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.
Between 1990 and 1999, the number of babies named "Keanu" skyrocketed in the US. It’s no coincidence that these were the crucial ascendant years – beginning with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in ’89 and reaching the zenith of A-list Hollywood with the first Matrix movie in ‘99 – of the man, the mystery, the marvel that is, was and ever shall be Keanu Reeves. Whether you fell in love with his stoic, brooding portrayal of Jack Traven in Speed, his stoic, brooding portrayal of Neo in the Matrix trilogy, or perhaps his stoic, brooding portrayal of the anti-hero assassin John Wick, there’s no denying the stoic, brooding appeal of Reeves in whatever role he inhabits. Any Sydneysiders who are crazy for Keanu can now immerse themselves in an epic celebration of this modern-day matinee idol courtesy of the Ritz Cinema in Randwick. Every Friday, between November 1 and December 13, some of Reeves’ most beloved blockbusters will be getting an airing, including Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, My Own Private Idaho, Point Break, Speed, The Matrix, The Lake House and John Wick. If despotic robot overlords wanted to enslave our bodies by high-jacking our minds, well, a Keanu Reeves film fest would be one surefire way to do it. So plug in, sit back, and surrender to the seven-week Keanu Reeves-a-thon.
So you reckon you’re pretty tough? Do you think you could stomach an outdoor sleepover at a horrifically haunted harbour Island (read: there is no escape), on the spookiest night of the year? Well, that’s just one terrifying element of the adults-only Overnight Fright Experience happening on Cockatoo Island this Halloween. Before you hunker down for a moonlit slumber on All Hallow’s Eve, you’ll wander through the eerie convict workshops and gaol, dry docks and tunnels on a terrifying two-hour ghost tour. During previous paranormal investigations, hunters have experienced sudden drops in temperature and breath on the back of their necks, so keep an eye out for the ghostly wayward children and convicts who haunt the historic grounds. Next, you’ll get more chills and thrills from the big screen, with an evening of horror movie screenings in the campground cinema. After sufficient spooks, your final task is to attempt to sleep under the stars without nightmares at the deluxe campsite. If this all sounds too heart-attack-inducing, you can just come along for the ghost tour for $45. This wonderfully scary adventure kicks off on October 31, but if you’ve got other Halloween plans, it’ll also run every Friday evening for the rest of the year.
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.
Screening fresh new releases, golden oldies and critically acclaimed alternative films, American Express Openair Cinemas offers movie fanatics much more than the average cinematic experience. From October 31 to December 8, in Metcalfe Park, Pyrmont (across the road from The Star) will be taken over by a packed program of live entertainment, dining and music. The season kicks off in terrifying style with a Halloween screening of It Chapter 2. Recent hits in the program include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Ad Astra, Hustlers, Downton Abbey (open caption screening), Yesterday and Joker. Australian hit Ride Like a Girl, directed by Rachel Griffiths, is also scheduled. Need an outing for the whole family? The Lion King, Dora and the Lost City of Gold and Abominable are kid-friendly flicks that could suit the bill. Love democracy? For November 27, film fans are being asked to vote for their favourite from six cult flicks: Clueless, Cruel Intentions, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You (vote now!). Food this year will be available from the popular Canberra-based food truck Mr Papa, which will make its way up from the capital to serve Peruvian eats including loaded fries, street burgers and grazing platters. Drinks on sale include Giesen Wines, 4Pines beers, Pimms and Enjoy Water (Australian spring water in reusable aluminium cans).Every Wednesday, guests can sample the full range of Giesen Wines (up to eight different varieti
