10 to try: Dubai's best cinemas

As the weather heats up, we’ll be heading to the cinema for some ice-cold air. Oh, and summer blockbusters. But where are the best places see them?

Movies Under the Stars
Movies Under the Stars
Dive-in Movies
Dive-in Movies
Movies @ The Shelter
Movies @ The Shelter

1 Grand Metroplex: For a cinema with character, you won’t find better than this gem at the Metropolitan Hotel. The small screening rooms with wide, extra-comfy seats give a decidedly indie feel, and we like the fact that when you order a hot dog to take into the film, it comes on a proper plate with a side of fries. There’s even an in-house shisha café – pop in afterwards to argue about the movie.

2 Extreme Screen at Mirdif City Centre: This brand spanking new beast of a screen is an impressive 66ft wide. It really comes into its own with 3D movies – the bigger the images, the more they jump out.
Call 04 341 0330 to find out what’s on the Extreme Screen this week.

3 The Picturehouse at Reel Cinemas, Dubai Mall: Dubai’s first mainstream arthouse cinema screen (ie it’s in a multiplex, not an art gallery) champions world and independent films. Catch the kind of flicks that rarely make it to the city’s cinemas. Recent screenings have included Iranian semi-documentary No One Knows About Persian Cats and BAFTA-winning Brit indie Moon.

4 Movies Under the Stars: A firm favourite with the Time Out team, we love these al-fresco themed double bills showing for free on Wafi Rooftop every Sunday. Lounge on bean bags and scoff hot munchies – think gunk-laden nachos, pizzas and burgers – as you enjoy the movies. This week is ‘Robot Night’ – Terminator Salvation followed by Transformers 2.

5 Dive-in Movies: A savvy solution to the sweatiness of al-fresco movies come June, last year Dive-in Movies at The Montgomerie in Emirates Hills invited us to watch double bills from an inflatable chair in the swimming pool. Very cool, in both senses of the word. Cine-splash! at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club and Movies & Munchies at the Desert Palm followed suit. We’re told all three will return this summer.

6 The Scene Club: If free screenings and complimentary popcorn and soft drinks aren’t enough to inspire a trip to The Scene Club, it’s also the one place in town where 500-plus world cinema fans regularly meet. Held in Knowledge Village on the last Thursday of every month, the night always attracts big crowds, who are encouraged to mingle.
To find out about the film schedule and to register for free tickets, see www.thesceneclub.com.

7 IMAX at Ibn Battuta: Dubai’s only IMAX, at Ibn Battuta’s Grand Megaplex, is the place to see the latest CGI-heavy blockbuster. At 44ft high and 70ft wide, the screen is the biggest in the city, and its close proximity to the audience makes for an intense experience – which is probably why it has been showing Avatar for four months and counting.

8 Lamcy Cinema: A trip to this all-Bollywood cinema in Karama is akin to attending a pantomime – the audience shouts at the characters on screen and big song-and-dance numbers only add to the theatricality. Not all films have English subtitles, so call ahead to find out.

9 Gold Class: Only in Dubai could cinema have a class system. Still, the experience is so luxurious, we don’t mind joining the upper tier. Cushy leather recliners replace the standard theatre seats, and staff not only give you blankets, but take your food and drinks order.
At Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre.

10 Movies @ The Shelter: Starting in June, Tuesday evenings at community art space The Shelter are reserved for offbeat movie nights. The first theme is ‘fashion’ – catch the 1966 French satire on the fashion industry Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, plus a documentary on Valentino.
Free for members, Dhs15 for non-members at The Shelter, Al Quoz. See www.shelter.ae for a location map or call 04 434 5655.

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