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10 of the World's Best Theatres

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10 of the World's Best Theatres

Old 02-17-12, 10:24 AM
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10 of the World's Best Theatres

Read this on CNN and can say that I've been to none of these theatres. Only two in the US are Alamo Drafthouse and The Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

What does everyone think? Can a great theatre make the movie-going experience that much better? This writer sure seems to think so.

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/es...heaters-355218

The best movie theaters always make the movie better.

You could be watching the third re-run of your own birth, but if you're snuggled into a soft seat with buttery popcorn in your lap and a sound system that feels like its channeled directly into your temporal lobe, somehow you'll come out feeling like you had a good time.

For the global jet-setting movie junkie, these are some movie theaters that take a good experience and make it great.


1. Cine Thisio, Athens, Greece
Movie magic as close to Mount Olympus as possible.

Athens is home to multiple outdoor movie theaters that crop up during the summer but none provide as majestic a view as Cine Thisio.

From your seat at Cine Thisio you not only get to view the latest blockbuster but also the Acropolis, and the Parthenon that sits on top. The best view is at night.

Cine Thisio is the oldest outdoor movie theater in Athens, built in 1935, and is usually open from April to October. Cine Thisio shows both first-run studio releases and classic movies.

Apostolou Pavlou 7, Thission, Athens 11851, Greece; +30 210 342 0864; www.cine-thisio.gr


2. Alamo Drafthouse, Texas, United States
Don't worry, you don't have to dress like a hipster wrestler for all Alamo events.

It shouldn’t make sense that a movie theater chain has such street cred, but Alamo Drafthouse does. Think of it as the cool kid brother movie theater.

Alamo Drafthouse started out in Austin, Texas, and hosts a whole series of events including Heckle Vision, Quote Alongs and nights where experts rip apart Michael Bay popcorn blockbusters.

But what makes the Alamo theaters really cool are its policies: no children under the age of six, no talking, an extremely strict no-cellphone policy (as this curse-laden voicemail left by an unhappy customer demonstrates) and no ads before the movie.

This is a movie theater experience as it should be: the movie you pay for, zero annoyances and great food and beers being served to your seat.

1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, Texas 78704, United States; +1 512 476 1320; www.drafthouse.com


3. Raj Mandir Theatre, Jaipur, India
Housing 1,200 seats, the show place for the nation.

Come here for the ultimate Bollywood experience: the national anthem at the start, a choice of expensive and cheaper seats, the three-hour Hindi flick bisected with an interlude and applaud along with the locals whenever the hero shows up on screen.

With its pink Art Deco-inspired exterior made up of waves and asymmetrical shapes, the Raj Mandir is a symbol of Jaipur, a city laid out beautifully from its founding in the 18th century.

It opened in 1976, seats around 1,200 and usually fills up. With ticket prices around Rs100 (US$1.90), this won't be your most luxurious movie outing, but it will definitely rank among the most memorable.

Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India; +91 141 260 5267


4. Kino International, Berlin, Germany
There's beauty in the straight lines and right angles.

A remnant of the Cold War, Kino International dates back to Germany's socialist period. Today Kino International boasts a well-rounded art-house program and hosts a strong list of premieres, festivals and parties.

The movie theater is situated along Karl Marx Allee, where entire blocks of buildings carry heritage status and are protected by the Denkmalschutz in Berlin.

This heritage status means that the outside façade of Kino International, along with its interior furnishings, cannot be altered.

33 Karl-Marx Allee, Berlin 10178, Germany; +49 030 24756011; www.kino-international.com


5. 4DX, Seoul, South Korea
All of the latest in movie technology housed in one theater.

4DX bills itself as the first 4-D movie theater in the world that screens studio releases, taking 3-D movies to the next level by introducing movement and scent, as well as wind and water effects.

Sitting through amusement park-type effects for such a long time may not be suitable for everyone, and people with heart disease, back pains, pregnant women and children under one meter are discouraged from entering.

4DX aims to “free” the moviegoer by connecting with the characters on screen, placing them into the shoes of the protagonist by feeling what he feels.

