Landmark Keystone Art – well, at least it’s still on Keystone

Diane and fellow Indianapolis residents,

I was more than a little disgruntled when the Landmark chain swung into town and knocked the well-loved Castleton Arts theater out of business.  Castleton Arts was something of a northside treasure.  They showed the usual assortment of documentaries and indie flicks, but they also sprinkled in some fun older movies like “Friday the 13th Part 3” (WITH the 3-D glasses), the “Mystery Science Theater” movie, and week-long festivals devoted to Scorsese and Sergio Leone.  One of my fondest memories of the place was catching all three of the “Dollars” trilogy movies in one day.  I definitely didn’t want to see it go, replaced by an impersonal chain that seemed to just be running art movies as another way of sucking dollars out of the pockets of a niche customer base.

When Landmark opened up, though, I didn’t hate the place.  They have nice seats, they let you bring in alcohol from the bar next door or chocolates from the Godiva store down the way, and except for the fun stuff I mentioned before, their schedule wasn’t all that different from that of Castleton Arts.  The main thing that sucked about the place was its popcorn, which has yet to improve – how do they sell that stuff?  Ye gods.

But I haven’t been to Landmark in a couple months.  (Come to think of it, maybe that’s part of the problem that I am about to eviscerate the place over.)  Today I was reading about Werner Herzog’s new documentary, and since I love Herzog like my annoying cat loves biting me at six a.m., I thought I’d go see if it was playing here yet.  (Fat chance, but you gotta try.)  Of course, it turns out that Landmark isn’t showing it.  Here’s what they ARE showing:

– Get Smart (starts Friday)
– In Bruges
– Mongol (starts Friday)
– The Visitor
– The Fall
– The Happening
– Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
– Sex and the City
– You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Yeah, uh, Landmark?  On what planet do many of these qualify as art movies?  “Indiana Jones”?  “Get Smart”?  “You Don’t Mess With the Goddamn Motherfuckin’ Zohan”?

I want my Castleton Arts back.  They probably wouldn’t be running the new Herzog doc yet either, but at least there wouldn’t be a 3000 screen blockbuster in its place.


8 Responses to Landmark Keystone Art – well, at least it’s still on Keystone

  1. Eee says:

    I got all fired up by your blog entry and wrote an email to Landmark, basically restating the issues in your blog. I got the following, actually decent, response:

    Thank you for taking the time to send us a letter. Landmark Theatres will continue to show the best specialized film available to the market place. The film business is going through a major transition with four companies announcing their closing in the last few weeks. These are companies that provided films such as Inconvenient Truth, Pans Labyrinth, March of the Penguins, There Will Be Blood and Kite Runner among others. What this means to the theatre is that there are fewer films available in the market place. Also during the summer months, there have been traditionally fewer films available outside of the bigger studio titles. At this time of year we must supplement with titles that may not be to your liking but hopefully will attract enough folks so that we continue as a viable business. This is not a situation confined to Indianapolis. We are experiencing this throughout the United States. I do hope that we will soon have some titles in the future that will be more compatible with your tastes.

    Again, thank you for your correspondence.

    Ted Mundorff


    Landmark Theatres

  2. Jim says:

    That response is a bit…lacking. There are still plenty of art shows and classics that fall under the purview of traditional arts cinemas. It would not be at all extreme to conclude, from Mudorff’s argument offered here to assume that Landmark will soon not be an arts cinema at all. If they have to offer blockbuster choices to remain “a viable business” it’s only a matter of time before they stop offering any of the less-profitable art house films. As the owner of the Castleton Arts cinema and the owner of Key Cinemas have both said, you don’t run an arts cinema in Indianapolis because you want to make money. You just have to love to sell guns…er….you have to love sharing good cinema.

  3. beetqueen says:

    Not to mention that this isn’t a new trend for Landmark. From the moment it opened it’s doors, they have shown non-art films. Usually only about 1/2 to 3/4 of their movies would even kind of qualify as art pics. And some of those only because they are independant, although not exactly artsy.

    The letter is a cop out to explain their blatant lack of art movies right now. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they actually transitioned into just a higher priced, “higher class” theater for mall goers to avoid the general rabble who often fill some of the other local theaters. Although to be honest, some of those middle aged ladies who watch movies at the Landmark are way more annoying than the teens texting during the movie at other cinemas.

  4. Let’s not go nuts. NOBODY is more annoying that a texting teen.

  5. beetqueen says:

    Have you been there when those women are asking each other what happened? And then commenting on the acting? Then asking for the popcorn to be passe? Then laughing at something that is completely not funny? Then complaining about the temperature? Then repeating the dialogue? Then comparing it to another movie, with that actor, you know the one, he was in that other movie, with the car and the girl. Oh, you know the one I mean.

    Have you been there for that? Because I think I’ll take a quiet, if bright text any day.

  6. beetqueen says:

    BTW-I think it is hysterical that this wordpress thinks I might like a blog entitled “Fun For Kids…and adults you might learn something too.”

    It is particularly funny because the only fun I can imagine you having with kids is secretly giving mine Coke and feeding him custard cake while you show him zombie movies and shout curse words at the screen.

  7. Asking for the popcorn to be passe? These old ladies must be living double lives as extremely ironic hipster douchebags.

  8. beetqueen says:

    Yeah, I realized I made a typo and almost went back and commented on the typo, but I thought that might be extreme. I should have realized whose blog I was commenting on.

    And yes, they are douchebags.

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