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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Kevin Porter

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Posted December 22 2002 - 03:44 PM

You know, we've been rating movies like crazy lately. But what about the theaters we're seeing them in. I'd like to start a thread for best and/or worst movie theaters. We could have specific categories like biggest or most neat or whatever. Tell us which is the best and/or worst theater in each state and maybe even the country. I'll start. You can rate by whatever you want. I'll rate by picture sound and cleanness

Edwards Cinema Houston: 9/8/9

Have fun
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#2 of 11 OFFLINE   L. Anton Dencklau

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Posted December 22 2002 - 05:08 PM

Kevin,

It might be more useful to physically describe why exactly you like the specific theater. A 1-10 scale is all well and good, but doesn't inspire much conversation other than "I would have given them a 7 instead of an 8"

I mean, do you love the stadium seating, the great sound?
Do they play limited releases?
Do they have a great manager or staff?
Do you like the color of the carpet?
Do they attract a good crowd?
Does it smell like cookies baking? Posted Image

Most theaters to me seem mostly the same, unless its an IMAX or something else unusual.

Just $.02

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 23 2002 - 04:13 AM

My entry in the 2002 Film List Thread (below) has ratings for all the places I've seen movies during the year... But, since that thread's a beast, I'll expand on my impressions of the Boston-area theaters:

Brattle Theater (Cambridge, MA) - ***½ - I love this place. I chose my apartment to be near it. Technically, not that impressive - they just got stereo a year ago and the rear-projection screen isn't the best - but the programming is top-notch: One screen with new movies every day, fun series, and many shows are double features. Reasonably priced snacks, too (including hot cider in the winter. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm...).

Simons IMAX Theater, New England Aquarium (Boston, MA) - ***½ - It's IMAX, it's 3-D, it's huge. Nice lobby, nice waterfront location. Probably the best single screen in New England; it's just too bad certain IMAX movies will likely never play there because of Disney's terms.

Loews Boston Common (Boston, MA) - ***¼ - Arguably, Boston's best place for mainstream fare. The main place I go, although maybe not quite as nice as Fenway, it's pretty good once you take location and matinee prices (and available food - not snacks, but food) into consideration.

GCC AMC Fenway (Boston, MA) - ***¼ - I used to go to this one a lot more, before AMC purchased it, jacked matinee prices up to $7 (and now has even done away with the 4-6pm $4.50 shows and the student/medical personnel discount), and changed online ticketing from Fandango to the really horrid MovieTickets.com. Now, basically everything here is also playing at Loews Boston Common, and the somewhat nicer presentation isn't worth being farther down the Green Line any more.

Feinstein Imax (Providence, RI) - ***¼ - What a standard IMAX place looks and feels like. Functional (and impressive) without being austere.

AT&T Broadband IMAX 3-D Theater At Jordan's Furniture Natick (Natick, MA) - ***¼ - I think this place is designed as a place to drop off the kids while you shop for sofas. Presentation is good - can IMAX be otherwise? - but insufficient lobby space is a problem.

Kendall Square (Cambridge, MA) - *** - The Boston area's best "boutique" place, with 9 screens ranging from quite nice to quite small. Still, it's very nice to be able to see foreign/indie films at a modern theater.

Coolidge Corner (Brookline, MA) - *** - Technically, nicer than the Brattle, but not quite as modern as the Kendall Square theater, with programming reminiscent of both. Still, with the largest seating capacity in the Boston area, it's great for movie events, like the Sci-Fi Marathon, visitors, festivals, and 70mm reissues.

Mugar Omni Theater @ the Museum Of Science (Boston, MA) - *** - 1 dome screen. Gotta love the way it completely fills the field of vision, and it's a unique feel. No snacks allowed, which is kind of nice, and the price structure is reverse - full price before 7pm, reduced after.

Museum of Fine Arts Remis Auditorium (Boston, MA) - *** - Pricey, off the beaten path, but home to the city's most aggressive world cinema program.

