Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top 50 Posters of the Decade: #50-26

You knew it was coming! I couldn't let the end of the decade pass and not do a list of the 50 best posters from the past ten years. Get ready for pure and utter gorgeousness. Now there is going to be obvious overlap with my 100 Greatest Movie Posters countdown from 2008, however, as with any list, if I had done that of any other day things would be difference and, thus, there are post-2000 titles on that list that appear further down on this list than you would think they should be. That's just the way it goes.

Honourable mentions? There are many. 25 to be exact. Consider them ranked as top left being #75 and bottom right being #51, but I didn't really put as much thought into them as I did the top 50. I will be posting numbers 50-26 today and the rest tomorrow. Enjoy.

50. Secretary

While so many people are eager to hoot and holler that Polish and Czech poster are where it’s at with their designs that mean nothing and their ugly aesthetics (well, a lot of the time, anyway), I actually think it is Asia that is producing the best alternative designs. You'll notice several of them on the list including this hot pink polka dot infused design for Secretary.

49. Dancer in the Dark

The most original design for Lars Von Trier's musical masterpiece, and one that subtly hints at the emotional wringer that audiences will be put through.

48. Adaptation

My admiration for this design as gone downhill quite a bit in the years since it first came to prominence. I still love the smudged text and my admiration for the Nicolas-Cage-is-Shattering thing has subsided since I've started to follow poster design closely. It's a great design, don't get me wrong, it just feels like the intervening years are lessened its specialness.

47. Saw

The original and the best. Am I talking about the films or the posters? Take a pick. However, in the realm of poster design the original started the trend and the rest are just following suit. Unless you're a hardcore anti-horror then I doubt you can say this didn't make you sit up and take a moment when you first saw them.

46. Sexy Beast

Doesn't this just make you chuckle? A little? Especially if you have seen the film and know what it's about.

45. Jesus' Son

While I have not seen Jesus' Son, I am lead to believe that it is not all sunshine and rainbows, and yet to incorporate such bold ideas onto this design takes guts.

44. Good Night, and Good Luck.

Perhaps the true star of key art design this decade gone was Jeremy Saunders. He has four designs on the countdown, but it could have been more. This uber-cool retro design for George Clooney's film should be used around the world, but it wasn't. Of course. Thankfully the international crowd seems to be catching on to this Saunders fellow.

43. Valentine

A dud of a movie, but like a lot of genre product, it has a solid and key piece of central design. Plus, dolls are creepy.

42. Swimming Pool.

It's got sex and it's got mystery. That's pretty much it.

41. The Prestige
40. Moon

Two hypnotic designs (for two equally impressive films, I might add) that add extra dimensions and texture to films that could have easily been marketed in a much more standard and stereotypical manner.

39. A Christmas Carol

Does a great job at selling the movie as the darker film it (apparently) is. If this were a horror movie I'd think it was even better since I actually get a bit of a chill from it, don't you?

38. Dave Chappelle's Block Party

A poster that shows off the film's joyous celebration of life mentality. I like that the musicians are in black and white with colour shooting out of them as if to say "all this colour and life can come from something gray." If you want.

37. Requiem for a Dream

It’s certainly “EYE” catching, isn’t it? Ba-doom-ch!

No, but seriously, for a poster that utilises the dreaded stripe design AND movie-still-as-marketing-device it works shockingly well. It kinda haunts and alludes to the film's crazy scattered mind.

36. The Dark Knight

I KNOW! How dare I put a poster from The Dark Knight so incredibly LOW on the list? I might as well just shoot myself now. And not even the "Why So Serious?" one, too? Yada Blah Etc.

35. Kill Bill, Vol. 1

Iconic and instantly recognisable. Probably the best use of block colour on a poster for the entire decade.

34. Lost in Translation

This poster - my preferred of the two major posters for Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation - conveys so much. The loneliness, the culture shock and the bewilderment all in a colourful and eye-catching design. It even has a dinosaur! And that tagline, "Everybody wants to be found", is bliss when it easily could have been "In a foreign land, two souls will connect" or some bull like that.

33. No Country for Old Men

Somehow it was Asia that had the bright idea to market the Coen Brothers' film on the ideas of American gothic. A much darker idea than the more recognised American posters and one that gives light to the shattering of an American ideal. Wonderful.

32. The Black Dahlia

There were many great designs to Brian DePalma's absurd loony bin of a movie, but this my favourite. Creepy and direct with a hint of retro.

31. High Tension

High saturation, high promise of horror and high visual panache. It works at showing off the film's grungy and violent appeal (even if the film is actually quite retched). Cecile de France looks super-imposing and I love that blood splatter at the barbed-wire end of her weapon.

30. 3:10 to Yuma

Yes, it looks like it's advertising a Bob Fosse western, but I think that's what makes it so brilliant bonkers. You have flamboyant gun toters, text running in all sorts of directions, random objects and one of helluva sight gag. Incredible inventive for a movie of a genre so indebted to history and formula.

29. In the Mood for Love

For a movie that is bathed in colour to use just ONE seems like it shouldn't work, but it does. That deep red is just dreamy and with Maggie and Tony all but sinking into it? Heavenly...

28. Code Unknown

Sometimes Michael Haneke films have incredible marketing, and other times it's as if nobody has any idea how to sell it. This design for Code Unknown is quite stunning in the way it represents the themes of the film (it is one of my favourite Haneke films for what it's worth) and the vague disappearing act that characters in this and all Haneke films seem to go through.

27. The House Bunny
26. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Ever since Steve Carell looked up slightly to the left in the mall photo house-inspired poster for The 40-Year-Old Virgin (note: correct grammar) in 2005 the design has been aped, repeated and copied so many times that it is impossible to count. A lot of the time it has been done by Judd Apatow's own production house. However, nothing beats the original, although Anna Faris looking hilariously dumb on the poster for The House Bunny certainly came close. Just looking at them is bound to raise a giggle or five.

Make you come back tomorrow when we count down from #25 all the way to the best poster of the decade! Feel free to leave a comment!


JA said...

Ooh great list, Glenn! Can't wait to see the rest. And yes, the poster for The House Bunny still makes me laugh. Every time I look at it, I do. Hilarious.

Poster Printing said...

Thanks for sharing. It’s not often the average guy can find this many movie posters together. The impact of the varying styles is quite evident when seen en mass. From the simple color block design of the Kill Bill poster to the eye-catching eye of Requiem For A Dream, these posters are an education for the graphic design amateur. The differing designs for foreign markets are an interesting note for poster printing.