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Film & DVD

Does a rash of theater closings in Tokyo spell doom for American cinema?

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But now ticket and concession prices are higher than they've ever been, and the blight of cell phones and talkers, dim screens, and, sadly, the new scourge of violence gives me pause … and bouts of nostalgia. I think of the theater where I went on my first date (for the landmark comedy gem City Slickers II – no wonder it didn't go anywhere). It still exists, though it's now a cookie-cutter Regal chain.

Sitting at home with Netflix or video on demand is convenient, but builds no memories and comes at the cost of atmosphere. On the other hand, most theaters lack anything close to atmosphere now, anyway. Thanks to digital movie cameras and, later, digital projection, there are no more scratches or cue dots, or the charm of reel changes. It's the whir I miss most of all, though; the sound of the print riding through the roller coaster of the projector, claw pulling down on sprockets, unspooling a new world to get lost in. But Netflix comes with a pause button, and that's a dangerous thing.

The upside is that our little, one-screen oasis in the desert, Enzian Theater, is in solid shape and "not in any danger of closing" according to executive director, Elizabeth Tiedtke. But that's likely all that can be hoped for right now in a greater metropolitan area that claims only 2.2 million people. The Landmarks and Drafthouses are likely not coming to Orlando, and the Regals and AMCs aren't about to expand their art-house selections, especially as smaller titles become increasingly available on VOD prior to theatrical release.

But Enzian has already made the jump to digital (while retaining their 35mm capability), and has hopes – though no plans as of right now – for a second screen down the road, something that would have Enzian's director of programming, Matthew Curtis, doing cartwheels, he says. And on that day, he'd have plenty of company.

Visit For Reels at orlandoweekly.com for a special companion blog.

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