With the end of 2010 I thought it would good to have a look over some my favourite pieces of movie poster artwork for the year. I can’t say this year was a particularly stellar one, but there was at least one that I wanted framed and hung on my wall like a prized million dollar artwork in a gallery. Let’s count down through the top ten posters of the year (and some of the worst).
Honourable mentions must go to The Social Network for the best tagline of the year, The Tree for it’s dreamy use of light and colour, Grown Ups for it’s playful use of real childhood photographs, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and it’s shades of pink of pink, Shutter Island’s Korean collage design and the kitschy delights of Piranha 3D.
10. Food Inc.
A true piece of design ingenuity and the sort of poster that I can see hoity-toity art folk nodding their head appreciatively at. You just have to take one glance at the key art for Oscar-nominated documentary Food Inc. to get the message, inviting you to see the movie for the more in depth story.
9. The Girl who Played with Fire
An immediately impact design for the second film in the Millennium trilogy. Star Noomi Rapace may as well be flipping the bird to the audience; she looks that badass in this pose on the hood of this on fire automobile. It positions her – and, by extension, the film – as a mysterious and dangerous creature to be wary of.
8. The Men Who Stare at Goats
The year’s best visual gag goes to this poster. The war comedy starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges and… er… a goat. There really isn’t much to say about it, is there?
There were a lot – I repeat, a lot – of posters for Robert Rodriguez’ second “GrindHouse” effort after Planet Terror, but none were as good as this design. This collage-style design effectively mirrors the work on famous blaxploitation classics Coffy and Cleopatra Jones with a typeface ripped right out of Shaft.
6. I’m Still Here
The movie may have proved to be a dud (and a fake one at that), but that doesn’t mean this poster can’t be seen as a wonderful piece of work all of its own. Trying to create its own iconic image while using one of the most bold, unique and original typefaces of the year. Has a classic retro feel mixed with something altogether punk.
5. Animal Kingdom
Family portraits from opposite sides of the world make up this joint position. The Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom wins points for creating a deep sense of menace with its brood, covered in shadows and that on point tagline – “A Crime Story”. From Italy, however, I Am Love weaves a sophisticated tale of family melodrama with its elegant rich folk posing in cold stances. The centrepiece of this particular image being the immaculate tressed and dressed Tilda Swinton, framed ever so gracefully by the swooping text and the glowing hum of the chandelier above her.
3. Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
No poster was as disturbing as this design for tough American drama about sexual and emotional abuse. The Australian design went with the much more “inspiring” and “hopeful” butterfly concept, but this poster, with its eye-popping colour and unavoidable context, is the better one. A heartbreaking movie made even more potent by this fantastic work of art.
2. Love and Other Drugs
Lo and behold, the second best poster of the year belongs to one of the absolute worst movies of 2010. Look at this poster and tell me it doesn’t look promising! For once we have a romantic comedy that appears to be selling both the romance and the comedy, showing us two post-coital lovers in chucklesome poses. It helps that they’re very sexy people but imagining myself as one of those pillows is perhaps not the best use of my time. Shame about the movie.
1. The Runaways
You probably forgot this movie – or never knew about it in the first place – which is a shame since it’s so very good. As for its poster, however, it is definitely the best key art of 2010 in my eyes. Working on so many levels; the literal take on The Runaways’ biggest hit “Cherry Bomb”, the exploitation of the band’s sexual image and the metaphorical time bomb that’s waiting to explode in the band member’s professional and personal lives. The bold red of the cherry, the scuffed record cover texture of the black and the exciting title design all combine to make the year’s best poster.
And the 5 Worst:
5. Sex and the City 2
4. The Expendables
Two of the most egregious cases of airbrushing this side of a Madonna photoshoot came with these two movies filled with, ahem, older cast members. It was easier of most writers and bloggers to mock the excessive Photoshop on Sarah Jessica Parker’s legs or Kim Catrall’s face, but Mickey Rourke’s face on The Expendables poster hasn’t seen this much work since the 1980s. Let’s not even get started on the rest of the gang. Yikes!
Watch out! The giant heads are about to attack! Run for your lives!
2. The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech’s director Tom Hooper famously said, “I hate it, I hate it… It’s a train smash.” about this first poster. Luckily it was replaced, but nothing can erase the image of this horrid design that looks like a direct-to-VHS cover that people forgot to throw out once DVD came to town.
1. My One and Only
And so we come to some of the worst Photoshopping I have ever seen. Quite clearly none of these actors were even in the same time zone when these cast photos were taken. In fact, I don’t even think these actors’ heads were in the same country as their bodies, since everyone looks so unattached and discombobulated, not to mention how everyone is looking in different directions or that some are nigh on unrecognisable. And then there’s poor ol’ Kevin Bacon, just hanging around like he got lost and ended up at a photo-shoot. Definitely the worst poster of 2010!