Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best and Worst: Movie Posters of 2010

Now that we've had the best and worst taglines of 2010, I thought it only appropriate that I tackle the posters that help inspire you to see (or in some cases not see) the movies 2010 had to offer. All in all, 2010 wasn't that bad of a year for movie posters. Among the generic drawl, there transpired quite a few creative callback posters of the old school flair, and uprising of simplistic expressionist designs. One of the more prominent design styles that took over was the character one-sheet poster style, that rose to prominence with films like The Spirit and Watchmen, being used in films like Scott Pilgrim, Kick-Ass, and The A-Team (to varying degrees of success).

As for my personal taste, I prefer simplistic artistic creation over obsessive packing and quoting. Don't sell me the entire film - hook me and reel me in. So, without further ado, I give you my selections for the five best and worst posters of 2010!



An angel highlighted in the loving serenity of gently packed white snow. What could possible represent childlike innocence better than that? Very little, which is why the addition of those blood splatters makes this poster so awesome. Balancing innocence, with volatile mystery, the poster for Let Me In is the perfect brainchild of malevolence. Vibrant enough to draw your eye, subtle enough to entice your curiosity.


I truly love how visually arresting this poster is. Bold, in your face, and wonderfully creative, the red and black design captures the allure of Darren Aronofsky's unflinching style. Not to mention just how well it fits the film's finale. Those who have seen it should be able to look on this and draw immediate comparisons. Personally, I would love to have this hanging from my wall.


Riddled in 60's and 70's spy nostalgia, I love how the marketing team use orange and gray in backlash to the incessant black background that plague many of our modern posters. It's design creates mystery without the need to force aloof situational setups. You look at this poster and you think: Why is he running and who is the girl? - exactly what they want you to think.


Despite bombing on a massive level in an effort to create a viable Oscar Contender, For Colored Girls had quite a beautiful set of posters. This one I find particularly captivating. An unique combination of fading identity, the beauty of a butterfly, and tears of sorrow. Had the film's reception matched the inspiration for their poster design, I think it'd be well on its way to a golden statue or two.


I don't care about the rest of the film, this teaser poster is amazing. In fact, I want to visit Paris just to try and reenact it. This adds a whole new challenge to all those people who like to take a picture at the Stature of Liberty with their hands out, tea cup style, as if they're actually holding it up (*yawn*). Give me a pistol designed Eiffel Tower any day.



I admit that I'm picking this poster for a couple of reasons with limited in artistic analysis in mind. First and foremost, I think this poster for The Tourist is painfully boring. Beyond the tag line written in fine print at the top, there's no hint of mystery, thrill, romance, or adventure that would inspire me to seek it out. Secondly, it represents a trend I hate in movie posters: GIANT CELEBRITY FACES! I'm not talking about the airbrushing either (more on that later), this poster (among many others this year), seem to rely on the belief that if we see blown up heads of famous people we'll instantly want to watch the movie they're in. Guess what? It doesn't work. So, marketing people, please let it go.


Did I mention airbrushing already? How about airbrushing, most likely CGI, fashion monster with golden eyes, bedazzled numbers, and freakish appearance that may or may not be human. She looks more like an alien from Close Encounters of the Third Kind than a New York fashionista writer with man issues. I'm more likely to call Max Von Sydow for an exorcism than I am to seek out this movie... in fairness I was more likely to do that before the poster premiered.


If something seems wrong to you about this poster, but you can't quite put your finger on it, allow me to help. I would like you to focus your attention on the middle of the poster. Specifically look at Harrison Ford's right shoulder (since his left isn't showing that should be easy for you). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Harrison Ford is in fact dead. All that remains of him is a shadowy ghost-like figure, slowly fading away as Brendan Fraser looks on, trying to seem sympathetic. I told you release the Eric Stoltz footage for Back to the Future would have dire consequences! (if you get that, I applaud you several times over).


"Crap, which way are we supposed to be looking? Where's the camera? Is it over there? No, it's over there! Wait, there's another one! OH MY GOD! EVERYONE FOR YOURSELF! Pick and a pose, quick... what is happening?!"

- really... there's not much else to be said.


"Aw, who gave my cute little Heigl that icky little gun. Don't worry, Mr. Kutcher will come and save you. Now while you wait, why don't you go into the kitchen and fix us a nice dinner like a good girl."

Between Kutcher's "oh come on, not again" look to Heigl's, not so subtle, sexist "girls = no like guns because they can't fit into their tight dresses and high heels" pose, this poster is just a disaster. I can't even look at it for more than a minute before I start instantly hating the film. The sad thing is - I haven't even seen it yet.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Human Centipede for being simultaneously one of the best and worst posters I've seen this year. It definitely grabs your attention, but at the cost of your sanity.

