Independent Cinema Review: Paradise Theatre

It first opened in 1937, closed in 2006 and recently underwent a beautiful renovation in 2019, creating a brilliant 1920’s art-deco atmosphere and promoting a very social movie-going experience. Paradise Theatre is a fun and inviting place to spend an evening with friends.

paradise theatre retro

With accessible seating on the left-hand side of the theatre, the lobby at street level with an accessible washroom across from the cinema room’s entrance, Paradise Theatre is a well-accommodated space for those with physical/visible disabilities. Although, their online presence lacks recognition of these amenities.

Accessibility – 4/5 WHEELS

Paradise Theatre is a busy and social place with a full-service cocktail bar as their concession. The theatre was near a full house with little room to spread out. One out of four staff were masked, and ~90% of patrons were unmasked in favour of popcorn and drinks.

COVID-19 Protocols – 1/5 MASKS

Well situated, a 5-minute walk from Ossington subway station, Paradise Theatre is very transitable. However, for the average Torontonian not from this neighbourhood, it’s a bit off the beaten path for nightlife and entertainment.

Transit-ability – 4/5 TRAINS

Regarding ticket prices, Paradise Theatre is on the more expensive side. Some prices may vary depending on what show or event you attend, but for the Queer Cinema Club screening I attended, the ticket set me back almost $20. As for concessions, snacks were cheap, $4-6, but drinks were upwards of $10-20. For the most part, I’d say you’re paying premium prices.

Prices – 2/5 COINS

Employees were friendly and attentive, although our showtime was 8 pm, and we didn’t even start the preshow introduction or previews until 20 after.

Customer Service – 3/5 HELPING HANDS

The Three Big S’s

Paradise Theatre Interior

Sound: The pre-show music was quiet; there was much chatter from patrons. When the film started, the sound was phenomenal! As far as listening goes, the experience was quite immersive.

5/5 EARDRUMS

Seating: The seats were thinly cushioned but reclinable and comfortable. The rows between seats were wide enough, but I could have done with a little more legroom. If someone sat directly in front of me, my view of the screen was obstructed.

4/5 PILLOWS

Screen: For the size of the auditorium, the screen was tiny. And like I said above, if someone were to sit directly in front of me, I was in the very back row on a platform, and I would not have been able to see the screen; in fact, multiple couples left our row because their views were obstructed. However, those say on the lower seats seemed to have good sightlines with seating on a slight decline towards the screen; then again, they would have needed to recline to look up at the screen, which was relatively high to accommodate the stage and multiple levels of seating.

3/5 CORNEAS

Films on the Roster

Paradise Theatre - Candle lit concert

Paradise Theatre does appreciate local and Canadian artists. A different local artist creates the poster for Queer Cinema Club for every event. Paradise Theatre will premiere Canadian works when they can, but their primary focus is review cinema.

Canadian Titles – 4/5 BUTTER TARTS

All of Paradise Theatre’s showings are Special Events! Whether that be review films, interactive events, concerts or comedy shows, Paradise Theatre is constantly hosting unique experiences for film and art lovers. It’s a social space, less inclined to offer a traditional movie-going experience; Paradise is much more akin to a niche bar or night lounge.

Special Events – 5/5 GIRL SCOUTS CREATIVITY RIBBONS

There are no bang-bang-boom Mainstream titles at Paradise Theatre; it is all cult classic reviews and niche picks.

Indie vs Mainstream Titles – 5/5 HIPSTERS

TOTAL SCORE – 40/55

 

 

About Isobel Grieve 36 Articles
Isobel is a bisexual Toronto-based writer. She has a B.A.H. in English and Media & Cinema Studies from the University of Guelph and a Postgraduate Certificate from the Humber College Television Writing and Producing program. Isobel writes about Arts and Culture; you can follow her @IsobelGrieve on Twitter.