Monday, November 29, 2010

L.A.'s coolest TV, movie and fashion billboards in November 2010...

There's just not the usual abundance of new billboards this month, mainly because there are less new television shows debuting and not so many big, blockbuster movies vying for our attention (or dollars). Having said that, there are still some cool billboards to enjoy in November from around L.A.

Movie billboards
The Tourist movie billboard
I'm really not the biggest Johnny Depp fan (I just don't get it), but I am excited by the pairing of the enigmatic actor with the intriguing creature that is Angelina Jolie. The Tourist looks like it could be an enjoyable thriller for the holiday season.
Hermione Harry Potter 7 billboard
Aside from a variety of Harry Potter billboards around L.A. this month, which you can see in detail at Daily Billboard, movie billboards have been slim pickings in November.
Tron Legacy Flynn and Clu billboard
Jeff Bridges the star of the original Tron movie, twenty-eight years ago, finally makes an appearance on a billboard for the new Disney movie, Tron: Legacy. I've been very lucky to see an early screening of the movie and I can say that the recreation of his younger self using similar 'Benjamin Button' computer effects, in the form of the digital program 'Clu', is amazing. He really was a handsome fella (and there's nothing like CGI to get rid of those wrinkles).
Due Date movie billboard
The comedy pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianikis made for humorous billboards but didn't really set the box office alight like the director's last movie, The Hangover.
Paster Dwayne Johnson billboard
You'd be forgiven for thinking Dawyne Johnson's new movie was the latest in the Fast & Furious racing films, however it's not, but his muscular frame still makes for an impactful billboard.
Disney's Tangled movie billboard
Tangled seems to be doing well at the box office, but I'm amazed at the lengths they went to to distance themselves from the Disney brand, when this is so obviously a Disney movie (who's the leader in feature animation here, them or DreamWorks?).
Narnia Dawn Treader Aslan billboard
Finally for movies, a great visual of a snowbound Aslan for the third big screen installment in the Chronicles of Narnia. This time Disney is not involved with the franchise so it'll be interesting to see how The Voyage of the Dawn Treader fares.

TV billboards
The Fashion Show season 2 billboard
Bravo are so desperate to find a new Project Runway after losing the series to rival network, Lifetime, that they are still flogging the dead horse that is The Fashion Show. Returning for a second season, Destiny Child's Kelly Roland is out and supermodel Iman is in as co-host. I suppose imitation is the best form of flattery.
TopGear USA remake TV billboard
Why come up with a concept for a new show, when you simply remake one from another country. TopGear is a highly popular car show in the U.K. and even though you can see the original on BBC America, The History Channel is launching its own American based series.
In Treatment season 3 billboard
Finally for TV, this huge In Treatment billboard featuring Gabriel Byrne towers over L.A.'s Sunset Strip this month and can be seen from afar.

Fashion billboards
JLO and twins Gucci billboard
Jennifer Lopez is not afraid to use her twins to get headlines and make a buck or two for this Gucci fashion campaign.
Donna Karan fashion billboard
Donna Karan vamps it up along Sunset Boulevard, whilst nearby Calvin Klein has this moody looking pair advertising its X Jeans range.
Calvin Klein X models billboard
Armani Exchange keeps things hot for winter with these two sexy (and happier looking) young models. And don't you just love that rich blue Californian sky behind the billboard.
Armani Exchange Holidays 2010 billboard
The jewelry brand, Ippolita, cashes in on the fact that Christmas gift giving time is fast approaching with this eye-catching mono billboard along the Sunset Strip.
Ippolita jewelry billboard

Drinks billboards
Captain Morgan Marissa Miller billboard
Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Marissa Miller, goes all pirate for Captain Morgan rum and causes a stir atop the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Theme Park billboards
Disneyland Small World billboard
Finally, to get you all in the festive spirit, here's a holiday billboard for Disneyland's highly popular 'It's a Small World' attraction.

If you like this selection of images, be sure to also check out the fantastic billboards from New York that I snapped on my recent visit and check out an exciting creative every day at Daily Billboard.

Let's hope there are some interesting billboards around Los Angeles in December and that the weather allows me to photograph them...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Harry Potter gets deathly...

