We do pretty well for cinemas in Brighton, considering it's only a lickle city. We have 2 mainstream cinemas and the Duke of York's Picturehouse which tends to do more independent/arthouse screenings.
I'm just going to quickly mention the Odeon and UGC as they're big chains, you should know what you're getting, before giving lots more space to the good old Duke of Yorks.
The Odeon is in the centre of town, on the seafront corner of West Street (where the chavs go to drink, fight and be sick on a Saturday night) and does what an Odeon does over several screens. The UGC is in the Marina complex a mile or so east of Brighton city centre. It sometimes has a better choice of films but you have to drive/bus it from town, and my personal bugbear is the evil multistorey carpark. I might not be the best parker but surely those spaces are too small, and in the past we've actually missed films because it's been so full and crowded we've not been able to find a space in time (e.g. on a Thursday night - prime cinema-going time!)
So on to the Duke of Yorks: It's located next to the fire station at Preston Circus; it's a member of the small City Screen chain, so not fully independent, but it certainly feels it! It focuses on more independent movies, and usually has a really interesting programme. It manages to get a good balance, ranging from the odd blockbuster, breakout/cross over hit (e.g. Slumdog), quality oscar-bait (e.g. The Wrestler) to the more obscure/challengin pic (e.g. The Class, Wendy and Lucy this month), with a good smattering of international and foreign language pics. There are seasonal trends, e.g. at the beginning of the year you can usually get most of the oscar-nommed films here, so the output is more stuff I've heard of!
There are generally 2 screenings during the week plus a late showing on Friday (often horror-based/cult classics/crowd-pleasers e.g. Twilight, Raging Bull) plus occasional specials e.g. linking up with live opera, a Lord of the Rings trilogy all-nighter, the odd gig (saw a fantastic performance by Aqualung a couple of years ago). There are mums and tots screenings ('The Big Scream') and a kids club at weekends too.
The cinema has been recently refurbished in the balcony with super-luxury comfort, including a couple of sofas up there now! There is a nice little bar upstairs, with a balcony - perfect for drinks when the weather's good. You can get good snacks at the kiosk (not just your Odeon giant popcorn and bags of sweets!) - and it's all in a great, friendly atmosphere.
The Duke of Yorks also has a good membership scheme. We have joint membership currently costing £52 p.a. for which you get 6 free tickets, money off ticket purchases, the odd free screening and a few other fringe benefits - well worth it to support the best cinema in town!
I bought a yearly pass for the UGC Cinema. My local UCI is at Brighton Marina which is an ideal location as I love it at the marina - especially in the summer. Anyway you can now buy a yearly pass for £9.99 a month! The drawback is that you have to buy it for a year, they don't do a monthly pass but they let you pay monthly so it is not a huge capital outlay at the beginning - which is good if you are a student like myself. You can see as many movies as you want and therefore get to make your own opinions about which films are good. I've seen almost every film out since I purchased the pass. It is great value for money. Last week when it poured with rain all day my friends and I went and watched three films in a row (marathon cinema viewing) and you don't feel like you've spent anything coz you've got your moneys worth if you just watch two films a month! I really recommend it if you like watching movies! Happy cinema-ing!