Masterton's Regent 3 Cinema has been given the thumbs up by a top cinema reviewer, especially for its "great sight-lines" and sound system.
Associate Professor of Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato Geoff Lealand has given the Masterton cinema and also a boutique cinema in Martinborough - Circus Cinema Restaurant and Bar - good pass marks.
Mr Lealand travels the country reviewing cinemas in relation to their wider place in their communities.
His comments on the Masterton cinema are prefaced by an observation people are "often a little unkind about Masterton" as it doesn't have the visual appeal and tourist pull of some other towns.
"But it certainly has a tremendous cinema."
Mr Lealand said the entrance and foyer of the theatre "evokes the grander, more opulent days of cinema-going".
He described the auditoriums as "something special" and far removed from the "bland boxes of the multiplex."
"The projection is 35mm on to curved screens, with great sight-lines and reproduction.
"The sound system is something special, too, and a real treat for film buffs - rich and deep rather than overpowering."
Regarding the films shown, Mr Lealand said the theatre screens a good mix of mainstream, holiday programmes and art house titles at "small-town ticket prices."
He also commented on Regent 3 hosting the New Zealand International Film Festival.
Cinema owner Brent Goodwin said yesterday he was "chuffed" with the appraisal of his theatre.
Mr Goodwin took over the theatre in 1989 after it had been closed down by Kerridge-Odeon.
He said investment needed to improve the theatre had "just about broken the bank" but the result had been met with approval from most customers.
"Even then you can't please everyone.
"As far as my sight-lines are concerned, there are still some people who say they prefer to sit on a flat floor and look upwards at the screen and some who say the sound is too loud."
He said one of the best things to come out of reviving the cinema was the impact on the part of town where it is situated.
"In 1989 this end of town was dead, but now there is a real buzz about it, especially with the opening of Strada and Iberia cafes, it has become a real precinct of its own."
Mr Lealand gave the Circus Cinema in Martinborough a good review, too.
He said the cinema was an attractive venue "tucked away just off the village square" which catered for people in the South Wairarapa towns and weekend visitors from Wellington.
He described the cinema as being "well worth a visit".