FIRST EVER ‘ASTOR FILM-TWEET’ EVENT!

MONDAY AUGUST 22ND 7:30PM – AN INTERACTIVE EVENT – IN THE DARK!

FearAndLoathing

The Astor Theatre is pleased to welcome twitter addicts into our downstairs stalls – into a world of twitter seclusion where you can watch and live-tweet cult favourite double feature:WITHNAIL & I plus FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Astor FIlm Tweet is an event where lovers of film and Twitter can come together to make moviegoing a more communal experience by providing a running tweet-commentary of films at the legendary and iconic Astor Theatre.

Film appreciation, jokes and outright snark all welcome. Astor Film Tweet was spawned by Ben Pobjie, Age TV columnist, who made his name live-tweeting TV and is looking to expand to the big screen. It is run in association with The Astor Theatre.

We are pleased to present both movies in 35mm Print Format (Fear and Loathing is SPECTACULAR in super wide Panavision – see it to believe it!!).

Withnail

**As this is still a public screening and so as not to interrupt the viewing experience of non-tweeters, tweeting will ONLY be permitted in the downstairs stalls section of our auditorium. Phones and all devices must be switched to silent. USE OF CELL PHONES AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED AT ALL TIMES IN OUR UPSTAIRS AUDITORIUM.

Turn up and live-tweet or join in online with the official #hashtag #AstorTweet. And make sure you’re following @astor_theatre, @benpobjie, @PopcorncinemaAU & @tweet_film on twitter too.

Apocalypse Now: Redux

Arguably no other film in history (with exception of John Huston’s The African Queen, 1951) has had a more infamous production than Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). The film suffered enormous set-backs, disasters, financial woes and scheduling issues that plagued the film’s production; the lead star was replaced three weeks into production, then the replacement suffered an almost-fatal heart attack, another star showed up on set unorganised and not prepared to take the director’s orders, sets were hit and practically destroyed by a mass hurricane, crew members got sick and began to go mad, the director went over budget due to elaborate, larger than life sequences, and had to dig into his own pocket and even mortgage his own house and belongings to complete the film. One by one, disaster after disaster, the film  higher and higher into debt and further and further over schedule. With an original shooting schedule of six weeks that turned into a grueling sixteen month shoot – amounting to an un-matched six million feet of footage that made editing near impossible- it’s no wonder that the media labelled the film ‘Apocalypse When?’ “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane” is how Coppola put it. But what it amounted to was one of the greatest milestones, and arguably the greatest war film in cinema history.

This epic Vietnam war film tells the story of US Captain Benjamin Willard who is sent on a mission to assassinate renegade Green Beret Colonel Walter E. Kurtz who has formed a sadistic cult of local tribes people on a remote island in Cambodia and declared himself a God. Willard sets out down a dangerous river on a journey that will leave him and his short-lived comrades never the same again. As Willard’s passage unravels he learns the true meaning of war, and finds out who he truly is. A young and fit Martin Sheen stars as Willard while an aging and over-weight Marlon Brando plays Colonel Kurtz. The film features an array of brilliant big-name talents in supporting roles including Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper with Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford in one of their earliest film roles.

Three years after production had begun, Apocalypse Now opened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979 to a standing ovation and prolonged applause, before becoming the winner of the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or award. When the film opened in theatres later that year, it earned approximately US $150 million at the box-office worldwide, and became the US’s third highest grossing film of the year. The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and Best Picture. Out of the 8 nominations the film walked away with 2 Oscars one for legendary Vittoria Storaro’s brilliant Cinematography and one for Best Sound.

However, it was in 2001 that Coppola released Apocalypse Now: Redux, an all new re-cut and extended (by approximately 50 minutes) version of the movie. As legend goes, Coppola was watching television late at night sometime in the late 1990s when Apocalypse Now came on. He, for the first time in years, watched the film and came to the conclusion that it was “tame” in comparison to the day’s standards – A thought that eventually lead to this re-imagining of his original masterpiece, which was placed at #28 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 greatest films of all time and which now sits at #31 on IMDB’s list of Top 250 best films.

