Melbourne's a movie loving town, which means there's always a special screening, career retrospective or movie night around the corner. Check out our round-up of the best upcoming film events and screenings below. For more Melbourne movie fun, take a look at the best upcoming film festivals and our latest movie reviews.
Melbourne movie screenings and events
Horror, thriller, fantasy and animation are the focus of the Fantastic Film Festival, which takes over the Lido from February 20 to March 4. The showcase of alternative and genre cinema has been curated with an eye on the way fantastic stories reveal truths about the time in which they are made. “It’s not just mutants, monsters, and apocalyptic bloodlust,” program director Hudson Sowada says, “although of course there’s plenty of that.” Opening night film Chained for Life is a good indication of the territory explored. British actor and disability activist Adam Pearson (Under the Skin), who lives with neurofibromatosis, stars as an actor in a horror film whose costar (Jess Weixler) is conventionally beautiful. Two films in the line-up deal with racial oppression: Zombi Child, about a Haitian teenager who reveals her family secret to her friends, and documentary Horror Noire, which traces the history of African-American artists in Hollywood through the horror genre, from caricature, through exploitation to the likes of Get Out. Violent but philosphical Polish film The Mute involves two Christian knights in the early Middle Ages who set off to christen the inhabitants of a pagan village hidden deep in the mountains. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a blackly comedic road movie with shades of Thelma and Louise. A special screening of Australian sci-fi metal-musical Sons of Steel will mark 30 years since its release. Other highlights include a film about German serial ki
Part of the Sustainable Living Festival, the Transitions Film Festival’s ninth edition is a chance to join like-minded viewers in watching local and international documentaries that seek to address the world’s problems and face the probable future head on. Around 30 features will screen at Cinema Nova (with additional screenings at the Astor and the Brunswick Mechanics Institute). Many screenings also include panel discussions with filmmakers and thought leaders such as former Greens leader Bob Brown; CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific David Ritter; filmmaker Shannon Harvey; CEO of Resilient Melbourne Toby Kent; founder and CEO of That Startup Show Anna Reeves; and comedian Alanta Colley. The festival opens with The Great Green Wall, in which a Malian musician and activist documents the ambitious project to create a 8,000km wall of trees to prevent desertification in Africa. Spanish acting great Javier Bardem, his brother, and leaders of Greenpeace go on an epic adventure to create the world's largest marine sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean in Sanctuary, the festival’s closing night film. As always the films in the line-up tackle the many crises facing the planet such as: The climate change crisis – Bob Brown’s fraught road trip to Queensland to protest the building of the Adani coal mine is the subject of Convoy, while short film ‘25 Zero’ looks into the melting of the world’s glaciers. The sanitation crisis – Mr Toilet follows the eccentric Jack Sims on his mission
Barefoot Cinema returns to Melbourne for a season of fun flicks. This chilled-out summer cinema has already set up in Portsea at Point Nepean National Park, the Briars Homestead in Mount Martha and Elsternwick's Rippon Lea Estate. Now, for the first time ever, Barefoot Cinema heads west – to Werribee! Barefoot Cinema's Werribee season runs from February 19 until March 4 at the State Rose Garden. Films range from family-friendly comedies to fantasies, cult classics and documentaries. Whatever your niche, you can watch a film against a stunning backdrop and get stuck into food and drink from the on-site bar, 400 Gradi's food truck and the candy bar, where you can pick up all of your favourite movie-going snacks. There will also be live music every night from 6.30pm so you can kick back before the movie starts at 8.30pm. Highlights from Werribee's line-up include the Oscar-nominated Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit and Bombshell, as well as Dirty Dancing, Joker and the super fun Elton John biopic Rocketman. Adult tickets are $22 and kids can get in for $15. There's also a VIP upgrade for an extra $20, which gets you into the comfy VIP Lounge. Check out the website for the screening schedule. Doors open at 6pm.
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie this summer at Moonlight Cinema. The alfresco theatre has announced its dates for the 2019-2020 summer season, with films running from Thursday, November 28 until Sunday, March 29. Punters can expect a mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites, festive faves and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. There will be screenings of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, JLo's star turn in Hustlers, a 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix, Joaquin Phoenix's thrilling Joker, Stephen King's Dr Sleep, Disney blockbuster Frozen 2, the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as well as Pulp Fiction, Love Actually, Dirty Dancing and Die Hard. You can check out the full program here. As always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks, too. A pop-up Tia Maria bar will even be serving Espresso Martinis (essential for long movies) and Tia Popcorn Frappés. Those looking to splurge can opt for the gold grass experience where you'll sloth out on bean bag beds with a premium view of the big screen. You don't even have to get up for movie snacks or drinks as waiters will happily take your order. Screenings kick off at sundown (around 8.45pm from December to February and 8.15pm in March) and tickets range from $18-$40.