The rumours are true, the latest Harry Potter is the darkest and deadliest yet, but it's still a magical movie and a great addition to the cinematic franchise.
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows billboard
At this point in the Harry Potter saga, the seventh movie and final book The Deathly Hallows (split in two), there are lots of interesting characters and plot points to service and at the same time advance the story to an exciting finale.
Harry Potter Nowhere is Safe billboard
Even though the movie is quite bleak, there's some great humour and endearing moments and that's mainly due to the chemistry of the three main characters and actors. They really have grown, literally and figuratively, and they feel more natural on camera, with even Daniel Radcliffe not trying too hard to be a good actor. Emma Watson really is a joy to watch and I hope to see more of her after the Harry Potter films conclude.
Hogwarts Harry Potter 7 poster
The movie has lots of action, from Harry's escort to the safety of the Weasley's Burrow, Death Eater attacks, to the trios infiltration and escape from the Ministry of Magic. The urgency of the woodland chase is especially dramatic and makes up for the seemingly overlong period where Harry and Hermione travel alone.
Snape Harry Potter 7 poster
In addition to the film dragging in Ron's absence (he really does provide much needed comic relief at times), it's surprising how much the movie resembles the horror genre, from the snake Nagini's transformation from an old lady, to blood splattered ceilings and the realistic torture of Hermione. Hmm, when did this stop being a children's story?
Bellatrix and Lucius Harry Potter 7 poster
Even though it was dark, one highlight of the movie was the animation used to relate the tale of the three brothers, wonderfully narrated by Hermione. It seemed refreshingly original and was a great visual relief from the bleakness of the live-action movie.

Something else I'm grateful for was not seeing the movie in 3D, although you could see where it would work effectively, like when the snake jumps towards the screen.
Harry Potter 7 movie billboard
One thing the movies (and the books) often suffer from is the repetitious nature with which Hermione finds clues in an ancient tome after lots of waiting which then propels the story forward. Plus, with hordes of characters on both sides to contend with, we're also introduced to even more characters with historical significance in the wizarding world, non-Potter-philes must be totally mystified by this stage.
Hermione and Ron Harry Potter 7 poster
One criticism with the movie adaptations, which is really highlighted in this film, is the fate of the house elf Dobby. Having not really seen him since the second movie and having the equal rights for house elves storyline removed from the movie to streamline the narrative, his sacrifice in this movie feels less important and significance more forced. And for this fact I'm not sure whether it's powerful enough a place to end the first half of the final book.
Harry Potter 7 Dobby poster
Saying that, the movie isn't totally devoid of emotional weight. From the very start when Hermione is forced to wipe her parents memories to keep them safe (and when again she has to wipe the minds of Death Eaters to keep her friends safe), to Hedwig's sacrifice and Hermione's suffering, there's a lot happening in the movie.

Funnily enough after dragging for a while the film rushes to a climax at the Malfoy's mansion, which seems over too quickly, and rather than a really satisfying conclusion we're just left to wait until the final installment next July.
Harry Potter 7 wall ArcLight Sherman Oaks
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is an entertaining and engaging film and deserves four **** stars, although you can't help but feel they've saved the best until last.

Roll on Part 2...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ron English's Slash Guitar arrives on The Sunset Strip...

In August L.A.'s Sunset Strip was transformed into GuitarTown when it was invaded by twenty-six ten-foot-tall Gibson guitars, all individually decorated in colourful and creative ways.

Slash guitar sculpture by Ron English
Slash Guitar Ron English
The latest in West Hollywood's public art initiatives, these giant sculptures were intended to be moved up and down the Strip.
Ron English Slash GuitarTown
I've already showcased twenty-three GuitarTown sculptures, but this week I found the twenty-fourth creation in the form of artist Ron English's 'Slash' guitar, which replaces Margaret Garcia's 'Post Cheech & Chong' guitar at the Holloway Drive bus shelter along Sunset Boulevard.
Slash Guitar sculpture Ron English
The 'Slash' guitar is inspired by former lead guitarist of hard rock band Guns N' Roses and Ron English also created the artwork for his debut solo album released in April 2010.
Ron English Slash Guitar back
In addition to this artistic tribute, Slash even appeared earlier this year in his own Dodgertown billboard for the L.A. Dodgers baseball team.
Slash Dodgertown billboard
If you like this Gibson sculpture you'll probably also love the guitar homage to rock legends Kiss.
Ron English Slash Guitar head
Ron English Slash Guitar sculpture
This colourful guitar is certainly one of the more eye-catching sculptures with its dramatic skull design.
Ron English Slash GuitarTown sculpture
Ron English Slash Guitar Sunset Strip
Only two more guitars left to discover...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Burlesque puts on a great show...

