Many of the posters for Christopher Nolan’s war-rescue picture Dunkirk have been of the super-wide banner variety. Here is a classic vertical design (and nothing gives a vertical impression than a sailboat) that emphasizes the scope and chaos through depth of field rather than panorama. There are a lot of elements and things to see here, shadows of air planes, fishermen working frantically, soldiers drowning in the water, or floating on objects. The fire offers a few flashes of colour in an otherwise desaturated ‘grim seas’ palette. It is also noteworthy that the IMAX specialty releases of films tend to be a bit more adventurous with their poster designs, probably because they are not distributed as widely.
It is a slow week for posters, large campaigns for Cars 3, Baby Driver, and The Nut Job 2 do the usual thing that character posters do. So I offer you, with out much elaboration, this Banksy street art styled anti-war propaganda poster for the new Planet of the Apes film. It is not a character poster, as there are no others released in this fashion, but it still highlights a key character in the film at the exclusion of all else. I hope to possibly see it framed in a multiplex nearby, but I have my doubts it will exist outside the internet.
It cannot be any further in design than the one below, which also has the vague notion of a character poster. This design eschews the monochrome minimalism, and goes all-in on the use of the colour pink – not a hue typically associated with this franchise, or war in general. It’s a solid piece of ‘flower child’ anti war propaganda coming from a completely different angle, and the poster itself is designed in what I call, the “Korean School” of unadorned single, well framed, photography. The pair of these posters is a really solid example that you do not need a perfectly integrated style across elements or characters for your film, just put out catchy designs, that defy expectations.
Errol Morris’s latest film portrays he friend and neighbor, portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, and her body of work which is mainly ultra-large format Polaroid portraits, both of families and of some rather famous folks too. The poster design is offbeat and unusual and a little unassuming but also kind of quietly rebellious (as is Ms. Dorfman herself.) Take the handwriting on the poster, yes, people sharpie labels on their Polaroids all the time, so there is that, but you rarely see this kind of thing on a bit of promotional material. Also, the inky roll-lines on the sides of the poster, also a part of the large format roller-driven process, but still rather striking on the edges of a movie-poster. Then there is Ms. Dorfman herself, hardly imbued with movie-star looks, yet easily able to command the frame, is her pose a display or a query or an example of her work, this is a perfect incitement into what is Morris’ most gentle and casual (albeit not lacking in rigour in the slightest!)
Having already displayed the fine posters for Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky and Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On The Orient Express above the their trailers earlier this week, I was thinking it might be tricky to find something this week for this column. But then along comes the French poster for Edgar Wrights Baby Driver, which has a nice innovation for solving both the ‘floating heads’ and the ‘all cast members displayed on the poster’ dilemmas of modern poster design. And the solution is delightfully simple. Have the leads, Ansel Elgort and Lily James be in their car while rolling down the window. Reflect the rest of the cast in the glass of the window. I am quite surprised that nobody has done this up to now, or at least I’ve not seen it in another poster. If you know of one, let me know.
The yellow typesetting against the metallic red of the car (as well as the stripe along the top with a pull quote) is all business, but the film’s title itself is really playful, exactly the kind of tone and balance Wright manages to strike with each picture.
This years major break-out voice in Horror (comedy) was Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Upon its original release, it was unfortunately saddled with perhaps the worst poster of the year (so far). Fortunately there is Mondo who have taken a couple key design elements and images and have made a pair of superb black and white (after all, isn’t that what the movie is about?) posters. The above poster takes the tea-cup from the film and grafts on Daniel Kaluuya to almost give it the surreal feel of a vintage Polish style poster, if you are familiar with what is going on in the movie, having a spoon ‘stir’ his brain is equally effective as an image. Dropping the credit block in the middle is also an interesting touch, who says these ‘required elements’ need be at the bottom.
A second Mondo poster featuring the ‘dark place’ from the film is solid, but nowhere near as eye-catching as the above one.
Thanks to Birth.Movies.Death for the hook-up here.
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.
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.
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.
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!