Best Of 2005

BEST VENUE FOR NON-MAINSTREAM MOVIES: Sunrise Cinemas

Our brief but intense romance with Madstone, followed by the bitter disappointment of that theater’s unexpected crash and burn, left us thinking we might never be able to love another art house. But all that’s changed recently, thanks to Sunrise Cinemas, which took over the Hyde Park space that Madstone vacated. Sure, there were some apprehensive moments during those first few months, watching Sunrise trying to figure out how to survive while setting themselves apart from the pack. And yes, some of the theater’s initial programming choices were really pretty lame, an erratically chosen smattering of the forgettable and the pseudo-artsy. But over the past year, Sunrise has successfully managed its own reinvention and created a strong identity for itself, transforming from that-place-that-used-to-be-Madstone to the best venue in the Bay area for seeing good movies that you can’t see anywhere else. On any given week, you’re likely to find at least two or three promising non-mainstream movies showing up at Sunrise (recent offerings have included Murderball, Mysterious Skin and Kontroll), not to mention the numerous community-oriented programs, festivals and themed film series that the theater now hosts on a regular basis. After a bit of a rocky start, Sunrise has become our own Comeback Kid, and we couldn’t be happier. 1609 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, 813-258-4646, www.sunrisecinemas.com. - Lance Goldenberg