Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lost: Final Season Report Card (Part I)

Well, we're halfway home. Nine episodes down, eight to go before one of television's most anticipated series finales in a long time. When I reviewed Lost's Season 6 premiere a little over a month ago my reaction to it was mixed, as I expressed concern that the flash sideways structure depicting the intersecting lives of the Oceanic passengers had the plane not crashed was repeating too much information we already received in the first two seasons while sidelining the show's best characters in favor of its least interesting ones. Now, nine episodes in, I'll say that while those issues linger and so far I've found the season to be uneven, we've at least seen signs in recent episodes that a compelling and satisfying final chapter could possibly be in sight.

Recently, huge chunks of information have started coming to the surface which in typical Lost fashion are answering some major questions while also posing new, intriguing ones. But the time left to continue doing that is quickly running out and it's inevitable that even after the show ends nagging questions will remain, discussion will continue and DVD's will be re-watched for years in attempt to unravel what it all means. That's why despite being a mixed bag for me so far it's hard to complain too much since we've been treated to two of the of the series' best episodes (and performances) this season and aren't sure how all the little pieces will fit together yet to complete the puzzle. In an approach that would surely make Dr. Linus proud, I've assigned letter grades to each of the episodes this season, along with a brief analysis.

[poster image via mbradyclark]

"LA X" (Episodes 104/105)

There's no sense repeating what I already covered in my original review almost two months ago but I found the season opener to be a shaky start. I am a fan of the flash sideways as a concept and it has provided this season with some of its best moments, but unfortunately also some of its worst. According the producers, these alternate flashes (which are ending soon by the way) have been "100 percent necessary to tell the story." Given the amount of Kate and Claire I've had to suffer through I sure hope that's true. The most intriguing question left is how the two timelines will collide.


"What Kate Does" (Episode 106)

Not to be confused with the second season episode "What Kate Did." And it would be easy to confuse the two since, you know, they both suck. Let's just say it: Kate's flashbacks or flash sideways or flash anythings are just plain silly. Her back story as a fugitive, plane crash or not, have always brought the series to a narrative stand still and this episode was maybe her worst outing yet, dragged down even further by the involvement of pregnant Claire. This relayed no new information about Kate as a character (not like we'd need any at this point) and other than the surprise appearance of "Other" Ethan Goodspeed (William Mapother) as a kindly physician, the storyline APPEARS to be a total wash. What saves the episode is the 2007 action at the temple with Dogen and his "translator" Lennon's unsuccessful attempt to kill Sayid. Jack is in full angry, bitter Jack mode which is always a positive. Could have done without Sawyer's moping, but who can blame him? Juliet's death was a devastating loss...for viewers. Now we're stuck with Kate.


"The Substitute" (Episode 107)

LOCKE = GREATNESS. Especially if it's tortured, wheelchair-bound Locke in flashbacks, or this case a flash sidways. He gets fired from his job, which leads to important, surprising interactions with temp agency owner Hurley and career placement counselor Rose. Katey Segal makes a welcome return as Locke's financee. The action on the island in 2007 is less interesting but moves the story forward a step with Locke's funeral and the alliance of the Man in Black (under the guise of Fake Locke) and Sawyer. But this episode is really about one thing: Locke's alternate back story and his decision to accept a job as a substitute teacher, which results in the season's best moment, and one of Lost's most memorable introductions when he meets his new colleague: "BEN LINUS, EUROPEAN HISTORY."


"Lighthouse" (Episode 108)

Surprisingly dull episode considering Jack's the focus. He has a son (named David) in the alt-verse. They have a rocky relationship. Who does Jack NOT have a rocky relationship with? 2007 Other, Dogen has a random but possibly important cameo as a parent Jack runs into at David's recital, which is about the only noteworthy event in a mostly uninvolving flash sideways. On the island Hurley continues seeing visions of Jacob, who we discover is recruiting "candidates" to replace him. Now that's info. Jack throws a fit at the lighthouse when mirrors reflect his childhood and he discovers his importance to the island (um..this is news to him?) The action involving the kidnapped Jin and crazy, poor man's version of Rousseau, Claire is painfully boring and, honestly, who didn't know Claire's "friend" would be Smokey? Sorry, but Emile De Ravin's acting is just dreadful. And no Ben?