4DX theaters are now part of 14 CGV locations all over Korea. Tickets for the 4-D screenings start at ₩14,000 (US$12).

4DX CGV Theater in Gangbyeon; 10F TechnoMart, 546-4 Guui-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 광진구 구의동 546-4 테크노마트 10층); 1544-1122 (Domestic calls only); www.cgv.co.kr


6. Uplink X, Tokyo, Japan
Only in Japan can space constraints be sold as a plus.

Uplink X calls itself the smallest movie theater in Japan, with 40 seats. It's housed in a multipurpose building managed by Uplink Co. alongside Uplink Factory, a multipurpose theater space and Uplink’s café Tabela.

Its standout feature is its "social seating" plan -- the 10 various types of seats are not screwed into the ground, but can be moved around within the space, making the movie-watching experience more interactive and social.

2F, 37-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan; +81 3 3485 6821; www.uplink.co.jp


7. Prasads, Hyderabad, India
A multiplex can be interesting if it offers something new for moviegoers.

You might mistake Prasads as just another entertainment complex in Hyderabad -- but take a look at its cinema screen; it's the largest IMAX 3-D screen in the world.

Measuring 72 x 92 feet, and running since 2003, it receives more than 1,500 calls a day to the telephone booking line.

Sydney may have the largest IMAX in the world at 97 x 117 feet, but throw in the 3-D technology and you get yourself on this list.

The biggest grossing films in IMAX 3-D for Prasads so far have been "Avatar," "The Polar Express" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."

NTR Gardens, LIC Division P.O., Hyderabad 500063, India; +91 40 23448888; www.prasadz.com


8. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea
Nothing dissonant about pairing French-made seats with the latest Matt Damon thriller.

Korean movie theater company CGV claims another spot on this list with its Cine de Chef theater, which gives a luxury spin to the “dinner and a movie” concept.

Many other movie theaters also provide food and beverage options to moviegoers, but Cine de Chef stands out with its upscale French-Italian cuisine, courtesy of a former Park Hyatt chef.

After dinner, patrons can relax for the duration of the movie in the Quinette Gallay seats, specially designed for Cine de Chef. The seats are by the same people who make private movie theater seats for United Arab Emirates royalty.

This meal and a movie doesn’t come cheap, however; prices start at ₩38,000 (US$34) for a lunch and a movie ticket. The dinner prices start at ₩60,000 (US$53).

B5 CGV Apgujeong, 602 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 신사동 602 CGV압구정 지하5청); +82 2 3445 0541; www.cinedechef.com


9. Secret Cinema, Worldwide
Even the term "movie theater" is now a malleable term.

This may be stretching the concept of the movie theater since Secret Cinema does not host events in a single physical space -- the location is determined by the movie screened.

Secret Cinema is a London-based group that organizes monthly movie events shrouded in mystery. Patrons are told not to reveal the location or even the movie screened.

Once you register, you are told the day of the screening to gather at a predetermined location. From there hired actors put on a live-action version of scenes from the movie before the finale, a theatrical showing of the movie itself.

Tickets from US$50; +44 0207 739 6055; www.secretcinema.org


10. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco, United States
Sometimes old school is still cool.

The term “movie palace” was coined to describe the elaborately designed theaters that sprung up in the first half of the 20th century in the United States.

Opened in 1922, the Castro Theatre is one of the last vestiges of that bygone era still in operation. Its Mexican cathedral-inspired façade continues to captivate tourists and moviegoers.

With the decadence of its lobby and auditorium, and the attention to detail in the wet plaster motifs on either side of the screen, the Castro presents simply what new technologies are attempting to mimic -- the pleasure of the movie-watching experience.

429 Castro Street, San Francisco, California 94114, USA; +1 415 621 6120; www.castrotheatre.com
Old 02-17-12, 11:14 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I've been to the Alamo, but looks like we'll have to go to the Castro while we are in SF in April.
Old 02-17-12, 11:18 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

1. Cine Thisio, Athens, Greece
Movie magic as close to Mount Olympus as possible.

Athens is home to multiple outdoor movie theaters that crop up during the summer but none provide as majestic a view as Cine Thisio.

