Best art-film house/series
At the Coolidge Corner Theatre, this year's readers' pick for best art-film house, the term "midnight movies" doesn't refer just to screening time. At the Coolidge, films in the midnight slot have achieved a certain status. Call them cult. Call them alternative or underground. Call them bizarre or camp or cool. They feed those film-hungry souls whose appetites aren't satisfied by mainstream fare. Indeed, part of the Coolidge's mission is to "explore the boundaries of film," and it succeeds from matinees to midnight, consistently screening the best independent and foreign cinema. Not to mention programs like "Off the Couch," or the recent annual 12-hour Halloween Horror Movie Marathon. When you're hankering for films like Donnie Darko or Dirty Dancing, for films that take prizes at Sundance and Cannes, for boundary-bending, genre-blurring films, the Coolidge satisfies your cravings, "showing movies the way they were meant to be seen."
A T-shirt we've seen around Harvard Square quotes the New York Times: "02138: The most opinionated zip code in the country." And while that knuckles a little too close to the self-congratulatory for our tastes, there's no denying that Cambridge -- Harvard Square in particular -- is a harbor for big brains and lofty thoughts. Phoenix readers and Cantabrigian opinion-makers agree: Harvard Square's Brattle Theatre is a landmark for film enthusiasts, and this year's pick for north-of-the-river art-film house. With weekly series like "Shades of Noir" and "Recent Raves," as well as all varieties of Boston film festivals, the Brattle proves itself a cinematic mainstay and a potent film force from classic to cutting edge, from 02138 to around the world.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, (617) 734-2500; Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, (617) 876-6837.