A Hard Day’s Night

It’s been about fourteen years since we were able to screen A Hard Day’s Night (1964) at the Astor. We used to run a 35mm film print held by Disney, who managed the re-issue some years before that. After the theatrical screening rights expired, however, the print was junked. And so you have it: for about fourteen years we were unable to screen A Hard Day’s Night.

With Umbrella Entertainment as the now rights holders, a 2K DCP remaster of this long-absent fan movie – just in time for its 50th anniversary – is now available. We can finally present an afternoon of Beatlemania at the Astor. It may not be 35mm, but we will see Ringo, John, Paul and George up on the big screen.


The Movie

John, Paul, George and Ringo get up to some fairly cheeky antics that seem  masterfully improvised at times, and the result is a joyous celebration of an era and the fab four at their most memorable. Apparently, it’s a tough life being a Beatle: the beyond famous four have to work so hard at being The Beatles that they’d really be very grateful for just one day off…

The Band

But the film itself is not all we have in store. As you no doubt know, coming to the Astor is cinema-going as an event, so in addition to screening this great film, we’re also incredibly excited to announce that BackBeaT, a Melbourne based Beatles tribute band, will be performing the sound and energy of the early Beatles era from pre-fab to Beatlemania in the Astor foyer before the screening.

Close up

They are die hard Beatle people who like to share with the audience their passion for the early Beatles career (unless you were there of course!) They don’t wear wigs or try to do the Liverpool accent justice – they play the music with passion, three-part harmonies and with period correct equipment.


The Short

And, as if that weren’t enough entertainment for one afternoon, we’ll also be screening a rare CinemaScope short of The Beatles in concert! So if you love The Beatles and if you want to celebrate their impressive career with like-minded fans, in opulent surrounds, then we’ll be seeing you on Sunday November 30. Doors open at 1pm for a 2pm screening. Astor Choc-Ices will of course be available to make the experience all the sweeter.


Overfed & Undernourished: 11-Year-Old Boy Delivers Important Dietary and Lifestyle Lessons in New Documentary

There’s no shortage of special event screenings on the calendar and Tuesday June 3rd is just around the corner. The Astor welcomes Overfed and Undernourished to the big screen, followed by a Q&A with film contributors and health experts. There will also be health exhibition on the night from 6pm (screening starts at 7pm). For more information, and to pre-purchase tickets, please read on ….

O&U Melbourne Premiere Event Poster

“World Health Organization predicts one billion people will be obese by 2030 if current health trends continue

Overfed and Undernourished is an upcoming feature documentary exploring the underlying causes of most modern health issues and the astonishingly simple solution everyone can benefit from. Produced by Australian-based film company Evolvee, it follows the journey of 11-year-old Liam after the death of his mother and the struggles and ultimately successes to regain his health.

With help from his Aunty and Uncle, this inspiring young boy makes some transformational life changes, from moving away from home and changing schools to getting back to basics by learning to move his body, express his emotions, and fuel himself with wholesome organic foods.

Following the lead of such influential health films as Hungry for Change, Food Matters, and Forks Over Knives, Australian director Troy Jones hones in on their shared idea of a great societal need to reconnect to the natural world.

With 25% of children and 67% of adults in Australia obese or overweight, Liam’s problem is not uncommon, but, as the film illustrates, the treatment is more readily attainable than most people think. Speaking with leading experts in health and nutrition, such as influential international speaker Don Tolman, filmmaker Joe Cross (Fat Sick & Nearly Dead), and doctors Dr. John Demartini, Dr. Anthony Gollé and Dr. Arne Rubinstein, we are told we need to stop consuming processed factory-made foods and start living off the land again to reclaim our health.

“If you eat too much food made by people in white coatsyou end up seeing people in white coats,” says Joe Cross, who has dedicated himself to the cause since his personal success of treating his severe health issues with wholesome foods and a now famous health trend known as “juicing.”

Obesity has more than doubled in Australia since 1989, making the country’s unprecedented rise in obesity related health issues an epidemic. The experts in Overfed and Undernourished believe the causes are primarily due to the foods we eat, the reasons we eat, and the loss of connection we have to each other – People are too often connecting to their smartphone, tablet, or game console than to other human beings.

