Friday One Sheet: The Birth Of A Nation


Sundance hit, and brilliant act of cultural re-appropriation, The Birth Of A Nation got a striking ‘sepia-flag’ styled poster in both still form, and (below) motion form. This is the first time I’ve heard the concept of a motion poster expressed as a ‘living poster.’ Not sure if that is a construct of the marketing department here, or if this is a wider change in language for an advertising concept that has yet to truly take off. Either way, this is perhaps the best execution of a motion poster to date.

Still form or ‘living’ form, both focus on how things go from a single act of rebellion or idealism to a full blown movement.

Friday One Sheet: Nerve

After last weeks purples and gold glitter on The Neon Demon poster, I cannot help but continue the trend with hot pink neon. Nerve, is a film that considers the place where online social media narcissism meets money, and to communicate the computer aspect of this, the designer puts the perspective from inside the screen.

Now it can be a risky bit of marketing to not display the title of the film in a clear fashion. Some people put one of the reasons of failure for the Poseidon Adventure remake, Poseidon, based on the upside down typeface of the title. I don’t know if I subscribe in any way to this theory, because regardless of the quality of the film at hand, the poster unquestionably caught my attention and made me look a little closer. That is all a poster can ask.

Friday One Sheet: The Neon Demon

The aesthetics of Nicolas Winding Refn’s recent run of films have lead to interesting and ‘out of vogue’ colour palettes. And yet, his ‘glossy and difficult’ cinema always feels fresh and gives the impression that it will back in vogue. Here, for Cannes festival poster for The Neon Demon, we get a spectacular collision of sparkly golds, reds and purples. And a neon skull in the typeface. It is also worth mentioning how effortless Elle Fanning pulls off a very low cut dress with intrigue and attitude.

Friday One Sheet: The Girl On The Train

A simple, but quite lovely, design for the upcoming adaptation of the novel, The Girl On The Train. I have not read the book, but clearly the designers are aimed at ‘you will not see what is coming’ with the zipper/train motif on a woman’s back, as she faces away from us. They used the stylized type from the cover of the source novel, fine, but why use a different font (and colour) everywhere else? Not entirely sure. It’s a quibble in an otherwise pretty striking, yet delightfully minimal poster.

Friday One Sheet: Tickled

Hotdocs is coming to Toronto, and this film has a little bit of buzz (from it’s Sundance debut), and a lot of ‘intentional mystery,’ about it. The film is ostensibly about ‘competitive endurance tickling’ (which, not surprisingly, is a thing) but clearly from the clawed hand in this poster, there is something sinister going on. What does this poster say to you?

After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. But the reply he receives is shocking—the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite: he travels to the hidden tickling facilities in Los Angeles and uncovers a vast empire, known for harassing and harming the lives of those who protest their involvement in these films. The more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity.

Friday One Sheet: Kingsmen II

Text is a powerful tool in the poster design arsenal. As I mentioned with last weeks poster, so is a single iconic token. Here we have Colin Firth’s tortoise-shell glasses, missing a lens, and text implying that the sequel to the sleeper spy movie of 2014, The Kingsmen will indeed feature Firth back in some role. The text serves the role to remind folks exactly what when down in the last film regarding the biggest British star in the cast.

If you want the flip side of care or creativity, look no further than the posters for Gus Van Sant’s still unreleased Sea of Trees, which is just a few bordered stills of the actors (concerned, bored?) faces overlayed on vaguely coloured or sepia toned backgrounds. Ouch, this is walmart sales-rack bad. If you must: Here, here and here. I would still very much like to see the film, which is set in Japan’s ‘forest of sadness,’ and got booed at Cannes a couple years ago (this is usually a good sign for me), but man, the marketing campaign is doing the film no favours.

Friday One Sheet: Lights Out

This is my kind of poster design. A simple, clear message that evokes a feeling. And while I am generally not a fan of the sugar-mill output of James Wan’s brand of horror film (Wan is producer here), I cannot argue with putting the concept of the film, right front and centre on the advertising. You may recall a short film from a few years ago from director David Sandberg that had ghosts appearing literally when the lights were clicked out, this is that short blown into a feature.

The trailer is also tucked below the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Deepwater Horizon

Based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and directed by Peter Berg (The Rundown, Hancock), this poster caught my eye because the entire poster is pretty much competing negative space: A large expanse of sky, a large expanse of water, and an ever widening column of smoke from the oil-well which is on fire in the corner. Hopefully, the powers that be will never attempt to integrate Mark Wahlberg’s floaty head into the design.