First published on 29 Mar 2011. Updated on 27 Oct 2011.
Photo: Astor Theatre
The iconic Astor was built in the 1930s and is one of the finest examples of south-side Melbourne art-deco. It's a classic single screen cinema with dress stalls, curtains - the works - but with a modern screen, air-con and choc-tops. Every day of the week, the Astor mixes the old with the new so expect to see Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window one day and Inception the next.
This place is like taking a trip back to the golden age of Hollywood – the Scarlet O’Hara-esque stairwell is just one example – and for such an opulent old cinema, the cosy seats and wide screens make for excellent viewing. The Palace has just had $4 million facelift but has lovingly maintained the art deco architecture throughout. It also hosts international film festivals as well as Hollywood blockbusters.
Boasting 15 screens there is always a movie to tickle your fancy at Melbourne’s largest art house movie complex. The audience is as varied as the movie schedule: you may find yourself in a packed cinema amongst hipsters or nestled in between grandmas enjoying a flick. Nova offers late night sessions on weekends and on Mondays the tickets are discounted all day.
This makes the list because there ain’t nothing better than ending a day of shopping with a good flick. On top of shopping mecca Melbourne Central is this cinema. It’s the best place to watch latest releases, action blockbusters and rom-coms without the fear of bumping into someone you know.
Make it your mission to see a movie in each of the Sun’s six cinemas - each one has a different style of architecture and is just a pleasure to visit in trendy Yarraville. It’s fully licensed, so enjoy a vino and popcorn or grab wine afterwards at one of the many bars nearby.
The largest drive-in theatre in Australia, the Lunar Drive-in Dandenong has four screens featuring all the latest Hollywood films seen direct from your car, or someone else’s. The drive-in is open every night of the year (except Christmas Day) and it’s only $28.00 per carload and no one will “shhh” you if you talk during the film!
Sign up for the quirkiest cinema experience and shortly afterwards you’ll be notified of the secret screening location – it might be a warehouse, forgotten ballroom, or even a carpark. These guys take cinema out of cinema and all they ask of you is to go along for the ride – dressed to the nines.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is located in the heart of Federation Square and there is nothing better than heading there on a lazy Sunday to catch a free doco or two.