Before the trailer shows off exciting new footage, the poster arrives to give audiences a first taste of a movie’s overall vibe and direction. In an age of increasingly boring and monotonous one-sheets, these are the 20 posters that dared to be different this year.
IndieWire has already gone on record calling Sophia Takal’s identity thriller “Always Shine” one of the year’s great indie discoveries, and this debut poster effectively sells the mania at the film’s heart.
Starring Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald as actresses whose friendship unravels during a weekend vacation in Big Sur, “Always Shine” rips open the bitter jealousy that boils underneath the surface of friends-turned-rivals.
The grisly edge of Jeremy Saulnier’s survival thriller “Green Room” is on full display in this warped poster from distributor A24. Something about that giant machete sends off a serious warning sign to the viewer that this movie is not for the faint of heart.
Elegant. Bold. Classic. There was no way Fox Searchlight wasn’t going to sell “Jackie” by capturing the look and feel of its subject in the marketing, and they managed to do just that with this stately one-sheet. Portman looks like real political royalty here.
It’s a shame John Carney’s musical coming-of-age tale “Sing Street” didn’t catch on with more audiences. One of the year’s most infectious indies, this rock n’ roll love story gets the perfect poster to capture its loud beating heart.
Anna Biller’s “The Love Witch” looks like it stepped out of the Technicolor glory days of the 1960s, and that old fashioned feel applies to the poster as well. With its hand-drawn style and typography, the poster oozes nostalgia in every corner. And then there are those bloody hands…
It’s hard to describe the naturalism that is often front and center in Kelly Reichardt movies, which is why this poster for “Certain Women” is such a winner. With its soft palette and pencil sketched characters, the one-sheet finds a way to capture the simple beauty of Reichardt’s sensibilities.
It’s great to see Trey Edward Shults’ fantastic debut “Krisha” turning up on critics group year-end lists. The film was one of the year’s most extreme psychological studies, and this blood-red ink blot poster boldly captures the dissection of its main character.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” remains one of the year’s most original visions, and that holds true for the series of posters that featured its main characters hugging thin air. For a dark satire all about our desires and failures to connect with the ones we love, this image provided the perfect (and depressing) sensation of being alone despite our aching need for connection. We’ll just go grab a Kleenex now.
Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood Of A Leader” was one of the most assured debuts of the year, though chances are high that you might have missed it in theaters. The story of a young boy who develops a terrifying ego following the creation of the Treaty of Versailles, the film plays like “The Omen” directed by Michael Haneke or Lars von Trier.
Antonio Campos and Rebecca Hall’s dark character study follows Christine Chubbuck during the final days before her suicide on national television. If you know the true story, then the poster is a provocative image for Chubbuck’s isolated depression, heightened by her dissatisfaction for her network’s push towards sensationalized news.
Of course the best movie of the year had one of the best posters. What becomes increasingly clear from this poster is just how amazing the film was cast. The three actors — Alex Hibbert, Ashton Summers and Trevante Rhodes — are blended into one face here, and yet their eyes share the same piercing intimacy. The poster makes you realize the power of “Moonlight” is all in the eyes.
Werner Herzog may have missed out on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary, but at least his internet documentary reigns supreme when it comes to movie posters. The image pretty much says it all, proving we’ve lost our minds in the convoluted web of the internet. The sad part is many of us probably feel like the person in the image, and that’s what makes this poster so affecting.
Andrew Neel’s fraternity psychodrama “Goat” takes aim at masculinity like few films ever dare to do, which is part of what makes this poster so spot on. The bullseye imagery suggests “Goat” has a mission to strike the core of frat life and dismantle it, and the film achieves this and then some.
Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire” doesn’t open in theaters until March 2017, but this poster is pretty much the perfect tease for what is a new shoot-em’-up classic. For a movie that features one of the best shootouts in cinema history, this poster couldn’t be more perfect.
Park Chan-wook’s deliriously entertaining “The Handmaiden” is a movie built on secrets. When each one is revealed, the story makes you rethink everything you’ve seen. This gorgeous one-sheet takes that incentive to heart, packing in tiny little details that tease some of it’s most scandalous twists. Pay attention closely.
Putting the controversy aside for just a moment, it’s hard to make a list of best posters of 2016 and not include this searing teaser poster for Nate Parker’s “The Birth Of A Nation.” It’s a bold image and powerful metaphor for the blood on which this country is built on. Few posters are ever this impassioned or daring.
It was a great year for Ben Wheatley movie posters. This slick one-sheet for the bonkers “High-Rise” includes the reflection of a man jumping off a building, and it’s the playful way the poster is designed that teases all the wild, fun madness this movie has in store.
Sometimes keeping it simple pays off, and that’s certainly the case with the poster for “Tickled.” The bizarre documentary explores the world of “competitive endurance tickling,” which sounds creepy and funny until it becomes creepy and downright terrifying. This simple poster makes you connect the dots between the feather and the title, and that’s when you realize things are about to get very, very weird.
Teasing plot details can be a tricky task for a poster to accomplish, which is why this “Operation Avalanche” one-sheet is so great. Matt Johnson’s film plays with found footage and conspiracy thriller genres, telling the story of two CIA agents who infiltrate NASA and get caught up in the mission to fake the Moon landing. The poster is the perfect tease for a movie searching for the truth.
Just as Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was world premiering at Venice and jumpstarting its road to the Oscars, Summit dropped this amazing teaser poster that hinted at the magic in store. It feels almost as if Otto Preminger designed a cover of a jazz album, which, like the film itself, makes it classic and contemporary all at once.