Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space?s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader?s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include independent film and live stage shows, shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
At Cinema 6, guests can have dinner and a movie at the same time. The staff selects second-run films to project on the vast 24-foot screen, while moviegoers select their meals from a menu of baked?not fried or blowtorched?food. As the movies play, they might nosh on a pepperoni pizza, boneless buffalo wings, or fries smothered in bacon and cheese. The cinema also hosts birthday parties that center around a film or a round of XBox on the big screen.
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.
Lauded in its inaugural year by the Tampa Bay Examiner, The Clearwater Film and Music Festival's sophomore showcase spotlights more than 60 films from around the globe alongside diverse musical acts. This year's films include the 2011 Academy Award–winning comedic short film God Of Love, which reveals the romantic adventures of a lounge-singing darts champion, and the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection Challenging Impossibility, which documents the uplifting transformation of one man's mind and body. The upstart festival has developed the steel-ribbon Wavecrest Awards, which honor the best director, best actor, best actress, best slow-motion jump from an exploding hot-dog stand, and more.
Channelside Cinemas immerses movie lovers in a constantly changing selection of box-office smashes that play on classic projection screens, four Sony 4K digital 3-D screens, and a 70-foot digital high-definition 3-D screen. Concession stands dole out savory treats such as Westshore cheesesteaks and pizza, as well as free refills on popcorn and soda, which guests can enjoy inside theaters or while sitting in the plush couches that line the lobby. The sit-down Dolce Vita Dinner Lounge, outfitted with a full bar, couches, and booths, entrances eyes with feature films on 30-foot indoor and outdoor screens as waitresses serve up gourmet Italian feasts during dinner-and-a-movie screenings, private parties, and fundraisers. Channelside Cinemas offers $0.50 parking and takes reservations up to five months in advance for long-awaited blockbusters or unveilings of highly anticipated new Skittles flavors.
The India International Film Festival (IFF) of Tampa Bay selects a small sampling of more than 1,000 films produced in India each year to demonstrate that the most prolific film industry in the world is more than just masala musicals. Like the culture from which they spring, the films speak in a lush polyglossia of English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali, Kashmiri—but the common language of humanity unites them all, whether the subject is Down syndrome, terrorism, patriotism, or simply losing yourself to spiritual bliss. Opening-night ceremonies and filmmaker Q&As round out the schedule of events, offering a more immersive movie experience than watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 3-D.