A nonprofit theater helmed by passionate cinephiles, Facets Cinematheque instills a love of film in its youngest moviegoers through its groundbreaking children's programs. Since establishing their first children's film exhibition series in 1975, the theater's stewards have branched out into education and outreach, introducing students to positive films and the inspiring stories behind them through channels including family film events, in-school screenings, and the Facets Kids Film Camp. They also oversee the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which presents hundreds of films from around the globe during its annual autumn run. Though the festival caters to its smallest attendees, its scope is impressively large; welcoming over 20,000 attendees each year, the festival often offers the first screenings of award-winning fare, such as recent Academy Award winner The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
In addition to their children's programming, the theater also lights up its silver screen with indie films, award winners, foreign flicks, and documentaries. Celluloid-caretakers curate a collection of reels that seldom see screenings elsewhere in Chicago, frequently enjoying their city debut within the intimate 125-seat theater. Occasionally, production-team members or film experts join audiences immediately following the show for Q&A sessions—known as film dialogues—taking questions, exploring themes, and providing tips for removing stubborn popcorn kernels from teeth. Upcoming films can be found on Facets’ website.
Eyeballs absorb moving pictures thanks to the dual capabilities of Facets’ projection system, which handles digital and 35 mm films with equal aplomb. While the ephemeral stories fill brains with new ideas, soda and popcorn—acquirable at the old-fashioned concession stand—fill mouths with flavors that have defined every classic moviegoing experience since Orson Welles first invented the snack.
An ornate relic of Chicago's 1920s movie houses, The Music Box Theatre floods its screens with a rotating lineup of cult classics and the latest indie and foreign art films. The theater also provides patrons with a newly unveiled selection of wine and craft beers. Occasionally punctuated by live organ music, the main auditorium evokes an Italian courtyard beneath a cloudy midnight sky. The theater's original manager, Whitey, is said to haunt its aisles, watching over his legacy and hoping to finally catch Rocky's ending.
Anchoring one end of Millennium Park, Harris Theater for Music and Dance continues that landscape of cultural expansion and visual wonderment. The Theater partners with emerging and established performing arts organizations in order to help them build the infrastructure and artistic growth necessary for sustainability. Yet it also acts as a cultural beacon for Chicagoland, drawing in world-renowned performing artists and keeping traveling barbershop quartets from crashing into the shore.
Regal Cinemas Webster Place 11, part of Regal Entertainment Group's 6,653-screen family, enchants movie-goers of all ages with its wide selection of cinematic offerings. Films range from summer blockbusters and family films to special broadcasts from The Met, The Globe Theatre, and the White House’s crawlspace.
In 1915, a single movie screen flickered to life in Logan Square. The Paramount Theatre was a showcase for cinema's earliest years, and like the movie industry itself, the business transformed and evolved over the following decades. Known as The Logan Theatre since the 1920s, the space has come a long ways since its debut?the modernized venue now boasts multiple screens, digital projectors, 3D capabilities, and a DOLBY sound system.
But contemporary advancements don't mean that the building neglects nostalgia. A restored stained glass arch crowns the entrance, as does a classic marquee; inside, refurbished marble walls and Deco-influenced art hearken back to the dawn of Hollywood, when everything was super shiny. Likewise, the screens regularly show classic films alongside current releases. Aside from movies, The Logan Theatre hosts special events including comedy and trivia nights.
Originally opened in 1913, The Harper Theater's geometric, prairie-style lines were designed by noted Chicago architect Horatio Wilson. The space operated as a movie house for decades, but sat dormant for more than 10 years before reopening in 2012. Now screening an ever-changing selection of wide-release films, the theater boasts a crystal-clear digital projection system as well as 3-D capabilities that make blockbusters pop off the screen and critically dull audience reflexes for when a T-rex really does burst through the projection canvas.
Despite its commitment to screening Hollywood hits, the theater takes a local approach to refreshments in its onsite cafe, dishing out locally roasted, artisanal Metropolis coffee and treats from the nearby Medici bakery.