Aaron Mettey’s Best of Philly Arts and Entertainment

Plus: A brief review of the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of the release of our annual Best of Philly issue (on newsstands now), we’ve asked Philly Post contributors to name their own personal Bests and Worsts of Philly.

Best Reason Why Center City needs a new Movie Theater: The Roxy
I appreciate that someone is willing to run a Center City movie theater west of 4th Street (one that doesn’t play porn, that is). But the Roxy depresses me. Yes, there is charm to be had in ticket sales being recorded in a spiral notebook. But dirt on the floors, super-uncomfortable chairs, and tiny screens with exit-signs in the corner should not be our only Center City option to see Harry Potter. We shouldn’t have to settle, or suffer at Riverview or the Rave UCity (Philly Mag’s 2011 Worst Movie Theater), or have to drive to Jersey! Center City needs a new, first-rate movie house.

Best Online Resource for Philly Geeks: Geekadelphia.com
The go-to source for national and local information on video games, movies, comic books, art, TV, gadgets, etc. Check out their recent addition, Geek of the Week, where a local is highlighted each week for their contribution to Geekdom.

Best Film Festival: Philadelphia Film Festival

Last year’s festival included the Oscar-nominated Black Swan, 127 Hours, and Blue Valentine and special appearances by Daren Aronofsky and M. Night Shyamalan. This is the Philly festival for those interested in seeing Oscar contenders long before their release date. (October 20–November 3, 2011)

Best Reasons to look forward to Philly’s 2011-2012 Theater Season: Philadelphia Theatre Company’s The Scottsboro Boys, Walnut Street’s God of Carnage, Wilma’s Angels in America, and Arden’s August: Osage County
Collectively, these ferocious, critically acclaimed works earned more than 30 Tony nominations, multiple Tony awards, and two Pulitzer Prizes. Their productions will further strengthen the theaters’ and Philly’s world-class pedigree.

Best Movie Theaters: Bryn Mawr Film Institute and the Colonial Theatre
Of course, it’s pleasant to sit in commodious, rocking chairs—with cup holders large enough to hold your trough-size Diet Coke—while watching Cowboys and Aliens. But the times you want to get away, enjoy movie going as it used to be, or simply see a classic, both theaters are perfect. In the Colonial, you get a fantastic old theater perfect for seeing a Hitchcock series. The Bryn Mawr brings you opportunities to see Broadway shows filmed live (like The Importance of Being Earnest). These are theaters for true movie lovers.

Best Book Store: Head House Books
For me, there is nothing more satisfying than losing track of time in a local bookstore: Where shelves are many, space is scarce, and the bookseller is convivial. This is why Head House Books excels. Not only is it a charming, comfy setting, but you also feel like your new favorite book is just a suggestions table away. Also, unlike the floundering megastores—where the t-shirted staff can’t answer your question without looking everything up—the staff at Head House is knowledgeable, excited, and helpful.

Best Summer Film Series: filmadelphiaCLASSICS
It began with Philadelphia at City Hall and will end with Rocky at Asylum Arena on September 14 (7:30 p.m.). This fantastic and unique Filmadelphia summer series screens Philly-centric movies in their filming locations, like 12 Monkeys at Eastern State Penitentiary. Up next: The Sixth Sense in Rittenhouse Park and (August 13, 8 p.m.).

Best Movie to see this weekend: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Perhaps it was the subject matter (viruses, labs, monkeys, yawn), or the title’s too many prepositional phrases. Whatever the reason, I had very low expectations for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Sure, a part of me—the Charlton Heston-version-loving, nerd part—hoped for the best. But, the rational part of me thought I would be let down. How pleasantly surprised I was by this heart-felt origin story. The story and the acting are great. But, it is Andy Serkis’ extraordinary motion-captured performance that is truly astonishing. With scant dialogue (or a corporeal body), Serkis, director Ruper Wyatt, and the effects team make you deeply care for this cinematic creation. My Grade: B+

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