If you're a fan of pop music videos, Christina Aguilera or Cher, then you're in for a treat with Burlesque. What you shouldn't expect is any great plot, acting or cinematic spectacle. Having said that, I think it's a fun holiday film and the fact that as I type this I'm listening to the Burlesque movie soundtrack is proof enough that it's a great bit of musical fluff to entertain and cheer you up.
Burlesque movie billboard
The basic plot revolves around Christina's small town girl who moves to the glittering lights of L.A. to make her fortune. She discovers Cher's ailing Burlesque club lounge and goes from plucky waitress to overnight singing and dancing sensation. It's like a musical fairytale, with lots of cleavage, diamonds and feathers combined with Christina Aguilera's distinctive set of lungs.

Original Burlesque movie costumes
Look away now if you don't want me to spoil too much of the movie for you. You've been warned.

Some of the things that really annoyed me about the movie was the weak by-the-numbers story, there really were few surprises and it's pretty much a happily ever after tale.

Whenever they showed shots of the audience, all I saw were smiling beautiful women patrons. Even given the resurgence in popularity of the Burlesque genre popularised by the likes of Dita Von Tesse, I still don't believe there wouldn't be a few more lechy and leering men, just interested in the scantily clad ladies on stage.

Original costumes worn by Christina Aguilera in Burlesque
Christina Aguilera Burlesque film costumes
Cher doesn't really have that much to do in the movie, although I loved her chemistry with Stanley Tucci. And Alan Cumming was just criminally underused in the movie.

I'm also sure it was written into the divas contracts but I was really surprised that there was no duet with the two pop icons in the movie, a bit of a disappointment really.

Other things that made me laugh, and surely were contractually added to the script, were lines Christina's character like 'you have such a beautiful face' or 'where did that voice come from', or words to that effect. They were ever so slightly groan worthy.

Actual outfits worn by Christina Aguilera in Burlesque
Christina Aguilera Burlesque costumes
Another perplexing thing was how the small club stage seemed to grow in size from the start of the movie when it seemed like a really intimate cabaret space, to the climax when giant Burlesque letters seem to sit atop a massive arena-like stage.

Having said all that there are some really great dance numbers and standout new songs, but it's certainly not as fantastical as Chicago or Moulin Rouge, and maybe would have benefitted from a bit more theatricality rather than realism.
Burlesque movie poster
Overall I give Burlesque an entertaining three *** stars. I'm sure Christina fans will be delighted, but vocally there's no real departure here in her vocals and she certainly needs more acting classes before she stars in another movie.

Be sure to check out more photos of Christina Aguilera's Burlesque movie costumes at my Hollywood Movie Costumes and Props blog.

Welcome to Burlesque, I hope you enjoy the experience...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Supercool billboards from around New York...

One of my biggest realizations on my recent trip to New York was that Times Square is a monster of a place where traditional vinyl billboards fight for visibility with flashing, ever-changing digital versions. Both ad formats are all crammed together into such a relatively small space that it's a wonder that anything really stands out at all.

Musical billboards
Chicago Musical billboard NYC
Billboards in L.A. are generally much more spread out and catch your eye much easier as they make the skyline more interesting, whilst in New York the advertisements even have to battle with the very architecture of the buildings which have much more scale, design and diversity.
Women on the verge billboard
Another thing you don't see so much of in Los Angeles is billboards for musicals, whilst along broadway and around Times Square you can't move without being assaulted with countless invitations to see new and favourite shows.
Spider-man Turn off the Dark musical billboard
One of the more surprising musicals on offer has to be the new Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark production, which surely must be the first ever superhero musical based on an established comic book character.
Addams Family Musical billboard
In addition to comics, there are also TV shows being adapted for the stage, like The Addams Family, which has the fantastic Bebe Neuwirth ('Lilith' in Frasier), perfectly cast as 'Morticia Addams'.
Elf musical billboard
Another billboard which caught my eye was this festive version for the musical adaptation of the movie Elf, my favourite Christmas movie, although I'm not sure if anyone could possibly capture the childlike innocence of Will Ferrell as 'Buddy'.
A Little Night Music Broadway billboard
It was also a nice treat to see my former neighbour, Bernadette Peters, staring down on me from this billboard for A Little Night Music, with Elaine Stritch in Times Square.
Swan Lake billboard NYC
Above those Broadway Divas was a billboard for Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, an all male version of the classic ballet story.
La Cage Musical billboard
It was also great to be reminded the big star names you can see in Broadway show, such as Frasier's Kelsey Grammer, Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes (from TV's Will & Grace).
Promises Promises musical billboard
Luckily I got to see a matinee performance of Promises Promises and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Movie & TV billboards
Harry Potter 7 Trust No One billboard NYC
Just like with L.A. there also seemed to be some prime sites in Manhattan for some spectacular billboards, like this 'Trust No One' Harry Potter 7 movie creative.
Harry Potter Voldemort battle billboard
Plus there were lots of other billboards for The Deathly Hallows on New York's streets.
Skyline NYC movie billboard
This wraparound billboard for the sci-fi movie Skyline stood out, even if the movie is a bit disappointing and lacking in plot. Having said that it only cost around $10 million to make, so maybe I judged it too harshly (although a bad film is still a bad film).
Glory Daze TV bilboard
There was also this billboard for new television comedy following the adventures of college freshmen, Glory Daze.

