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!