While downloading or streaming movies has all-but become the norm, recent crackdowns on pirating hubs and file-sharing sites have limited the options for the internet-savvy. Netflix remains a law-abiding choice, but the service’s limited Canadian selection has videophiles salivating for something more. Ease of online access has effectually closed big businesses like Blockbuster, but the smaller bricks-and-mortar stores are still hanging in, and they’re repositories of both inventory and knowledge. Here, four of the city’s finest.
Montreal’s solution to name-brand rental outlets going under, Vidéo Beaubien has one of the largest selections of movies old and new in the city. Anime and horror enthusiasts can expect to discover hard-to-find gems, as well as rediscover the classics. With a staff better versed in cinema than they are in either English or French, visit with the intention of receiving a recommendation, if not a lecture. 750 Beaubien St. E., 514-273-6428
Family-friendly Avenue Video seeks to provide an eclectic, albeit mainstream, variety of movies. Once owned by Mike Taylor, a film fanatic known for community-based fundraisers and food drives, this shop strives to establish positive and long-lasting relationships with its clientele. Scaled down from three locations to one in NDG, they could surely use the business. 5669 Monkland Ave., 514-481-7765
Undeniably, Boîte Noire has the collection of foreign and indie flicks; if you’ve exhausted the Godfather and LoTR trilogies, it’s time to watch something outside your comfort zone. 2011 neo-noir blockbuster Drive pulled some of its influence from Gaspar Noé’s harrowing Irréversible. Also recommended, Montreal’s prodigy Xavier Dolan’s recent Les Amours Imaginaires, which contains several settings recognizable to any city slicker. 276 Mont Royal Ave. E., 514-287-1249
Le Grande Bibliothèque
Perhaps the city’s most overlooked film library is that of Le Grande Bibliothèque. Whether you’re looking to rent or view in one of the onsite viewing rooms, the library is an unbeatable (and, might we add, free) resource for pure entertainment and education. As the library stocks everything from comedies to documentaries, musicals to TV series, we suggest arriving with something in mind. Yes, technology has made things easier to find, but the labyrinthine library can be an immersive experience. 475 Maisonneuve Blvd. E., 514-873-1100
Image courtesy of benchilada.