The new Landmark Sunshine Cinema opened for business on December 21, 2001, and it's a beautiful venue for seeing "alternative" film. Located on the edge of Alphabet City as 143 East Houston Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), the Sunshine has five theaters, all of them with bigger screens, better seating and superior sound than the nearby Angelika Film Center or the uptown Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Especially now that more and more alternative films are being projected in the 2.35:1 ratio, the postage-stamp-sized screens found at the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza can be a problem. The Sunshine has screens that approach the size found in many mainstream multiplexes. It isn't the Ziegfeld, but few theaters are. The building was once a theater, but more recently it was a warehouse. The restoration left some of the original beams and brickwork exposed so that you can see the building's history (the usual downtown approach to renovation), but the theatrical appointments are current state-of-the-art: high-backed seats, stadium seating in three of the five auditoriums, DD EX (at least so they say; I won't know for sure until I see an EX feature there). At the moment, the Sunshine is one of only two venues in NYC showing Monster's Ball, a Lion's Gate offering starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry that has been getting a lot of critical attention (rightly so, IMO). It's also showing Kandahar, Behind the Sun and, beginning 12/28, Dark Blue World. I'm sure when Landmark planned this opening, they weren't anticipating Sept. 11 or the damage it would do to the tourist trade and downtown generally. It's a rough time to be opening a new cinema, especially one that isn't showing the latest blockbuster on half a dozen screens. I urge everyone in NYC (and surrounding areas) who believes in supporting alternative film to seek out this theater and vote with your wallet in favor of theaterowners who attempt to offer us better viewing conditions for films that rely primarily on the good will of filmgoers. For further information and current showtimes, go to www.landmarktheatres.com. BTW, I have no connection with the Landmark organization. I just appreciate good theaters. M.