The Best Movie Theaters In Los Angeles
Los Angeles has been blessed with cinephile-friendly multiplexes as well as an amazing repertory scene. Here are some of our favorite places to go for a summer blockbuster, the latest film festival darling or an experimental film that still manages to turn out a crowd because it's Los Angeles and this is what we do.
The Nuart (Photo by Burns! via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
The theater features a mix of everything a good art house should: indies, foreign films, documentaries and classics. The Nuart is also the go-to theater for screening cult classics at midnight on Friday nights and "Rocky Horror" (Sins O' The Flesh is the resident shadowcast). Director John Waters created this awesome anti-smoking (but also kinda pro-smoking) PSA for the Nuart in appreciation for screening "Pink Flamingos."
Nuart Theatre is located at 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard; (310) 473-8530
Cinefamily (Photo by Arkomas via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
God, this theater is the best. Sure, the seats are kind of torture chambers, but they have some of the best—and definitely the most eclectic—programming in town. Like its predecessor the Silent Movie Theatre, Cinefamily screens obscure and wonderful gems from the archives since it opened in 2007. But recently, it has also been screening first-run features such as "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Margaret" and "Dogtooth." Fortunately, the nonprofit has good friends: Robert Downey Jr. pledged in December to give Cinefamily the funds it needs for a new digital projector, and Cinefamily fans pitched in $158,541 for a Kickstarter over the New Year (that will hopefully improve the aforementioned seats!). The nonprofit also has the hook-ups to do some pretty cool stuff, like commissioning No Age to score a film and uniting the cast and creators of Nickelodeon's "Pete & Pete."Cinefamily is located at 611 North Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles; (323) 655-2510
BILLY WILDER THEATER
The Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum is the place to get a taste of the vast collection from the UCLA Film & Television Archive. There are rare and experimental films from all eras reaching back to the earliest days of cinema. Every two years the theater hosts the UCLA Festival of Preservation to screen its recent restorations. The festival happens to be going on now, and its range gives you an idea of what's in the archives. There's the 1950 B-movie Gun Crazy inspired by Bonnie And Clyde; Mantrap was Clara Bow's breakout film; Different from the Others is a German film from 1919 that deals with homosexuality; and there's also a series of shorts from the 1910's. Because we're such fans of UCLA programming, it's worth pointing out that the nearby James Bridges Theater screens free movies through its Melnitz Movies program, and UCLA has also been screening movies at Sid Grauman's Million Dollar Theater downtown (but there's no schedule out for 2013).
The Billy Wilder Theater is located 10899 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles; (310) 206-8013
The New Beverly and its double features have been around since the late 1970s, but the space almost turned into a Super Cuts when owner Sherman Torgan died in 2007. At that point, director Quentin Tarantino, who was already helping to support the struggling theater, bought it and vowed: "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm." As you might expect, the theater screens Grindhouse favorites and Tarantino films, but it's also a vital venue for cinephiles to catch must-see films from foreign and independent circuits. Double features are only $8,
but don't forget to bring cash and we're happy to report that they take credit cards now.
New Beverly Cinema is located at 7165 West Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles; (323) 938-4038
When the ArcLight opened a decade ago, movie go-ers were a little wide-eyed and skeptical about paying a bit more for a day at the movies. Reserved seating and tickets upwards of $12 have become more and more common at cineplexes around the nation, and the novelty of the ArcLight may have worn off a tad, but the fact remains it's still the best grown-up movie experience in town for mainstream flicks. Audiences tend to behave a bit more respectfully in the dimmed cinemas of the chain's flagship ArcLight Hollywood, keeping quiet, not kicking your seat, and for the most part keeping their phones off. Plus there's the iconic Cinerama Dome; everyone should see a movie there at least once during their L.A. tenure. How can you not? Theatres are clean, concessions are high-quality, and they regularly hold 21+ screenings...with booze. How civilized! The expanding chain also has locations in Sherman Oaks, Pasadena, and El Segundo. -Lindsay William-Ross
The Arclight is located at 6360 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 464-1478 OR 15301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks; (818) 501-7033 OR 336 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 568-9651 OR 831 S. Nash St., El Segundo; (310) 607-9630
The Arclight in Hollywood (Photo by atomicshakespeare via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
LEO S. BING THEATER
LACMA's film program has gotten spanglier since Film Independent and controversial critic Elvis Mitchell came aboard. Some of the most popular events now are Jason Reitman's Live Read series, where celebrities perform a live-reading of the screenplays for The Princess Bride and The Big Lebowski. We love that the museum has its own copy of Christian Marclay's The Clock and retrospectives that still knock it out of the park.
Leo S. Bing Theater at LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard;(323) 857-6010
This, like the ArcLight, is a multiplex for grown-ups (particularly graying Westsiders). You pay a little extra, but there is reserved seating, couches in some of the smaller theaters and you can bring beer or wine into their 21+ shows. There's a good mix of bigger films as well as indies and documentaries. (The concession stand is great, but we like hitting up Apple Pan before or after the show.)
Landmark is located 10850 West Pico at Westwood Blvd; (310) 470-0492