Now that it has been fully restored, the Rio Theatre immediately recalls the splendour of its grand opening in 1938. Hiding behind the old-fashioned aesthetics, however, are a digital HD projector and surround-sound speakers that immerse filmgoers in an eclectic array of first-run blockbusters and cinema classics. Showing films again as of April 2012, the theatre’s movie selection ranges from sci-fi and horror to wholesome family films, though the program coalesces around a love for pop culture that the owners share with their most ardent fans.
Aside from the daily show times, cult classics—frequently in their original 35 mm form—screen at midnight on Fridays. Guests from all walks of life come out to these packed showings, where they can snack on popcorn made with real butter or win prizes for dressing in costume as their favourite character or key grip. The 420-seat theatre also hosts concerts and events throughout the year, including past performances by Janeane Garofalo and local musicians Bend Sinister.
Pacific Cinémathèque has been bringing essential cinema to Vancouver for nearly four decades. With an emphasis on international films, art-house flicks, Canadian classics, and under-the-radar movies, Pacific Cinémathèque offers alluring alternatives to the kiss-kiss, bang-bang blitz of Hollywood, earning it honours from the Vancouver Sun as 2009’s best art house/foreign film theatre. Get a double-bill ticket ($11.50 for adults) and activate your celluloid goggles for consumption of two game-changing movie experiences in one night. Upcoming features include a one-two punch from decorated documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, with Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter chronicling ruinous recluses and rock-‘n’-roll rawness, respectively, while the Italian filmmaker Francesco Rosi’s works get top billing in a special retrospective running May 27–June 10. Other upcoming Pacific Cinémathèque films available on double bills include works by Japanese filmmaking legend Akira Kurosawa and the little-seen American cult comedy Casablanca. Wash down your viewing experience with a small popcorn ($3) and a small pop ($2.50) from the concession stand, both included in your Groupon.
The friendly filmwheelers at Fifth Avenue Cinemas screen an eclectic mix of mainstream hits and little-known independent flicks in their Burrard Street theatre. Your Groupon is good for two tickets plus a large serving of popcorn, blanketed in a rich coat of real butter and made from corn that contains no genetically modified organisms or evil-sauce. The theatre boasts snuggle-inducing "love seats," in which each armrest can be raised so you and your date or anthropomorphic dachshund can cuddle throughout the film. Upcoming flicks include Philip Seymour Hoffman's feature-film directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, and Woody Allen's upcoming You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
The Vogue Theatre presents listeners with an evening of poetic lyrics, high-octane guitar playing, and euphonic melodies from three talented acts. Hailing from Vancouver's east side, The Fugitives combine intricate songwriting with folksy musical accompaniment to craft hypnotizing live performances that tickle ears and help uptight pocket watches unwind. C.R. Avery dazzles audiences with deftly flowing spoken-word poetry, percussive beatboxing, and ear-tickling harmonica riffs, and guitar-picking mastermind Wil shreds six-stringed music makers with moody, intense songs of love and loss. In addition to individual acts, a group performance will combine all three acts into an intoxicating musical melange that, like a pig with pterodactyl wings, is greater than the sum of its parts.
Vancity Theatre screens festival-style films from around the world year round, with top-notch sound and projection equipment fully conveying every punch, skid, foreign phrase, and meaningful silence shown on the silver screen. Movies are only open to members of the nonprofit organization—as such, this deal includes a one-year basic membership ($2), which also gets you admission to the organization’s Annual General Meeting. Sample the theatre's filmic fare with a double-bill ticket ($13), good toward two consecutive films on the same day. Upcoming films at the Vancity Theatre include the concert film Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight, 1970, the Bernard Herrmann–soundtracked noir On Dangerous Ground, and the light-hearted Martin Scorsese romp Taxi Driver. Wash down the flickering images with a medium popcorn ($3) and a can of pop ($1.50).
Opened in 1949 as the Roxy Classic Theatre, the recently rebranded uniplex captivates moviegoers with a full schedule of Hollywood blockbusters and first-run films. Inside the 447-seat single-screen theatre, newly installed digital surround sound tickles open ears with crisp acoustics, and lingering 1940s architectural charm snugly embraces viewers in a retro ambience and inspires rampant suspender snapping during intermissions. As larger-than-life images escape the venue’s digital projector and flicker across the screen, wide-eyed gazers can pay a visit to the full-service concession, where freshly popped popcorn intoxicates nostrils with wafts of real butter and hands with a reluctance to share.