Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, April 15

Gapers Block

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Tommy #1 / June 15, 2005 6:42 AM

with the price of 2 movie tickets, popcorn, soda, snow caps, and the such almost equaling a car payment...I wait for the DVD.

Altho the brew and view is always an option...

Michael / June 15, 2005 8:17 AM

Grant Park: I look forward to the Outdoor Film Festival every summer, with its Ravinia-like atmosphere and the beautiful skyline of the city as a backdrop.

amyc / June 15, 2005 8:50 AM

The Music Box. Even though the main theater's house lights are way too dim and the seats are uncomfortable and the furnace pods under the chairs will roast you alive from October to May, I just love its old-timey goodness, the quarterly schedules that come in the Reader, the twinkly ceiling lights and weird faux-Spanish decor, the organist, the great films they show and the crazy pre-show songs that we like to make up fake lyrics for (My baby don't have no legs, my baby don't eat no eggs, my baby just cares for meeeeee!).

L / June 15, 2005 8:50 AM

Logan Square is so #1! It's 3 bucks and it has a ladies smoking lounge next to the bathroom, which kills me. Unfortunately, movie selection = not always so good.

Paula / June 15, 2005 9:11 AM

Although I love the faded grandeur and revival selections of the Music Box, the Davis wins hands down for sheer proximity to where I live. You just can't beat the ability to walk to a theatre and have great dinner choices before or after.

Overwrought / June 15, 2005 9:26 AM

I have a soft spot for The Century theaters in Evanston.

And even though I consider the AMC on Western the "ghetto" theater, you can't beat $5 Tuesdays (free popcorn and parking!). Especially for movies I wouldn't normally pay to see in the theater.

Erica / June 15, 2005 9:30 AM

I like the Biograph -- especially when Rusty Nails hosts his Movieside events there.

Roseann / June 15, 2005 10:02 AM

Gene Siskel theatre - great downtown location and great mix of movies and genres.

waleeta / June 15, 2005 10:13 AM

Any AMC. Huge seats, air conditioning, always enough room (even on Star Wars opening day!)

I always go corporate for such things as they provide the comfort and quality. God Bless "the man".

paul / June 15, 2005 10:13 AM

I loved going to the Biograph and the Music Box, because it's like going to the "Theatre". People that go to those theaters also seem a little more corteous to their fellow movie-goers - a major factor these days. However I've seen a few bad prints at both theaters. Anyone have the scoop on the Biograph's renovation and reopening? I hear September.

I'll also second Century in Evanston. There's a bar in it!

jima / June 15, 2005 10:19 AM

I would also cast my vote for the Gene Siskel Film Center (nicknamed the "Gene" by people who feel they have to assign nicknames to everything and everyone). The old Film Center location was pretty difficult to get to, I seem to recall (somewhere east of Michigan Avenue, near the main Art Institute building, I think). But this new location, right next to the State & Lake Red Line stop and across the street from the Chicago Theater, is hard to beat. And more importantly, their film schedule is incredible. They have themed screenings every month, their Music Movies series has included some amazing performance footage (the "Nightclubbing" series of last year was probably one of the most interesting screenings I've seen there), and if you keep an eye on the dense schedule you can catch an occasional oddball screening, like when they recently showed Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Oh, and what about Facets? Although there are plenty of theaters in town that show art films and foreign movies, Facets still has some worthy screenings. We were just there for the Paul Wellstone documentary and had a good time.

christy / June 15, 2005 10:34 AM

Brew&View -- nothing beats the laid-back atmosphere, watching a movie with a beer in hand, and people laughing out loud when it's funny.

Lori / June 15, 2005 10:40 AM

I still miss the Fine Arts.

For convenience (to the west side anyway) and movie selection, I like the Lake in Oak Park. Good parking, good food nearby, and nice theaters. They have a $1 kids movie every Wednesday at 10am all summer long.

sky / June 15, 2005 10:57 AM

I'm a sucker for Piper's helps that I live a block away...but it's good to have access to movies that I might not necessarily pick up at blockbusters. However, one of the most creepy is another one down the block the Village Art Theatre. It might be cheaper, but there is something creepy about it....maybe the guy that is always doing concessions, with the same dirty shirt on each time and looks like he cuddles with the greasy popcorn buckets at night.

