12 December 2014

2014's Best Posters

 Marketing devices or not, each of these selections achieves the sort of clarity, beauty and intrigue that any successful movie requires. In this age of expanded commercial necessity and fandom, posters have become an integral part of the cinematic experience. As a result, I've finally decided to dedicate a spot to some of this year's future office-wall adorning triumphs . 

Most have been selected for their clarity, skillful simplicity or ambition, but others are works of pure aesthetic beauty. My picks are in no particular order. 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 20th Century Fox

Blockbusting ambition meets a central image that's 
anything but disposable in this unique one-sheet for Matt Reeves' excellent sequel. 

Men, Women & Children - Paramount 

Jason Reitman's ensemble drama was a frustrating misfire, but this beautifully designed one-sheet boasts all the vibrancy, subtly and cohesion the picture lacks. No moment in the film combines community and isolation so succinctly. 

The Guest - Picturehouse 

Everything from the tagline placement to the shadows on star Dan Steven's face honour the tone of Adam Wingard's blackly comic B-movie. The film-maker's cited The Terminator and The Stepfather as key influences. This artwork convinces as an amalgamation of those disparate entities. Very chilling and effortlessly cool. 

Oculus - Relativity Media 

Like a beautifully directed still, the use of space and framing accentuates the horror of the central image. This poster accepts the hokey premise, and decides to contort into something weird and otherworldly, much like the movie itself. 

Nightcrawler - Open Road Films 

It blatantly looks like the cover of a pulpy, battered neo-noir novel. If you've seen Nightcrawler, you know that's a massive compliment. Props for preserving some mystery too. 

Birdman - Fox Searchlight 

This isn't the only great poster for Birdman, but it is my favourite. The contrast between grey and red catches the eye without trying too hard, and the image like the film is both mystifying and compelling. The dominance exuded by New York is also very deliberate, a restrained and artful suggestion of the city's role in the feature. 

Dracula Untold - Universal 

Atmospheric yet subdued, this poster explores the ideas and tropes associated with its titular character beautifully. Anybody who's seen the cheese-laden final product knows it to be a lie - but heck - it's a damn pretty porky.

The Two Faces of January - Studio Canal 

The Patricia Highsmith adaptation (that sadly nobody bothered watching) takes a decidedly old-school approach, replete with key placement for the stars and a killer use of sunglasses. Everything is shrouded in mystique, encouraging thoughts of shady espionage and femme fatales.  Like the film, it's reminiscent of classical Hollywood. 

Fury - Sony 

Wonderful integration of title into image, with  enough free space to posit serious questions. Nothing's definite, and yet, with Pitt's expression, the formidable gloominess and that tagline, we know exactly what to expect. 

The Babadook - IFC

The year's most enthusiastically received genre piece ramped up major hype on the back of posters like this. Again, subtly is key, only outlining the memorable villain against an intentionally faded background. What is the Babadook? We don't know, but it certainly means business. 

Under the Skin - Studio Canal 

Twinkling poster promises off-colour content, but doesn't touch on the horrors and complexity of Jonathan Glazer's movie.  Like Fury and Nightcrawler its imaginative demonstration of a starring presence immediately engages, but it's the vastness of space and kaleidoscopic asides that promise distinctive cinema. 

'71 - Studio Canal 

A stirring poster made all the more imposing by a viewing of the feature. The image captures the precise moment that O'Connell's protagonist gallops into his waking nightmare, a rifle shaft the only indication of what's ahead. The smoky colours promote a disorienting haze, a perfect summation of urban carnage in war-torn Belfast. 

An article by Daniel Kelly, 2014


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