The expanded concession area at Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick’s Tontine Mall. Photo by Shaun Boyle

There’s nothing in this world a true film fan loves more than a single-screen arthouse local movie theater. Unless it’s an independent video store.

Well, do I have some great news for you.

While Portland remains bafflingly arthouse-free, a quick trip up I-295 will take you to Brunswick’s Eveningstar Cinema, which, since 1978, has been that lucky town’s home for quality film fare from around the world. And while the pandemic has put the hurt on independent movie theaters even more than the big chains, Eveningstar owner Shaun Boyle and his staff have persevered, even expanding the theater’s digs at Brunswick’s Tontine Mall with a new entrance, enlarged and improved concession stand and – wait for it – a brand new video store.

“Our old concession and ticket area was like a ship’s galley,” joked Boyle, who’s owned the Eveningstar since 2019. “But now, with the new construction, we’ve taken over the hallway and a common area, so we can actually face people coming into the mall. It made me think of what could work there that would be complementary to the main business of the theater.”

But video stores are dead, right? (Here I’ll just pour one out for Portland’s late, lamented Videoport. RIP, old friend.) Well, Boyle – pointing to the Alamo Drafthouse’s recent rescue of Manhattan’s Kim’s Video – has a truly ingenious idea about that, as Eveningstar’s newly opened video rental venture is stocked with some 1,700 films, representing every single film that’s played at the Eveningstar for the past 40 years.

It’s a great hook and a brilliant plan, coupling the indie theater’s history with a side business that will only draw more film fans to the Tontine. And I love it.


As area movie fans know, the Tontine is no stranger to great video stores, with the late, also lamented Bart and Greg’s DVD Explosion (which finally closed in 2017) having resided downstairs from the Eveningstar. And Bart and Greg’s will live on in the Eveningstar’s new store, as former owner Bart D’Alauro has partnered with Boyle to fill in some of the more obscure films from the theater’s past.

“When word started circulating about us adding a video element to the concession stand, Bart reached out,” Boyle said. “In planning this, I imagined that these days you could get a pretty good collection for cheap – which, I found out, you really can’t. Bart is lending us a good portion of his videos to fill the holes, some of which still have the Bart and Greg’s stickers. It’s nice to feel that history.”

For Boyle, another surprisingly difficult task was simply tracking down the names of all the movies. “We’re looking at 40 years worth of films,” said Boyle, “and things weren’t digitized until 1996 or so.” So Boyle and his staff went digging, eventually turning to the local library’s microfiche to cobble together the complete catalog from Eveningstar ads in the Brunswick Times Record and our own Press Herald. “It was a fun little research project,” said Boyle.

As for the now-open Eveningstar video store, Boyle explains that, while the rentals are open to everyone, Eveningstar supporting members get a discount on the store’s already quite-reasonable prices. And while Boyle says that the process of setting up the necessary rental database was, like the process of purchasing films, tougher than he imagined, he’s excited for this new branch of his theater’s business.

“In a single-screen theater, there’s some downtime, so the employees can run the store element,” Boyle said. “We’re still starting to feel out customer habits. We’ve got the drop box and the late fee policy. We’re toying with the idea of monthly memberships and other ideas. We’ll adapt as we go.”

Adaptation is key. That the Eveningstar’s video store doesn’t have to carry the economic weight of the business is smart, as the video rental industry was all but wiped out by streaming services. In lieu of me going on a rant about the capricious nature of the streaming experience, here’s Boyle: “With streaming, you don’t get that tactile thing, there’s not the same sense of discovery. Plus, as we’ve seen, things leave streaming services. Here, we have a player in the store, and the other day someone was coming in to buy tickets and “Fargo” was on the TV. The staff and the customer got into a conversation. It was really nice.”


There are more improvements coming to the Eveningstar, as well. A new laser projector is coming soon, which is in line with Boyle’s thought that “an arthouse theater should provide the best viewing experience.” And while Boyle says that foot traffic during the pandemic has been “miserable” over the last few years, the Eveningstar’s reliable roster of excellent and unique big screen films has kept Maine moviegoers coming out to the theater. (Masks and proof of vaccination are still responsibly required.)

Will the Eveningstar’s experiment in movie rentals bring the video store back? No, sadly those days when you could trail your fingers over a lovingly curated library of films at one of any number of handy video stores is gone, thanks to the lure of couch-bound convenience. (Yes, I’m still bitter.) But a lovingly curated library of films as part of the experience of going to a great local movie theater is, thanks to Boyle and his staff, back to remind us of how special a thing that was.

So head to the Eveningstar. Buy a ticket. Rent a movie. And, for the love of all that is holy, keep your fingers off of the shiny side of the disc, you monsters.

Eveningstar Video is open 1-7 p.m. daily at 149 Maine St., Brunswick. For more information, call 207-729-6796 or go to

Dennis Perkins lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.

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