Archive for the ‘Movie Posters’ Category

The Gauntlet 1977

Let’s start off by agreeing that the poster above is probably the single best one of all time. That is a Frank Frazetta. This isn’t the kind of thing Frazetta usually painted, but as he described in the documentary PAINTING WITH FIRE, Clint came over to ask him personally to do it, so he did. It’s a fun part of the documentary because Frazetta was often told he resembled Clint.

Frazetta Self-Portrait

Frazetta Self-Portrait





I’m starting off my thoughts on THE GAUNTLET with its poster and poster artist because rarely has there ever been such a perfect match of promotional artwork to finished film. Frazetta’s paintings were bombastic, ferocious, horned-up, and hyper-masculine. He painted incredibly beautiful women, but at the same time I’m not sure how impressed the feminists would be.

Likewise, THE GAUNTLET features this kind of dialogue:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d have to give her a 2, and that’s only because I’ve never seen a 1 before.” — Ben Shockley (Clint Eastwood).

I mean, that’s a fun line to me, but I recognize it ain’t exactly courtly.

A large part of my writing about movies to date has featured a long-running battle between the brain and the crotchular vicinity, with the heart reffing the match. Intellectually I tend toward the feminism-friendly but instinctively I rage and I ogle as much as any man on the planet. Being thoughtful and being masculine often results in internal hormonal warfare. I love Clint’s movies for their violence and their brutishness as much as for their progressive thinking and genre-spanning restlessness. THE GAUNTLET is the Icarus of Clint’s movies, darting dangerously close to the burning sun that is the mass of critics who eternally underrate and undermine his work. I don’t think the wax exactly melts, but it’s a photo-finish. What helps is context.

THE GAUNTLET comes in a pivotal place in Clint’s career. It’s the first film he directed after his first masterpiece, 1976’s THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES. In 1976 he also starred in THE ENFORCER, which is the Dirty Harry movie which straight-on tackles the issue of feminism by assigning Callahan a female partner. His next film as director after THE GAUNTLET was 1980’s BRONCO BILLY, hands-down one of his most personal films. It’s interesting to note that THE GAUNTLET was not originally derived as a vehicle for Clint — both Walter Hill and Sam Peckinpah had wanted to make it with Kris Kristofferson, and according to Wikipedia, Steve McQueen had considered it at one point before dropping out over arguments with his female co-star, Barbra Streisand (!!!). The writers, Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack, later wrote 1985’s PALE RIDER, in which Clint starred, and also 1977’s supreme horror oddity THE CAR, apropos of nothing.

So THE GAUNTLET, while incredibly entertaining, is not particularly endemic of Clint’s work — it features very few of his thematic preoccupations, outside of systemic corruption and outsized masculinity. Clint plays an alcoholic detective — unlike Harry Callahan, not remotely an ace — who is charged with safeguarding a federal witness who turns out to have damning evidence about a major authority figure. It’s a set-up. He’s meant to be killed alongside her, and the movie becomes one long dash to the endzone, the titular gauntlet wherein Shockley commandeers a city bus to drive to the federal courthouse in Phoenix despite the fact that the entire police force is bearing down on him with a literal blizzard of bullets. That painting Frazetta did? Not much of an exaggeration.

The most obvious Clint-ism about THE GAUNTLET is that this movie happened during the Sondra Locke era, so she’s the actress who plays the witness. With respect, I’m not the biggest Sondra Locke fan. She seems kind of brittle to me. The combative banter between their two characters is usually entertaining as written, but comes off a little harsh, with the visual disparity between them. With any other female lead, the constant hectoring may have been more charming. There are other Eastwood stock players in the mix, including Pat Hingle (HANG ‘EM HIGH, SUDDEN IMPACT), William Prince (BRONCO BILLY), and the great Bill McKinney (THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES), but the co-stars who leave the biggest impression remain Sondra Locke and that bus.

Really, the final gauntlet scene is what makes this essential viewing. The constant barrage of gunfire is so outlandish that it goes beyond comical to harrowing and then back again. It’s a predictor of the next three decades of American action movies, right up to the present. At the time, it could have been Clint’s way of sending up his own gun-happy image — it certainly works as satire, but so too does it work as a viscerally-pleasing massacre of public property. (The human body count is not particularly high in this film, compared to other Clint actioners.)

Whether there’s much going on beyond the surface of this particular film or not, there are few things as ingratiating and as enjoyably American as Clint in his 1970s primacy, and if THE GAUNTLET isn’t one of his most essential films by a long shot, it’s still pretty damn fun.


The Gauntlet (1977)



This beautiful portrait was taken by @SethKushner.

