The Picture House's very first film flickered across the screen in 1921, and today, the recently restored nonprofit continues its legacy by showcasing a variety of new independent features, foreign films, and classic cinematic wonders. The theater projects hard-to-find flicks in both its 300-seat main house and intimate 20-seat screening room, eliciting laughter, kick-starting sorrow, and rekindling dreams of finding one's destiny during a battle with merpeople. To keep guests on the back edge of their seats, the owners frequently curate and host dedicated series that highlight family-friendly flicks, international pictures, and acclaimed documentaries.
Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. Alamo’s ninja servers pick up written food and drink orders throughout the movie and serve moviegoers directly at their seat. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
On Thursdays, professional comedians point out the movie?s most obvious plot holes and most subtle Fellini homages while audiences partake in drinking games and dish their own commentary. Then on weekends, they offer brunch, along with comedy classics and marathon viewings of comedy legends.
At Movie World Cinemas, a recently added caf? draws in early arrivers with pizza, chicken tenders, fries and fresh cappuccinos. Patrons can linger there before heading to one of seven handsome screening chambers with projection capacity for traditional film and 3-D movies. Once inside, guests recline on shiny, new seats styled by Mobiliario Seating. Each throne includes cushy upholstery, a built-in cup holder, and ergonomically engineered lumbar support. Newly installed digital projectors show crystal-clear images while digital surround-sound speakers shake seats with the screeches of onscreen car chases and the weeping of James Bond?s dry cleaner. In the large main lobby, the digital burble of a small arcade stirs air scented heavily by sunshine-hued popcorn. The staff has spent the past few years working on a series of updates and improvements, and the movie palace regularly hosts special events and children?s parties.
Just before a film leaves the theatre, the movie lovers at Empire's Columbia Park Cinemas throw it a fitting farewell party. Each week, on what they appropriately dub Last Chance Thursday, the cinema hosts a special for a film coming to the end of its run. Of course, there's plenty of cinema magic on display every day of the week. The cinema showcases first-run movies in all of its stadium-style theaters, and ongoing renovations mean movie goers follow the plot in comfort. For example, Empire's Columbia Park Cinemas plans on adding reclining seats in the near future.