In our first Ithaca Blog posting about entertainment, we raised some issues of viewer's rights to comfort and joy, as it were, at the movies.
Why is it that people are so particular about movies they see - checking reviews, etc. - but not about where they see them? Probably because reviews of venues don't exist.
Until now. And we are happy to report that the state of the cinema - not only the art form, but the forum - is good in Ithaca.
If you've lived here a while, you know we have two independent movie houses downtown: Cinemapolis, and Fall Creek Cinema.
They can be a little hard to discover. Fall Creek Cinema is at the northern fringe of town, at the end of North Tioga St. Cinemapolis is right on the Commons, but down a flight of stairs from street level, with only a small marquee in an alley to announce it.
Once discovered, however, they become cinematic homes away from home for the movie- lover who still cherishes the public aspect of movie viewing.
The glory days of the movie houses were before the days of home air conditioning, so a chill movie house was a big draw in the summer. In Ithaca today, where home a.c. is still rare, it still is.
There's a question of whether a theater in August without good a.c. is even bearable. A good question. Maybe for real art lovers, it doesn't matter. But as barrister Roy Cohn once said, I don't want to know the law, I want to know the judge. So, give me a good movie, yeah. But show it in a box with bad a.c., and there goes the art form, for me.
We are happy to report that trips to both cinemas in the first week of August revealed two well-modulated a.c. systems. Comfortably cool - but not too cold. (Personal standards vary, of course, so the delicate might want to bring a sweater, or at least sleeves.)
Concessions at both cinemas are commendable. Good popcorn, with inventive and healthful toppings available. A good selection of drinks. And a good selection of candies, reasonably priced. (Our choice was a big box of Sno-Caps, for $1.50. No need to stop at the gas station for cut-rate Rolos.)
They do everything right, pretty much, at these movie houses. Comfortable seats. Consistent showtimes. No commercials. Repeat: no commercials.
And a friendly environment, at both places, where chances are you will see people you know, or might like to know, and can get to know. Visit Lost Dog Cafe or Maxies or Benchwarmers after the movie, and extend the pleasure. And think about how good it is to be able to do that, the next time you're thinking about Netflix.
for Ithaca Blog