CINE MAGIC

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Published on March 22, 2015 with No Comments

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Come Summer, Melbournians head outdoors … for a movie!

Words JEFFREY LIM
Images MOONLIGHT CINEMA

What could be better than watching all the hottest new release films outside in the fresh night air this summer? Seeing them before they’ve even hit cinemas, of course! Australia’s favourite and biggest outdoor cinema, Moonlight Cinema, rolled out the red carpet across the pristine green lawns of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens to kick off its 2014/15 season. And what a huge season this one is already shaping up to be!

In a star-studded VIP red carpet event, Moonlight Cinema was officially launched with an exclusive advance screening of zany comedy Dumb and Dumber To on December 18. It’s been a whole 20 years since Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels brought their lovable imbeciles, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, to the big screen.

Fans of Bill Murray (let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone) should jump on the chance to catch him in upcoming indie drama St Vincent more than a week before it hits cinemas. Other titles to catch at Moonlight before the rest of Australia include Disney’s latest cute-fest, Big Hero 6 about a boy and his plus-size, inflatable robot; the superhero film with an art-house edge, Birdman starring Michael Keaton and Emma Stone; WWII drama filmed in Sydney and directed by Angelina Jolie, Unbroken; and the latest Liam Neeson shoot-em-up action movie, Taken 3.

Also joining the stellar programme will be Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, The Imitation Game staring Benedict Cumberbatch about the life of WW2 codebreaker Alan Turing. Steve Carell and Channing Tatum will also team up to tell the story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz in Foxcatcher, and Jake Gyllenhaal becomes Nightcrawler who enters into the world of L.A. crime journalism.

Bring Australia Day in early with some Aussie cinema. The Water Diviner will be showing at Moonlight Cinema on Australia Day Eve, January 25. It tells the moving tale of an Australian man, played by Russell Crowe, who travels to Turkey after the Battle at Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons.

Moonlight Cinema is also introducing its very own LA-style food truck onsite – serving up tantalising street fare. Or you can BYO picnic! Audiences can expect to tuck into an epic range of burgers including wagyu beef cheeseburgers, pulled beef brisket burgers and Southern-fried chicken burgers, as well as New Yorker chilli cheese dogs, buffalo fried chicken, parmesan truffle fries and fresh churros. Make sure you come early, because you’ll be tempted to try everything on the menu!

Group Director of Culinary, Adam Petta, who currently manages over 120 kitchens with the AHL group including QT Hotels, Event Cinemas and Rydges, is taking up the challenge. Counting Ananas, Sake and CUT as former employers, excitement is mounting for what Petta has in store. “I’m a bit of a film buff myself, so to be able to combine my love of great food with cinema in the great outdoors is a dream gig. I’ve worked hard to put together a tasty menu, with a wide variety of options that go perfectly with the film-watching experience as well as giving that great festival vibe that we all love so much about Moonlight Cinema,” Petta said.

“This season is by far the biggest yet for Moonlight Cinema, especially when it comes to advance screenings and new release films,” said Ian Sutherland, the Director of Moonlight Cinema. “We’re very proud of this programme and excited to be screening so many big summer blockbusters before their general release dates. It certainly adds an extra level of thrill and enjoyment to watching a film outside under the stars, knowing that you’re amongst the first audience in Australia and sometimes, even the first in the world, to be seeing it!”

As always, Moonlight Cinema’s Gold Grass offers the ultimate outdoor cinema experience: the perfect treat for someone special in your life. With reserved bean beds in a premium viewing location and wait service, you won’t even have to get up from your bean bed! There’s something for absolutely every kind of film fanatic at this season’s Moonlight Cinema. And this is only just the first half of the programme! Gates are open at 7pm so grab all your mates and loved ones for many nights of summer fun, food and films under the stars! Moonlight Cinema in Melbourne runs till 29 March, 2015. Other Moonlight Cinema cities include Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Melbourne daily.

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