1) The California Theater in Berkeley
2) The Vista in Los Feliz
3) The El Capitan in Hollywood (when I can afford it)
I can, of course, elaborate but I want to see what y'all do first.
Note - An amazing theater experience for me is the building and more specifically the story behind the building. I don't care about movie trivia if there's incredible architecture / atmosphere.
1. Avalon Theatre , Catalina Island, CA ( live organ playing before weekend shows , incredible artwork )
2. The Alabama , Birmingham Alabama. Home to the Sidewalk Film Festival, this is a former opera house turn movie theater. Also has an original pipe organ.
3. Mayan, Denver CO - you're put into a magically world before the film starts. Job done.
Bonus - Haven't been there but the Keith Albee Theater in West Virginia will make you want to go there after you google it. My dream is also to play at the Colonial Theater in NH.
Sean, your list reminds me that I still haven't seen a film at Oakland's Paramount... I've seen Tori Amos and the Oakland Ballet do Bolero there, but not a film, despite the fact they run them.
And I'd give just about anything to see a movie at the Los Angeles theatre here in town. I went to an Ubisoft presser there once. It's an amazing place.
haven't been to the Los Angeles but do want to go to the Paramount. Also there is one in Berkley that I've heard great things about.
In Los Angeles i just usually go to the Arclight Pasadena. The Arclight is the really the only theater with perfected airconditioning in Los Angeles. Although I pay a bit more, I go to the movies so often that their points system pretty much evens everything out. Pacific is too inconsistent , Landmark/AMC/Laemmle have everything at Grandma and Grandpa temps. Should the Draft House come to LA, I'll be happy to become part of the competition.
The Hawaiian International Film Festival is on a Golf Coarse but I figured non-theaters shouldn't count.
Here in Austin I can only speak to the three Alamo Drafthouses I've been to (Ritz, South Lamar and Slaughter Lane) the giant Regal I went to last week, the Paramount and State (or whatever it's called now) and, umm, the pop-up one they build at the convention center for SXSW.
See, before I moved here last week, I lived in NYC for 6 years, but the rest of my formative filmic years were spent in Philly. So I've got piles of theaters. I can't pick 3!
Ziegfeld was my favorite in NYC once upon a time, but those dopes put in digital too soon. The Eric in Feasterville PA, where I saw Home Alone, was a total piece of crap but it was my piece of crap, so I have fond memories. Same with the Newtown Theater near where I grew up in PA.
Jon- I branched your branch question so we could get to the @branch singularity sooner.
That and keep the convo on topic.
Let's pivot a little, since I'm learning so much about y'all:
what was the first movie theatre you fell in love with? Mine is still my #1. The California. Saw Roger Rabbit there 7 (out of 9) times.
Batman in '89 on opening day. The Rocketeer.
It was the first movie theatre I ever made out with someone in, and I dated a girl who worked there. Different ladies.
I love that movie theatre.
I don't think this Spielberg quote needs a separate branch:
"I remember the days when we used to go to the Cinerama Dome or the Ziegfeld in New York, to see the 70 millimeter exclusive engagements. When I first started watching “Raiders” on the big Imax screen not too long ago, it reminded me of those old event-ized days."
Ziegfeld is still a favorite. Wish I could see a 70mm film there.
Hey folks, I was born and raised in Santa Monica and, selection-wise, the Laemmle on 2nd Street and Landmark on Pico are my two favorites. In addition to the films, the Landmark has awesome views of L.A., A+ seats and snacks, and seat reservation. Laemmle is old and dumpy, but that adds to its charm, and it's near the beach which is a plus.
Well, all the way over here in England I live in Brighton which is home to the oldest purpose built cinema in the country - it has been going for over 100 years now - The Duke of York's. It has a balcony, where you can sit on a sofa with a beer to watch the film, Voted best in the country last year, nice to have on the doorstep!
The most fun place I've seen a film, and probably the comfiest, was the Prince Charles Cinema which is right in the heart of London. It's somewhere between arthouse & grindhouse, just check out the programme for this week!
And the place I'm dying to go to, so this is a bit of a cheat, The Rex, which is sadly nowhere near me and always seems to be sold out when I'm near it. An utterly beautiful cinema.
I worked as a projectionist at the Jane Pickens Theater in Newport, RI for a while. One of the older theaters around, equipped with a concert organ and ragtag 35mm projector, old school red velvet-style seats. The best event we ever did was a live band playing along to Nosferatu. Radically fun, really revved up the mood.
My other two favorites are actually cineplexes, but only because of films I saw or people I spent time with there, so I'll hold 'em back.
I fell in love with movies in the 80s when I moved to Montreal from New Brunswick and spent lots of time at the rep theatre Cinema V which was blocks from my apartment and had punch cards for $25 which let you see 10 films. It has long since been dormant. en.wikipedia.org)
The other places that are still around are the Park Lane cinemas in Halifax, Nova Scotia where the films of the Atlantic Film Festival play and finally the Valley Drive In in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia because it's fun to watch films outside under the stars with a nice crowd of happy people.
