Celluloid Heroes: My Favorite Posters of the Decade

With all the different ways that studios can market a movie these days, it’s nice to see that movie posters haven’t completely fallen by the wayside. Sometimes, a single image can make or break my interest in a film, and though trailers speak louder than posters, it certainly helps when you’ve got a kick-ass one to display in movie theaters. As part of our look back at the movies of the 2000s, here are some of my favorite posters from the last decade. You’ll probably notice that a good percentage of them come from the last two years, and while that may be representative of studios having to be more creative than ever, I think it’s more just a result of my constantly evolving taste.

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“Antichrist” (2009)

Lars von Trier’s latest film has been stirring up controversy ever since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. I still haven’t seen it myself (and I’m guessing I’ll probably hate it when I do), but this poster is great nonetheless. It’s both beautiful and ugly in its marriage of eroticism and nature, and the chaotic lettering crudely written across the image gives you a pretty good idea that you’re not about to see just any ordinary film.

“Cold Souls” (2009)

Paul Giamatti has a great face, so it only makes this Matryoshka doll concept that much more interesting. When viewed in context of the movie’s plot – about a suffering artist (Giamatti playing a fictional version of himself à la “Being John Malkovich”) who stores his soul for safe keeping – it also says everything without really saying anything at all.

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“Grace” (2009)

In terms of sheer grotesqueness, the indie horror film, “Grace,” takes the cake for its simplistic blood-in-a-baby-bottle. The fly perched on top is also a nice touch. Still, there’s something quite alluring about the image in that it doesn’t so much make you sick (like the posters for Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II”) as it does curious about the movie.

“Moon” (2009)

There’s certainly not a lot going on in the official poster to Duncan Jones’ directorial debut, but it mimics the quiet tone of the film perfectly. That trippy stereoscopic sphere stationed behind Sam Rockwell steals my attention every time, and that’s all you can really ask for from a poster.

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Hell Ride

There’s a rule of thumb to follow regarding movies involving Quentin Tarantino: those he writes and directs are usually good, and those he produces are usually bad. There are a few exceptions to both sides of this rule (perhaps most famously Zhang Yimou’s “Hero”) which led me to believe that “Hell Ride” could be a fun little film, but as it turns out, it’s yet another low-rent vanity project from one of QT’s less-talented friends. Larry Bishop writes, directs and stars as Pistolero, president of the Victors biker gang. When one of their own is tortured and killed by rival gang member Billy Wings (Vinnie Jones) of the Six Six Sixers, Pistolero teams up with his two most trusted members, The Gent (Michael Madsen) and Commanche (Eric Balfour), and sets out to exact revenge.

Hell Ride

Unfortunately, the film isn’t even remotely as entertaining as the red band trailer makes it out to be, and in the process, puts some really cool characters to waste. Bishop sure has the look of a badass biker, but he can’t act the part, nor can he write the kind of dialogue Tarantino is famous for. He certainly tries with these silly rhymes and play-on-word conversations that he must think sound ultra-hip, but they only make the boring mess of a plot even that much more difficult to sit through. Only Dennis Hopper and David Carradine (as veteran members of the rival gangs) truly deliver performances worth remembering, and it’ll make you wish the film spent more time developing their characters instead of focusing so much time and energy on Bishop getting his freak on with a horde of naked chicks. “Hell Ride” may sound like one hell of a time, but you’d be better off checking out FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” instead.

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