The 10 best films to see this winter
The next three months are looking good for movie fans. Expect sequels to popular franchises including The Incredibles and Jurassic World; outrageous Hollywood comedies as well as deadpan Kiwi ones; a landmark horror movie; and some A-grade schlock too. Check out our list of the ten best films coming out in June, July and August. Feeling the cold? Try one of the best Sunday roasts in Sydney.
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.
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Seafood and Champagne weekends
It's time to up your weekend long lunch game this winter at the Star. Black Bar & Grill is doing a seriously special seafood spread, matched with a two hour package of Moet and Chandon. Knock back briny Sydney rock oysters from Pambula on the south coast of NSW, Hiramasa kingfish, Hervey Bay scallops with Yarra Valley salmon roe, eastern rock lobster, king prawns and spanner crab from Fraser Island. The feast will cost $140 per person with matched Champagne for two hours, or you can enjoy the seafood selection only for $85 per person. Add in panoramic views of the ocean, luxurious surrounds and the freshest seafood Australia has to offer, and you've got a lovely lunch out. Find out more about seafood and Champagne at the Star.
Sokyo Lounge is your new winter hangout
Sokyo in The Star has a deserved reputation as a top Japanese restaurant, but did you know the adjoining Sokyo Lounge is a relaxed yet chic place for an after-work catch up that comes with the promise of crazy-good bar snacks? A refined menu is available on the bar top offering Sokyo favourites that pair perfectly with a cocktail or two: maguro tataki, kingfish miso ceviche, cuttlefish or red snapper tempura, and tuna crispy rice. There are also skewers of juicy, tender Wagyu tri-tip glazed with a teriyaki sauce. Sokyo’s à la carte menu is available throughout the remainder of the lounge.Photograph: Supplied Your food can be matched to your selection of wine, beer, sake and cocktails. There are many Japanese single malts to try, and an extensive range of sake, shochu and uemeshu. From the cocktail list, a Chasing Kojima combines Yuzu sake, pink grapefruit, lemongrass and elderflower, or you can make like Bill Murray with a Suntory Old Fashioned. Sokyo Lounge hosts DJs every Friday and Saturday, 7-11pm. Kicking back here in a velvet armchair with a little bowl of edamame and a cocktail is a sure-fire cure to the winter blues. Photograph: Supplied
Bastille Day at the Winery
The Winery Surry Hills is getting a French twist to celebrate Bastille Day, from Wednesday to Sunday, July 12-15. The venue is putting on an à la carte menu featuring Gallic classics and pairing them with a hand-picked selection of wines from the Rhône and Burgundy. On the entrée list, select from creamy mushroom velouté, buckwheat crêpe with salmon, Escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in their shells with parsley butter), or lobster croquettes. There are three mains on offer. Ris de Veau à la Reine is lamb sweetbreads, morel mushroom, crème fraîche and puff pastry. French classic bouillabaisse comes bursting with mussels, prawn, whitefish, fennel, tomato and garlic croutons. And the popular steak frites is a 250g sirloin with Café de Paris butter, chips and jus. For dessert, they're planning a stunning hazelnut délice. The Winery's staff will be getting into the spirit of la fête nationale by dressing up in berets and stripey shirts. It's all the perfect excuse to round up the crew for a French food and wine experience without having to leave Surry Hills. Santé! Photograph: Oliver Minnett
Escape the cold with a staycation at The Darling or Astral
A little extra self-care come winter helps counteract the grinding cold and dark days. This chilly season, The Star is offering Sydney an extra warm cuddle, with winter deals across its three outstanding accommodation options The Darling, Astral Tower and Astral Residence. Until August 15, you’ll see a 35 per cent reduction on your stay in any suite or penthouse at these venues. During your stay, receive a complimentary glass of Moët & Chandon at The Star’s top restaurants, Sokyo, Balla or Black Bar & Grill. Book in for your free breakfast for two at Sokyo when you stay at The Darling, or at The Star’s gourmet buffet spot, Harvest Buffet, when you stay at Astral Tower or Astral Residence. Photograph: Supplied Stay at The Darling The spectacular panoramas of Darling Harbour and the city skyline from your window are just the cherry on top of staying at this five-star boutique hotel. Rooms at The Darling feature luxe furnishings and spacious designs across four suite options and penthouses. When you rustle up the energy to leave your rooms, head to The Darling’s pool, gym or spa to get you out of that winter slump. Then really make a weekend of it with breakfast, lunch or dinner at the adjoining Japanese restaurant, Sokyo. Photograph: Supplied Stay at Astral Tower After a recent refurbishment, Astral Tower offers a fresh take on classic luxury accommodation. Inside its four different suites and penthouses you’ll find elegantly designed features such as the floating st