From your seat at Cine Thisio you not only get to view the latest blockbuster but also the Acropolis, and the Parthenon that sits on top. The best view is at night.

Cine Thisio is the oldest outdoor movie theater in Athens, built in 1935, and is usually open from April to October. Cine Thisio shows both first-run studio releases and classic movies.
That sounds fucking awesome.
Old 02-17-12, 11:25 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I disagree with number 1. Too many distractions from stars, lights from the tourist attractions, city noises, etc would detract from getting immersed in a movie. Plus being outdoors, the sound levels would have to be lowered. It would probably be nice watching an older, classic movie in that setting. That I could totally understand but not for a newer movie.
Old 02-17-12, 11:34 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I really need to get to the Alamo Drafthouse one of these days.........
Old 02-17-12, 12:20 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Yeah, would like to check it out too. One of these days..
Old 02-17-12, 03:01 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

9. Secret Cinema, Worldwide
Even the term "movie theater" is now a malleable term.

This may be stretching the concept of the movie theater since Secret Cinema does not host events in a single physical space -- the location is determined by the movie screened.

Secret Cinema is a London-based group that organizes monthly movie events shrouded in mystery. Patrons are told not to reveal the location or even the movie screened.

Once you register, you are told the day of the screening to gather at a predetermined location. From there hired actors put on a live-action version of scenes from the movie before the finale, a theatrical showing of the movie itself.

Tickets from US$50; +44 0207 739 6055; www.secretcinema.org
Seems like kind of a cool idea. I'm not sure what they do, if they just pop up in random parks and show a movie or if they choose the location based on the movie (ie. showing North By Northwest at the base of Mount Rushmore). I couldn't get their website to work for me very well.

I wonder how often they show a movie within a reasonable distance to where you live.
Old 02-17-12, 04:30 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

The only famous theater I've been to is the Trocadero in Philadelphia. Saw Cinematic Titanic there, so it counts as a movie theater to me, dammit. Had a blast, but what an absolute shithole. Was disappointed that the bathroom wasn't covered in graffiti CBGB style too.

And the female maitre' D at the chinese restaurant around the corner was absolutely the hottest woman I've ever seen.
Old 02-17-12, 04:33 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
Seems like kind of a cool idea. I'm not sure what they do, if they just pop up in random parks and show a movie or if they choose the location based on the movie (ie. showing North By Northwest at the base of Mount Rushmore). I couldn't get their website to work for me very well.

I wonder how often they show a movie within a reasonable distance to where you live.
They once showed KING KONG (1933) in Bryant Park in Manhattan, with the Empire State Bldg. quite visible to all who turned left to look south of the park. I find outdoor screenings extremely uncomfortable myself and would rather watch it alone on a DVD in my living room.
Old 02-17-12, 04:33 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Never been to the original Drafthouse in Austin, but been to the one in San Antonio and regularly go to the two in Houston. They are as good as their reputation claims.
Old 02-17-12, 04:37 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

$50 for the Secret Cinema seems a bit... steep. I realize you're paying for the events surrounding it, but how in the world could it get that high?
Old 02-17-12, 09:27 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Because it's a movie ticket and theater ticket at the same time, and there's people flying in from London, and if you're only holding a showing for a small group of people, you have to make a living somehow. $50 for a movie ticket is ridiculous. For that experience, less so.

<hr>

The best movie theater to date, that I have been to, is still the single-screen DGA theater in New York.

The Ritz Vorhees in New Jersey was what I could only dream of when I was younger: a 16-story multiplex showing only arthouse movies, that didn't allow children. It closed down about five years ago.

There's a theater in SF where you can get wine which I liked. Don't remember where it is.

In China and Hong Kong all the tickets are pre-sold with assigned seating. The better movie theaters, where a show still only costs $10-$12 (for full priced, non-3D) are sumptuous like private screening rooms.

