Thursday, April 28, 2011

April's round-up of L.A.'s TV, movie and fashion billboards...

As usual you can find the best billboards from around L.A. every day at my Daily Billboard blog, but here's the best of the rest that April had to offer.

Technology billboards
Vibrant iPad 2 billboard
It's great to see Apple injecting a burst of colour along L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard with this eye-catching creative for its new iPad 2.

Fashion and beauty billboards
Daniel Craig Omega watch billboard
In these twin billboards, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig re-team off-screen to be the respective 'faces' of Omega's stylish and luxurious watches.
Joe's micro skinny flare jeans billboard
Joe's Jeans billboard creatives are growing on me lately, but even though this one is for their skinny micro flare range, I still think that sink is too small for the model to comfortably wash, no matter how skinny she is.
Yellow Aldo Shoes billboard
Beneath the iPad 2 billboard you'll find this luminous creative for Aldo Shoes. Sadly, the ad was vandalised with graffiti within days of being installed and had to be scrubbed clean, slightly spoiling this sunny addition to Sunset Strip.
True Religion Hippie Chic billboard
This month, True Religion steps back in time and gets all mellow for its new Hippie Chic fragrance.
And finally for fashion, CK One continues its youthful 'box' campaign which continues to turn heads of passersby.
CK One box billboard

TV billboards
The Voice NBC billboard
April has been an interesting month for television and this vibrant billboard for Dutch import, The Voice, really stands out with its all-star line-up of singing coaches, including Maroon 5's Adam Levine and pop diva Christina Aguilera.
Doctor Who season 6 USA billboard
However, this billboard for British export Doctor Who really excited me the most. It's the second season starring Matt Smith as the time-traveling, eccentric 'Doctor' and the second year that BBC America has heavily promoted the show to a wider U.S. audience. It's nice to see some homegrown sci-fi make its way across the pond.

Be sure to also check out the Doctor Who billboard from 2010 at Daily Billboard.
Game of Thrones TV billboard
These impressive billboards for new medieval-fantasy epic Game of Thrones, with a brooding Sean Bean, dominated L.A.'s skyline this month.
Game of Thrones billboard
Obviously the spiky throne sticking out of the top of the billboards helped attract attention.
Game of Thrones HBO billboard
Next is a fun creative for Comedy Central's Workaholics, which illustrates the perils (or joys) of misusing the photocopier at work (although let's face it, it could have ended up much worse). Cool idea though.
Workaholics Comedy Central billboard
And lastly for TV, are two billboards that were mostly around in March, but stuck around until the beginning of April. First up is Desperate Housewives Dana Delany in her new 'female Quincy' show, where she uses her medical examiner skills to solve murders. Which is actually an entertaining series so far.
Body of Proof TV billboard
And finally it's a suitably 'Hollywood' looking billboard for the famous Producer, Jerry Weintraub, in his own HBO documentary special.
His Way Jerry Weintraub TV billboard

Music billboards
Lady Gaga Monster Ball billboard
This month 'The Gaga' has landed in L.A. with this pyrotechnic billboard for the pop icon's soon-to-be televised Monster Ball concert.
Hollywood Bowl 2011 billboard
And for concerts of a more classical nature, tickets for the Hollywood Bowl have gone on sale for this Summer's season. I can't wait to enjoy a few nights at the outdoor amphitheater and I'm especially interested in the Hairspray musical that's in the mix.

Movie billboards
Thor movie billboard Sunset Strip
Let the Summer blockbuster madness begin with Thor, the Norse God of Thunder.
Thor Chris Hemsworth billboard
I've loved these billboards for the Marvel Comics character who's making his big screen debut, especially as Chris Hemsworth has more than adequately filled those heroic muscles.
Thor hammer billboard
Check out this fun Thor Hammer Toss billboards which spanned La Cienega Boulevard with a billboard on either side of the road.
Johnny Depp Pirates 4 billboard
From superheroics to period fantasy and it's the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment, On Stranger Tides.
Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Skull billboard
He looks suitably charismatic with his two pistols in the first billboard and the skull and crossbones version even has his trademark look incorporated for instant recognition.
Fast Five movie billboard
Fast Five zoomed onto the scene this month, with this jam-packed billboard for the fifth installment in the Fast and Furious movie franchise.
Priest movie billboards
And finally for movies, I think these Priest billboards channel The Dark Knight a tad in these two ad creatives for the vampire-filled, futuristic thriller.

Health and Fitness billboards
Live amped GNC billboard
I showcased two other GNC health billboards in last month's round-up, but here's another pumped up creative that makes me want to take my vitamins.
Liz Taylor AIDS tribute billboard
And finally for this category, is this wonderful billboard tribute to Elizabeth Taylor who recently passed away, honoring her for all her hard work in raising awareness and championing AIDS and HIV healthcare when many others wouldn't.