Hollywood legend Ernest Borgnine passed away Sunday, July 8th, 2012.  He was 95, which is not young.  But anyone who suggests that his age makes the loss much easier would be mistaken.  There are people who are irreplaceable, and this was most certainly one.  Ernest Borgnine, or Ernie to his fans, had more than sixty years in the movie business — just think of how many stories he must have had left to relay.  Though he gave plenty of great interviews over the years, that probably was only a fraction.  With Ernest Borgnine goes a unique and eternally ingratiating talent, and a pivotal bridge that spans Old Hollywood, New Hollywood, and the modern age we’re currently living in.  For this post I’ve collected a ton of pictures and posters of the many movies I’ve seen Ernest Borgnine in.  I will touch on most of these movies (and maybe more) in the longer appreciative piece I am working on, but in the meantime, please enjoy these movie memories of a true original.

Check out this great interview also.

Find Ernie in the southwestern hemisphere.


While I was compiling my most recent Unfortunate Movie Posters column, I spotted something intriguingly weird.  Let’s take a look at the posters for a movie called Inseparable.  This movie was made in China and released there on May 4th.  There is as yet no American release date.  That’s not the odd part.

Okay, so it’s a superhero movie — apparently a lighthearted one at that.  Aside from the cameo from the fish from the Faith No More “Epic” video, there’s nothing particularly unusual about a comical costumed-hero movie from the Asian film industry. 

It happens.

But not usually like this.  Watch as this guy is joined by a partner-in-crimefighting…   

Does the profile of the caped gentleman on the left look familiar?  Squint. 

Still hard to tell?  Here, let’s open it up…

Well there’s the name and a closer look, but can we get a picture without the mask?

BAM!  Kevin Spacey!

Wait — what?

That is indeed esteemed actor Kevin Spacey, American star of  movies as uniquely American as The Ref, Seven, The Usual Suspects, L.A. Confidential, American Beauty, Horrible Bosses, Casino Jack, and Margin Call, and he is indeed up there wearing a cape in a Chinese-only movie. 

And he will be joined by Peter Stormare, man of a thousand accents.  You know Peter Stormare from his villainous roles in movies such as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Constantine, and Lockout, and I can pretty much guarantee you sight-unseen that he plays a villain here too.

What else do we know about the story of Inseparable?  Well, according to the internet, the official site is coming soon, but the placeholder does offer us this image:

So it looks like Kevin Spacey makes some friends while he’s over there!

And, instead of having to battle one, he gets the chance to be a superhero:

This article at The Playlist sheds a little more light, explaining that Inseparable is about a suicidal young businessman who is saved and befriended by a mysterious American (who favors 1980s LL Cool J tracksuits) — they find purpose in life by making costumes and heading out to the streets together to fight crime.  The girl pictured above, it turns out, is the young man’s wife, a reporter who apparently gets her own costume eventually.  The Playlist links to another article that explains how the film was financed and made in China but shot partly in English, which is slightly reminiscent of how most of the “spaghetti” Westerns of the 1960s and 1970s were produced.    

I think it’s great, by the way.  I’m all for it.

It’s now a  badly-kept secret that American movie stars often collect major paychecks for appearing in commercials in the Asian marketplace, far away from the judgment of American audiences.  (It’s famously a running joke in Lost In Translation.)  That’s not what this is.  At a reported budget of $4-6 million, this is a relatively modest production, but it’s a notable development.  The foreign market is exceedingly and ever-increasingly important to Hollywood.  Have you noticed that the huge Hollywood summer movies have been premiering overseas even before we get them here?  The Avengers is a colossal hit here in America, but would you believe that the rest of the world actually got to see it a week before we did?!?  It’s a noticeable development.

We can interpret this mounting trend in two different ways.   One, it’s an alarming portent of how Hollywood, in a pursuit of foreign audiences (and revenue) will continue to forgo character and nuance for spectacle and costumes, since action scenes, giant robots, and explosions are always the easiest story elements to translate. 

All that’s true, but I prefer the more optimistic interpretation, which is that dropping American stars into Chinese films (to take the example on the table) is a fun and fresh way to create a multicultural mash-up.  We’ve already seen Kevin Spacey interact onscreen with just about every name actor we could possibly think of — maybe pairing up such a recognizable and reliable talent with some foreign faces will produce some refreshing results.

At the very least, maybe all this multinational branding experimentation will one day bring us an actually awesome new Godzilla movie.

More mysteries of life solved daily on Twitter: @jonnyabomb

Due to some major real-world complications I couldn’t get this column (or much else) together in April, but that’s the bad news.  The good news is that, as always, I’ve been steadily amassing grist for the mill, which means I now have twice as many dumb posters as usual to share with you this time.

