Cinema Grill captures all angles of entertainment in its three show rooms, from newer movie releases and live sporting events blasting on giant screens to a rotating cast of comedians lobbing laugh bombs as crowds feast on fare from the full-service restaurant and bar. While actors work their best angles on the screen, patrons can translate their dialogue into Esperanto or order from the menu, which is laden with entrees and suds from the local brewmasters at Surly. The theater converts into a satellite stadium when it broadcasts live sporting events, which gain lifelike clarity on its giant 30-foot high-definition screen.
A modern take on the classic movie-going experience, ShowPlace Icon Theatre takes the legwork out of dinner and a movie by pairing comfortable sophisticated theaters with upscale, on-location dining, and advanced reserved seating. With digital cinema projectors capable of displaying 35 trillion colors and premium digital surround-sound systems, each stadium-seated auditorium is equipped to showcase buzz-worthy films exactly as the director, assistant director, second-assistant director, and second second-assistant director intended. Patrons to the theater pick their viewing spots ahead of time, eliminating the usual frenzied, darkened search for ideal seating and guaranteeing guests find seats together.
A union of the local organizations U Film Society and Oak Street Arts, the nonprofit Film Society of Minneapolis/Saint Paul brings an eclectic sampling of international cinema to its members and to the public at its yearly international film festival. The society's crew of film enthusiasts carefully curates a roster of classic, modern, foreign, and locally produced movies to showcase. They screen each year's lineup amid the cushy confines of the St. Anthony Main Theatre, the society's headquarters and site of the festival, which boasts around 400 different films each year and generally draws in more than 100,000 viewers. They further enlighten moviegoers by recruiting industry experts for informative panel discussions, educational events, and tips on how to feed popcorn to onscreen characters.
The legendary century-old, 1,000-seat Fitzgerald Theater is home to live recordings of A Prairie Home Companion, one of public radio’s longest-running programs that has established a considerable cult following. Fans of the show will be delighted to hear Garrison Keiller’s distinctive meandering Midwestern voice as he goes through his weekly monologue, storytelling, and piano-backed serenade segments. It’s not a one man show, though: there is a backing band and other musicians and humorists that stop by for additional entertainment. Tickets to each taping range from $30 - $50, the price depending on how close you want to be to the action.
With towering pillars and sweeping arches, the lobby at Paragon Chateau 14 resembles an official monument to the pleasures of moviegoing. Sony 4K HD digital projection systems flash current-run films onto each screen. In addition to a fully-stocked concession stand, the theater hosts The Lot, a lounge where moviegoers can order beer, wine, and soda served in hollowed-out Golden Globes and listen to live music.
If the building at 1308 4th Street had a mouth, it could tell many stories. It could tell of its birth as The University Theater in 1915 and how its infancy was spent in vaudeville, presenting everything from minstrel shows to early silent films. It could tell of the art deco remodel by architects Jack Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan that turned it into a full-time movie house for the next 50 years. And it could tell of its days in the '90s and early 2000s when it worked as an underground club and a photography studio. But today, in its own way, the theater speaks mostly of the current music scene, hosting everyone from Mumford and Sons to Feist and Saul Williams.