This week in This Week In Movie Posters, we begin with this Spanish poster for Alone in Berlin, starring Brendan Gleeson. I’ll say this for it: The poster designer really leaned into the most recognizable parts of Brendan Gleeson — his tensely pursed lips and giant meaty paws. Though I’m not sure about the little note card that says “freie press,” which I assume just means “free press” in German. Now I know what the movie’s about, but it feels like cheating. It’d be so convenient for poster designers if movie characters just carried their motivations around on little note cards. This feels like the poster equivalent of political cartoons where the cartoonist isn’t confident enough in the recognizability of his caricatures so he just draws the people’s names on their chests. “And over here I’ve drawn Hillary Clinton wearing a football jersey that says ‘Hillary Clinton’…”
“The night the unborn were avenged!”
Did we really need the skull imagery behind the creepy doll? Doesn’t the creepy doll already imply ghosts? We could’ve done that math on our own. Also, what is this, an anti-abortionist horror movie? No thanks.
This poster for Blue Jay is very close to the old “close-eyed headbutt” poster trope, which implies yearning in melodramatic romance movies. Closed eyes, foreheads touching. Of course, that’s not quite what’s going on here. Based on the title and the fact that one of them has her eyes open, I’m guessing this one’s not about love and yearning so much as their love affair saving him from his depression.
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. [IMDb]
Huh. Based on that synopsis, I can’t tell if I’m right. Whatever, it’s called “Blue Jay,” so I’m going to assume that it’s about a man named Jay who is blue. Cheer up, Jay. Maybe go have a cathartic moment next to a body of water or something. Be sure to stare far off into the distance.
You’ll be happy to know there are a bunch more Madea Halloween posters this week. Can never get enough of those, I always say. These are interesting because there’s zero or rhyme or reason or consistency to them other than the fact that they have Madea in them and are about Halloween. Here she is with a flashlight under her chin. Is it set at a Summer camp where counselor Madea tells ghost stories? Maybe!
Oops, wait, nope, I think she might be playing an axe murderer or something. Maybe?
Or… maybe she’s the victim? Or it’s some kind of Ring thing where she crawls out of the well to haunt the living? Helerrr. Whatever, maybe don’t overthink it. It’s Madea. It’s Halloween. F*ck you, you’ll buy a ticket.
Is Bill Bellamy always making that face? I have to assume yes. Also, everything about this poster looks horrendously Photoshopped, but especially the lady on the left. Her head is bigger than her waist.
Dead Awake! Looks like we’ve got ourselves some kind of reverse Nightmare on Elm Street situation here. Where people… uh… can’t fall asleep… because of ghosts? Damn. Ghosts, man. Just look at that lady up there, probably all full of stress just thinkin’ about her problems. I feel like this might not be an escapist enough fear for a horror movie.
Sure, you can barely read the pull quotes, but just the fact that they’re there (along with the festival laurel graphics) lets you know that this is arthouse, not horror.
Wait, how small is Charlie Day? Isn’t Ice Cube like 5’7″? Is he standing on a folding chair here? Also, I don’t really know what this is about in terms of story, but if you’ve noticed, ever since the success of Neighbors, virtually every studio comedy has taken up the “___ vs. ____” marketing theme. Forget plot, just pit two things against each other. Family vs. Frat! Dad vs. Stepdad! Dogs vs. Blankets!
Apparently this one is about two teachers. Not that it matters. It’s ____ vs _____! Sh*t’s about to get real, y’all!
See all that sky space up there? That tells you that this is going to be life affirming. You need all that head space in the poster to have room for reflection. It’s like the arthouse version of lebensraum.
This poster is interesting, because the blood and tagline suggest horror film, but the old-timey van and abundance of negative space just scream indie comedy (old-timey van = indie comedy, always). Unless the poster designer just screwed up, I’m guessing this is an arthouse-y comedy parodying horror movies.
Mary moves back to her suburban hometown, to find that the suburbs are scarier in more ways than she ever remembered. [IMDb]
I guess it’s still a little hard to tell from that synopsis, but I feel comfortable assuming that most of the scares are ironic.
Killbillies! With that kind of a title, the poster designer doesn’t have to do much work. And this one still did just enough. The teeth, the tagline… just stellar, all. Classic slasher movie stuff. As horror movies have taught us, the first rule of country people is that they’re always disfigured monsters who want to kill you.
I definitely need to see this. It’s clearly garnering some effusive praise from such outfits as the prestigious… uh… Santa Barbara Independent, and… Moviebuzzers. It’s a telling design though. If you’re releasing an indie comedy with no big stars these days, your eventual box office take is going to stand atop a foundation of glowing reviews and festival buzz. They should’ve just used the gradient tool for the background and made it “Men Vs. Commitment!”