If you’re new to this feature, the game is simple.  It’s just me riffing off movie posters.  If anything bothers you, try to relax.  It’s all in fun.  There’s no real malice intended (except for a couple cases, but they’re asking for it.)

This is done out of my love of movies and movie artwork.  No other reason.  Oh, and to entertain you, the reader, but that ought to go without saying.

Let’s see what kind of trouble I can get up to this time…


It was a dark day for humanity, when the giant floating celebrity heads appeared off the Malibu coast.


“Danny got some bad ass, and now he’ll not stop until he gets a better piece.”

The poster is great. That’s not what I’m saying.  All I’m saying is this:  Our national usage of the word “ass” — sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing, sometimes it’s so bad it’s good, sometimes it’s good and bad at once — is confusing sometimes.


Danny Trejo is usually well-served by posters.  But some stars aren’t as fortunate (or as intimidating).  Poor Jason Ritter, for example, has a knack for getting stuck on the most eye-wrecking posters.  This month it happens to be this one…

…But you might remember this one from back in March.

It’s officially a trend.  Sorry, Jason Ritter.


I like the girl on her cell phone, like “I think that lady next to me was in Borat!”

More than that, I like the kid’s shrugging-it-off expression in the foreground, that typical pose you see on posters for comedies that aren’t all that funny: “You got me!  I’m on a poster for a weed movie wearing a weed T-shirt.  What can I say?  Shit’s crazy, right?”

I also wish Faizon Love was on the Piranha 3DD poster (see below) rather than this one.


For a dose of class and sophistication, you can always rely on monster-talent Oren Peli.  When dealing cinematically with the matter of a historic nuclear tragedy that afflicted thousands with cancer and death, the artistic mastermind to turn to is definitely the one who made Paranormal Activity so he can turn the whole scene into the setting for another one of his poorly-shot found-footage movies where absolutely nothing happens.  Coming in 2013: The Dachau Notebooks.

Where’s my damn sarcasm hashtag when I need it?


This poster only officially qualifies as unfortunate when you realize how long and how hard they’ve been working on it.

(A veteran of this column, Cold Light Of Day has also appeared in the February installment.)


“Dreams Come True”?  I’ll say!  You know how long I’ve been hoping and praying for a James Cromwell Western?


Here Simon Pegg experiments with the boundaries of how far his devoted nerdy fanbase will follow him.


First Position: Ballet in the middle of a city street in the blinding sun.

Second Position:  [SPLAT.]


No snark or criticisms.  This poster is good for the world.  Put it up everywhere.


Do not promise me something you are not willing to provide.  I’m expecting robots and you’re giving me romantic comedy?  Don’t say the word Godzilla and give me nothing more than Kate Hudson.  It’s a dangerous game you play.


“Huh. Wouldja look at that? Somebody set The Rock’s pants on fire. The Rock can smell what The Rock is cooking.  It smells like burnt pubes.  The Rock want retaliation!”


Orlando Bloom is your Elijah Wood now.


I must be way out of step with the zeitgeist, because America seems to love movies about Meryl Streep’s sex life and I… do not count that among my interests.

Which is the more bizarre love triangle: Meryl Streep/ Alec Baldwin/ Steve Martin, or Meryl Streep/ Tommy Lee Jones/ Steve Carell?

You guys come up with an answer, I’ll be over here with my head in a garbage can.


Knowing what I know about this movie, in that it’s a “romantic comedy” about the invention of the vibrator, I now shudder to think about what’s going on with Lady Bracknell there on the bottom area.


As someone who appreciates the music of Hank Williams, I’ve got no problem with the premise, the title, or even the poster.  I’ve only got to take issue with the names on the poster.  Henry Thomas (ET and Gangs Of New York), Jesse James (not the one you may be thinking of), Fred Dalton Thompson of politics and Die Hard 2, and Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory:  None of these strike me as ideal casting for the country-music legend.


A sad day for the great Eugene Levy, a glad one for his accountant.


Well, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this movie before, but now I am totally absolutely sure.


They remade Armageddon using nerds.


We’re going to have to push past the weirdo-tandem of Udo Kier and Norman Reedus in the bottom squares, and to especially push past the guy in the upper left square (kind of a Cameron-Diaz-meets-Sonny-Landham type), in order to talk about the fact that David Carradine is still appearing in new movies despite his death in 2009.  David Carradine is like the Tupac of movies.  Although Tupac was in movies, so maybe we should consider Tupac to be the David Carradine of rap.