"Sundown" (Episode 109)

Sayid isn't exactly someone you'd consider one of the more exciting characters but he definitely has his moments. This could have gone either way, but luckily enough was happening that this became a fast-paced episode that took some steps toward advancing the overall story arc. In the flash sideways he has to bail his brother out of a mess with a loan shark that results in him reverting back to his killing ways. His alternate path crosses with Jin (tied up in a freezer?) In the first genuine surprise to occur on the island this season Sayid kills Dogen and Lennon, aligning with the Man in Black. MIB turns into Smokey and attacks the temple. Battle lines are drawn. Team Jacob vs. Team MIB. Again, too much Claire for my liking as she rants, raves and whines while being held captive for much of the hour. Plus, we get even more Kate/Claire/Aaron nonsense. Aside from that, this action-packed ep gets the job done moving things along.


"Dr. Linus" (Episode 110)

Or, why Michael Emerson is the best actor on television. I couldn't wait to see creepy Ben completely out of context and off the island attempting to function as an actual member of society. How does he act at work? What does he do when he gets home? What books does he read? What's his favorite TV show? Will we see him grocery shopping? Will he still be as weird? So many questions. Somehow this episode managed to exceed even the wildest of expectations. It took everything we knew about Ben as a character and completely repositioned it in a fresh and interesting way making it by far the best flash sideways of the season.

How his daughter Alex was re-introduced as a student he was mentoring was brilliant and the storyline involving his blackmailing of the school principal played like an island situation brought into a real world setting of high school politics. It's outcome suggests he would have become a very different person had he and his father left the Dharma Initiative years ago, but maybe not THAT different. The action with Ben digging his own grave and begging for forgiveness for killing Jacob is equally exciting. Ricard Alpert's suicidal tendencies foreshadow the incredible game-changing episode we're in for with him. Charles Widmore returns! Hey, when Lost ends (and assuming Emerson and Terry O' Quinn aren't busy) wouldn't it be great if we could have a classroom drama spin-off with Ben and Locke as inspiring teachers?


"Recon" (Episode 111)

A worthwhile Sawyer-focused episode that saw the return of some familiar faces. While I can't say I'm thrilled he's reverted back to his angry, rebel without a cause character from the first season (this time as a detective instead of a crook) I liked how the flash sideways was focused on his loneliness and obsession with tracking down Locke's father. If what they're doing with Sawyer seems like a huge step down now it's only because anything would after the creative high the character reached last season. There's just no topping that for me. Miles as his LAPD partner was a clever idea as was him setting Sawyer up on a blind date with the returning Charlotte. Nice surprise there--even though Faraday won't be happy. In '07 Sawyer's double-dealing like crazy to leave the island cutting deals with Widmore and MIB. He wants out. Everything was going so well until....fugitive Kate. Again. Ugh. Tight episode anyway.


"Ab Aeterno" (Episode 112)

We always knew the ageless Richard Alpert was a fairly interesting character and it's safe bet many fans were eagerly awaiting an episode that would finally explore his back story. But it's a safer bet that nothing could have possibly prepared anyone for the emotional journey we were taken on. Should we just go ahead and give Nestor Carbonell his Emmy now?

If this series can manage to make it past the finish line without tripping up the producers should throw Carbonell a parade because his tour de force performance will be looked back on as what sealed the deal. It was all him the entire hour and he delivered. It's also only the second time the writers were able to craft a compelling romance...and they did it in 40 minutes. None of Alpert's previous appearances on the show can be viewed the same way again, which is what the most effective flashbacks should do. We found out why Alpert doesn't age, how he arrived on the island as a slave in 1867 and his true relationship to the MIB and Jacob.

Then there's the big shocker that likely that likely had fans wetting their pants. For the first time since the show's inception the possibility that everyone's dead and the island could be Hell or Purgatory is at least suggested, but far from confirmed. Thanks to the infamous wine bottle analogy, the roles of Jacob and MIB have come into much clearer view as has the purpose of the island as a "cork" containing the darkness so it doesn't spread. MIB wants to leave. Jacob won't let him. It's suddenly becoming more and more important who Jacob's "replacement" ends up being.

