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The Best Movie and TV Posters of 2015



2015 was a so-so year when it came to movie and TV posters. There were several strong poster designs in 2015, but in a year when dozens of movie and TV posters were released — there were only a few strong poster designs among the masses.

The best poster of 2015 was for the WGN TV series Salem.salem_ver8

Honestly, I don’t watch Salem. I tried but it’s not a series I could get into. However, after having seen one of the posters for the second season of the series it was an image that I couldn’t get out of my head and made me want to check out the show again.

The image features one of the witches of Salem perched atop the cross of a church. Except the poster is upside down and she’s not so much “perched” as she’s really hanging off the cross defying gravity. And with the image being rotated, off balance and the use of an inverted cross and all that connotes, I’m surprised the designers of this poster were allowed to execute this design at all. But they were/did and it’s one of the more striking images I’ve ever seen on a movie or TV poster in quite some time.

I can’t decide if I LOVE or HATE the poster campaign for the movie Ant-Man, but since I’m still thinking about it months after it was released I decided it needed to be on this list. The early posters for Ant-Man featured the title character who has the power to shrink atop Avengers things like Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer and Iron Man’s shoulder. It’s a neat way to both introduce the character to an audience who’s probably unaware as to who the character is, to show that he fits in with the other Marvel movies and even bring in some of the comedy elements to the film too since the photos feature a teeny-tiny man who has some large shoes to fill.

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There’s a few things that I don’t like about the poster for the TV show Supergirl but there’s a lot more that I do like. The poster is simple, with just the title character swooping down between skyscrapers with a blue sky in the background. But it’s what this poster does so well that many other movie and TV posters fail to do; it sets tone and expectations for the series.

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Another poster that I think sets expectations well is the one for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Pulled straight from the movie trailer, the poster has lead character Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) holding onto the side of an airplane for life as it lifts into the sky. Where the tendency of most movie posters these days is to cram as much onto the poster as possible, from actor’s names to movie title to tagline to who the director is… the poster for Rogue Nation is one of the more simpler ones out there with just the movie title, release date and other minor legalese on it.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. flopped at the box office, but that doesn’t mean that the poster promoting this film was a flop. Much like with the poster for Rogue Nation, the poster for U.N.C.L.E. takes the simpler is better approach, though not to the extreme that the poster for Rogue Nation did. Here, we get a shot of the two leads along with the title on a yellow background. And while the poster might not have a lot to it, the contrast between the two figures on a simple background makes this one catch the eye.

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I really liked the poster campaign for the movie Mad Max Fury Road. Not only does it feature some nice images, but the contrasting warm/cool color combination and off-balanced layouts make these posters very appealing.

The posters for Fury Road are the question to the answer of how exactly do you sell a movie that’s a continuation of a series that’s been going on since the ‘70s? What the designers did here was rather than try and copy what was used in the past, to instead come up with something new that borrows from the look and feel from the film while at the same time showcasing the new actors in the Mad Max universe as well.




Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation



mission-impossible-rogue-nation-motorcycle-explosion_1920.0-e1433808025568I watched the fifth Mission Impossible movie, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, this weekend. It was a good movie, I’d give it a B. It does suffer from some dicey story moments where things happen that feel fake but need to be there to keep the story moving — but overall this wasn’t too bad.

I’d rate the Mission Impossible movies best to worst:

  • Mission Impossible (1996)
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
  • Mission: Impossible III (2006)
  • Mission: Impossible II (2000)

It seems like the structure of these movies is to come up with an overall story and hang this off of three or four big action scenes. Which for Rogue Nation and it’s $680 million + box office seems to be working well.

 

 




2015 Summer movie preview



With three movies due out it seems as if Marvel Entertainment has bought and now owns the naming rights to summer. The first of which is The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1. Really The Avengers Part 2, or is it Iron Man Part 5…, Age of Ultron has the whole team back together again battling the robotic Ulton, one of the most iconic Avengers villains. Much like with the first Avengers flick, the fate of the very Earth will hang in the balance in this film!

Except since there are two more Marvel movies out this summer and a whole slew of Marvel films scheduled for theaters all the way up until 2019, I think the fate of the Earth has already been decided in a corporate board room.

mad_max_fury_road_ver2Mr. Road Warrior himself Mad Max returns to the hellish highways of the apocalypse on May 15 in Max Max: Fury Road. This fourth outing for the character, with Tom Hardy in the title role and co-starring Charlize Theron, has Max trying to rescue a group of fellow apocalyptic travelers from the clutches of a crazed outlaw gang of motorheads.

