There are bigger multiplexes around, but none has the same combination of traits as the Angelika Film Center Dallas. Its eight theaters consistently provide a home for independent films and documentaries, occasionally making room for a mainstream film, while the opposite is true for most other area theaters. It's located directly next to DART's Mockingbird Station, meaning you can rely on public transportation and still easily enjoy a night out on the town. Drinking wine or beer at a movie is no longer a unique concept, but the Angelika was one of the first in the area to offer the amenity. The biggest compliment you can give the Angelika is that if it were gone, the Dallas movie scene would suffer.
Built in 1947, the Inwood is one of the last surviving old-time movie theaters in Dallas. The Inwood marquee is a landmark in the neighborhood, and most of the theater's original murals have been restored to their original glory. The original 1,100-seat auditorium is long gone, but in its place are three smaller theaters with unique charms. The most notable one is the downstairs Screening Lounge Auditorium, which brings new definition to movie-going comfort with an array of couches, love seats and so-called LoveSacs — think bean bag chairs, but more plush. Although their movie selection has gotten increasingly mainstream, the Inwood still hosts midnight movies every Friday and Saturday, showing such cult films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room. And don't forget about the attached Inwood Lounge, where you can grab a pre- or post-show martini.
Mall movie theaters used to be bland and forgettable, a place for parents to drop off their sullen teenagers for a couple hours of entertainment. AMC NorthPark 15 shatters that stereotype. Occupying the highest level of NorthPark Center, the theater features a large lobby with murals of movie stars lining the walls and famous movie quotes scattered on the floor. There's also the recent addition of MacGuffins Bar and Lounge, where you can enjoy a drink in the lobby or grab one to imbibe during the movie. Like all AMC theaters in the area, it now features an IMAX theater and can show 3D films in multiple auditoriums, assuring moviegoers that they can keep up on all the latest trends from Hollywood. AMC NorthPark even makes room for an independent film or two, thereby throwing a bone to all the cinephiles out there.
The Texas Theatre has a long and storied history, starting with its opening in 1931. It is most famous — or infamous — for being the location where Lee Harvey Oswald was finally captured following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Due in part to its notoriety, the theater fell out of favor and into disrepair, but it was saved from the wrecking ball by a series of owners. Leased since 2010 by Aviation Cinemas, who completed a renovation of the property, the theater now shows a variety of films, from first-run independent movies to repertory flicks you'd normally have to rent from Netflix to see. The theater's set-up also allows it to host other events like concerts and parties.
Although AMC claims the most multiplexes in the area, Cinemark has a stranglehold on movie-going in the Plano/Allen area. It's a toss-up between Cinemark Legacy and Cinemark West Plano for supremacy in Collin County, but Legacy gets the slight nod. It features the latest and greatest innovations from Cinemark, including its patented XD auditorium, where everything from the screen to the seats is bigger and better. An in-lobby cafe gives you a few more dietary options than your usual popcorn and hot dogs, and it is the only theater on this list to still have an arcade — a bonus for all the beleaguered parents out there. It also hosts occasional special engagements like screenings of classic films, live presentations of Metropolitan Opera productions and other events you'd normally have to attend in person to enjoy.