Friday One Sheet: Vertical Space

Cannes is happening now, and as per every year it looks like the festival has a diverse and wonderful line up. This includes the latest from “New Greek Weird” standard bearer, Yorgos Lanthimos. And the poster designed for its festival debut is easily my favourite one sheet of the year. Look at those glorious vertical lines, that create a medical space that absolutely dwarf Colin Farrell. White matting, and some strange varied typesetting on the mouthful of a title, which of course involves an animal, as per Lanthimos’ previous films, Dogtooth and The Lobster. Speaking of the latter, Farrell was so good in that film as the dumpy protagonist, he is again collaborating with the director. If this poster is any indication of the tone and style, expect great things for The Killing of A Sacred Deer.

Friday One Sheet: Pink Is In

As the title says, pink is back, at least for this week, in poster design. The latest one sheets for both Edgar Wright’s cool-action comedy, and Sophia Coppola’s civil-war Southern Gothic remake. Both are ‘character collage’ style posters done quite differently. Baby Driver design goes for the 80s blockbuster cast-pastiche floating above the overall concept of the picture (a getaway from Atlanta), while The Beguiled has the three principal ladies straightened with poise with its calligraphy typesetting, while the calligraphy typesetting and credit block are perpendicular to that poise (suggesting the turn midway through the film). The Peach/Pink contrast in both posters is different, more modern feeling, than the recent resurgence of pink ‘neon’ typesetting highlights in retro-designs like the posters Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.

Friday One Sheet: Blade Runner 2049

Unfortunately it looks like the rage that was minimalism isn’t quite dead yet. I say unfortunately because while minimalism has its time and place, I tend to prefer creativity and flashiness and color – when it’s done well. Minimalism tends to stifle creativity and encourages laziness. Case in point here. Not these aren’t handsome looking posters; on the contrary they are quite eye-catching and definitely set a mood. But at the same time, they’re kind of boring.

And if you ask me, they look like Mad Max: Fury Road and a Fast and Furious movie respectively. Which I’m hoping, Bladde Runner 2049 is nothing like; despite the fact that I do like those movies, I’m hoping Blade Runner: 2049 is a bit closer to something like Looper in tone; or at least in pacing.

At any rate, I remain cautiously optimistic about this film. One moment I’m excited, the next I’m apprehensive. This new poster set does really nothing to swing the proverbial pendulum either way for me. So here’s to more hoping and waiting.

Friday One Sheet: The Bad Batch and ITC Benguiat

Stylish and over-saturated, like the desert prison in the film, these character posters for Ana Lily Amirpour’s hipster curio The Bad Batch are pretty badass. It is curious to me to see the resurgence of 1980s typeset ITC Benguiat, a hallmark of Steven King soft covers, choose-you-own-adventure books, and most recently the handsome title sequence of Stranger Things, make an appearance here. If anything, this movie itself feels to me more of a throwback to a more 1990s sensibility, but I digress. Indeed with elements of the photo, be in Suki Waterhouse’s pistol, Jason Mamoa’s cleaver, or Keanu Reeves microphone, extending over the matting, the whole effect is that of a battered paperback on the revolving carousel of a school library. I hope somebody puts out a novelization and uses these images as covers. Viva Benguiat!

The other two character posters are here.

Friday One Sheet: Stalker re-release

A handsome, sepia-monochrome, very Criterion-ish, poster for the 2017 restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s head-scratching sci-fi classic, Stalker keeps the grim, and grimy nature of the film on display, while also highlighting the puzzle-box nature by adding some text/symbol elements. I have seen a couple very scratchy, beat-up prints of the film over the years, and as the clear, razor-sharp nature of this poster indicates, I am looking forward to the new restoration of the film that will be playing in select cities before heading to Blu-Ray.

Friday One Sheet: Ghost In The Shell

One final look at the international marketing for Ghost in the Shell, as the film is set to roll out one of its biggest markets, and the home of the source material and endless film, manga, OVA, and TV spin-offs.

This Japanese poster for Ghost in the Shell is big on the New Port City backdrop, and is also bullish on the ‘franchise character collection’ aesthetic popular with Disney properties like Marvel and Star Wars (and Indiana Jones). What makes it the most telling that this is the Japanese poster is the prominent head-space for ‘Beat’ Takeshi. I think it pretty bold to double down on Pink and Baby Blue, and it does make this poster stand out for all its busy design. It also gives a lot of emphasis on the Section 9 team, which I hope one day there is a directors cut of the film that features more time with the rest of the team – they are certainly present in the film, but not given a lot of screen-time outside of one conference room chat, and the sequence involving the two garbage men attacking Dr. Ouelet.

Friday One Sheet: Cannes 2017

The Cannes film festival has been on this particular design the 2006 poster of Maggie Cheung re-purposed from In The Mood For Love. That is to say, highlight the star, make it look glamorous and warm. Since about 10 years ago, things have been getting ever more minimalist, and, simply, it just works.

Despite a small imbroglio regarding the thinning of Ms. Cardinale’s figure (in reality, it is the entire source photo pinched/width adjusted, not just the actresses slightly thigh), the photo indeed captures the joy that a certain kind of cinema, The Cannes kind, is meant to project out to the world. It’s a lovely poster of an iconic actress is a warm expression. I get the concern about idealized body image, but in this case, idealizing a movie star (at the peak of her youth) for the purposes of reinforcing the notion of the most glamorous festival in the world, it is kind of the point to have the photos lie a little bit, c’est non? It’s a sticky subject, as will it ever be…photos are art, and art is lies that tell the truth, and possibly vice versa.

If you are curious, here are the Cannes posters for the past 70 or so years.

Friday One Sheet: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The title of the film is a mouthful, but the poster is a master class in negative space. From the stately (if ominous) key art, reminiscent of both No Country For Old Men, and Paris Texas, you might never guess that director Martin McDonough’s latest film is a foul-mouthed, comic farce of slapstick violence and bad behavior (albeit this is perfectly in line with his previous filmography, including In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths).

For many shits and giggles, and the most screen chewing Frances McDormand performance since Fargo, I’ve dropped in the red-band trailer below.

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Friday One Sheet: Lady MacBeth

A fine example of the power of just using a single, well produced still for your poster. By all accounts the production and design of William Oldroyd’s period drama, Lady MacBeth are superb, and it shows when you have faith in the power of an unclutter poster. A pull quote in yellow to offer context, but otherwise, Florence Pugh in conservative dress, hands grasping in front of her, and glancing sideways. It conveys a tone and it does it well.