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.

Friday One Sheet: Diminuendo

H ere is a simple, but eye-catching poster for a shoe-string A.I. picture, Diminuendo. Someone thought it would be a good idea to use the smallest typesetting possible, and drop the weird tagline, “Even silence can be broken.” (Of course silence can be broken!) on the simulacrum’s cheek. There is so much negative space here, it seems like a strange choice. Well, so is the casting. Director Bryn Pryor who does 21st century Corman kind of stuff like #iKillr and Cowboys & Engines, as well as a fair number of porn films, has assembled Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Leah Cairns (Interstellar), Gigi Edgley (Farscape) and male porn star James Deen (who was pretty solid in The Canyon). Make of that what you will, but it’s really hard to read their names, if that is the aim. The poster was designed by MOTTO, who also did much of the designs for Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge

I am uncertain whether or not this poster will appear in cinema lobbies, or the film end up at a theatre Near You, but if it did, despite its flaws, you would probably look twice, and this is more than the effect of more expensively mounted one-sheet campaigns. So kudos for that.

Friday One Sheet: Like Me

SXSW is coming, and since it is a slow and uninteresting week in posters this week, I thought I would highlight this eye-catching design for Glass Eye Pix’s colourful indie drama, Like Me. Imbued with a bunch of jarring elements, palm trees with Christmas lights, a vintage car on a beach, a white mouse on the shoulder of (presumably) the protagonist (who is subtly sporting a gun as well). I know very little about the film, but the poster posits that I should check it out. I look forward from the reports from the festival next week.

Friday One Sheet: Raw

Sporting a photographically pure, that is to say, a single image with very little colour/contrast/background manipulation, allows the eye to focus on the blood (and the crisp typesetting) on display for the latest poster for Julia Ducournau’s pulse-poundingly visceral coming-of-age horror picture, Raw. The relative still nature of this Australian poster for the film belies what the film does at its best. Is that false advertising, or perhaps better setting the stage for a ‘pleasant’ (if that is the right word) surprise. The tagline, “Sister – bound by love, torn by flesh” has a kind of 1970s Italian vibe to it, and is quite at odds with the design, but salacious enough to ground Raw in the trashy space the film finds itself wandering into at key moments. This one is a keeper, and a far better design than the previous posters.

Raw is being released by Monster Pictures in Australia and New Zealand on 20 April. The film will be bowing a earlier in the USA with a theatrical release on March 10th. My recommendation: Go see it with someone who doesn’t watch horror pictures very much, and watch them squirm. Ducorneau is the real deal. Apropos of the cannibal angle, Raw would also make a swell double bill with Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch.

Friday One Sheet: Colossal

Another day, another Kaiju picture. OK, not fair, and in these parts we have not given enough love to Nacho Vigalondo’s feminist, metaphorical-literal toxic-relationship cum monster movie, Colossal. This unorthodox (as is the film) poster, is hot pink, giving the genre the finger, while simultaneously affectionately putting on a puppet show. This is, in fact, exactly what the film is. I saw it at TIFF last year, and it is a solid genre effort that has some progressive meat on its bones; in spite nothing being subtextual, as the movie wears its ideas right on its sleeve. (I wonder if in the poster if it is a hand model, or actually Anne Hathaway’s hand.)

Just for completeness sake, we have tucked the trailer under the seat, but this movie plays better if you go in with no expectations. You’ve been warned, as with every Vigalondo picture, the discovery of the mystery/puzzle/rules is one of the chief pleasures of the thing, best not to have a trailer do the short-hand work in advance.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Skull Island

For the past few months, I have been deeply impressed with the poster campaign for the upcoming King Kong picture, Skull Island. From wide British Quad highlighting the scale of the beast, to this unabashed homage to Apocalypse Now! the promise from these graphic designs has been a muscular undiluted B-film with an big budget (of which There are enough these days.)

But along comes this Japanese poster which is all Kaiju hand-painted collage goodness! This poster is exceptional, both historically, and from a contemporary point of view, it also promises lots of secondary creature (tentacles, spines, tongues oh my!), and strong imagery. It is busy, but in the best possible way, and I would happily hang this one on a wall, if I could get my hands on it.

Friday One Sheet: John Wick 2

Do I look civilized to you?” Criminally underseen in theaters in 2014, John Wick took the internet fanboy forums by storm and within a year was an instant cult classic and has everyone drooling for the further adventures of Mr. Wick in his assassin underworld. Needless to say, part deux will be a much bigger success at the box office than its predecessor was.

Here is a nice bit of marketing that is eye-catching in its high-contrast, near black and white facade. It’s also a pretty nice use of the top/down aesthetic and cleverly using the dual wielding pistols of Keanu Reeves to form part of the title of the movie.

All signs point to a high bit of ass-kicking awesomeness in the theaters next weekend.

Friday One Sheet: Dark Night

I have not been keeping a close eye on Sundance this year, but Tim Sutton’s documentary on the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting that took place in a movie theater showing The Dark Knight, played Sundance last year. Dark Night is getting a commercial release shortly (February 3 in NY, February 9th in LA.)

The poster has a lovely use of negative space, and grain. I like the red emphasis on the exit light of the cinema which matches the title and unconventional location of the credit block. The three street lights echo the ‘shine a light’ on the subject which is obviously the intent of the docudrama.