You may have already seen this one when we posted it the first time (we’re going to make damn sure no one misses a John Wick 2 poster around here) but here it is again, just in case. I get that they’re measuring him for a coffin in the old Western movie tradition, and sure, it looks badass enough, but I’d like to know more about the dog that drives him to kill in this one. Because that’s traditionally what drives John Wick to kill. For the next poster, I’d like to see a furious Keanu standing over a dog-shaped coffin. Or even just the dog coffin alone, so you just have to imagine how pissed John Wick is going to be. Or, since it’s a sequel, maybe there should be two dead dogs. There’s always more in sequels. “Vengeance? They double-dog dared him!”
Remember what I said about the ____ vs ____ formula of all comedies now? This one’s “Spies vs. Suburbanites!” I guess the suburbanites are pissed because the spies moved in next door and brought all their spy baggage with them. So, like, Neighbors, but with Russian assassins instead of loud frat bros, I guess. Which means Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher will fight back with… pies? Jell-o molds? Passive aggression?
Also, Christ, man, just line up the faces with the names. That way at least it wouldn’t look like you had to bend over backwards to make sure the dudes got listed first.
Finally, a strong Magnificent Seven poster that isn’t tilted sideways for no reason. You might notice all the negative space in this one, which I said about is usually room for introspection. Though in this case, it’s Western negative space denoting the frontier. You can tell because the characters are looking determined instead of laughing or self-satisfied. Also, because of the cowboy hats.
The Scientology Center + Ralph Steadman drawings… using the 1+1 formula, I’m guessing this is going to be a gonzo journalism tale of Scientology? A savage journey into the dark heart of the American dream and whatnot? Yep, I’d watch that. Even if I can’t keep all the Therouxs straight. The Theroux brand means “smart guy you feel like you should know more about.”
Here’s the first of a big series of new Power Rangers posters, which are clearly leaning hard on scale as a selling point. See their fight machines? They’re huge! And they’re doing the whole minimalist teaser thing with the tagline. Power Rangers, remember those? All we have to write is “go go” and you’ll fill in the “Power Rangers” part yourself! It’s a power move. They know you know, and they’re not afraid to show you they know you know they know.
Maybe I was already a little old for it by that point, but did people really watch Power Rangers on purpose? It seemed like something people watched just because it was on. Which I also thought about Full House, but I guess that reboot turned out alright too? You’d have to hold me at gun point before I’d watch a f*cking Full House reboot, but whatever floats your idiot boat, I guess. We seem really desperate to relive stuff we only barely tolerated in the first place.
I like this guy relaxin’. Though I sort of wish he was making a circle thing with this thumb and index finger on his knee. Then, he’d see us looking and we’d get socked in the shoulder for looking at his finger circle. What was the subtext of that game supposed to be, anyway? Was the finger circle supposed to be a butthole? Don’t look at my butthole? Childhood is so weird.
So how is this a different thing than Pacific Rim again? No chance I sit through that again.
Rock Dog. Hey, wasn’t this the plot of a Simpsons episode? The one with Poochie the Dog? I guess Poochie rapped, but still. I’m all for anthropomorphic dog musicians, but with that hat, Rock Dog looks more like Funk-Fusion Jam Band Dog to me. Like he spent all day riding around in a Spin Doctors van trippin’ out on the coolness of existence. You think he jams with the bulldog harmonica player, John Pawper? Cool, cool.
“Selfie From Hell.” I do love an on-the-nose horror title. And the poster has clearly utilized the old “giant eyeball” horror poster trope. It’d be cool if you could actually see your own eyeball in your cell phone camera like that.
The pull quotes promise a unique movie and poster designer delivers a unique poster. Yes, I am intrigued. I think this might be the poster of the week.
“I’m gonna shoot yer da.”
Here is the first of many French character posters for the upcoming Trolls movie, of which I’m only going to post a couple. Get it? They’re sparkly and have wild hair! That’s definitely enough content for a movie franchise.
Ooh, this one’s upside down, he must be the wacky one. I appreciate that the Trolls movie is just going to keep screaming “REMEMBER THE TROLLS?!” while completely ignoring the fact that a “troll” is an entirely different thing now.
“A movie about posters.” Hey, that’s our schtick! Actually it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t involved, or else it’d just be two hours of a guy yelling about pointlessly diagonal horizon lines and mismatched names and faces. Blessing in disguise.
Vince Mancini is a writer, comedian, and podcaster. 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.