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In Depth: A Good Day to Die Hard

21 Feb

While this blog is a forum for me to discuss films in a personal capacity, I also wanted to use it as a way of combining my two great passions; movies and PR. Every movie has a story to tell, and in order to tell that story, the movie-makers themselves have to rely on a team of publicists, advertising execs and marketing boffins to pump up the hype to make sure the film is a hit before it’s even hit the screen.

My “In Depth” blog posts will take a closer look at how movies are portrayed in the public domain through well-timed digital and print campaigns and public appearances, and how the publicity post-production plays an integral role in the success of a film. This week, I’ll be looking at A Good Day to Die Hard, directed by John Moore and starring Bruce Willis.

A Good Day to Die Hard: In Print

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Unless you have lived a solitary existence, with no means of accessing the outside world for the last 15 years, you will be familiar with the Die Hard franchise. Each film has followed the turbulent life of John McClane, an  NYPD officer who finds himself at the center of seemingly every villainous disaster of the modern world. Let’s take a closer look at how the 2013 film was publicised ahead of its UK launch on the 14th February 2013 (we’ll get to the ironic date later on!)

Looking at the official posters for each of the five films, it is clear to see that the creatives have opted for an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of approach and personally I think it works. Die Hard has spanned at least two generations of men and women who appreciate good 80’s/90’s films; Speed, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon. With a legacy like that, it is no wonder they decided to keep it old-school.

A Good Day to Die Hard: Digital/Broadcast

Movie Trailer

As with any action film, the trailer is what sells the story; the car chases, the explosions, the gun fire. It’s no wonder then that the trailer for this movie has had over 2.3m views on YouTube (although I would have expected more). It certainly delivers the goods, set to the sound of Ode to Joy which only heightens the impression that AGDTDH will be a testosterone-fuelled cinema experience. The trailer, which is a short-clip style with no words (probably because they aren’t necessary) is certainly a winner in my books.

A Good Day to Die Hard: The Timing

Now to the timing of the movie – Valentine’s Day. There’s no guessing why the date was set for the most romantic day of the year. While women attempted to drag their reluctant boyfriends/husbands/partners to the latest RomCom, AGDTDH came along as a sign of salvation. “I know dear, why don’t you and Marjory go and see Love Forever After and Roger and I will see Die Hard next door?” It was also a perfect solution for anyone out there without a significant other who didn’t want to see sad sympathy eyes while they stood in the line for a ticket-for-one.

Conclusion – A Job Well Done

The job of publicising AGDTDH was carried out plain and simply; no muss, no fuss. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who likes cars/guns/explosions/women/Bruce Willis/Attractive Sons.

JL x

And the Winner is…

4 Feb

I often love musing about the past and seeing as its #tbt I thought I would review one of my favourite years for award winning performances on the big screen.

We have seen them come and go; the gowns and the glitter, the suits and the ties. Awards Season has been a glamorous occasion, and we have seen some (not so surprising) winners crowned victorious, with some deserving underdogs reaching new levels. Here is a rundown of my top 3 choices this season:

Argo – BAFTA for Best Picture and Best Director

Argo is, in my opinion, cinematic genius. The film centres around the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and is set to a backdrop of conflict and turmoil, following the unfortunate circumstances that befall six U.S diplomats who find refuge at the house of the Canadian Ambassador after Iranian militants raid the US Embassy.

The harrowing task of rescuing the hostages falls on the shoulders of the CIA, and ex filtration expert Tony Mendez (played brilliantly by Ben Affleck). With few options and little time to debate, he devises a plan so out-there, it is a wonder how he manages to succeed. With a team of “experts”, played by the talented Alan Arkin and John Goodman, he enters Iran under the pretense that he is scouting locations for a science fiction film, and coming along on the trip are six other members of the production team. The film catalogs Mendez’s plan from inception to completion, bringing with it moments on intense panic with just enough light-hearted moments to make it a well-rounded, and deserving winner at this year’s BAFTAs.

I feel it necessary to mention the outstanding performances given by Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham and Kerry Bishe, with a special mention for Bryan Cranston, who all deserve a huge amount of recognition and praise for their contribution to this powerhouse of a film.

Django Unchained – BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay

There’s not much I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said. With Tarantino at the helm, this film was bound to be catapulted into the heavens in the most dramatic way. The film follows the trials and tribulations of Django (Jamie Foxx), a suspiciously talented gun-slinging slave whose luck changes when he meets Dr King Schulz (Christoph Waltz) – a dentist turned bounty hunter. While Dr Schulz’s intentions are simple in the beginning, little did he know that the journey he would take with Django (the D is silent) would bring him to Candiland (under the thumb of the wonderful Leonardo Dicaprio) and ultimately, his demise.

Special attention must be given to Christoph Waltz’s performance as the kind-hearted hunter who pays the ultimate price in order to let two slaves live freely. His magnificent performance has been recognised with a BAFTA nod for Best Supporting Actor (although in my opinion his role is far more than supporting). I have long been an admirer of Christoph as a powerful actor, with standout roles in Inglorious Basterds and Water for Elephants. While he has always played the nasty and downright morally unsound villain, his move into the keeper and protector has been a wonderful change, and one I hope continues.

I must also pay homage to the musical score for the movie. With new and exclusive tracks featuring some big names (including Django himself) it brings a life and soul to the film in a way that only Tarantino can.

Life of Pi – BAFTA award for Best Cinematography and Special Visual Effects

For me, the decision for Best Special Visual Effects was signed and sealed after Life of Pi hit the cinema screen. While the storyline alone could carry  Ang Lee’s masterful film into the stratosphere, the explosion of vivid colour that fills the room makes it all the more impressive and captivating. While it is a shame that Suraj Sharma did not win the Rising Star award, it is not surprising when you consider he had to compete for the limelight with a whole host of  animals created lovingly by CGI geniuses. I applaud Ang Lee for taking such a risk on this movie, and his hard work and dedication has paid off in bucket loads.

JL x

Gotta start somewhere

1 Feb

I am sure this is a dilemma that all bloggers can relate to…where exactly do I start? When I decided to embark on writing a blog that discusses the vacuum that is Movies and Entertainment, I realised that this must be what it is like to write the first line of a script – you know what you want to say, and you know where you want the story to go, but how exactly do you start? Well I decided that, in true blogger fashion, I would start from the beginning.

I am from a generation when the television was not a tool created by the devil to invoke infant obesity, but a medium by which we could learn to expand our minds through the works of Walt Disney (and to be honest, not much else). My passion for the reel hasn’t faltered with age, and I am now a bona-fide film addict. Whilst I dabble in the odd TV show, my real passion sits with the moviemakers and shakers of this world.

I do not profess to being the most articulate, or someone with an insight into the psyche of Quentin or Martin (first name basis is a given). I don’t have a magnitude of ideas on the complexities of cinematography. I wanted to start this blog as a way of writing my muses down to not only save my friends from sheer boredom as I babble on about the latest film, but also to share my general thoughts and opinions with the wider bloggersphere, and maybe even interest people enough that they look to me as a movie GENIUS (that’s a lie…I doubt this dream will ever come true..)

So, if you are still reading this and find yourself wanting more, then stay tuned. If you never made it past the first sentence, well then you won’t know that I am in fact a multi-millionaire (another lie…)

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JL x