Book billboards
Michael Connelly 5th Witness book billboard
Michael Connelly's publishers cash in on his recent hit movie adaptation, The Lincoln Lawyer, with this billboard for his new book starring that character. Personally I can't wait to see his 'Harry Bosch' crime novels adapted to the big screen as they are favourites of mine.

Drinks billboards
Thing of Beauty Stella billboard
And to finish this round-up here's a cool, refreshing and simple billboard for Stella Artois, which has a brilliantly clever strapline. Be sure to also check out another version of this 'thing of beauty' billboard at Daily Billboard to get the full picture.

Be sure to check in next month for May's brightest and best billboards around Los Angeles...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GuitarTown's Star Struck sculpture gets a makeover...

Driving along Sunset Boulevard today I noticed that David 'Rudy' Gardner's 'Star Struck' GuitarTown sculpture had gotten a bit of a makeover.

New look for the 'Star Struck' guitar
GuitarTown Star Struck sculpture Sunset Strip
The work by West Hollywood resident and artist which can be found outside the Sunset Strip's Andaz Hotel is sporting a much bolder look than its previous incarnation.

Before the facelift
David Gardner's Star Struck GuitarTown sculptureStar Struck Guitar David Rudy Gardner
At first I thought I'd discovered the missing guitar in the twenty-six giant Gibson Les Paul guitars that invaded the Sunset Strip last August as part of a public outdoor art project, GuitarTown. That final creation still eludes me.

'Star Struck' GuitarTown sculpture by David 'Rudy' Gardner
Star Struck GuitarTown sculptureStar Struck Guitar strings
The thing I noticed on closer inspection about Star Struck that I overlooked before, were the names of famous bands and musicians along the guitar's strings, like The Doors, Van Halen, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Motley Crue, Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains and the Smashing Pumpkins. It's a nice touch.

I remember there being a blank space recently where this guitar rests and I thought it had moved to a new position along the Strip, but it must have been getting a facelift in that time (quite a popular activity in L.A., so why not). The revamped result is much stronger and really stands out, so it's nice to have it back.

Be sure to check out these other GuitarTown sculptures, like Erin Lareau's Katy Perry guitar homage, Ron English's Slash guitar, Kiss guitar tribute and more.

With luck I'll find that elusive twenty-sixth guitar sometime soon...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scream 4 is scary fun...

New decade. New Rules. Same scary fun.

I'm not a huge horror movie fan, but on occasion I like the chance to be frightened under controlled conditions, so I thought I'd revisit the Scream movie franchise to see if there was any life left in 'Ghost face' and his victims.
Scream 4 poster
I'm pleased to say I enjoyed Scream 4 and there were enough plot twists, laughs and minimum gore to keep me entertained rather than repulsed. Mainly I came back to see how Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell worked on the big screen after being absent for so long.

The film's many false starts have some fun cameos and lead you to believe there's more interesting concepts to come, but don't expect to be too challenged.

Campbell's 'Sidney Prescott' returns to Woosboro on the last leg of her self-help book tour and the killing starts again. You'd think Sidney wouldn't have anyone in her life left caring about that hadn't been killed off, but this movie manages to rustle up a cousin and aunt to put in peril.
Scream 4 film poster
'Gale Weathers' and 'Sheriff Dewey' are experiencing marital problems, mainly caused by her boredom at being stuck in a small town and you can't help but think that their real-life off-screen divorce adds to the tension.

The franchise regulars don't really get that much to do, Arquette's Sheriff Dewey really does just bumble from one situation to the next, predictably Gale investigates the new killings and gets herself injured and Sidney continues to prove to be incredibly difficult to kill.

Heroes' Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin make for an interesting bunch of high school kids to terrorize, but whereas Scream reinvented the slasher genre over ten years ago, this sequel although being watchable fun doesn't seem to break any new ground.
Scream 4 movie poster
There's lots of talk of facebook and twitter, lots of iPhones and live-blogging, but ultimately the villain still stabs people to death, even if the big bad is ham-fistedly pointed out to be culture's youth obsession with reality celebrity and instant fame.

Scream 4 gets a three *** star rating and it was nice to revisit this universe, but now it's time to put the franchise back in the horror vault, otherwise it'll just become a poor cliche of the horror movies it so well parodies...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hanna is a real thriller...

If you want a well executed, espionage thriller filled with refreshing surprises I highly recommend you go see Hanna.
Hanna teaser posterSaoirse Ronan (of The Lovely Bones fame) is so captivating as the sixteen year old teenage assassin. From her training by her father and ex-CIA agent, played by Eric Bana, in the wilds of Finland to her enlightening journey across Europe, she puts in a totally convincing performance.

Original Hanna movie costumes
She's relentlessly pursued by Cate Blanchett's determined intelligence agency operative, who plays the role with sinister relish, who obviously knows more about Hanna's origins than she lets on in the movie. Hanna was the result of an experiment in genetic engineering to produce super-soldiers who were stronger and felt fear less.