Peninsula Hot Springs is Victoria’s first geothermal mineral springs and day spa. It’s here you’ll find more than 50 bathing experiences, including shared thermal mineral pools, wet and dry saunas, a hydrotherapy pool, Turkish and Moroccan hammams and the frequently Instagrammed hilltop pool, which boasts 360-degree views over the farmlands of Fingal. Naturally, it’s very popular. One event that’s going to drive its popularity even higher is the Bathe in Cinema. This cinema lets you watch a film from the comfort of your own hot spring, spread out among the Bath House Amphitheatre, which is located on the Peninsula Hot Springs property. The Peninsula Hot Springs Bathe in Cinema runs every Friday night at 8pm from February 14 until March 6. Guests can lay under the stars and stay warm with the heat of the hot springs. Movie selections will be announced on their Facebook page soon, but the first screening on Valentine's Day will be Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts (look out for the Time Out reference in the middle of the film!) The film screening is complimentary with bathhouse bathing (which starts from $25). Head in early to score a good spot in the amphitheatre as there’s no reserved seating.
Lido Cinema’s rooftop makes a triumphant return this summer for its fifth year under the stars. Lido on the Roof will screen critically acclaimed summer releases including the new Charlie's Angels, Matt Damon and Christian Bale in Ford V Ferrari, Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes, as well as Marriage Story, the new Noah Baumbach film starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Other screenings include Great Gerwig's Little Women, Jumanji: The Next Level, Cats, Frozen 2, Bombshell and even a midnight screening on Wednesday, December 18 of the brand-new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. No need to BYO snacks: Lido's food and drink counter serves up great movie treats, from choctops and vegan-friendly popcorn to edamame and craft beers. Check out the full program to see what's showing and hit the Book Now button to buy your tickets.
Classic Cinemas holds the claim to fame as is the longest continuously operating cinema in Victoria. It boasts ten indoor screens and, in addition, has announced the new Classic Rooftop, with nightly 9pm screenings all through summer 2019-2020 and into autumn. The rooftop cinema has comfortable director's chair seating on staggered levels, while sound is delivered through headsets. Melbourne loves a rooftop bar, and the Classic Rooftop naturally has one too. The inaugural season kicks off with as big a bang as you could wish for with a week of screenings of the climactic Star Wars flick, The Rise of Skywalker. New releases that follow include camp classic in waiting, Cats, Greta Gerwig's new version of Little Women, Guy Ritchie's new gangster flick The Gentlemen, and a one-off session of Leonard Cohen documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love. Justin Kurzel's adaptation of Peter Carey's novel True History of the Kelly Gang screens on Friday January 10. Bombshell with Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, and the Tom Hanks heartwarmer A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, will get showings, as will Taika Waititi's absurdist WWII satire Jojo Rabbit and the award-winning queer French romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Love a retro movie? Classic Rooftop Cinema will have Retro Wednesdays in January playing Labyrinth (on David Bowie's birthday), 10 Things I Hate About You, hilarious 1987 fairytale The Princess Bride and Spike Lee's incendiary 1989 drama D
Melbourne’s support for bushfire relief causes continues with the Capitol Theatre presenting a special fundraising screening of the 1992 film Baraka, with 100 per cent of ticket sales going to Wildlife Victoria. Ron Fricke’s documentary, filmed across 25 countries, takes viewers through the world’s cities and forests. Although released in 1992, the film feels even more becoming more relevant today due to the current climate emergency. Following the screening, there will be conversations with design futurists about humanity and how we can move forward in the era of climate change. Baraka strays from the typical approach to filmmaking with no strict narrative structure. However, it gives an insight into life before the current climate crisis and takes viewers around the world through its vast imagery. The event will be a rare opportunity for people to see the film on the big screen while donating to a good cause. For ticketing and more information, visit the Capitol Theatre website.
Australian fashion takes centre stage at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF). Held at the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum precinct, the 11-day festival features free and ticketed events including runway shows, workshops and shopping events. Highlights include the Gala Runway (Mar 10), which showcases the work of Australian and international designers, the numerous Festival Runways (Mar 10-14), which present the work of over 60 of Australia’s established and emerging designers. For those who pride themselves at being at the forefront of fashion, it's a great way to see potential fashion stars before they become famous. Aside from the runway shows, other events such as industry discussions, workshops and exhibitions will be happening around Melbourne. look. Visit the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival website for more program details.
Alliance Française, the French culture and language institution, launched its film festival in Australia way back in 1989, and since then it’s grown into the largest festival dedicated to French films outside of France. The 31st AFFFF will show across Australia in seven cities from March to mid-April. Opening night’s screening will be The Extraordinary, the new heart-tugger by the makers of the smash hit The Intouchables. It’s about a Jew and and Muslim (Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb) who run two separate non-profit organisations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth. Closing night offers a whimsical comedy with echoes of Wes Anderson, The Bare Necessity (Perdrix), in which an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family in a remote village to rethink the way they live. Pierre Cardin is the latest French fashion icon to get a feature-length documentary, with House of Cardin, while Aznavour by Charles is a documentary portrayal of the famous French crooner. Edmond is a period drama about Edmond Rostand and the writing of his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) offers The Lost Prince, in which a devoted dad (Omar Sy) who becomes a heroic prince whenever he reads to his daughter has to deal with her growing up. A new wave classic film from 50 years ago, Donkey Skin, has been restored and will screen at AFFFF. Jacques Demy’s film is based on an adult-oriented fairy tale that Disney is