Dr. John Demartini, a leading human behaviour specialist and author, identifies the psychology behind the emotional and physical health issues most people face. Talking of food specifically, he points out the obsession society has with it: “I’m amazed at how many people, while they’re having lunch, are already thinking about what they’re going to do for dinnerThey’re basically living from food to food instead of living their life and using food to sustain what’s inspiring to them.”

Our modern fast-paced technology-obsessed society might defy the concept, but most of the film’s speakers stress the importance of grass-roots actions, with inspirational speaker Don Tolman saying, “One of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves and the generations that are coming up is to get them involved in planting, growing and harvesting foods from their own garden.”

Watching Liam’s transformation we are shown real examples of this advice being followed and are moved by the positive changes taking place his life. Through these changes the film encourages the audience to question the quality of their own diet, lifestyle, and personal bonds, asking us the fundamental question – Are you really nourishing yourself?

Whether you’re already health-conscious or not, you will walk away from this film inspired to reconnect with your body, your relationships, and your world.”

Watch this video of what everyone had to say about the film at the World Premiere:

Overfed and Undernourished screens Tuesday June 3rd 7pm.

Regular tickets $15, VIP $40, No Free List. 

Advance tickets available through Trybooking.


Side By Side

Photochemical film has serviced the film industry for more than 100 years. A medium that traditionally brought “together science, art and impact” – as according to the documentary Side by Side – has been pixelating for longer than most people outside of the industry would even know,  just ask George Lucas. But mirroring the immediacy most filmmakers appear to credit digital cameras with, is the immediacy with which this technology is now overtaking and replacing film in what is overwhelmingly considered within the industry to be an inevitable transition. Side By Side, narrated by Keanu Reeves, is a documentary that asks a select group of filmmakers to talk about the formats, the process, their perceived pros and cons, all in an easily digestible way for people outside of the “movie business” with a view to proffering some insightful inside info.

There’s no denying that Side by Side is a well made and entertaining film. And though it has no responsibility to present to its audience in any way other than as it sees fit, for anyone interested in how the issue fares beyond production, the scope is disappointingly narrow. Although the film alludes to issues pertaining to cinema exhibition and preservation, their mention is a quick nod in consultation with the same people who speak about the processes of production. The second problematic flows on from there as it becomes clear the film is really only interested in the opinions of filmmakers. At no time is there an interview with a projectionist, with either multiplex or independent cinema operators, nor distributors, nor academics, and of course, absolutely no opinion at all from movie-going audiences. However, the film has no responsibility to give its audience diversity in opinion as it carves out its central argument – that’s its prerogative. But even if we let Keanu and Kenneally (director) off the hook, what is most problematic is that even as an exercise in examining filmmakers’ opinions, Side by Side interviews a very select group of mostly Hollywood, and almost all mainstream, blockbuster filmmakers; its most obscure interview surrounding the huge success of Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95 low budget film, Festen (referred to here as The Celebration). Arguably a mainstream film itself in terms of its reach although surely not in its inception, Festen is surprisingly the very first film shot entirely on digital.  But even here Keanu curiously interviews Vinterberg’s Dogme 95 celebrity colleague Lars von Trier, as well as DP Anthony Dod Mantle, instead of Vinterberg himself. Perhaps Vinterberg is considered too obscure for mainstream, western audiences likely to view this film? No consultation with avant-garde or experimental filmmakers, small arthouse filmmakers, or even a fair cross section of famous filmmakers from really anywhere outside of the studio machine is entered into.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that whilst not offering conclusive remarks through its narration, Side by Side consists mainly of pro-digital enthusiasts along with many who see the pros and cons but move along with industry mandate, a sole purist, Christopher Nolan, sticking out like a thumb tack as the only one who is not willing to trade in his “oil paints for crayons”, and whose DP is the only person in the entire film who seems to care about the difference in visual quality of the blacks. Danny Boyle says, “If you’re unable to deal with it, then your time is over.” But then again, he also think his own film, Slumdog Millionaire (also shot by Anthony Dod Mantle), is the film we will look back to well into the future as the mark of acceptance for digital filmmaking. It might have been a good idea for Keanu to interview at least one or two people whose delusions of grandeur and opinions of self weren’t quite so far removed from the actual future implications of the issue. Nevertheless, Side by Side is at least an accessible and entertaining starter for a conversation that needs to take place.
Written by Tara Judah for the Astor Theatre.