Towering above the already-imposing 14-screen multiplex of Hoyts West Nursery Cinemas is a luminescent globe encircled by a giant strip of film. It’s a sign of the theater’s mission to create an all-encompassing movie experience. Stadium seating inside every theater gives even the littlest family members undisturbed views of new releases, and digital sound systems broadcast musical numbers, high-tech explosions, and intercom requests to share your Skittles in crystal clarity. At the snack bar, traditional concessions are supplemented by made-to-order Uno pizzas.
The film festival, which begins on January 4th, features seven eye-smacking films shown on a full-size, five-story IMAX screen. The fest lasts for nine weeks, and there's no need to purchase Science Center admission ticket to attend any of the showings. Film choices include movies like Hurricane on the Bayou, a stirring documentary narrated by Meryl Streep that taps deep into the musical soul of the Big Easy before, during, and after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Volcanoes of the Deep Sea brings viewers 12,000 feet into the depths of the deep Atlantic wherescientists aboard a submersible explore the alien creatures, landscapes, and fast food franchises of earth's ocean floor. Other larger-than-life flicks include Michael Jordon to the Max, Greatest Places, Survival Island, and Extreme, which follows adventure-seeking athletes as they challenge some of the most intense forces of nature to a game of foosball. Music fans can nod their heads to U2 3D, a front stage pass to U2's worldwide Vertigo tour, filmed during the band's stop in South America. For a full description of films on the docket, visit the festival's website.
The thespians and theater crew at Fells Point Corner Theatre have enchanted audiences with nonprofit productions of new and rarely seen plays for 25 years. Upcoming attractions include Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner about three differently aged women who reflect on their lives with acerbic wit while scaling skyscrapers; and The Little Dog Laughed, a look at gossip and celebrity in the 21st century. Colorful characters populate Circle Mirror Transformation, a comedy detailing a motley crew’s attempt at bonding during a six-week acting class; Eugene O’Neill’s iconic play The Iceman Cometh explores universal social questions in the back room of a 1912 skid-row saloon. Though seating at the 85-seat Fells Point Corner Theatre is subject to availability, the small size of the theater allows for good sight lines from all seats.
Eastpoint 10 Cinemas showcases the latest Hollywood blockbusters on screens that face sloped or stadium-style seating. Digital and 3-D projectors entertain audiences with high-resolution images that virtually pop out of the screen, making viewers feel like a part of the film without having to actually fight off bloodthirsty aliens, wicked witches, or Gerard Depardieu. The theater occasionally pairs screenings with special tie-in events, such as karate demonstrations to go along with martial-arts flicks.
Inside a state-of-the-art facility with a restored 1938 theater, the American Film Institute’s 2011 European Union Film Showcase screens more than 40 box-office hits, directorial debuts, and Academy Award contenders from 26 European countries. This year’s selections include Denmark's A Funny Man, a look at the life and career of popular comedian Dirch Passer, and France's animated Tales of the Night. Anchored around John Eberson’s historic Silver Theatre, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center shows culturally relevant films from three lavishly equipped theaters capable of showing film formats ranging from 16mm to 70mm, as well as digital projections and Lite-Brite art. Filmgoers attending Thursday or Friday showings can stop by the theater’s café from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for happy-hour drink specials, festive music, and complimentary snacks.
At Montgomery Royal Theater, six screens beam larger-than-life stars into the eyes of moviegoers during showings of recently released flicks and Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers can sink into the theater's plush, cushioned seats to absorb action-packed reels that showcase the twists of budding romance or the dire consequences of resurrecting an extinct flower’s DNA. The theater’s concession stand outfits viewers with buckets of popcorn and cups brimming with soda, providing the appropriate rations to accompany treks into the fantastical worlds of first-run films.