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February 27, 2012 | by  | in Arts Film |
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You Should Watch Some Movies

The cultural metropolis that you now inhabit is known for its proliferation of cinemas and festivals, screening all manner of excellent and appalling films. In order for you to make the appropriate choices, I shall need to educate you on Wellington’s cinematic scene. Fail to follow my advice and you may end up a cultural philistine, or you may not become as discerning (read: haughty) as myself. So for your leisure, here is a guide from Salient’s supreme overlord of film, myself. 

Film Archive:

For any film devotee this treasure trove is an essential stop in your journey to cinematic enlightenment. Cobbled together from an array of sources, the archive has a film to suit every taste, even if many of them are relatively unknown. Tickets are reasonably priced and there’s an adorable café next door with which to sate your appetite. Unless you’re some sort of unrefined barbarian you owe it to yourself to head along.

Aro Video:

It’s quite likely that you youngsters have not ventured into a video store for many a year. However you would be doing yourself a disservice by not visiting Aro Video, a renowned institution amongst film buffs. Their range of films is impressive and runs the gamut from the latest major releases to quirky art-house films. Every interest is catered for and the prices are pretty reasonable. Go check them out and support a store which has been an integral part of the arts scene in this city for years.

Roxy Cinema:

Restored by director Peter Jackson, the Roxy Cinema is decorated in the art deco style of the 1930’s. Whilst I personally have not had the pleasure of venturing there, the reviews rave about its enviable sense of style, first-class restaurant and intriguing selection of films.

Reading Cinema:

Seats are comfortable and the screens certainly flaunt the visual effects of
the latest blockbusters. Unfortunately these are the only compliments I can credit Readings with. Expensive tickets compound the fact that every movie you watch will be ruined by irritating children with laser pointers. Furthermore queues are long, the food is tasteless and the range of films shown is pitiful. You could do worse but remember you’re university students now; it’s time to move up in the world.

Memorial Theatre:

Want to enjoy films in intelligent company, at an affordable price? Then you should stroll on down to the Victoria University Film Society screenings at the Memorial Theatre (SUB) every Thursday. The range of films shown is diverse and entertaining. Plus they often have a chat over drinks afterwards. Movies, erudite people and alcohol, what more could you ask for?


If you find yourself in one of the smaller theatres equipped with couches then you will have a tremendous time. However if you find yourself sitting towards the back of the main theatre then you are in for an unpleasant experience, due to sliding seats that leave your rear in agony. Still they often manage to get an excellent mix of major releases and art house films, so it may be worth the sacrifice. Certainly not my preference but it’s still worth a visit.


An exquisite venue, with a fantastic restaurant and a great range of films. Apart from the normal releases it also plays host to a number of exclusives that are well worth your precious time. However it does require venturing out into the bad lands of Brooklyn, which is quite a trek. Even so, it’s worth it for the sense of sophistication that it instils you with.


Out of all the cinemas in Wellington, the Embassy is certainly the most majestic with imposing pillars and a colossal screen. Despite the initial enthusiasm such a venue inspires the shiny veneer quickly wears off. The range of movies is generally limited to generic Hollywood films and the costly tickets will soon have you pleading with StudyLink for an increase to your student loan. It’s a bit like me, ostentatious yet disappointing.

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