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March 1, 2004 | by  | in Film |
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The Embassy (10 Kent Terrace)

The grand dame of Wellington has never looked so good. After the facelift, new seats and new sound system it received for Lord of the Rings, it is once again the best cinema in Wellington. Generally shows mainstream new releases, with intermittent showings of classic films. The penultimate Wellington experience.

Hoyts (Manners Mall & 128-144 High Street, Lower Hutt)

Unable to compete with the behemoth that is Reading, it now fills the role of the budget cinema ($9/movie) in Wellington. Uninspiring mainstream fare.

Lighthouse (8 Miro Street, Upper Hutt & 52 Beach Street, Petone)

Laidback French-styled cinema (with couches) featuring a diverse line-up of movies. A bit out of the way for those in Wellington, but it’s well worth the trip out there. Booking is recommended.

The Paramount (25 Courtenay Place)

The focal point for film festivals in Wellington, you can always find something interesting and stimulating at the Paramount. Don’t be fooled by the tiny entrance on Courtenay Place – the cinema is surprisingly big. Front-row viewing here on a quiet, grey Wellington afternoon is highly recommended.

The Penthouse (205 Ohiro Road, Brooklyn)

Nice atmosphere and a good selection of more arty films. There’s a really good café and it’s very comfortable.

Reading Courtenay Central, Courtenay Place

The Multiplex Experience in all its glory. Big screens, nice sound and seats, but a bit pricey. Their Tuesday specials and movie marathons, though, are good value for money. You can also pay twice as much to sit in a Lazy-Boy and get free popcorn. Shows mostly mainstream fare, a lot of trash, but some gems in there as well.

Rialto (Cnr Jervois Quay & Cable Street)

A friendly, not-too-snobby, alternative cinema. Its selection is diverse and thoughtful, and you can generally wander in and find something good. Tickets are only $8.50 for students on Tuesdays.

Getting Videos/DVDs

Amalgamated Video (106 Taranaki St & others)

Very big selection, both mainstream and arty, reasonably cheap.

Aro St Video Shop (97 Aro St)

The best selection of videos in Wellington with many foreign & cult films that you won’t find anywhere else. Friendly staff who really know their films. A bit pricey and videos are only overnight or 3-day. However, students get 50% discounts on Tuesday nights or you can get a ten-trip card for $30 (i.e. $3 for non-new-release videos and DVDs).

AV Suite (The Vic Library, 9th floor)

It’s free with a wide selection from Die Hard to Bresson. It’s not the best place for viewing (unless you don’t mind watching a TV from a few feet away), but it’s free! Great for killing a few hours between lectures.

Civic Video (99 Upland Road, Kelburn & others)

Fairly standard video store. Half price night on Tuesday.

United Video (31 Courtenay Place)

It’s cheap, especially with student discounts. On Tuesday & Wednesday nights, you can rent old videos for $1 each. Good selection of videos and DVDs. You can even rent computer and console games… and, of course, not copy them.

Video Ezy (116-130 Taranaki Street, 59 Adelaide Rd & others)

Reasonable selection. Not too badly priced.

Wellington Film Society (Monday nights at the Paramount)

For the more discerning film viewer, there are Film Society screenings every week on the big screen at the Paramount. Membership costs $70 for students and there are also select films that are open to the public for a small donation. Films shown this year include specials on African cinema, Preston Sturges, Kira Muratova and Nicholas Philibert.

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About the Author ()

Brannavan Gnanalingam has come a long way from being born in the teeming metropolis of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He may be known as feature writer for Salient, but is also the only man in history to have simultaneously donated both his kidneys. He is also an amateur rapper going under the moniker Brantank and hopes to win a Grammy.

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