Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Posters of 2010

One of the things I try to do with the Looking Forward To series is to not only highlight films I'm excited about, but also pay tribute to the cool posters of said films, because I do love posters. Now poster quality doesn't necessarily mean the movie is going to be good. I really liked The King's Speech, but its poster designs were forgettable and some bad movies have good posters. In any case, as inspired by Ruth's similar post a couple of days ago, below is a list of posters that impressed me during the past year.

1. Black Swan
- The whole marketing campaign is actually one of the best of the year. From its unforgettable trailer to its beautiful art deco-inspired posters. The now iconic poster with just Portman's face is probably the most visceral and visually striking choice, but I chose one of the art deco posters, because they really all should be seen and admired as much as possible.

2. Inception
- Here's another film where the studio went all out with marketing and most of it were top-notch stuff. The two most popular posters are the one with the cast in the foreground and the city of Paris folding in on them and the one with the whole cast in an Escher-like configuration. Love those both, but I picked this one because I just love the angle that this was shot in.

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
- My love for this film knows no bounds and that also bled into its posters. The brilliant teaser poster with just Michael Cera on the guitar with the strong red background was well an epic of epic epicness. Also really enjoyed the individual character posters for the evil exes. But I chose this poster since I love the drawing, the coloring, and just everything about it.

4. Blue Valentine
- I already talked about this particular poster before and after all these months, I'm still just a bit in love with it. There's something sweet and edgy about the poster that totally represents the dual nature of the film. The more official poster also tries to express this though with more edge than sweetness possibly as a reaction to the NC-17 the film received initially.

5. The Social Network
- This poster is so visually striking, you just can't look away and the amazing trailer with its haunting cover version of Radiohead's Creep provided the best complement. This was before anyone actually saw the film and declared it their favorite of the year, but with this confident and bold poster they really knew what they had, didn't they? Just wished they had more, you know?

6. I Am Love - Speaking of bold and confident, how about this film's breathtaking poster? It pretty much says "Tilda Swinton is the star of this sophisticated film" and well that's pretty much what the film is in a nutshell. The super ornate typography hints at the film's obsession with style and sophistication.

7. For Colored Girls - I haven't seen the film and it's not even really on my list of films that I have to see as soon as I can. But this teaser poster for the film is absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful. The use of watercolor to signify beauty, sadness, and violence inherent in the story was just genius. I'm saying all of this as someone who was largely unimpressed with the other posters they released after this one.

8. Buried - Have to give props to whoever came with with the posters for this small film, because they really focused in on the concept of being buried and reflected them as well as they could. From borrowing Saul Bass' style to not being afraid of using some white black space. My favorite is the poster where critics' quotes are used to great effect to create a sense of claustrophobia.

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - This is the type of film where they don't really have to advertise it that much and yet they still do. Most of the posters they released were character-centric and lots of blues and dramatic close-ups. Not to say they weren't great, but my favorite poster featured not a single actor and instead the harrowing image of a burning Hogwarts. Plus I love how reminiscent it is of the poster from the first film.

10. Tron: Legacy - Will see the film if only to satisfy the little boy in me who had fond memories of the original. With that same mentality, I'm including this poster on the list because of its blatant inspiration for the iconic original poster. Weirdly enough this concept was one of the last ones they released even though they probably could've gotten a lot more pre-buzz if they went with this design earlier.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Art of the Steal - Smart, clean, and effective.
  • Love Ranch - Fittingly over-stylized mishmash.
  • Rabbit Hole - Disorientingly and wonderfully emotional.
  • The Runaways - Visually striking and cheeky to boot.
  • Somewhere - Unexpected and simple design.

What were some of your favorite posters of the past year?

Posters are courtesy of IMP Awards.


  1. Gotta say, the Portman one hanging in the movie theatre I go to has the exact same reaction from every single person walking past it. Everyone either stops or turns their head to stare at it while they continue walking blindly forward. That's a darn good poster.

  2. This has been a freakishly good year for ad campaigns. The art deco ones are the best.

  3. Hey thanks for the mention.

    I haven't seen that version of the Scott Pilgrim poster, it's so different from the red one I often saw.

    I agree that the art deco versions of the Black Swan posters are all beautiful. I chose the one with Portman's face as it really has a huge stopping power. For Colored Girls deserve a spot as well, nice list Ryan!

  4. I was actually looking to see if you included #7, which is a poster that's been kind of underrated.

    And yes, Rabbit Hole. Gah.

  5. @Meltha - Seriously and this is especially good for a film that is actually a hard sell. Though you can't tell that from the awesome marketing it has gotten.

    @Simon - I know right? I was going to highlight worst ad campaigns, but I didn't want to go all negative.

    @Ruth - Well me reading your post did give me the idea to do my own list, so yeah of course!

    @Andrew - As soon as I saw that poster, I immediately wanted to own it. Just really gorgeous.


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