Movie Houses of Worship

Alamo Drafthouse logo

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. It’s time to remember the Alamo. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, that is. Every week, we showcase another movie theater from around the world as a “Movie House of Worship,” and we tend to save certain cinemas to feature during certain film festivals they’re affiliated with. Naturally, with SXSW going on this week, an Alamo location is necessary. But which one? Normally I’d go with the Alamo South Lamar, but that’s out of commission this year. Also, Brian recently wrote up a great tribute to the theater on the eve of its temporary closing. And who is best to assign an entry on an Alamo theater? I would do it, but I’m not a local and there are plenty of people who know the brand and locations better. I decided the best way to go this week is more open. Invite all you readers to share your experience with any Alamo Drafthouse theater. Answer the usual questions of why you worship there, what is your take on the food and what’s a recent (or not recent even) screening of note. Are you a year-long regular or a visitor who only sees the inside of an Alamo during SXSW or Fantastic Fest […]

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Seville_Theater_exterior

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, reader Craig Wooten highlights one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Bryn Mawr Film Institute Location: 824 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA Opened: 1926, as The Seville. Re-named The Bryn Mawr Theater around 1950. Re-opened in 2005 No. of screens: 2 (more to come) Current first-run titles: Amour; A Late Quartet; Silver Linings Playbook

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photo by Joe Szilagyi, 2008

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, film critic Jason Whyte highlights one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Seattle Cinerama Location: 2100 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA Opened: January 24, 1963, as the Martin Cinerama. Re-opened in 1999 following a decades-long decline and near-demolition. No. of screens: 1 (technically 2 screens but they alternate for one auditorium) Current first-run titles: A Good Day to Die Hard

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the-blob-theater

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, reader Patrick Costello highlights one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. The Colonial Theatre Location: 227 Bridge St. Phoenixville, PA Opened: 1903, as “The Colonial Opera House” — the first stage show was held September 5th and the first film program shown December 19th. After changing ownership through the decades and then a few years out of commission in the 1990s, it was restored and re-opened on October 1, 1999. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: None, although they are currently showing the Oscar-nominated shorts (including the documentaries, which screen tomorrow night) and screen second-run films like This is Not a Film, which is showing this afternoon. And Silver Linings Playbook begins on February 15.

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bfi southbank

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, reader Nik Mortimer highlights one of the best cinemas in the UK. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: BFI Southbank Location: Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT Opened: “1951, as the National Film Theatre before re-branding as the BFI Southbank in 2007.” No. of screens: 4

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Egyptian Theatre

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, our own Kate Erbland highlights one of the main Sundance Film Festival venues in anticipation of her return to Park City this week. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: The Egyptian Theatre Location: 328 Main Street, Park City, Utah. Opened: Christmas Eve, 1926, as The Egyptian Theatre. It replaced the historic Dewey Theater, the roof of which had caved in from a heavy snow. Now officially known as the Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: None. Repertory programming: None, except in the case that Sundance would screen a classic film here. Special Events: When it’s not Sundance season, the Egyptian is primarily a live performance venue, featuring concerts and stage productions as well as hosting a youth theater group. Upcoming events include a Canned Heat concert, a Michael Jackson tribute band and a run of Reefer Madness the Musical. Basically, the Sundance Film Festival is their most special event. 

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Eccles During Sundance

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, our own Allison Loring highlights one of the main Sundance Film Festival venues in anticipation of her return to Park City this week. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: Eccles Theatre Location: 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, Utah. Opened: January 1998, with its official name of The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: None.

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AMC Comfy Chair

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we don’t have a theater to share so I’m writing about comfort at the movies instead. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. It used to be that movie theaters tried to compete with home viewing options by offering amenities you couldn’t find in your living room. But bigger screens, gimmicks and special menus are no longer enough. Or maybe even a draw at all. Now it seems the theater industry is out to accomodate us in ways that mimic our experience at home. They want us to feel as comfortable as we would had we never even gone out. That has to be the reason that AMC Theatres has introduced to five of its locations across the country new “comfy seats,” plush power recliners with footrests that are just like (or for some us better than) our favorite movie-watching chairs at home. Do we need such comfort at the movies? Can we take our shoes and pants off, too? Hold a cat on our lap? Can we all have remote controls so we can pause the screen if we have to go to the bathroom? Presumably theaters will keep the line drawn at decency and personal conveniences that don’t infringe on others’ comfort and enjoyment. […]

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Alex-03

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Ethan Schaeffer shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: Alex Theatre Location: 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA Opened: September 4, 1925, as a vaudeville and movie house called the Alexander. Reopened on December 31, 1993, as the Alex Theatre Performing Arts & Entertainment Center. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: none

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TampaTheatre01

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Michael Silva shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: Tampa Theatre Location: 711 Franklin St., Tampa, FL Opened: October 15, 1926, designed by renowned movie palace architect John Eberson (he also did Austin’s Paramount Theatre). Nationally listed for landmark status and reopened in 1978. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: Anna Karenina

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hiway

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, FSR writer Daniel Walber shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. ; Name: Hiway Theatre Location: 212 Old York Road Jenkintown, PA Opened: 1913 No. of screens: Just one! Current first run titles: Silver Linings Playbook Repertory programming: Children’s matinee series (the next of which will be A Christmas Story, of course) and a monthly discussion group that watches a current film and then takes part in conversation led by lecturer/professor Adrienne Redd.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Zac Alfson shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: Enzian Theater Location: 1300 South Orlando Avenue  Maitland, FL Opened: 1985, as a repertory house screening 6-12 classics per week. Four years later it changed to a first-run arthouse cinema and continues to operate not-for-profit with the help of members, volunteers and donors. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles:  Searching for Sugar Man

