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.

Cloud Atlas – Special Charity Event Screening

A few words from the organiser Will Moore:

Unknown“Recently I saw an extraordinarily emotionally empowering film. I felt the need to share it with a few family members and friends and loving the big screen I searched for a movie theatre where we could go but alas there were no sessions.

After extensive searching I found that The Astor had recently played the film. My persuasion skills were not enough for them to put it on anytime soon as they were fully booked for months but they did offer me a private screening way outside my price range! Then I had an idea, why not raise money for an important cause and make it into an event!

This is where Child Wise came in. A friend had recently told me about them and after looking through their website I realized this was an important issue that needed help with awareness. Child Wise is Australia’s leading child protection charity working in Australia, Asia and the Pacific to prevent child abuse. This is an issue that goes to the heart of every culture, religion, race, class and country.

Thanks to the kindness of Warner Brothers, The Astor Theatre and a third party we managed to get all the costs covered so that every cent of your 20 dollar ticket goes directly to the cause.”

Cloud Atlas screens tonight (Sunday September 15) at 9.15pm.

LEBOWSKI BASH TICKET GIVEAWAY!

It’s almost that time of year again – when you get down here and we celebrate all things Dude. It’s fairly simple. We state ‘one Jesus per group, please’ for a reason, this is one night where we celebrate a very different religion: Dudeism.

If you think you’re a dude, and if you have your bowling ball and dressing gown at the ready – then maybe you think you deserve to win a couple of tickets to Saturday night’s excellent Lebowski Bash.

images We’re giving away two VIP double passes which include the film, the foyer entertainment and the after party. For more details about the event, please visit our website.

To be in the running to win – and we’ll let you know one way or the other on Friday evening – email us at rsvp@astortheatre.net.au with your full name and the correct answers to these two questions:
1) What is the name of the California burger chain that the ‘Dude’ visits in the movie?
2) What is the main characters favourite drink in the movie and what 3 ingredients is it made of?

Winners will be selected at random, entries close at 5pm Friday July 12th.
And if you don’t win but still want to buy a ticket then you can – in fact, Fans of our Facebook page will be offered a special discount off the regular price admissions on Friday afternoon. Polish those bowling balls, it’s almost time to go get yourself a new rug.

You’ve Got Red On You

By now you’ve likely heard the news, and probably bought your tickets too, right? (If you haven’t, get on that – they’re selling fast!) And if you haven’t heard the news, then here it is: EDGAR WRIGHT is coming to town, and more specifically, he’s COMING TO THE ASTOR! Accompanying him as stand-in Nick Frost and Simon Pegg will be Oscar and Chris from Popcorn Taxi (not sure yet who’s who…)

This is going to be the event of 2013 that EVERYONE talks about forever more so you want to make sure you get yourself down here. No one wants to be the kid who didn’t see Edgar Wright when he was in Melbourne. That would be INSANE. Almost as insane as trying to hole up in a pub during a zombie apocalypse!

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In a world where we’re all already zombies; we leave our box homes to take oblong shaped box buses to get ourselves to bigger box workplaces where the very colour of life – except for the red of consumerism (rather than communism) – is all around. Well, who’s even going to notice if there is a zombie apocalypse taking place outside? Okay, so some people might notice, but not everyone will. You’ve got red on you.

Without spoiling anything – how could we, it’s a movie we’ve all seen so many times before, you have seen it, yeah? – Shaun of the Dead is set to return to the Astor SuperScreen, on 35mm no less (could this screening get any better?!), on Monday July 15th. It’s going to be one of those events that you just have to come along to – who knows what depths of hilarity will ensue? EDGAR WRIGHT KNOWS. If you don’t come, it’s not the end of the world – or at least it’s not The World’s End – just a zombie apocalypse. So get a beer from the candy bar and hang out while whatever’s going on outside blows over. Or at least until the undead start trying to storm the building. And the bold caps bits where we’re yelling? It seems appropriate. BUY A TICKET NOW! 

Cinema Fiasco return with the ‘Best Worst Movie’ of all time!

This Friday (May 03, 8pm) Cinema Fiasco, fresh from its recent triumph at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, returns to the Astor for another night of bad movie appreciation and one of the ‘best worst’ movies ever made: Troll 2 (1990)

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A family of really terrible actors head off on holiday to a small town where they encounter a bunch of goblins who want to turn them into plants and eat them. This bogus sequel bears no relation whatsoever to Troll (not that that’s a bad thing) but is terrible in its own particular way with a bizarre cast of serious nonactors, oodles of camp dialogue (“Joshua is not a little shit. He’s just sensitive!”) and make-up effects that look like they cost about twenty bucks. The director is the great Italian schlock-master Claudio Fragasso. His deft touch shows in every frame.

