While not exactly a display in cinema courtesy, 'La La Land' was a popular choice for students earlier this yearSUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

Cambridge freshers have a plethora of concerns when they first step on to its cobbled streets, and the avid film fan will certainly be scouring its parades and alleyways for the best places to watch the latest big screen ventures. Michaelmas is one of the most exciting terms for cinema, as the summer blockbusters wind down into awards season contenders, with a few festive treats thrown in towards the end. Wherever one happens to be, there is always something for everyone in this magical city, and always a perfect venue in which to watch it. Without further ado, let us begin the tour:

Arts Picturehouse, St. Andrew’s Street

Situated above a pub, the Arts Picturehouse is a firm favourite amongst studentsEUANSGUIDE.COM

This is truly the hub of Cambridge’s cinematic wheel. With three screens showing all the latest indie, foreign, and sometimes popular films, every taste is catered for. Easily accessible from all the central colleges, it is situated above The Regal pub, so it is best to attend during the day or on a weekday evening as sometimes one might feel vibrations underfoot. With plenty of legroom (your humble editor is 6’2’’) and comfortable seating, it can make for a most pleasant place to take a study break.

“The film watching scene is remarkable, and while it may take a while to build the confidence to do so, attending films alone can be an incredibly rewarding experience”

Regrettably, the kiosk is often understaffed so if purchasing tickets at the venue, aim to arrive with plenty of time as some customers spend an inordinate period of time selecting from their large variety of wines, sweets, ice creams, and, inevitably, popcorn. The best way to avoid this is to book online or purchase tickets at the venue beforehand. There is also a pleasant café area inside which hosts the monthly film quiz on the first Monday of each month (Varsity heartily recommends) along with a smattering of free short film festivals.

In terms of ticketing, student prices can still be expensive, with peak tickets costing £11.30, although this decreases to £7.50 on Mondays. The best course of action is to purchase a student membership card for £20, which will give you two ‘free’ tickets to any films of your choice, and take £2 off a student ticket price thereafter. With membership, Monday tickets are only £5.50 and one can get 25% off all food and drink, along with an assortment of external discounts. Exclusive to students are the E4 Slackers Club previews which can be booked online or at the kiosk for free (these tend to sell out very quickly).

The best and cheapest means of acquiring tickets is, however, through yours truly. Should you prove yourself a worthy film fanatic and able writer, it is possible to receive a press ticket to see a film, provided you produce a 500-word review after. Join our Varsity writer’s page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/varsitywriters/) and subscribe to my weekly review commissions on this website to see which films are available, then send a paragraph of initial thoughts to filmandtv@varsity.co.uk.

For more information, click here.

Vue, The Grafton Centre

Situated inside the newly-refurbished Grafton Centre, the Vue is the place to see blockbusters on bigger screensN CHADWICK

Regrettably, the Picturehouse tends to overlook some of the more popular films, from Marvel superheroes to Disney musicals. Additionally, while its largest screen (1) is reasonably large, screen 3 is rather small, and hardly creates an ‘experience’. This is something the Vue proudly, almost ostentatiously, provides with its reclining leather chairs and gargantuan screens.

Situated on the outskirts of the university’s bubble of safety, students often seem hesitant to brave the Tulgey Wood and head to The Grafton Centre. However, one generally finds this to largely stem from the longer walk rather than the unpleasantness of the location, although it must be said that it is quite different to our beloved city centre. The area is also home to a Forbidden Planet, which is an essential visit for all one’s nerdy desires.

Boasting eight screens, Dolby Digital 6.1 Surround Sound, and Sony 4K projection, quite literally in their somewhat self-gratifying pre-show reel, tickets tend to sit just below the £10 mark. As with the Picturehouse, it is particularly worth a visit for the various Big Screen Events they host, from midnight screenings to theatre live streams. Unfortunately, should you desire to write a review on a film being shown at the Vue, tickets cannot be provided by Varsity.

For more information, click here.

The Light, Cambridge Leisure Park

While further away for most students, The Light boasts a new IMAX screenLIGHT CINEMAS

Homerton residents rejoice! With the acquisition of a shiny new IMAX screen, The Light Cinema Experience is the city’s largest cinema complex with a total of nine screens to choose from. Upcoming releases such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Blade Runner 2049 are in the line-up this term, thus it might be worth the trek over to catch these on the biggest screen in town. While it sits on Homerton’s doorstep, for more central dwellers it can prove quite a trot, although a bus can be taken opposite Downing for about £4, although this may have increased since last term.

Again, all the latest events are screened at The Light, along with typically popular releases. Should this attract your attention, ticket prices are also the lowest of the commercial options, with peak tickets costing £7.95. Before noon tickets are only £5, and all tickets are £6.60 on Wednesdays, although these obviously exclude all IMAX films. To experience such an indulgence, simply add another £5 to the ticket price. Having opened during the summer, this will be a new treat for all students, old and new, to seek out.

For more information, click here.

St. John’s Picturehouse, Palmerston Room

Lecture hall by day, the Palmerston Room at St. John's College transforms into a cinema on Sunday nightsNIMININ LIMITED

Of course, for many students regular trips to the cinema are a considerable expense, and within one’s first term spending two  hours of simply relaxing seems an impossibility (believe me, it is not). There are various projection societies in the university itself, and the most prestigious is probably the St. John’s Picturehouse. Screening a different film every Sunday evening, the Palmerston Room of the Fisher Building plays host to a relatively new release that is loaned having been shown in cinemas. While other colleges may show classic films, this is the best place to catch a film one might have missed while it was screened commercially. At just £4 a ticket, it is certainly worth a visit.

For more information, click here.

Should any student have a question about films or cinemas, do not hesitate to email filmandtv@varsity.co.uk and have a go at writing some film reviews while you are here. The film watching scene is remarkable, and while it may take a while to build the confidence to do so, attending films alone can be an incredibly rewarding experience. While many find the night clubs to be their door to escapism, you might just find it on the doorstep of a Cambridge picturehouse

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