It's the thick of the summer movie season, the best of times and the worst of times for film buffs. What better place to escape the August doldrums than you're local cineplex?
Well, someplace that isn't filled to the rafter with screaming kids and annoying teens would be nice. And maybe something showing movies that aren't designed by committee to draw in hordes of screaming, annoying you-know-whats. Movies with dialogue that wasn't lifted from speech bubbles in a comic book would be a welcome change too.
Having a bar attached to the theater doesn't hurt any either. Free is good too.
Yeah, that's right, we're grown-ups, and we like movies. Lucky for us there are options to enjoy the majesty of film without having to deal with the slaughterhouse of fun that the modern Hollywood machine created for the masses. Dallas has seen a rise in film appreciation thanks in part to these theaters that make moviegoing not suck.
The Alamo Drafthouse This national chain of movie theaters has become a place of worship for movie buffs and not just because they show more than first run, mainstream movies. They turn moviegoing into an event. Dallas has only had its Alamo Drafthouse for a little over a year, but it's made an indelible mark on the city and attracted crowds of fans with unique events like screenings of The World's End and Let's Be Cops with the actual stars from the movie, live script-readings of classic films and even a secret screening where the movie isn't announced until you show up to watch it. If you're just in the mood to see a movie, you can do that as well and order up some tasty treats from the kitchen (try "The Godfather" pizza) or a tasty, alcoholic beverage to wash it down as you're watching the movie. It's become so popular that they are building a second location downtown.
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The Texas Theatre America knows it as the theater Lee Harvey Oswald tried to hide out in after killing JFK; Dallas movie fans know it as a place that dishes up the interesting movies the theater chains ignore. The theater's programmers manage to get their hands on some films you'd never get a chance to see stateside like the Spanish midnight movie Witching and Bitching as well as the latest film in Crispin Glover's It trilogy with the man himself making an appearance at the screening. They even find time to dig up some original 35mm prints of classic movies.
The Angelika This Mockingbird Station theater isn't your average art house. The Angelika doesnt just show the latest independent movies; they've also expanded their hours to accommodate an "After Hours" schedule of films that make it fun to go to the cinema, like recent screenings of Hot Fuzz, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. They also hold a special screening just for parents with small children, a special "Student Tuesday" screening and GKids Animated World screenings of cartoony films from around the globe. Plus for the parents, did we mention there's a fully stocked bar that can help you cope with the weird, unintelligible charm of Japanese kids movies?
The Inwood With its glowing neon marquee, The Inwood may look old school, but inside are all the trimmings of a modern movie going experience along with a few extra special touches. They offer a mix of new and classic movie screenings including a weekly "Midnight Madness" showing of some of Hollywood's weirder fare. They offer a bar and a lounge so you can fill up on drinks before you drink up every inch of the screen. They are also the only theater in town where you can watch a movie in a super comfy bean bag chair or overstuffed sofa in their new lounge auditorium.
Cinema in the Circle Addison offers an interesting diversion from the traditional movie experience with Cinema in the Circle every Saturday at Beckert Park. Moviegoers can bring a blanket and enjoy an outdoor movie in the evening air. A movie theater might be a great way to avoid the growing Texas heat, but if you spend too much time in them, you can forget a real world with a natural climate exists on the other side of the glowing exit sign. OK, so maybe that's not a bad thing in August. Still, the fresh air is nice and so is the price: free.