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Old December 30th, 2003, 12:17 AM   #1
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Best/Interesting movie theatres/experiences?

Where have you had an interesting movie going experience?

Two places that I think are pretty cool.

Arlington Theatre - Santa Barbara, California - there's an old downtown movie theatre that's beautifully decorated inside. It's like walking into a Spanish Villa, the side walls have arches that show shadows of people with backgrounds painted in, the decorations are old style Mexican, the ceiling is painted to look like a deep blue night sky with clear sparkling stars - great ambiance.

4 Star Theatre, San Francisco - this is an old building run, I think by 3 generations of a Chinese family. The same guy who sells you tickets, will turn around, get your popcorn, and then when he's sure everyone's in, goes to the back and starts the projector. It's old and a little run down, but I loved going to movies there because it felt like going over to somebody's old garage/house to watch movies. I think they live above the 3 theatres.

One great thing, aside from the regular Indie/underground films, they play a lot of HK/Chinese/Asian films that you will never see anyplace else. I don't know how many times I've seen a movie there and I can't even find it on the Internet. Annoying, but that's what makes it so cool. Plus they have constant "film festivals" where you can watch favorite old films in the theatre again. My favorite is the Kung Fu film festival which is like 3 weeks of non-stop Kung Fu movies. Check out this line up for an example
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Old December 31st, 2003, 02:07 AM   #2
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I have to agree with the 4 Star selection, first because its about four blocks from my house, and second the ambiance is always great, everything is not perfect (just feels right), the first couple of minutes of most films always includes the projectionist framing and focusing. I just saw Lost in Translation there and I can't imagine seeing it anywhere else...perfect

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Old December 31st, 2003, 07:52 AM   #3
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Oh, a few highlights:

Rialto Theatre in Pasadena, CA -- I saw a fresh print of Hitchcock's "Rear Window" a few years ago. Apparently, they make fresh prints before burning the DVD's and sometimes play the prints at local theatre's for purist buffs. There was like 6 people in the entire theatre and my friend Paul and I. I remember thinking about how the original showing must have been exciting for everyone seeing it for the first time. NOTE: The Rialto Theatre was spotlighted in "The Player" by Altman - it's the theatre where Robbins character goes to meet the guy he thinks is stalking him.

Ioka Entertainment in Exeter, NH -- This is one of the last remaining independent theatres in the country playing first run movies. It's a throwback to 60-70 years ago, so it's got a retro thing happening. It's cozy and you feel like you're in a historical place - which New England has a lot of anyway. Even though I've lived here most of my life - I appreciate the historical places. The theatre was started by Louis B. Mayer's nephew! Cool huh? I'm really lucky because its only a 10 minute drive from me. If you visit NH - go to the Ioka!

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