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Art houses in NYC

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Francois Caron, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Screenwriter

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    Does anyone have any art-houses to recommend in New York City? I'll be heading there for my vacation very soon and I'm not the type who's into clubs or big-time broadway plays.

    This will be the first time I've stepped into a movie theater in... Ouch! Five years! [​IMG]
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The arthouse scene is thriving here. In order of personal preference:

    IFC Center: The newest addition to the scene, which opened on July 17, 2005 at the site of the old Waverly Theater in the Village. I've only been in their main theater, which is small but comfortable and has a big screen with both digital and 35mm projection. The sound system is new, and you can tell.

    Landmark Sunshine: Opened in late 2001 in the East Village. Five auditoriums, all of them with big screens and digital sound. The main auditorium downstairs is bigger than you'll find in many multiplex theaters.

    Lincoln Plaza Cinemas: Upper West Side near Lincoln Center. One of the city's venerable arthouses. Independently owned and operated by people who really care about the quality of their presentations. Six theaters, all of them comfortable, but the big negative is that the screens are small. I generally compensate by sitting closer.

    Film Forum: Same neighborhood as the IFC Center. Damned by many for its functional lack of charm, it shows things that you can't get anywhere else, and both the audience and the ownership are film enthusiasts.

    Angelika Center: Many won't even go there, but they still get exclusives that you can't see elsewhere. A refurbishment in the last few years has made the seats more comfortable, but the screens are small, the sound systems are antiquated, and the subway runs directly beneath the theater, which is in a basement. Nothing wrong with the place if you know what you're getting into.

    Quad Cinema: Midway between the East and West Village. I go there only when it's something I can't get anywhere else.

    The Metro Twin on Upper Broadway recently reopened, and it's supposed to be nice, but I haven't been there.

    Also, check the listings for the AMC 25 in Times Square and the Regal Union Square 14. Both of these get arthouse fare on a regular basis. They're standard-issue modern multiplexes.

    Consider off-Broadway. Much of the best stuff is there.

    M.
     
  3. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Screenwriter

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    Thanks a lot Michael! Now that's a list! And it's a list that'll allow me to find out what's playing when I'm there. The only theaters I've managed to find in my short research this morning were the new IFC (scaring the crap out of the competition) and the Angelika (subway noise).

    I need the theaters to occupy my evenings and to rest my feet. During the daytime, I'll be visiting most of the big museums: MOMA, Guggenheim, Natural History, Metropolitain, and The Intrepid. That means I'll be walking a lot.

    I'm already looking off-broadway for the plays. In fact, I'm looking waaaay off broadway! It seems the closer you get to Broadway, the closer you're "owned" by Disney. [​IMG]
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I just realized I forgot to include the Paris Theater, which is right next to the former Plaza Hotel. It's old, but it still has good projection and a passable sound system. I don't go there a lot, because some of the other venues listed above are more convenient, but it sometimes gets exclusives. (The last thing I saw there was A Very Long Engagement, and at the time that was the only place to see it.)

    A movie fan should consider Orson's Shadow, in which the dramatis personnae include Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Tynan. It's based on a real incident and is performed with great enthusiasm. It's at the Barrow Street Theater in the Village.

    And I don't know whether you'll be here in time, but the revivial of Hurlyburly with Ethan Hawke is an exhilarating (albeit exhausting) evening of theater.

    M.
     
  5. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Great list Michael. I hadn't know about the IFC theater, though I'll be sure to check it out. Hurlyburly looks good as well.

    BTW- I was sad to learn that the Beekman was closing. Sometimes had arthouse movies and was a 10 minute walk from my apt.

    Edit- actually closing tonight. I may go over and catch the last show.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Since I'm routinely in the West Village, I've been watching the IFC Center get built and eagerly awaiting the opening. They did a great job with the space. Among other things, they made a deal with the Posteritati gallery to decorate the place with rare and antique movie posters, which are supposed to change on a regular basis. After my wife and I watched their debut feature (the Sundance audience favorite You and Me and Everyone We Know), we spent some time browsing the current crop, some of which I'd really love to own (there was a poster for The Thin Blue Line I'd never seen before).

    IFC assembled an impressive advisory board that includes John Sayles, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Errol Morris among others. I hope they'll be keep the board involved in planning special exhibitions and festivals.

    I haven't been there in years, but I wasn't surprised when its closing was announced. Both as a space and as an exhibitor, it had fallen behind the times. I can't imagine how any single-screen venue survives in today's market. (One day the Ziegfeld too will close.) The shame is that nobody wanted to do with the space what IFC did with the Waverly -- reconceive and rebuild it. The block where the Beekman is located is being taken over by Sloan-Kettering for an imaging and diagnostic center.

    M.
     
  7. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    I believe the Ziegfeld is a landmark.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It may be, but landmark status doesn't require that it be open for business (or that it remain a movie theater).

    M.
     
  9. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    The technique the Brattle Theater here in Cambridge appears to use is (1) become a non-profit, (2) be a repatory theater so that you're not giving 90% of your ticket sales to the studios, and (3) run each show for an average of two and a half days (going by their current calendar).
     
  10. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Have they refurbished it all lately? I was there about 5 years ago and it seemed to be getting pretty rundown.
     
  11. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Some. They replaced all of the seats within the last five years, and finally upgraded to stereo last year. There's a fresh coat of paint on everything, but it's still a pretty basic movie theater. The Brattle Film Foundation (who took it over from Running Arts in 2001) have done a pretty decent job with the place. I've got weeks when I live there, more or less, and it's a more pleasant experience than when I moved here in '99.

    It's never going to be the premiere venue in the area - it's too small and too crammed into a weird space for that - but it's a great place to see an old movie.
     
  12. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The Brattle also benefits from being situated in a college town. (I spent a lot of time there too, only it was more years ago than I care to admit.)

    The Ziegfled is located in the heart of the midtown business district, and it seats over 1100. That's some expensive real estate to maintain if you're not filling the seats every night.

    M.
     
  13. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    I know someone in the preservation/landmark field, I'll try and clarify what the Ziegfeld's landmark status actually means for it.

    Ironically enough, I got an email from him this morning wondering whether I know any org that'd be interested in the Beekman's marquee, I couldn't really think of anyone save the new studios in Brooklyn. The thing is huge.
     
  14. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Screenwriter

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    Okay. I've been in NYC for four days now. Didn't go see a movie yet, but I did break down and went to see "The Producers" this evening. Lotsa fun!

    I'll post a trip report when I get back. What I can tell you now is my feet are KILLING me! [​IMG]
     

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