What’s poppin’? Marin cinemas provide variety

Henry Tantum

Big cushy chairs, buttery popcorn and a thrilling movie: the ideal movie theater may be hard to find, but the Bark is here to help you out. Avoid melted Junior Mints and dirty floors; sit back, relax, and enjoy the show at four of Marin County’s best theaters.

Tiburon Playhouse: 5 Stars

The Tiburon Playhouse was our favorite theater, highlighted with cushy, large seats.
The Tiburon Playhouse was our favorite theater, highlighted with cushy, large seats.

The Tiburon Playhouse is conveniently placed right in the heart of downtown Tiburon, however, free parking can be difficult to find. From the outside, the building maintains a rustic, authentic feel. Inside, the concessions area is clean and welcoming. Prices for both tickets and concessions are surprisingly low relative to the new, modern theaters at $10.50 for a general admission ticket. Three viewing rooms allow for a respectable selection of movies, and are spacious enough not to feel crowded. Dim lights and wood walls set a soothing mood upon entering the theater. Best of all, massive couch-like chairs will make you feel right at home. Though the theater has been opened for over 50 years, last year’s remodel gives it a new yet nostalgic atmosphere, reminiscent of Hollywood’s glory days.

Corte Madera Century Cinema: 4 Stars

Pulling into the Corte Madera theater, you enter a large parking lot with spots galore, making certain parking was not a major concern. Inside, the concessions room is spacious. Although not as modern as the Tiburon Playhouse, it is clean and open. The chairs are cushioned, but small and not nearly as nice as those of the Playhouse. However, the Century Cinema shines most in its single, very large viewing room. Instead of having multiple smaller screens and showing several movies at once, the Corte Madera location employs just a single massive screen. Although this does decrease movie selection, it makes it easier to immerse yourself in viewing delight. General admission price was pricey at $11.75.

Century Northgate: 3.5 Stars

Northgate’s theater is different from the other theaters the Bark reviewed due to its location inside of the Northgate Shopping Center. Although this location does allow easy access if you are already shopping at the mall, parking can be stressful and you don’t get the same “homey” feel as in other, stand-alone theaters. Once inside Northgate, movie-goers are greeted with an extensive array of options, several times that of any other theater the Bark reviewed, a major benefit when searching for hard-to-find films. The concessions area is large and a wide variety of sweet treats is a definite plus. Inside the viewing rooms, seats are average and feel clean enough. Like the Corte Madera theater, general admission price was $11.75

The Lark: 3 Stars

Photo by Carolyn French
The Lark Theater was rated 3.5 stars by the Bark.

The Lark theater was not the most impressive of the four the Bark reviewed. Although maintaining a historical, “classic” feel, the building felt somewhat old and not as clean or modern as some of the others. General admission was cheapest, at $10.25. Also, with just one screen, movie selection was limited and seemed outdated, and the size was not as impressive as that of Corte Madera’s theater. The seats were average and the overall decor was not great. However its convenient location in Downtown Larkspur offers a variety of restaurants to capture a family family friendly dinner and movie night.