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Posterized June 2015: ‘The Tribe,’ ‘Eden,’ Felt,’ and More

Written by on June 3, 2015 

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably.

Sorry, Hollywood. June 2015 is not your month. Or maybe I should actually applaud the indie studios for grabbing June 2015 and claiming it as theirs. I only lean towards the latter because this month’s big budget films have lackluster marketing campaigns at best.

I don’t need to see the Entourage (June 3) boys as plastic dolls, Canyon Design Group. (poster 1 / poster 2)

I also don’t need a refresher on Jurassic World‘s (June 12) scale disparity between humans and dinosaurs, BOND. (poster 1 / poster 2)

Something can be said about Ignition sticking with the same minimalistic style of the original for Ted 2 (June 26) (poster) and I don’t want to rain on BLT Communications, LLC‘s effective circle motif morphing into characters with Inside Out (June 19) (poster 1 / poster 2), but they’re all boring.

I’d rather talk about the below instead.

I spy something familiar

If a film is allowed to pay homage to other films’ posters with its own, The Wolfpack (limited June 12) is that film. After all, this documentary is about brothers who learn about the outside world through the films they watch while locked inside their Manhattan apartment. Why not shed some light on that subject matter visually to get the idea of tribute and movie as reality into audiences’ subconscious?

The work obviously calls back to Reservoir Dogs with its wardrobe and color scheme, but I also couldn’t get Better Luck Tomorrow out of my head with its stark contrast of dark black figures against a bright solid hue. Beyond the comparisons, however, the poster is striking in a way to grab attention if not wow with aesthetics. How can you not turn your head towards that red?

It’s simple in its mission to get across brotherhood, NYC, and hipster cool. The title font is strangely playful as its roughly drawn letters juxtapose against their boldness. And the fact no one is looking our way despite the sunglasses has us feeling as though we’re in on a joke.

For We Are Still Here (limited June 5), the work completed is attractively spooky and wonderfully painterly to stand out against photo-heavy counterparts. It’s also eerily similar to The House of the Devil.

What makes this fact so interesting, though, is that an alternate poster that’s itself way too 80s straight-to-VHS for my liking states how the two films are produced by the same team. Perhaps it’s therefore no coincidence they are practically carbon copies of one another: what worked then might work again.

The House of the Devil is the more assured piece, however, in both its hybrid photographic depiction allowing for more spookiness and its title seeping into the darkness as though still wet and tactile. The richer black also helps the tone while We Are Still Here‘s blue-greys and orange-reds almost push its look into cartoonish territory. It’s obviously an illustration where the other makes you question its medium and the title is too precisely edged to cultivate the same texture able to make you reach out and touch it.

Bringing Ignition’s Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5) into this conversation is a bit of a stretch considering so many designs have utilized text block before. Where the previous two fall under homage, this one is a trending motif. It’s no coincidence then that I thought of the remakes of Evil Dead and to a lesser extent Carrie when spying upon it. The difference here is my thinking this newest iteration is better.

My reasoning for this is not the stunning photography—I honestly laughed when I saw there was a photo credit attached considering it’s a wall with the top of an air vent all the way at the bottom (my apologies to photographer Cullin Tobin). No, I enjoy this one because of the sheer quantity of text and the fact none is a media quote. This block is the pitch: the prologue getting us in the mood before the film even hits theaters. You must read it and you must wonder what could be in that vent.

It’s definitely more inspired than P+A‘s shot of Stefanie Scott with the exact same expression as Rose Byrne in the sheet for its predecessor Insidious: Chapter 2. The one where Scott is sitting stock still on her bed with a sliver of light from a doorway illuminating her eye is sufficiently creepy, but cold open wins best in show with their “monster” shrouded in shadows behind her curtain.

Joining Insidious as the only other wide release in this month’s rant is Spy (June 5)—a film I cannot get excited about. Let’s just say this top poster by The Refinery with photography from Larry D. Horricks does nothing to bolster my anticipation with its badly Photoshopped head of Melissa McCarthy plopped onto a different body and squeezed between costars Jason Statham and Jude Law.

