The Landmark opens tomorrow and despite my reservations, things look encouraging so far. A recent LA Times article focuses on the competition between The Landmark and The Arclight with special emphasis on style and snacks. I don’t give a shit about the pretzels from La Brea Bakery served with raspberry wasabi artisanal mustard or the low-carb pizzas from Pizza Rustica. Those things are nice (and the free parking is a definite bonus), but the important thing is the selection and presentation of movies. The wide and allegedly comfortable seating (the foam was designed by NASA but then so was Tang) sounds good but the best sign so far is their opening slate of movies: the two most mainstream wide releases they’re showing are Gracie and Mr. Brooks. The rest of the schedule is filled out with Day Watch, Golden Door, Once, Paprika, Paris je t’aime, Show Business and Away From Her. A perfectly respectable line up.
I don’t think Arclight has much to worry about since the two theatres stake out different chunks of the city and the Arclight is much more mainstream anyway. The article’s reference to The Grove is a joke. The Grove may be luxurious on the surface, but at heart it’s just another multiplex with the same bad movies and thin walls. I worry about Laemmle though. The Sunset 5, Music Hall and Royal always have great movies, but the auditoriums tend to be cramped, uncomfortable and dank. A serious drawback compensated for by the quality of the movies, but with many of the more popular releases potentially getting poached by The Landmark, Laemmle might have to do some remodeling if they want to keep those locations open. If they upgrade, that’s good for movies and good for LA, but if they disappear, that would be bad.
In other LA theatre news, it has come to my attention that the Mann National in Westwood (the closing of which I had previously written about) is still showing movies as the National Westwood Theatre until permits for its destruction can be approved. I have no idea when that will happen, but you could conceivably go see Paris je t’aime there this weekend. You should.