Poster Boy: One sheets of distinction (vol.4)

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As Christopher Nolan’s latest mega hit blockbuster Inception charges into UK cinemas today with us following lemming-like in its all conquering wake, we felt it a good time to more closely examine the film’s one sheet promo as well as other new releases this month that feature notable poster art.


Inception | Dir. Christopher Nolan (2010)
Poster design by Ignition Print

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All of Christopher Nolan’s trademark trickery is at play here with an added splash of grandeur befitting the newly crowned king of the multiplexes. The poster designers seemed to have been let off the leash on this one – no doubt charging as much to create these promos as some indy directors have as a budget for an entire production! Doubtless a stab at originality, Ignition print have simply opted for the straightforward ‘holy crap!’ response from those wooed by the sheer awesomeness of the visual. We’ve come to expect this kind of cool and clinical style from the psychological/sci-fi/thriller genre ever since Neo popped that red pill over a decade ago, but Inception promises far more with its logic defying mashup seen in the Hukosai-esque cityscape wave arcing over like an old rolled up carpet set for replacement. Our rooftop gathering seem less bothered than we’d expect which suggests all is perhaps not what it seems, or maybe they just wanted to see the show close-up. Either way their guns and sharp suits imply that they most definitely mean business – although I’d opt for something that packs a mightier punch when taking on a few city blocks intent on Godzilla like carnage.

Oh I nearly forgot – lovely, no-frills use of the typeface Gotham, which is a neat link to Nolan’s other ‘little’ project.

Watch the trailer here


Howl | Dirs. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (2010)
Poster design and artist unknown

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This one sheet for Howl about beat poet Allen Ginsberg and the poem of the title that caused such a legal rumpus is a good example of illustrative design working in harmony. The tone of the film is perfectly captured with its clever appropriation of 1950s pulp novel, gossip rag and comic strip style – depicting the two main narrative strands of Ginsberg’s freewheeling creativity (below) pitted against the arch conservatism of the times (above). The slight incongruent and off-kilter composition enhances these themes and the Edward Hopper-esque painted illustrations also fit as a timely cultural reference. The main title font is Albertus, designed in the mid 1930s by Berthold Wolpe and works to compliment the quirky combination of gothic and script type below, stylistically alluding to the retro and gugi American diner culture – again of the 1950s and 60s. Watch the (pretty darn good) trailer for further reasons as to the posters mixed use of colour / black and white – another savvy and intelligent decision on the part of the designers to compliment what looks to be a great film.

Watch the trailer here


Winnebago Man | Dir. Ben Steinbauer (2009)
Poster design by Kii Arens / illustration by Greg Franklin

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Jack Rebney is the most famous man you’ve never heard of – an RV salesman whose hilarious, foul-mouthed outbursts circulated underground on VHS tapes in the 90s before turning into a full-blown Internet phenomenon in 2005. Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer is the savvy fellow who saw the obvious appeal of searching out Rebney to explore the nature of viral culture and unearth one man’s response to unintended celebrity. If you’ve yet to see the original clip (the words ‘hiding’ and ‘rock’ come to mind), we urge you to do so as Rebney truly is a comic genius – even if he himself is unaware of the fact. This accompanying poster is a beautifully crafted slice of naïve art in keeping with the primitive and folk style seen throughout America’s midwest from the turn of the century to the modern day. A bright, brash encapsulation of a heroic goofball who is master of the great outdoors (and luxurious 30 foot, kitchen-combo indoors), in all its primary coloured glory, the poster works as both a nostalgic trip down our own pre-supposed idea of the American midwest and yet modern enough to throw an ironic spin on the docu-drama character pieces so en vogue these days.
Ah forget all this cerebral tosh – just go see the film and wet yourself.

Watch the trailer here


Gabriel Solomons

About the author

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Gabriel’s earliest cinematic memory was believing a man could fly in Richard Donner’s original (and best) Superman. Following numerous failed attempts at pursuing a career as a caped crusader (mild vertigo didn’t help), he subsequently settled down into the far safer – but infinitely less exciting – world of editorial design. A brief stint at the Independent newspaper in London sharpened his skills but cemented his desire to escape the big smoke forever, choosing to settle in the west country. He set up the arts and culture magazine ‘Decode’ in 2003 and currently edits and art directs the Big Picture magazine. When asked by mates what his favourite film is he replies The Big Lebowski while when in the presence of film afficianados he goes all poncy and says Fellini’s 8 1/2.

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