Hostyle / June 15, 2005 11:49 AM

Century Theatres in Evanston without a doubt - good mix of commercial fluff and artsy pics, plus like was said before, there's a bar there!

meg / June 15, 2005 12:14 PM

I do love DOC films: Great schedule, a different movie every night of the week, interesting themes, quarterly passes which allow you to see every single thing they show for under $30, and a fairly appreciative audience.

Y A J / June 15, 2005 12:39 PM

I still miss the Fine Arts too. I liked to sit in the first row balcony seats.

Now we mostly go to $2 shows at the LaGrange. It's a funny little place, feels a lot like the Logan.

curtsy / June 15, 2005 12:57 PM

** Music Box -- this joint is a palace & a shrine with consistently intelligent programming

* Three Penny -- I love the name & it's budget priced

*Doc Films -- variety of programing & proximity to my front door

*Village, Davis, Logan -- mold never sleeps!

For those who prefer "the man's" venues (AMC) or who are afraid of local flavor (the Village), what is keeping you from moving NOW to a safer exurbia? (I will admit that I would like to go parking on top of the AMC garage, however....)

Brandy / June 15, 2005 1:24 PM

Living in Edgewater, I like going to CineArts in Evanston. But I've become a curmudgeon who hates watching movies with other people, so I go to early weekday matinees. Plus, I like that Marble Slab Creamery is only steps away; for when movies like Downfall makes me so sad I need to soothe myself with sweets.

FlowFeel / June 15, 2005 1:43 PM

Wonderfully the city has a gang of great choices - Bio, Music Box, Logan, Davis, Brew/View and the big house cheapies! We love 'em all!

waleeta / June 15, 2005 2:03 PM

People who enjoy the city don't have to live there, people who enjoy the suburbs don't have to live there.

We ARE allowed to venture out, no?

eep / June 15, 2005 2:09 PM

In my neck of the woods, the Lake in Oak Park is great. They have a good balance of modern theaters with old-time charm, and their selection is outstanding.

In the city, I love the Music Box.

Steve / June 15, 2005 2:27 PM

I love the Davis, unless it's a THX digi-Blockbuster. Then you gotta go with The Man -- I'm partial to the Lincoln Village, because you can always see the big event movies there in an empty theatre on Sunday morning of opening weekend.

Totally agree that theatre-goers at the Music Box are extra polite, though the slow pacing of much of their fare begs for comfier seating. The staff there is top-notch, too -- last time we went, the ticket seller volunteered to put our dinner leftovers in the concessions stand fridge!

Props to the LaGrange, too, but mainly because I remember it from the era when it was a single theatre with an awesome dome ceiling and an orchestra pit full of popcorn and rat traps!

roman / June 15, 2005 2:50 PM

The Logan Square theatre (aka "Logan's Second Run") is marvelous! Yes, the selection is often lacking, but if there is a movie that you even remotely want to see playing there, it's totally worth it. A few of its great qualities: $3 admission, cheap snacks (no need to sneak stuff in), hot sauce for the popcorn!, and an overabundance of older gents in suits working as ushers and ticket takers (seriously there's like fifteen guys working at a time). Glorious!

curtsy / June 15, 2005 3:34 PM

Yes, intrepid waleeta, go forth and venture out, only to find out that the urban jungle has slowly become an indistinguishable suburbanized theme park. Make sure to visit 600 N. Michigan, Webster Place, and River East while you're there.

Veronica #2 / June 15, 2005 4:05 PM

i like landmark century city cause they always have good independent releases and i can walk there

same deal with music box

Emerson Dameron / June 15, 2005 4:05 PM

It has more than its share of techical snafus, but the Threepenny remains my sentimental favorite, if only because I met Harry Shearer there.