Regent Theater (Arlington, MA) - *** - Newly renovated, more a small-city performance center than a movie house. The screen is too far back on the stage, and the programming almost feels like stuff that couldn't get booked at the Brattle or Coolidge.

Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge, MA) - *** - A screening room sort of wedged into the bottom of the art building, it has a strange design, but has quite interesting programs at times.

Somerville Theater (Somerville, MA) - **¾ - Preferable to the Capitol, but still sort of a last-resort place. The main room, though, does work nicely as a concert hall.

Loews Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA) - **½ - The main screen is big and beautiful; the other four are mixed bags, with strangely designed stadium seating at weird angles. And I don't think the projectors are straight.

Loews Fresh Pond (Cambridge, MA) - **½ - An ugly 80s cinder-block style place with a bunch of parking and not much else to recommend it. The three main "upstairs" screens are decent, but the other seven aren't much. Everybody goes to Fenway and Boston Common now, and I wouldn't be surprised if this place is gone a year from now.

Capitol Theater (Arlington, MA) - **½ - Let me get this straight - $6 for a second-run theater? That you can't get to by subway? Which runs pretty close to the same thing as the Somerville Theater? As you might expect, this is sort of the court of the last resort - where I go when I've missed a movie everywhere else it plays.

Loews Copley Place (Boston, MA) - ** - Small. Just small. Small screens, small rooms, no lobby to speak of, less-than-impressive sound, and the picture always seems slightly askew. I go here for the Film Festival or when something like Equilibrium isn't playing anywhere else. Must be a nightmare when they have children's movies.

Other places I saw movies this year, but only on one screen and I was rushing in and out too quickly to form an opinion:

West Newton Cinema (Newton, MA)
City Cinemas (New York, NY)
Loews Lincoln Plaza (New York, NY) - Only went to IMAX
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#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Qui-Gon John

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Posted December 23 2002 - 04:38 AM

Muvico and Regal Sawgrass are both good, in my opinion.

1. I really like when theaters have early morning shows, like 10am.

2. Besides the cell-phone free, as in the other thread, maybe there should be baby/small-child free theaters.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Kristian

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Posted December 23 2002 - 05:59 AM

These are all the theatres I've been to since moving to Florida:

AMC Aventura 24 (Aventura, FL) / *** / I only went here once, but I had no problems.

AMC CocoWalk 16 (Coconut Grove, FL) / *** / Small screens with non-stadium seating are a turnoff, but their prices are good ($5.50 for matinee is a rarity in an AMC these days) and they play a good amount of foreign and independent films.

AMC Pleasure Island 24 (Lake Buena Vista, FL) / *** / I've only been here twice, but the two experiences have differed greatly from each other. When I went all the way here to see Attack of the Clones in DLP, the auditorium that was playing it had very good seating, perfect picture and solid sound. But when I went to see Treasure Planet in a different auditorium a few months later, they left the lights on for the whole movie, the seating made it very hard to see the screen clearly and the sound was very unimpressive (and unfortunately did not drown out all the annoying kids). Still, it's hard to give a bad rating to this place, as being able to see a movie at such a wonderful location as Downtown Disney is very convenient.

AMC Sunset Place 24 (South Miami, FL) / ***½ / I went here a lot more often when their prices were better (I saw a lot of movies when they had $4.25 twilight pricing), but this is still among my top 3 theaters. They show a lot of foreign and indie flicks along with all the mainstream fare. Even in the smallest screens, the presentation is usually top-notch. And the Moviewatcher program has been very good to me.

AMC Kendall Town & Country 10 (Miami, FL) / **½ / It's very close to where I live, so that's a plus. And their prices, presentation and seating are solid for such a small theater. But their movie selection leaves a lot to be desired.

Cobb Dolphin 19 (Miami, FL) / ***½ / I would have given this a full four stars at one point, but I have had some very dissapointing experiences here as of late. For Tuck Everlasting, the print turned nearly unwatchable during an important scene in the film. There were sound problems when they showed Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and a black line showed up across the screen near the end. And for The Two Towers, I got the worst crowd you could ever imagine and the sound wasn't loud enough to overpower their idiocy. Still, considering how many films I've seen in this theater where I had no problems at all, I shouldn't complain that much. They have the biggest screens I've seen in all of Miami, after all.