What's great about the movie is that it feels quite believable and grounded in reality, from the British family that Hanna befriends (who provide some wonderful comic moments), to the European locations and even the fighting style, which is much less kung fu action and more gritty and close contact. You actually believe this is how a sixteen year old girl assassin would fight and it never feels gratuitous.
Hanna movie poster
One of my favourite scenes in the movie is Hanna's escape from the holding facility, which is filmed brilliantly with such visual excitement, and also has a complementary soundtrack to match the action.

As the story unfolds, it's equally interesting and frustrating to see how she's been trained to survive and infiltrate the world, and yet simple things like electricity and music amaze her.

Another favourite line from the movie is delivered so wonderfully by Saoirse Ronan when asked how her mother died. I won't spoil it here, but it had the cinema audience laughing out loud.

Saoirse Ronan's Hanna holding facility costume on display
Hanna Saoirse Ronan costume display
Hanna movie costume
Even though it has a simple premise, the movie has just the right amount of action and intrigue, plus it is wonderfully filmed and executed to deserve a four **** star rating.

Saoirse Ronan really is building up a fantastic repertoire of roles in her career and I look forward to seeing what she does next. I hope Hanna is successful enough to garner a sequel as there are enough mysteries remaining and the potential of seeing the character find her way in the world is just too tantalizing to resist.

Let's have more movies like this in 2011 please...

Monday, April 18, 2011

The unbearable cuteness of being 3...

Happy 3rd Birthday Cooper!

Can you believe our boy is all grown up. I remember when we brought him home as an eight week old Labrador pup, it seems like only yesterday.

3 year old yellow Labrador Cooper
3 year old English Labrador Cooper
As always Cooper got lots of treats, toys and a new collar, plus his favourite walk up Runyon Canyon for his special day.
3 year old yellow Labrador Cooper
If you think he looks as adorable as we do, be sure to check out some of the milestones in his life so far. Check out pup's first swimming pool lesson, Cooper's first at the beach and even his first time swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

Birthday party games - find the treat!
Cooper dog party games
I think I've managed to capture most of Cooper's life on camera, but I'm sure there's many more misadventures to come.

Cooper wonders where all his presents are
Happy 3rd Birthday Labrador Cooper
Even though he's three, he'll always be our pup to us...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Arthur ends up on the rocks...

Oh Hollywood, why do you keep shooting yourself in the foot this way, why can't you leave well enough alone. Of course I'm referring to the latest movie remake, this time a new version of Arthur, originally made famous by Dudley Moore in 1981. Russell Brand won me over with his signature over-the-top performance in Get Him To The Greek and I love both Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner, so that's why I thought I'd give the new film a try.
Arthur 2011 film poster
Even though it's watchable I didn't think this Arthur had the heart and soul of a great romantic comedy. Billed at the 'world's only loveable billionaire', I found Russell's 'Arthur' to be a bit winey and lacking any real endearing qualities.

Even though he pursues true love at the expense of his family fortune I didn't really feel any connection between him and Greta Gerwig, and I also felt there was a lack of empathy and gravitas of the relationship between him and his life-long nanny, 'Hobson', played by Helen Mirren.
Arthur remake bathtub billboard
I wonder if my apathy in part towards the movie came from changing times. I'm sure back in the 80's Dudley Moore's eccentric drunken character may have been more endearing in simpler times. In this age of recession and media overexposure, where 'Real Housewives' and self-interested reality star celebrity wannabes are shown vulgarly spending, partying and generally being quite despicable on a daily basis, it's hard to find Arthur that sympathetic.
Arthur movie poster
Arthur is entertaining enough, there's a few laughs, although it's a bit mediocre and only just scrapes a three *** star rating. I'd save your money and a trip to the cinema and wait for the DVD.

Today we're off to see the espionage thriller Hanna and I have high hopes, so let's hope they are not equally dashed...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Getting redder every day...

No, not my pale British skin in this scorching Californian sunshine, but the new red addition to West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center.

Center Red takes shape
Pacific Design Center San Vicente
Center Red certainly is shooting up, look away and it feels like a new level gets added whilst you blink.

Center Red under construction April 2011
Red build Pacific Design CenterPacific Design Center Red build
The bare bones of the new building looked fairly spectacular, but it looks like the design will look even more impressive totally clad in red glass.
Red Pacific Design CenterPacific Design Center Red
The new red exterior really is shooting up and you can only imagine what it'll look like in a month's time.
Pacific Design Center new build 2011Another addition in recent weeks have been the fully functioning central fountains which look fantastic and certainly catch the eye of our Labrador, Cooper, as we've been walking by.

Pacific Design Center central fountains
Pacific Design Center fountainsPacific Design Center WeHo
I'm looking forward to seeing the finished result all buffed and gleaming...

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