Beyond the Megaplex: Boston’s Best Movie Theaters

October 19, 2010 1:37 PM


With ever-inflating ticket prices, pre-trailer advertisements, and popcorn that, by weight, seems to cost as much as caviar, movie megaplexes just don’t always cut it. If you’re tired of seeing the exact same movies playing at every theater for months on end, these local alternative cinematic venues will make your next evening of dinner and a movie less expensive and more unique.
mit lecture series Beyond the Megaplex: Bostons Best Movie Theaters


MIT Lecture Series Committee

MIT Room 26-100
Cambridge, MA  

The deceptively named Lecture Series Committee has been bringing movies to the MIT community since 1950, and, fortunately for us, they open them up to the public too. You might feel you’re in freshman physics as you take your seat in the massive lecture hall that does double duty as a movie theater four nights a week, but look forward to $4 admission, cheap refreshments, a colossal screen, and an eclectic line up of second run and classic films. Listen for the “in stereo” cheer during the previews (a tradition even though they do have surround sound) and enjoy free family-friendly screenings throughout the summer.

harvard film archive Beyond the Megaplex: Bostons Best Movie Theaters


Harvard Film Archive

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138  

The Harvard Film Archive boasts repertory series that can make even the most literate cinephiles feel ignorant. Exhaustively complete film series of everything from the work of Hollywood auteurs to imported arcana, make the HFA a running course in film studies where you can drop in as you like. Check their website or pick up one of their informative programs for listings, including special “in-person” events with directors and screenings of silent films with live musical accompaniment.

collidge corner theater people Beyond the Megaplex: Bostons Best Movie Theaters


The Coolidge Corner Theatre

290 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446  

Nostalgia-inducing Art Deco architecture and fresh programming of first run features, limited release independents, and enough special programs to fill up your calendar make the Coolidge one of Boston’s greatest testaments to the silver screen. Their Science on Screen series pairs films of scientific content with lectures by local experts. For the Box Office Babies series they put on afternoon infant-and-mother-friendly screenings. They also partner with Goethe-Institut Boston to present recent German films for Goethe German Films. Their membership program is one of the most worthwhile in town and includes free admission to certain screenings and events, as well as regular discounts.

brattle theater Beyond the Megaplex: Bostons Best Movie Theaters


The Brattle Theatre

40 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138  

With Casablanca just downstairs, the Brattle is perfect for dinner and a movie. Dynamic programming brings everything from classic films noir, to local premieres and cult television shows to their screen. Just go ahead and try to find real butter for your popcorn and double features anywhere else. Their Elements of Cinema series presents arthouse essentials in monthly Saturday morning screenings free of charge.

Bryce Lambert blogs on the Boston arts scene at, offering the occasional review and bit of commentary on local shows, concerts, and art exhibitions.