IMAX Theater at Sunset Place (South Miami, FL) / ***½ / Bad IMAX pricing aside, the experience of seeing my first IMAX films here was nothing short of amazing.

Muvico Paradise 24 (Davie, FL) / **½ / While the architecture of the place is pretty cool, their seating is poor, the theaters are always messy and their presentation has not been as stellar as I've heard some people say it is.

Regal Palace 18 (Miami, FL) / * / Terrible place. I guess I shouldn't have expected a great theater in such a bad neighborhood. When I went to see Tadpole, they showed Frida instead and didn't put the right movie until a half hour later. Only the biggest releases get the stadium seating treatment, while the rest are relegated to living room sized theaters. And even those big releases aren't shown very well, with audio and print glitches a common occurence.

Regal South Beach 18 (Miami Beach, FL) / ***½ / The best place I've been to for independent and foreign films. I haven't had any presentation problems and their seating is always comfortable. Their pricing could be a bit better, but this is Miami Beach. The only big problem is that it's a long drive from where I live.
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#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Ly

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Posted December 23 2002 - 06:13 AM

Well, since Jason beat me to describing Boston area choices I'll just add my .02:

Boston Common is the best area theater right now. Clean, good looking, with good refreshments... except no root beer, get with it Loews. The screening rooms are clean with comfy seats and great sight lines. Very good sound, not much bleed from on theater to another. They also have Andy, their lead Usher(I think). If you have gone to a popular movie early in it's run you have seen Andy, He's the guy with the big booming voice who comes in and let's everyone know the ground rules, i.e. "Please turn off your cell phone when the movie starts because if it rings during the movie the folks around you will kill you and I do not want to clean up your blood...."

Fenway is the other newer big theater in town, it's the one I used to go to, but since AMC took over General Cinema it has gone downhill faster than German National bobsled team.
My wife and I went to see Die Another Day there a couple of weeks ago. The lobby area dirty with trash everywhere, they only had about five kids working registers at the snack counter, on a Saturday afternoon in a thirteen screen cinema. The screening room itself was dirty, though luckily the sound and projection were fine. Oh, and they had run out of CO2 for the drink fountains. Perhaps if they were the only cinema in town they could get away with this, but not here and now.

The Kendall is a great art house theater, and the Cambridge Brewing Company in the adjoining office complex has the best beer in the city. Tangent start. The regular beers : golden, amber, Porter(a dark, hoppy beer that is the predecessor of Stout), and a great hoptastic Pale Ale. The specials at the moment are a Winter IPA, a nice Bitter, Blunderbuss Barlywine- 11.5% abv and oh so warming, and finally Banatyne's Scotch Ale, the best you'll find in the states laddy. Tangent over

Oh, and I think Jason is being a little to fair to Fresh Pond. This Mctheater has no redeeming qualities and should be put out of it's misery. The wife and I don't call it "Pond Scum" for nothing, you know.

Anywho, this was way longer that I had planned on, so thanks for reading my rant.

Jay

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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 23 2002 - 06:38 AM

Quote:
Oh, and I think Jason is being a little to fair to Fresh Pond. This Mctheater has no redeeming qualities and should be put out of it's misery. The wife and I don't call it "Pond Scum" for nothing, you know.
Well, to be honest, my impressions of it were formed because it was the closest mainstream theater when I moved here, after dealing with the Hoyt's holes in the Portland, ME area. Looked nice in comparison, but I haven't been there much since Boston Common and Fenway opened.

For those not in the Boston area, one must remember that this area sucked in terms of seeing movies just a few years ago - Copley Place was the main "mainstream" theater (now it's mostly boutique stuff), I'm told the Cheri was a complete hole, and the Nickelodeon wasn't much better. Fresh Pond seemed absolutely tolerable at the time. All the local alternative houses (Brattle, Coolidge, and Regent) have been recently renovated, too - I can't forget the time I took a girl to see Roman Holiday and Breakfast At Tiffany's at the Brattle and got my pants torn on the seat.

