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.
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.
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.
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.
“Burn After Reading” (2008)
This is a fun homage to Saul Bass posters like “The Man With the Golden Arm” and “Anatomy of a Murder.” There’s nothing else much to say, but if you’re a fan of the man’s classic title sequences, then chances are you’ll love this nostalgic poster.
If you’ve read the Chuck Palahniuk book or seen the movie, then you’ll probably understand the comedy behind this poster. Not only is it a literal interpretation of the lead character’s proclivity of choking on food for money, but it’s also a fun play on his addiction to sex. After all, if anything’s going to kill you, it will probably be a woman.
“Hell Ride” (2008)
The movie may not have been as good as the poster suggests (not to mention Quentin Tarantino’s name proudly paraded above the title), but whoever created it did a wonderful job carrying over the grindhouse aesthetics of the film. It might not be a Tarantino picture, but this is what every one of his posters should look like.
“The Strangers” (2008)
For a movie that features very little gore, the poster for Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” makes it look brutally violent. Again, the grindhouse look (from the mustard yellow backdrop to the scratches and ring stain) works in favor of the film’s 70s-inspired tone.
“The Wackness” (2008)
This wasn’t the official poster for the film, but it’s more effective than the generic one that was eventually released. Simple in theory, the oversized mix tape is probably one of the more unique posters I’ve seen in a while.
“Good Luck Chuck” (2007)
I know, I know – the movie was complete garbage, but you’d be lying if you didn’t say this poster made you want to see the film. Jessica Alba is quite possibly one of the hottest women in Hollywood and that melting ice cream only helps her case.
One of my favorite movies of the decade, this variant poster for “Brick” takes an essential scene from the movie and transforms it into a hauntingly beautiful piece of art. For some reason, the color of the bracelet has been changed, but it still works.
“Hard Candy” (2006)
If I was forced to choose, the poster to David Slade’s “Hard Candy” would probably be my absolute favorite. I love the Little Red Riding imagery and the giant bear trap surrounding her. Of course, when you’ve seen the movie, it only makes the concept that much more entertaining.
As you’ve probably noticed with many of my selections, I’m a big believer that less is more. The bright green background and cartoony pencil sketch that makes up the poster for “Sideways” might not look like much, but it definitely sticks in your head long after you’ve seen it. It’s also a far better book cover for Rex Pickett’s novel.
“The Rules of Attraction” (2002)
There’s not much to say about this one. If you’re not laughing, then you don’t have the same sense of humor as me. Bret Easton Ellis would be proud.