My new academic routine threw me out of my longstanding habit of seeing a movie every Tuesday night after work — always at the theater; it’s not the same on my couch with microwave popcorn. I often go alone because my wife works late Tuesday nights and anyway, since when does sitting quietly in the dark for two hours qualify as a social event?
Locally, New Haven’s Criterion Cinemas offers the best choice of interesting movies, as it has since York Square Cinema closed in July 2005. My (still) good friend Sherry Vail took me to the York for the first time when I was 16 to see Sid & Nancy, which remains among my all-time favorite movies (and Gary Oldman’s best role ever). The York became part of our routine, and afterwards we’d jam with street musician “Birdman” Clifford Byrd or eat beans and rice at Popeye’s.
The Criterion is part of the corporate Bow Tie arthouse chain, which also has a presence in Hartford and other Connecticut cities. Criterion is nice and new and clean but lacks the York’s folksy charm and central location. Like the York, it has real butter for the popcorn.
I regret that during my moviehouse hiatus I missed Casino Royale. I’m a James Bond fan and have read several of Ian Fleming‘s original books, but the recent offerings from Hollywood have been disappointments — in fairness, Sean Connery is a hard act to follow. The critics and several of my friends liked Casino, though, so I hope I can catch it in a second-run theater before it’s relegated to DVD.
But, dear reader, for my last Tuesday-night outing before classes resume, I think my choice will be another promising movie that takes place in Spain: Volver, by the wonderful Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Dr. H. liked this one, among others.