Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
From its first days as a converted parking garage to its time as a host for Quentin Tarantino's five-day movie marathons, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its atypical auditoriums. The theaters subvert the industry standard by offering locally brewed beer and fine wines, a rotating menu of handcrafted snacks and desserts, and an advertisement-free experience. A long table stretches in front of every row of seats, enabling waiters to unobtrusively pick up written food orders throughout the night.
An even more refreshing break from the standard moviegoing experience is the strict no-talking, no-texting policy enforced by Alamo Drafthouse staff and an enormous shepherd's crook—with a few notable exceptions. For example, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and appearances by actors, directors, and other film celebrities append screenings with in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have helped build Alamo Drafthouse's reputation among cinephiles across the country, leading to nods from Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
Alamo Drafthouse's schedule balances first-run blockbusters with silver-screen classics, projecting them in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Surround sound submerges audiences in the cinematic landscape, whether they're seated in one of the intimate theaters reserved for indie screenings or the more expansive spaces afforded to Hollywood epics.
Starplex Cinemas Forney Stadium 12 adds a little extra shine to every screening with modern technology and screening rooms. Viewers are thrust right into the action of the film by 3-D projectors. Plush chairs—stacked stadium style—envelope audience members in comfort while also providing them with the unobstructed sightline required to see every production assistant’s name in the credits. Other welcome amenities include wall-to-wall screens, digital surround sound and projectors, and a concession stand that serves the theater’s signature $1 hot dogs.
CineStar Outdoor Movie Company turns backyards and parks into open-air cinemas, supplying high-quality, widescreen movie screens for events ranging from weddings to block parties. The staff does more than just drop off a big screen at each customer's desired location: from the moment a customer calls, they get to work planning the event, setting up the screens—which can be prepped for live feeds playing local sports, UFC matches, or other Pay Per View events—and providing optional accompaniments such as popcorn, glow sticks, and even beanbags or couches. To ensure every event is a success, they help customers with licensing, promoting, and scheduling, and will even talk to neighbors to prep them for the event and gently explain why Movie Godzilla shouldn’t be feared, but Real Godzilla should be.
Like a rift in the space-time continuum, the brand-new Venetian Cinemas transports its clientele simultaneously to the past and the future. With architecture that pays homage to the ancient Venetians and Romans, the façade beckons passersby with towering cast-stone columns, enticing them through the doors and into the lobby, where vaulted hallways and more columns with Corinthian capitals sweep them along to the auditoriums. Four screens engross the eyes and ears while more than 800 stuffed leather seats cradle the body, and cuisine from the cinemas' restaurant delights the remaining senses for a complete entertainment experience akin to the famous Roman-gladiator chili cook-offs.
In front of the viewers, granite countertops hold a service button that, when pressed, beckons servers to take orders from the menu. Substantial gourmet offerings such as pizza topped with fresh mozzarella or tacos dressed with green-chili-roasted pork top plates and ready stomachs for belly laughs. While still in their seats, their eyes drawn to the on-screen drama on the wall-to-wall curved screens and their ears bathed in the waves of a 40,000-watt sound system, viewers can order cocktails, microbrews, or margaritas from a fully stocked bar. After the movie, staff members clean up, letting patrons leave their glasses, plates, and ketchup-scrawled plot summaries behind.
Since 1986 VideoFest has specialized in fiercely independent, imaginative, unusual, provocative and sometimes description-defying electronic media. VideoFest is a bastion of true independent media, offering viewpoints and voices and visual styles that don't always have expression in more mainstream festivals.