I was among the first 20 to respond, and on Tuesday afternoon was notified that I won two tickets. I was worried they'd skip me and go on to the next person since I had complained. Not to be ungrateful, but if they use this RSVP method again, I'll put in a fake address and phone and say in the comments that it's fake and they should already have my real info from before (this time, I used the comments to point out that it's Columbus Circle, not Columbia Circle as in their blurb - they must love me). N was slated to come, but had to cancel at the last minute due to the snow forecast in the suburbs.
The snow wasn't bad, and I got to the Samsung Experience at the Time-Warner Center before noon. Inside, there were beverages (no caffeine-free diet soda and nothing for me to drink at first, but later there was bottled water) and lunch. The lunch was in a bento box-like container with three plastic trays: chicken fillet with pesto and salad, couscous and string beans, fruit and cookies, and a roll. Not to be ungrateful, but there was nowhere to eat this other than standing up and leaning it on a display case. I decided to save the food for later. Someone must have noticed people awkwardly standing around holding the boxes and told us there were sofas in the back. That was better, but I was too far from a table and had to lean my box on the sofa seat next to me. I ate the chicken, salad and fruit, and gave someone my couscous tray.
I wasn't really talking to anyone. I have no social skills with strangers. I think I saw the woman from the W Hotel "Wordplay" showing, but she didn't say anything so neither did I. People were being interviewed, I think for the blueseat.com web site (nothing there yet). I overheard an organizer telling the camera there was a contingent from NYU Tisch, so felt better about feeling old (but there were older people there, too).
Unlike most of the movies I see at screenings, "Atonement" is already out, but just barely. It's still opening around the country and just received multiple Golden Globe nominations. I purposely didn't watch the trailer or read about it in advance, to get the full experience.
The screening room was a curtained-off area with (duh) blue seats. Not like the two plush blue seats at the front of the store (which looked like those on the web site), but much more basic. There were a few places the levels stepped up, so that was good.
The movie was a WWII-era period piece, gorgeously shot and while sometimes slow-moving, definitely moving. James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch from "Starter for 10" were among the cast. There were jogs back and forth in time, ending many years later with the main character "Briley" (spelled Briony) as an old woman (Vanessa Redgrave). There were tears in my eyes at the end.
Focus Features head James Schamus was scheduled to do a Q&A afterward but was stuck in a car en route (that darn weather), so we were invited back out for cocktails and popcorn. I stayed put. A woman came back and said there were goody bags. SWAG!!! I went out to grab a bag but was told that was for after the Q&A. By the way, this woman thought the reply site was "secure"... nope. The speaker arrived and the film students asking questions weren't overly film student-y. All involved are very happy with the awards buzz. I looked up Schamus later (oh, he wrote THAT?) and was surprised he's 7 years younger than me. He was given excellent swag (a Samsung electronic product), but our swag was much more modest - 2 tickets to the Landmark Sunshine theater, mints, a Bic-like pen, and a cord with a USB plug at the end (for what?).
Dear IRS, I'm estimating $25 value and that's generous.
They're hoping to do these every month, so that will be nice, especially if they improve their reply system. This took the entire afternoon, and it was dark when we got out. The snow was slush on the ground. I went to the post office (surprisingly not bad for pre-holiday), bank (slow line, but I had to get money for the building staff tips), and supermarket (yay, they had raspberry passion!).