Cinema Paradiso

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Business/Location: Prytania Theatre
Address: 5339 Prytania St
City: New Orleans
State: LA
Zip Code: 70115
Phone: 504-891-2787

Posted by:  Kyle Petrozza
Photo:  Kyle Petrozza
   Prytania Theatre
The Prytania is your quintessential neighborhood nickelodeon. It lacks the seediness of a back alley screening of Seventh Seal and is worlds away from anything resembling a "plex.." Prime time slots are filled with the latest family friendly, mind numbing blockbusters. It's in those off hours though, when the tykes are off at school or dreaming of Hannah Montana, that the theatre hikes up its skirt to show off its roots. The midnite hour brings the twenty-and-thirty-somethings into full nostalgia with cult classics (Labyrinth, Breakfast Club, Gremlins [f'ing Gremlins!], Scarface, etc...) while the starving artists, retirees, and Tulane kids can catch the likes of Hitchcock, Brando, and Mankiewicz on the big screen at noon. Throw in an encyclopedic owner with a true love of theatres and all things friendly, an updated projection and sound system, cheap eats, and a recession friendly admission price and Le Bon Temps has a run for its rainy day money.

Here's what others have said about this Radar:

Average rating: 3   (5=Excellent, 1=Really Awful)

Submitted on: 7/31/2010 2:52:23 AM      
By: jack walsh
Comment: Sure this single-screen neighborhood theatre has it's charms but those classic films that are mentioned are DVD's and Blu-Rays! A practice that is completely and utterly disgusting for cinema goers! Seriously! Would you want to pay $10 to watch a poor quality DVD projected on a movie screen? That is the kind of crap this theatre is trying to hoodwink it's patrons with.

Submitted on: 7/31/2010 3:00:17 PM      
By: Robert Brunet
Comment: This is a response to Jack Walsh's comment. I operate the Prytania Theatre. Yes we do show our classics on blu ray or dvd. Why? because we have the best digital cinema projector made- the Sony 4K digital projector, which has approximately 8.8 million pixels, which is more than four times the pixels of the best HDTV specifications. Unfortunately, if the quality of the classic movie DVD is inferior, then the picture quality is inferior. So why do we not show the movies on 35mm film? Good question, because the majority of the classic films we show either- no film print exist or their are only a few inferior quality prints left. A few classic movies have made newer prints, but those same films have a Blu Ray out and the bluray is a superior quality. The bottom line is that we COULD NOT show the classics if we did not use the DVD or Bluray and for the most part, the quality is better than film (I'm sure Mr. Walsh will disagree). So its DVD and Bluray or nothing at all. No Hoodwinking here. Oh, and by the way the admission for the Classic Series is $5.50, not $10.00. Mr Walsh- have you been to the prytania?? I would like to invite you (no charge) to come watch a classic movie so you can see that the quality is there. We have Casablanca, To Catch a Thief, and Some Like it Hot over the next three weeks. Please come. Thanks, Robert Brunet

Submitted on: 7/31/2010 3:22:19 PM      
By: jack walsh
Comment: The question is not the projection system, it is about the film source. DVDs are heavily compressed and when projected onto a large movie screen, considerably amplify those compression elements in the form of pixelation as well as washing out the colors and details. This is the same for Blu-Rays, although I will admit, those do look much nicer projected and, with lossless audio, sound better as well. But still, there is no substitution for a 35MM print, which still has a much greater quality than both home video mediums. And regarding the availability of prints for your classic and midnight movie selections; there are plenty of prints available out there for those films. I know, because I have seen many of those films screened - beautiful prints mind you - not only at theatres and museums around the country, but also at The Prytania! These have included The Godfather, The Graduate, Sunset Boulevard, Citizen Kane, Some Like it Hot, etc. etc. And with film preservation being a big concern for many filmmakers, studios, and film historians and archivists, there are more than enough prints out there to screen for customers for years to come. Try getting in touch with The American Genre Film Archive, The New Beverly Cinema, The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY., The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The LA County Museuem, The Library of Congress, or The Film Noir Foundation. All would be more than happy to rent prints out.

Submitted on: 8/2/2010 7:44:03 PM      
By: jack walsh
Comment: if by 'pissed' you mean 'show sub-standard' versions of films, and by 'cornflakes' you mean a sub-standard movie-viewing experience, then my answer would be The Prytania pissed in my cornflakes. As someone who has been going to the Prytania since the late 80's (back when it was part of the Landmark Theatre chain) I just find it reprehensible that DVD's and Blu-Rays are being screened rather than 35mm prints! Any movie fan worth their weight in salt should be up in arms about this. IT IS WRONG! I do not believe for one second that prints for such films cannot be found or screened except by that of home video means. That is absolutely false! Mr. Brunet used to screen 35mm prints at the State Palace Theatre as well as The Prytania not that long ago! Why can he not still do that? What it all boils down to is simple laziness on the part of the theatre management, Mr. Brunet's false understanding that a superior digital projection system magically makes everything look wonderful (it doesn't! It's like putting a magnifying glass up to a stain - it just makes the flaws all the more noticeable) and their banking on audiences letting that kind of crap slide. Well I, for one, am not going to sit back while a theatre that I have spent much time and money in over the years, tries to screen a DVD or Blu-Ray and fob that off as a genuine theatrical experience. As a true cinema fan, I am going to keep up my crusade against the use of home video in a movie theatre until things change!

Submitted on: 8/1/2010 1:10:15 AM      
By: amandawetz
Comment: I don't know who pissed in Jack's cornflakes, but I love The Prytania. I've never had a bad experience here. The staff is awesome, nice, with a great sense of humor. The movie selections, from popular to midnight movies, are great. The tickets and food are decently priced for a movie theater. They have a discount for college students and don't mind if you bring your own snacks (and other things...). The Prytania is a landmark and seems authentic, a real neighborhood place. I appreciate them, since there are no theaters in my nerighborhood besides this one (Canal Place can suck it). Very New Orleans, my favorite theater! If you don't live here, you don't get it! ;)

Submitted on: 8/27/2010 2:22:15 PM      
By: Bill Pratt
Comment: I agree with Jack's comments. Seeing a DVD or Blu-Ray projected in a movie theater is bad. The whole reason I go to the movies in the first place is to see a movie projected on film. If I wanted to watch a DVD or Blu-Ray disc I would stay at home and watch them on my widescreen tv.