Kirsten / June 15, 2005 4:56 PM

I love the Music Box selections, but I think it is kind of sad they've let that place get so run down. They could easily recushion or even replace the seats without taking away from the vintage feel of the theater, and the bathrooms are horrible.
I love the Evanston theater but it is kind of far from me, so I go to the Lake Theater in Oak Park, love the old middle theater big screen. Also go to LaGrange for cheap seats. I'll hit River East after work once in a while, or even the IMAX. Saw Spiderman 2 there, totally worth it! Will try and see Batman there too.

Leelah / June 15, 2005 5:26 PM

Oh hands down, Ford City.

heh heh heh. I crack me up.

Steve / June 15, 2005 6:21 PM

Hand's down, LeeLAH? Last time I went to Ford City, I had to stick my hands up!

Oh, I kid the south siders....

waleeta / June 15, 2005 8:25 PM

Oh I love those theaters!

Kris / June 16, 2005 12:13 AM

Oh golly, Curtsy, is it time to play "Who's More Authentic" again already?

Having grown up in a town where we had to wait for video to see anything less than mainstream, one of the things I love most about Chicago is the programming at the Music Box or the Siskel Center or Doc Films. I love that I can see most new "art house" releases in nice, well-appointed theaters like Landmark's Century Centre or Evanston's CineArts.

But sometimes, hell yeah I want to see Batman Begins, and I'm pretty sure it's not playing at any of those theaters. And then I thank god for the comfort and technical wizardry of AMC River East.

Can't we all just get along?

classact / June 16, 2005 2:47 AM

2600 N. Western... Tuesdays, $5 movie, free popcorn, bring your own beer discreetly (nobody seems to care).

Maggie / June 16, 2005 8:04 AM

Though I haven't been there in a while, I do love the Lake. It's just pretty.

jen / June 16, 2005 11:47 AM

um, it's now SONY Piper's Alley?!? wtf?

curtsy / June 29, 2005 8:13 AM

Oh golly, can't we all just stop mock quoting Rodney King?

jk1 / July 6, 2005 6:12 PM

There are so many kinds of films, they beg for many kinds of theatres...

My sentimental choice is the Music Box. I could live in that theatre. So many happy memories. That said, the seats would be deemed unfit for Guantanamo, the programming isn't as sharp as it once was, and neither is the upkeep. Still, I love going there.

I have to second the nostalgia for the Fine Arts. It was never my favorite, but it was well suited to films without complex surround requirements. I have plenty of great Chicago Intl. Film Fest memories and wish it were still operating.

In any case, my safe, practical choice is the Century Evanston by a good margin over the Landmark at the Century and the AMC River East. In terms of programming, Evanston always has something worth seeing, although it's not as likely to show challenging fare as Facets or Siskel. The auditoriums score well in most respects and for mainstream films, the crowd is generally far less obnoxious than at River East. My only real complaint is that the bathroom chores and concessions are handled erratically.

Otherwise, I really enjoy the Landmark and River East is pretty solid if you bring your own snacks (Their prices are about what you'd expect but selection is terrible...) and can ignore the relentlessly annoying suburbanites and tourists. DOC films used to be a favorite but I almost never get to Hyde Park anymore. Brew & View was fun when they still showed an occasional cult film. Ditto for midnight shows at the Village.

I have fond memories of double and triple dipping at the Esquire, Pipers, and 600 N. Michigan, but that's about the only thing to recommend about those theaters as far as I'm concerned. (Esquire could be wonderful in the right hands though. If the market for smaller films were stronger, Landmark would probably make it a great destination for film going.)

Lastly, I recommend avoiding Webster, Village North and the Davis at all costs. (I wish I could recommend a quaint neighborhood theatre like the Davis, but it has no atmosphere, the sightlines are HORRIBLE and shows are only about $2 less than Evanston or Landmark.) I haven't been to Ford City in about 10 years, but based on previous comments, it sounds like it's still a dicey proposition.

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