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In lieu of a Movie Houses of Worship column (in part due to a lack of entries from readers), this week I’d like to discuss a part of the cinema industry that I feel needs addressing. Think of it alternately as a sermon, to keep the religious aspect of moviegoing analogy going. The topic of this sermon is dine-in theaters, aka movie-grills, aka Drafthouse-type cinemas. The other night I attended the grand opening of a new Movie Studio Grill location in Duluth, GA. It’s a beautiful place, one of the more upscale dine-in movie theaters (leather chairs!) yet not so hoity toity as those that sell themselves on signature cocktails and fancy foods sprinkled with magic truffle dust and such. And for the most part I had a great time in spite of the movie shown to us being the very messy Hyde Park on Hudson (in a way, though, the film’s culture-clashing themes worked for the fancy   digs meets bar food concept). I should point out for full disclosure, by the way, that I was fed at this event. Not that it should influence anything since the experience has prompted a larger complaint about this cinema concept. I honestly wasn’t a fan of most of what I ate, though my companion (okay, it was my mom), loved every bite.

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Every Sunday morning, I like to begin the day with a regular feature called Movie Houses of Worship. It doesn’t actually run every week, however, because I don’t receive enough submissions to make that happen. See, this feature requires help from our readers. I wish I had the time and money to travel the world checking out different cinemas (if you ever want to witness someone doing this, read Kevin Murphy’s “A Year at the Movies”). But I also don’t want the feature to be a review of theaters based on one-time visits. It’s intended for the places we attend regularly, as if these movie theaters were our regular house of religious worship. We all have preferred local cinemas, and I want you all to have the opportunity to share your experience(s) of being a longtime and loyal patron to these establishments. One day most movie theaters will be gone, so now is the chance to showcase your appreciation for any currently standing.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Shannon Scott shares another one of her favorite historic theaters. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: The Fox Theatre Location: 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA Opened: December 25, 1929, as part of The Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque, a headquarters for the Shriners. The auditorium was originally leased to cinema mogul William Fox to be The Fox Theatre. See a timeline of the theater’s continued history through multiple closings and openings here. No. of screens: 1, the biggest in Atlanta.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Shannon Scott shares one of her favorite historic theaters. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: The Kentucky Theatre Location: 214 E. Main Street, Lexington, KY Opened: October 4, 1922. The first program was a parody of The Sheik, a newsreel and the Norma Talmadge romance The Eternal Flame. No. of screens: 2

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, I’m celebrating a new local favorite of mine, which could probably be substituted with many other lasting drive-ins around the U.S. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: Starlight Six Drive-In Location: 2000 Moreland Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA Opened: 1947, as a single screen; became the Starlight Twin with the addition of a second screen in 1956; final four screens were added in 1983. No. of screens: 6 Current first run titles: Each screen has two titles, and these can be watched as a two-for-one double feature. This week’s most perfect pairings are Frankenweenie and Paranorman, Argo and The Bourne Legacy, and Hotel Transylvania and Here Comes the Boom. The other three are Looper and Resident Evil: Retribution, Sinister and Dredd, and Taken 2 and End of Watch.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, with help from guest cinephile Ellen Bliss, we look at an historic landmark cinema currently run not for profit. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre Location: 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, New Jersey Opened: September 28, 1929, as one of the state’s largest movie palaces. Reopened in 2001 for its current operation as a restored landmark and not-for-profit cinema and special event venue. For a history of the ups and downs of the building, see the theater’s website. No. of screens: 1 (with a balcony-adorned auditorium seating more than 3,000) Current first run titles: None. The Loew’s Jersey is no longer a first-run movie theater. Repertory programming: Classics and second-run independents are the usual fare for the cinema, such as this weekend’s special showings of Marnie, Dr. No and Goldfinger. However, the programming appears to be on special occasion at the moment rather than daily. Special Events: Movies are not the only offering here, and one highlighted special event of the future is a weekend-long festival of live theater and other performance pieces called STAGEfest, which happens in March of 2013. Concerts, weddings and other events are held here on a special or rented-out basis.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week we look at a currently relevant but always excellent movie house in Canada. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.  Name: TIFF Bell Lightbox Location: 350 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Opened: September 12, 2010, as the official hub and screening venue for the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the home for TIFF programming and events throughout the year. The theater is located in and part of a newly constructed complex. No. of screens: 5 Current first run titles: For the past ten days, the 2012 festival has naturally monopolized the theater’s screens, but starting Friday, September 21st, there is Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tabu and the new Canadian releases Laurence Anyways and Rebelle.

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Moviegoing is like attending church for many of us, and so I’d like to introduce a new regular feature titled “Movie Houses of Worship,” which spotlights our favorite temples of cinema around the world. I’m kicking things off with a theater I frequented often when I was still living in New York City. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email me at christopher (at) filmschoolrejects (dot) com.    Name: IFC Center Opened: June 2005 (renovated from the famous Waverly Theater/Twin, which existed from 1937-2001 in an actual former church, built in 1831) No. of screens: 5 (two of which were added in 2009, built out of a space once housing an attached bar) Current first run titles: Sleepwalk With Me; Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry; The Ambassador; Beauty is Embarrassing; Detropia; Girl Model; Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution. Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad and the Beautiful opens Wednesday. Also, the StoryCorps animated film John and Joe, which runs ahead of each film as part of the theater’s dedication to shorts.

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