It’s been quite a journey for the Senator Theatre, one of my favorite (and few remaining) old-style movie houses left in the Baltimore area. First, it kind of ran out of money; then, its previous owner really didn’t want to relinquish control; then, it was unclear who would take possession — and even if they’d keep showing films in the theater. But we can file all that aside in our “past drama” folders; the Senator is open once more after a year-and-a-half of renovations. And I couldn’t be happier.
I realize that beginning any phrase with, “I remember when X cost Y…” immediately renders one old and crotchety. I’m going to go ahead and embrace that I may be old and crotchety then, because something that shocks me time and time again are the absurdly high prices of movie theater tickets. It should not cost me upwards of $12 to see a movie that only receives a smushed pile of green on Rotten Tomatoes. I didn’t ask for stadium seating, so please don’t make pay more for it.
The Charles Theater has always held a special place in my heart. Their Revival Series, like that time they showed some Hitchcock, alone makes me want to adorn them with accolades. Tonight, however, they’re doing something a little different. In conjunction with City Paper, all movies at the Charles are free after 6:00p. City Paper is footing the bill for the first 800 people who show up at the theater after 6:00p, to see whichever movie they choose that is being screened that evening. Not a bad way to spend a chilly Tuesday in January.
It’s not December quite yet, so you have every right to continue any cynicism, anger or bitterness you may have been holding onto all year for another few days. Get it out of your system now, though, before you’re accused of being the Grinch or find out you’ve been placed on the Naughty List. I, personally, hung up my stockings and decorated my tree while watching Dexter, in hopes of counteracting my preemptive holiday spirit.
Tonight you can get in a solid dose of suspense, malice and murder before transitioning over into Holiday Cheer 24/7 by going to see Hitchock’s Strangers on a Train at the Charles Theatre at 9:00pm. It’s hard to find a true suspense film these days, and seeing one in theaters is a huge feat and minor miracle. Strangers on a Train, while one of Hitchcock’s lesser-known films, seamlessly weaves together an otherwise absurd plot in the way that no other filmmaker has been able to successfully emulate. The man is a master and seeing his films on the big screen is a unique and rare experience.
Whatever your opinion of the statements and actions of Tom Kiefaber since he lost possession of the Senator Theatre in 2009, he’s certainly not going gentle into that goodnight. Kiefaber’s public Facebook page pulls no punches discussing his feelings at having lost the theater — a frequent topic — waxing poetic (and vitriolic) about the devastation that was brought to his wallet, his family, and his life’s work. And he’s not afraid to name names, repeatedly.