From blockbuster action flicks to hybrid family comedy/existential musicals, The Movies at Montgomery Mall provides sensorial excitement for audiences of all ages and interests. The freshly renovated theaters boast extremely wide rows, complete with luxury leather high-back chairs, crisp digital projection, and cranially transcendent surround sound. Armed with the sustainable satisfaction of unlimited soda and popcorn ($12), moviegoers (up to $9 for an evening show) can stay entertained during previews, hydrated during jaw-dropping twists, and speechless after each and every chipmunk-cheeked soliloquy. If so desired, families and film buffs alike can purchase up to 10 Groupons in preparation for a full season of air-conditioned adventure.
After nearly two decades obsessing over cinema as a film critic for Variety and editor-in-chief of Film Comment, Harlan Jacobson founded Talk Cinema—a series of early film screenings hosted at multiple theaters around the country. Each year, Harlan handpicks independent and foreign films from the world's leading festivals, often resulting in some of the first public screenings of award-winning prestige pictures. After each screening, he hosts experts such as scholars, filmmakers, and critics from the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune during discussions modeled after those held at festivals and particularly cultured kids' treehouses. Talk Cinema also occasionally hosts guided tours of festivals in international cities such as Montreal and Reykjavik.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant and theater that features a 75-minute live stand-up show on select Thursdays. Become an usher's nightmare while rolling on the floor and laughing due to the humorous musings of top comics. Take in the sarcasm of comedians who have been featured on shows such as The Tonight Show, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and SNL as they locate funny bones with surgical precision.
Now in its 21st year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival celebrates hitting the drinking age by hosting an array of cinematic achievements by Latin American filmmakers, with this year’s slate of films extending to motion pictures from Spain and Portugal. The 2010 lineup includes Revolution, a collection of short films from 10 Mexican moviemakers, including actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, that explores the themes of the Mexican Revolution on its 100th anniversary. Those with an off-kilter sense of humor or an unhealthy love for con-artistry can check out Uruguay’s Bad Day to Go Fishing, which follows a wrestler and his manager as they navigate through South America, putting on fake exhibitions of strength. Venezuela’s Story of a Day enthralls its viewers by poetically chronicling the numerous parties, feasts, and chores in a Venezuelan village, and Honduras’s Love and Beans comically details marital mysteries and draws attention to the plight of beans everywhere. Check the full lineup to see how the festival's schedule of silver-screen offerings matches up to your own sci-fi screenplay about the 1993 Buffalo Bills.
At Montgomery Royal Theater, six screens beam larger-than-life stars into the eyes of moviegoers during showings of recently released flicks and Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers can sink into the theater's plush, cushioned seats to absorb action-packed reels that showcase the twists of budding romance or the dire consequences of resurrecting an extinct flower’s DNA. The theater’s concession stand outfits viewers with buckets of popcorn and cups brimming with soda, providing the appropriate rations to accompany treks into the fantastical worlds of first-run films.
Founded by a ring of cinephiles who set out to rehab an abandoned theater just north of George Washington University, West End Cinema screens foreign, independent, and documentary films that open up new intellectual and cultural vistas. Films run the genre gamut from quirky, independent dramedies and comedramas to special live events such as Opera in Cinema or Ballet in Cinema. Sunset-orange and slate walls and recessed lighting usher guests from a glass-fronted lobby into three cozy theaters, each of which seats between 50 and 100 watchers. On the way, they'll pass an abundantly stocked concession stand, where they can harvest drinks from a full bar, baklava, and gourmet sandwiches along with additional children from the sour patch.