Sydney loves its movies. We have some of the best pop-up and outdoor cinemas in the country, plenty of great movie theatres and loads of film festivals throughout the year. From one-off screenings of classic movies to reoccurring midnight movie sessions, here are the best film events in Sydney.
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 15. Gates open 90 minutes prior to each film commencing 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 Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey (as Harley Quinn) and Bombshell; Oscar hopefuls Little Women, 1917, Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; sing-alongs of The Greatest Showman and Bohemian Rhapsody; and mainstream extravaganzas Cats, Dolittle and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Tickets are on sale now; early bird pricing expires on Sunday December 8.
You know it as St George OpenAir Cinema, but after 16 years the event has a new sponsor. Take a bow, Westpac OpenAir. It's the one down on the water at Mrs Macquaries Point, where up to 2,000 viewers gather in grandstand seating nightly to watch the 350m2 screen rise up from the water for the evening's show. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge wink at you in the background, the food is restaurant-standard, and the drinks are flowing. The 2020 program will feature more than a dozen premiere and preview screenings, the new Oscar hopefuls, blockbusters and a selection of 2019’s best films. Opening night's film has been revealed as Bombshell, the explosive story of the women who exposed the behaviour of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow. Another major film announced in the program is The Gentlemen – Guy Ritchie's new crime-geezer romp, featuring Hugh Grant (in cockney mode), as well as Matthew McConaughey and Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery. Greta Gerwig's new version of the classic Little Women will also screen, featuring an incredibly starry cast of Streeps, Derns, Watsons, Chalamets and more. The food offering is every bit as luxe as the setting. It's been anounced that two well-known Australian chefs, James Viles (Biota, Bertha’s Meats) and Clayton Wells (Automata, A1 Canteen), will be running Westpac OpenAir's casual and fine dining offerings. The Lounge by James Viles will be the à la carte dining experien
Pack your picnic baskets, Sydney’s favourite outdoor cinema experience is returning to Centennial Park this November. Moonlight Cinema promises an eclectic program of current films and classic favourites for filmgoers to enjoy right through to March. Moonlight’s rolling expanse of green grass and pop-up screen is the perfect setting for unfurling a picnic blanket and keeping the family entertained, spending time with mates or having a date where you have more room to chat (and canoodle) than a traditional cinema. As in previous years, there's an array of resident food trucks on offer serving a tempting selection of hot food, as well as an onsite bar. For the more crafty (and thrifty) among us, Moonlight is always a BYO event, so you can pack your own bevvies and the snacks of your desires. You can also add a touch of opulence to the experience with Moonlight’s aptly named Gold Grass, an exclusive package that sets you up with a premium viewing location, a revamped selection of luxurious bean beds and waiters at your service. Stay tuned for the full Moonlight program, set to be announced soon.
This newest season of free movies from the archives of world cinema delivers supernatural stories from seven different nations. The Art Gallery of NSW presents these films as an adjunct to its magisterial Japan Supernatural exhibition, and it ranges from a legendary Italian horror film to two neglected Australian classics of the uncanny. As the gallery notes, “cinema is a ghostly medium”, well suited to otherworldly tales that pick at the stitching of our established lives and slip into bizarre and unknown realms. Few who’ve seen Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Don’t Look Now (1973) will ever forget its devastating beginning or its shocking ending. This story of a grieving couple spying ghosts in Venice stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and features shapeshifting creatures that are inspired by the eerie aesthetics of low-budget Thai films. BeDevil (1993) is artist Tracey Moffatt’s profoundly weird trilogy of ghostly tales told to her by her Indigenous and Irish relatives and shot on artificial-looking sets. Recently restored by the National Film and Sound Archive, Ann Turner’s Celia (1989) concerns an eight year old in Melbourne in 1957 dealing with a series of reality checks, from discovering her grandmother dead in bed to being told she can’t play with the kids next door because their parents are communists. Scenes where Celi
Cadigal Green, on the south-of-King-Street side of the University of Sydney, is hosting the new season of American Express Openair Cinemas. This year there are four weeks of screenings, many including DJs and live music. Dogs are not just tolerated at every screening, they're positively welcomed. The line-up includes festive new releases as well as big blockbuster screenings we’ve been waiting to watch all year. Keep the post-Christmas cheer going with a night of holiday tunes and awkwardly adorable romance in Last Christmas, which features the Mother of Dragons, Emilia Clarke, alongside Henry Golding. Then, watch Jennifer Lopez give a career-defining performance in the Wall Street stripper flick, Hustlers, or see Hollywood in the late '60s through Tarantino’s creative lens in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Other favorites include Jojo Rabbit, Bombshell, Joker and the next installment in the Star Wars series. Tickets are going for $14-$42 depending on how luxe you want your night at the movies to be. American Express Card Members get a whole range of benefits including 15 per cent off all tickets and complimentary blanket hire. Doors open at 6pm and movies begin at sunset. Check out the full program here and book your tix to the flicks today.
