You might be able to catch one of her films here
The announcement Palace Cinemas chain had reached a deal to take over Melbourne’s famous Astor Theatre was good news for local film buffs. But given the Astor’s fraught and uncertain history, some scepticism remained. These concerns have been allayed by the announcement of the Astor’s new general manager, Zak Hepburn. Hepburn has ten years of cinema experience and, perhaps most importantly from the point of view of the Astor’s loyal fan base, a long association with the cinema. “I grew up in Bacchus Marsh, where there was no cinema,” recalls Hepburn. “My mum first took me to the Astor to see The Beatles: Yellow Submarine. I was constantly asking my mother to drive me to the Astor, which was well over an hour and a half away and I’ve been a regular patron ever since.” Hepburn re-affirms that Palace Cinemas is committed to maintaining the key aspects of the ‘Astor Experience’: a single-screen theatre with a program of new and classic films in 35mm, 70mm and digital formats. “The focus is very much on establishing a cultural hub for movie fans, with double features and remastered classics, new and independent movies, film festivals and special events.” After minor refurbishment, the Astor re-opens for business on Sunday, June 7. Hepburn is finalising the new program, but it will include Kenneth Branagh’s four-hour plus Hamlet, an Astor favourite, and a digitally restored cut of the original The Terminator. There’ll be a 50th anniversary screening of spy thriller The
Watching all eight Harry Potter films in one feverish marathon is a bit like taking a roadtrip across the entire country or starting a vegetable patch: it's a feat often talked about, but rarely acted upon. Potter fans, now is the time to make the dream a reality. After a huge debut last year, the Astor Theatre is putting on the entire Harry Potter saga from 11am onwards on Saturday November 3. For all of y'all who are still awake the marathon also includes a screening of the 70mm version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the sequel to which hits screens on November 15. This is an emotional rollercoaster lasting almost 24 hours; casual fans need not apply. For those hardcore enough to settle in for the entire journey, make sure you accio tickets ASAP, because tickets will sell out faster than the time it takes for Neville Longbottom to lose Trevor, his pet toad. The Astor will also be giving away prizes (fingers crossed for Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans). Dressing up is encouraged, so rustle up your best Yule Ball dress robes and get ready for a magical 24 hours.
The kitsch, whimsical world of Wes Anderson is coming to the Astor Theatre this month. From July 4 to August 9, Wednesday nights at the Astor will celebrate the entirety of Wes Anderson’s directorial career from 1996 comedy-crime Bottle Rockets right up to this year’s stop-motion animated hit Isle of Dogs. Inspired by the likes of Orson Welles and Federico Fellini, Anderson has spent his 20 or so years as a director carving out a rather fanciful niche. The seven-week retrospective at the Astor includes both single and double bills, as well as plenty of pastel-hued sets and Owen Wilson moments. For the full schedule of films check the Dates and Times tab above.
Good movies are great, but bad movies are often so much better. Every Wednesday, Classic Cinemas is celebrating B-grade films, with low-budget, cult classic and downright terrible movies getting their time in the sun. Weird Wednesday films are screening upstairs, at one of the Classic's four brand-new screens. Past Weird Wednesday films have included Jack Frost, about a murderous possessed snowman, and epically terrible horror film Birdemic, which includes graphics that look like they were made in MS Paint circa 1995. These underappreciated (or perhaps perfectly appreciated, for what they are) gems of cinema will be at the Astor every Wednesday throughout June and July. Grab the popcorn and choc tops, because it's going to get weird.
If you're a film buff, student, skint broke or a cheap date, then we've some good news for you: Palace Cinemas are selling $5 tickets to all their films for a whole week. Starting this Thursday, August 9, Palace Cinemas are selling every ticket to every film for a measly $5. Just let that information sink in for a bit – you can get a $5 ticket to ANY film at ANY one of Melbourne's six Palace Cinema venues (excluding the Kino) for a whole week. There's never been a better reason to switch off those reruns of The Office, put down the remote and actually see some new releases. The cheap week is to celebrate the launch of Palace Cinemas' new rewards club, which gives members access to daily discounts, birthday specials and free tickets on joining. Catch a hot new blockbuster like The Incredibles 2 or see something a little bit more arthouse. The $5 tickets are available from August 9 to 15 at Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Dendy Brighton, Palace Westgarth and the Astor Theatre. For more film-fun check out our top pick for MIFF 2018. Or keep the cheap times rolling with a FREE chicken burger from Sonny's.
Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefellerwho all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham's enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE. Scrap The Oscars, The Emmys, The Tonys – the only awards that matter is The Dukes, The Astor Theatre's award show for cat videos. Named after the cinema's boss cat, who can often be often weaving his way through the lines for the candy bar or sitting on his kitty litter near the theatre entrance, the Dukes award will be an annual event and the first event will take place on Sunday October 2 at 4pm. On the day of The Dukes, feline film fans will be given score cards to vote for their favourite cat videos screened at the award event. The Astor team has put together an hour's worth of cat videos, from the obscure to the classic, featuring cats from the streets of St Kilda to the hills of LA. The results will be tallied and the audience's favourite video will be presented with the very first Dukes award. May the best moggie movie mogul* win. We have our money on this keyboard cat reincarnation. *Ed's note: I'd very much like to make my cat Tiger (pictured below) a star, but his greatest accomplishment to date is to sit in the recycling box. We've got a bit of work to do. Want to learn more The Astor's resident cat Duke? Check out our interview with this feline film buff.
Every Melburnian has had the Astor Theatre programme calendar at some point, and it turns out we're not the only ones who are fans of the old-school cinema, because the Supernormal Canteen team have teamed up with the Astor to create a one-off, next level movie snack for a double feature screening of Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled and Lost in Translation on Saturday September 30. Moviegoers going to the back-to-back screening will get a complimentary choctop based on Supernormal's most popular dessert – the peanut butter parfait. The dessert will get the cinema treatment: the creamy peanut butter parfait will be scooped into a waffle cone, covered in salted caramel and chocolate, and sprinkled with roasted peanuts. Supernormal Canteen head chef Tim Goegan says, “We’re huge fans of Coppola and are dead excited to work with the Astor which is such an institution in St Kilda. As soon as we saw Lost in Translation on the programme, synapses started firing!” Tickets to the double feature on September 30 are just $17 each and are available from the Astor's box office or online. Go on, this is your only chance to try the Supernormal classic in choctop form. Where (and how) to get cheap cinema tickets in Melbourne.
After midnight at the Astor during Melbourne International Film Festival is the Witching Hour, when the respectable veneer of cinema cracks open and unspeakable things fly out. Last year they held a marathon of some of the strangest science fiction movies we've ever seen. This year, in a stroke of mad genius, they will be showing back-to-back Nicolas Cage movies. Let that sink in for a moment. Twelve hours of non-stop Nic. He's been called the "most memeable" actor in history thanks to his maniacal turns in the likes of The Wicker Man ("Not the bees!") and Vampire's Kiss (yes, he really ate that cockroach). And we're willing to bet that those two masterpieces will be on the bill when the full program of MIFF 2018 is announced on Tuesday July 10. While you are watching the Cage-a-Thon, be sure to remind yourself from time to time that this man has won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Here are some sneak peek highlights of MIFF 2018.
As for the opening reels, the principal motivating factor is money. After a deliberately confusing pre-credit sequence (not explained until the film's punch line), Tom Jeffers (Joel McCrea) and Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) are married. And so they lived happily ever after, exults a title card, ...or did they? Well, they didn't. After five years of marriage, Tom hasn't raised a dime with his pie-in-the-sky inventions. Using the sort of logic common to Sturges heroines, Gerry decides that the only way to help her husband is to divorce him, marry a wealthy man, and use the second husband's money to finance Tom's schemes. Borrowing money from a generous self-made business mogul known only as the Wienie King (Robert Dudley), Gerry boards a train to Palm Beach, FL, where all the rich folk go. En route, she is adopted by the Ale & Quail Club, a group of perpetually drunken millionaires whose idea of a good time is to shoot their rifles at everything that moves (among the club members are such Sturges regulars as William Demarest, Robert Warwick, Jimmy Conlin, Robert Greig, Jack Norton, and Dewey Robinson). Taking refuge from this rowdy crew, Gerry makes the acquaintance of likeable stuffed shirt John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee), who happens to be one of the wealthiest men in the Western Hemisphere. While Gerry spoons with Hackensacker in Palm Beach, the confused Tom (remember him?) dallies with Hackensacker's man-crazy sister, Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor). How all th