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Catch That Summer Blockbuster in Puebla

Hurricane season has begun, and what that usually means for Puebla, more than 100 miles from the nearest coast, is possible afternoon showers daily between now and mid-October. So pack waterproof gear, plan any outdoor activities before 4 p.m., and then take a break indoors. One excellent way to stay dry is to go to the movies.

If you haven’t yet spent a lot of time in Mexico, you may not realize that the majority of feature films shown in cinemas here are Hollywood blockbusters. Most theaters screen both the subtitled and dubbed versions of major movies. ¿No habla español? No problem, as long as you choose U.S.-made motion pictures with the word subtitulada next to them on the marquee: these films are in English with Spanish subtitles. For best results, avoid movies with lots of multilingual dialog, such as Inglorious Basterds, which may prove frustratingly indecipherable.

Mexico’s movie ratings differ from those of the United States, although they’re very similar.

The current classifications, established by the Interior Ministry in 2002, are based on a given film or TV show’s use of violence, addiction, language, and sexual content. The ratings and their general criteria are as follows:

AA = Suitable for all viewers, particularly those under 7 years old, because the narrative is easy to understand and does not degrade any group or individual. Any physical contact is “family friendly.” Think Sesame Street.
A = Contains no scenes with physical or psychological violence, sex, foul language, or drugs. Considered suitable for all viewers. Think G-rated.
B = Occasional scenes of violence and nudity, not showing genitals; considered suitable for viewers 12 years and up. Think PG.
B-15 = Same as B, but includes scenes with alcohol and drugs. Considered suitable for viewers 15 and up. Think PG-13.
C = Contains scenes with violence, sex, profanity and drug use. Considered suitable for viewers 18 and up. Think R.
D = Shameless violence, sex, drugs, and foul language. Think porn.

Puebla has scads of theaters, so you can dodge the raindrops wherever you happen to be around town. For a list of the various options — and the current show times — consult Todopuebla.com. Keep in mind that all of the titles will be in Spanish, and some of them will vary from the English for marketing purposes, so you may need to click around to figure out that ¿Qué Pasó Ayer? is actually The Hangover.

If you really want to treat yourself, head for the Cinépolis VIP at Angelopolis mall, which offers the most luxurious movie-going experience in town: reclining leather chairs, a full bar, and seat-side service in each of its four theaters. You can order sushi and beer, crêpes and cappuccino, “light” popcorn and a glass of wine—and it will all be brought to your assigned seat. Tickets may be purchased online in advance or on-site. The best day to go is Thursday, when all shows are a discounted MX$92 per person; the regular price is MX$110. Now showing: X-Men 5: Primera Generación (X-Men 5: First Class) and Transformers 3: El Lado Obscuro de la Luna (Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, among other films.

Post updated July 1, 2011.

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