Keir Dullea & Gary Lockwood Take the Stage

If there’s one film that gives us goosebumps every time it’s Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, screened here in glorious 70mm film print format with sensational six-track magnetic sound. If ever there were a case to be made for the virtues of the film print then this is the shining example. There’s so much depth to the image and such resonance in the sound that the film really interacts with you as a living, breathing entity. Awe is a word that’s not only fitting but absolutely necessary.

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As a regular fixture in our programming, 2001 has been shown at the Astor many times but what makes this next screening all the more special is that we welcome to the stage actors Keir Dullea (Dave) and Gary Lockwood (Frank). It’s not their first time at the Astor but it’s set to be every bit as special as it was when they first joined us back in 2006. Head to our YouTube channel to revisit their last appearance.

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During their first appearance here, Keir Dullea said of our 70mm presentation that it was the finest he had seen since its premiere in 1968. Certain we can replicate the experience again for him and all of you on April 11th, we screen the film with full overture and intermission, dimming of lights and opening of curtains done precisely to match the way it was seen all those years ago. It’s going to be a sensational evening, make sure you don’t miss out!

2001: A Space Odyssey + Live Q&A with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood takes place Friday April 11th 7.30pm, with autograph signing opportunities from 6pm **please note that there is a $30 fee per autograph.

Advance tickets available now.

Cast your EYE over Samsara

On Thursday night we’re screening Samsara (2011), a visual odyssey that will transport you all around the world. Before the screening we will have a special musical performance from the group  EYE. They’re a three-piece but drummer Matthew has to travel to Tasie so on Thursday it will be a two-piece; Toby and Brice.

They play drone music based on natural and environmental sound phenomena to create improvised audiovisual experiences. They take influence from many music traditions as varied as Hindustani raags, modal jazz, American minimalism, punk, psych
and noise. Sequence 1

We spoke to Toby about EYE and here’s what he had to say,

“The concept with our band is that we always play in conjunction with some video component (making these Astor gigs highly fortuitous). Brice and I make videos to perform with, Brice’s films are all analogue and mine are all digital.

Our tonality is based upon naturally/incidentally occurring structures and sound objects, such as the harmonic series. if at all possible we like to tune to either 50Hz, the frequency of electricity in Australia, or use a Schumann resonance (a set of peaks in earth’s electromagnetic frequencies).

If you want to find out more, here’s some 3D footage of their first gig:

More can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S5o45ymOl8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lioj6Ks0Lq8

They were performing to flyscreen, an experimental film by Richard Tuohy. Richard runs a collective called Artist Film Workshop which Brice is a member of. The group specialise in analogue film technologies, pretty much exclusively using 16mm film. Head  here for the full audio of that set.

Samsara screens Thursday March 6th at 8pm. EYE will perform before the screening. All tickets $12.

Get Ready to Swing!

Every year we host one very special Sunday afternoon session with some good friends of ours. They’re musicians, maybe you know them? Well, when they get into the auditorium to do their thing the acoustics of the building really come alive. The building itself was designed by architect and acoustic engineer Ron Morton Taylor. His plans from so many moons ago (we’ve been standing since 1936 don’t you know?) coupled with those sweet harmonious sounds from the Cairo Club Orchestra brings about one of the greatest aural treats you’ll ever experience. They really do bring the perfect jazzy tunes to the stage to meet our art deco/jazz moderne design.

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Only a couple of weeks away now, we caught up with one of those cool cats from the Cairo Club, and here’s what they had to say about returning to the Astor:

I  like the Astor, ever since I lived in St Kilda as a young man, back when it was a Greek Theatre. The Astor has the BEST acoustics of any indoor Venue in Melbourne. There are so few of these late 1930s Cinemas left nowadays, Geelong lost the Wonderful ‘Corio’ Theatre some years ago. Theatres are a developers delight and as time go’s by there will be fewer of them left. Buck Evans (Piano ) is a veteran of the New Orleans Jazz scene and an Icon of the riverboats on the Mississippi, from Savannah Georgia buck plays a mix of Tin Pan Alley Hits and Stride Piano style, in the manner of fats Waller, James P Johnson ect. Nichaud Fitzgibbon needs no introduction as Melbourne’s most versatile and talented Song Stylist Vocalist.

