The most recent addition to Paragon Theaters’ repertoire of upscale movie venues, Paragon Deerfield 8 Movie Theater cushions customers in the plush luxury of its newly renovated theaters. Stadium-style seats pad posteriors as their owners gaze upon the silver screens from clear vantage points. An expanded concessions menu sates the palates of moviegoers by presenting a range of hearty fare and, for those of age, beer and wine.
Sony HD digital projectors bathe the towering screens in crystal clearness, granting films a visual crispness so pronounced it has enabled sponsors to advertise their logos in actors' pores. The company plans additional upgrades and outdoor seating to bring all the amenities found in its locations in Miami, Florida, and Burnsville and Rochester, Minnesota, to the new Deerfield Beach location.
It's 1980-something. Glen, a young boy, dons a pair of glasses with one blue lens and one red, excited by this new technology that's supposed to make things on the screen pop out at you. During the next two hours, Glen ducks swooping avians during the revival of Alfred Hitchcock's ¬The Birds in 3-D, terrified, yet thrilled. This is one of Glen Gray's earliest memories about the theater his father built more than 30 years ago. Today, Glen lives out those moments each day as the proprietor of Movies of Delray, where the projectors roll a medley of Hollywood features, and foreign, art-house, and independent films.
Gold walls and burgundy curtains lend to the lobby’s art-deco air, and a large chandelier illuminates more than 60 pencil drawings of movie icons of yore, such as John Wayne, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe. This old-fashioned lobby disguises the updates within: brand-new bathrooms, granite countertops at the concession stand, and in the theaters themselves, digital surround sound and updated seating. Rows of black leather seats cushion moviegoers with high backs and wide benches so cozy that Glen claims guests have fallen asleep in them, only waking up at the end of the picture or when Bruce Willis turns out to have been a metaphor all along.
In celebration of film, professor Shelly Isaacs graces the theater with screenings of obscure Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated foreign films. After each screening, he discusses the film with audiences, dissecting and analyzing the cinematography, characters, and plot.
The aroma of salt and butter fills Alco Capital Theaters in Boynton Beach. Manager Larry Forbes has worked in theaters for three decades, having started out projecting midnight rock flicks at a drive-in in Fort Lauderdale. He therefore balances a sentimental attachment to film with the practical aspects that make it good for business. "If there's a problem and you have a technician—which we do onsite all the time—you can fix it immediately," he points out. Although the majority of work is projected from film, the theater's eight screening rooms are not warehouses for nostalgia. Digital and Dolby 3-D projectors deliver sharp pictures and immersive experiences to stadiums of 1,500 lumbar-supportive seats, as digital speakers and ADA listening devices make eardrums quake.
During the winter, moviegoers prepare for the upcoming awards season with a full slate of Academy Award–nominated films. On some summer days 700–800 kids will flood the theater by 10 a.m. for adventure flicks and romantic comedies, and when things slow down in the fall, Forbes fires off notices of indie premieres and director Q&A sessions to members of the Movi-E Mail Club, who have chatted with director Susan Seidelman and burgeoning stars from The Palm Beach County Film & Television Institute. On federal holidays, the staff host a special matinee for students, and every Tuesday they pile free popcorn into reusable plastic buckets and vacant laps. The theater's dedication to its audience extends to special requests—Forbes remembers slipping a man's wedding-proposal video into the previews one night. Although he doesn't remember the film, Forbes does remember the woman's answer: she said yes.
The Last Picture Show Movie Theatre is more than a movie theater; it's also a celebration of film culture. This is evident upon entering, when you're greeted by a museum-like display of artifacts: classic film posters and movie memorabilia. This motif continues onto the screen. While The Last Picture Show screens newer movies, it also hosts classic film festivals, where film buffs can settle in to see their favorite classics?think West Side Story and Casablanca?on the big screen.
Recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest film festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a robust schedule of special events and a plethora of pictures spanning numerous genres. Starting with pre-festival screenings, which begin on September 27, a lineup of more than 150 movies from more than 80 countries gives pass possessors the visual stimulation of an all-you-can-watch film binge without the distraction of Hollywood's enormous signage and carnivorous palm trees. The on-screen fare ranges from documentaries to foreign films and kids' flicks to 30-minute-and-under shorts; some of the works are also designated as "competition films" and considered for Oscar-style awards. In addition to viewing privileges, pass-holders are also entitled to admission at an agenda-busting array of special events—such as the Opening Night Film and Gala and the Chairman's Cruise and Brunch—many of which include free drinks, snacks, and the chance to rub elbows, knock foreheads, and intertwine phalanges with celebrities and filmsmiths.