This was a series defining episode that bodes well as we head toward the final stretch. I can see it being remembered as not only a turning point for this season, but the entire series. Much like Season 3's "Through The Looking Glass," the episode plants the seeds that something HUGE is on the horizon and dispenses groundbreaking information concerning the overall mythology. As much as I hate to admit it this is an even better episode than "Dr. Linus" and probably one of the ten best in the show's six-year history.


Overall: I tend to respond better to the sci-fi elements on the show more than the supernatural and quasi-religious/spiritual aspects so that could help explain why seasons 4 and 5 are so tough to top. That'll always be the meat and potatoes of this series for me. But there's still A LOT left. Important recurring and/or regular characters like Desmond, Faraday and Juliet (!) are still scheduled to return and according to producers, make major contributions. I'm expecting much of the momentum built up from "Ab Aeterno" to temporarily come to a halt when an upcoming episode shifts the focus to Sun and Jin, who's reunion I couldn't care less about.

I am looking for the writers to justify some of the screen time given to characters who on the surface seem unimportant and just filler, like those two and Kate and Claire. That's always been my lingering issue with the entire series, dragging it down a notch. But it's important not to judge too harshly because these episodes have painted the previous seasons in a new light and it isn't until the second hour ends on May 23rd that we'll be able to accurately determine the quality of this season (and the series) as a whole. So, for now....


[image by jimmygoose via fuckyeahlost]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top 10 Blind Side Type Movies That Could've Been Nominated For Best Picture

With The Blind Side hitting DVD this week and Oscar season officially behind us it still seems surprising to me that the movie earned a Best Picture nomination and we'll now have to put the words "Academy Award-winning actress" in front of Sandra Bullock's name. That last one's REALLY going to take some getting used to. I say none of this as an insult to the film, which I enjoyed for what it was and gave a positive review to, despite (or maybe because of) its obvious goofiness and unapologetic sincerity.

It's success got me thinking about other similar movies released over the years and whether they'd have legitimate shot at a Best Picture nod in a larger field of ten nominees. And if you think I'm referring only to schmaltzy, overly-sentimental mainstream fluff that shamelessly pull at the heartstrings you'd be correct. Even though it's probably going to come off this way at times, I'm not trying to mock the films listed below or anyone who enjoys them. I actually respect what these were trying to do and wouldn't spend my time writing on them if I felt they were completely worthless. While I appreciate some a lot more than others there's no denying that we NEED them and I think one of the main reasons I favorably responded to The Blind Side is because we just don't get enough of these kinds of pictures any more. No one has the guts. Delivering an effective (or even entertainingly ineffective) mainstream audience-pleaser is quickly becoming a lost art.

The films below evoke the style and approach of The Blind Side, but don't necessarily have to be about sports (though a few are). The many detractors of Bullock's movie can at least take solace in the fact that most of these choices are inferior to it, proving the Academy was capable of far worse. But what they all have in common is that the spirit of The Blind Side lives in each of them, whether it's in the performances, the themes covered, its style, or the critical/commercial response. I've ranked them not according to quality, but their level of "BLINDSIDEDNESS" and the chances it had of the Academy actually nominating it. The most important rule: If I can say with a straight face it deserved a Best Picture nomination then it doesn't belong on this list.

10. Remember The Titans (2000)

The only football-themed movie to make the cut. Rudy's legitimately moving and widely considered a sports classic so that's out. There's We Are Marshall, but that actually approached its tragic topic with sincerity, and aside from McConaughey's awful performance (which wouldn't have received awards consideration even as a joke), there isn't anything the slightest bit goofy about it. Hardly a "feel-good" experience. But 2000's Remember The Titans is a different story. We have a charismatic and respected Oscar-winning star (Denzel Washington), mixed reviews upon release, strong box office, the issue of racism watered down for public consumption by Walt Disney studios and huge creative liberties taken with "true events." You couldn't mix better ingredients for a Blind Side style Best Picture nominee in the kitchen.

