Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm So Excited (About Movie Posters)!

Colour me surprised, but I continue to be enamored by many of the film posters that are coming down the assembly line this year. In stark contrast to 2012 where it seemed barely anything grabbed my attention, this year has already seen a swag of designs that will be fighting it out for best of the year honours, and many more that will surely find a ranking amongst my coveted (er, let's just say it is coveted for the sake of argument, okay?) top 50 list's higher rankings.

As if it wasn't enough that 2013 has already given us the elegant calligraphy of The Wolverine, the whimsical knitted print of Sightseers, the creepy identity reflections of Stoker, the abstract concept of Spring Breakers, the sleek black of Elles, the spangly sparkles of The Great Gatsby, the wink of Side Effects, the gumption of Evil Dead, the upclose retro of Simon Killer, the gruesome discoveries of Texas Chainsaw 3D... this has been an exciting year for sure, and it just keeps getting better with a bunch of new posters from the last couple of weeks keeping my eyes perked up.


Loving these two designs for Pedro Almodovar's latest, and a supposed return to his more scrappy, flamboyant comic past. The first for its wild, loud, boisterous colour palate and boxy, silhouetted imagery that looks like Saul Bass goes to the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. The second, however, is just a wonderfully smile-inducing premise. A three-tiered airplane, you say? Sure, why not? I could have done with the typeface looking less like an afterthought - wouldn't some sort of scribbled lipstick have done the trick? - but I can forgive that because it doesn't exactly turn me off seeing the film. So, basically, a job well done right there.


Two posters with a Japanese connection: The first is for Women of Fukushima, a documentary (although I don't think it's Japanese) about women affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, whilst the second is a Japanese poster for Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. The latter is obviously a national twist on the original domestic poster with its redacted title, which I listed amongst 2012's best posters. I like the Japanese edition for no other reason than I'll prefer almost any design that eliminates so much empty space, and I also like the streaked look of the Japanese poster. The former, however, is harder to pinpoint. I think it's visually a very eye-catching design through its repeated use of the Japanese national flag and the randomly places images of the titular women. They are Japan in a way. It also reminds me of the poster for Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which is never a bad thing.


This British quad for Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux reminds me a great deal of this poster for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. So much so that I figured they were by the same designer, but turns out I was wrong. This 2013 poster is by Sam Smith, who is the man behind two other fabulous posters: this super retro piece for Carlos and this black-and-blue poster for Elena. Only three designs to his name at IMP and yet three doozies. I adore the colour scheme that's been used, the intriguing shapes and patterns that have been combined, and the way it truly looks like art.


I do like that truly independent features are choosing to steer more and more towards this hand-drawn aesthetic. I think it works better in capturing the eye in a way that some flat movie still ever could. The design for Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess actually appears to be a hybrid of sorts, but it works in much the same way. In fact, the mix of the crafty computer and the more human foreground gives it a less cartoonish look that is a great way of allowing the film to not look simply like a joke that all those period-style spectacles could have given it the perception of being. This festival poster for White Reindeer, however, uses a style that is becoming incredibly popular, but thankfully not too overdone. I appreciate the delicate colours and that font is divine. I'm not sure if it's the correct one, but I'm definitely getting a vibe of this poster that's making me want to experience the movie. Lastly of this mini-cluster is Rewind This!, which I can only imagine is a documentary about the heady days of VHS. Certainly the execution leaves a bit to be desired, and it's clearly just aping the style of all of these type of films (hello Not Quite Hollywood), but I like it nonetheless. It's fun and tickles the nostalgia part of my brain just enough to succeed.


The last batch of posters is an eclectic one. This design for A Teacher is creepy with an increasing sense of unease, plus an obvious illusion to this startling design for We Need to Talk About Kevin from two years back. Consciously, I'm sure. That the striking, evocative, watercolour-inspired poster for Kiss of the Damned comes from the mind of Akiko Stehrenberger should come as no surprise. She was behind the posters for Funny Games (ya know, the best poster of the '00s), Casa de mi Padre, and Father's Day amongst a few others. I maybe could have done without the faces in the hair, but the rest is still so fantastic that it doesn't bother me as it would on most others. Lastly, as for this poster for Danny Boyle's Trance? Well, I think I'm in the minority here, but I love this concept. It's a somewhat different take on material that could have been otherwise easy to go in a really dull direction with. Sure, I can't really make out who it is behind all of the interference, but isn't that one of the ideas behind the movie? Not being able to make heads or tails of what's going on? Maybe I'm wrong, but...

Of course, all things being equal, there must be some bad ones to go alongside them. And boy have there been! I'll keep it to a minimum of six since we're not here all day and looking at bad movie posters is actually not all that fun in big doses.


Guys, I just can't with the retina-burning red mess of The Call, the mish-mash of hopeless key art cliches of If I Were You, and the flat-out boring, stripped down Liberal Arts rehash of Middleton. Regarding The Call though, can I direct you to one of the funniest tweets I've seen all week? I laughed a lot when I read it on Twitter and then laughed even heartier when I saw Nathaniel at The Film Experience give it an entire entry! I hadn't seen anything about this movie until this poster and now that I've gone and watched the trailer I'm almost looking forward to it in an Ab(s)duction kinda way. Remember Ab(s)duction? I mean, look at Halle's hair! This is retro '90s ludicrous thriller home base.


I'd just like to point out the disappointing irony of a documentary about the one and only Drew Struzan (will he be come out of retirement for the new Star Wars films?) getting such a dull poster like the one below? Also, I know Twitter quotes have been used on film posters for at least a year now, but perhaps using one that so highlights the word "SHIT!" wasn't the best way to go for Down and Dangerous. Lastly, Robert Redford should fire whoever approved that poster for his new movie, The Company You Keep. I admire them no just shoving every recognisable actor's face on there in a desperate attempt to get people to go, but yeesh... Shia LeBeouf and Redford look terrible.

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