Ignition’s entry with Byrne added in might be worse, but its use of McCarthy sliding across the ground brings us our opening into the world of James Bond spoofing. I dislike spoofing—I’m looking at you studios who promote Tyler Perry‘s work—but I won’t deny the joke’s appeal. It’s just tough not to see how effective Daniel Craig sliding in front of a giant 007 is on Skyfall is when looking at McCarthy rather than care about her movie instead.

The same can be said with the rest whether it’s Statham mocking Spectre, a golden McCarthy looking like Dominic Cooper in The Devil’s Double, or Law honoring both Sean Connery and Roger Moore with his weirdly posed not-quite-crossed-arms moving into a gun pointed over shoulder maneuver. They’re cute, but Spy isn’t supposed to be cute. It’s supposed to be uproariously funny.

Exposed expressions

There’s a lot to like about Batkid Begins (limited June 26). I’m not the one to go through a laundry list of reasons why being that I know little about the subject matter other than the whole thing being a Make-A-Wish come true (I think?), but I guess that’s why the movie is here to explain. I do know the tone, though, and I believe P+A captures it nicely.

This is a feel good story that went viral when it occurred and there should be no surprise the film world came knocking. Revolving around Miles Scott and his wish to be Batman’s sidekick, it captures how he was able to do exactly that. What better way to show this victory than a fist pump and a smile? Earth took notice and strangers everywhere cheered on this young boy as he lived his dream.

You don’t need flashy graphics or a montage of images because this says it all. And the childish handwriting in a hand-drawn Batman logo ties it all together with a bow. The whole has a polished feeling that Drew Struzan‘s iconic style doesn’t quite match being that it only takes up half the page while a bland white background and black sans serif font surrounds it. Give P+A this image to rework their design and we may see something that truly resonates.

Where Batkid is no-brainer in concept, Manglehorn (limited June 19) is not. Well, it might be to those who’ve seen it. Without any context, though, the image used on its poster is for lack of a better word creepy.

What is happening? Elderly Al Pacino carrying his cat and coming close to “ducky face” while doing so? It’s hyper-stylized and thrown through a contrast filter to give it a glossy oil paint sheen and somehow comes out creepier by making the actor look like a wax statue. Again—this might be the perfect way to sell this film. As someone yet to witness Manglehorn’s shenanigans, though, it makes me want to steer clear. Even the title’s rendering has me questioning its quality above a niche comedy that will definitely not be for everyone.

In comparison, Cardinal Communications USA also puts its star of Madame Bovary (limited June 12) front and center, but they do so in a pleasing light. Not only is she not touched-up with any broad aesthetic flourishes, she’s without props beyond her expression. There’s mystery here courtesy of the veil separating her from the viewer as well as her eyes looking off into the distance at something very clearly capturing her full attention.

I love the purple and the way the crop frames Mia Wasikowska‘s face in extreme darks of shadow while a triangle of light cuts through with the veil. The ultra-thin font adds a classic contemporary look to contrast the period costuming and the actor list is small enough to never distract us. It’s a captivating image and Cardinal lets it speak for itself.

Mert Güner lets his work on A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (limited June 3) stand on its on merits too by supplying a scene from the movie in all its eccentric glory. The museum set depicted reminds me of a Wes Anderson film with the dinosaur in the back seemingly hand-picked for its not quite “real” look and the practically albino character spying the titular pigeon like a still life. The camera literally lingers on the artifice of this experience and tells a story without words. The title font adds to this fabrication with the playfulness of each letter having pinched edges to keep them from becoming too rigid.

internozero comunicazione continues this trend by providing another set shot slightly off-kilter with whimsy. Just look at the looming mound of sand pretending to be a cliff face dwarfing the tiny tops of buildings in the distance as though it’s all a small-scale model. How about the young couple rounding second base? Not only does their inclusion tell us the sand is definitely not a cliff, but it also makes a brilliant fourth-wall breaking look from their dog possible. He’s definitely rolling his eyes like, “There they go again”.

How shocking is it that the American sheet removes all sense of fun visuals for a text heavy layout housing a feather? Who knew you could look so lazy despite being compared to two posters that are simply shots from the movie?

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