood blockbusters and it’s really nice to have the option to go to a cinema like this which is more of an event than just movie watching habit.
With a movie double bill both films are linked by director, theme or even genre and if you haven’t heard of them after the first you’re usually more than willing to stay for the second.  There’s something really decadent and homey about having a couple of glasses of wine as we’re watching, it is exactly like being in your front room only with an utterly massive screen and thankfully without having pets stomping over you. Usually we’re sprawled on the sofas munching on cupcakes drinking wine enjoying the atmosphere.
One thing I’ve noticed from going to as many of the Movie nights as I can, it is how few people know about it. When my friends mention it to other people outside of their circle, they haven’t heard of it. Which is such a shame. Although there is something lovely about not having to be squeezed in! It still seems like bar a few regulars huge swathes of people who would probably love it don’t even know about it. It seems such a shame.
I am absolutely bouncing with excitement about ‘Action Bingo’ and withNosferatu tickets booked for tomorrow night and 1920′s flapper wear picked out for it, its lovely to see the emergence of film in the Ulster Hall’s repertoire. I cannot wait to see where the film programme is going to go next. So get yourselves down there folks and say hi to me, I’ll probably share the cake.  Long live the MovieBar and long may it reign as Belfast’s only cult cinema!
Bingo! (Just practicing for friday)

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