In other words: More merry Mad Max mayhem!

A remake of the family-scarer Poltergeist is out May 22. I’m interested in this one, if just because the original 1982 film about a girl vanished into the guts of a family’s haunted house gave me the heebie-jeebies as a youngster. I mean, Poltiergeist has one of the kids in the movie being practically eaten alive by a tree one minute and terrorized by a clown doll the next. C’MON!

It helps that this new Poltergeist is being produced by Evil Dead horror auteur Sam Raimi too.

A fourth Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World, is set to bring a little chaos to theaters June 12. While this is being billed as a sequel to the first three films from 1993 to 2001, to me Jurassic World looks to be an reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise as a whole. The trailer for this one has a slew of people visiting Jurassic Park when something goes wrong that turns loose the dinosaurs to chomp on some unsuspecting folks. Or, it’s a bigger version of Jurassic Park sans the guiding hands of Steven Spielberg.

Terminator: Genesys, the fifth film of that franchise, will “be back” in theaters July 1 with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Due to the vagaries of time travel, this time he’s joined by a young Sarah Connor (now Emilia Clarke) as the two along with Reese (now Jai Courtney) fight off a bunch of different and deadly terminators out to put an end to the Connor timeline once and for all. Or at least until the next movie.

Marvel movie #2 is Ant-Man out July 17. There’s not too much known about this one other than it stars Paul Rudd in the title role of a superhero who can turn incredibly small. But if Ant-Man follows the Marvel Mold™ of late it’s no doubt that the fate of the planet will be in Ant-Man’s teeny-tiny hands.

poltergeist

A fifth Mission: Impossible movie, simply titled Mission: Impossible 5,  is out July 31. Even though I probably shouldn’t I’ve enjoyed the Mission: Impossible movies since the first one was released in ’96. Even if the missions the M:I teams have gone on over the years/sequels have gone from impossible to impossibler to “there’s no way in heck they’d be able to do any of this stuff whatsoever!”

The final Marvel movie out this summer, that’s really a Sony one, is Fantastic Four. A reboot of the Fantastic Four films from 2005 and ’07, this version looks to put a new, darker spin on the big four. Or, if it works it could be the dawn of a new age in the tone of comic book movies but if it doesn’t we might just have another Catwoman on our hands.

Premiering on TV screens before Mission: Impossible in 1964 was Man from U.N.C.L.E., the first series to take inspiration from the James Bond films to a TV series. Now a film version of U.N.C.L.E. is set to close the summer movie season August 14. This 1960s period piece seems to be equal parts Jason Bourne and Austin Powers.




Jack Ryan, hasn’t the position of Jason Bourne already been filled?



Jack Ryan, motorcycle rider and @ss kicker

Jack Ryan, motorcycle rider and @ss kicker

After watching the trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit I have to wonder about the direction of the Jack Ryan franchise? In the previous four films, the Jack Ryan character was an everyman* who spent his days as a CIA analyst/history teacher and was not a person of action. But when Ryan was thrust into situations like trying to stop WWIII when the captain of a Soviet nuclear missile sub wanted to defect or saving British Royals from terrorists he wasn’t afraid to step up and take risks in order to do the right thing.

And I’ve always thought that’s the appeal of the Jack Ryan character; if an everyman* like him could find the courage to step up, then maybe just about anyone could step up too?

With the new Chris Pine Shadow Recruit Jack Ryan, the character has been morphed to a head-kicking ace-shot super-secret-agent who is part James Bond, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt. In fact, watching the trailer I’m not sure there was any substantial difference between Ryan and Bond and Bourne and Hunt. They’re all just on the human side of super-human who are action first, second and last.

It seems to me that by making Ryan an action star there’s a possibility that he’ll get lost in all the clutter of those other characters who are all but alike. In fact, I was struck by just how much Pine as Ryan looked like Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in the first Mission Impossible movie. I wonder if this is intentional?

I understand that the modern movie tastes today are different than the were 20+ years ago when the Jack Ryan character was introduced in The Hunt for Red October, I just wonder if it’s tastes that should be dictating the direction of movies rather than film makers striving to deliver something different and interesting?

Besides, we already have perfectly good James Bonds and Jason Bournes and Ethan Hunts, do we really need another?

*An everyman who just happened to look like Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck.