8 great places in Melbourne to catch a movie

Credit: The Rivoli Interior © Michael Evans Photographer

Credit: The Rivoli Interior © Michael Evans Photographer

Melbournians love to go to the cinema, we’re the cultural capital of Australia after all. But let’s be honest, the local multiplex is overpriced, sticky and completely boring. Here are our picks of the most unique places to catch a movie in Melbourne.

1. The Rivoli

By Lachlan Sear via flickr

By Lachlan Sear via flickr

My personal favourite cinema in Melbourne is The Rivoli in Hawthorn East. Originally opening in 1940, with Art Deco architecture and eight red-curtained screens, stepping through its doors is the equivalent of going back to the golden age of Hollywood. Now owned by Village Cinemas, it’s the best place in the Eastern Suburbs to catch a large variety of new release films from both Australian and International filmmakers.

What to Watch: The best new release art house, foreign and independent films.

Price: Adult: $20 or Student/Concession: $17

Location: 200 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn East


2. The Astor

By Jade Bate

By Jade Bate

After a dramatic closure last year due to a lease dispute, The Astor is back up and running now under the watchful eye of Palace Cinemas. It’s still the best place in Melbourne to catch a one-off double bill of some of your favourite classic films by the likes of Hitchcock, Kubrick and Scorsese. Going to The Astor makes going to the movies a special event and provides a hark back to the golden era of cinema.

What to Watch: Double bills of classic films.

Price: Double Features: $16 for Adults and $15.50 for Concession, Second Feature Only: $15.50, Wednesday: $11 or Thursday: $13

Location: Cnr Chapel St & Dandenong Rd, St. Kilda

Website: http://www.astortheatre.net.au


3. Cinema Nova

By That's Melbourne

By That’s Melbourne

A favourite of Melbourne cinefiles, Nova on Lygon street screens the city’s largest variety of films. The famous purple palace of film shows art house, commercial and independent films from all around the world, as well as doing its part to support the Australian film industry. With exclusive screenings, special events like Q&As with filmmakers and classic film retrospectives, the Nova has a real sense of community that you just can’t find at your local Hoyts.

What to Watch: The best new release art house, foreign and independent films, and one off screenings of classic films.

Price: Discount Mondays: $7 sessions before 4pm and $9 for sessions after 4pm, Adults: $19 or Students/Concession: $15.50

Location: 380 Lygon St, Carlton

Website: http://www.cinemanova.com.au


4. The Lido

By Tom Clift

By Tom Clift

The latest edition to the Melbourne cinema scene is the newly refurbished Lido cinema in Hawthorn, which was originally opened in 1911. Nestled in the heart of the bustling Glenferrie Road, the eight-screen theatre shows an array of commercial and art house new releases, as well as providing special screenings and events. Their hope is to “ensure audiences enjoy an intimate and specialised cinematic experience with films that cater for everyone.”

What to Watch: A mixture of new release art house, foreign and independent films, and one off screenings of classic films.

Price: Adult: $19.50, Student/Concession: $15.50 or Cheap Tuesdays: $7 Tickets before 4pm and $9 after 4pm

Location: 1/675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Website: http://www.lidocinemas.com.au


5. The Moonlight Cinema – Summer Only

By Jade Bate

By Jade Bate

One of the best things about summer is the ability to watch movies in the great outdoors. And one of the best outdoor cinemas is the Moonlight Cinema, which allows you to watch your favourite flicks amongst the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. The best way to get the most out of your Moonlight Cinema experience is to invite a large group of friends and host a picnic before the screening. Make sure you bring lots of blankets and wear warm clothes because it definitely gets chilly after the sun goes down.

What to Watch: One off screenings of classic and new release films.

Price: Adult: $19, Cine Buzz Member: $15 or Concession: $16.50

Location: The Royal Botanic Gardens

Website: https://www.moonlight.com.au/melbourne/


6. The Rooftop Cinema – Summer Only

By Meleonie Meyer

By Meleonie Meyer

Surrounded by a picturesque cityscape with a bar and food trucks only metres away, the Curtain House Rooftop Cinema is without a doubt the coolest cinema in Melbourne. With a faux-grass lawn set up with rows of deckchairs, you can sit back and relax whilst watching some of the summer’s best new releases as well as classic indie flicks by the likes of Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze. You’ll soon forget that you’re in the middle of the noisy city and start thinking you’re sitting in your own backyard.

What to Watch: One off screenings of classic and new release films.

Price: Adults $22 or Concession: $18

Location: Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, CBD

Website: http://rooftopcinema.com.au


7. The Shadow Electric

By Jade Bate

By Jade Bate

Amongst the hauntingly beautiful grounds of the Abbotsford Convent lies the Shadow Electric. With a bar, food trucks and live music before the screening, it makes the experience of going to the cinema into a unique and electrifying night out. Like the Rooftop Cinema, the Shadow Electric screens an array of classic and new releases. But the main difference is the Shadow Electric’s focus on music, often showing rare concert documentaries and experimental musical films like Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth and Bjork’s Biophilia.

What to Watch: A mixture of classic films, new releases and rarely screened music documentaries.

Price: Adult: $21 or Concession: $18

Location: The Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

Website: http://shadowelectric.com.au/tix


8. The Lunar Drive-In

via. Junkee

via. Junkee

Looking for a completely unique cinema experience? Want to go to the cinema in your pajamas? Want to feel like Sandy and Danny in Grease on their first date? The Dandenong Lunar Drive-In is Melbourne’s best retro movie experience and has been in operation since 1956. With four screens, a classic candy-bar (with to-you-car service) and a wide variety of screenings, it’s the ultimate 1950s movie experience under the stars.

What to Watch: The best new release blockbusters.

Price: Adults: $13, Concession: $11 or Carload: $30 (Thursday – Sunday) and $25 (Monday – Wednesday)

Location: 115 S Gippsland Hwy, Dandenong

Website: http://www.lunardrive-in.com.au


This article was originally published on The City Journal, 21/8/2015


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