Australia’s only film festival dedicated to film lovers aged 60 and up, Young at Heart, is returning in February. The festival program includes acclaimed features, special guests, Q&As and cinema classics brought back to their rightful home on the big screen. Screenings are at Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona and Palace Central, and if you're a senior you're looking at just $8.50 a ticket plus booking fee (sorry, full price is $20). The festival opens with Swimming with Men, which stars Welsh comedic star Rob Brydon as a mature man who joins an all-male synchronised swimming team; there'll be afternoon tea and a glass of sparkling wine before the screening. Nonna on the Run is an Italian comedy concerning two woman who flee their retirement home in Rome for a trip to Venice – screen icon Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon a Time in the West) is one of the stars. An Australian screen great, Elizabeth Debicki, plays Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia, portraying the writer's romance with Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton). The Heiresses was named Best Film at the Sydney Film Festival last year, and Young at Heart presents another opportunity to see this emotionally compelling Paraguayan movie. Screen favourite Bill Nighy plays a Scrabble obesessive searching for his lost son in Sometimes, Always, Never, and Judi Dench appears in Red Joan, based on the life of British KGB agent Melita Norwood. On the documentary fron there's Older than Ireland, centring on Ir
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the beautiful surrounds at Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks, too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. Time Out is especially looking forward to The Favourite – the new film by the director of The Lobster that portrays the outrageous rivalry of two cousins in the court of England’s Queen Anne in the 18th century, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Green Book follows a distinguished African-American pianist (Mahershala Ali) as he’s chauffeured through redneck southern towns by a tough white New York City bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) in 1962. Mary, Queen of Scots pits Mary (Saoirse Ronan) and Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) against each other in a struggle for the throne of England. Meanwhile balls-out Will Ferrell-John C Reilly comedy Holmes and Watson has the former Step Brothers playing an idiotic Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, to Ralph Fiennes’ supervillain Moriarty. Widows promises to knock your socks off: Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki star in crime thriller about widows banding together to pull off their late husbands’ big heist. The director is Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave). We can also recommend G
North Sydney Oval, with its historic grandstand and views of the lights of North Sydney, is a classy venue for outdoor cinema screenings, and Sunset Cinema will kick off another ten-week season on January 17. Gates open 90 minutes prior to each film commencing and a range of food and beverages is available. Join the Sunset Cinema Movie Club to get early bird ticket discounts, news, promotions and other prizes. Highlights of the program include retro comedies The Princess Bride and Cool Runnings; new M Night Shyamalan thriller Glass (the sequel to Unbreakable and Split); new superhero flick Aquaman; and Oscar hopefuls Vice, The Favourite, A Star Is Born and Green Book. High profile sequels include Mary Poppins Returns and How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World. Tickets are on sale now.
Crawl under the blankets with a glass of wine and settle in for another season of movies at the Entertainment Quarter in the Showring. The concept is irresistible – a large inflatable bed to snuggle into, food, drinks and a great movie – but this year they're introducing a few innovations. They include Bottomless Popcorn sessions – with unlimited refills from the Bar – and cheap Grass Tickets, where you can bring your blanket and a picnic and enjoy your favourite movie under the stars for as little as $9 per head. Then there's the option to Dine in Bed. Mov’in Bed is partnering with the Rockpool Dining Group – Fratelli Fresh and Bavarian Bier Café – to offer food delivered straight to your bed. You can even order your food in advance online. The Bar, meanwhile, will be serving beer, wine, bubbles, ice cream, candy and popcorn. The line-up of movies is a well curated as ever. Highlights include recent hits such as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; Johnny English Strikes Again; Bohemian Rhapsody; Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! and Mortal Engines. Also on the line-up are some of 2018’s best films such as Ocean’s 8, Black Panther, BlackKklansman and The Breaker Upperers. Retro greats screening at Mov'in Bed include The Jungle Book, Ted, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Pretty Woman, Akira and Notting Hill. Keep an eye out too for 2019 releases Aquaman, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Green Book, Glass and Mary Poppins Returns, all of which received positive reviews.
The film festival component of Mardi Gras is always a highlight, bringing the stories of queer-identifying people from around the world to Sydney, and the 2019 lineup is no exception. There are 120 narrative features, documentaries and short films from around the world on the schedule, including five world premieres and 75 Australian premieres. Opening night film Giant Little Ones from Canada is a high school coming-out tale with a twist – its hero, Franky (Josh Wiggins), might not be gay at all, as he’s still figuring it out. Closing night gala Rafiki is from Kenya – a tender lesbian love story that has sadly been banned in its own country. Former Doctor Who and star of The Crown, Matt Smith, takes on the role of the great photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose beautiful and frequently erotic photographic portraits stunned the art world before his untimely death and beyond, in the biopic Mapplethorpe. Documentary Man Made tackles Trans FitCon, America’s bodybuilding competition for men of trans experience, and follows four competitors on their journey. Fans of the podcast You Must Remember This will love Scotty and Secret History of Hollywood, the memoirs of Hollywood gigolo and pimp Scotty Bowers, 95, who serviced both men and women during the 1950s and beyond. In that vein, a new doco on famously closeted Hollywood star, Making Montgomery Clift, will screen. There’s also a fiery lesbian romance Eva and Candela from Colombia; a feminist retelling of the life of poet
Hubert has joined forces with maestro sommelier and wine supplier Giorgio de Maria for a magical night of food, wine and entertainment in the restaurant's Theatre Royale. The theatre will be screening the multi-award winning Italian drama (Best foreign language film at the Academy Awards, BAFTA and Golden Globes), The Great Beauty. This celebration of Roman high life will be screened in the restaurant's theatre, where it will be paired with a buffet dinner at intermission and magnums of Italian wine by Le Coste. Tickets are $150 each, and that's easy money to spend on an unremarkable night out in Sydney, so why not invest it on what might be the city's most oppulent and fun Tuesday night on the town.