It’s been 12 years since the final novel of JK Rowling’s globally bestselling Harry Potter saga first hit bookshop shelves and eight years since its film adaptation finally graced the silver screen. But much like Snape’s enduring thirst for Harry’s mum, Potter and co’s popularity remains relentlessly strong, even “after all this time”. This December in what has become an annual tradition, Sydney’s proud Potter tragics (and we’re certain there are more than a few) will be able to immerse themselves once more in a movie marathon lasting a whole wizarding weekend, featuring all eight films from the core Potter canon, plus both Fantastic Beast flicks. This magical back-to-back Potterfest is taking place at both Palace Cinema Norton Street and Chauvel Cinema on December 7 and 8. Screenings commence at 10am on the 7th and run through till 11.40pm, before starting again at 10am the following day, playing through till 10.45pm. For those hardcore enough to settle in for the entire journey, make sure you accio tickets ASAP, because they will sell out faster than the time it takes for Neville Longbottom to lose Trevor, his pet toad. Also be advised, dressing up is thoroughly encouraged, so dig out your best Yule Ball dress robes if you want to be noticed. It might be a hell of a lot of Harry to watch in just 36 hours, but if you’re brave about the two-day commitment like a Gryffindor, cunning about getting the best seats like a Slytherin, smart about toilet breaks like a Rave
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
There’s no doubting Poland’s unique place in the history of cinema. Consider the work of directors such as Krzysztof Kieslovski, Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Agnieszka Holland. Think about current directorial talents such as Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War), and the extraordinary work of Polish movie poster designers. In recognition of the industry, the 2019 program of the local Polish Film Festival has been announced, with the best recent Polish films on the program along with an Australian documentary with a Polish theme. Closing the Festival will be Holland’s acclaimed new biopic Mr Jones, which received Best Film nominations at the 2019 Polish Film Festival (Golden Lion) at the Berlin International Film Festival (Golden Bear). Starring James Norton, Joseph Mawle, Peter Sarsgaard and Vanessa Kirby, Mr Jones is an impactful account of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones and his efforts to expose Soviet atrocities in Ukraine in the 1930s. Dolce Fine Giornata stars "the dame of Polish cinema" and Sundance 2019 Best Actor Award winner, Krystyna Janda, as a poet whose comments following a terrorist attack land her in deep water. An epic period drama, The Butler, portrays the love affair between a young Kashubian man a German aristocrat. Werewolf is a disturbing World War II thriller by writer-director Adrian Panec, while 53 Wars is Ewa Bukowska’s evocative psychological drama adapted from the autobiographical novel by Grayna Jagielska. Kinga Debska’s Playing Hard depicts the
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.
Every Wednesday evening, the Art Gallery of NSW welcomes you into its hallowed halls and throws the ultimate in absolutely free mid-week social and cultural events. Until 10pm, Art After Hours offers a regular program of live music, lectures and celebrity talks, drawing workshops, film screenings, gallery tours and other events – and, of course, nocturnal access to its latest exhibitions. The program is usually themed around the exhibitions currently showing at the gallery – there'll be half hour tours of the National 2019 every Wednesday at 6pm from April 3 to July 16. Check out our hit list of the best art to see in Sydney this month.
You may know Louis Theroux best in his befuddled, lanky form from his Weird Weekends series which kicked off in the late ’90s, or you might be more familiar with his recent investigations into subjects like scientology, sexual assault and current worrying trends in the US. But either way, you’ve probably been won-over by the Britsh documentary maker’s disarming journalistic style. Theroux has long been employing the technique of reaching marginalised, radical, unusual or aggressive interview subjects by being unabashedly honest and just gosh darn friendly (albeit with clear intentions to uncover an intriguing story). He investigates the taboo, often putting himself in awkward and dangerous situations. Remember his bit-part in a porno in 1998 or when he underwent liposuction in Under the Knife (2007)? If his last sell-out Australian tour is anything to go by, we can make an informed assumption that he’ll be as charismatic in person as he is on screen. Theroux will bring more than 25 years of journalistic practice to this massive 2020 Australian and New Zealand tour, stopping off in Sydney on January 17 and 18 for three live talks. RocKwiz host Julia Zemiro will be chatting with Theroux about his epic career, so it could really go in any direction: we could be in for a discussion about neo-Nazis, aggressive religious fundamentalists, porn stars, people with autism or transgender kids. You can also expect Theroux to dish about his most famous encounters, behind-the-scenes an