Movie dates are a tricky rite of passage for a fledgling couple. Who knows how many budding romances were derailed by the new blow-’em-up action movie, or a critic’s darling that was a dud on the big screen? But if the venue leaves something to be desired, even the most compatible film buffs will be left wanting while they woo. Here are some suggestions for Toronto cinemas for your next night at the movies:
Newly renovated and showing off a brand new scheduling mandate, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema appeals to fans of the documentary genre. In addition to hosting the popular annual Doc Soup film festival, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema offers regularly scheduled documentary film screenings, playing Canadian and international movies about a wide variety of subjects. They’ve screened serious exposes of war criminals, a behind-the-scenes look at the modeling industry, and fond retrospectives of undercelebrated shlock directors. Gala events, mini-festivals and a generous discount for members means the theatre offers a vibrant, accessible selection of programming. Staying true to their rep cinema roots, they also program cult classics on Sunday afternoons: look forward to screenings The Life Of Brian and The Big Lebowski among the more serious fare.
Ticket prices: $11.00 (regular admission) / $8.00 (discount card holder)
Hot date: Grab a falafel sandwich ($3.79) from Ghazale (504 Bloor Street West / 416.537.4417) right next door, and take in a documentary. Afterwards, show off your intellectual chops by discussing the movie, but make sure not to take yourself too seriously: temper your highbrow side with a round on the Christie Pits playground swing set. Cap the night off by sharing a pitcher of sangria ($15.95) at Pour Boy (666 Manning Avenue / 647.343.7969): they offer a summer patio and a second cozy bar upstairs.
The Yonge/Dundas AMC offers the “big theatre experience” with competitive pricing, especially on weekends before noon. If your date night rolls into the next morning, have a quiet morning out (or take the edge off a hangover) by soaking up the newest Hollywood blockbuster. (Word to the wise: avoid G-rated fare if you’re not a fan of kids talking at top volume through your feature presentation.) The theatre’s ambiance is minimal – the employees wear visors and the 1980s-era carpets are swirled with blue and maroon accents – but it’s comfortably corporate and relatively chilled-out for a multiplex: there aren’t a lot of big flashy arcade games or overwhelming snack counters. The seats are comfortable, the screens are big, and the price is right.
Ticket Prices: $6.00 (before noon on weekends and holidays) / $13.50 (regular admission)
Hot date: Kick-start your Saturday by taking loading up on sugary snacks and dried fruit at the Bulk Barn (2 Carlton Street /416.597.0330), then walking down for the matinee. After the movie, head to Kenzo (138 Dundas Street West / 416.205.1155) for a piping hot bowl of tasty and restorative ramen noodles ($9.95). Ingredients for a hangover cure? Giant screen, big sound, and a low-key lunch with your honey.
Located in an anonymous-looking downtown strip mall between Chinatown and Queen Street West, the Toronto Underground Cinema is a single-screen venue that offers much weirder fare than your standard picture-house. They host events (like the Underground Peepshow’s burlesque extravaganzas), and have monthly screenings of cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On the third Thursday of the month, Toronto horror fans come out for Cinemacabre, Rue Morgue magazine’s deliciously gory screening series. The website can be erratic, so check more reliable listings before planning your date.
Ticket Prices: $8.00 (single screening) / $14.00 (double feature) / $10.00 (Cinemacabre screening)
Hot Date: Share some poutine ($7.00) and salad ($9.00) at pop-up restaurant Come And Get It (170 Spadina Avenue / 647.344.3416), then head to the Underground for Cinemacabre. Most of the films are over-the-top gory bordering on hilarious, so even squeamish folks can enjoy getting their heart rates up. Remember, it’s a school night, so an early adieu isn’t bad. Lovebirds can always chat about the movie on their next night out.