I left my heart in the 400 Theater, and my gum under the seat | Bleader

Friday, June 26, 2009

I left my heart in the 400 Theater, and my gum under the seat

Posted By on 06.26.09 at 12:40 PM

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When I was 22 years old a friend and I moved into a second-floor apartment at the northwest corner of Pratt and Sheridan in Rogers Park. For a yahoo just out of college, it was the perfect place to live. We'd sit on our balcony drinking beer and watching girls walk by, and we'd invite them up to join us (they never did). Or we'd take our cheap guitars, walk a couple blocks east to the beach, drink beer, jam, and hope the cops wouldn't bust us (they never did).

But for me, the best part about living there was the movie theater across the street—the 400—which played second-run features and cost only a couple bucks. The place didn't serve beer, but it didn't need to, because I could hang around at my place until 9:29 and be in my seat watching the opening credits at 9:30. I must have gone to the 400 at least once a week; when the theater ran Pee Wee's Big Adventure, my roommate and I saw it three or four times.

I'm more than twice as old now, and the 400 has been around the block a few times too: it became the Village North Theater for a while, then shut down. Tonight, following a $4 million renovation by developer Tony Fox, it reopens as the New 400 Theater. Screening this week are Up, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and, uh, The Hangover.

Also this week, Facets Cinematheque presents a week-long engagement of Big Man Japan (2007), a hilarious take on the atomic-monster movie. We have new reviews of Cheri, an adapation of Colette starring Michelle Pfeiffer and directed by Stephen Frears; In a Dream, a documentary profile of Philadelphia mosaicist Isaiah Zagar by his son, Jeremiah; My Sister's Keeper, the new weepie from screenwriter Jeremy Leven and director Nick Cassavetes, who last collaborated on The Notebook; The Stoning of Soraya N., a timely drama about the killing of an Iranian woman by her god-fearing neighbors; Whatever Works, the latest from Woody Allen; A Wink and a Smile, which looks at the neo-burlesque scene in Seattle; and Year One, a comedy with Jack Black and Michael Cera from Chicago's own Harold Ramis.

This week Doc Films presents John Carpenter's first feature, Dark Star (1974), screening Thursday, and Alfred Hitchcock's last, Family Plot (1973), screening tonight. But your best bet this week is Film Center's Saturday double feature of two extraordinary romances by Max Ophuls: The Earrings of Madame de... (1953), screening at 3 PM, and Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), screening directly afterward at 5 PM. The first movie repeats on Thursday at 6 PM, the second on Tuesday at 6 PM.

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