9. Miracle (2003)

Recently I noticed my Netflix queue listed Miracle as having a VERY LONG WAIT. I suppose you could chalk up its recent popularity to the Olympic fever but if it's okay with you I'd like to attribute at least some of that surge to the success of The Blind Side. The movie tells the against-all-odds story of the USA Men's hockey team, led by University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), that went on to win gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics. It doesn't get more inspiring than this, and once again (following the Bullock trend) we have a mainstream star slipping into the role of a life-changing mentor. The movie's even called MIRACLE for crying out loud. Just imagine if it were released this past year right before Olympic season. Oscar sweep. All joking aside, I was a big fan of the film when I first saw it years ago and that's coming from someone who doesn't care for hockey at all.

8. Up Close and Personal (1996)

With its simple, melodramatic storytelling The Blind Side is really a throwback to Hollywood's golden age. So what could possibly make a better companion piece than Jon Avnet's classic old school Hollywood romance Up Close and Personal, starring screen icons Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford? Besides boasting one of the silliest titles ever, the script puts The Blind Side's pretentious naming of characters to shame. Forget about "Coach Cotton" and "Miss Sue." Meet news director WARREN JUSTICE and rookie reporter SALLY "TALLY" ATWATER. If this were released last year chances are Pfeiffer would have been preparing her acceptance speech since her fluffy character is VERY LOOSELY based on real-life news anchor Jessica Savitch, minus the drug abuse, suicide attempts and her death at age 36 in a car accident. The script's fudging of the facts makes The Blind Side look like a hard-hitting docudrama. As for its behind the scenes depiction of the TV news industry--- Network or Broadcast News this definitely isn't. Did you know that this did actually receive an Academy Award nomination? Granted it was for Celine Dion's original song, but hey, it still counts. Don't claim to be a fan of unintentional comedy until you've seen it.

7. The Rookie (2002)

Before making The Blind Side, director John Lee Hancock was practicing the art of pulling audience heartstrings with this inspiring baseball drama about middle-aged high school teacher and coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) who gets a second shot at the Majors. This was actually the beginning of a big career turn around for Quaid, whose own comeback mirrored that of the protagonist he was portraying. After this, he went on to carve out a nice niche for himself again and if the film were released last year it's easy to believe he would have enjoyed the same success Bullock did, perhaps even resulting in an Oscar nomination or win. He's just as well-liked and considerably more talented as an actor. Instead we got G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It was just a matter of timing. Substitute baseball for football and insert Quaid for Bullock and here's your tenth Best Picture nominee.

6. Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

Maybe the only film on this list that at least equals The Blind Side in terms of quality, if not surpassing it. I have so much affection for this movie (which I actually saw in the theater when it was released) that I'm actually going to refrain from making jokes about it. Very well received critically AND making big bank at the box office, it earned well deserved Best Actor nomination for Richard Dreyfuss as music composer turned teacher Glenn Holland. And if I remember correctly it did come dangerously close to scoring a Best Picture nod. It isn't difficult to see why Academy members would be tripping all over themselves to nominate it. Harkening back to classic inspirational teacher dramas like Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Dead Poets Society the movie is sappy, overly-sentimental, shamelessly manipulative and belonging to a genre I usually detest, yet I still really enjoyed it. Like The Blind Side, it's so earnest and upfront about its intentions you almost have no choice but to go along for the ride.

5. Pay It Forward (2000)

Speaking of inspiring educators, who can ever forget Kevin Spacey's turn as disfigured social studies teacher Eugene Simonet? Most movies on this list attempt (sometimes laughably) to tackle serious causes but this dares to take things even further with a seventh grader's homework assignment to "change the world." It is has not one but THREE Oscar nominated actors (Spacey, Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt), two of whom are previous winners, and shares The Blind Side's message of altruism on an even larger, more ambitious scale. Helen Hunt, who at this time was one of the most well-liked, bankable actresses in the business, treads the same Erin Brokovich style ground Bullock would later with her performance as a feisty, alcoholic single mom. Bullock even stole her wardrobe. Bonus points for having one of those tragically uplifting Hollywood endings the Academy loves. Released in October, 2000 it's yet another film that suffered from being released at the wrong time. A year too early to be exact. It's an uneven but unapologetically sincere film the public wasn't ready for then, but would warmly embrace now.

