© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Picture perfect: we’re on the hunt for London’s best cinemas

Posted at 3:30 pm, October 5, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment
Prince Charles Cinema

Time Out is searching for London’s best cinema. Whatever pushes your big screen buttons, we want to hear about it. You can vote for your favourite now, and to get things started seven cineaste celebrities have told us what makes their cinemas of choice so special. 

Prince Charles Cinema Leicester Square
by Scroobius Pip
‘From the first time I went to the Prince Charles, I absolutely loved it. It shows the films that don’t get screened properly in the bigger cinemas. “Harvey” is my favourite film of all time, but it came out years before I was born so I had never seen it on the big screen. But the Prince Charles screened it as a double bill with “Donnie Darko”, and it was beautiful, I will never forget that. Also, there’s no pretension about it. It’s independent but it’s not trying to be exclusive. You’ll get all nighters, quotealongs, singalongs… it’s such a unique place. I love it so much I now run a film club there [see www.tinyurl.com/TOScroobiusFilm].’


Ritzy Brixton
by Joe Cornish
‘The Ritzy has been my local cinema since I was born. I grew up in Stockwell so I’ve been going there since I was a kid. It’s always been a great community hub, and as much about the community as the films. I still go there all the time and really love it. You get a fantastic mix of movies, and it’s just a great place to be. Screen One is particularly beautiful, and that’s where I did a Q&A for “Attack The Block”. To have my film shown there was amazing. To see its title up on the front of the Ritzy was a thrilling moment for me.’


BFI Southbank
by David Walliams
‘I joined the BFI aged 13, and have been a member on and off for the past 30 years. BFI Southbank is the perfect place to see a film. The people that go there don’t go to eat popcorn or get off with each other or text their friends throughout – they go because they want to see the films. There are brilliantly programmed seasons and always tons of movies you want to see. It’s not all Pasolini and Fellini; you’re just as likely to see “Airplane!” or “Dumbo”. I was asked to interview my childhood hero, Sir Roger Moore, on stage there ahead of a screening of “The Spy Who Loved Me”. It’s these kind of events that make the BFI so special.’

peckham plex cinema

PeckhamPlex Peckham
by Olivia Colman
‘I discovered PeckhamPlex because it’s my closest cinema, but I really started to love it for its choice of films – all the ones you’d expect but also films that appeal to a smaller arthouse audience. And it’s got some of the cheapest tickets in town! I’ll always remember a trip there when my youngest son said no to popcorn – very weird. The reason for this became clear when he projectile vomited in my ear, down my coat and into my boot. But the staff were unbelievably nice about it. When I did a Q&A after a screening of “Tyrannosaur”, they also gave all ticket sales to charity.’


Curzon Soho
by Jon Ronson
‘I’ve been going there for years and years and years. I think it’s always a sign of a good cinema when you remember specific films you saw there. I really clearly remember seeing “Fish Tank”. That was an amazing night. And more recently I saw “Boyhood” and the Alan Partridge film. It goes without saying that the Curzon shows brilliant films. I really love the Everyman cinemas too, but what the Curzon has over them is the location. There’s something particularly exciting about seeing a film in the place where films are planned and made. Soho has this ancient history about where the Hammer films were made and where Hitchcock worked, and so to see films in Soho is a real treat.’

©Alastair Phillip Wiper

Rio Dalston
by Zawe Ashton
‘I worked at the Rio for seven years, so I have a huge fondness for it. I was born and raised in Stoke Newington, and I would go there on school trips – it’s in my blood, basically. The most important thing is that it remains a community cinema. It responds to the needs of the community rather than commercial needs. And it’s one of the few bastions of the old community – before the hipsters descended. We all watched Dalston change through the windows of the cinema, but I love that the Rio hasn’t changed itself. It’s where I first held a boy’s hand, while watching “Aladdin” when I was about eight – a pretty amazing memory. Basically, if it wasn’t for the Rio I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and I am sure I speak for a lot of other people in Hackney when I say that.’

Odeon Leicester Square
by Lauren Laverne
‘It’s a really atmospheric cinema. I’ve visited many times over the years so it has some great memories. I’ve worked at premieres there and been as a punter too. In fact, I used to work next door at XFM and would pop in after my show and catch a matinee. I also think there’s a sense of history about the place. So many premieres have taken place over the years, it’s like a little of the cinematic stardust has rubbed off. I love the big auditorium with the second level as well. It’s a spectacular space to watch a film. Working on the red carpet at the BFI Film Festival creating sneak peek videos for American Express has been fantastic. I hosted the premiere of “Philomena” last year. Judi Dench and the real Philomena Lee were inspirational, and Steve Coogan was a fascinating interviewee as always.’

Vote for your fave now and take a look at the best films to see this month.

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