A veritable grab-bag of features premiered artwork during the month of April, including future releases large and small, local and international, and factual and fictional. From superhero flicks to quirky documentaries, Australian efforts to films bound for the Cannes Film Festival, and a political comedy to a movie version of an English television series, the posters conveyed a range of imagery for a range of offerings, with insights to be gleaned from each and every one.
Starting at the big end of town, no fewer than six pieces of key art for comic book adaptation Green Lantern emerged, with the main colour of the protagonist’s moniker front and centre. Focusing on four key characters – Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the computer generated Tomar-Re and Kilowog (voiced by Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan respectively), and Mark Strong as Sinestro – through individual and group efforts emblazoned with the tagline “In brightest day. In blackest night.”, the standard actor superimposed over film still posters provided a quick glimpse of the fantastical nature of the feature, whilst ensuring camaraderie is at the forefront of the audience’s thinking.
Although the film sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, the composition of the imagery for Mark Wexler’s How To Live Forever – a documentary that follows the director’s quest to discover the best methods of cheating mortality – is somewhat similar to the big budget superhero feature. With the wrinkled, bearded, beer guzzling, chain-smoking portrait of centenarian Buster Martin the focal point, his age identified by the caption “Buster, 101 years old”, and his vices made apparent by their presence in each of his hands, the poster playfully subverts expectation through the striking juxtaposition, leaving the viewer with hope that the finished film will do the same.
Australian efforts featured strongly this month, starting with the debut of the artwork for Michael Henry’s psychological thriller Blame. Whilst the film itself – which stars Damian de Montemas, Sophie Lowe, Kestie Morassi, Simon Stone, Mark Leonard Winter and Ashley Zukerman – isn’t due on screens until June (after premiering at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, and being subjected to considerable local scheduling delays), the Saul Bass-inspired poster certainly whets the appetite and then some, recalling noir hits of times gone by with its clean lines, contrasting colour scheme and clever tagline (“To get away with murder you can’t make mistakes.”).
Hot on the heels of its Cannes selection, fellow local film Sleeping Beauty also struck a chord. Indeed, although it arrived late in April, the evocative imagery for Julia Leigh’s feature is a strong contender for poster of the month, courtesy of a stunning depiction of star Emily Browning. With the actress’ Sucker Punch controversy still fresh in the memory, the choice to highlight the erotic nature of the effort is a bold yet brilliant move. If excitement levels weren’t already high for the intricate drama, then this artwork certainly sent them soaring, with the contrast of Browning’s topless figure against fabrics of satin and embroidery immediately conjuring a distinct tone and mood.
Also due on the croisette in the coming weeks is Melancholia, the greatly anticipated effort from polarising Danish auteur Lars von Trier. If the key art provides any indication of the final feature, the film is set to intrigue, with the narrative purported to follow a dystopian drama set unravelled amidst the fun and frenzy of a wedding. In a simple yet stylish design, the poster plays with the matrimonial aspect of the offering, with the finished product closely resembling an invite to such an event. Accompanied by the title, director, and listing of three of the principal stars (Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland), the imagery is compelling in its sparseness, with the ethereal image of Dunst the core focus.
Another poster attracting attention, albeit of a different kind, is the one that announced the arrival of Lee Tamahori’s The Devil’s Double. With the movie bestowed the dubious moniker of “Scarface of Arabia” by Ain’t It Cool News, the artwork only served to confirm this assessment, thanks to an eye-catching use of gold on gold. For the uninitiated, the tagline says it all, with the film focused on “sex… power… too much money…” as it tells the story of the real-life “‘prince’ that has everything”. That it features Dominic Cooper as both Uday Hussein (son of Saddam) and his double, Latif Yahia, is almost secondary in the illustration of opulence that amazes in its aesthetic insanity.
Last, but by no means least, comes the American poster for English feature The Trip. Originating as a six-part television sitcom for British broadcaster BBC, the Michael Winterbottom directed effort has been condensed into a film offering for an international audience. With the movie starring comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalised versions of themselves, the artwork plays upon their distinct personalities, as well as their history as long-term collaborators. Depicting an unimpressed Coogan dining with a joyful Brydon, the imagery speaks in tandem with the apt tagline, which amusingly declares that the duo will “eat, drink and try not to kill each other”.