Now because we’re visual nerds as well as aural ones, we like to make sure that the dizzying heights of their swinging sounds are matched with an equally eye-popping flick. One of the first and still one of the best backstage musicals, much thanks of which goes to Busby Berkeley, 42nd Street (1933) is a perfect film to follow up such an excellent act. The plot centers on the production of a new Broadway musical. There’s comedy, romance, betrayal and shapely legs galore. A priceless piece of early Hollywood fare that’s still first-class entertainment.

You won’t want to miss such a special Sunday afternoon screening, preceded by beautifully music, so make sure you get yourself a ticket. Special Prices, $25/$22, movie only $13.

The Cairo Club Orchestra will perform at the Astor Theatre before a screening of 42nd Street on Sunday March 16th at 2pm.

Rob + Sheri Moon = 2 Zombies at the Astor

After House of 1000 Corpses (2003), for those who made it through the experience unscathed, came The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Rob Zombie’s follow-up film about the family Firefly. All your favourites are back in this gore-tastic horror flick including Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie). The blood lust fugitive trio do their best to keep the family together but with the police on their case, things get a little hairy. And bloody.

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Bringing this film to the big screen along with the director and one of its stars are the good folk over at Popcorn Taxi. For one night only we are lucky enough to welcome to the stage a romantic zombie double act: Rob Zombie and Sheri Moon Zombie. Awww, ain’t they a cute couple?

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So, make sure you don’t miss out on this very special event, it’s a one night only kinda thing. Happening Thursday February 27th, 7pm. To get tickets and for even more information – and even more great pics of the loving duo – visit those guys over at the Popcorn Taxi webpage.  

Special Event, Special Prices, No Free List.

** Please note that the Filth/Spring Breakers double bill has now moved to Tuesday March 4th, 7.30pm

No One Breaks Out Alone.

Getting Australian audiences into cinemas isn’t always an easy task. As much as those of us who are in it for the love of film would like for it to be solely about showing great movies to passionate fans, that pesky thing called commercial viability rears its ugly head and often gets in the way. Still, there are battles to be fought – and sometimes to be won – where films on death row are concerned.

Horror fans will remember 2012′s special by-demand screening of The Cabin in the Woods. Previously slated for home entertainment in Australia and in response to an overwhelming wave of requests across social media (especially Facebook), email and in person at the theatre, we were able to secure a theatrical screening. Although Cabin was a unique case – the attendance was astounding and saw our stalls’ doors flung open to accommodate viewers in our traditional two-tiered auditorium – there are occasionally other times when we can bring something slated for palm-sized home entertainment discs onto the big screen via high resolution DCP (digital cinema package). This week’s shining example is Escape Plan.

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When fans heard that Stallone and Schwarzenegger would be back on screen – together – they got excited. Then they got sad when news broke that the film would skip theatrical and head straight to home entertainment. A lot of money goes into theatrical distribution and, due to our population size for one, but also for a number of other reasons, we rarely take any more than 10% of US Box Office figures. Makes for a dicey game when pouring funds into individual titles over here. Still, there are fans out there who are just dying to see these two cinema heavyweights back on the big screen.

Fans took to Facebook once again and started asking us if we could screen the film. As regular readers of this blog will know, we need for there to be theatrical rights and an available theatrical format for us to show any film. Thankfully, Escape Plan had both and the distributor was willing to authorise our screening. Bringing us right up to date, this makes tomorrow night’s screening of Escape Plan a very special by-demand event. You asked for it, we brought it. It’s a team effort; you and us, Arnie and Sly. It’s a one-off so make sure you can attend if you’re a fan!

Escape Plan screens Thursday February 6th 7.30pm. Thrifty Thursday, all tickets $12.

Written by Tara Judah for the Astor Theatre.

