Itís not just about the film, itís about the experience
Seeing a film was once a special occasion, a single chance to view something, and an experience for a family or couple. Nowadays, access to media is incredibly easy, and cinemas have felt the pinch as people wait (or don't) for a DVD release to watch films at home.
But if you are looking for something to do, here are some of the best movie experiences. They are more than just a larger screen; they can also bring the excitement back into going to the cinemas.
1. Dendy (Newtown and Circular Quay)
The Dendy boasts two locations in Sydney, and both are well worth a visit. It has an impressive selection of independent films, as alternatives to what is showing everywhere else, while also providing a very homey environment, with nice comfortable chairs, and a classy selection of drinks. The Newtown cinema also offers a range of movie deals with local restaurants, for a great night out, while the city location is positioned to allow you to experience the amazing sights of Circular Quay on your movie trip.
2. Gold Class This is Event Cinema's answer to the pressures of others delivering films as an experience. Gold Class' massive seats allow you to almost lie down, and they also provide table service. Too good to be true? Perhaps. My one experience with Gold Class provided stale scones, and the rest of the food was merely passable. Go for the seats, not for the dining experience. This is available at various locations around Sydney.
Lie down and relax at Govindas
3. Govinda's Restaurant and Movieroom Darlinghurst
Govinda's is a Sydney institution. Located in Darlinghurst, this is first and foremost a vegetarian restaurant, with a single screen in a room above it. Govinda's has lovely couches, and is a fantastic cinema to snuggle up in. Be sure to book in advance for dinner and a show. Even if vegetarian food is not normally your thing, this will not disappoint.
4. IMAX (Darling Harbour and Entertainment Quarter) If Govinda's is the first experiential cinema in Sydney providing an intimate experience, IMAX (yes their brand name is in all caps) is the exact opposite. IMAX's selling point is the outrageous size of their screens, asking the question of 'how big is too big?' While they offer many action movies, I would avoid ones where you expect shaky cam to be in motion.
5. Randwick Ritz This is an older cinema, proudly shown in its architectural style. The cinema is a comfortable one, and the surrounding restaurants and bars make it worthy of a night out. The Ritz even has its own balcony, where you can have a drink overlooking 'The Spot'. The Ritz also boasts some of the cheapest movie tickets in Sydney.
6. Golden Age Cinema and Bar Established in a heritage building, Paramount House was built in 1940s. It has since been restored, with the current singular screening room hosting only one or two sessions a night, and a key focus on old classics and cult hits.
This cinema recommends itself, both because of a proximity to Norton Street's famous restaurants, and by offering an array of foreign, particularly Italian, films. It is also very easy to reach by public transport, despite its less-central location.
How could you not include Hoyts new Luxe cinemas? Unlike Gold Class which just has a premium area at the back of the normal cinema, Luxe cinemas have only 36 seats. All are large and extremely comfortable with reclining backs and foot rests. I don't work for Hoyts so this is an independent review. My 6yo and I saw Paddington Bear at Hoyts Luxe Broadway and we were the only ppl in the cinema. It really felt like flying first class with complimentary popcorn! Highly recommended.