Thursday, January 4, 2007

Do you see movies? Or do movies see you?

The convenience of Netflix has made us lazy about getting off our duffs and heading to the local theater. But last night we did just that. When the offering is Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth, well, there are reasons you want to see the acting in billboard-sized gestures, facial tics, sideways glances.

The thing is, so many modern theaters in our fair cities are such grody strip-mallish affairs, that we shop for the room first, and the movie second. Thus we made our way to the Edina Theatre, a Landmark Theatres property—one of the nation's best independent cinema chains playing films in wide release, as well as a healthy mix of inevitably subtitled art films. (They have houses in Seattle, Atlanta, DC, and a dozen other cities too.) Hollywood? Hollywood belongs on DVD.

Not that Landmark Theatres here in the Twin Cities are especially styling—they're not. But the employees are friendly, the popcorn is good, the marquee is always respectable, and there are some playful touches that betray that old indie spirit. We noticed a campy shrine to Dame Judi Dench in the lobby (according to the trailers, she plays a truly evil and ugly dowager in the movie "Notes on A Scandal"; she blackmails another woman over a tawdry affair with a schoolboy) and Angelie Jolie helpfully announces your location and welcomes you from a shadowbox outside the restrooms.

And Helen Mirren? We don't know if or when she'll ever be knighted, but she was the Queen for two hours on a Wednesday night.

Edina Theater
50th and France, Minneapolis
(651) 649-4416

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