This phenomenon seems to happen so often I’m going to start keeping track of it. Movies that have stylish, attractive, even innovative posters get the blandest, most boring and same-old DVD covers. The latest offender goes from a Saul Bass-esque throwback that’s eye-catching and intriguing to a cover that looks like a straight-to-video reject from the ’80s, right down to the italicized cast names and tagline. I just don’t get why they go to the trouble of getting really nice poster art and then throw it away for the DVD.
I have absolutely no interest in seeing The Rite, an exorcism-demon possession horror film dumped in the rear-end of January, but I just needed to subject you all to the poster. Because, I swear, this thing scares the crap out of me at least three times a week as I’m driving around LA and Anthony Hopkins’ eyes emerge from the darkness. The worst is the bus stop just as you crown the hill going from Hollywood to the Valley on Laurel Canyon. It’s a pretty steep rise on both sides, and you just come over the hill and BAM. Anthony Hopkins staring at you creeptastically from the bus stop. The first time I thought it was actual creeptastic person lying in wait there.
Can’t wait until this movie is out of theatres.
Kurt over at RowThree highlighted this new poster for John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole, and it’s quite the stunner. The film is about a couple (played by Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) dealing with the death of their son, and the strain that their very different ways of approaching grief puts on their marriage. This one-sheet brilliantly condenses several stages of their relationship and emotional state into a series of slatted images. It’s not easy to include the element of time in a flat, still image, but that’s precisely what this does. I already wanted to see the film based on the clips I’ve seen and how good I know Kidman can be in the right role (and from what I’ve seen, this is the right role), but somehow this poster just made me even more interested. The film is out in limited release on December 17th.
I love me some movie posters. Especially when they’re either a) beautiful enough to stand as art in their own right or b) depict the film they advertise in a particularly apt or innovative way. Thanks to the Internet Movie Poster Awards site (which is a wonderful resource for posters, award-worthy or no), I’ve been able to look closely at last year’s posters (and previous years, but let’s not push this Year’s Best thing too far–we’re already three months into a new year) and chosen several that I think ought to be recognized.
While narrowing down the choices, I did discover several biases I have–things that generally make me like or dislike a poster. Floating heads of the stars = bad. Selling the film based only on the stars = bad. Lots of negative space = good. Characters depicted facing away from us or in long shot = good. Hand-drawn, cartoony, or stylized quality = usually good. Anyway, here are my favorite posters from last year. (And regarding the order, I’ve changed it many many times even since I started writing this post, so I don’t even know if it’s at all accurate to my thoughts anymore.)
#10: Eastern Promises
Eastern Promises is about people who make their living with their hands – fighting and killing, surviving in the Russian mafia. Highlighting the hands — and the numerous tattoos that identify relationships with specific underworld factions — is perfect, because ultimately what matters in the film is what the characters choose to do with the information they gain. Plus, focusing on body parts other than the face makes for a much more interesting poster than most. The only thing that would’ve improved the poster is to have left off the strip of faces on the bottom, which really adds nothing.
#9: 3:10 to Yuma
Biases alert: character facing away from us, stylized look, focus on story (gunslinger waiting for train, seen between his legs). This was one of my very favorite posters when it came out last year, but I’ve started to cool on it a little bit because I think ultimately, it’s a little too busy. The grunge styling is cool, but there’s too much of it in too many places, too many flourishes, and the director blurb on the right side is indulgent. Still, the monochrome coloring and unusual layout make it heaps better than most posters.
#8: Spider-Man 3
Another tendency I have: a strong preference for teaser posters over the final one-sheets. Regardless of how good Spider-Man 3 turned to be (or not be), this teaser is near perfection. It’s simple, it’s iconic, and he’s wearing a black suit. Which I know, I know, is evil, but it’s SO HOT. The later posters made the conflict between good/red Spider-Man and bad/black Spider-Man more clear, but for pure visual impact, none of them match this one.
The rest after the jump.