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No good movies playing? No way! Check out your local arts cinema

— The spring and summer months after the Oscars come out can be a difficult time for American movie goers. It seems like all of the well-crafted, interesting movies have gone into hiding and in their place have arrived jarring blockbusters and action flicks designed solely to overstimulate the senses. While those movies can sometimes be fun (Thor, I'm thinking of you here), overall they don't offer much satisfaction to people who see cinema as an art form on par with great literature or painting.

I offer hope, however, for those of you in this situation now. As we slog through these final weeks of winter and into the spring we know IS coming, remember the oft forgotten arts cinema.

While American mainstream theaters tend to adhere to the afore mentioned timetable of higher quality movies released in the fall and winter, and blasting blockbusters and action flicks in the spring and summer, arts cinemas have no such schedule. Indeed, you can find amazing independent and foreign films playing at all times of the year at the great cinemas right in our own area.

I had my first movie theater experience in the early 1980s at the Manlius Arts Cinema ('The Gods Must Be Crazy'). In the years since then I have seen dozens (probably even hundreds) more there, including 'A Room With a View' (1985), 'The Last Temptation of Christ' (1988), 'Fargo' (1996), and 'Chocolat' (2000), to name just a few. More recently I saw Oscar winners 'Blue Jasmine', '12 Years a Slave', and ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ there. All of these films entertained me, made me think, and enhanced my understanding of the world. And, importantly, the vast majority of them were only screened at independent arts theaters.

We're lucky to have Manlius Arts Cinema, a historical and cultural treasure, right here in our own back yard. If you want to see the best in current independent filmmaking from around the world, that’s the place to go. Further afield, you can take a drive down to Ithaca and check out Cinemapolis, another amazing independent theater where non-mainstream movies are the norm.

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