New England offers unique ways to enjoy films new and old

By Moira McCarthy
Boston Herald
January 14, 2016

Two customers purchase snacks at the concession stand of the Plimoth Plantation Theater, located in the museum's visitor center. /photo courtesy Plimoth Plantation
Two customers purchase snacks at the concession stand of the Plimoth Plantation Theater, located in the museum’s visitor center. /photo courtesy Plimoth Plantation

It’s that glorious time of year for film lovers. The Academy Award nominations are out today, and the rush will be on to see all the con­tenders before the Oscar broadcast on Feb. 28. Of course, new movies are also hitting theaters, and classic film buffs can always find a screen. It’s the perfect time to see a movie, or three or four. Here are some great ways to learn more about and see films new, upcoming and classic here in New England. Consider these twists on your “average movie run” to make this peak film season all the more special.

Hang out with the authors: “The Finest Hours” doesn’t hit theaters until Jan. 29, but the buzz about it is fierce. That the based-on-a-true-story film has New England roots makes it cool in itself. But check this out: The Chatham Bars Inn is planning an exclusive movie-­opening party and cele­bratory travel package, introducing guests to the authors of the novel that inspired the film, all in remembrance of the historical event that took place off the coast of New England in 1952. Artifacts from the rescue mission will be on display at the resort in January and February, provided by the Coast Guard Heritage Museum and the Orleans Historical Society.

The Chatham Bars Inn’s The Finest Hours Package offers a weekend of festivities Jan. 29-31. The package includes a two-night stay, daily breakfast, a welcome cocktail reception with the authors of “The Finest Hours” novel, Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, and a screening of “The Finest Hours” at the Chatham Orpheum Theater followed by a Q&A with the authors. It’s like Hollywood comes to you, right up against the sea the movie is set in. (More details at

Catch an Oscar contender the old-school way: In the early 1850s a group of Hingham ladies banded together and, via fundraisers, built a hall for the town’s entertainment and meeting needs. That hall still stands in downtown Hingham today, where since 1936, it has been a local favorite for seeing a new movie. Loring Hall Theatre plays one film at a time, but stays up to date on new releases. And while it boasts all the modern needs in sound and picture, it has not lost its historic appeal. Get there early and snag a spot in the balcony. Afterward, grab a bite at nearby Stars for simple but great food. For more pop culture, head up the road to Wahlburgers. (Loring Hall Theatre, 65 Main St, Hingham; 781-749-1307)

Premiere experience: Coolidge Corner Theatre, one of the few nonprofit movie theaters in Greater Boston, has historic charm and the stories to go with it. Built as a church in 1906, it has been a movie theater since 1933, never missing a day of showings since. The Coolidge has plenty of screens and always has the newest and best films showing. But it also throws in some classics to sweeten the pot. On any given week, you might find flicks such as “Blazing Saddles” (so much better on the big screen). It has a bit of celebrity appeal, too. Recently, the stars of “Black Mass” and “Spotlight” all walked the red carpet for premieres there. Afterward, grab a bite across the street at Zaftigs. (Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline; 617-734-2501)

Beat the crowds and the traffic for a nominee film: Because you can see one at Plimoth Plantation. That’s right, one of the nation’s most beloved living history museums transforms into a cozy, easily accessible and lovely movie house at night, all year-round, seven days a week. The theater, inside the museum’s visitor center, also hosts special events, classic films and art films on a regular basis. Just off Exit 4 in Plymouth, it’s a chance to see a top film (“Spotlight” is playing there now) in a unique location. Afterward, nosh at Rye Tavern, just down the road and set in a quaint and classic New England farmhouse. (Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Ave, Plymouth; 508-746-1622;

Catch a classic: The Brattle Theatre’s goal is to celebrate film, and what you’ll find showing there on any given day harks back to films that truly matter — ones that often have an impact on those vying for Oscars today. No matter which classic film you are able to see there, the setting is beautiful. Classic architecture in the heart of Cambridge makes it worth a visit in itself. Oh, and you can rent the entire place out for your own movie party. Now that’s a film escape. Go to for film times and more. (Brattle Theatre, ­ 40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-876-6837)

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