Drinks billboards
Skyy Vodka red heels billboardSkyy Vodka red heels NYC billboard
In the run up to the holidays, there was a smattering of alcohol billboards enticing you to have a drink, including these colorful Skyy Vodka kinky boots creatives that have also been seen in L.A.
Maker's Mark holidays billboard
Maker's Mark had a visible presence in the city skies, with this dazzling jewel-encrusted whisky bottle billboard near Times Square and clever side-by-side Deja Vu campaign near the West Village.
Maker's mark Deja Vu bilboards
Svedka Vodka's oddly seductive robot could also be seen on the rooftops in the Meatpacking District from the High Line Park.
Svedka Vodka Robot billboard
Plus this more traditional Glenmorangie Scotch Whisky billboard.
Glenmorangie Whisky billboard
Bacardi was also out in force around the city, like this billboard in Times Square. I like this creative execution using different coloured Barcadi logos to form the main picture.
Bacardi billboard NYC
If you're not a drinker and prefer something a little softer you can drink your way to the top with a Diet Coke in the city that never sleeps.
Diet Coke billboard NYC
Or grab a festive Ginger Ale (maybe with a splash or two of vodka to make the holidays even more merry).
Canada Dry Ginger Ale billboard

Fashion Billboards
Dolce and Gabbana fashion billboard
After living in shorts and a t-shirt for the majority of the year in California, it was strange to spend time in fashionable New York, where the dress code seemed to be stylish black and grey. Or if you were younger, as dramatic and individual as possible to stand out from the crowds.
Armani Jeans Cristiano Ronaldo billboard
Luckily there were a few billboards where less is more (less clothes that is), although Cristiano Ronaldo and the Hugo Boss male underwear model didn't seem too bothered by the November chill.
Hugo Boss male underwear billboard
Mad Men's Christina Hendricks looked suitably foxy and chic in this billboard for London Fog.
London Fog Christina Hendricks billboard
Whilst the Buffalo brand reached for the sky to stand out from the hordes of other fashion billboards.
Buffalo David Bitton billboard NYCBuffalo fashion billboard

Sports billboards
Asics NYC marathon billboardAsics New York marathon billboard
We just missed the New York Marathon, but I really liked this billboard for athletic brand Asics, especially now that I'll be running the L.A. Marathon in March 2011. If you look closely you'll see that the runners are sweating off word like misery, doubt and fatigue, and having run two half marathons now, I totally get the emotional sentiment behind this ad.

Other billboards
Pop Tarts World billboard
Aside from the musical, drinks, fashion and movie billboards there were also other fun examples for food, gaming, technology and travel. I just had to snap this fun Pop Tarts billboard featuring the Statue of Liberty.
Mexico church on pyramid billboard
I also thought this billboard for the Mexico tourist board was original and also used the shape of the building to great effect.
Interclick Better Way billboard
This colourful billboard for digital advertising brand, Interclick, also stood out.
Call of Duty Black Ops billboard
Finally, this console game billboard for Call of Duty: Black Ops had real impact on New York's busy streets.

It really was a refreshing change to see billboards amongst all those skyscrapers in such a densely populated area, compared to sprawling, low-level L.A.

If you like these, be sure to check out Daily Billboard this week for even more great ad creatives from New York every day...

Related Posts with Thumbnails