Movie Theaters Revealed: From Movie Shacks to Palaces

Movie magic on-screen is supposed to be what makes movies special, but the movie theater itself plays a crucial role in the enjoyment of the movie-going experience. There are many theaters in the area, but not all of them are picture perfect. The Talon examines five local theaters to distinguish between the stars and the duds (not the candy).

Century Shoreline 16
Located only a few minutes away in Mountain View, Shoreline is the most popular theater for students because of its location, but even though it is the most accessible, it is not the best choice.

The facilities at Shoreline are old, worn out and drab. The seats, aside from not being arranged in stadium seating, are old and uncomfortable. Seats in the fronts are so close to the screen that they do not provide a good view. Every other row has reclining seats, though many do not recline anymore.

The box office may be ancient, but it still fulfills its purpose, though the employees working are usually unable to keep lines moving quickly on busy weekends. The employees are the least knowledgeable out of all the theaters in the area in terms of movie summaries and reviews.

Shoreline theater shows all the blockbusters and bigger movies, but is has one of the strictest R-rated policies as they even check identification for tickets purchased online.

Shoreline maybe the easiest theater to get to, but those looking for a good movie experience should not settle for Shoreline. The theater is old, outdated and the other theaters have more to offer.

CinéArts (Palo Alto Square)
The the thought of indie films usually conjure thoughts of grungy movie theaters with lazy employees, but CinéArts shatters that stereotypes. CinéArts is one of the classiest theaters in the area boasting a café in addition to regular movie concessions.

Though it is owned by Cinemark, the same company which owns the Shoreline theaters, CinéArts is like a whole new world.

The cineplex was opened only five years ago, and the facilities reflect that. It has very comfortable seats in the stadium seating arrangement. The seats are all clean without any small tears or rips. They are also more comfortable than other seats because the foam isn’t worn out.

All the employees are friendly and knowledgeable about the films that are shown. The major drawback is that there is only one box office station and during the evenings the lines tend to get long, but the movies are usually spaced out so that it doesn’t become too much of a problem.

CinéArts is the nicest theater in the area, but since it mostly only shows indie films, it isn’t someplace to go every weekend.

AMC Cupertino
Located 10 minutes away from the ghost town once known as Valco Mall, AMC Cupertino Squares 16 is definitely the new place to see movies. Not only does it show all the blockbusters, but it also features 3-D projection capabilities.

Opened this past summer, Cupertino’s facilities are in perfect condition. The seats are arranged in stadium seating, so every seat is a good seat. The red velvet seats are a nice touch, but there are some visible stains already. However the few stains don’t take much away from the rest of the experience. Plus there is no gum in the cupholders.

Cupertino is overall the best theater in the area because of its facilities, good service, movie selection and 3-D and digital capabilities.

AMC Mercado 20
When it comes to choosing a movie theater, popcorn plays an important role, but not the one people may think. With the vast selection of movie theaters in the area, cleanliness should come first. After all, popcorn should come in the bag, not on the seats. Unfortunately, AMC Mercado 20 didn’t get that memo; trashcans around the theater are always overflowing and the many employees standing around don’t seem to notices.

Aside from the cleanliness, Mercado is the top theater in the area. Mercado receives all the blockbusters as well as some indie through AMC’s “Select” program. With 20 screens, it is the largest multiplex in the area and caters to at least 15,000 guests each weekend.

Mercado has stadium seating in all theaters, though the seats are sometimes raggedy and old and the occasional rip or tear in the fabric is not uncommon. There are also stains from spilled drinks and gum is almost always found under the cup holders. Aside from the seats, the rest of the facilities are maintained well. The employees are usually helpful, but often are not as informed about the movies as compared to the employees at CinéArts.

Mercado features an Automated Box Office like all other AMCs, but it has just received new machines that will make purchasing tickets on the automated machines a less tedious process.

Apart from cleanliness, Mercado has all the staples of a good theater and will please many moviegoers.