4. Jakob The Liar (1999)

The Academy just loves nominating films about the Holocaust. Just ask Steven Spielberg and Kate Winslet. Why anyone would want to see this tragic, depressing topic covered in movies over and over again is something I'll never fully understand. Maybe that's why Hollywood constantly feels the need to wrap it up in a nice bow for us so we're not too traumatized. Because if there's one thing producers like more than seeing this painful chapter of history unnecessarily re-enacted it's being told that it really wasn't as bad as we all thought. And if a movie can undeservedly wring tears AND a few smiles out of the audience by casting a popular movie star like Robin Williams (going dramatic but not TOO dramatic) in the title role then that's even better. Those who accused The Blind Side of trivializing a serious topic should watch this film to see an actual example of a film shamelessly exploiting a serious situation for entertainment purposes. The good news: Both critics and audiences saw through the B.S. and made sure it flopped. If they didn't it probably would have been nominated for Best Picture.

3. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

It wouldn't be off the mark to call Will Smith the male equivalent of Sandra Bullock in terms of likability and drawing power. This movie is his Blind Side. Not only is it his most popular film, it represents what's been his best acting work date and continues the trend of big movie stars stretching just enough dramatically, but not veering too far from the kinds of roles they're best known for. Say what you want about how cloying and manipulative the screenplay is, but this was the perfect part for him that brought out all his best qualities as an actor. Based on the inspiring true story (seeing a trend here?), Smith plays Chris Gardner, a homeless man who fought the odds and overcame adversity to eventually become a successful stockbroker. What this shares most with Bullock's film is its honest sincerity. It's not trying to be a hard-hitting expose on the trials and tribulations of the homeless or the difficulty of single fatherhood. It's an entertaining movie with the biggest movie star on the planet that knows how to push all the right buttons to get the desired emotional response from the audience. But it's all well earned and it plays fair. It's just too bad Smith squandered all the goodwill he built up with this picture by having his son Jaden star in a remake of The Karate Kid.

2. Patch Adams (1998)

The far less offensive Robin Williams entry on this list. And you thought The Blind Side caused a critical and commercial split when it was released. This dramedy about a doctor who's inspired by his own problems to help others was a huge audience hit when it was released in December of '98, even earning Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor despite widespread critical scorn. While I haven't read a single review of this movie in any publication or web site over 2 stars, I've also never talked to any casual moviegoers who didn't love the film and find it inspiring.Williams as an actor is a curious case study. He can mug and annoy incessantly in most comedies but is capable of great work when handed strong dramatic material. What's so bizarre about this picture is that it doesn't really fit into either of those categories. But it does have actual children with cancer, Williams dressed as a clown and one of the silliest courtroom scenes you'll ever see in a movie. It's interesting to note that the real Patch Adams criticized the actor for not donating any of his 21 million dollar salary to his hospital (a valid point if true) and called the film a "simplistic" version of his life. Something tells me he probably wouldn't have liked The Blind Side.

1. I Am Sam (2001)

The definitive Hollywood message movie that earned a Best Actor nomination for Sean Penn and was famously mocked in 2008's action comedy Tropic Thunder. Even though everyone was always aware of it, only when this was released did we all finally acknowledge that the quickest way to an Oscar nod (and probable win) was to play a character with a developmental disability. Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks started the trend and Penn picks up right where they left off here. His performance as mentally retarded, Beatles-obsessed Sam Dawson, who works at Starbucks and fights to retain custody of his daughter, is actually more convincing than it got credit for as most critics' frustration with the film's screenplay were all unfairly taken out on him.

