The Franklin Institute’s new 275-seat 3-D-and-Blu-ray-capable theater is, for better and worse, unlike any movie house in the Delaware Valley. With Thornton Oakley paintings of science titans like Newton still lining the walls, this converted lecture hall has some personality, but still feels like you’d better have a number two pencil ready when the show’s over. The visuals are first-rate (technology’s come a long way since Jaws 3-D), and the surround sound pumps at arena-rock volume. But basic comfort is compromised by a lack of legroom, narrow chairs, and side aisles just three seats wide. And sorry, popcorn addicts: no food allowed. The city’s cinema scene could use an alternative to the Ritz and the Roxy, especially for repertory film. If it were a little less sterile and a little more cushy, the Franklin could have been it. C+
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