143 East Houston Street, New York, NY | Directions 1000240.723048 -73.989948
Neighborhoods: Lower East Side, Downtown, Bowery
Technically part of a chain, I still consider this an independent film house, because it shows indie films (as well as quirky mainstream movies). The Yonah Schimmel Knishery is right down the street, making it easy to stop off for a pre-movie knish!
Landmark Sunshine Hits Bottom – Landmark Sunshine started off with a bang as a model of how to service the film-going community in NYC -- esp. Downtown NYC. It gathered a great fan base of devoted regulars. Then things slowly began to fall apart. Initially, the staff was incredibly enthusiastic and knew what was going on. Then the number of staff was cut. Then the quality slipped (at least due to paying lower salary or shift rates, if not more). During the downward decline, the online ordering machines began to break-down. Now, at least one is constantly broken, so that if you order online, it is a nightmare to actually get your tickets and get into the theater. Often, the entire system is broken, so the idea of quality of service is no longer anywhere in the mind of the management (national or at the theater). If you do go, prepare to stand in the line to pick up your online order. Do not think of online ordering as a service they offer or as a convenience. The lack in service will change each time and keep you guessing, but know that they are always finding some way to create an inconvenience.
Whereas there was originally staff on each of the three floors where the auditoriums are, there is now only one ticket taker on the main floor, usually with one of the other staff members hanging there in conversation with him/her. With this cut back, it means that before the end of each screening, lines form in the holding area on each floor right outside the auditorium with absolutely no one to manage them. Now, as the climactic moments of whatever film you have been investing in (both with emotion, intellect and dollar$) for 1 hour and 50 minutes, begins to reach its peak, your experience is completely undermined by the uncontrolled, swelling crowd noises -- loud chatter, laughter, etc. -- that keeps building on top of itself. The staff standing on the main floor in the open stairway would hear the chaos if attentive, but aren't really interested in the customer's experience. Right now, most of the management's marketing efforts are going into expanding the concession fare to make sure there's something for everyone to overpay for at the beginning of the film because by the end, you'll be sorry you wasted $25 and an entire night by supporting this outfit.
Also, don't settle in right away. When the film doesn't start on time, don't even wait. Get to the teen in charge of the projectors as soon as possible. (See if he's the one on the main floor hanging with the ticket taker.)
Here's the drill: Landmark will open another theater that will get great reviews for "knowing how to deliver the right film-going experience." Enjoy it for the first year or so. Once the reviews are in and into the ads and marketing materials, get ready for the decline and then DO NOT expect things to reverse themselves. Realize they've peaked, then find yourself a real movie house to support.
Great movie selection, convenient to the F train – This is a great and comfortable old theater, near the F train Second Avenue stop. It tends to have very good, more sophisticated than most movies.
My Favorite Theater in the City – This theater is fantastic, never had a bad experience. This theater's seating is the best I've ever seen with absolutely no way a person's big fat head could block even an inch of your screen...I hate this about Angelika, all you short folks understand I'm sure. The consessions feature a variety of seasoning for popcorn and lots of sweets. Go see a film here!
An historic building reborn as a cushy art-house theater with the amenities of a multiplex. – The Scene
This latest addition to the Manhattan art-house scene has a history as eclectic as its location. Built in the late 1800s, the building first entertained Lower East Siders as a Yiddish vaudeville house. Closed for 50 years, it reopened as a movie theater in 2001, complete with stadium seating in three of its five theaters, supercomfy chairs, a Japanese rock garden and an official poster designed by "Ghost World" comic-book artist Daniel Clowes.
The Sunshine's programming is the usual art-house fare, though more mainstream films have snuck into the schedule. No worries: It's still a great moviegoing experience compared to the uncomfortable seats and poor sight lines of many small theaters. Local bakery Sticky Fingers adds some gooey temptation to the concession stand, which also features an espresso bar--and where else can you get Apples and Cinnamon topping on your popcorn?
indifferent to customers' time – Last night's 7pm start time for "Napoleon Dynamite" came and went. As did 7:30 ... no trailers or ads, just a dark screen and projection booth. A few people straggled out and back in with reports of "They're fixing it." Not a word to the audience from any employee.
When I descended the stairs to politely question the ticket-taker, he gave me a harried non-explanation ending with "Just don't give me an earful, that's all I ask." Along with a couple other self-respecting folks, I stalked out and got my money back.
A friend says that the Sunshine once turned off the movie during the end credits of "24 Hour Party People." This is the kind of crap that killed the unlamented Screening Room on Canal Street.
An art theatre that's comfy!! – Finally, an alternative to the cramped Angelika. Granted, the Angelika has it's charms, but I like watching movies in comfort, not sitting with my knees in my chest. This place is quiet, the screens are large, the sound is good, the popcorn good....It's all you could want.
Great choices plus stadium seating. – If you're going to have to pay $10 for a 1st run movie in the city, the new Landmark's Sunshine should be one of your top destination choices. It is in much better condition than the Angelika, with a similarly well-chosen selection of films -- plus no subways rumbling underneath you. Went recently to see "24 Hr Party People" and the theater was packed but not uncomfortable. I got motion sickness from being in the 5th row of this lots-of-movement-camerawork movie, but I was able to rest by head on the still-clean seat back and listen to the 2nd half of the film on a great sound system.
art house fare, megaplex comfort – Sunshine manages to marry the best aspects of two different worlds. Their movie showings are a wonderful mix of art house/indie and foreign flicks. But unlike small art house theatres, Sunshine offers comfortable seating and multiple screens! Good dining and snacking options are immediately close by.
gvasic – i recently went to this theater to see "y tu mama tambien," and i found that all of the movies playing were quirky, interesting movies that i'd like to see - also, the concessions are better than your usual movie fare - apple-cinammon filled pretzels, and gourmet jelly beans...mmm...
Great Everything!!! – This beautiful theater has perfect comfy seats! Great movie selections. I love the nice folks that go there. Amazingly good popcorn, there is a selection of popcorn seasonings for your popcorn!!! And a helpful, fun staff. And it's in a great location! I'm so happy the Sunshine exists!!
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