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It’s worth noting that in five years of entertaining Melbourne’s bad movie fans, Cinema Fiasco hosts Geoff Wallis and Janet A. McLeod have NEVER seen a movie quite like this one. It took them nearly three hours to watch a 95 minute movie because they kept rewinding the bits that made no sense – which was pretty much the entire film. They also had to stop the DVD for about ten minutes at one point because they were laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe.

Janet and Geoff will be presenting Troll 2 with their very special brand of live commentary throughout. That is if they don’t lose it like they did in rehearsal. © Geoff Wallis

So get down here on Friday night for what’s sure to be one of the ‘best worst’ cinema experiences of your life! Cinema Fiasco includes live commentary throughout the entire film. Special Prices apply, No Free List. For further info, please visit: astortheatre.net.au

HOW TO SURVIVE OUR ROMERO DEAD TRILOGY – (these points might also be useful in the event of a zombie apocalypse, or they might not.)

1. BRING A BLANKET

Sure, we have heating in the auditorium but you’re going to be sitting through THREE zombie films, surrounded by living beings who claim they’re human but are pretending to be the titled dead – which in a round about way means they are actually UNDEAD. Now we can’t claim for sure that the undead will bring the cold dank atmosphere of six feet under into the auditorium, but why take the chance?

2. DRESS TO IMPRESS

But also to sit. It might sound silly but even if you’re entering our Best-Dressed Undead competition (and we do have some pretty cool prizes to give away) you’ll still want to be comfortable. You are going to sit through three films and as much as we love our original 1936 seats we are aware that one or two of them (ahem) don’t quite equal the royal treatment for your behind. So make sure your get up is comfy enough to withstand the evening. And make sure you get up and walk about in search of brains during the scheduled intervals.

3. BRING A CAMERA

Or a camera phone. Or an Etch-a-Sketch. In addition to you and your friends looking the part we are planning to have a Zombie Mandolin Player – IN A CAGE – performing for your entertainment in the upstairs foyer. This is the kind of weird and wonderful rare opportunity you’ll want to describe to all your friends and family and trust us, it’s always easier with visual aids.

4. BUY SNACKS AT THE CANDY BAR

Whilst we won’t have brains for sale (our apologies but even at cost price they’re just a little too high for our standard retail prices and besides, they make an almighty mess. Squishy. Ewwww.), we will have our regular array of candy bar items in stock as well as some more substantial food to satiate those hunger pangs brought on by the image of the undead munching on the living. There will be sandwiches (Ham & Pickle, Chicken, Lettuce & Mayo, and Cheese, Salad & Pickle), as well as sausage rolls and some vegetarian pastries (Potato Burekas, Pumpkin Burekas and Spinach and Ricotta Swirls). You aren’t allowed to bring outside food or drink into our auditorium and you wouldn’t want to anyway because that doesn’t help us stay in business. Plus we sell a fine selection of booze to fill all your drunken undead desires.

5. TREAT THE VENUE WITH RESPECT

We know you’ll do this but we have to say it. As you know, we’re a grand old place and we’d like to keep it that way. We do our best to make sure the standard here is as high as we can get it (despite there being some issues of disrepair we are actually very proactive about keeping our standards up, unfortunately our landlord doesn’t necessarily share in our vision of repaired plaster work and re-painted walls), so all we ask is that you leave the venue just as you found it; you might be undead but there’s no need to be untidy.

6. REMEMBER YOU’RE IN A PUBLIC SPACE

We all love to get involved and we encourage you to enjoy the atmosphere and all that it allows. But please do remember that this is a public space where other people have also paid to attend in order to enjoy themselves. This means no mobile phones (talking, texting and otherwise; including checking the time, we don’t like to see mobile phone lights in the auditorium), no talking, swearing or other odd activities that will be disconcerting to your fellow undead and of course just generally being courteous to others while the movies are playing.

7. FINALLY, ENJOY!

We’ve recommended a bunch of relatively straight forward things to help your zombie marathon along but the very most important thing of all is of course to enjoy the evening. After all, that’s the entire reason we put it on. Have fun, make friends, watch fine films and bask in the atmosphere of the most awesome cinema in town. That’s a total no-brainer.

Our Romero Dead Trilogy takes place on Sunday October 30. Doors open at 5pm and our Zombie Mandolin Player in a Cage starts pre-show at 5.30pm. Night of the Living Dead 6pm, Dawn of the Dead 7.45pm, Day of the Dead 10pm. Prices are: $15/$13 for one film, $25/$22 for two and $30/$27 for all three. Tickets available on the door.

