This is always one of my favorite categories because, for whatever reason, this is one of the few areas where marketing people are really allowed to let their creative juices flow. This year has been particularly challenging, and I was ultimately forced to cut some really strong posters from movies like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Source Code, Super 8, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Uncle Boonmee. Ultimately though, I’m pretty confident about my final choices.
- 13 Assassins:
I’m a sucker for posters that are drawn rather than photoshopped, and this one is particularly cool. This poster does a great job of conveying the film’s explosive final battle using a faux-traditional Japanese art style. The dude is in a really cool action pose and you really want to see him when he’s in motion. Also, this might be the first poster I’ve ever seen that has a VOD release date listed.
- Captain America:
Let’s face it, Captain America is kind of a cheesy hero and he can look sort of strange at times. This poster does a great job of making him look like a character that can be taken seriously. I love the somber pose that they give the character and just the subtle simplicity of just showing the character from the knees up with battle ashes behind him. It does a great job of downplaying the costume without hiding it.
- The Ides of March:
Alright, so you’ve got two really big stars in your movie and the marketing people insist you put both of their faces on the poster. How do you do that creatively? Well, the designers here found a way. By showing both actors in profile via the cool Time Magazine split screen thing they manage to pull off a cool visual trick while at the same time expressing the main character’s ambiguous feelings about the candidate he represents.
- Midnight in Paris:
The poster for Woody Allen’s Parisian epic could have been ruined by incorporating obvious and over-exposed landmarks like the Eifel Tower or the Arc De Triomphe. Instead they take the clever approach of combining a photograph of Owen Wilson walking down a street with Vincent Van Gough’s masterpiece “The Starry Night.” It’s a perfect way of bringing the late night implied by the title into the picture in an appropriately fantastical way.
Now this poster is like a study in the appropriate use of negative space. Posters all too often feel like they need to clutter themselves up with extra stuff (usually actors’ faces). Here the designers simply use the vastness of a baseball field to express Billy Beane’s feeling of inferiority. He’s a small fish in a vast metaphorical ocean and he does what he does far away from the actual diamond. It’s certainly better than that lame poster of Brad Pitt sititng on a bleacher and smiling anyway.