Look beyond all those colors and check out the cast list:   Toni Braxton, Chloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, AND Jaime Pressly.  Those are six people who wouldn’t make sense living in the same zip code, let alone being grouped together in one movie.  That’s one thing that makes me want to see this, and the other thing is the fact that it’s a horror movie.


In a foot race?  Just because I don’t know the other two and I don’t think Bob Hoskins is as quick as he used to be, I’m betting on the horse.


Good news, movies:  The new Mena Suvari you didn’t order has arrived.


Yes.  You’re Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pine.  You’re extremely talented and attractive.  People like you.  I like you.  Just try not to rub it in, okay?


It must be nice, to live without shame.


There are many people out there who believe in exorcisms, so I don’t want to step on any theological toes.  Still, science would suggest that no exorcism has ever begun or ended with a ghost hand reaching out of a person’s stomach and grabbing their face.  A couple cases of tapeworm ended that way, maybe, but that’s it.  (Has there ever been a tapeworm-exorcism movie?  Shouldn’t there be one?)

Alternate observation:  Ever notice how the more “serious” exorcism movies rely on gross-out imagery which wouldn’t be out of place in an Evil Dead movie?


As atrocious as this may look, keep in mind:  Bon Jovi think they’re too good for this.


Neat idea:  A political dance movie.  Imagine how many more hearts the Occupy Wall Street movie could turn if the protestors were to bust out some sexy club dancing in the streets.  Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo had its political overtones, but its scope was limited.  Turbo and Ozone were only concerned with saving Miracles.  Step Up Revolution is looking to save the world!


There’s an inevitability to this poster.  I’m not sure I can explain it.  It has something to do with the pairing of mainstream comedian and indie sweetheart in an artier movie than usually — it’s not far from Adam Sandler & Emily Watson or Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet to get to Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams.  It also has something to do with the young-people-sitting-on-the-front-stoop-surrounded by autumnal-colors movement in romantic-comedy poster design.  What is more promising about this poster campaign is A) “written & directed by Sarah Polley” who is smart and talented and B) the second poster.

More indie-movie posters should be interrupted by Sarah Silverman.  There aren’t many that couldn’t be improved that way.


Hey, forty doesn’t seem so bad if you appear younger than ever and are allowed to actively shit while appearing on a movie poster.  The only thing that should bother anybody is the blatant product placement (“Honey, when you’re done brushing your teeth and I’m done dropping this hedgehog, do you want to stop by the Genius bar for an upgrade?”)


You’re right, the poster isn’t particularly laughable.

But the teaser trailer is.


I actually got a screening invite to this movie.  Should I go?


Either the worst or the best sequel to The Crow.


I don’t particularly want to travel to Rome with any of these people.  You guys have fun on your trip.  (I like the idea of a road movie where Benigni torments Woody Allen, but you know this is going to be just another thing full of pretentious literary references and old guys hooking up with young women.  Don’t ask me why I’m not a big Woody Allen fan.)


A lifeless young woman being abducted?  Charming.

You think I’m being sarcastic?  Then you just don’t know how many times I’ve seen a little movie called Mannequin, my friend.


If you’re an easily-spooked Shia-Labeouf-looking guy, the last thing you want to have on the other side of your apartment door is an armed Dolph Lundgren.

Trust me, I should know.


That’s my cue to get going.  Have a great month, everybody!


Find me on Twitter: @jonnyabomb

And now it’s time again for that time, again.  Or something.

This is the part where I ponder the no-doubt-expensive advertising campaigns of major motion pictures, mercilessly critiquing them from my cozy perch in my twenty-acre mansion.  Or my mom’s basement.  Or wherever you’d prefer to imagine I do these pieces.

Movie posters can be an art unto themselves, but so often they end up being the opposite.  Things can go wrong for all sorts of reasons.  Some posters have great designs, but are undone by ridiculous taglines. Some are shameless imitations of other, better work. Some are good posters advertising shitty product, like using The Lorax to shill for SUVs. Some are shitty posters advertising a good product. And some are just Photoshop nightmares.  It’s like this every month, but this batch today was culled from the month of March.  When it comes to unfortunate movie posters, March comes in like a lion and goes out like poo-poo from a lion’s behind.  I don’t know what that means but it made me laugh so I’m leaving it in.

Check out the most recent columns from January and February to get caught up, or just read on….


I’ve only seen this guy in good movies.  Her, I’ve only seen in bad ones.*  When their careers collide, whose track record will win out?  Before you answer, let me also inform you that Whoopi Goldberg is in this movie playing a character named “God” and I do not believe that to be a reference to the Charlie Sheen film Navy SEALS.

