The New Picture House (the only NPH worth talking about) is St Andrews’ one and only cinema. Featuring one main screen and two smaller side screens, all of which are 3D-capable, the NPH provides a good variety of films as well as most one-off live broadcasts. If you’re after blockbuster fare, the NPH will have everything which has even a chance of making money – I remember that Battleship was shown for something like three weeks, presumably as some kind of divine retribution for our sins.
Unfortunately, a small cinema like the NPH has severe weaknesses when it comes to arthouse fare. The Coen brothers’ latest film Inside Llewyn Davis and Indonesian martial arts tour-de-force The Raid 2 both failed to make an appearance in St Andrews despite huge critical acclaim. Ron Howard’s Rush and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood were played for barely a week, which is all well and good over the summer – but during the semester, deadlines might come at just the wrong time and cost you the chance to see some great films.
Across the barren wastes of Fife, Dundee has three cinemas – an Odeon, a Cineworld, and the Dundee Contemporary Arts – which will show almost everything the NPH doesn’t. However, be prepared to double your costs with bus fares, and remember to bring a silver coin for the troll living under the Tay Road Bridge.
Unlike some cinemas, the NPH doesn’t charge for 3D glasses but instead charges extra for 3D tickets, so don’t bother bringing your own glasses to save money. Tickets are generally reasonably priced, especially for those of you used to the extortionate gouging of big-city cinemas. Societies and private groups can even rent a screen to show their own movies, and I once saw a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, though with a disappointing lack of heckling. And, of course, since it’s centrally located on North Street (and, you know, in St Andrews), there are a dozen pubs nearby to host arguments about the film. The NPH – for lack of a better word – is good.