Movie Theaters

Why the Old-School Movie House Is Worth Fighting For

In what has become almost an annual ritual for New York City movie lovers — something like our Groundhog Day, but more depressing — rumors are circulating about the possible closure of the Ziegfeld Theatre, one of the last remaining single-screen movie theaters in the city, and certainly the largest and most opulent. A gorgeous old-school movie palace that seats about 1200 moviegoers, the Ziegfeld has long been a favorite destination for premieres and special events. But that revenue only goes so far, and anyone who’s gone to see a regular ol’ first-run movie showing there will tell you that it’s depressingly under-attended, even during primetime and on weekends. So how do increasingly anachronistic single screens like the Ziegfeld stay in business? And, what’s more, should they? … Read More

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Striking Photos of India’s Old Movie Theaters

India is the largest producer of films in the world, but its economic growth has forced some of the country’s smaller, single-screen theaters into decline. Katherine Newbegin, who we first learned about on Beautiful/Decay, started photographing these lost movie palaces in 2010, documenting a once thriving social chapter in Indian cinema’s history. “The fulcrum of the project lies in the exploration of the architecture, which is informed by the human relationships that took place in these spaces, but now only remain in the evidence left behind,” she told ArtStar. “The cinema architecture holds a stifling sense of deadness, as if it were a museum. The lingering chairs, ancient posters, and well-worn furniture act as a conduit into a displaced time.” This process of discovery is crucial to Newbegin’s work. She travels alone to each location, usually discovered by word of mouth, without any knowledge of the theater’s history. For instance, she didn’t learn that the Samrat Cinema I in Jaipur was a porn theater until after photographing the space. See the crumbling beauty of India’s cinemas through Newbegin’s eyes in our gallery. … Read More

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25 Delightful Roger Ebert Quotes About Movies

The documentary Life Itself, a poignant tribute that celebrates Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, was released in theaters this weekend. Generations grew up reading the Chicago Sun-Times journalist and watching him on television with sparring partner Gene Siskel, where the duo coined their “two thumbs up” phrase for positive reviews in the series At the Movies. Ebert’s barbed wit, grace, and passion touched the most discerning cineastes, but he was also known as a critic for the common man. He battled cancer for more than a decade, which necessitated the removal of his lower jaw, but it never stole his ability to write — which he did until his death last year. Two days before his passing, Ebert announced he was taking a “leave of presence” on “What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away,” he wrote. And he hasn’t, leaving us with his beautiful words and wisdom about cinema and beyond. In celebration of the release of Life Itself, we’re revisiting some of Ebert’s most delightful quotes about one of his greatest loves — film. … Read More

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“Second Screens” at Movie Theaters Isn’t Just a Terrible Idea — It’s a Nonsensical One

Well, here we go again. Over the weekend, a piece in the Kansas City Star (picked up and syndicated across the country) floated the specter that sends a chill down any true movie lover’s spine: movies as a “second screen” experience. “The movie industry is working on ways to make smartphones, tablets and even built-in screens in seats a key part of the experience,” writes the Star’s Molly Duffy, “both before the movie and, more disturbing to some patrons, during the movie.” We’ve been down this road before, as recently as last summer, when venture capitalist Hunter Walk suggested “reinventing the movie theater” to accommodate terrible people who can’t go two hours without peering into their iPhone, and commentator Anil Dash insisted that anyone who had a problem with this behavior was an “oppressive asshole.” But last summer, this was all abstract. Duffy tracked down the clowns who want to make it concrete. … Read More

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Exquisite Photos of Grandiose Movie Palaces

Streaming services like Netflix and HBO GO make it tempting to skip the movie theater (and the annoying talkers that come with it) and stay at home to watch am good film. There are cinemas that still make the moviegoing experience worthwhile. The Alamo Drafthouse’s staunch no talking or texting policy and deelish menu are appealing, but if you’re looking for a place with history, you really can’t beat these stunning California cinemas. Franck Bohbot, one of our frequently featured photographers, captured the old Hollywood elegance and grandiose architecture of movie theaters around the Los Angeles area. “Reflecting on the memories of the golden age of Hollywood, it gives the feeling that there is no such place like a movie theater to celebrate the birth of film from an artist,” Bohbot writes. Travel back in time, and visit these gorgeous old cinema houses. … Read More

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Film Critic Who Called 911 on Cell Phone User: “I Realize My Mistake”

Press and industry screenings (or “P&Is,” as they’re commonly dubbed) are standard practice at film festivals, and are fairly simple affairs: an opportunity for media and industry types to view festival films away from the hustle and crowds of packed public screenings. Trouble is, the two halves of the P&I equation are often at odds in those screening rooms: press people are there to view and (usually) write about the films, and are thus looking for a distraction-free movie-watching experience, while industry types are “working,” which can apparently translate to spending much of the movie staring into the light of a smartphone. Yesterday, at the Toronto International Film Festival, a film blogger decided he’d had enough, and did the only logical thing: he called the police. Wait, what? … Read More

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Sorry, But Movie Theater Texters Aren’t Victims

“In any scenario of regressive resistance to cultural challenges, the responses usually cover a few common themes,” writes the usually sensible blogger Anil Dash, and those responses pop up “all the time, whether it’s for arguing why women should not wear pants, or defending slavery, or trying to preserve a single meaning for the word ‘ironic’, or fighting marriage equality, or claiming rap isn’t ‘real’ music, or in any other time when social conservatives want to be oppressive assholes to other people.” Holy cow, what’s he on about? Raising the minimum wage? A woman’s right to choose? The right to privacy? Not quite. Mr. Dash’s at-this-moment equivalent to slavery apologists are those who would rather moviegoers STFU and put their phones away for two hours, and no, somehow, I’m not making this up. … Read More

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The Most Beautiful Movie Theaters in America

If you haven’t noticed, we’re quite the bunch of architecture nerds here at Flavorwire, never missing an opportunity to feast our eyes on the most beautiful libraries, bookstores, opera houses, you name it. We’ve cast our eyes across America before looking for the best movie theaters in the land (we did it twice, actually) — but that search was more about the overall experience, with history and programming as important (if not more) than physical beauty. Just for fun, we decided to take another look, with an eye on pure aesthetics: what are the most beautiful movie theaters in the country? Several spaces on the previous lists qualified, but we decided to eliminate repetition; we also limited ourselves to venues that show films on at least a semi-regular basis (many gorgeous former movie houses now only showcase live events). Check out our top ten after the jump, and tell us more in the comments. … Read More

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