CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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Movie Posters

Movie Posters: LIFE DURING WARTIME (2010) and Other Films by Todd Solondz

by Christopher Beaubien • June 27, 2010 • Start the Discussion!

Todd Solondz is one the most distinct filmmakers we have working today. Like watching one minute of a random movie by either Neil Labute or David Fincher without warning, you know it is by Solondz when you see one of his. My high anticipation for his new film Life During Wartime (2010), which premiered last year at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festive), is matched by seeing what its movie poster will look like — and for good reason. Over Solondz’s career from Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996) to Palindromes (2004), the posters of his films have been consistently inspired and in tune with each other. Their designs and illustrations(!) convey the sweet and sour qualities of his controversial themes, which engage and then subvert our expectations.  Whether it is Solondz’s direct influence or just what each different advertising company happens to come up with when facing his material, the results in style are remarkably alike.

Illustrated movie posters have been a dying breed for the past quarter of a century. Most of Todd Solondz’s films have kept that art on the respirator starting with Daniel Clowes’ take on Happiness (1998) and then what Kathryn Rathke ran with in Palindromes (2004). Life During Wartime (2010) continues down that illustration path – it’s very appropriate since Life is the sequel to Solondz’s Happiness – but not before some photographed design comps were made. Before unveiling the illustrated version, I will take you through how it evolved starting with the international poster made for the film.

LIFE DURING WARTIME (2010) International Poster


Polish Movie Posters of “The Decalogue” (1988-90) and Other Films by Krzysztof Kieslowski

by Christopher Beaubien • February 14, 2010 • Start the Discussion!

“The Decalogue” (1988 – 1990)

Illustration (27.8” x 39.4”)
Krotki Film O Milosci
A Short Film About Love (1988)
Illustrator/Designer: Andrzej Pagowski


My Own Movie Poster Design of Werner Herzog’s BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL

by Christopher Beaubien • November 07, 2009 • Start the Discussion!

Two weeks ago, Chicago-based film reviewer codenamed Quint (real name: Jim Fyfe) from Ain’t It Cool News challenged graphic designers and film fanatics alike to participate in a contest: Make An Insane Movie Poster of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Quint being a great admirer of the new Werner Herzog film from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – not to mention Jaws (1975)! – has had mixed feelings toward what its distributors First Look Studios and Polsky Films have done in the way of movie posters. First, they made an edgy poster that the MPAA threw its gavel down hard on for showing its title character pointing a gun at someone. Harvey Keitel, the original 1992 Bad Lieutenant from the 1992 Abel Ferrara film, amongst thousands of other trigger-itchy characters can point their gun at us gazers, but according to the MPAA we can’t handle anyone inside the poster being promised some bullets. Finally, First Look settled on a poster that looks like your generic rogue cop-seeks-killer thriller complete with two famous giant heads suspended over a landscape of dread and action.

Just like these ones!


The Latest DARK KNIGHT Poster

by Christopher Beaubien • July 08, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


Only eleven more days left…

“Normal criminals usually have logical motives, but the Joker’s insane schemes make sense to him alone.”
—Batman in The Laughing Fish by Paul Dini.



The Joker was inspired by Gwynplaine, the title character with the deformed grin, in The Man Who Laughs, who was played by Conrad Veidt.

Smile everyone!

New Poster for Oliver Stone’s “W” (DUB-YA)

by Christopher Beaubien • June 05, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


The typographer in me is doing jumping-jacks over this Bell-font teaser poster for Oliver Stone’s W. I hope to see them lined up across the marquee walls soon. The Bushisms are also a great send up of the commander in thief.

Do you think this type of all-type movie advertisement sheet could set a trend for future movie posters? No pictures, but with more font-laced words dedicated to more than just the film’s title and a tag line.


You can download the font regularly used for movie poster credits here.

w_1Distributed by QED International and Lionsgate Films, Oliver Stone’s W. is starring Josh Brolin – George W. Bush (In the Valley of Elah, 2007), Elizabeth Banks – Laura Bush (Catch Me If You Can, 2002), James Cromwell – George H.W. Bush (The General’s Daughter, 1999), Ellen Burstyn – Barbara Bush (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974), Thandie Newton – Condoleezza Rice (Flirting, 1991), Jeffrey Wright – Colin Powell (Syriana, 2005), Scott Glenn – Donald Rumsfeld (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), Toby Jones – Karl Rove (Nightwatching, 2007) Ioan Gruffud – Tony Blair (Black Hawk Down, 2001), and Richard Dreyfuss – Dick Cheney (Jaws, 1975) will be released this October.