Written by Tara Judah for The Astor Theatre.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Following the world premiere of the Ghostbusters (1984) new 2K digital presentation held at The Astor Theatre Monday December 10th 2011, by popular demand, we are proud to announce another three off-calendar screenings: Friday October 21 9.30pm, Saturday October 22 9pm and Sunday October 23 9.20pm, in addition to our already scheduled December repeat screening, Monday 12th, 8pm. So when we asked our regular E-news contributor Mark Vanselow the aforementioned question, he said “Astor Theatre”…  

 

One of my most vivid childhood recollections is attending the cinema in the hopes of seeing Ghostbusters (1984), the Ivan Reitman science-fiction comedy horror about four intrepid men who must save New York City – and indeed, the entire world – from destruction at the hands of paranormal beings from another dimension. Note that I didn’t actually see Ghostbusters at the cinema when I was a child: the particular session that we (the family) had planned to enter had sold out. All these years later, it remains the only time that I have attended a multiplex only to learn that the session has reached capacity. Indeed, those were the last dying days of a now bygone era, when it was commonplace for cinema audiences to line up around the block for movie tickets (okay, so it still happens at the Astor on occasion). Fortunately, another 1984 blockbuster, Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984) was playing at the same cinema. Ah yes, that’s another thing you don’t see at the multiplex these days: the presence of more than one film that you are really desperate to experience. Ghostbusters was our first preference that day but my brother and I were equally enthusiastic about seeing Gremlins (which we did, and believe me, it scared the living daylights out of me—hey, I was six!)
My first glimpse of Ghostbusters came in the form of a sneak peak on The Mike Walsh Show back in 1984. Those were the days before the internet and illegal online downloads pretty much ruined the prolonged building of suspense that television shows could achieve with cleverly cut excerpts from a feature film. Back in those days, you actually had to leave your house and buy a ticket to be the first on your block to discover what happened next. Ghostbusters premiered on television a number of years later and it was no small event, accompanied by a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film. Of course I watched Ghostbusters on the small screen and it was indeed wonderful. It was not until many years later that I experienced Ghostbusters presented on the big screen in its original 35mm format, courtesy of the Astor Theatre, no less. (You shall be happy to know that when its sequel Ghostbusters II hit the big screen in 1989, my brother and I were successful in gaining admission to the cinema).

 

Flash forward to 2011 and the cinematic world is abuzz with news that Ghostbusters III is scheduled for release in the year 2012. Ivan Reitman, director of the first two chapters of the saga, has been confirmed to helm this latest installment. Rumours abound as to who else is on board for this exciting new project, but to speculate any further about this would be pointless. What I can tell you is that the Astor Theatre, Melbourne’s sole-surviving cinema palace, is to screen the original Ghostbusters in 2K Digital format this month. The re-release of this classic 1980s treasure is a global event that shall undoubtedly fuel interest in Ghostbusters III, not to mention introducing a new generation of film-goers to the whole Ghostbusters phenomenon.
Without divulging too much to readers who might not have seen Ghostbusters (where have you been?), the story concerns a trio of university professors, unemployed and desperate, who decide to set up their own ghost-catching business in New York City. At first business is non-existent, but after a spate of paranormal activity across the Big Apple and success in trapping ghosts, Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) find themselves as not only successful businessmen, they have become genuine celebrities. Three becomes four when Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) wanders into the Ghostbusters office, and after what might be the greatest job interview in history, picks up a positron glider and joins Egon, Peter and Raymond in clearing otherworldly beings from the metropolis.

 

Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote Ghostbusters, and the film benefits from one of the most inventive and quotable scripts committed to film. References to Ghostbusters have worked themselves into everyday vernacular, with many of the best one-liners in the film being delivered by Bill Murray. Apart from the actors who portray the eponymous superheroes, Ghostbusters features Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, plus a host of fantastic phantoms and other assorted creatures that have become pop culture icons in their own right. Speaking of all things iconic, Ghostbusters features one of the most familiar pop music numbers of the 1980s, courtesy of Ray Parker, Jr., as its title song. The tune itself proved to be controversial, as there was some similarity between Ray’s ditty and the earlier song “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and the News. Accusing the Ghostbusters singer of plagiarism, Huey attempted to sue Ray Parker, Jr., the issue settled ultimately out of court. Numerous other pop songs are featured in the film, such as Magic by Mick Smiley, with the movie’s original score provided by Elmer Bernstein.
Quite simply, Ghostbusters is strong in every major department, from the quality of the screenplay to the cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs. From typewriter to celluloid, this is a film that was seemingly blessed every step of the way. The special effects in this movie (including liberal use of stop-motion animation) really have stood the test of time, and it is a credit to the actual human beings featured in this movie that their performances and charm are not overshadowed by the visual trickery on display. Just remember, no matter how many times you have experienced Ghostbusters on the small screen, the film is much better enjoyed at the cinema on the largest screen possible, augmented by superior sound and the whole cinematic atmosphere that only a place such as the Astor Theatre can provide. Please do make certain that you bring yourself and as many people as possible to the Astor this coming weekend for the theatre’s follow up screenings of Ghsotbusters in 2K Digital Format. Given the quality of programming at the Astor, it is no small statement to say that this shall be a continuation of one of the biggest events of the year for the venue, not to mention one of the biggest events on Melbourne’s cinematic calendar for 2011.

Written by Mark Vanselow for The Astor Theatre.

For more information and session details, visit our new website: www.astortheatre.net.au