 

Australian Surf Movie Festival

 

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Tim Bonython’s independent surf movie tour initiative is back with the AMAYSIM ASMF presented by GoPro tour  with two incredible movies: The Journey and Encoded.  Now in its 11th year the festival is touring Australia with up to 30 stops around the Australian coastline. Each venue provides a unique surf movie experience incorporating local businesses, surfers and music.

Tim Bonython’s previous film Immersion the Movie won two prestigious Awards at the 2013 New York Surf Film Festival for Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography. Immersion the Movie was the only film to win two awards on the night.

Director Tim Bonython talks about the AMAYSIM Australian Surf Movie Festival:  “Each year I am searching for the greatest moments the ocean can offer. When it comes to surfers verses nature and the pure exhilaration of what the ocean can deliver, the Southern Hemisphere has the greatest playground of options on the planet. It’s seasonal but there’s always so many amazing options to surf and shoot”

“Intermission of the show this year will include the amazing and generous traditional ASMF door prizes thanks to our associated sponsors and local supporting sponsors at each show. After intermission will be the Short Film competition winners of the 2012 AMAYSIM ASMF who have won the chance to have their film screened as part of the tour.”

KoaHothman_TahitiCFredPompermayerThese two movies will enthrall, entertain & captivate you in every moment that was exclusively captured for your entertainment all on the BIG SCREEN around Australia.

Each show promises to deliver the biggest and best surf footage with loads of the best quality prizes provided by sponsors; GoPro cameras, surfboards, sunglasses, wax, headphones, tickets to TAHITI, magazines and much more. Everyone is in for a chance to win these prizes at each show with our famous interval door prizes.

Australian Surf Movie Festival comes to the Astor on Tuesday January 28. 

Advance tickets available here. No Free List.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Nobody does crazy like Jack Nicholson. Cuckoo isn’t his only kind of crazy – you recently saw him on the SuperScreen in The Shining – Extended Version, cutting it up with an axe. Still, where Stanley Kubrick examines the effects of isolation and the persistence of the past, Milos Forman questions our very perception of what it means to be mentally ill. Through group therapy and a structured social environment, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) is a groundbreaking film that really changed the landscape for filmic presentation of mental health issues. It’s also an indictment on the structures of society and our inability to properly or effectively care for the wide range of individuals who attempt to co-exist within its strict confines, walled by harsh, prescriptive rules.

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When Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is moved to psychiatric facility for evaluation, following a short stint on a penal farm for the statutory rape of a fifteen-year-old girl, he believes the rest of his sentence will be a cakewalk. When asked upon arrival if he suffers from any mental afflictions, he responds, “Not a thing doc, I’m a goddamn marvel of modern science!”

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Despite the steely Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), McMurphy is all laughs taking it upon himself to be the leader of the group who – to him at least – appear to be “no crazier than the average asshole out walking around on the street”. Perhaps none of them deserves to be in there at all? Certainly they don’t deserve to be confined to boredom by a killjoy nurse – or so McMurphy thinks; he commandeers a boat for a playful outing, introduces prostitutes and other illegalities to his new-found friend-followers, protesting the stale, clinical conventions of the institution and indeed the broader social structures responsible for his incarceration. Still, the questions remain: who is actually bound by these conventions and who chooses to be?; who is free and who simply believes that they are?

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Not everything is as transparent as it first appears. Sometimes the fight is much bigger than what is directly in front of your face. Sometimes not all of the rules are visible.

Adapted from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel of the same name, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was the second film to ever win all five major Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Actress in a Lead Role, Best Actor in a Lead Role, Best Director and Best Screenplay – Adapted (the first was It Happened One Night in 1934.) Considered one of the greatest American dramas of all time, with a truly sensational performance from Nicholson, supported by the likes of Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Brad Dourif, William Duell, and Will Sampson, this is a big screen must-see, now returning in remastered 2K DCP format, with 5.1 surround sound.

Screens Thursday January 30th to Saturday February 1st.

Written by Tara Judah for the Astor Theatre.