* I know you guys are going to bring up Almost Famous but A) That was a decade ago, and what has she done for us lately? and B) Not a whole lot of rewatchability there.  If you can hear those hippies coo “It’s all happening” another hundred times and still not want to stomp on an adorable woodland creature just to make a point, you’re doing better at coping with life than I am.


This is either an advertisement for the worst David Cronenberg movie of all time, or the greatest Olsen Twins movie of all time.


“The first real ghost story” looks a whole lot like seven thousand other ghost stories we’ve seen in the past year or so.



My Week With Marilyn.

Lindsay Lohan’s Playboy cover.

NBC’s Smash.

This song by Nicki Minaj.

This Twitter account.

The poster above.

And so on.

Can we take a break from the Marilyn Monroe thing for a while, or what?

You’d think motherfuckers never heard of Raquel Welch.

Ahhh…  That’s more like it.


If you don’t want people to come see your movie, you may just as well skip paying for a poster entirely.  You don’t have to go to the trouble of painting a gigantic diseased-looking penis-looking thing on it.  That’s just nasty, dude.

Anybody else ever experience déjà vu?


Anybody else ever experience déjà vu?


Anybody else ever experience déjà vu?


Because if there’s one things Germans know best, it’s “feel-better” comedies.

Also notice how the Golden Globes imprimatur is considered such a drawing point over there.


Looks like somebody dosed Chris Ware with something awful and he is just screaming out for help.


And after the psychedelic trip there follows the come-down, and the vomitus.


Aw man, they cracked open the time capsule from 1995 a little too early.


My only concern with this poster is if you asked a dumb person to pronounce that title, it would sound very racist.


Looks like the poster for a Wes Anderson movie.

You mean it is one?

You don’t fucking say.  I’ve long been a fan, but these things are getting progressively cutesier.  My man’s movies are slowly and literally morphing into Rupert comic strips, and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on.


Stupid-Person Focus Group: The Movie.  But maybe this film can emphasize that Transformers connection a little stronger and transform into something I’d rather see, like a grizzly bear slamming Michael Bay and Peter Berg’s heads together.


Cool poster, if this is the dude’s face mid-face-smash by an undisclosed assailant.  Less cool if he’s just got a jacked-up arm and is just awkwardly pushing his own face.  (It’s fun if you imagine a mime re-enacting a Three Stooges routine.)


Look out, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Richard Dawkins!  Seth McFarlane continues to do his part to add substance to the national conversation.

I heard when Seth McFarlane finally runs out of 1980s TV shows to reference, then and only then will he finally take leave of our planet and ascend to the heavens.  With this poster, we’ve covered Teddy Ruxpin.  We’re just a Small Wonder and a Rubik’s Cube away from Rapture!


When did Adam Sandler decide to turn on humanity with this level of viciousness?  Seriously, what did I specifically ever do to this guy to deserve what he does?


Only the second Waiting For Godot reference of the column.

I like to think of Meeting Evil as the first.


Oooooof.  Shades of Salvation Boulevard.  This is not even acceptable as a first draft.


Cusack is veering dangerously towards Cage territory with this one.  That’s all I’m saying.  Not saying it’s a bad thing either.  Only that it IS a thing.


Exhibit A: Side-by-side contrast of posters for The Raven and Seeking Justice.

Exhibit B: Is not needed.


Guess they’re banking heavily on the fact that we won’t remember another movie called The Road from three years ago.  You know, the one based on a book that was on Oprah’s book list and EVERYBODY HAS READ.


I’ve seen more damn trailers for this re-release than for any new movie in the past five years.  Fuck it, man.  You know how she’s always saying in those trailers, “I’lll never let go?”  Spoiler: She lets go.  Saved you the trouble of paying to see this thing.  I’m not going through the pain of seing Leo turn into an icicle again, I don’t care how deep into the sea James Cameron goes.


Which one’s Tilda Swinton?


This one bothers me so much for so many reasons, it’s hard to even joke about.  I feel like wanting to see a movie like this or not is a good barometer of what kind of asshole one probably is.  I like to think I’m the right kind of asshole.


Is this a Creed album cover?  Look at that silly, silly face.  This is not a person whose wrath I’d like to feel.  Sofia Vergara’s wrath, maybe.


OK that’s it for now.  I need a nap.


Find me on Twitter: @jonnyabomb

We only get a February 29th once every four years, but we get a ton of movie posters every single month.  Hope everyone had a fine Leap Day yesterday.  Mine was great, because I had a whole extra day to collect all the questionable movie posters I’m about to share with you.  Decided to go with a Van Halen theme for this month’s column, mainly because they’re playing the Garden this week, and also due to the very tenuous Leap Day/”Jump” connection.  And as long as we’re mixing movie talk with Van Halen, I might as well say that there’s always been something Raimi-esque about the Van Halen brothers to me.

