Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Best (and Worst) Posters of 2011 - Part I

I like knowing that I've forged this little niche in blogging about movie posters. I like to think that I'm doing my part for the discussion and appreciation of the artform that I enjoy so much, and that I do so in the face of such flagrant disregard for the process of designing key art for films. I mean, a quick google search will show you that most people who do a similar list to this (usually much shorter) only seem to regurgitate the same few names without even trying to broaden their view. I try to cast as wide a net as possible when i comes to compiling this list, I really do. I search through all the major film festivals to see if any of those difficult titles had some eye-popping designs arrive while I wasn't looking and I try as best as I can to seek out international versions of posters. It's a shame that many truly memorable designs don't get seen until long after a cut off date (a mix of release date shenanigans and general lack of exposure), but I certainly try. The 50 titles below includes several local Australian designs, some films I'd never heard of and that i doubt will ever get any kind of release, teasers and final concepts, and films from America, UK, Thailand, Australia, Japan, France and South Korea. I hope it begins to cover the territory.

Please note that, as always, I have kept the list to films that surfaced this year. None of this 2012 bullshit, yeah? I mean, The Dark Knight Rises' teaser wouldn't have made it on here anyway, but I think it's a bit unfair to titles like Toomelah, If a Tree Falls or L'amour fou to take up space with something that hasn't even been seen by anybody yet. It's bad enough these lovely works of poster design get fobbed off for the likes of Rise of the Planet of the Apes without having to compete with designs for movies nobody has even laid eyes on. Leave that for 2012's list, yeah?

50. Toomelah
49. Archipelago
48. Birthday

47. If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
46. Snowtown
45. Daydream Nation

44. Tyrannosaur
43. We Need to Talk About Kevin
42. A Dangerous Method

41. Immortals
40. Martha Marcy May Marlene
39. The Skin I Live In

38. Aita
37. L'amour fou
36. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

35. Father's Day
34. Dream Home
33. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

32. Hesher
31. Super 8
30. Scream 4

29. Incendies
28. Urbanized
27. Bridesmaids

26. Blame
25. happythankyoumoreplease
24. We Need to Talk About Kevin

23. The Ides of March
22. Septien
21. The Tree of Life

20. Shame
For being smutty without being cheap and crass.

19. Needle
For being playful with the film's plot as well as the poster's own concept. Love the detailing.

18. Weekend
17. Pariah
For embracing the Instagram effect, but doing so with vivid colours and nicely done credit blocks.

16. Albert Nobbs
For actually having some personality, as opposed to the end product.

15. Sleeping Beauty
For being as ornately crafted as the film it's selling. For having the actress actually pose for a poster.

14. A Horrible Way to Die
For teasing the "horrible way to die" through creative typeface.

13. 13 Assassins
For being visually spectacular and a left of centre choice to sell a traditional samurai movie.

12. Meek's Cutoff
For representing the film's more homespun nature. For inventive use of colour and illustration techniques.

11. Martha Marcy May Marlene
For being dark and brooding, alluding to the disintegration of its lead character through text. For evocative colour.

10. Melancholia
For somehow becoming an iconic, striking piece of cinematic imagery. For playing games with film content.

9. Burning Man
For such eye-popping use of colour, framing and imagery.

8. Don't be Afraid of the Dark
For retro chills and tricks of the eye. Size reminds me Aussie daybills and VHS video covers.

7. Cold Weather
For having the balls to do this whole "minimalism" thing for an actual poster. For being better than most of the others. For having a gallery look.

6. One Day
For evoking romance and dancing perilously close to the edge of a perfume commercial.

5. We Need to Talk About Kevin
For its mad gothic vibe, illusions to past classics (hello Rosemary's Baby and I Walk with a Zombie) and impeccable plays of light.

4. Kaboom
For its ribald technicolour. For being as rough-around-the-edges and colourfully wacky as the film it's selling.

3. I Saw the Devil
For giving us but a glimpse of "the devil". For reinventing the text-over-image design concept in a fresh way. For actually scaring me.

2. Jane Eyre
For rich and textured imagery. For those unique colours and a truly painterly central pose.

1. Here I Am
For having the most startling and dreamy use of colour of the year. For the juxtaposition. For the mother of pearl. For the defiance. For the intricate simplicity. For the beauty.

And that's that. We'll hopefully be getting to the worst posters of the year very soon as well as some fun "awards" type of stuff just for kicks. Do you agree/disagree with much of the list? Is any of this surprising? What was your favourite of the year? Do speak up in the comments or on Twitter.


GlenH said...

Nice selections. I hadn't seen the A Horrible Way to Die or the Dream Home ones before. Love them both, although I can't shake the feeling that I've seen the latter before. Maybe I've just seen too many photos of "die-ins".

Of the Incendies posters I prefer this one: think the stark colour scheme does a good job of getting the film's ferocity (for want of a better word) across.

a famous historian said...

Great list, I hadn't seen a lot of these.

pony said...

Fantastic choices. "Jane Eyre" is a bit plain for my taste, but it is indeed beautiful. "I Saw The Devil" is by far my favorite.

Anonymous said...

The Innkeepers! It has a floating head, but damn...

Stephen Rowley said...

Great stuff, well done.

noldor said...

Blame stood out for me as the number 1, it was like the greats..maybe a little like a Saul Bass poster.

But the homage was a good one.

Glenn Dunks said...

Innkeepers, since The Innkeepers is getting a 2012 release it may just pop up on this year's list :)

Noldor, I love the Blame poster, but I find it curiously at odds with the film. I have no problem with a great poster for a bad film, but the great poster in question doesn't represent the tone of the film in any way at all.

Thanks for all the find words you guys! A few new names floating about here.

Anonymous said...

There is a great collection of Australian film posters at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

Anonymous said...

You forgot one... ;)

Evan said...

The Melancholia poster is iconic because it's based on one of the most famous paintings of all-time. It's a nice reference, but I hope you're not giving it credit for originality.

My favorite poster is that of Tyrannosaur. It's so striking and entrancing.

I imagine it has nothing to do with the movie's plot, but if the movie's title can reference dinos, why can't the poster?

Glenn Dunks said...

Yes, I am aware of that, but it's different to use a painting as a film poster than it is to recreate it and make it entirely cinematic and fresh.

Grace | labor law posters said...

I like the poster of One day, though I was not able to watch the movie I'm an avid fan of it.

Vijay said...

Great list of movie posters keep it up. If you are interested visit my site. Provide valid Suggestions.