Like The Blind Side, it's a sugary, feel-good experience that not so subtly preaches the idea that everyone deserves a fair chance and there's no calling greater than helping others less fortunate. Yet again, the saintly do-gooder is Michelle Pfeiffer (assuming the Bullock role), as an emotionally distant lawyer who takes on Sam's custody battle for free. As if that's not enough, producers even went out of their way to cast Dakota Fanning (at the height of a her child star precociousness) as Sam's six-year-old daugher Lucy. The only thing missing is that it isn't exaggerated from a true story, but it sure seems like it could have been. Oh, and great soundtrack. Penn and Fanning would go on to thrive despite the critical thrashing this took, with Penn even collecting a couple of Oscars for significantly more restrained and respected performances in Mystic River and Milk. But it's just more fun pretending he won for this.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Best (and Worst) Movie Posters of 2009

It's way late, but I didn't forget. Below are my choices for the best movie posters of 2009. Having already revealed my choices for the best posters of the decade there may be some overlap but not too much. There were some good designs last year so narrowing it down to ten was difficult and I also included some runners-up that just missed the cut. And I've also reveal my choices for the WORST movie posters of 2009 (of which there were plenty to choose from) and some great fake and/or unreleased posters that are in some instances better than the real thing. Just remember, I'm judging the posters, NOT THE FILMS. A bad movie can easily have a great poster or vice versa, but there does always strangely seem to be a direct correlation between the film's quality and poster art. I guess it makes sense that the same amount of effort (or lack thereof) that went into the movie would also go into the marketing.


10. Crank 2: High Voltage

"HE WAS DEAD...BUT HE GOT BETTER." The second best tag line of the year. A crazy bad-ass movie deserves a crazy bad-ass poster. Not usually a big fan of bright yellow designs but it really works well in this case.

9. The International

"Hey Jeremy, why didn't you review The International?" The truth: I got about 20 minutes into it and fell asleep. I woke up during the big shoot-out. That's not a knock on the film. I was just tired and started it too late. I hope to give it another go. In any event, I really dig the approach they took here, emphasizing the architecture angle of the movie while positioning the stars off on the right corner. The poster's subtle, but catches your eye because the design is so unusual.

8. Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squekquel

Sorry, but let's give credit where it's due. I know very few are interested in seeing a "SQUEAKQUEL," but depicting Alvin in Lite-Brite as the teaser image was a great idea that instantly grabs your attention. You know exactly what movie this poster is for and it accomplishes its goal perfectly, grabbing the kids' attention while also carrying retro appeal for their parents.

7. Crazy Heart

Look a little familiar? When I first saw this I thought Kris Kristofferson was making an acting comeback. Maybe not the most original poster in the world but you can't tell me it doesn't get the film's central idea across as clearly and crisply as possible. Bridges. With a beard. Washed-up country singer. Perfect. The color scheme is also cool. No better poster could have been produced for the movie. This nails it.

6. Where The Wild Things Are

There was a whole series of terrific posters for Where The Wild Things Are but this first teaser was my favorite. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that after laying eyes on it everyone who wanted to see the movie after viewing the trailer had their anticipation level double. A nice touch writing the title and tag line in chicken scratch style.

5. Inglourious Basterds

Another design that's simple and appears at first glance no to do much...mainly because it doesn't need to. And in not doing much it actually does a whole lot. Everyone was anticipating this movie anyway so they were smart to just get the main points across. That it's directed by Tarantino and about killing Nazis. Of course, the big thrill was that it ended up being everything this torture-porn inspired poster hinted at and then some. Effective positioning having all the words on a slant.

4. Antichrist
There was another creative poster for this film these but I preferred this one for just how visually striking it is. Seriously, how does someone even come up with an idea like this for a poster? If this is any indication how sick the movie is I'm in for a trip. Ironically, this design may be TOO GOOD because it's so seriously disturbing it makes me almost want to avoid the film.

  3. The Brothers Bloom

Less a poster than a work of art. I'd even go as far to say that it sells the film as being significantly better than it actually is, which is no small feat considering it was one of the more enjoyable movie experiences of the year. They even managed to squeeze all the main characters in there without it seeming overcrowded. This is some classy work right here. Forget about it hanging on your wall. This should be in an exhibit somewhere.