Quote:
since AMC took over General Cinema it has gone downhill faster than German National bobsled team.
No kidding. My brother tells me they just shut down the one in South Portland, ME, but that as far as it had fallen, no-one misses it.

Next up: AMC stops letting you butter your own popcorn to further remind us just how much we took GCC for granted.
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
Transplanted Life: Sci-fi soap opera about a man placed in a new body, updated two or three times a week.
Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

"What? Since when was this an energy...

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Mike Capulli

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Posted December 23 2002 - 07:39 AM

Here are my pics for the Chicagoland area. I won't cover too many in the city, and in the north and south suburbs. Because Chicagoland has so many theaters to choose from, I will only give my 2 cents on the ones Ive been too. (of course.) They are mostly in the western suburbs.

AMC Yorktown(Lombard, IL)/**½/This theater used to be a General Cineplex Odeon theater but was bought by AMC for some reason. Nice theater and facilities, however this place is always swarming with kids jumping over seats and standing around at the entrances, talking etc.

Pipers Alley 4(Chicago, IL)/**½/This theater resides in the heart of Chicago's Oldtown district. Nice theater, but good luck finding a parking spot. If the theater's garage is full (& it always is), most of the local parking requires a decal. This is however a good place to see a movie if you want to walk to a restaurant or a bar after wards.

Quarry 14(Hodgkins, IL)/**/This new addition to Chicagoland's western suburbs sits right across the street from the Hodgkins Quarry. As a result of that, you are most likely to experience a deep rumble and minor earthquake experience during your screening. And this is not due to any subwoofers. Most of the screens are rather small but this theater is always empty during the day. I wouldn't go on any night of the week however, because this theater is a few blocks from a trailer park community and the audience can be very distracting at times. This theater also has NO student discount.

Oakbrook 5-7(Oakbrook, IL)//If you pass this theater driving along Cermak you wouldn't know it's a theater. Its merely a small warehouse type of building in the parking lot of the Oakbrook Mall. The metallic roof is exposed in the theaters giving it a horrible echo and metallic sound. The only thing good about this theater is the fact that a friend of mine runs it and he plays smaller films on one of the three screens. This is one of two theaters in the suburbs where you can currently see Bowling for Columbine.

Streets of Woodfield(Schaumburg, IL)/***½/This theater resides right in the middle of the Woodfield Mall. The "town-like" setting lets you walk to a GameWorks, numerous restaurants and even a larger indoor mall behind it. The theater is top of the line. It's 15 screen facility has a DLP projection system (one of the few in the state!) and a beautiful design. It's 2 different floors of screens make this theater a top choice if you're willing to drive there. If you walk outside the theater however you will see a fast&furious crowd of teens showing off their ricers on the mall's main strip. When Minority Report was released they had the Lexus vehicle from the film on display!

Woodridge 18(Woodridge, IL)/***/This theater sits on a stretch of land which used to be a massive farm. A company bought out the farm and now the area is littered with warehouses and different buildings including this massive 18 screen theater. It sits right alongside of I-55 (aka "the Stevenson") and is actually my main choice. Its great design has a huge main hall in the center where you buy tickets and drinks (and gaze at the massive posters, windowed ceiling and laser lights), and two halls of theaters to its left and right. One of the drawbacks is however that their speakers are so reflective and shiny, you can often times see them during certain shots of a movie.

Cinemark @ Seven Bridges(Woodridge, IL)/***/This 14 screen cinema is (IMO) a tie with the other theater in Woodridge. The theater often has better sound (although sometimes a bit too loud) and a darker setting. The tall seats and adjustable arm rests and brilliant presentation actually gets you deeper into the experience. A friend of mine said that in comparison to the Loews, "I was completely lost in the movie." It's a quieter, darker and more enveloping setting. This theater also has an IMAX inside of it. They often show non-IMAX movies on big opening nights but the picture is disproportional and a big blurry.

