December is upon us and that means it’s time to start rolling out the year-end lists. With new films on the way from Scorsese, Jonze, and the Coens, my top ten films of the year will have to wait. In the meantime, I present to you my favorite posters of 2013 (for films released in 2013, sorry Nymph()maniac).
This year I’m doing things slightly different. Looking over the movie art I noticed a lot of similarities between my favorites. So I’m still going to countdown 20-1, but I’ve grouped together all the like-minded ones. Let’s see how it goes.
20. YOU’RE NEXT
19. WHITE REINDEER
Symbolic. Both of these have very clever designs. The floor space doubles as a sinister animal mask. It looks like a scary version of Clue. And those coke rails look like a Christmas tree, hinting at a very dysfunctional family gathering. Bonus points for the laurel as the tree topper.
Painterly. These two both look like they’re fresh canvas. Fruitvale strikes a tone of gloom and import better than the actual film. Damned is alluring. It feels forbidden, dangerous, and retro.
16. FILL THE VOID
Empty spaces. Thematically obvious, but so what? The execution is elegant and pleasing to the eye. I like the white-on-white text of Void’s title treatment. Bold choice. Same goes for the blue-blue simplicity of Diana. These work.
14. SIMON KILLER
13. SIDE EFFECTS
Red and White. The close-up eyeball has been done plenty, but Simon Killer does a few subtle things to distinguish itself. There’s the mysterious image within the eye, as well as smart font and color choices. Side Effects is just a great joke while maintaining the intensity of a thriller.
Head trip. Wrong creeps me out something awful. But it’s so unique and the title treatment is a freakin’ mustache! Automatic inclusion. Lux is just great design. I imagine it could be a prog-rock album cover or a ’70s book on philosophy. Versatile and captivating.
10. THE BATTERY
09. COMPUTER CHESS
Throwback. Computer Chess was made by the same guy that did Atari 2600 covers. One of the more apt pairings of the year. Might have been number one if it didn’t omit Papageorge (watch it and you’ll see). And The Battery foregrounds character information well while feeling like a lost midnight movie.
07. THE GREAT GATSBY
06. THE WOLVERINE
Teased. Three great teaser posters. Each one gets the flavor of the film across with a single striking image. There’s the seedy neon-nightlife of Only God Forgives, the ostentatious art-deco of The Great Gatsby, and the simple idea that Wolverine is back but this time he’s turning Japanese.
05. SPRING BREAKERS
04. THE BLING RING
Accessories. The two films were often erroneously compared this year. But their posters were very similar. Brilliant minimalist designs that focused on our culture’s worst indulgences. Chic.
03. AMERICAN HUSTLE
01. UPSTREAM COLOR
Character. Three posters that show how to give life to one sheets with little more than pictures of your actors. The other American Hustle character posters are also great, but prurient interests led me to showcase these two. They’re traffic-stoppers! Plus, you get an idea of the setting and the personality of the movie right away. Nebraska is a state of mind. More about theme and a feeling of classic ’70s cinema. It sticks out in the best way. Finally, Upstream Color. All they did was take a frame from the film and put the title underneath but it’s a knockout. It grabs your attention, and demands answers without giving away any. What is going on in this movie? Even if you watch you might not figure it out.
And here’s a bonus poster. It’s for TV, but it’s too awesome not to mention:
What were some of your favorites? What did I miss? Any great fan art this year?