2. The Girlfriend Experience

It was close between numbers 1 and 2 on my list. This is one of the most unique posters I've seen in a long time and my appreciation for it has only grown after actually seeing the film, which still couldn't stand a chance of living up to the promise of this suggestive, unforgettable image. It also wins for tag line of the year. Brilliant all-around.


1. Moon

A classic example of how a great poster doesn't need a lot of nonsense and visual clutter to get its point across. One clean, simple (and in this case really trippy) image will usually do the trick. Something similar was attempted before but not nearly as well. It captures the isolation of the main character and the mind-twisting ride the story takes you on. Even someone interested in seeing the movie at all would do a double take and immediately be intrigued.

Runners-Up (Alphabetically)

Broken Embraces


(500) Days of Summer

Friday the 13th

Halloween II

The Hangover

The House of the Devil

The Hurt Locker

The Informant!



The Informers

In The Loop


The Stepfather

Trick 'r Treat



Did You Hear About The Morgans?

Or rather, DID YOU awful this poster is? Supposedly the movie is even worse but looking at this that's really hard to believe. Here's hoping I never find out.


Not speaking from personal experience here but I'd imagine it would be pretty uncomfortable having a camera aimed at your crotch. We'll have to ask DDL next time we see him. While this lame design could easily double as a perfume magazine pull-out, I'll at least say even though they're airbrushed (bad pun coming) to the nines, Hudson and Kidman look great and really grab your attention. But who cares? The poster's a huge mess.

All About Steve

Oh boy. Doesn't it look like Ken Jeong was just superimposed in the corner of the poster just before it went to print? More believably, someone was walking through the subway, realized he was left out and decided to just physically glue his photo on thinking no one would know the difference. "FROM THE PRODUCER OF MISS CONGENIALITY" doesn't exactly inspire confidence.


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

What's so sad here is that it's possible to produce a really good poster of this movie (see below). Instead, we're treated to yet another uninspired floating heads poster that looks ripped from a Direct-to-VHS thriller from the mid-90's. Many thought that this alternate design was even worse but I completely disagree. At least it's unintentionally hilarious and attempts to capture the pulpy feel of the film. This is just boring.


Old Dogs

I'll go easy on these guys since I mostly like Travolta as an actor and Williams starred in the best comedy of the year (no, not this one) but, seriously, what were they thinking? And good luck coming up with a worse tag line for a poster. How could two unrecognizably photoshopped stars sitting at a desk possibly interest anyone in seeing this? Maybe that's why they added the cartoon dog. The movie is titled Old Dogs. So THAT'S why there's a dog.


My One and Only

A little overcrowded, no? There really should be some kind of maximum capacity limit for the amount of actors you're allowed to photoshop onto one poster. I feel like evacuating some of them for their own safety, or at least for the sake of their careers. That is if could recognize them. Is that Kevin Bacon on the far right?


Public Enemies
"Hey Jeremy, why didn't you review Public Enemies?" Well, I saw it, it's just that I had about as much to say about the film as this poster does. Johnny Depp. Standing there. That's it. Talk about not even trying. If that's not bad enough, there's the drab color scheme and really unfortunate placing of the title.


A Christmas Carol

Executive 1: Hey, got a great idea for that Christmas Carol poster.
Executive 2: Yes?

Executive 1: An aroused Scrooge riding a giant phallic object. Families are gonna love it.
Executive 2: Perfect!


Inglourious Basterds

These alternate Basterds posters put to shame the officially released, which is really saying something considering that overall this movie boasted the best poster line-up of the year. Love that Indiana Jones-style one, which was actually a proposed poster illustration that didn't make the cut. Too bad. They should have used it, as it perfectly captures the spirit of the film.
(Source: Posterwire)


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Now THIS is a Bad Lieutenant poster. What's Nicholas Cage doing to these poor women? Why does he look so crazed and strung-out? I have no idea but this image makes me want to see the movie and find out, which is much more than I can say for that other generic one above. It looks like the cover of a classic crime novel...maybe even better.
(Source: Ain't It Cool News)


Honest Movie Titles: Oscars 2010

These are my two favorites but for all ten nominees click here.
(Source: College Humor)

Retro Illustrated Best Picture Posters

Click here to see the rest.
(Source: In Contention)