Big Budget Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Great Quality

Big Budget Doesnt Necessarily Mean Great Quality

Michael Hogan

We live in a time when the budget for most Hollywood movies is more than the combined wealth of some cities. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent to make the sinking of the Titanic or the storming of the beaches at Normandy look realistic, but much of these movies lack true heart or emotion.

In today’s cinematic world money seems to be more of an issue than quality. It is a business and businesses must make as much money as possible-this is their objective. This drive for cash takes away from the artistic value of films, making them more an industry than an art. This is why independent films and documentaries are such a vital part to the art of filmmaking. The emotions such films conjure rests on the strength of the story, the development of characters, or the skill of the director.

But where does one find these kinds of films in Boston? Where, in a city known for its culture, does one go to watch an obscure art-house film? The Boston area is home to three of the best art-house theaters one can find anywhere, Cambridge’s Kendall Square Cinema, Brattle Theater and Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theater.

Let’s start south of the river in Brookline. In 1933 a Universalist Church was converted into an art deco movie house that is now the Coolidge Corner Theater. Until 1977 the Coolidge Corner Theater showed first run films, then shifted to art house and foreign films. Now the Coolidge Corner Theater houses four screens and shows art house, second run films, and classic movies. The Coolidge, located at 290 Harvard St in Brookline, also features midnight showings of cult films and a series of films known as Science on Screen, a film followed by a discussion of the sciences it explores.

North of the Charles there are two independent art house theaters, Kendall Square’s namesake cinema and Harvard Square’s Brattle Theater. Kendall Square Cinema is a ten minute walk form the redline stop at Kendall, located at one Kendall Square. The Kendall Square Cinema opened in 1995 and has become one of the leading art house theaters in the country, showing independent films, foreign films, restored classics, and documentaries. The winner of The Boston Phoenix Best of Boston award for Best First Run Movie House in 2003 and 2004 (as well as Best Concession Stand in 2001), the Kendall has become the premier place in the Boston area for lesser known films. In Harvard Square, located at 40 Brattle Street in Cambridge, is Brattle Theater, which first opened in 1890 as Brattle Hall, a public meetinghouse. In 1953 it became a movie house and has been that way ever since. Brattle, like its fellow art house theaters shows foreign, independent, and documentary films. What sets it apart from the others is a repertory programming format that features work of the same genre, subject, or director in the same week.

So, there are options outside of the big budget theater-smaller, more intimate places where you can go and take in a little culture. There is no reason to be afraid of subtitles– they don’t bite. Believe me, I know. So, next time you are planning on heading out to catch a flick, why not make it a night at the art house?