It was ironic that the last press screening I would catch at the Ritz at the Bourse, on Wednesday evening, was Guy Ritchie’s dracomic return to British gangster film, “The Gentlemen.” I can remember seeing Ritchie’s first, fast-paced Brit-mobster movie, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” at the Ritz Bourse in 1998. Ritchie’s densely packed action, cleverly connected plots twists and kinetic violence is as tension filled and furiously funny now as it was then.
We’ll never see independent films such as this – to say nothing of the 4th Street mini-multiplex’s cult classics-filled Midnight Movie showings – now that The Ritz at the Bourse is closing for screenings on January 26 with the entire property shutting down on January 31.
Blame streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and Apple for closing the cherished Ritz at the Bourse, as the ease of home viewing (to say nothing of the loss of the cinematic middle ground between smaller independent or more intimate films as opposed to big studio tent poles and superhero action adventures) made the tiny theater complex with the escalator down a worthwhile trip.
Funny thing is, word had it that when the theaters were originally for sale by Mark Cuban’s Landmark Company at the end of 2018, both Amazon and Netflix were rumored to be interested in the buy (Cohen Media made that purchase, as well as the decision to close the Bourse’s Ritz). I don’t know if those aforementioned streamers – or any other film studios – could be interested in buying the Bourse’s Ritz, or if anyone from the Philadelphia Film Society could take an interest in the 4th Street film haus’ future, but here’s hoping.