Running at just under 3 and a half hours (but don’t worry you’ll get an intermission,) Apocalypse Now: Redux is considered the definitive version of the film and we are proud to present this masterpiece of filmmaking on an amazing, original 35mm Technicolor dye-transfer print – the way it was meant to be seen. If you are a fan of the film, but have never seen it on the big screen, take it from me, you have never fully experienced the film. From the opening sequence of whirring helicopters and exploding napalm, to the spooky carnivalesque battle camp scene, right to the powerful and sadistic Kurtz Compound sequence at the end of the film, your eyes will be glued to the screen. You will be absolutely blown away by the film’s pristine image, a clarity brought through in what amounts to a highly stylised, surrealistic and saturated Technicolor experience. The film has a large screen space in its 2.35:1 aspect ratio and an amazing DTS digital soundtrack, which both amount to a film experience like no other, putting you right in the centre of the action. Coppola once said, “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam,” and after you walk out of the theatre you will feel like you were there. This is definitely one film you will want to see from the very front row, and one film experience you do not want to miss. And the only place you can see it is at the Astor Theatre.
Written by our E-news reviewer Dave Lee for The Astor Theatre.

Apocalypse Now: Redux screens at The Astor Theatre on Thursday August 25th 2011, 7.30pm.

For more information, visit our website.

The Great TAXI DRIVER Scavenger Hunt Update

So folks, here are the final and all inclusive clues:

Awesome Astor Supporter #1: NOW SHOWING, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: What’s On

Clue 2: Opposite to Coming Soon

Clue 3: We’re on a High (Street. near Chapel St)

Now Showing on Facebook and Twitter.

Awesome Astor Supporter #2: DISCURIO, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: This store has been an independent music retailer for almost 50 years

Clue 2: Technically located in a “street”, though you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a “Melbourne laneway”

Clue 3: Known as a classical music specialist, you’ll also find jazz, world, soundtracks, blues…CDs, DVDs and vinyl in their DISCography.

Discurio on Facebook

Awesome Astor Supporter #3: POLYESTER BOOKS, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: Notorious retail outlet, watch out for the cops.

Clue 2: Totally Weird Shit.

Clue 3: see image right

Polyester Books on Facebook and Twitter.

Awesome Astor Supporter #4: GREVILLE RECORDS, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: Looks & smells like a teenager’s bedroom?

Clue 2: You don’t have to grovel for good music here?

Clue 3: There are 2 record stores on greville street, we’re one of them!

Greville Records on Facebook

Awesome Astor Supporter #5: ALL STAR COMICS, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: Living in New York, Travis Bickle doesn’t need to drive his cab to this City location to see super heroes.

Clue 2: If you wear Converse, you can find us underfoot or in the evening sky, with many a varied fable inside.

Clue 3: On August 30th, where would you find the Jets and the Sharks about to rumble?

All Star Comics on Facebook and Twitter

Awesome Astor Supporter #6: CLASSIC COMICS, TICKETS CLAIMED

Clue 1: A small side street that shares the name of the town The Beatles call home will point you in the right direction.

Clue 2: Some say comics Golden and Silver Age’s are between the 1930′s-1960′s but to find these tickets you’ll find them between Bourke and Little Bourke Streets

Clue 3: Superman & Spider-man love the CLASSICs (like Taxi Driver) find them in the COMIC shop at the Parliament end of Bourke St

Classic Comics on Facebook and Twitter

Awesome Astor Supporter #7 & #8: READINGS CARLTON & READINGS ST KILDA, BOTH SETS OF TICKETS CLAIMED.

Clue 1: Books, Music, Film.

Clue 2: Tickets at two locations though there are stores in six.

Clue 3: At the corner of the Astor Calendar, locations 1 & 3 are key.

Readings on Facebook and Twitter

The Great TAXI DRIVER Scavenger Hunt continues…

It’s a little before noon and we want you to be able to find these tickets before our kind friends who’ve agreed to participate close their doors tonight. So, to make it a little easier for you, we’re releasing each location’s Clue number 2 – listed after Clue 1 for context. Think literally but and also a little outside the box and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding these awesome locations….

**Please note that one set of tickets has already been claimed from READINGS CARLTON**

Awesome Astor Supporter #1:

Clue 1: What’s On

Clue 2: Opposite to Coming Soon

Awesome Astor Supporter #2:

Clue 1: This store has been an independent music retailer for almost 50 years

Clue 2: Technically located in a “street”, though you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a “Melbourne laneway”

Awesome Astor Supporter #3:

Clue 1: Notorious retail outlet, watch out for the cops.

