There’s quite a bit going on with this poster, but the giant pink flamingo is probably what grabs your attention first.. This movie, about a group of suburbanites who set out to steal a priceless book from Transylvania University, centers on a MacGuffin in the form of a rare Audubon print collection. The bright color and size of the bird on the poster serves to highlight its importance to the characters. Speaking of the which, you might notice that their heads pop out of frame in the top-center of the image, hiding their identities and symbolizing the clandestine nature of their crime. Their size in relationship to the flamingo tells us how they feel about each other when compared to the possible pay-off of the heist. Do they see each other as disposable? One thing is for sure: The “Dutch angle” of the entire composition hints that something is off.
The House that Jack Built
Ahead of its Cannes premiere, very little is known about this movie. We already know that Lars von Trier movies always carry a lot of baggage. So what can the poster tell us? Matt Dillon (who we are always excited to see) plays a serial killer—we know that much. The plastic sheeting obscuring most of the composition expresses order, cleanliness and the cold. Cold, of course, relates to Dillon’s likely psychopathic character and the preservation of the bodies of the people he kills. The plastic also makes us think of another serial killer movie, American Psycho. The part in the middle, conspicuously shaped like a blade, reveals half of Dillon’s face peaking through from his world into ours. Center-bottom, the typography of the movie title is heavily stylized in the shape of a house, a literal interpretation of the text that is further reinforced by its brick red color. The “E” falling away from the rest of the building might represent that the house, and Jack’s world, are beginning to fall apart.
We’ve been dying to see this movie since it debuted at Sundance earlier this year. The poster alone is cause for celebration! Painted in psychedelic purples and pinks that express the idea of bloodletting, the various components of the composition are arranged into the shape of a triangle. For the purposes of plot, this triangle might have religious implications, but it also defines Red’s (Cage) priorities: At the top of the pyramid we have the eponymous Mandy herself, played by Andrea Riseborough. At the center of this pyramid, framed by a watercolor-like collage of secondary characters that reminds us, strangely enough, of the classic Star Wars posters, stands Nicolas Cage. He’s the center of his own world, and ours as well. Finally, center-bottom, we see two silhouettes fighting with chainsaws (epic). It is the only part of this tableau to disrupt the lines of the pyramid, perhaps telling us that the only way for Red to escape whatever mess he’s in is by fighting his way out.
There are a few things we think about when we think of Robin Hood: His pointed hat (which, according to Wikipedia is called a “bycocket”), the color green, and, of course, a bow and arrows. The motif here of the arrows sticking out of the ground like trees makes for a very simple, streamlined, and pleasing composition. The arrows and the trees are essentially the tools by which our folk-hero survives, so their association makes sense. We also applaud the designers for ditching the truly awful “Who’s under the hood?” tagline from the trailers, opting instead for the somewhat mundane, but functional “There’s been whispers of a thief,” which is at least represented here visually by the light breaking through the trees, casting a spotlight on Robin Hood, as if he’s just emerging from these rumors into reality.
Wow. Just. Wow. Before we get to the poster, let’s just geek out for a second about that sentence at the top: “A new nightmare from the mind of Academy Award winner, Jordan Peele.” Academy. Award. Winner. Jordan Peele. That sentence is simply awesome, and the poster itself is pure teaser: Two ink black busts, symbolic of a Rorschach, sit in the center-middle of the composition, which underscores their importance. The surrounding white space is dabbed with gray, which makes it more active than it would have been if it were truly “negative space.” This, combined with the word “nightmare,” could literally represent the same racial tension at the heart of Peele’s last movie, Get Out. Returning to the image in the center-middle: Notice how the face on the right has been disfigured around the eyes and nose by the encroaching white space. Is this the wiping away of cultural or personal identity? Or does it represent the idea of a “doppelganger?” We don’t know, but we will definitely be among the first in line to find out.