As one of the only dedicated art houses in Daytona Beach, Cinematique's all-digital theater and surround-sound system immerse theatergoers in national, international, and local independent flicks. In addition to the latest celluloid, Cinematique screens cultural events, pairs indie movies with live improv comedy, and hosts a Saturday-night showcase for local filmmakers, musicians, poets, and Oscar-statue impersonators. Through its Daytona Beach Film Festival, Cinematique supplies audiences with a vast assortment of movies, from internationally acclaimed directors to local and student filmmakers. The theater also illumes an inflatable screen with cinematic classics at free outdoor showings at Riverfront Park, commencing each film at dusk so patrons and cinephilic fruit bats can relish its crystalline picture quality.
The Sun-Ray Cinema at 5 Points, formerly known as Riverside Theater and 5 Points Theatre, is a historic single-screen movie theater in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Originally opened in 1927, the large room was specifically designed to accommodate live theater as well, in the event that talking movies didn’t take off as expected. Over the years, the theater was opened and closed numerous times as a performance center, a night club and general cinema house, until the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approved it as a Jacksonville landmark and remodeled the space several years ago. Colorful murals give vibrancy to the updated space, while comfortable seating and long wooden tables in front of each row act as wonderfully modern touches, allowing each guest to set down food and drinks easily. P, pulled pork sandwiches and a host of not-seen-everywhere snacks make for a unique experience inside.
Since 2003, the Jacksonville Film Festival has annually served as one of the city's most anticipated cultural events, screening international and independent films and hosting some of Hollywood's most accomplished names. The first deal plunks cinephiles squarely on the red carpet with access to Saturday's special event, a screening of The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, and Andie MacDowell. Young film critics that already possess Roger Ebert's critical eye and Gene Shalit's bushy mustache can attend the kids' red-carpet event, which will screen the zany kid-friendly comedy Finn on the Fly. The third options gets you into the world premiere of Thespians, which documents the theater programs at two Duval County high schools as they prepare for the Florida State Thespians theater festival. Afterward, stay for a Q&A with the filmmakers and special guests.
In the center of Jacksonville’s southside neighborhood lies Cinemark Tinseltown, a twenty-screen megaplex movie house that is widely considered one of the best places in town to take in a flick. With outdoor walk-up ticket windows, an electronic ticket kiosk inside and large lobby area to welcome visitors, the sprawling complex makes every attempt to attend to their guests. A plentiful parking lot helps in that regard, as does the main concession stand, outfitted with all manner of movietime snacks or heartier fast meals. Every theater offers stadium seating and offered in supple leather, meaning even spots close to the screen are a luxury. Movie posters and the typical red hallway carpeting give off a luxe theater experience, rounding out the large, stately feel at Cinemark Tinseltown.
Tavares is home to one of cinema's longest-enduring performers. In 1964, this star debuted alongside Robert Redford in This Property Is Condemned, and more and more films would follow that initial role, including True Grit and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? An impressive resume for any actor, but even more so considering this star is over 100 years old. The Orange Blossom Cannonball, appropriately nicknamed "America's movie train," has hurtled down the tracks in classic westerns and other films for half a century, though its roots stretch back much further. The 1907 steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches and a caboose, complete with a potbelly stove made in 1873.
When not sharing screen time with George Clooney or his five identical siblings, the train carries the general public along the banks of Lake Dora. Hours aboard the locomotive seemed ripped from another time—conductors and staff don period costumes, and they spin tales of the train's past as well as the history of the area.
With more than 60 years of theatrical experience, Ocala Civic Theatre presents more than a dozen fully staged productions each year in its 401-seat venue at the Appleton Cultural Center. Having nothing to do with amphibians or singing, When Bullfrogs Sing Opera is a charming comedy of manners focusing on two sisters from the country town of Bullfrog Waller. When Millicent, who has jettisoned her rural roots for a big-city lifestyle, is suddenly forced to deal with her thoroughly countrified sister Coreen coming back into her life, she panics and, in an effort to keep her roots hidden, tries to pass her sister off as an actress deep inside a role as a backwoods girl. In ensuing mix-ups, misunderstandings, and deceitful dealings, relationships are threatened, secrets are revealed, and library cards are left unused as Millicent is forced to confront the embarrassment she feels toward her past.