Clue 2: Totally Weird Shit.

Awesome Astor Supporter #4:

Clue 1: Looks & smells like a teenager’s bedroom?

Clue 2: You don’t have to grovel for good music here?

Awesome Astor Supporter #5:

Clue 1: Living in New York, Travis Bickle doesn’t need to drive his cab to this City location to see super heroes.

Clue 2: If you wear Converse, you can find us underfoot or in the evening sky, with many a varied fable inside.

Awesome Astor Supporter #6:

Clue 1: A small side street that shares the name of the town The Beatles call home will point you in the right direction.

Clue 2: Some say comics Golden and Silver Age’s are between the 1930′s-1960′s but to find these tickets you’ll find them between Bourke and Little Bourke Streets

Awesome Astor Supporter #7 & #8:

Clue 1: Books, Music, Film.

Clue 2: Tickets at two locations though there are stores in six.

We’ll announce the final clues in a just couple of hours, so get hunting!!

The Great TAXI DRIVER Scavenger Hunt

Just as Travis Bickle roams the streets of NYC, we’re giving you the opportunity to roam the streets of Melbourne – only instead of experiencing the dark, isolated world he drifts through, we want to invite you into a warm, friendly environment; where you can sit down in silence and experience in mindblowing 4K Bickle’s proverbial dark, isolated world as it was meant to be seen.

So,  Saturday August 13th, we’ve got a Super Scavenger Hunt for you. Hidden in eight unique, awesome locations around Melbourne are in-season double passes. That’s right, there are Astor envelopes behind the counters in eight of the greatest independent stores around town that will give you the chance to see Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER, restored and recently rebuilt in 4K for the 35th Anniversary, shown on Victoria’s very first Barco 32B 4K digital projector, in 5.1 uncompressed digital stereo surround sound on the unbelievably awesome Astor Theatre Superscreen.

All you have to do is find them! And it couldn’t be easier – here are the first round of clues to get you started:

Awesome Astor Supporter #1:

Clue 1: What’s On

Awesome Astor Supporter #2:

Clue 1: This store has been an independent music retailer for almost 50 years

Awesome Astor Supporter #3:

Clue 1: Notorious retail outlet, watch out for the cops.

Awesome Astor Supporter #4:

Clue 1: Looks & smells like a teenager’s bedroom?

Awesome Astor Supporter #5:

Clue 1: Living in New York, Travis Bickle doesn’t need to drive his cab to this City location to see super heroes.

Awesome Astor Supporter #6:

Clue 1: A small side street that shares the name of the town The Beatles call home will point you in the right direction.

Awesome Astor Supporter #7 & #8:

Clue 1: Books, Music, Film.

If you want to win, make sure you “like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter. More clues will be revealed throughout the day and the first person to enter each location and ask the friendly folk behind the counter if they’ve won the Astor Theatre Taxi Driver tickets wins! All tickets are valid in-season: SUNDAY AUGUST 14th – SUNDAY AUGUST 21st (no screening Tuesday 16th) and it’s actually that easy to win.

For session times and further details, visit our website: astor-theatre.com

Happy Hunting!

From the team at The Astor Theatre.

Taxi Driver – Australian 4K presentation premiere

Thirty-five years after it claimed the Palme d’Or for best feature film at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver remains a landmark work of cinema. An iconic depiction of loneliness, violence and urban alienation, Scorsese’s film stands out within that period of American cinema during the late 1960s and 1970s often referred to as its last Golden Age. With its provocative subject matter, European cinema-inspired style and distinct directorial vision, Taxi Driver is characteristic of the daring and artistic brand of filmmaking that defined the era.

But Taxi Driver also reflects the social context of the 1970s in other ways. Through its representation of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a twenty-something year old Vietnam veteran who takes a job driving taxis in New York City to break the monotony of his aimless existence, the film evokes the uncertainty and trauma of America’s post-war years. In many regards, the character of Travis symbolises the loss of national confidence following the failure in Vietnam, the collapse of the counter-cultural revolution, and the rapid decline of America’s post-WWII economic prosperity.

