It is all about the colour palette with this eye-grabbing key art for indie horror picture, Ava’s Possessions, a film I regret missing when it played last years Fantasia Film Festival (had it had this poster, I might have made time for it!) With its vibrant teal gradient, blood red martini and pale skin tones each making the other stand out a little further. The pink neon titles further evoke the bar-fly allusions that go right along with the tagline. Superb!
Terrence Malick’s latest (of several being released this year) got a poster that takes the title of the film quite literally, as it is designed to look like a Tarot card. It becomes more visually interesting with Christian Bale posed upside down (he does not appear to be falling) against the fool moon over Hollywood, and sticking with the topsy-turvy theme, if you look closely you will see the text for the title of the film has a ghostly inverted version super imposed. Further interesting textual elements are the “A Quest.” While definitely sticking to the design of Tarot cards, this could also be construed as a curious tagline for the film. Lastly, there is a nice amount of space for the credit block at the bottom, which fits naturally with the design.
I love this poster.
C capitalizing on the internet fascination with strange cat poses, sketch-comedy maestros Key & Peele launch their first feature film that seems to be a curious riff on Keanu Reeves’ John Wick. Taking major jabs at African-American machismo, language, and culture, and staging John Woo style action around a kitten running in the foreground, which they definitely underscore with this, ahem, Key-art, featuring a gangsta-cat, a subtly goofy tagline, and mocking of the ‘from the visionary’ style marketing hyperbole that often gets splashed on prestige pictures. Expect more cat pics until the film gets released at the end of April.
Also: The Red-Band trailer is tucked under the seat.
I was not as over-the-moon as the genre circuit seemed to be at its Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness debut back in September. Outside of a fantastic opening shot, and a dollop of subverted expectations here and there, I felt Green Room was a satisfying single watch, nothing more. But enough about my reaction to the film, let’s talk about this poster. Green is not a common color for shading movie marketing, outside, perhaps, the Alien franchise, perhaps because it makes people a bit queasy when applied to skin tones. Sure, green, is in the title of the film, but the colour does add to the sinister nature of Patrick Stewart’s white supremacist boss-man in the film, and what really makes the marketing excellent here is him peaking in the doorway (a theme in the film) while the text on the other side of the image, direct quotes from the character, is quite threatening. The poster here caputures the tone of the film and I admire the honesty in its marketing effort.
**UPDATED** With the Teaser trailer, tucked under the seat.
Say what you will about the end product (and I did, here), but the marketing campaign for Ben Wheatley’s adaptation for J.G. Ballard’s 1970s novel High-Rise has been exceptionally well done. Every poster thus far has been exceptional, and the trailers (the latest of which is tucked under the seat) have been good too.
Here, we see the return of the ‘skinny poster,’ the long, narrow format which was quite popular in the Golden Age of Hollywood from the 1930s until the 1950s. While High-Rise is more ultra-modern punk in its aesthetic, but the skinny format emphasizes height, and the fall. Overall, I’ve really liked the sparse posters, and teaser style trailers. The films pitch-black humour is indeed there front and center in the tagline right above the falling man.
Each week in this column we highlight and discuss the design and details of movie posters in this column, this being the New Years Day holiday, and more about taking a day off than launching new things. Thus, going back through the last 52 weeks, in a not too objective, not overthinking it fashion, here is a list of 10 favourites.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
My love for Korean movie posters is probably well known in these parts. Usually only one or two characters in a simple full bleed still image that is rich in colour and texture and simplicity. The poster for Paul Sorrentino’s is no exception to this. Michael Cain resting on a tree stump overlooking a verdant Austrian valley. It’s a direct still from a drop-dead gorgeous (if too much on the nose at times) film.
What is likely going to be the Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature for 2015, barring the usual Pixar factor with Inside Out, Charlie Kaufmann & Duke Johnson’s ‘male ennui’ drama, Anomalisa set in a hotel room in Cincinnati, gets this handsome poster that works technically and thematically. One, it it showcases the challenge met to work with stop motion and steam. Two, it shows a middle aged man trying to wipe away the fog of depressed inaction that his life has become. The hand-written title at the top and odd title block just sweeten the look of this one, which handily avoids all the usual poster cliches. Like everything else about the film (our Review is here), it is deeply considered and expertly pulled off.
Always advertise your movie stars. And why yes, I’d be happy to see a buddy movie starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The typesetting and the clothing suggest period piece, early 1970s? (Google says, “yes” and indicates that the film is written/directed by Shane “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” Black.) On an unrelated note, do Studios still make these kind of star driven pictures anymore? Warner Brothers is behind this one, and it seems (outside of pure comedies) that this is becoming more of a rare bird outside the indie-Sundance sphere.
Lastly, a design grace note, a dark floor along the bottom gives things a hint of dimension to an otherwise simple and straightforward design. And, simple is best.
*Updated with 3 blissful minutes of violence and character comedy. It looks like The Nice Guys is aiming to be the populist, slaphappy don’t-think-too-hard version of Inherent Vice.