Films

The most beautiful movie posters of the year

Posted by
Sam Diss
Published

Your house. Your new house. It’s nice. It’s cool – you’ve got your books up, a nice little table now, one of those blankets from Homesense. But something’s… missing. 

You need the poster of a film on your wall. That’s what adults do. You need the beautifully designed artwork of a film you haven’t seen yet but have heard is good, possibly from ShortList Magazine dot com, and you need it quick. 

Luckily 2016 has been as much of a bumper year for shit-hot posters as it has been awful for pretty much everything else.

Here’s a the sixteen best and where to find them.

THE LOBSTER

Striking visual imagery! An overwhelming sense of loss and mourning! Colin Farrell looking dowdy with a choppy haircut and ‘tache! Divisive indie rom-com The Lobster had it all in a poster that turned out to be much more cohesive that the movie itself.

Buy here

MOONLIGHT

A story of a young boy’s struggles with his burgeoning sexuality amid Miami’s drug-torn black communities, Moonlight was this year’s indie darling and its poster reflected the many conflicting elements of the main character’s story and personality and threw in some nice looking muted-neon hues for good measure.

Buy here

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

The Purge series presents a basic premise: your neighbours would probably kill you if murder wasn’t illegal. Election Day posits that the rich want the poor to "purge" each other so America can save money on welfare. As satire, this film is as subtle as a pair of toy Hulk Hands but, just like toy Hulk Hands, it's a whole lot of fun and, true to form, the poster is The fucking Statue of Liberty with a carved-in smile and crossed out eyes like the terrifying avatar of every alt-right shithouse in Hilary Clinton’s mentions. Lurid and effective.

Buy here

THE HANDMAIDEN

From the director of Oldboy comes this people-hanging-themselves-from-tree one sheet for his critically acclaimed period drama The Handmaiden – as impeccably presented at the film itself, the poster is intricate and beautiful, presenting 1930s-era colonial Korea and Japan with grace and dark humour. 

Buy (the French version) here

AMERICAN PASTORAL

Shite film, good poster: Ewan McGregor’s take on Philip Roth’s classic novel was a visual treat but a mess, man, which might explain why the one sheet works so well. Its efficient imagery, eery wash, and 90-degree flip all make for class visual storytelling by designer Federico Mazza.

Buy here

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DIRTY GRANDPA

It’s horrible to see Bobby D N degrading himself like this, mugging and flexing on the beach with that creepy lad from the Disney Channel, but the poster for Dirty Grandpa is a winner: De Niro even looks cool while he’s doing that shit, topless in chinos, and the colour palette gives it an air of dignity as he lifts the much younger, much smugger man. Less a 2016 Spring Break-fuckery flick and more a seventies knockabout buddy-com.

Buy here

WIENER-DOG

As an image, it’s really cool – that’s a mint green we seldom see; that’s a dog’s arse we seldom see – but as a poster it’s a strange choice. It tells us nothing about the movie, not even what it might be like tonally, just a sausage dog’s sausage dog butt. But as a piece of art, it’s nice – the colour, the typeface, the little doggie hyphen – and makes up for the fact nobody actually watched the movie.

Buy here

PATERSON

"Ah, this? Why, it's the poster for the film Paterson! It's a film about a guy called Paterson, who lives in Paterson and idolises the work of the distinguished Paterson poet William Carlos Williams, particularly his opus 'Paterson'. Paterson is also a bus driver, played by Adam Driver. He's also a poet. Yes, it's a film about symmetry and poetry. Yes, this poster has more than a deliberately nod to the Penguin Classic design about it. Yes, I am a wanker."

Buy (not) here (sorry)

WHERE YOU’RE MEANT TO BE

The poster for the Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat’s affection, acclaimed documentary looks like a movie about a face-off between Tony Soprano and that bloke from The Fall but actually just hints at the colourful history and culture behind Scotland’s famed folk music heritage (‘COLOURFUL’ BECAUSE THERE’S LOTS OF SWIRLING COLOURS) and leaves the movie’s central conflict there for all to see.

Buy (not) here (sorry)

DEKALOG

Looks like a movie about occult Tetris and is actually a 1988 TV series by cult Polish auteur Krzysztof Kieślowski about the ten commandments, released in cinemas this year, that IndieWire described as “the best ten hours you will ever spend at the movies”. Minimalist and beautifully bleak. 

Buy here (honest)

TICKLED

It’s just a feather. It’s just a documentary about tickling. It’s just a documentary about tickling and competitive tickling leagues. It’s just a documentary about tickling and competitive tickling leagues and the rampant blackmail and homophobia of these leagues. It’s just a documentary about tickling, the darkest film about tickling you’re gonna see, yeah, ever. 

Buy here

OBIT

The Movie Poster, 121, beloved piece of art attached to the releases of films since 1895’s silent comedy L'Arroseur arrosé, is alive and well unlike the people written about by the obituary writers at New York Times in doc festival hit Obit – its one sheet a thing of understated grace and poise (and a cool, like, brown paper-y thing).

You can’t buy it (sorry)

ANTIBIRTH

“Psychedelic body horror” feels like a genre that’d bear good posters and while Antibirth is a tough watch as a movie – unsettling, weird, gorgeous, kinda annoying – this is just a marvellous piece of design work from Danny Perez, working as a kaleidoscope Prince nightmare. Into it.

Buy here

FREE FIRE

Snuck this one in on a technicality because, while it’s not in UK cinemas until March, it premiered at the London Film Festival in October. So anyway, the film itself looks like Ben Wheatley’s take on Joe Carnahan’s schlocky shoot-’em-up Smokin’ Aces, and while some of the promo material has suggested the same, this poster looks like it belongs to a gritty Steve McQueen movie where he breaks up a gang of bank robbers or something while wearing a charcoal grey blacker and a black polo neck. Well up for a little bit of straight-up lying if it looks this good.

Nope. Nowhere. Can’t buy it.

MEN GO TO BATTLE

RogertEbert.com’s Godfrey Cheshire said “a more accurate title for the low-budget indie Civil War drama would be, “Man (Sing.) Goes to Battle. Eventually. Sort of. For a While. Then Leaves. Other Man Stays Home.” and who are we to doubt the Cheshire chops? The film itself is quite boring and crap but the poster is unfuckwithable: a little bit of Dr. Strangelove, a little Private Eye, a lot of bayonets.

Buy here

BUSTER’S MAL HEART

Sometimes a poster just needs to be a strong image of a Remi Malik with his doomed eyes and a fucked-up clock under about sixteen-hundred Instagram filters with a title that’s pretty vague.

Unavailable as yet, sorry. But this is good.

LA LA LAND

Yes, the film doesn’t come out until 2017 in the UK but we’re having it anyway: this two-tone blue, French New Wave-y poster is such a hit that even if the film was a total sack of shit (which it’s not) we’d have it up in our living room.

Buy here. You’re welcome.

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Author

Sam Diss

The Associate Editor of New Projects at ShortList, Sam enjoys making up words to annoy editors, writing features about sports, music, weird things, and cool people, and listening to Mark Morrison's 'Return Of The Mack'. He's also a fairly capable centreback. Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamDiss

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