Screening fresh new releases, a couple of 2018's best plus a retro classic, American Express Openair Cinemas offers movie fanatics much more than the average cinematic experience. From January 24 to March 3, the amphitheatre and lawn of Bondi Pavilion will be taken over by a packed program of movies, live entertainment, dining and music. The Bondi season will feature exciting 2019 films including Green Book, The Hate U Give, The Front Runner, Mary Queen of Scots, Storm Boy and Glass. Hits of 2018 such as A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody will screen along with beloved classic Notting Hill for Valentine's Day. Purveyors of fine Italian cuisine, Salt Meats Cheese, will be be curating the menu throughout the season – woodfired pizzas, truffle pasta, cheesy arancini, salads and desserts. Beer will come by way of Urban Alley Brewery, there’ll be fine drops from Giesen Wines, refreshing fruity brews from Black Devil Cider, Pimms aperitifs and Champagne Duperrey for those looking for the ultimate VIP experience. Every ticket will now include a seat (whether a Kathmandu camping chair, a lounger or a bean bag) and your American Express Card membership is your golden ticket to the exclusive lounge area. You’ll receive the VIP treatment, complete with a blanket, movie snacks and the best view in the house. There’s also a tidy 15 per cent off selected tickets for members, plus access to the American Express Garden for sunset tipples. Click here to see the entire program and book
When Daniel Craig took over from Pierce Brosnan as everybody's favourite spy, the British secret service underwent a significant transformation – or at least on screen. Casino Royale, the 2006 James Bond film that was Craig's first entry in the series, took on a decidedly gritty tone after the excess of Brosnan's later movies, and picked up stellar reviews for refreshing the franchise. In fact, Casino Royale was the first Bond film in decades to not open with the signature gun barrel sequence; that comes a little bit later. And don't worry, you still get to hear Monty Norman's famous and enduring Bond theme in the film alongside David Arnold's original score – just not until pretty late in the film as Casino Royale is a bit of an origin story. The Bond theme kicks in only when Bond has finally gone full-Bond. Joshua Tan will be conducting this performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who'll play as Bond leaps from towering building to towering build, and from bed to bed. On screen, Craig is joined by Judi Dench as M, Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd.
Great movies by Taiwanese directors including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee and Tsai Ming-liang feature in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ newest free film series, Neon Gods. Designed to complement the AGNSW’s exhibition Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, the series is an excellent opportunity to see some of the greatest works of Sinophone cinema on a big screen, and for free. Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd, who programs the gallery’s free movie program, says that the films reflect the exhibition’s themes of humanity and the gods in the context of a modern metropolis. “Artworks in the exhibition are looking at the harmony between the celestial and the earthly, whereas films in this series are looking at the rupture of harmony in the interrelations of humans and supernatural forces in the cities,” she says. “That accounts for the dynamic cinematic storytelling you find in these films.” The series gets its name from Rebels of the Neon God, the 1992 film from Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang that portrays a young man’s disaffection in the neon glow of Taipei at night. “It’s just an amazing time capsule of ’90s Taipei, a Rebel Without a Cause story with youth in double denim running around on motorbikes,” says Arrowsmith-Todd. Edward Yang’s 2000 epic Yi Yi is another highlight. The story of three generations of a middle-class Taipei family, it famously begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, spanning a wealth of hum
Before Elisabeth Moss donned the red robes of the fiercely tenacious Offred in the award-winning SBS drama The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood wrote the dystopian world of Gilead into existence. Fans of this unsettling novel, the 1990 film adaptation and the 2017 television series will be well acquainted with the parable it tells of a society that has rejected human rights and is dominated by a group of classist, religious fanatics. While The Handmaid’s Tale was originally written 23 years ago, many will also be aware of how Atwood anchored this disturbing society in reality – perhaps doing a little prophesying – drawing from the problems seen in our own political and social context. In her 2019 talk at the Sydney Opera House, Atwood will discuss how fiction allows us to explore issues in our own society, merging the realms of critical debate and imagination. Her impressive body of work is a testament to the ideas she’ll present, so you’ll probably want to read-up and binge watch before the talk. When you catch up on The Handmaid’s Tale, your recommended reading/viewing list includes: historical murder mystery Alias Grace (which has become another acclaimed television series), The Edible Woman which challenges gender stereotypes and explores psychology, and the futuristic adventure romance Oryx and Crake.