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Best of Chicago 2008: Movies

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Best Commercial Theater

Reader's Choice: Davis Theater

By any objective standard, you'd have to choose AMC's River East 21, which has good projection and typically offers at least a dozen current releases. But of that dozen, eight will be garbage, and the other four will also be screening at the Davis, just south of Lincoln Square. Back in 2000 the theater became a cause celebre when a developer tried to buy the building and turn it into condos. Neighbors banded together, bought the place themselves, and took over the management. The four screening rooms are passable, with some of the screens at slight angles, the result of the theater having been carved into four separate spaces in the 80s. But whoever's booking the place has good taste, and you can feel the love when you walk in the door—love for the movies and love for the neighborhood. If that isn't the best of Chicago, I don't know what is. a 4614 N. Lincoln, 773-784-0893,, $8 adults, $5.50 before 6 PM. —J.R. Jones

Readers' Choice: Landmark's Century Centre

a 2828 N. Clark, 773-509-4949,'sCenturyCentreCinema.htm.

Best Art House

Reader's Choice: Music Box

Landmark's Century Centre grabs most of the good titles, and the Gene Siskel Film Center has the most adventurous programming. But the Music Box, opened for business in 1929 and an art-house since 1983, has the most welcoming vibe of any movie house in Chicago. It's also the best preserved golden-age movie palace that still screens movies every day, with a main theater that still seats 750 and still has its own organ. The weekend matinee series gives people the chance to experience classical Hollywood cinema in 35-millimeter, the midnight matinees are a weird stew of outsider cinema and vintage schlock, and the management is always game for offbeat special events: the horror and sci-fi marathons, the Sound Opinions rock movie series, the sing-along screenings of classic musicals. The day the Music Box closes, I'm outta here. a 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604, —J.R. Jones

Readers' Choice: Music Box

Best Concession Stand

Reader's Choice: CineArts 6

I'm a firm believer that the best concession stands are the ones that serve alcohol. There aren't many of those in the Chicago area, but the best has to be at the CineArts 6 in Evanston: Not only does it offer ice cream, bulk candy, and coffee alongside the more typical popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, and pizza, but it has its own piano lounge, the Rhythm Room, with a short menu and a full bar. a 1715 Maple, Evanston, 847-491-9751. —J.R. Jones

Readers' Choice: Music Box

Best Video Selection

Reader's Choice: Facets Multimedia

No contest here—the videotheque at Facets has the most formidable rental catalog of world cinema in the nation. Founded in the mid-70s, Facets has been in the rental business since 1983, so in addition to any DVD you can likely think of, it has plenty of long-out-of-print VHS titles as well. Of course renting a video is often an impulse move, and if you don't live within walking distance of Facets, there are a few neighborhood places worth checking out: Odd Obsession at 1822 N. Milwaukee, North Coast Video at 2014 W. Division, and Dark Star at 4355 N. Lincoln. a 1517 W. Fullerton, 773-281-9075, —J.R. Jones

Readers' Choice: Facets Multimedia


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