Let’s do a quick little This Person Looks Like That Person to see if that statement has any merit.


Whaddya say?

Anyway, whether we can all agree on that or not, hopefully we can all share a chuckle over the misguided attempts of studio marketing departments to sell their product.  So sit back, relax, cue up this well-known tune, and let the madness begin.

Disclaimer:  This column is all in fun and is generally not meant to reflect on the quality of the films themselves.  Generally.


If “He only has 1000 words left to discover what matters most”, then why is he spending them on Clark Duke (upper left corner)?  I mean really.  Sweet Kerry Washington and the great Ruby Dee are in your life, and you’re starting with Clark Duke.  John Witherspoon has apparently gone blind, but Clark Duke is the first stop on your karma tour.  I get why you’re not beginning with Cliff Curtis in his underpants, but seriously Ed, get some priorities.


This movie features real-life Navy SEALS and as a result I will not be making fun of it one bit.  You go right ahead if you want to.  Not me!


There are three things about this poster I need to call your attention to:

1)  While an airplane shoots up Manhattan landmarks behind them, the Avengers are coolly striking poses.

2)  Sam Jackson is apparently doing the Dougie back there.

3)  Thor continues to resemble Chelsea Handler.

You tell me: Am I wrong?

Everybody knows what “kitsch” is, right?  Basically it’s a phenomenally appropriate word to describe a pandering jingo-istic Transformers-inspired (!) four-quadrant movie appropriating the name of a board game with nothing to do with Transformers upon which was spent the gross national product of an actual country.  “Kitsch.”  That’s so on the nose, from where I’m standing I can see boogers.


Now that we’ve squeezed as much out of teenage girls as we’re ever likely to get, can we get a Twilight aimed at older broads?  We’ll keep the pasty pouty dude and his smoldering glance from the Twilight posters, but let’s have him bewitch a thirty-something, a forty-something, and a fifty-something instead of that pasty pouty twenty-something.  Sound good? 


And now it’s time for an audience participation segment.  Help me out here…

Which is the more punchable face?  You have thirty seconds to decide.  Go!


The great Sigourney Weaver, heroically sacrificing coolness points in order to demonstrate for all poster designers of the future why YOU NEVER SHOW AN ACTOR WALKING IN MID-STRIDE.   Compare this to the badassness of the guys on the Act Of Valor poster, boots rooted to the ground in action poses that warn all comers that they’re unable to be knocked over easily… (Yup, still trying to get on those dudes’ good side.)


But… that’s kind of exactly all it takes to make a baby…


Bad news kids, if you were trying to show us your best “crazy eyes” face, you missed the mark.  But chin up: Lukas Haas, you have been selected as a front-runner in the competition for America’s Saddest Facial Hair.


Can’t shake the feeling there’s some kind of sexual innuendo going on in the Bermuda Triangle area there.


So on one thumb he’s got this blond bombshell and on the other he’s got the super-cool actress from Trainspotting and Boardwalk Empire.  What exactly is this motherfucker’s problem?

P.S.  Rhetorical; not asking because this image in any way inspires me to find out.


This poster is a case where the tagline is so distracting I can’t even judge the artwork.  The movie is called Delicacy and the tagline goes, “A new romantic comedy about Love, Fate, and other Delicacies.”  That’s like saying “Inception: An action movie about Dreams, Memory, and other Inceptions.”  Or “Drive: A badass art film about Violence, Loyalty, and other Drives.”  Or “The Big Lebowski: A comedy about Jeff, Jeffrey, and other Lebowskis.” 

Incidentally, have you ever read my review of Amelie?  It’s short so I’ll reprint it here in its entirety:

“It’s got whimsy coming out the ass. B/B+


While I’m inclined to make as much fun of this particular movie as possible, I’m normally loath to mock an entire language.  But I just can’t help myself — “Extreem luid en ongelooflijk dichtbij”?  Did the Swedish Chef take a white-out pen to this poster or what? 

And it’s in BIOSCOOP!


I’m the one with the dirty mind; that I’ll grant you.  But still, there’s something vaguely sexual about that tombstone, in a specifically H.R. Giger kind of way.


Every single piece of press for this movie relentlessly mentions how all these stars are friends behind the scenes, which is nice to know, but it also becomes ironic when you consider that no two of them sat in the same room together for this utter symphony of Photoshop.


