Does any 2021 poster signal its tone, flavor, and style as immediately as Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “Licorice Pizza,” not to mention a one-sheet that captures the whimsical nature of its title? Anderson’s warmest, sweetest, arguably funniest film, “Licorice Pizza” is styled in the vein of “American Graffiti,” a coming of age film about a night on the town that’s actually, well several nights and days out on the town, but the freewheeling, loose spirit and point remains. About a teenage boy hustler and the listless, 25-year-old (Alana Haim), in need of purpose, their adventures, their tentative romance, and the eclectic cast that satellites the two (actors like Tom Waits, Sean Penn, and more), “Licorice Pizza” is honeyed and delicious to taste and its poster certainly capture the mood. – RP
A film like “Memoria” favors a sense of woozy disorientation over plain storytelling – confusion, meditation, relaxation all take precedence. It’s teased with the inversion of just two letters in the film’s title on the main poster for Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest release, while the superimposition of Tilda Swinton’s profile over a hazy outdoor scene – you can make out the edges of a handful of bushy trees, but little else. It’s hard to convey just what makes this teaser so effective – is it the way Swinton is simultaneously immobile yet spinning out of reality? Or the monochrome hues which somehow contain a hundred different shades of grey? Weerasethakul knows this and knows how to withhold catharsis and keep disbelief fully suspended.
The master is back. Jordan Peele hasn’t given us much in the way of unscrambling his new terror, but good luck trying to find a more enigmatic and ominous cloud this side of the 2020s. A rogue, lone cloud hovers above a twinkling and unsuspecting town, as a string of tiny multicolored flags, for some reason, blows in the wind. Is Daniel Kaluuya the cloud? Steven Yeun the flags? Is KeKe Palmer going to give us the greatest line delivery of the title? It’s all unclear, yet the starry night of the poster animates it all brilliantly already. July can’t come soon enough.
They tried to fool us with a new poster – still red, more Penelope Cruz – but the first image teasing Pedro Almodóvar’s latest portrait of womanhood caused quite the stir with a striking eyelet framing a lactating nipple. His penchant for bright colors and unusual cuts was something we knew, but this immediacy and, well, nudity, is unprecedented for a film with this kind of mainstream appeal – or at least for a filmmaker this far into his career. It’s no surprise studios opted for a different, more reserved final poster in the end – but when one of your posters is inadvertently banned by Instagram for its supposedly lewd content, that’s sure to do more marketing than anything else.
After the panoramic majesty of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” many were worried the next film Céline Sciamma made might seem small in comparison. That’s what “Petite Maman” is, but completely deliberately: the story of two pint-sized heroes finding one another as motherhood and friendship and memory all intertwine in the forest. The poster has a playful, patchwork quality to it: a painted landscape frames two twin sisters looking at one another with love and trust – the heart filling with air like a balloon being clutched by two other tiny heroes just happy to have a nice day out. It’s sweet but so rich – textures and patterns come from different places and coalesce to honor Sciamma’s wondrous mind.
“The Power of the Dog”
Did Jane Campion make her most rugged film and make her near equivalent version of “There Will Be Blood” and yet stay true to her own evocative spirit and voice? You bet she did. “The Power Of The Dog” is like a treatise on masculinity, that also features a spider-web level of intrigue in it that flowers near the end of the picture in a way that’s total genius (pay attention!) The film centers on a domineering but charismatic rancher who basically wages an emotional war of intimidation on his brother’s new wife and her teen son for reasons that are just loaded, coded, and layered, but also about loneliness, control, and identity. A gorgeous paper flower motif is part of the film too, symbolizing, innocence, beauty, fragility, but also a detailed layer of complexity that will come into play later when the unexpected black widow of the film does its thing. A gorgeous and clever image to use on its poster. – RP
There’s a daring sense of frivolity to the cheery, illustrated poster for “Red Rocket” – you could think it misleading if taking the deluded narcissism of Mikey Sabre (a transcendent Simon Rex) seriously, but the deliberately kooky and excessive focus on this washed-up porn star’s faux shock as he balances, literally, hands-on his privates in the middle of a donut (again, could be misinterpreted as a pool float rather than a much more interesting and literal imagining of a sickly sweet donut at the center of this film’s most delicious plot twists). That’s not to say Sean Baker’s new movie is dark, but it is deceptively deep – and so the irony, of a clean cartoon painting this cheeky man as a bouncy hero, is all the more intelligent. Plus, longtime fans of the filmmaker will surely appreciate the consistency in the choice of typography that’s remained the same for all of Baker’s films. Elegant, playful, reliable.