I was thrilled to see that Hoboken is launching an international film festival. It's a superb idea and with great people like Danny Aiello and Geri Fallo (who organizes Hoboken's excellent Arts and Music Festival), it has even more cachet. But there's something missing here: How can our city have a film festival when we don't have a single movie theater? Who in the film industry could possibly take us seriously if we must screen these new films in a bar or the side of a building?
The groundbreaking of a new movie complex, according to articles published in the Reporter in 2006, was supposed to have taken place this July. But not only has ground not been broken, the entire idea seems to have been scrapped - those who ballyhooed it have turned silent when the subject is brought up. Hoboken must be one of the few cities of its size in the country not to have such an amenity and certainly the only city to host a film festival without having a movie theater in which those films could be shown! Meanwhile, we certainly seem to have all of the pieces in place quickly every time a developer wants to build more unnecessary luxury condos or a bank decides to open another branch. A movie theater is certainly a draw to keep people in this town instead of going elsewhere with their entertainment dollars (and to encourage others to move here). There have been far too many nights when we have had a fabulous dinner in a Hoboken restaurant and have wanted to just mosey down to a local theater and see a film but instead, we have had to go to New York to do so or drive to a mall. There are many families in town who would benefit from matinees and something fun to do with the kids, as well. Not to mention how many couples on dates, students, seniors, etc. A movie theater could show those films from the film festival, current hits, spotlight other film series and cutting-edge independent fare, and create more of a sense of community. I bet Netflix does a great business with Hobokenites who would rather spend their film- viewing time in a state-of-the-art theater.
A movie theater is essential for any class-A city, but broken promises are not.
Max Leavitt Tamarkin