Pardon me, but did you just put a steampunk sex-toy on your poster and entirely neglect to explain it?


Awesome, a spiritual descendant of Sucker Punch, The Spirit, and Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow. Just what everyone always wanted.

However, I’ll award them points for the following:

A) TV’s Blossom in the role of Sarah Palin;

B) Udo Kier; and

C) Someone on the crew is named Bliss McGillicuddy.


All this does is remind me that since I’ve already seen that Gears Of War commercial, there’s not a great reason to see this movie.


Every single time I look at this poster, the beginning of “Your Song” by Elton John starts playing in my head.  “It’s a little bit zombie… this feeling inside…”  First sign of insanity?  Naw. We passed by that sign years ago. 


Margin Call was one of the smartest, most-overlooked movies of 2011.  How can we get more people to check it out?  Maybe release a poster that makes it look like a cruddy mid-to-late-90s Steven Seagal thriller, right down to the tagline.  Sure that’s everything it isn’t, but hell, whatever gets butts in seats.


You always knew it could potentially happen one day: Welcome to Nathan Lane’s Dame Edna period. 


Real human beings with feelings and memories are still starving to death on American streets every day.  It’s a good thing to keep in mind while raising the bare minimum of a million dollars it takes to make a feature film.  If you really think the good can do with your movie, the happiness you can bring to the world with it, is the equivalent to clothing and feeding those who need the charity, well then go ahead.  Otherwise, you know, make something called Osombie, I guess.  Good luck explaining that one on Sunday.


This is as French as fuck.  You people brought this on yourselves, by making such a big deal over The Artist.


Anybody else getting a Huey Lewis & The News vibe all of the sudden?


It’s one thing to make a useless sequel.  It’s another thing to make a sequel to a useless poster.

Remember kids, Battle: Los Angeles is not a thing to emulate.


Oh hey, remember how good District 9 was?

Anybody interested in a re-envisioning not of that movie, but of the poster to District 9?

Don’t mind me, I’m just some dude messing around on the internet.  Pretend I’m not here.


Far be it from me to expect any common sense or obedience to the laws of physics from a Piranha poster, but this one bugs me out for a few different reasons:

A)  Unless the girl is looking straight down at the water, which we can fairly assume she isn’t (because where would the camera be), then there’s no way she could have all those fish reflected in the lenses of her sunglasses.  I may be the only person who vocalizes these things, but I think anyone notices screwy perspective, at least subconsciously.

B)  One of the lenses is cracked. But why?  Is it an involuntary physical response to the vision of oncoming destruction, as was the tear shed by Grima Wormtongue in The Two Towers when he witnessed the armies of Saruman? 

C)  This poster needs more tits.  I suggest this not because I am a pig, but because if you call a movie Piranha 3DD and promise “Double The Ds”, then you might as well go ahead and use it as a selling point.  When you’re Larry The Cable Guy, you can’t just mention Wal-Mart and drop it, you have to go all the way and talk about your grandma getting her hair done there, or else your target audience won’t get the joke.


Guess I’m missing the point if I suggest that the Starlet in question is an actress no one’s ever heard of ever.


Chris Rock looks more startled to be on this poster than I am to see him on it.


I like this one because the kid is farting out his dream of a party.


And with that parting fart joke, I will take my leave of this column for now.  See y’all in the spring!


Lest anyone think that we’re in the clear in 2012 and all the movie posters everywhere would be excellent from now on, this column continues to exist to bring your hopes down to earth, while also bringing you back up with the strength of laughter.  Forgot how this works?  Here’s how we did it at the end of 2011

Now take my hand and let’s descend together into the dark underworld of disastrous film art…

Wow.  Okay.  Somehow that got through, huh?  So:  In case you want to avoid that awkward conversation with your parents, what that tagline means is that these two guys are huge nerds and so at no point during this motion picture will you see them receive blow jobs.  Unless they decide to give EACH OTHER blow jobs, but that would be crazy and unnatural even though no doubt this movie could have many hilarious jokes to that effect.

28 Hotel Rooms Later… The inevitable story of sex zombies. 

This poster indicates that this movie actually exists, which I am continuing to have a difficult time believing.  Help me out if you’ve read the book:  Do they address the vampire slavery issue?

“Still, he makes movies… with terrible titles… about which literally no one gives a shit…”

All three lead actors’ names on this poster are completely mixed up, and all three of these people are EXTREMELY unhappy about it.

High Concept:  What if they remade Buried almost immediately, with an actor you like about a tenth as much as you like Ryan Reynolds?  It can’t lose!

Cate Blanchett looks unwell.

