From the outside, Cinema Paradiso looks more like a church than a movie theater. But inside, there is no mistaking that the auditorium crowded with 230 plush,
royal blue velvet seats?each imported from Paris?is a luxurious haven for movie-goers. Now in its 29th year, the theater screens art-house independent films and the annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. With the ability to project 35mm, 16mm, HDCam, Digi-Beta, BetaSP, and DVD, the venue's possibilities are many, and frequent events showcase Hollywood classics and cult horror flicks. To help guests calm their jitters during the scary parts, three bars serve beer and wine, and snacks and concession fare satiate cravings, so that no growling bellies drown out tenderly whispered love scenes.
At CinéBistro, a luxurious dining theater, patrons settle into wide cushioned seats as they watch the latest action flicks and comedies flicker on the silver screen. Viewing companions alternate drawing buttery, salty puffed maize out of a shared tub of popcorn, hoping to find Gene Hackman's golden business card buried somewhere inside. Although not included with this Groupon, CinéBistro serves seated cinema aficionados a wide menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to complement their popcorn, from a caesar salad for a light meal ($10.75) to a pan-seared Atlantic salmon cooked to order ($19.50). Dessert indulgences include a deconstructed peanut-butter pie ($8), and liquid indulgences proffer a wine list full of international vintages to guzzle during foreign movies, as well as domestic and imported beers, martinis, and cocktails.
The Women's International Film & Arts Festival is a nonprofit organization that features the work of talented females each year during women's history month. With women representing only 7% of film directors, this creative collaboration exposes unheard artists by showing 50 films over the course of five days. Pull at your heartstrings by attaching a puppeteer to your body or by catching Forget Me Not, a modern-day love story about a free-spirited woman and a passionate musician with a tragic secret. The gripping tale of In The Name of Freedom, by Isabel Cueva, chronicles the tale of an American soldier in captivity who's life changes forever after meeting another prisoner. This women-centric film festival is sure to send visitors on an artistic rollycoaster that's infinitely preferable to the abstract rollycoasters featured at avant-garde amusement parks, which are mostly just picnic tables.
Since 1951?The Classic Gateway Theatre has dimmed the lights for crowds of moviegoers. The theater continues to celebrate the classics that came out during its early years by playing hits starring the likes of Cary Grant, though it does not shy away from first-run blockbusters and indie flicks. Audience members walk into a spacious lobby with pictures of the theatre's long history gracing the walls and they savor the smell of popcorn before settling into their seats in renovated all-digital auditoriums. In addition to regular screenings, the theater plays host for events such as the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
For anyone interested in enjoying a meal at the movies, rather than snacking on boxed candies and stale popcorn, there’s Cobb Theatres – Cinebistro. This upscale movie theater experience is specifically designed to offer an upscale dining experience, all while watching a recently released movie. Guests are served individually in comfortable high-back leather chairs, from an extensive menu with meals that range from gourmet hamburgers to New York strip steak, Caesar salads and yellowfin tuna tacos. Select a glass of wine or pull from the premium cocktail menu to complete the meal – that is, unless you have a sweet tooth. Dessert options go well beyond the usual peanut M&M’s (though you can snack on those as well), rounding out a truly decadent movie-going experience. Just make sure to show up at least 30 minutes before the film starts, and leave the children at home; only drinking-age adults are allowed inside.