So, what are your favorite posters of 2010? Any of my selected posters do you disagree/agree with? Why?

17 better thoughts:

SugaryCynic said...

poster number 3 is different than the rest because it's orange!! ...oh wait. Dang it, you've got me trained already.

In all seriousness, great choices, and man, the King's Speech poster is awful.

Lesya Khyzhnyak said...

For Black Swan there were created many great posters. I agree with your choice but can't help myself sharing the one that I loved most

I also agree that this poster of 'The King's Speech' is so lackluster. Who would like to go to see a movie advertized like this? But they corrected their mistake with this poster It speak volumes about the film. Don't you think?

SugaryCynic said...

ooh that one's way better. A bit pore-tastic though

Rich said...

Even the KING'S SPEECH director hated that poster! At least with THE TOURIST Jolie & Depp appear to be looking in the same direction.

You wanna talk about bad airbrush jobs, though, try this abomination of a poster for BURLESQUE:

StudyCool said...

Great list! There was a barrage of Let Me In posters in the build up to the films release and all of them were interesting. I like your choice of snow angel.

And oh dear God that Killers poster is sickeningly awful.

Alex said...

Great choices! I also really liked the Saul Bellow-esque BURIED poster, and all of the other crazy Constructivist BLACK SWAN posters. And BEST WORST MOVIE had a really fun one.

KILLERS is definitely my least favorite. It's just so icky.

Castor said...

Definitely love some of those Black Swan posters, they really are stunning. Usually the worst posters are the one that just show the stars in the movie in the most uncreative way possible.

Univarn said...

@Sugary nice try, I'll be returning with more odd one out next week ;)

@Lesya I think the second King's Speech poster is quite good, but not nearly as good as the marketing for this movie should have been. In all honesty it ought to be up there with True Grit contending for the box office as funny as it is.

@Rich What do you mean? Weren't Cher and Christina the psycho kids from The Grudge? Seems right to me....

@StudyCool Thanks! I think the Let Me In posters were quite good, shame the film didn't appeal to US audiences.

@Alex I liked the Buried poster, but I couldn't include it because I kept flashing back to Stewart. As for Best Worst Movie, definitely fun but way too cluttered for my taste.

@Castor I agree. They say nothing about the movie - neither implied through design or shown through images. It's just GIANT HEADS, "go see?" - Zzzzzzzzz

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I agree with the honorable mention - I never want to see that film because it's already stuck in my brain in a most unpleasant way.

Chris David Richards said...

This is a brilliant feature. Couldn't agree more about the blandness of massive celebrity faces.

amy said...

Very fine Best Posters xD Think that Tyler Perry teaser posters tend to be interesting, no?

and your worst posters are so funny. xD Gosh Sex Encounters of the Third Kind... that's a whole different movie xD

But you know what? The saddest part of bad posters is when they happen to good movies.

Simon said...

Black Swan should get a special Best Marketing of the Year award.

In fact, the Oscars should have those kind of awards. They're unabashadly commercial anyway, might as well acknowledge how awesome the Scott Pilgrim trailer was.

The Mad Hatter said...

Some of the best ones for me included:


Lesya Khyzhnyak said...

Have to agree with Mad on The Runaways poster: the dark background and the appropriate tagline, very well-done, and better than the other one with Stewart and Fanning on it.

Univarn said...

@AlexJ I agree - had a friend watch it and said it gave him the shivers for days.

@Chris thanks :)

@amy bad posters for good movies are dreadful several times over. You just sit there and think 'WHY!?'

@Simon Last year for the LiE awards I did a special on marketing but I'm not sure I will this year.

@Mad Hatter I thought about including 127 Hours which I quite liked, if I did a special mention it would be on there. Same goes for The Runaways. Love the black and white photography in The Wolfman poster (plus who doesn't love a photo of Emily Blunt?), but it's just a photo from the commercials/film (as far as I can tell) which leaves me a bit 'ehhhh'

@Lesya Yeah, the second poster did very little for me but the heart grenade is quite energetic. In all honesty, when I compiled this it got bumped for Black Swan.

Anonymous said...

Three on your best list is in my top ten faves. As for the worst, totally agree with King's Speech, glad they came up with a better one. Most of posters w/ Katie Heigl are awful... just like her movies!

Kaiderman said...

Great list, Univarn!
I like the Paris with Love one... had actually never seen it.
Also, loved Black Swan. It reminds me of Metropolis.
Would probably nominate the Catfish poster as well.

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