Monday, May 2, 2011
The Laemmle Royal Theatre in West L.A. is one of the last remaining stand-alone movie houses in the city. It's a classic old movie theater with ornate decor that transports you back in time to an era when movie going wasn't a commercial experience. Having said that, it's not the most comfortable of theaters, and the screen and sounds system don't live up to the modern movie complexes. But, most of the movies shown here are independent films that don't have elaborate special effects or complex soundtracks, so that shouldn't take away from your viewing experience.
There is only one screen at the Royal Theatre, and usually only one movie in residence during any given week. So, the crowds are fairly small even during primetime movie-going hours.
I rarely visit this theatre, but only because they don't often feature movies that I want to see. Yet, on the few occasions I've been there, I've left with the feeling that I had a unique experience that is largely not possible at any other theatre in the city due to the crowded and noisy atmosphere you get when you visit a complex that's showing multiple movies that appeal to a wide variety of movie goers.
Parking at the Royal Theatre is difficult. It does not have its own lot, so you either have to find metered parking on Santa Monica Boulevard, which isn't easy, or try to park on one of the side streets, which is often more difficult due to parking restrictions and lack of available spaces.
Landmark Theatres in West Los Angeles is one of the finer movie complexes in the city. The theatres are fairly new and were therefore designed to meet the needs of the modern movie goers, mainly comfortable seats, lots of arm/leg room, and the ability to choose your own seats. The screens are very large and the sound systems are excellent.
A unique concept at Landmark is the lounge environment that is available in a few of the theatres. These theaters feature about a dozen couches that fit two to three people each, giving movie goers the feeling of watching a film in the comfort of their home. There is a lot of space between the couches, so it makes for a cozy and relaxing viewing experience. However, there are a few disadvantages to these theaters. The screens are somewhat small, and the sound systems don't have the same quality as their larger theaters.
One of the main benefits at Landmark is the ample free parking on both sides of the Westside Pavilion mall complex. Even though there are a lot of spots, it gets very crowded, so arrive well before your show starts to ensure you find a space in time.
Ticket prices at Landmark Theatres are on par with most of the newer theaters in town. However, I've found that I get a much better value for my dollar here, because the theaters are more comfortable and the crowds are much more well-mannered that what I've seen at most other commercial theater complexes. The audiences skew older, so you don't get the rowdy teenage crowd that you often find at many AMC or Pacific locations in Los Angeles.
If you've never been to Landmark, check it out. It just may become your favorite L.A. movie theater too!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The Laemmle Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills is very small movie theater with only three screens. One of the theatres is fairly large, but the other are tiny and don't have many seats. If your movie is playing in one of the small theaters, and you get there late, you'll be sitting very close to the screen. That's a problem here, because the screens are set very high on the wall, so you'll be looking up the whole time, which makes for an uncomfortable viewing experience. The screens and the sound systems aren't great. However, most of the films that play here are independents and documentaries that don't have a lot of visual or sound effects, so you don't need a large screen and THX sound system to fully enjoy the films. As with most Laemmle theatres, the crowds here tend to be older and quieter than what you get at the blockbuster movie houses like AMC and Pacific Theatres. The Music Hall 3 is great place to concentrate on what you're watching without having to listen to hundreds of other movie goers chatter with each other during the film and ruffle through their candy and popcorn bags.
As for parking, the Music Hall 3 has a paid garage at 140 Doheny Drive, just south of Wilshire. Parking there after 4:30pm on weekdays and on Saturdays is $3.00. On Sundays, you can park for $5.00 at 135 Doheny Drive parking garage. However, if you go to evening movies and don't want to pay for parking, you can usually find free metered parking on Wilshire, a few blocks west of the theater, and on some of the side streets. The further west you go, the more metered spots become available.
Theater address: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 90211
Theater phone number: 310-478-3836
The AMC Avco Center is a four screen movie theater in Westwood, located on Wilshire Blvd, just a few blocks away from Westwood Village. It's an old theater. The seats aren't very comfortable and the screen and sound quality aren't great. I don't regularly see movies here, but I sometimes use it as a backup, when a movie I really want to see is only playing locally at AMC theatres and is sold out at the AMC Century City. What I like about the Avco is that there are plenty of seats, and the movies rarely sell out here. It's a great way to avoid the crowds, parking issues and lines that you get with the bigger movie houses.
Parking for the Avco is fairly convenient. If you don't mind paying to park, there's a garage behind the theater that charges around $3. I almost always find parking on Glendon Ave or on Westwood Blvd, south of Wilshire. Both are a short walk to the theatre. If you're going to a movie after 8PM, you don't need to feed the parking meters.
Theater address: AMC Theatres - Avco Center 4, 10840 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Theater phone number: (310) 475-0711