13 unmissable summer movies
From tentpole event flicks to Oscar hopefuls, the movies of summer have more to recommend them than two hours of air-conditioned heat relief. Here are Time Out’s top picks of the December-to-February offerings – including our own made-up, cheesy sell lines...
McDonald's movie The Founder gives franchise mogul Ray Kroc a good grilling
Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old travelling salesman when he met the McDonald Brothers in 1954. Impressed with the efficiency of their San Bernardino hamburger restaurant, he offered to franchise their restaurants across America. The rest is history. New movie The Founder, written by Robert D Siegel (The Wrestler), tells Ray Kroc’s story, but also the story of the birth of the modern fast food industry and ultimately the dark heart of American corporate practice...
Guides for Sydney movie lovers
Read reviews of all the latest films
Get expert opinions on the films currently in Australian cinemas
Upcoming film festivals in Sydney
Attention movie buffs: add these film festivals to your diary
The best outdoor cinemas in Sydney
Enjoy a movie alfresco with Time Out's guide to all the outdoor cinema seasons
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A sweaty handful of movies making Tourism Australia's job that little bit harder
Films in cinemas now in Sydney
Film events in Sydney
Strathfield Movies in the Park
Head to the rotunda in Strathfield Park for free family movies on selected Saturday nights
Art After Hours
Head to AGNSW after work on Wednesdays for free films, live music, art lectures and celebrity talks
Catch some of the most innovative, provocative and wildly entertaining short films the world has to offer at Australia’s leading short film festival
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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Serial’s Julie Snyder
She was the co-creator and producer of the most addictive podcasts of the past decade and her investigative journalism skills unearthed a case that had the world round wondering just 'whodunnit'. And now Serial's creator is coming to Sydney for Bingefest. Julie Snyder – the woman behind the smash hit Serial – will be giving you an inside look into the creation of her true crime podcast. This exclusive Australian conversation will see Snyder sharing recordings peppered with personal anecdotes and memories from creating the series. Aired in 2014, Serial blew up to be one of the biggest podcasts ever, breaking Apple's download records as the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads. The the murder of Hae Min Lee and conviction of Adnan Syed was pulled apart across 12 detailed episodes and Snyder and co-creator Sarah Koenig scored critical acclaim for reinvigorating long-form nonfiction storytelling. It went onto be so influential that podcasts were created about the show, everyone had an opinion to who the murderer really was, and Adnan Syed's case even went to retrial. Don't miss your chance to hear from the storytelling maestro at this year's inaugural Bingefest.
NYE at Portside Sydney
Another year has sped by and now it's time to farewell it. Do so in style at one of the best vantage points in Sydney for seeing the Harbour Bridge fireworks: down at Portside Sydney Opera House. All night long there will be free flowing Moët & Chandon Impérial, and local Falcona signed DJ Dena Amy will be spinning electronic, pop and classic hits to soundtrack your 2016 send-off. A menu specially curated by Lauren Murdoch will be served throughout the evening, alongside a signature Belvedere Vodka cocktail list. There will also be wines from Cape Mentelle, beers from James Squire and 5 Seeds Cider. The celebrations at Portside Sydney kick off from 7.30pm, meaning you will have one of the best vantage points in all of Sydney for both the 9pm and midnight fireworks.
Experience the magic of Christmas in Martin Place
Bulgari is helping set Christmas aglow with a mesmerising jewelled light installation in the Martin Place precinct. Crafted using thousands of individual LED lights, the festive decorations interpret the Roman jeweller’s most famous shapes. The coiling Serpenti centerpieces evoke precious garlands, while the Divas’ Dream collection becomes stylised Christmas trees. The shimmering display is on every evening from 6pm to midnight up until Wednesday December 28. As well as admiring the light display shoppers and commuters will be able to visit the GPO Dessert Bar, installed in Martin Place next to the Christmas Tree. Visit the dessert bar for gelato, housemade sweets, cakes, coffee, cold beverages and savoury options, with casual seating available as well as views of the interactive Christmas tree. The GPO Dessert Bar is open Monday to Thursday 8am-10pm; Friday 8am-11pm; Saturday 9am-11pm; and Sunday 10am-10pm, up until Friday December 30. Bulgari Christmas Lights and the GPO Dessert Bar are part of sydneychristmas.com.au.
Lights of Christmas
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and you’ll certainly feel it if you visit St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt. Every night until Christmas (7.30pm-midnight) the grand cathedral will be transformed with a beautiful free light and sound show.The Lights of Christmas, presented by PAYCE, will see a Fantasia-style animation projected onto the façade of St Mary’s Cathedral. The colourful, interactive story will be set to a soundtrack of the festive favourite, Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker Suite'. The show kicks off at 7.30pm every evening, with choirs from around Sydney performing carols on the steps.Following The Nutcracker Suite animation, there will be beautiful super-sized projections of great artists' interpretations of the Madonna and Child. There are also projections at Sydney Town Hall and Martin Place, so make an evening of it and head to the heart of the city to celebrate the festive season.