The 4D theater seems like my worst nightmare.
Old 02-17-12, 10:07 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
I find outdoor screenings extremely uncomfortable myself and would rather watch it alone on a DVD in my living room.
Exactly. Which is why I'm wondering why AMC has that idiotic intro where the people are in a theater and it transforms into an outdoor jungle with the movie projected into the sky.
Old 02-18-12, 01:37 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Originally Posted by The Bus
The 4D theater seems like my worst nightmare.
I agree it would seem a bit much. Sounds more like a Disneyland ride or something.
Old 02-18-12, 04:05 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

My family used to go to San Francisco to see movies so I might have gone to the Castro.

I like that one of the theaters is called the Kino International. Being an ignorant American, I never thought twice about what that studio name meants.
Old 02-18-12, 07:53 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I went to a Secret Cinema screening of Lawrence of Arabia. It was at Alexandra Palace in London. They asked everyone to dress up and we all walked through the palace grounds to get to the screening. Along the path we followed there were actors on horses and camels as well as on foot, they would try and barter with us and tell us of battles. There were musicians as well. It did set a good atmosphere. Once we got into the palace there was a market place which looked fairly appropriate for the time and place they were trying to evoke. You could buy food and wander around. Eventually we made our way to the screening room which was a massive room in the palace with a huge screen. The problem was you had to sit on the concrete floor, they had advised before hand to bring pillows but it was still not the most comfortable way to watch a long film.

In the end I enjoyed the location and the effort they put into creating the atmosphere with the actors etc but I would rather watch the film in comfort at home. We actually left at the intermission.

I put up a video that shows some of the event: youtube.com
Old 02-18-12, 10:25 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Really? You had to sit on a concrete floor on a pillow? What a way to ruin a very cool setup.

Nice video. Belly dancers!
Old 02-18-12, 05:42 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Haha. America sucks.
Old 02-18-12, 07:08 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Damn, it's too bad the Cine de Chef and the 4DX weren't around when I lived in Seoul back in the 90s. I watched movies at the Seoul Cinema and the Myeong-Bo Cinema, which were comfortable theaters, but nowhere near that fancy.

The only theater I've been to on that list is the Castro, which is a magnificent old-school movie palace.
Old 02-18-12, 08:58 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Been to the Castro, but that's it. I always wanted to go to the Alamo (moreso when the Tarantino Film Festivals were held there), and may someday.
Old 02-19-12, 08:53 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

yay Alamo! i haven't been in like a month because i've been working crazy hours, but i usually make it a point to go like once a week at least. it can cost a pretty penny though... since it's so easy to enjoy several beers and good food whilst watching a movie.
Old 02-19-12, 09:06 PM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

They sound cool but can they compare to these: http://www.crazycritics.com/page/a-f...om-my-personal
Old 06-19-12, 08:52 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

Originally Posted by rexinnih
I really need to get to the Alamo Drafthouse one of these days.........
Originally Posted by TomOpus
Yeah, would like to check it out too. One of these days..
Well this will happen sooner than I thought. The former AMC Mainstreet 6 is becoming an Alamo Drafthouse tomorrow. Previously only half the screens had food service so the big change will be all screens will now have food service. I imagine the menu will change. Plus more independent movies will be nice. Can't wait to try it out!
Old 06-19-12, 09:10 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I visited the Alamo Drafthouse for the first time just last week. It was fun with the pre-show entertainment - I went to see MIB3 and they showed Will Smith videos from the first 2, plus random interviews of his, and a series of odd Japanese soda commercials starring Tommy Lee Jones. The food was good, as was the service, but I can't imagine seeing all my movies at a place like this. The waitstaff - while quiet and courteous - walks around throughout the movie and was pretty distracting. For a movie like MIB, it was fine, but I can't imagine being able to get totally absorbed in a movie with everything else going on.
Old 06-19-12, 09:39 AM
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Re: 10 of the World's Best Theatres

I've had great movie experiences in some of the most poorly designed and set-up theaters (e.g. the old Thalia in Manhattan, which used to slope upwards), while seeing a stinker in a great theater doesn't make the experience any better.

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