Plenty Of 2013′s Best Movie Posters

Here, in reverse chronological order, are a number of 2013′s more interesting posters. I selected these because I thought they communicated an interesting idea quickly – or sometimes, not such an interesting idea but still with great efficiency.

best-a

A wedding ring malformed into a knuckleduster is certainly a potent image. Offensive? Well, okay. I could argue that it is. But it still screams its message from the frame hanging on the cinema wall and I think that’s most of the job, really.

best-b

This poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel is all about the ensemble of characters and just how Wes Anderson-y they are. That’ll sell this thing. To the converted.

best-c

The message this time is more mysterious, but I have to say that it caught my eye and engaged my brain and I wanted to know more. Though it’s arguable that being enigmatic isn’t necessarily a good thing for a poster…

best-d

I like that this poster affirms Caesar as the centre of this story, and that he’s so immediately emotive. I spent a while looking into his inscrutable eyes.

best-e

A great tagline combines with the desperate grain and the interplay of actors and their eyelines – not to mention the cropping of Hurt and Bell by the edges of the frame – to give a sense that Evans is pushing forth, a man on a mission, about to break his restraints and take a stand. This may well be my single favourite poster of the year.

best-f

So much better than the film it advertises. The scared child hiding behind The Stath’ is pretty much all you need to know – and then the Homefront has been given the stars and stripes treatment for more political subtext than was worth grasping for.

best-g

It hangs on the pun, but that gag should hit the target audience. The colour scheme is striking too, and the emphasis on the two girls together – especially after the vampire teen subgenre has seemed to be all about girls whimpering after boys for so long now – is a strong move. And mentioning Heathers and Mean Girls was very, very worth doing too.

best-h

The credit block feels like something from the 60s or 70s. The title feels a touch more mysterious than just bland when it’s worked like this (it was a real risk), and the silhouette of Bruce Dern gets right to the film’s central appeal: ie. Bruce Dern. I might even say: Bruce Dern, being old.

best-j

The same juxtaposition of Disney iconography and “bad things” that fuelled the film. It’s particularly effective, I think, because it doesn’t feel like this poster would be allowed.

best-k

Who’s this hipster? What’s his problem? The film is called Her? Does he really think that stache is a good idea? This poster is all questions, and no answers, but the direct eye contact and Joaquin Phoenix’s expression really does leap out of the crowds when you see this hanging on a wall.

best-l

I can’t abide this film and the poster reminds me of everything I hated about it, but there you go: it’s directly communicative of all of the movie’s try-hard smugness.

best-m

Evocative of Say Anything – though maybe that’s because I’d already spent months reading promises that this film would be the “new Say Anything.” Great typesetting, though, with the emphasis on Now underwriting a real sense of early morning atmosphere. I can almost hear this poster, as well as feel that special kind of sunlight in my eyes. Some of the best storytelling in a poster this year.

best-n

A later wave Nymphomaniac posters were all about actors making the O face, and those were certainly striking. This feels like a more sophisticated message, though, with the use of brackets as interesting as what the brackets are mimicking, being a simple, quiet evocation of the film’s literary bent.

best-o

Alex Pardee’s festival poster for Bobcat Goldthwait’s Bigfoot movie, Willow Creek. Now, there’s no giant, screaming skullfacemonsterthing in the film – of course – but this poster does hit on the film’s themes nicely, and the small figures of our protagonists at the bottom really do seem to be walking off into a situation that’s big, scary and – somehow – beyond their sight.

best-p

I don’t know how intentional it is – in fact I may have read this poster completely incorrectly – but the fact that these dark glasses are largely interchangeable and don’t really say anything too illuminating about any of the “characters” at all. They’re all just… the same type of boring.

best-q

Somewhere between Titus Andronicus and Struwwelpeter, this is one of the more sinister posters of the year. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet Mr. Jones in a dark alley.

best-r

Fragments of narrative, some moody shadows undercutting the sunlight, and an interesting juxtaposition between the “Run” of the title and the “arrived” of the image all had me hooked on this poster for a lot longer than most.

best-s

I can’t put these pieces together and… and, you know what? I’ve been sceptical about the value of enigma in a poster, and then picked loads that left me with questions. I wonder if I’m atypical, but I am curious about what all of this is implying.

best-t

Loaded with promise, this message speaks both to this character and to the film’s themes but, in the first instance, functions as a brilliant “countdown” image.

best-u

He’s got dog on the brain… And there’s your story, really. Maybe Jack Plotnick isn’t the most recognisable actor in the world, but I knew who this was, and was happy to see him. Calling the film Wrong was a good idea, from a marketing point of view – this poster has ended up being the ideal of “WTF?!?” poster design, I think.

I think the best posters ring out with a clear tone as well as keeping the audience’s attention for a while, maybe even attracting that attention in a busy location. In 2013, most of the posters that worked really well were for smaller, or less expensive movies, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes being the rare “tentpole” campaign that spoke to me. The main problem with “blockbuster posters” seems to be their dependence on formula, really. They’ve all started to look far too similar.

And… well, one might argue it’s just the same thing as happened with the films themselves.

Now. Any great 2013 posters I might not have seen?