An awesome premise would be that it’s the end of the world, after the nuclear apocalypse, it’s Las Vegas, and all the Elvis impersonators are dead except for one (played by George Wendt, as seems to be the case on this poster).  Like Denzel bearing the holy bible in The Book Of Eli, this man is the last to bear the holy word of Elvis Presley, i.e. the lyrics to “Suspicious Minds.”  And then he goes to Frogtown

Be honest, wouldn’t you rather watch my movie?

Listen, I just have a dirty mind.

“Justice has a price.  And he is seeking it.  The price, not the justice.  He’s seeking the price of justice.  You know, to ask around before he commits to buying.  He’s headed to the flea market… of justice!” 

Maybe it’s just me, but the indecision of this movie and its many titles is vaguely humorous.  It started out as The Hungry Rabbit Jumps.  Then it was Justice.  Now it’s become Seeking Justice.  That’s so much less definitive. It’s kind of a pussy move for an action movie to add that gerund.  It’s like the Finding Forrester of badass revenge flicks.

Finally, a poster for this movie that’s as unappealing to me as the movie itself is.  Too many of the posters for The Iron Lady look like too much fun.  Like this:

I bet I know what she’s thinking.  How randy!

The monster on the right looks like a butt.  So my ticket’s already bought and paid for.

I also love the tagline, “Dos Mundos, Un Heroe.”  I just know they did that to appeal to the same audience who for so many years loved the wildly popular series of telenovelas, “Dos Mujeres, Un Camino.”

Attn: Marketing Dept.

Loved the John Carter poster for the Latin market!  But can we see some mock-ups to send further east?

Thanks in advance,


P.S.  Same request for Man On A Ledge

I don’t mean to say that all it takes to make a Korean poster for an American film is to load it up with extra writing and throw a random hologram on a skyscraper, but well, I guess maybe subconsciously I do mean to say it.

This is depressing for much deeper reasons than what is certainly one of the most abysmal movie titles we’ll see in all of 2012.  This is actually a dispiriting Hollywood trend captured in a single image:  At 20-something, you’re America’s sweetheart, everybody loving your smile and your laugh.  At 30-something, you do your prestige run so people give you credit for being a serious actress.  At 40-something, you’re stuck playing the wicked witch.   What’s truly creepy is how it can accelerate:  You don’t even have to crack forty anymore to play the evil queen to the lovely young ingenue.

Marilyn Monroe: From American icon to J-pop sensation — all it takes is just a re-tinted color scheme.

Public Service Announcement:  Stay away, probably.

It’s easy to pull the hot Nicole Kidman older lady who lives down the street: All you need is a pink Cadillac with a painting of John Cusack on the side.

Price check?  That’ll be $3.99 in the Wal-Mart bargain bin.

(No, I don’t sleep well. Why do you ask?)

The more I learn about this movie, the more I’m leaning towards despising it.  Does that make me “old”?

Congratulations to Todd Phillips, though — after this poster he’s sure to make PETA’s must-watch list.

Personally, I’d play down the whole Cuba Gooding Jr. aspect.  Last time he was in a World War 2 movie, it was Pearl Harbor.  

Jason Statham makes a severely lousy Julianne Moore.

The Sith announce their most perverted threat to date.

There’s a shit-ton going on in that lava lamp.

I don’t know what this movie is about yet, but I have to believe there’s another way to sell it.

Like this, for example:  This poster is a great way to get me intrigued about a movie which I probably don’t want to see.

I saw the trailer for this movie the other day.  It’s about all these old British people who take a trip to India and start hooking up with each other.  Basically, it’s the imperialist version of Cocoon.  The kid from Slumdog Millionaire plays the Steve Guttenberg role.  Either way, you’re gonna get jokes about limp boners.  Choose the form of the destructor.  Choose, and perish.

Looks like they shot this poster with the same 45-degree-angle camera they shot half of Thor with. 

So psyched they finally made a new Matrix movie.

When certain movies are received less than warmly in the United States, they often change their titles and escape to another country.  In some countries, We Bought A Zoo goes by the name A Place To Dream.  If you happen to encounter it, do not be a hero.  Back away and alert the local authorities at the soonest opportunity.


Am I seeing double?  Uh, I mean — am I seeing quadruple?


And now, as a grand finale of atrociousness, let’s meet the five-headed dark prince of this horrific netherworld, and by that I mean the new posters for some movie I hope to never be dragged to see (probably will be) called What To Expect When You’re Expecting.  [SHUDDER.]

Good luck with that, Jenny.  There’s at least a 50% chance your baby will look like THIS!


Apologies for this column are filedonce a month, on the morning after it’s posted.