Amazing Vancouver Movie Nights That Are 10 Times Better Than a Standard Cinema

(March 07, 2014)

In recent years, Vancouver has become arguably the biggest film making hub in Canada. It’s the host of countless film festivals and is the favourite shooting location for many American films and television shows. Vancouver’s love of cinema is visible in the city’s cinema culture; there are many large-scale theatres, but there’s also a number of independent and truly unique cinema experiences available to movie lovers. Keep these locations in mind the next time you're looking for a different kind of movie-going experience.

Pacific Cinematheque: Taking Film to the Next Level (1131 Howe St.)

The Pacific Cinematheque on Howe St. was established four years ago as a film society, and has since grown to become one of the most dynamic and important film organizations in North America. The theatre hosts the Vancouver International Film Festival, Out On Screen, and the Latin American Film Festival. As part of its mandate, the Cinematheque seeks to show films that Vancouver moviegoers wouldn't see anywhere else, or, as they say on their website, "movies that give you a genuine insight into the local, national, and global communities to which we belong." It's not just the films and festivals offered by the Cinematheque that makes it unique, but also their vast film archives, educational programs for youth who are interested in film, and the organization's commitment to showcasing work done by local filmmakers. Pacific Cinematheque is so much more than just a cinema, and is worth checking out if you really want to engage with Canadian and international film.

Rio Theatre: A Vancouver Institution That's Come a Long Way (1660 East Broadway)

The Rio Theatre has been through some significant changes in the last few years, in part due to their procuring of a liquor license which lead to the theatre not being allowed to show films for a while. The theatre, established way back in 1938, wasn't able to show their usual fare of cult classics, film festival choices, and commercial-free Hollywood films. Instead of showing films, the venue showed its versatility and community standing by bringing in comedy acts, live music, and other unique events to keep the theatre going. There’s no need to cross them off your list for movie nights, however, as they're now allowed to show films again! The theatre is the winner of The Georgia Straight's Best Concession, and encourages film enthusiasts to dress in costume for their late night screenings, making the Rio Theatre one of the most unique Vancouver cinematic experiences.

Dunbar Theatre: A Neighbourhood Spot That Gives You More for Your Money (4555 Dunbar St.)

Four of the first five reviewers on Yelp give the Dunbar Theatre near UBC the highest possible review ratings, and they also cite how incredible and worthwhile the popcorn is. While incredible popcorn isn't exactly a reason to go to a theatre, it does speak to the pride the neighbourhood takes in their local theatre, and to the quality of the venue. Their motto is simplicity, in the sense that they offer everything a theatre should have, whether it's comfortable seating with lots of legroom, great popcorn, friendly staff, and one large screen showing great films. This is a place where the community can gather to experience a unique theatre experience and a wonderful movie night. With old school amenities like balcony seating and large armrests for getting cozy with your date or loved one, you will want to check out this quaint and loveable local theatre on Dunbar Street.

With so many great theatre options in Vancouver, there's no excuse for not seeing the latest blockbuster film, indie flick, or festival selection. Getting involved in local and independent theatres can also open you up to other social activities, like those offered by the Rio. Keep these theatres in mind this Saturday night, turn your cellphone off, and enjoy a truly unique cinematic experience in your neighbourhood.

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