With two theaters (144 and 87 seats, respectively) showing a curated mix of first-run movies, film series, and revivals, along with the potted national cinema surveys that can be the bane of a reviewers existence, this smartly conceived glass, chrome, and poured-concrete venue provides the Upper West Side with its own Film Forum or IFC Center. The optimistic cine-agora feeling is accentuated by a café and an amphitheater boasting the largest plasma screen in the U.S. and promising the opportunity for who knows what cinephile (or New York Times staffer) to hold forth between shows.
The 268-seat Walter Reade, which opened 20 years ago (as the crowning achievement of Joanne Kochs tenure as Film Society executive director), still has the best sightlines and most impressive screen-to-room size ratio in Manhattan. But the new Film Center theaters have screens that seem bigger and seats even roomier. The architects have done their job. Now its up to programmers Richard Peña and our former colleague Scott Foundas, plus booker Bingham Rayand the audience. Will the Upper West Side forgo its HBO and walk on over?
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!