Anybody from Chicago please add!
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#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Andrew_Sch

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Posted December 23 2002 - 07:46 AM

We all know that there is only one true theater in Baltimore. The Senator , which I give an enthusiastic 10/10. The reasons:

1) Best audio and video presentation ever. Period.
2) When I entered the theater Saturday, I wasn't greeted by the obnoxious sounds of the Loews radio network. Rather, I was greeted by the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Enough said.
3) Apparently someone there got the message that movie screens are neither billboards nor televisions. Hence, no ads, no commercials and usually no trailers. Who would've thought, a movie theater that actually shows (gasp) MOVIES!!!
4) No chicken, or tacos or jalapeno poppers. Popcorn, candy, and drinks. All you need, nothing you don't.
5) No kids under five allowed, ever.
6) There's actually architecture!! Unlike most theaters where you basically watch a movie in a box, the Senator is constructed in the most tasteful art deco style imaginable.
7) You can't hear the damn projector humming.
8) There are actually curtains over the screen.
9) None of the framing problems that I encounter so frequently at other theaters.
10) Unlike most theaters where they pump up the bass to ridiculous levels while neglecting midrange, dialogue is always clear and discernable, everything's actually balanced!!
11) Always the cleanest prints. GONY wasn't even clean on the first day at my local Loews.
12) There's an actual lobby with a painted rotunda and whatnot.
13) The only complaint I can think of is that the seats are a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Besides that, movie watching perfection.

And yes, my check from Kiefaber (the theater's owner) is indeed in the mail.
"Old theatres are irreplaceable. They could never be duplicated at today's costs - but more importantly, their spirit could not be duplicated because they remind us of a day when going to the show was a more glorious and escapist experience. I think a town's old theatres are the sanctuary of...

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Kirk Tsai

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Posted December 23 2002 - 10:54 AM

I go to school in Davis now, but none of the theaters around that area (Sacremento) are really that worth noting in comparison to Los Angeles, where I had lived prior to going to college. So a few highlights, and since it's LA, more emphasis on parking than other areas, as well.

Mann National/Mann Villiage in Westwood. Two of the best. Both only have one screen, giant screens, perfect sound. If Villiage has anything over National, it's that they changed their seats to more comfortable ones than National. Downside if that Westwood parking is terrible. No parking lot does validation, and fees can run high. In the evening one can put some effort and look around to park on the streets or pay flat fees for parking.

Chinese/El Capitan in Hollywood. A lot of tourists will take pictures, but they don't know what they're missing without seeing a movie in these. El Capitan seems to mainly (exclusively?) play Disney films, and they often have special presentations before the movie. The theater itself is quite glamorous, but I somewhat dislike their practice of holding good seats for big events as well as their upper seats, which are really up there. The Chinese theater's screen seems larger to me, but both are terrific. Parking is easier now because of the new parking structure, which with validation at the Chinese is two bucks for the first four hours.

Arclight (Pacific theaters) on Sunset. Expensive, and comfortable with no peer. The Cinerama Dome is giant; I find the best seats for viewing to be the last few rows of the Floor Seats. Their other screens are also perfet, each with a much larger size than your normal multiplex. Good parking, four hours free with movie. Of course, it's often a hassale to get there with Sunset/Hollywood's traffic.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Paul Linfesty

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Posted December 23 2002 - 04:27 PM

No parking lot does validation, and fees can run high. In the evening one can put some effort and look around to park on the streets or pay flat fees for parking.


For the past several years now, one can park in many lots in the evening and only pay 2 bucks. A buck is refunded when buying your ticket to any Westwood Village Mann theatre.

Parking is easier now because of the new parking structure, which with validation at the Chinese is two bucks for the first four hours.


Due to a less than desired use of Hollywood and Highland, they have recently extended the same validation pricing to patrons of the El Capitan and Egyptian (American Cinematech) theatres.




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