Zombies, Superheroes, and the Apocalypse
It's officially the start of summer, and nothing says summer like a gigantic screen, surround sound, a big bucket of popcorn, and an ice-cold soda. And whether you're interested in seeing zombies, superheroes, and the apocalypse duke it out at the box office, prefer the nostalgia of classic movies, or are looking for a thought-provoking documentary, you can satisfy your summer flick fix at the Criterion Cinema in downtown New Haven.
In a given week, you can count on the Criterion to be showing a combination of mainstream blockbusters, limited-release independent films, classics, and cult favorites. The purpose of my latest trip to the Criterion was to check out Man of Steel. As a former collector of Superman comics, I couldn't wait to see the latest big-screen adaptation.
My other options this particular weekend would have been Brad Pitt's zombie thriller, World War Z (in regular and 3D); Seth Rogen's apocalytic comedy, This Is the End; Sofia Coppola's modern satire, The Bling Ring; Joss Whedon's take on Much Ado About Nothing; Dirty Wars, a documentary about the United States' responses to terrorism; The East, a thriller about a former FBI agent who infiltrates an anarchist collective; Before Midnight, the sequel to Before Sunset and Before Sunrise; Stories We Tell, a documentary by actress Sarah Polley exploring a family secret; and the documentary Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm.
The Criterion is also known for its "Movies & Mimosas" and "Insomnia Theater" programs. "Movies & Mimosas," which runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11:30am, features a different classic film every week for a reduced price ($5 as compared to the $11 general admission). Films screened in June included Sean Connery's Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. July promises movies like Pollyanna, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Rebel Without a Cause. "Insomnia Theater" is the Criterion's homage to cult classics, screening $5 movies like Carnival of Souls, Clerks, Jaws, and The Big Lebowski at 11:30pm every Friday and Saturday night.
The Criterion, part of the Bow Tie Cinemas family, is a small theater -- no modern megaplex stadium here -- whose mission is "to return style and elegance to the movie-going experience" and evoke the nostalgia of years past.
True movie buffs might want to enroll (for free) in the Criterion Club, a loyalty rewards program that gives you discounts on tickets (including $6 movies on Tuesdays!) and lets you earn points that are redeemable for free and discounted concessions and tickets.
And the best part of the Criterion Theater? The array of seasonings (carmel, apple cinamon, nacho cheddar, cajun, parmesan and garlic, ranch) you can shake on your fresh, hot, real-butter-topped popcorn.
Now that's the way to kick off summer!