The much anticipated Nightlight Cinema in downtown Akron will open July 1, and its early lineup includes a local hero, a Beatles classic and a documentary about a renowned movie critic.
The Nightlight will have public showings of movies Tuesdays through Sundays in its 30 N. High St. theater, with two showings in the early evening and midnight films Thursdays through Saturdays. Downtown Akron has not supported a full-time movies-only theater in about 30 years; Akron Film + Pixel, a group for creators of movies and games, is behind the latest effort, with a $120,000 financial boost from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Here’s what’s planned for the first few weeks. Showings will begin with Only Lovers Left Alive, the latest effort from former Cuyahoga Falls resident Jim Jarmusch. The film stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as present-day vampires, and it’s quite good. The Nightlight will show it July 1-3 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., then in midnight showings on July 3-5.
Next up for the theater is the restored and remastered A Hard Day’s Night, July 4-6 and July 8-10 at 7 p.m. The classic stars John, Paul, George and Ringo — please don’t tell me if you just said “Who?” — at the height of their fame. It was directed by Richard Lester, who also approved the digital restoration.
Night Moves will show at 9 p.m. each of those Hard Day’s nights, then move to 7 p.m. on July 11-13 and 15-17. That’s a thriller about environmentalists planning to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Reviews have been mostly positive. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard star.
Life Itself, a loving documentary about critic Roger Ebert, will be at 9:15 p.m. July 11-13 and 15-17, then at 7 p.m. July 18-24.
Also of local interest is that the movie will be showing at the Nightlight around the same time it is at Cleveland’s Cedar Lee. Folks in the Akron area have long wanted a venue for the sort of art-house productions the Cedar Lee has embraced, and this is one sign that is finally happening.
How often it happens, we will see. Rob Lucas of Akron Film + Pixel said that it will depend on what individual movie distributors allow. There were some other films the Nightlight hoped to get that were locked in up north, Lucas said, but Life Itself was not a problem.
Tickets for films will be $8.50, and for now will be on sale only at the theater. (Online ticket sales are planned at www.nightlightcinema.com by late July.) Since the venue is small and tickets are first-come first-served, the theater is advising early arrivals.
The box office will open no later than 6:30 p.m. — some details are still being worked out — but that works parking-wise. After 6 p.m., you can park free by meters along North High Street in front of the theater, and in the High Street municipal garage across the street from the entrance of the Akron Art Museum, and adjacent to the Akron-Summit County Public Library.
Yes, there are snacks. Besides popcorn and drinks, the theater expects to offer pastries from the Blue Door restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls and Cupcake Binge in Munroe Falls. Beer and cocktails will be added after the theater completes its pursuit of a liquor license.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.