April 27, 2007

Ithaca’s Finest Film Venues

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I have reviewed movies for The Sun since freshman year. In that time I have consumed three-and-a-half times my weight in popcorn and I have spent enough money on ICEE drinks to match last year’s gross domestic product of Kiribati. Along this semi-illustrious non-career I have developed a familiarity with all of Ithaca’s movie theaters — I’ve eaten their concessions, watched their screens and peed in their urinals. In fact, the only thing I haven’t done in an Ithaca cinema is enjoy a successful date. After four years of reviewing movies in Ithaca, it’s high time I review the screens that display them. Here’s my take on Ithaca’s main cinemas: Regal Pyramid Mall 10, Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures (both administered by 7th Art Cinemas) and Cornell Cinema (Willard Straight Theater only).
Regal Pyramid Mall: C. How can you really compliment a run-of-the-mill mall cinema? It’s the epitome of the character-sucking, corporate, blah that we hate about Hollywood. Still, at least it’s clean.
Cinemapolis: C+. Kudos to this theater for making the most out of its basement location. The décor is neat; especially the collage of movies in the outside hallway, but even this cannot make up for the fact that it is located, well, in a basement. Hopefully, 7th Art’s new theater project expected to be complete by Spring 2008 will remedy this situation and (pardon the pun) lift Cinemapolis’ ambiance grave out of the cellar.
Fall Creek Pictures: B-. At least we are at ground level here. Still, Fall Creeks’ building is not designed to show movies. Theater 3 in the back is downright claustrophobic. However, a stop by the kiddy-corner Willow Restaurant before or after the show might help remedy this situation (as well as 7th Art’s planned new theater downtown).
Cornell Cinema: B. With murals on its walls, a balcony, and its overall classic feel, Cornell Cinema is as close as you can get to a movie palace of yesteryear in Ithaca. However, after an hour or two, Cornell Cinema’s old seats will really start to get uncomfortable. Sitting through Lawrence of Arabia might require a visit to the hospital to get a tailbone replacement.
Regal Pyramid Mall: D. Okay, I admit that outrageous food prices are just part of the American movie going experience, still what you have to pay for popcorn and a soda here is pretty enraging. At least their helpings are huge. If you say the right password, the staff will actually deliver a 32-gallon barrel of soda and a small John Deere tractor carrying your popcorn for a small fee.
Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures: A. The first time I visited these theaters I thought the local PTA was having a bake sale. Both theaters feature reasonably priced, home baked treats that are sensational.
Cornell Cinema: B. They have limited selection, but low prices — what else is there to say?
Regal Pyramid Mall: B. It’s far away from campus, but well serviced by TCAT and it’s usually easy to mooch rides to the Mall.
Cinemapolis: B+. It’s well serviced by TCAT. Added plus is the number of restaurants that surround the theater setting up a good “date and a movie” scenario.
Fall Creek Picture: D-. Hard to find, with limited bus service that ends before most of the evening shows. Its proximity to the good (but expensive) Willow Restaurant is the only positive aspect about the theater’s location.
Cornell Cinema: A. What can I say? It’s close and convenient for pretty much any student.
Regal Pyramid Mall: C. $9 for an adult ticket is expensive, but it’s just indicative of the national trend. If your go on an off day with your student ID or to a matinee you can get the price down to $7.
Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures: B-. These theaters aren’t the bargains you would think. Adult tickets cost $8. Still, you can take advantage of “Cheap Nights” (Monday at Fall Creek and Tuesday at Cinemapolis) and see a movie for $6.
Cornell Cinema: A+. A ticket to Cornell Cinema on any night of the week is FOUR DOLLARS!!!! I really don’t need to say anything more. Additionally, Cornell Cinema offers multiple deal nights where the price gets reduced further. No debate here.