ODEON Cinema, Cologne ****

ODEON Cinema, Severinstrasse 81, Cologne

Often, small, non-franchise theaters are grungy, with uncomfortable seats, a small screen and horrible sound. Not so at the ODEON. The seats are very comfortable and seem relatively new. The screen is - for the size of the theater (I was in theater 2, there is also a theater 1) - excellent: it doesn't seem any smaller than in one of the huge theaters from somewhere in the middle of the room.
The sound is excellent; I'm not sure which system they use - it probably isn't 1.000 channel surround, but for the film I saw it was more than adequate.

The nice thing about the Odeon is: they show movies you'll likely not see in the big places, either because they are not mainstream or because they're independent pictures. Often, international films will be shown with the original soundtrack and subtitles, so your chances of seeing an English-language film here is quite high.

Another nicety is the café that is right inside the main foyer: it is comfortable and the prices are excellent. Speaking of prices: the theater ticket itself was cheaper than at one of the multiplexes. Unfortunately, they seem to have lost their liquor license, so you'll only get alcohol-free beer (which is good quality).

The only annoyance is that they don't have numbered seats; i.e.: you can pick any place to sit you like. This may be an issue if you're visiting a popular film in a group that wants to sit together (if you're late).

The area (Severinstrasse) is also a great place to visit, especially in the summer. It is one of the few areas in Cologne that has its own subculture. You'll find plenty of restaurants of every type within just a few minutes' walk from the Odeon.