Boxing Day, the Box Office and Beyond

Every year Boxing Day sees the general release of the so-called ‘big summer titles’. Studios assume everyone who isn’t watching the cricket will be at the movies. Monday’s MCG admittance and multiplex box office reports sort of agree. Still, there’s a healthy enough number of you who want something else – something that boasts festive tradition and tongue-in-cheek frivolity at the same time – something Python-esque, perhaps! And for those needs, we are here for you: welcome to the Astor Theatre’s traditional Boxing Day Monty Python double bill. 

Life-of-BrianThings you can expect to see tonight at the Astor include but are not limited to; togas, miscellaneous plastic Roman get up, jesus sandles, fake beards, grails – holy and otherwise – and three men sewn into a single outfit.

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We welcome costumes and silly behaviour (please note that silly is not at all the same as rowdy or disruptive), we expect to hear giggles, chortles and rip-roaring snorting to the highest moments of parody, wit and satire. We also expect cackles and crack ups directed towards the slapstick and low-brow humour that accompanies the Python’s otherwise sparkling repartee.

imagesSo for those of you who can stay away from Middle Earth long enough, we’ll see you tonight. And remember: he’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!

Swinburne University of Technology presents: Synaesthesia!

We know things start to get crazy-busy at this time of year but even so, there are some events that even the most intensely scheduled December diary just has to make space for. This is one of those. The continued excellence from Swinburne University of Technology is making its way back to the Astor on Tuesday night and if past years are anything to go by, then you really won’t want to miss out! Introducing Synaesthesia

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A synergy of the cinematic senses! Join us to experience shapes, sounds, tastes, smells or touches in myriad combinations. The graduate screening of the Swinburne University of Technology, Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, is a sensory event incorporating works from both Digital Media and Film & TV students. Facebook event details here.

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Doors open at 6PM for Digital Media exhibition, followed at 7PM by film screenings. Tuesday December 3rd 2013. Free entry. No bookings required. This screening contains mature content: an adult must accompany patrons under 15 years of age.

GET READY FOR DALEKMANIA!

You might remember that back in August we held a special Dalek Invasion event at the Astor that involved a Tardis – a huge thank you to The Tardis Guy without whom this would not have been possible – some Daleks, K-9 – such enthusiastic thanks to the wonderful people at the Melbourne Robot Workshop and the Melbourne Hackerspace who are just incredible – and an awesome Peter Cushing as the Dr. double bill. It was quite the event. There were humans dressed as Daleks and even one who was wearing an outfit very much like a Tardis…

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As you can see, those are some pretty awesome outfits so you’ll need to get working on the details if you plan to be the best dressed on the night. Speaking of which, this time around we’ve also managed to wrangle the Doctor – also known as Rob Lloyd who you can follow/stalk into another dimension called the twitterverse here.

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So, a little about our local Doctor: since 2011 Rob has developed, created and been involved in a number of projects specifically focused on everyone’s favourite Time Lord, Doctor Who. Rob Lloyd has appeared as The Doctor numerous times for The Impro Box’s hugely successful improvised Dr Who show Time Lord. He is a regular special guest host on the Dr Who based podcast The Preachers Podcast. However Rob is probably best known for his one man comedy show about his obsession with The Doctor, Who, Me. Rob has performed Who, Me. at the Melbourne & Adelaide Fringe Festivals, the Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland & Perth International Comedy Festivals, the Darwin Entertainment Centre, the CSIRO in Canberra and most recently he has had a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. While we won’t have time to fit Rob’s show into our evening program, we are pleased to announce that he will be in attendance – potentially trying to defeat Daleks – and playing host before the show begins!

DalekmaniaAnd, speaking of the show, we have a VERY special addition to this Saturday evening’s line-up. As you can see from the video above, it was quite the event back in August. But this time we’ll also be screening a documentary short – DALEKMANIA! – ahead of the main program. PHEW. That’s a pretty exciting and definitely jam-packed evening on offer. You’d be mad to be anywhere else.

This exceptional encore 50th anniversary Dr. Who celebration event takes place this Saturday, November 30th at 7.30pm. Advance tickets are available here.