Crawl under the blankets with a glass of wine and settle in for another season of screenings in bed at the EQ. This fun twist on the classic outdoor cinema has been running since 2016, offering Sydney’s film buffs the chance to see new releases and beloved cinematic moments on the big screen while snuggling up under the doona. For the first time, Mov'in Bed Cinema is upping the ante, literally, by taking over the Showring rooftop in the Entertainment Quarter, so punters can take in the Sydney skyline before their movie begins. And it's not just the views that will be looking extra impressive this year. Using cutting-edge 4K technology, Mov'in Bed will be treating its film fans to the highest of high-def quality. A quartet of summer blockbusters is headlining this year's Sydney season, including the hotly anticipated final installment of the Star Wars saga, The Rise of Skywalker, the reboot of crime-fighting cult classic Charlie's Angels, the elaborately clever whodunnit Knives Out, and Joaquin Pheonix's masterful performance in Joker. The Western Australian event is featuring 2019 flicks like the Leo, Brad and Margot Robbie retro adventure Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, new films for superhero fans like Avengers: Endgame and Shazam, and golden oldies like Dirty Dancing, Pulp Fiction and Back to the Future. The mobile cinema will be offering dine-in-bed dinner service, this year featuring Mexican eats from El Camino and drool-worthy pizza from Fratelli Fresh, and as in p
Taking the kids to the movies is a great family day out, but if they need to run off some of that choc-top sugar strength, cinema aisles aren’t the best place to do it. So, silver screen giants Event Cinemas has come up with the perfect wriggly remedy, and they’re test running the family-friendly experience at their Macquarie Fields complex. Event Junior is a dedicated space for kids under the age of eight, where they can race around slides, climbing nets and interactive digital games before, after or during the intermission of new release family movies. If there aren’t any flicks your little rugrat wants to see, you can simply book a one-hour play session at the Event Junior jungle gym for $5, with free entry for caregivers. If you are in it for the storytelling action, book standard movie tickets and the kids can go wild in the ten-minute intermission, or whack on an extra 30 minutes of playtime for $5. They really get the needs of the young family here, and also offer comfy daybeds and bean bags instead of stiff straight back chairs, as well as a kid-friendly movie snack menu. And if your kidlets really dig it, you can book out the whole space for birthday parties.
Japan Supernatural is wowing crowds at the Art Gallery of NSW, but it just wouldn't be a complete exhibition on fantastical visions from Japan without a bit of Totoro, Chihiro, Kiki and their friends from the oeuvre of Studio Ghibli. Five of the studio's best animations will screen in the Domain Theatre over five Saturdays as an extra incentive to get kids along to the gallery over the holidays. Four are well-loved classics by Hayao Miyazaki and one (Pom Poko) from Isao Takahata. It kicks off with Oscar-winner Spirited Away (Jan 11), in which young girl Chihiro goes to work at a bathhouse for the gods. Next is Pom Poko (Jan 18), in which tanuki (racoon dogs) defend their woodland home from urban sprawl by playing tricks on humans, followed by My Neighbour Totoro (Jan 25), with its titular nature spirit who can only be seen by young children and travels by 'catbus'. Kiki's Delivery Service (Feb 1) is the charming story of a young witch who moves to a new town with her cat and tries to find employment. Finally there's the darker Princess Mononoke (Feb 8), the original woman who runs with the wolves, and one of the highest grossing films ever released in Japan. Tickets are $12 ($10 for kids) and on sale now. Love fantastic cinema? Check out Dark Arts, the gallery's season of free movies over the summer.
A new short film by the brilliiant Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite, The Lobster), titled 'Nimic', is among the highlights of the 29th Flickerfest. Flickerfest is Australia’s leading short film festival and the only one in the country which has Academy accreditation and is BAFTA-recognised. The 2020 season kicks off in Sydney at Bondi Pavilion in January before going on tour to over 50 venues around Australia until May. Over 3,500 submissions from around the world have been whittled down to about 200 short films that will screen at Bondi Pavillion. Highlights of the Australian program include 'Chicken' by Papua New Guinean-Australian director and writer, Alana Hicks; the Australian premiere of 'The Diver' by Michael Leonard and Jamie Helmer, which had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival; 'Backpedal' by Dani Pearce, which has been selected for Sundance; and the world premiere of 'Closed Doors', written and directed by Hunter Page Lochard and Fred Carter Simpkin featuring an all-star indigenous cast. As well as 'Nimic', internationally the program will feature 'White Echo', the third short film that American actress Chloë Sevigny has written and directed; 'The Marvelous Misadventures of the Stone Lady' by Portuguese director Gabriel Abrantes, which was highly commended this year at the Directors Fortnight in Cannes; French/American film 'Talk' starring William Baldwin; and actress Clemence Poesy’s 'The Tear’s Thing'. The shorts in competition at Fl
In 2003, Tommy Wiseau somehow got $6 million together to make his vanity project: a romantic drama about a banker (Wiseau) whose manipulative fiancee Lisa cheats on him. Inept in every department, from the excruciating acting to the dumb plotting and the astonishing narrative flaws, The Room also happens to be very, very entertaining: so bad that you can't stop watching. Hayden Orpheum holds cult screenings on the first Friday of every month. These screenings show no sign of petering out. Indeed, every month the cult of The Room grows. Time Out can't recommend this movie highly enough. The James Franco film The Disaster Artist is about the making of The Room – but why go for the pale imitation when you can mainline the pure stuff?