26 May

First Glance at the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival’s killer program


This year marks the 64th Melbourne International Film Festival and we have a feeling it’s a going to be a doozy. The First Glance selection has just been released and included is an exciting program of eye-opening documentaries, tear-jerkers, slow-burning dramas and cinematic feats to keep you on the edge of your seat.

With the aftermath of recent earthquakes still a very difficult reality for many in Nepal, the documentary Sherpa will be an enlightening glimpse into the lives of sherpas who die every year whilst accompanying climbers up Mount Everest. Part of the Next Gen program, Being 14 is an unabashed look into the lives of girls at the cusp of womanhood.

Six Australian-made films will be screened as part of the MIFF Premiere Fund program. Putuparri and the Rainmakers tells the story of a man’s fight for his family’s native title and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture, while Downriver is a confronting debut film by director Grant Scicluna.… Read more

22 May

The Astor Theatre reveals new calendar ahead of June re-opening

Posted by in Movies, News


If you needed one final bit of proof that the Astor’s triumphant revival is going ahead, then behold: the famed Astor calendar is back.

Double features, marathons, 35 and 70mm screenings: it looks like the Astor’s new custodians (Palace Cinemas) will be worthy custodians of the St Kilda institution. Award-winning director Gillian Armstrong will premiere her new documentary Women He’s Undressed in a red carpet gala re-opening event on Thursday June 25. Films like Blade Runner, Taxi Driver and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas screen during the first month, in addition to Gone with the Wind, The Big Lebowski and a four-film Woody Allen marathon in later months.

Tickets are on sale now, so download the calendar on the Astor website and get planning. Blu-tack it on your bathroom wall, sticky-tape it to your face – we don’t care what you do with the thing –  just get back in that beautiful cinema in June.… Read more

20 May

Supersense: legends and new worlds meet in new music, film and dance festival celebrating euphoria and frenzy

Supersense Sans any mind-bending substances, music and dance have long been honoured for their capacity to induce ecstatic states – Supersense celebrates and explores just that.

Supersense is also a union of old-school and new – the lineup’s super eclectic, covering dance, film and music and everything from performance art/punk matriarch Lydia Lunch, surreal psych-pop exponent Ariel Pink and sexy rock monsters The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion through to commissioned works by John Cale (founding member of the Velvet Underground), featuring the celestial vocals of Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard. Having seen the Blues Explosion on more than one occasion, we can vouch for the fact that Jon Spencer can move crowd. Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move) is also directing a ritual trance music and dance performance by the Mount Ukir people of Indonesia. Cool.

The festival’s curated by Sophia Brous (singer, composer, Art Centre Artistic Associate and collaborator with everyone from Belle and Sebastian through to Paul Kelly) and will be housed all over the Arts Centre, including in some of the kookier spaces at which we wouldn’t normally get a gander.… Read more

7 April

Astor Theatre now in the hands of Palace Cinema

Posted by in Movies, News

Astor Theatre

It’s an Easter miracle, if we ever heard one – the Astor Theatre is safe, and the outcome is even better than expected.

After almost three years of uncertainty, legal disputes and lobbying by groups like the Friends of the Astor Association, tenant George Florence – owner of the Astor name, as well as the projectors, screen and seats – has sold his interests to Palace Cinemas.

Fears of the cinema being homogenised into a multi-screen complex can be put to rest, as Palace CEO Benjamin Zeccola has confirmed that the Astor will remain as it is: one screen, 1,150 seats, and the same breadth of  classic and contemporary programming. Palace have bought many of Florence’s prints, and will continue to screen films on film. Even the famous Astor calendar  will remain. “Palace Cinemas are keenly aware of the importance of preserving the Astor experience and, to that end, we see the business operating very much as it does today,” says Zeccola.Read more

15 December

Stephen Cummings doco Don’t Throw Stones is crowdfunding a general release

Posted by in Movies, Music, News

Back in 2009, Stephen Cummings wrote a fine memoir about his time in the Sports. Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy? documented each epic disappointment that an anxious young chap in a rising band might encounter. It was imbued with a very gloomy (some might say very English), just-my-luck humour that made it stand out from the memoirs of his peers.

And now it’s a film. Don’t Throw Stones, a documentary by filmmaker Mike Brooks that premiered at MIFF, uses the brilliantly simple premise of giving people in the book the right of reply. Just as Cummings reads passages from the book, so do former band mates, industry big-hitters and friends, who then respond – sometimes with great indignation, sometimes with regret. Many of them, after all, painfully experienced firsthand Cummings’ refusal to jump through the hoops of the American record label, bringing the band to a grinding halt when on the brink of making it huge.… Read more