Fav place to see movies in my town is also (full disclosure) where I work. The Belcourt Theatre in Nashville's Hillsboro Village, showing movies since 1925. Not one of those grand downtown movie palaces, but funky, fun—and the only joint in town that still shows 35mm. Love the E Street Cinema in D.C. too.
And saw a recent NYT story that said drive-in theaters are still thriving in some parts of the U.S. Really???
1) The TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto but not during the actual festival. 5 nice modern theaters, all thoroughly soundproofed and appropriately dark (the least exit signing they legally could). Some people love the TIFF festival but I can't be bothered, but the other 355 days of the year are great.
2)The Revue Cinema - Nice old theater with Edwardian decor, for years a rep theater now run by group of local film buffs organized a "film society", raised money and now lease the theater, the theater is run by volunteers. Highlight is the weekly silents screening.
3) The Port Elmsley Drive in Theater, OK the actual movie watching experience is only just OK but there's just something fun about the whole drive in theater experience
Currently living in Simi Valley, CA so it's:
1) Muvico in Thousand Oaks, CA
2) Arclight Sherman Oaks
3) Arclight Hollywood
but when I lived in Bellingham, WA I went to the Trident Theatre in downtown Seattle and was completely blown away. It was beautiful on the inside and one of the first balcony-available cinemas I had even been to. It was definitely a memorable experience.
But here in CA, the Arclight's ability to bring film festivals, Q&A sessions and re-releases for special screenings makes is a film junkies personal home away from home.
I live in Knoxville, TN, home to Regal Entertainment Group.
1.) Regal Cinemas Pinnacle Stadium 18 & IMAX (Great for new major releases and of course IMAX)
2.) Regal Downtown West Cinema 8 (Think Sundance Film Festival, we love this theater, the seats need to be replaced.)
3.) Regal Riviera Stadium 8 (Easy access when we have dinner downtown)
I've from Pensacola, FL, so my favorite place to see a movie when I visit home is Rave Cinemas.
1. Tampa Theatre - Tampa, FL
Historic movie palace with highly ornate fixtures and simulated night sky ceilings. Organ player sometimes plays before films and exits via trap door (!). Also has Newcastle on tap (!!).
2. Brattle Theatre - Cambridge, MA
Nice little independent theatre in Harvard Square. Shows very eclectic collection of films and also hosts premiers and notable speakers and guests. "Boston's unofficial film school". Serves Cambridge Brewing Company beer on tap.
3. Enzian Theatre - Orlando, FL/Coolidge Corner Theatre - Allston, MA.
Enzian lets you sit in tables and couches and order food (and pitchers of beer). Coolidge has a great movie marquee and the interior is nice. Also servers beer on tap and uses vintage movie intros.
The only theater I've fallen in love for the overall experience has been Cinepolis, a Mexico-based company coming into the states. They serve food, drinks, alcohol and they go to great lengths to make the seating extremely comfortable with recliners and love seats.
I'm also lucky to have a drive-in movie theater just down the street. Just the feel of going to the drive-in is enough for me.
1. Tivoli Theater, St. Louis - cool, funky theater showed very interesting mix and double features when I was in high school (1980s). Oldies, classics, independents (before that was an actual category). Was also an old fashioned single screen theater then, not a movie palace though. Think it's three screens now.
2. Fountain Theater, Old Mesilla, New Mexico - Another independent theater showing nice variety. Small, served beer and local wine, popcorn with real butter, sofas in addition to theater seats.
3. Tough but I'll go with Esquire Theater, St. Louis as 1 or 3 screens, not today's 7. Mostly because it was walking distance from my house and I saw lots of movies there.
And another vote for the Tivoli Theater in St. Louis! I definitely saw a few flicks there in college ...
I must include the Northlake Festival Tavern in NE Atlanta suburb of DeKalb County, purely for nostalgic, high school dating, fumble in the dark reasons --> boxofficemojo.com
and two local shout outs:
- the new downtown Redwood City Century 20, which has helped RC compete with tonier neighbors of Palo Alto & Menlo Park for nightlife --> fandango.com
and I do love indie, second run movie houses. They are few and far between in Silicon Valley, but the Bluelight in Cupertino (close to Apple HQ) is great to have around--> bluelightcinemas.com
1: Another vote for the Prince Charles Cinema in London, UK - it's cheap, comfortable and cool, and they often have "quote-a-longs" where you're basically encouraged to be vocal during the film, cheering when Arnie says something awesomely silly for example (which wouldn't happen normally in a British cinema audience): princecharlescinema.com
2: The Rio Cinema in Dalston - it's in the middle of a scrappy area, but it's a quality little indie cinema that never gets too busy and has themed double bills on Sundays (I did The Big Lebowski/A Simple Man there): riocinema.org.uk
3: The Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch - haven't had a chance to check this one out yet, but it's on my to do list as I hear very good things about it: aubincinema.com
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch