Guides for Sydney movie lovers
Films in cinemas now in Sydney
Movie lists you'll love
Film events in Sydney
The best cinemas in Sydney
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
Without doubt the grandest cinema in Sydney, Cremorne’s Art Deco picture palace is a stunning step back in time. Built in 1935 by George Kenworthy, the top theatrical architect of the period, today’s version is even glitzier than the original thanks to a $2.5-million restoration some years back by owner and local TV celeb Mike Walsh. Each of the six auditoria has its own colour scheme and decor, but the 744-seat Orpheum is the true star of the show. It even has a genuine Wurlitzer cinema organ, which rises out of a stage pit on weekend evenings complete with flashing lights and a grinning organist. Expect a mix of mainstream US, British and Australian fare, with some art-house, special presentations and the occasional cabaret show.
Ritz Cinema Randwick
With a distinctive Art Deco design restored to its former 1930s glory and an impressive sound system, the six-screen Ritz cinema is both a local landmark and an excellent venue for catching the latest mainstream releases. Signs explain the regulations – no alcohol, bare feet, smoking or skateboards – which make sense if you hit the place in the afternoon after school’s out. In the evening the place attracts a different crowd, including film geeks who seek out the Ritz for its great acoustics and old-fashioned flair. Upstairs the inimitable Bar Ritz boasts a marble bar and balcony – perfect for pre- and post-film drinks. Bus 372, 373, 376, 377.
Palace Norton Street Cinemas
Leichhardt's Palace Cinemas were fully refurbed in 2013 and now have eight auditoria, all licensed, and an impressive foyer with a lounge bar and café on site. Palace Norton Street plays host to some of the best annual film festivals such as the French, Spanish, Greek, German and Italian. It is also in close proximity to the eateries and vibrant culture of Norton Street.
Palace Verona Cinemas
Paddington’s intellectuals, gays and art-house crowds are always seen milling about the Palace Verona with glee. The four screens are on the small side, the seats are snug and the pre-show commercials... well, they tend to go on forever. But we're forgiving film lovers, especially since this oft-buzzing venue screens an expertly curated line-up of arthouse releases from name directors (Woody, the Coens, PT Anderson...), world movies, quirky Australian indies and special one-offs, like screenings of overseas stage productions and concerts. There's a licensed café, wine and espresso bar on the premises – good for a pre-movie drink, a post-movie chat or even just a day date, since you don't have to purchase a ticket to enjoy what they're pouring and brewing. And if you're a frequent moviegoer, you'll want to check out Palace's great-value membership schemes, which are more than worth the investment if you see flicks on the regular.
Named after the Australian film pioneer Charles Chauvel - of Jedda fame - this much-loved local cinema is part of the Palace cinema chain. Its proscenium arch brings true grandeur to the art of film and the staff really know their stuff. Screenings tend to be seriously arty and the place also holds Cinemateque screenings. Be sure to seek out the lovely upstairs bar. Bus 333, 352, 378, 380. Screens 2. Tickets $16.50; $9-$12.50 reductions; $8 Tue.
Upcoming film releases in Australia
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Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
Maybe you saw him on HBO's Treme, or one of his appearances on Conan, Leno, Kimmel or Fallon. Now, hot off the back of touring with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Trombone Shorty is coming down under to play Bluesfest and some special sideshows. Joined by his swinging band Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty brings brass and big band sounds to life on the stage with serious flair. The jazz and soul maestro isn't a stranger to big stages – he's played at the White House, alongside Madonna and helped out pop producer Mark Ronson on his albums – so you can expect some big vibes from him when he plays the Metro Theatre.
Barangaroo Ngangamay is an innovative, interactive artwork that gives you the chance to go on an journey of learning and discovery throughout Barangaroo Reserve. Using an app to place you within the context and history of the site, Barangaroo Ngangamay uses geo-locating to reveal intricate stories, songs and rock engravings scattered throughout the Barangaroo Reserve. The Barangaroo Ngangamay app includes five short films, which are unlocked by visiting sandstone artworks handcarved by Aboriginal elders Vic Simms, Steven Russell and Laurie Bimson. Each film shows the resilience and diversity of Barangaroo and the Aboriginal women who used to call the Reserve home. Created by renowned Indigenous multi-media artists Amanda Jane Reynolds and Genevieve Grieves, the work is the result of a collaboration between the pair and local Aboriginal communities and elders, developed to tell ancient and treasured stories of the world’s oldest living culture. The Barangaroo Ngangamay app is available to download for iOS and Android devices.
Help the homeless by eating kingfish poké
Hawaiian poké is a dish currently sweeping the world and Salmon & Bear seafood eateries in Zetland and Newtown are among the best places in town to eat it. Poké – basically a delicious raw fish salad – has been a highlight of Salmon & Bear since they opened, with tuna, salmon and sweet prawn varieties designed by chef Mark Jensen (who taught at the Sydney Seafood School for 15 years). Now Salmon & Bear have created a new kingfish poké: diced Hiramasa kingfish in a miso and sesame dressing served on a salad of kale, quinoa, fennel, tomato, sweet potato, carrot, Spanish onion and pepita seeds. To launch this new dish, Salmon & Bear wanted to support the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s First Response Program. The program ensures that anybody who is homeless leaves the centre with a pathway towards getting a roof over their heads. The kingfish poké costs $21, and $2 from every one sold will be donated to the First Response Program, until they’ve raised enough money to get 20 people off the streets. You get a tasty meal, plus the warm feeling of having helped someone in need. Nicely played, Salmon & Bear.
Sculpture at Scenic World
When art escapes the galleries and gets out into the landscape, magical things can happen. There’s nothing quite like trekking through a Jurassic-era rainforest, rounding a corner and suddenly spying a cloud of red snowballs, a mosaic of mirrors, a convoy of toy trucks, or a squadron of ninja koalas. That’s the appeal of Sculpture at Scenic World – the element of surprise, delight, to have our senses confounded, our minds provoked – and the reason why the event is enjoying a sixth season in 2017. The exhibition, which kicks off on April 7 and goes for just one month, brings another dimension to Scenic World in Katoomba, and makes a visit especially appealing for parents who want to expose their kids to art as well as the great outdoors. Take the trip down the steepest railway in the world (the Scenic Railway), then make your way along Australia’s longest elevated boardwalk (the Scenic Walkway) to discover the exhibition. Thirty-five local, interstate and international artists have created works specifically to be installed in the rainforest along the Scenic Walkway. As part of this year’s Sculpture at Scenic World, there is a program of workshops for children called Sculpture for Small People that encourages kids to engage with the artists and their works. These are fun, educational workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings that cost $15, including all materials, in which children can create their own artworks to take home – from ceramics and Easter Eggs to spider web