Free movies in Mt. Prospect
The now-defunct Randhurst mall in Mount Prospect was practically my second home when I was a teenager. I worked at Suncoast Motion Picture Company, my friends would often congregate at the Coffee Depot, and I saw dozens of movies at the Randhurst 16, which began its life as a General Cinemas location on Nov. 22, 1996. (Yes, I really knew that off the top of my head. I was there on opening day with my mom, and we saw "Star Trek: First Contact." And no, there's nothing weird about a 17-year-old going to see "Star Trek" with his mother.)
That theater eventually became the AMC Randhurst 16, and will soon be no more. But the Randhurst Village revitalization project is bringing with it a revitalized movie theater.
The new AMC Randhurst 12, near the Carson Pirie Scott store, is hosting free screenings of some recent favorites this weekend in advance of its April 29 grand opening. You can check out showtimes here for "Inception," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Fast and Furious" (the fourth one, not the first one), "Transformers," "Megamind," "The Dark Knight," "The Hangover," "Avatar," "Iron Man" and the movie that will ensure my attendance, J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." (I might as well make it a Randhurst tradition.) The theater will also host a "Hop"-themed Easter event Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. featuring characters from the movie and giveaways.
Randhurst 12 sounds like AMC's version of Rosemont's Muvico 18, which I consider to be the best movie theater in the suburbs. The new theater will have digital projection in every auditorium, recliner seats in the front row, a full bar in the lobby and, most importantly to this connoisseur of fine sodas, Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. (You haven't lived until you've had a peach-flavored Sprite.) There's also an ETX auditorium; I'll let a June 2010 press release tell you about that: "ETX includes a 20-percent larger screen, 3D technology, digital projection and an upgraded sound system. Specifically, the digital projection system produces images at a higher resolution than HD and there are nearly twice as many audio channels compared to typical auditoriums. As a result of this improved experience, guests will not simply watch a movie. They will live it in ETX." So basically, it's "The IMAX Experience" (or faux-MAX, as some call it) with a different name. I happen to think such theaters are worth the extra few bucks on your ticket price; big movies demand to be heard with the best sound possible.
I will almost certainly check out the new place this weekend and let you know how it compares to Muvico, the old Randhurst 16 and AMC's big-daddy, the South Barrington 30. Hopefully this theater does a better job of maintaining a quiet atmosphere than most. (I know, I shouldn't expect miracles ...)