Like the nation for which he’d gone to war, Travis Bickle seems caught at a crossroads in history. When we first meet him he appears as a kind of moralising observer, railing against the perceived filth of the city streets. However, as his personal frustrations intensify, Travis begins to envisage himself in a series of different roles – as lover to Cybill Shepherd’s Betsy, then as liberator to Iris, a twelve year old prostitute played by Jodie Foster – culminating in his emergence as a self-appointed avenging angel. Insisting upon the need for decisive action, Travis resolves to commit an act of bloodshed in order to bring about his salvation. Yet as Taxi Driver’s oft-discussed ending implies, the traditional resort to violence may no longer serve as an effective means of achieving personal or social redemption.

Beyond Taxi Driver’s cultural significance, the film is also important in the context of Scorsese’s career through the creative relationships that it helped forge, and which would shape the director’s work in the years that followed. Taxi Driver’s screenwriter Paul Schrader would go on to collaborate with the director on three subsequent films (Raging Bull 1980, The Last Temptation of Christ 1988, and Bringing Out The Dead 1999) while actor Robert De Niro (who had previously appeared in Scorsese’s Mean Streets 1973) has worked with the director on eight occasions.

Through these associations Scorsese had found the perfect collaborators for the exploration of male violence, existential ennui, and religious burdens that define the male subjects of his films. And in these regards Travis Bickle is the archetypal Scorsesean protagonist, particularly when it comes to the issue of sex. Fixed in a dichotomous understanding of women as virgin/whore (a perception he imposes upon both Betsy and Iris), Travis’ sexuality is characterised by a stark ambivalence. Even as he habitually frequents porno theatres, Travis displays disgust at the presence of sex workers on the streets of New York. He is, as Betsy refers to him in one scene when she likens him to the lyrics of a Kris Kristofferson song, ‘a walking contradiction’.

Travis’ inability to reconcile these contradictory aspects of his personality may be one explanation for the violence that erupts in the film’s latter stages. And increasingly, the violence in Taxi Driver is coded with sexual connotations. Through Travis’ pistol-like gestures to pornographic imagery, to the scene of the disturbed passenger (performed by Scorsese) and his description of what he plans to do to his adulterous wife, the fetishistic close-up imagery of the .44 Magnum and the climactic shoot-out that takes place in a brothel, Taxi Driver repeatedly collapses the boundaries between sex and violence. In doing so, the film appears to locate and explore the impetus to violent action as emanating from a male paranoia and anxiety regarding sexuality.

But the violence in Taxi Driver (for which it is renowned) has another aspect to it that distinguishes it from the standard vigilante or psychotic Vietnam vet narrative. Rather than simply enact violent imagery, Taxi Driver repeatedly links Travis’ actions to the violence of earlier cinematic representations. From its overt references to numerous films and genres (particularly John Ford’s The Searchers 1956), to Travis’ transformation from insomniac flâneur to urban cowboy and Mohawk warrior, together with the guns that he purchases, each one associated with characters such as Dirty Harry and James Bond, or in his self-seeking performances before the mirror (“Are you talking to me?”), Taxi Driver draws attention to the role representations play in constructing individual and cultural identity. In this context, Taxi Driver’s coda can be seen to offer a critique on the way cinema (and the wider media) shape cultural perceptions of violence and heroism.

It is in this final regard that Taxi Driver, far from being merely a product of its time, remains entirely relevant to the contemporary era, and continues to exert a profound influence on filmgoers more than three decades after its initial release.

Written for the Astor Theatre by Josh Nelson.

Josh Nelson is a Melbourne-based film critic and academic who writes for a number of publications including the website Philmology (www.philmology.com), and is a member of the Plato’s Cave team, a weekly film criticism podcast hosted by 3RRR (www.rrr.org.au/programs/podcasts).

Our TAXI DRIVER season, the Australian premiere presentation in 4K on our brand new Barco 32B 4K digital projector starts Sunday 14th and runs till Sunday 21st (no screening Tuesday 16th). This is the first time the film will be presented in uncompressed 5.1 digital sound, having always previously been in mono. We can guarantee, no matter how many times you’ve seen this film, you’ve never seen or heard it like this before! For more info, visit our website: www.astor-theatre.com