At the historic Highland Park Theatre, families and film buffs happily munch handfuls of fresh popcorn as spine-tingling thrillers, uproarious comedies, and rich, moving dramas play out on the big screen. The venerable North Shore movie house dates back to 1925, when it operated as the 1,200-seat Alcyon Theatre, which had a single screen that showed silent footage of cowboys racing on horseback, swashbucklers crossing swords, and complex romance plots communicated through drawn-out games of Pictionary. Today, powerful sound systems in the building's four theaters broadcast the dialogue of crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbusters, as well as critically acclaimed independent films and imported foreign masterpieces.
At the dine-in movie theater Star Cinema Grill, concession stands are obsolete. By pressing a button, guests signal a server and are able to order restaurant-style without disrupting their viewing experience or screaming at an usher for a lobster bib. From angus sliders to ice-cream floats, Star Cinema Grill's menu appeases all ages with its gourmet-pub cuisine served amidst the glow of screenings and first-run film releases.
“3D you see, 4D you feel, 5D you move.” This apt description in the video on PIX 5D Cinema’s website only hints at the multidimensional surface of the experience at the Midwest’s first 5-D theater. Each showing includes two short films that spring from the screen, thrusting 3-D-glasses-wearing viewers into the action via moving seats and special effects, which range from snow to fog to an actor’s tears when they flub a line. In addition to regular showings throughout the week, the cinema offers party packages for birthdays and private events.
Pickwick Theatre, home to one of the Chicago area’s largest theaters, showcases the latest Hollywood blockbusters inside a historic, registered-landmark building. Patrons flood their visual and aural receptors with the theater’s current list of films displayed on one of three screens, including an expansive main auditorium that seats 1,000 people or mannequins comically brought to life. Popcorn and soda keep bodily hungers sated throughout films' airtime and prevent stomach growls from interrupting key dialogue.
Renovated in 2006, the nearly century-old Wilmette Theatre entertains theatergoers with a rotating slate of current and classic offerings, including Hollywood blockbusters and niche art films. Cylindrical light from a whirring projector flickers across two auditoriums, where movie-going duos can snack on buttery tubs of popcorn while sipping a soda and whispering spoilers into the facility’s pristine Soundfold curtain. The Wilmette underwent a key renovation in 2006, fortifying the century-old venue’s commitment to quality art with fresh coats of paint, an overhauled concessions center, and screenings of feature-length still lifes.
Talk Cinema offers an industry-insider peek of upcoming foreign and independent pictures, all curated by longtime film critic Harlan Jacobson. Guests receive the indiscreet honor of previewing the freshest films, followed by a discussion led by a guest speaker who might be a notable critic, a filmmaker, or an artisanal popcorn chef. Attendees have no prior knowledge of the day's screening, giving viewers a roulette of genres to experience, including psychological thrillers, romantic dramas, and heart-warming documentaries on the evolution of ice-cube trays. All shows start on Sundays at 10 a.m., with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.