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...
Bring your furry friend to a pet-friendly Moonlight Cinema screening
Stop reading now if you hate doggy puns. Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park is holding the first ever 'pet-miere' on Friday December 9 with their pet-friendly screening of The Secret Life of Pets. The night is a partnership with Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment who invite you to bring your dog or cat, "get snapped by the puperazzi" and enjoy entertainment such as "pawtraits, pam-purring, selfies and doggy pawdicures." Seeing as they're so keen on the puns we have a few suggestions of movies they could show next time... and remember guys you started this, not us. Musical: The Hound of MusicSci-Fi: Close Encounters of the Furred KindHorror: Woof CreekClassic: Citizen CanineKitchen-sink drama: I, Spaniel BlakePeriod drama: The King's PoochBlockbuster: Dogue One: A Star Paws Story... Stop us. Please. We know this is a sickness.
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
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Upcoming film festivals in Sydney
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The best outdoor cinemas in Sydney
Enjoy a movie alfresco with Time Out's guide to all the outdoor cinema seasons
The top ten Aussie films to scare off tourists
A sweaty handful of movies making Tourism Australia's job that little bit harder
Films in cinemas now in Sydney
Film events in Sydney
Art After Hours
Head to AGNSW after work on Wednesdays for free films, live music, art lectures and celebrity talks
Strathfield Movies in the Park
Head to the rotunda in Strathfield Park for free family movies on selected Saturday nights
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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Girl Asleep at Belvoir
Before it was a favourite at Berlin Film Festival and in Australian cinemas, Girl Asleep was a critically acclaimed collaboration between long-time partners in crime Windmill Theatre Company and writer/actor Matthew Whittet (School Dance). This December, Girl Asleep comes to Belvoir, starring Whittet and Amber McMahon as Mr and Mrs Driscoll (aka World's Most Embarrassing Parents) in a show that's an explosion of hormones, imagination run wild, and the kind of 1970s design that would make Wes Anderson squeal with delight. Girl Asleep follows Greta Driscoll on the cusp of her 15th birthday as she grapples with crushes, first kisses and a gang of teen Queen Bees at school. Then there's her parents, who want to throw her a birthday party. Awkward. To celebrate Girl Asleep, Belvoir are transforming their Downstairs Theatre into a 1970s-themed pinball arcade, complete with retro pinball machines, arcade games, beanbags and an original Nintendo console. For $10 you get unlimited plays, with the proceeds going to Belvoir’s Arts Access Program, which gives free theatre tickets to students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Girl Asleep runs December 2-24 at Belvoir St Theatre.
NYE at the Argyle
The Rocks is party central on New Year’s Eve, and what better place to be in among the action than the Argyle? The Argyle plans on kissing goodbye to 2016 with a no-holds-barred, golden-themed event right in the middle of Sydney’s world-famous New Year’s Eve action. Expect an-over-the-top production with the whole venue dripping in gold. Dancers and performers will be roaming through the outdoor courtyard and across the Argyle’s five bars – roller skaters, stilt walkers, golden mermaids, and more. And of course, it wouldn’t be NYE without confetti cannons to add some glitter to the night. An epic line-up of some of Australia’s biggest dance and house DJs is promised over the two levels of the Argyle, with DJs Brooklyn, Tenzin and Andy Murphy welcoming the New Year with golden vibes and epic beats. So get your tickets and get ready to paint the town gold. Early bird tickets are now available for $69 + booking fee. The early bird catches the party worm when it comes to New Year’s Eve in Sydney, so book ahead and get ready to paint the town gold.
Harbour Bar and Kitchen
If you’re after Darling Harbour convenience, Harbour Bar and Kitchen is the spot. You’ll find the restaurant spanning the balcony of Harbourside Shopping Centre in Darling Harbour with views of Sydney Harbour and the CBD skyline visible from any seat in the house. Taking cues from the pit masters of North America, Harbour Bar and Kitchen takes top quality meats, adds just enough seasoning and smokes them with wood for many hours until the perfect harmony of smoke, flavour and time emerges. Then they're slow cooked over a roaring woodfire oven to produce an authentic flame-grilled meal. The house chateaubriand special for two is 500g slow-roasted tenderloin finished on the woodfired chargrill, carved and served with woodfired crispy potatoes and seasonal steamed vegetables with a choice of red wine jus or grill baste. HBK are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serve everything from smoky, chargrilled meats direct from the oven to strawberry stuffed French toast with ground cinnamon, mascarpone cheese and icing sugar. The signature cocktail list includes a refreshing strawberry and basil frozen Margarita alongside classics like the Espresso Martini and an Old Fashioned.
Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinemas Inner West
Gadigal Green, on the south-of-King-Street side of the University of Sydney, is gearing up to host the new season of Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinemas.The event's sponsors take their responsibility to cinema goers seriously, ponying up free Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as live music before the screening at the four Sundae Sessions, which are always quick to sell out. The four movies screening in Sundae Sessions this year are comedy Keeping up with the Joneses (Sun Nov 27), Marvel flick Doctor Strange (Sun Dec 4), sci-fi think piece Arrival (Sun Dec 11) and raucous seasonal comedy Bad Santa 2 (Sun Dec 18). Live music is courtesy of Jeff Riley, Lisa Heller, Nick Casey, the Runaway Houses and Naomi Sequeira, and there are DJ sets from DJ Who. Other highlights of the season include Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge and acclaimed modern-day western Hell or High Water.Classics getting a nostalgic screening on 'Time Travel Tuesdays' include Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Rocky Horror and Will Ferrell's funny holiday flick Elf. Ben & Jerry's ice cream, booze and pizza are available for purchase on site and tickets start from $16. Loungers and deck chairs are also available. Doors open Tue-Fri at 6pm and Sat, Sun at 5pm, and movies begin at sunset. Click on the DATES AND TIMES tab for the full movie line-up and Time Out's critics' picks. Be sure to book well ahead to avoid disappointment.