This Week In Posters: Star Wars, And ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ Still Looks Too Good To Be True

We begin this week’s This Week in Posters with Paramount’s new poster for Adam McKay’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’s The Big Short (trailer here). Get it? The homeowners are “underwater” on their mortgages. And the dollars are falling from the sky because… uh… subprime loans or something.

Anyway, I liked this book a lot and I hope Adam McKay does it justice, and the poster gives me hope. It would’ve been easy to go the “Look at handsome Christian Bale play an unglamorous oddball guy!” route. Christian Bale transforming is like crack for… well, pretty much everyone. Instead, they trusted that the names alone were enough to sell this thing without mucking up the cool concept with a bunch of floating heads. Neat!

Honestly, do you know hard it is for me to praise a poster that deliberately omits Baby Goose’s face? This one is that good.

Diagonals! Swoosh!

The most interesting thing about this poster is that Heist is apparently called Bus 657 in Spanish. Bus 657 is a way better title, by the way. For one thing, now I know it’s about a bus. Heist is pretty vague. Frankly, if it weren’t for This Week in Posters, I would have no idea this movie existed.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen this style of poster, with the sexy movie stars foregrounded by a bunch of blurry nobodies that almost cover them up. I keep scrolling up and down like it’s an eye puzzle. Are they looking at each other? Why does Rooney Mara have weird dolls behind her? I think I’ve been hypnotized. This poster is sorcery.

Remember “Family vs. Frat?” That was Neighbors‘ marketing campaign, and that made a jillion dollars, and thus we have Daddy’s Home and “Dad vs. Step-Dad.” (It’s hard to say what came first, the script or the marketing campaign). I wonder what surprises this story will have in store! I bet the script is a feast of one-upmanship (my favorite kind of upmanship).

I know you don’t want to confuse the audience, especially in comedy (“no one laughs when they’re confused,” or so the old saying goes), but I confess I’m not looking forward to more reductive “____ vs. _____” ad campaigns.

Unless the campaign is “Giant Dog vs. Stuff That Is Too Small For That Dog.” That is the basis of Marmaduke, which is timeless.

The German makes it sound so much more dramatic. “VATER GEGEN STEIFVATER.” Achtung, kinder! Your vote determines who will control the Fatherland!

The synopsis for Embers reads, “After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory.”

I get it now, but no one’s ever going to accuse this poster designer of giving too much away. I can only juuust tell that stuff at the top is supposed to be a burned house, and even then, only because the movie is called Embers. But hey, who needs memories when you have incredibly pouty lips?

Incidentally, the first five characters listed on IMDb are “Guy,” “Girl,” “Miranda,” “Teacher,” and “Chaos.”

Would you have known that that’s Natalie Dormer if I hadn’t just told you? Well, it is, and she’s got a face like noose forest in this new poster for The Forest. Which is a horror film about… uh… Nooses? Sentient trees that strangle you with their noose vines? If so, at the very least, this poster does a great job illustrating a plot that would sound ridiculous out loud. All I’m getting is that trees are bad.

I assume people making horror movies just make sure they have a hot girl and a scary thing and figure that covers all their bases.

Oy, how many more times do we need to make this movie? Like, if the guy who made this was your friend, how long do you think you could pretend a high school zombie movie was a super cool and original idea to humor him? Five minutes? Ten? “Ooh, and does the plucky high-school guy fight the zombies with home-made weaponry? Golly!”

Is it just me, or does the main dinosaur in The Good Dinosaur basically look like Yoshi from Nintendo?

The protagonists and the other characters almost seem like they’re in different movies. The main guys are designed simply, almost a blank slate, and then the detail work on everything around them is incredible. I hope that T-rex gets a lot of screen time.

Also, do you think it’s not called The Good Dinosaur in Germany to avoid the association with The Good German? You do probably want to avoid overt Nazi allusions in your emo dinosaur movie, generally speaking.

You probably wouldn’t know it unless you’d seen the movie, but this image comes from a scene where Sarah Silverman’s character masturbates with her daughter’s teddy bear. That’s a power move, by the way, masturbating in the prone like that. Really high-level stuff. It’s a great scene, but I’m not sure I like it as a poster. For one thing, Sarah Silverman’s unfocused corpse eyes are freaking me out.

Boy, they really went a different direction with this Julie & Julia spinoff.

The italic yellow text reminds me of Nightcrawler, and you could do a lot worse than copying the posters for Nightcrawler. It makes Nicholas Hoult look sinister, which is a real feat, considering Nicholas Hoult in a pop-collared suit is pretty far from sinister. It’s not even sinister enough for a J. Crew line called “Sinister.”

Every time I think The Last Witch Hunter couldn’t look any better, they outdo themselves anew. Vin Diesel has a samurai sword, and also a sawed-off shotgun (reflect on the fact that the sword is his preferred weapon of the two), clearly prepared for some action, yet still looking pensive in that classic Vin Diesel way. He’s probably thinking so many deep thoughts… full of ellipses.

I sent this poster to Danger Guerrero when it first hit, and he couldn’t tell if it was the real poster or something that I’d Photoshopped to appeal just to him. Well, it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

I really like the image they used for this, and I also think being devastated by tenderness sounds really hot. It takes someone truly powerful to really tenderly devastate me.

I can’t tell if Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s name is actually bigger or if it just looks that way because of the long hyphen name. Anyway, the fact that they’re billing this as “from the guys who brought you This is the End and Neighbors” and not “from the guys who brought you 50/50” is everything that’s wrong with society.

This is the first poster for Spectre (the new James Bond movie) that actually makes it look half way interesting. I don’t know what’s going on in this at all, but it’s a lot better than Daniel Craig in a turtleneck mad dogging me with his weird lip, looking like he’s about to break into finger snaps.

I really hate that poster. Like if I came home and found that in my house, I’d probably move.

And here it is, the new poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (that you’ve probably seen by now). As you surely know by now, it tells of metal face and his climactic battle vs. the Laser Kids. Actually, I’ve been trying hard not to watch all the trailers for this, and I mostly have no idea who these people are. Instead of trying to fit everyone in, they should’ve made a poster with just the rolling droid guy.

“Post and tag 3 women who NEED to see this movie!”

Wow, not shy with the call to action here, are they? This is almost as aggressive as a chain letter. Also, this highlights the drawbacks of the #hashtag system, where I can’t help but read this as “Fight Snot Over.”

Strong color scheme, striking image. And a bold marketing move trying to connect seeing this movie with activism. Look, movie, I don’t need my movies telling me to go do stuff. I see movies to avoid doing stuff.

This series of posters feels a bit like when the NFL paints itself pink for breast cancer. When someone who wants money wraps themselves in a worthy cause, does that make you feel better or worse about giving it to them?

I’ll state the obvious here and say that I was not aware that Japanese modern art needing saving. But I’d like to think the guy on the bottom right is the disapproving father. He has that face that just screams “stop wasting your time on modern art, son!”

Vince Mancini is a writer and comedian living in San Francisco. A graduate of Columbia’s non-fiction MFA program, his work has appeared on FilmDrunk, the UPROXX network, the Portland Mercury, the East Bay Express, and all over his mom’s refrigerator. Fan FilmDrunk on Facebook, find the latest movie reviews here.