Like something straight out of the 50s, the neon lights of the Rio Theatre certainly stick out among the simple, brick buildings of downtown Overland Park. Part of the Fine Arts Theatre Group, The Rio shows mainly independent films in its one-screen theatre, so you better check their movie schedule online before heading over.
Everything about the Rio is relatively small, taking up just enough space to provide moviegoers with the bare necessities. The theater’s designated parking lot is easily filled up, but it isn’t difficult to find space in a neighboring business’ lot.
The tiny ticket booth out front looks like one you might see in an old movie and the lobby is just a room with a concession stand flanked by two doors leading to the theater. In addition, the snack selection is limited, though cheaper than anything you would find at a chain theater like AMC or Cinemark.
The theater itself, however, is large enough so you can sit far from or near to the many groups of elderly women that apparently love their Saturday matinées. The theater is very clean and you don’t have to wait a minute past the advertised start time for the stage-like curtain to rise and the previews to start.
The Rio makes up for its small space with their dedication to a single screen and their extra-buttery popcorn. If their online schedule happens to feature a movie you’re interested in, I highly recommend paying them a visit.
Next to where the Beaumont Club used to be in the heart of Westport sits the Tivoli Cinema. This lesser-known theater houses three screens and plays a mix of independent and foreign films. Of course, parking in Westport is always hit or miss, so the theater kindly provides a free parking garage that can be accessed from two main roads.
Inside the Tivoli, it feels as if the ticket booth is the only operating thing in an otherwise abandoned building. But past the usher and up a flight of red velvet steps, is the spacious lobby clad with large mirrors and Art Deco accents.
The concession stand sells your typical popcorn, soda and limited types of candy, but also offers bottled beer and sparkling soda. The theater is much larger than one might expect, similar in size to a typical chain theater, minus the stadium-style seating.
The seats are comfortable enough, although they feel more like an antique chair than a La-Z-Boy you want to sink into at the end of a long day. However, the screen is so large you’ll want to kick your feet back anyway.
The Tivoli is well-kept and offers about as wide a variety of movies an independently owned theater can. The movies might not always be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are certainly works of art you won’t see many places in Kansas City.
Lucky for the Glenwood Arts Theatre, their blue and pink, medieval style sign on 95th St. is so eye-catching. Otherwise, no one would even know it was there.
Located in the now-closed Metcalf South Shopping Center, the theater is almost completely hidden from street view. The entrance is around the back of the mall, juxtaposed with an optimistically large parking lot.
Inside the doors and to the right sits the theater, with a mix of old movie posters and cutouts cluttering the lobby to make up for the lack of people. The carpets and faint smell of mothballs are reminiscent of an old folks home, and walking down the long hallway to the theater makes you feel like a horror movie killer could jump out and attack you at any second.
Glenwood Arts has three theaters, a big one and two smaller, that all show the same movie at different times. The smaller theaters provide an enjoyable cinematic experience that almost makes up for everything else with an intimate ten rows of velvet seats and incredible surround sound.
The previews start promptly at the time stamped on your ticket, relieving you from having to sit through the ongoing commercials, useless movie trivia, and “First Looks” that waste time at larger theaters.