Saturday, January 14, 2012

My 2011 Top 20 in Posters

I gave a kind of allusion to the year's great poster work in my "Nitrate Awards" post, but then I saw one of my friends post this fantastic writeup, and it got me to think about which posters I'd most go for. And then I left that notion behind and got to thinking about my own top 20 and how their posters really live up, if they do at all. If found that some of them were positive, and others were just very sad and typical. So what is not worth posting something for you guys? Here are my top 20 films of 2011, but with their posters.

20. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

I opted for this one instead of the one with Rooney Mara's tits, though they were very much appreciated in the film. This poster seems to know what the film is better than the opening titles do, and though it doesn't hold a candle to the impact, it does remind one of the film's own merits, of which there are plenty to partake in on revisiting. I will however mention the fact that part of the concept is taken from the poster for "Jane Eyre", though it's not much of a distraction. Also, it's a lot more transparently interesting than the poster for the Swedish version

19. "Midnight in Paris"

With absolutely no context of what the film would eventually be about, this is a rather pretty and original poster, though we're not quite sure why it is the way it is. We don't exactly care either, until we see the film, which just engenders our appreciation of it as a concept and as a piece of creative art in itself.

18. "Rango"

Okay, this is a prime example of a poster that does nothing for a film. Nothing really outstanding of the western aspects. Not much of its own lunacy. It's simply there. Don't try too hard Gore Verbinski! We weren't really expecting anything from you anyway.

17. "Tyrannosaur"

Establishes the tone of the film pretty accurately, which is the minimum requirement for a successful poster, but there's also some really strong use of scale here. It's somewhat inevitable when there's a dinosaur skeleton on your poster, but it shows how very little the protagonist is in proportion to his own ill deeds and the guilt that's saddled with him.

16. "The Muppets"

I chose this one over the much worst one that makes it look like they're doing another alien invasion flick, but with felt creatures. And even with this one, you could really ask for a great deal more. I kind of equate it to the poster for "The Tree of Life" in the category of sensory overload. Yeah, we get all of the characters in there, but what is it really for other than reminding people that there are Muppets in this movie?

15. "The Artist"

This is quite a lovely poster, even if it is so simple. It puts forth the romantic strings to the film, even though there's not a single moment of this film that they really kiss. I can't slight it for not giving us more, as sometimes you hit it just right on the first go at it. Black and white and beautiful.

14. "Senna"

So just because it's a documentary means it can just slack off on the poster work? Let's disregard the shots from the film placed irrelevantly at the bottom, in case you haven't already. Ignore the incorrect tagline that paints the protagonist in a way that's quite untrue. Forget the simple eyes-in-his-helmet taking up half the poster. What is left? Literally nothing.

13. "Melancholia"

This is probably the perfectly statement of what this film is, outside some distracting advertisement as a dread-inducing film about the apocalypse. I've said, from the beginning, that it's a romance, and the end of the film is its impassioned kiss. And it even works if you're just relating it to the first half of the film involving the wedding. It's quite brilliant work, I must say.

12. "Cold Weather"

It's nice when they do all the work of coming up with a minimalist poster for us. I'm not sure they'd have come up with anything better if it were just a still from the film. It puts forth that sort of mystery-investigation theme, but the simplicity of it reminds us of the simplicity of the film. I can't imagine it being done any other way, so I'd say they've done their job well.

11. "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Was anybody else really hoping they'd put out a poster that's in line with the lifeless color palette that's actually used in the film? This doesn't really do anything for us other than throw across a great deal of simple, unnecessary, and used motifs in films that have this kind of storyline. Coded faces and straightforward expressions. Best part of the poster? The fact that Gary Oldman has top billing!

10. "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Didn't we already have an image with the fact foreground? Don't get me wrong, it's a lot more beautiful here than in any of the other posters this year, and it actually fits the purpose of the character's own viewpoint. I just wish that this was the only film that used it so that people would appreciate it a little more. Need more convincing? John Hawkes' faded presence in the background. Elizabeth Olsen's closed eyes masking her own face. I think that's more than enough.

9. "Tomboy"

Outside the expression on Zoe Heran's face, which is of a brilliantly perplexing nature throughout the entire film, there's nothing interesting about this poster. I mean, nobody's going to see it in the US, so why bother? I will give it one thing, and that's that the poster looks kind of a like a book cover, which is the sort of feeling the film gives off.

8. "A Separation"

There are several posters for this film, and it's sad that this is the best one. Never mind its own simplicity. The wrong character is out of focus. The film spends a lot more time in the perspective of Nader than Simin. Did they just not care enough to switch it up a little. It's still nice, but it's also way too simple.

7. "We Need to Talk About Kevin"

I've gushed quite a bit already over the US posters for this film. The foreign work doesn't hold a candle to the deep sense of fearfulness exuding this work. Between this poster and the one resembling "Rosemary's Baby", they are milking both the film's deep horror aspects as well as its more tender elements. I am please when they actually do these things right.

6. "Shame"

It is simple, which usually would be a taboo, but it is not this time. Steve McQueen showed how much he can convey with such a simple image with his previous film. He does it again with this shot of crumpled sheets, which work just as well as a signifier of the protagonist's mindset as the shit-smeared wall of "Hunger".

5. "Certified Copy"

In their defense, this film didn't have many lasting images to work off of, so they did do marginally well with what was provided to them. This is arguably one of the most memorable moments of the film, but it doesn't quite work as a poster. I'll say that it conveys the film a damn sight better than the trailer did.

4. "Sleeping Beauty"

Well, that certainly is what this film is about, and in comparison to the poster that just has Emily Browning's whited out face, this works extremely well. It's not the lensing, but it's the allure of the actress, and it works fine. I'm not about to say that it doesn't work as a poster. It most certainly does.

3. "Drive"

But there are so many posters. How can I possibly settle on one? Well, it was kind of simple for me. This one fit the mold best before any other poster even hit. It's just one of those classic and iconic images, and I'd say it was very close to nabbing the slot of my best poster for year. I would say that, but I honestly, and guiltily, forgot about it until just now. All I have to say is, Damn!

2. "Weekend"

You what I feel stupid for just realizing now? This poster is purple. I didn't notice that until I sat down to analyze it, and it gives this simple poster a touch of beauty, and it also serves a purpose, much to my surprise. Is it kind of obvious? Sure, but it works. Not much more to say. The film is much more worthy of dissection.

1. "Meek's Cutoff"

Yep. That'll do it.

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