The best movie theaters in Los Angeles

illustration of hollywood skyline

Soho House West Hollywood member and The Florida Project director Sean Baker shares his favourite cinemas in Los Angeles

‘I truly believe that the best way to see a film is on the big screen,’ says director Sean Baker, ‘and we’re blessed to have some of the greatest venues right here in Los Angeles.’ Best known for his 2017 film, The Florida Project, and 2015’s Tangerine, which was shot in Los Angeles using an iPhone 5s smartphone, here Baker shares his favourite spots beyond the Soho House screening room to catch a film around town.

Aero Theater
1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica;
‘Operated by American Cinematheque, this Santa Monica theatre is where you will find old and new Hollywood classics, and if you’re lucky, a personal appearance or two. Airplane! was on there recently and the Zucker brothers were there for a Q&A. It also shows many titles on film, rather than digital.’

Arclight Hollywood
6360 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood;
‘You can find both mainstream and indie titles at this centrally located theatre on Sunset and Vine. Plus, the quality of the picture and sound is top-notch – arguably the best in the city.’

TCL Chinese Theater
6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood;
‘How could I leave this one out? It is beautiful inside and out. It has cement hand and footprints of the people who made Hollywood famous; architecture that reflects the imagination and creative whimsy of the movie business; and a beautifully restored theatre. Not only is this venue historically significant and a cultural landmark, it’s also my favourite place to go for 3D films.’
outside tcl chinese theatre in la
outside aero cinema with sign of films playing
Vineland Drive-In
443 Vineland Avenue, City of Industry;
‘This is technically 30 minutes out of Los Angeles in the City of Industry, but it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s a drive-in. It’s 2018, and we can still go to a drive-in. I think it’s the best thing ever.’

Downtown Independent
251 South Main Street, Little Tokyo
‘For those living downtown, this theatre in the Little Tokyo neighbourhood offers unique programming. It shows festival films, cult films, recorded theatre and musical events, experimental films and more – it’s currently got some of the most eclectic programming in the city.’
outside a cinema with sign of films playing
Laemmle’s Theatres
Various locations;
‘There are Laemmle’s theatres all over Los Angeles from the West Side to the East Side. I love all of them, as they present hard-to-find independent and foreign films that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.’

New Beverly Theater
7165 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood;
‘Quentin Tarantino owns and programmes this revival theatre, which is housed in a building dating back to the 1920s (it’s currently under renovation, but it reopens at the end of the year). Expect everything from spaghetti westerns to John Hughes classics, and all films are presented in 35mm (not digitally like most theatres nowadays). I love the flicker of real film projection.’ 

Illustration by Miranda Sonfroniou

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